Virginia Wine Council Update

Albemarle County Adopts Farm Winery Zoning Ordinance; Likely to Serve As Statewide Model

From Matt Conrad Director of the Virginia Wine Council:

“Last week the Virginia Wine Council attended the 2:00 p.m. meeting of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  This meeting represented an end to nearly two years of work by the VWC to shape a farm winery zoning ordinance that strikes a balance between the county’s need to protect the welfare of its citizens and farm wineries’ need for regulatory certainty and sustained economic viability.

Throughout work sessions and planning commission meetings, the VWC has consistently argued that the best way to preserve the rural character of Albemarle County and counties like it is to ensure that agriculture is profitable.  The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors did just that yesterday in unanimously adopting the proposed ordinance.

Effective immediately, the ordinance’s relevant provisions include:

* Definitions of “farm winery” and “agritourism” that mirror the State Code definitions (prior versions required contiguous parcels and made reference to commercial activities, respectively).

* Recognition of production, tasting, direct sale, shipment, and storage of wine as by-right activities.

*The ability of farm wineries to engage in/host usual and customary events and activities without regulation.

* Three specific classes of usual and customary events will be limited to 200 persons at any one time (rather than cumulatively).  There is no limitation in frequency.

*No limitation on tasting room hours other than in adopting the hours kept in the “normal course of business of the farm winery” by the farm winery itself.

* A one-time special use permit process for similar farm winery events where attendance will be greater than 200 persons.

*Fair application of the general noise ordinance as currently applied to rural areas throughout the county. Amplified music is permitted but may not be audible 100 feet from the property line.

Several Albemarle County wineries attended to show their support and appreciation of the professionalism and cooperation of planning staff and county leadership.  In attendance were representatives of Albemarle CiderWorks, Blenheim Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, and King Family Vineyards. The Albemarle County Chamber of Commerce also spoke in favor of the ordinance as adopted.”

Categories: wine tasting | 2 Comments

TasteCamp 2010 Day 1: Part 1

Driving up the East side of Keuka Lake I was engrossed with the beauty of the Finger Lakes region, which I continued to soak in for the next three days. This drive took me to our first stop for Taste Camp 2010, Heron Hill Winery, for our first Grand Tasting and our first sample of what the region has to offer.  We had 9 wineries pouring for us and I am happy to say I was able to make it through all the wineries, giving ample time to diagnose each one.  Rather than bore you with 50 tasting notes, I’ll hit you with the highlights of the day. I would first like to thank Heron Hill for hosting us and providing a fabulous lunch (in conjuction with the Finger Lakes Wine Country).  Thanks also to all the wineries that poured their juice. I always admire wineries willing to show themselves to “critics” eager to pick apart their hard work and dedication to an art they devote so much time to.

As as side note, I will say the weekend as a whole provided the opportunity to taste a slew of new grape varieties, helping add some slots to my Wine Century Club checklist.

On to my highlights…

Heron Hill 2002 Riesling – aromas and flavors of petrol, lime, slate and pear juice; full bodied and still providing gripping acidity. I liked this wine a lot but the finish could have been a bit longer.

Keuka Spring 2007 Epic Reserve (Cabernet Sauvigon, Cab. Franc, Merlot) – nice red fruit with hints of cherry, spice, mocha and smoke. Full bodied and quite smooth with leathery tannins at the finish.

McGregor 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve – Big notes of black fruit including black cherry and plum with hints of fig and a good dose of red currant running through the mid palate. All of this complimented with nice “green” edges and a delicate, yet full bodied structure.

Imagine Moore 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – whoa, did I step into New Zealand for a second? Notes of grapefruit, cat pee, asparagus, citrus and mineral overtones. Wow, impressive! Razor sharp acidity.

Interesting varieties that I tried that didn’t knock me over were: Vergennes, Noiret, Valvin Muscat, and Vignoles. Of all of these that I tried the Valvin Muscat impressed me the most. I felt the variety was a bit too “soapy” though, and reminded me of my grandmother’s bathroom. After talking to Evan, he said it reminded him of a “potpourri box” which was spot on description of the varietal.

All in all the first two hours of TasteCamp were a taste of a great weekend to come, with wonderful wines and regional personality. I couldn’t wait until the nest stop on our Finger Lakes adventure.

Stay tuned to Anything Wine for more TasteCamp stories.

Cheers!

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TasteCamp 2010 Visuals – Vineyard Walk

For the vineyard walk I was selected to go to Argetsinger Vineyards and tour the vineyard with owner and manger Sam Argetsinger. Sam was a riot, a really down to earth guy that loves playing in the dirt and working with mother nature. His passion for grape growing and nature was amazingly intense and fun to see. Below are some pictures from our visit with him.

Sam Argetsinger

View of Seneca Lake from the top of the vineyard

bud break

Sam tying vines in an umbrella trellis format

Morten Hallgren of Ravines Cellars serving his Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling and his wifes breakfast tart

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TasteCamp Visuals – Day 1

A full story will come later about our first day in the Finger Lakes for TasteCamp East 2010, but I figured a little visual tour would be good for this morning.

TasteCamp organizers Evan Dawson and Lenn Thompson

Grand Tasting @ Heron Hill

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Vineyard Report – Pollak Vineyards

An update from Jake Busching GM/Vineyard Manager & Wine Maker at Pollak Vineyards

“Winters heavy with snow and a long periods of cold (cold being temps above 5F that is…) are good for our vineyards. The snow becomes ground water and the cold helps to moderate insect populations and viruses that feed on the vines. Spring rain continues to allow the plants to feed on the nutrients in the soil and begin the ripening process. Ask any winegrower and they will tell you, ripening starts at bud break. The faster the fruit develops the more complex the flavors and tannins are going to be in the wine.

Frost has taken its toll on some area vineyards but ours escaped by a marginal degree. 3 events at or slightly below freezing in the past 4 weeks have threatened to hamper our efforts at growing grapes this year. The south facing aspect of the vineyard coupled with the ever present breeze through the Rockfish Gap saved our skins… grape skins to be precise. In summary… so far so good.”

Cheers!

Categories: wine tasting | 1 Comment

Quick Sip – 2008 K Syrah “Pheasant”—Wahluke Slope

2008 K Syrah “Pheasant”—Wahluke Slope

Wine Facts –

Appellation: Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla Washington

Vineyard: Pheasant; sandy, gravelly soil

Grapes: 100% Syrah

Fermentation: native yeasts

Ageing: 100% French oak, 30% new

Production: 193 cases

Price: $35

My Tasting Notes –

Interesting start on the nose with smoky bacon, blackberry and plum followed up on the palate by fig, date, more blackberry and olive notes. Layers of black pepper and an unidentified meatiness kept showing up on the palate which was quite nice.  Full bodied, rich and spicy and very well integrated for just being released in April.

Cheers!

Categories: $30-$40, wine review, wine tasting | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Just Sayin’ – thoughts on samples

As I sit here staring at my box of 10 Chilean Sauvignon Blancs that I received for the next Wines of Chile Blogger tasting it got me thinking about a conversation last week at DLW10. I was having lunch with the VA wine mafia and honorary member Lenn, and we were talking about receiving samples. I think Lenn asked about Virginia wine samples and to his surprise I think we all said that we’ve never gotten a wine sample from Virginia. That’s not to say I haven’t gotten a comp bottle here and there, but not to the extent that I receive samples and press kits for wines from other states and countries.

When I sit back and think about it, I do feel it’s weird that wineries in the state that I live in and write about the most don’t reach out to myself or the multitude of bloggers here in the Commonwealth. Not sure why this is the case. Is it lack of production levels so they can’t afford a sample program? Lack of knowledge about social media, and the impact of blogging? I’m not sure about the answer and I guess I’m looking for a response from wineries here.

Please don’t take this post as a request for wines! I get plenty through my day job and am not requesting an onslaught of VA wines at my door. It is more of an observation.

Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers!

Categories: wine industry issues | Tags: , | 5 Comments

More insight into drinking or not drinking local

Since the Drink Local Conference the other day, I have been thinking more about the 3rd session which discussed why many people focus on local food and not local wine.  I think it’s a much larger issue–not one of local vs. local but rather one of quality vs. quality.

Working in a retail wine shop that also sells cheese, wild caught seafood and local free range meat and poultry gives me a good perspective on how people view food and wine.  Throwing the idea of local wine out the door, lets just think of quality products. It amazes me when customers come in and spend a premium on either beef or seafood to buy local or wild caught, but then want me to pick out a wine that is $6. Obviously a disconnect between what they expect from food vs. wine (and what they are willing to spend).  They think, and I agree, that wild caught seafood is better for them and better tasting than farm raised.  They don’t hold the same opinion with wine, however. Paraphrasing this typical customer, “It’s $6, it tastes good and I probably wouldn’t know the difference between this and a $20 wine.”  I’m all about drinking what you like, that is what wine IS about, but why not require high quality for all things you ingest?

I think it comes down to how wine is talked about and again a disconnect. Tasting notes for wines usually never talk about how a wine is produced, and frankly for the 2500 wines we carry it’s hard to remember them all.  If people knew that the cost reflected in their wine was related to hand picked, double sorting, extended maceration and barrels versus wood chips they might think twice.  If consumers equated this the same way they do local, organic, free range, etc. you might see a different situation.  But again maybe not, it’s more than a 2 minute conversation explaining the difference between mass produced and artisinal wines.

As a retailer part of that responsibility is on me, educating people about the product they are buying. At the end of the chain though, a lot of times people are set on a fixed price range for vino and you don’t want to up sell them a whole heck of a lot.

Unfortunately my insight stops there as I don’t have a complete solution for local vs. local or quality vs. quality.  The discussion and education needs to continue through the entire “wine chain” if you will, as I am sure it already is in some situations.

Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers!

Categories: Drink Local Wine Conference, wine industry issues | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

TasteCamp East 2010

This time next week I will be in the Finger Lakes wine region of New York State, joining 30 other wine folks, all wine bloggers and/or their significant others.  The reason, TasteCamp, the purpose explore a lesser known wine region. You may remember last year TasteCamp East was in Long Island, New York and both Megan and I had a fabulous time learning about a new wine region, to us, so much so we went back at the end of ’09.  This year I’ll be flying solo, without my partner in crime, as being pregnant has thwarted her wine tasting!

In case you don’t know about TasteCamp, here is a primer from the TasteCamp website…

“The concept for TasteCamp is a simple one: getting enthusiastic journalists and bloggers together in a region that is new to them to taste as much wine as possible and speak to as many winemakers as possible over the course of a weekend.

Most smaller, lesser-known wine regions in the world would love to get their wines in front new audiences, it can be a challenge.  With TasteCamp, the new audience comes to them.

This is not a junket — attendees pay their own travel expenses — including for their hotel rooms — and meals.  Through generous sponsors, some meals may be deeply discounted.

TasteCamp EAST 2010 will take place in the Finger Lakes wine region of New York State from May 7-9.”

I’m looking forward to seeing some old wine blogger friends as well as meeting new ones, and building relationships with a region I know little about. Keep it here for the action as I will try and post as much as I can while I’m there and then full recaps once I get home. I would like to thank all of the sponsors up front for what I’m sure will be a great event. Thanks also to Lenn Thompson and Evan Dawson for organizing this years event.

Cheers!

Categories: wine tasting | 1 Comment

Virginia Wine Twitter Smackdown

After the third and final session at the Drink Local Wine Conference we huddled into an adjacent conference room for the Virginia Wine Twitter Taste Off. With an InFocus projector displaying Twitter feeds from the #dlwva & dlwmd hash tags, Virginia and Maryland wineries were poised to present one white and one red wine in this fast paced Social Media showdown.  Well it wasn’t that fast paced, although I hadn’t finished all of the wines by the time we needed to submit our ballots for best red, white, media and consumer wines.  So I guess is better to say that it was fast paced but I wasn’t!

photo courtesy of Dezel Quillan, myvwinespot.com

A lot of my favorite players were in the room including Breaux Vineyards, Pollak Vineyards, King Family, Jefferson Vineyards, Corcoran, and Michael Shaps.  The goal of this was to taste through the wines, tweet about them as you go along and in the end vote for your best. Fun concept!

I started with Tarara Winery, one that I have never been to, but have heard a lot about from fellow bloggers.  Jordan Harris, winemaker at Tarara was on premise to pour his wines and I started with his ’08 Chardonnay. It admittedly wasn’t my style, a bit oak dominated on the nose and front of the palate, but luckily it had plenty of great fruit to go along with it. Next I tried Jordan’s Syrah, a variety that you don’t see too much in VA but is starting to pop up here and there. The Tarara Syrah is done in the Cote-Rotie style, co-fermented with Viognier, I can’t remember the the percentage.  I was very impressed, it was full bodied with lots of dark fruit, and meaty notes with hints of classic Syrah green olive. As much as I liked it I don’t know if I liked $50 worth. Although it was an excellent effort for a non-typical variety in Virginia, $50 is a pretty steep pricetag, in my opinion.

I bounced around the tables a bit, catching up with my friends in the VA wine industry and re-tasting through some of the wines I’ve sampled in recent months.  I made my way over to Breaux Vineyards to taste their ’02 Merlot Reserve and their ’08 Viognier. Trying the latter first, it was a classic VA Viognier with beautiful honeysuckle and apricot notes with a crisp dry finish. Not be a huge Merlot fan, I was impressed with the ’02 Reserve Merlot, and voted for it as the best red wine.  It was dominated with layers of black cherry, plum, leather and hints of mocha. For being 8 years old the structure was still there and presented lively yet smooth tannins.

A few Rose’s were poured but I think the best effort went to the ’09 version Boxwood Winery. Made from Cabernet Franc it reminded me of classic French styles of dry Rose, although made from different grapes. Beautifully clean and crisp with light notes of strawberry, watermelon and hints of minerality and a bone dry finish.

In addition to the Syrah from Tarara the other most interesting variety that was poured was the 2008 Albarino from Chrysalis Vineyards, yes an Albarino.  I thought it was a very nice wine, but stylistically was a bit off from classic versions for the Rias Baixas region of Spain.  Tasted a bit too rich, closer for me to another native Spanish grape, Godello, or even a light Viognier with hints of honey that I was picking up.  It was a good wine don’t get me wrong, and I’m happy to see different grape varieties being tried in Virginia. It was obviously a crowd favorite as it won for best white wine of the day.

The white wine that I voted for was the ’09 Viognier from Pollak Vineyards, a wine that I’ve been following since it was a baby. I tasted this wine out of the tank not long after harvest last October and was as impressed then as I am now. Although still a young wine, it was showing classic flavors and aromas of honey, peach, Asian pear and apricot with the addition of floral notes. Lusciously rich with a refreshing backbone of acidity, the ’09 Viognier will be even better in 6 month to a year.

Here is a complete list of everyone who poured their wines for us…
• Boxwood Winery

• Breaux Vineyards

• Chrysalis Vineyards

• Corcoran Vineyards

• Fabbioli Cellars

• Pearmund Cellars

• Sunset Hills

• Tarara Winery

• Barboursville

• Jefferson Vineyards

• Keswick Vineyards

• King Family Winery

• Michael Shaps Wines

• Chatham Vineyards

• Ingleside Vineyards

• Williamsburg Winery

• Potomac Point (Eastern)

• Veramar Vineyard

• Lovingston

• White Hall

• Pollack

Thanks to the organizers of the events and to all the wineries that came out and poured for us.

Cheers!

Categories: Drink Local Wine Conference, virginia wine, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Wineries Unlimited to move to Virginia in 2011

Press release from the office of the Governor Bob McDonnell

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the Wineries Unlimited trade show will relocate from Pennsylvania to Richmond, Virginia in 2011.  Wineries Unlimited is the second largest vineyard and winery conference and tradeshow in North America.  It is estimated that the 2011 event will bring over 2,000 visitors and $1.5 million in revenue to Virginia.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McDonnell remarked, “We are thrilled that Wineries Unlimited has decided to move to Virginia.  Virginia wines have seen their standing in the domestic and global marketplaces grow in recent years and having Wineries Unlimited in Virginia will help us as we continue our efforts to promote Virginia wines both here and abroad.  This is also a chance for us to showcase our first class wineries to people from across the nation.  It is estimated that this event will also bring 2,000 people from across the United States to Virginia and almost $1.5 million in new revenue to the state.  Tourism and support of the wine industry were two priorities of my ‘Jobs and Opportunities’ legislative agenda.  It is excitement for tourism growth and wine expansion in Virginia that helped us convince Vineyard & Winery Management to relocate the Wineries Unlimited trade show to the Commonwealth.  I look forward to this trade show returning to our great state for years to come and creating a lasting partnership with Vineyard & Winery Management.”

“The outpouring of enthusiasm and excitement we’ve received in the State of Virginia – from the wine industry up to the governor – has been tremendous,” said Robert Merletti, publisher of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, and president of Vineyard & Winery Services, Inc. “Virginia vintners are eager to learn the latest winegrowing techniques as well as establish beneficial vendor relations.”

“The needs of Wineries Unlimited will be well served in Richmond,” said Ann Heidig, president of the Virginia Wineries Association. “Governor Bob McDonnell is very supportive of the Virginia wine industry as well as state agriculture and tourism.”

Annette Boyd, marketing office director of the Virginia Wine Board, said the move will create new opportunities for Virginia wineries: “Our growers and producers will have better access to the information provided by Wineries Unlimited, and the event will help showcase their wines to colleagues from other states.”

“Richmond lies in the center of Virginia’s rapidly-growing wine industry and is a prime location for Wineries Unlimited,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (RMCVB). “Wine industry representatives will enjoy our big-city amenities and small-town charm as well as Virginia wine.”

More information about the Wineries Unlimited trade show and conference can be found here: http://wineriesunlimited.vwm-online.com/index.asp

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Nothing plain about Delaplane Cellars

After the Drink Local Wine Conference, fellow VA wine blogger Dezel Quinlan of My Vine Spot headed South to visit a new winery to both of us, Delaplane Cellars.  Even on a cloudy day the views from this fairly new winery were amazing, surrounded by the rolling hills of Faquier County. Owner Jim Dolphin met us to give us a taste through his hand crafted wines and give us the background on his new labor of love.  Being a wine lover for some time, Jim, as many of us do got the dream to open his own winery. Before jumping in he took wine making and viticulture classes with Jim Law at Linden Vineyards, in addition to working several harvests with him, as well as taking several enology courses through UC Davis. He started by making wine at home, two of which got second and first in consecutive years at the VA state amateur winemakers competition.  Before deciding on the property and planting Jim had extensive soil analysis done to see which varieties and trellis systems should be used and found that his soil did change from top to bottom. The top section of the property contains more sandy, loamy soil and proceeds to turn to a more clay dominated soil near the bottom of his 7 acres under vine.

The tasting room is magnificent and attention to detail is key for Jim to provide the best possible tasting experience. From quality Schott Zwiesel crystal tasting glasses on the Black Walnut counter harvested from the property where the winery sits, to the odor free soap in the restroom.

The vines are currently in their 2nd and 3rd leaf so the wines that we tasted were produced from fruit purchased from selected vineyards around the state. The wine at Delaplane offers a range of taste from the rich Viogniers to their reds which run the gammot of “old world” and slightly funky to bigger more fruit forward “new world” styles.

We tasted the entire lineup that they have and I have to say I enjoyed every single wine they had, which is rare to find, especially here in Virginia. I take that back, they do have a Syrah/Viognier blush with 3% residual sugar that I didn’t care for.

What I tasted: 2008 / Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, 2008 Honah Lee Viognier, 2008 Maggies Vineyard Viognier, 2007 Emerald Lake Viognier, 2007 Old World Cab Franc, 2007 Left Bank Bordeaux Blend, 2007 Shirland Syrah and 2007 Springlot Reserve Single Vineyard

Notes on my favorites:

2008 Honah Lee Viognier – nice rich style Viognier with notes of citrus, apricot, peach and tangerine. Intereasting “chalky” component that I thought added interesting complexity to the palate. Acidity showed itself at the end to help brighten up the fruit and lean up the viscosity on the tongue.

2007 Old World Cabernet Franc – hints of barnyard laced between plum, cherry and red currant with notes of earthy funk (the good kind) and sautéed brussel sprouts. A bit of spice on the full bodied palate with lush leathery tannins. In inquiring about the funk, Jim did admit that the wine had a touch of brett – which I enjoyed. 🙂

2007 Springlot Reserve Single Vineyard – big and almost “sweet” fruit on the nose with aromas and flavors of boysenberry, black cherry, spice box and cocoa powder. Interestingly a dose of bright red fruit notes kept showing up in the mid-palate that was quite nice. Full bodied with big well integrated tannins.

Afterwards I enjoyed a glass of the Cabernet Franc and a nice local cheese platter with Dezel before I headed home. Interestingly enough, Jim used to live about a mile from where I now do and used to be a frequent customer of the wine shop I now manage. Small world!

Cheers!

Categories: virginia wine, wine tasting, winery review | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Drink Local Wine Conference 2010

The second Drink Local Wine Conference took place in Loudon County, Virginia this past weekend at the beautiful Landsdowne Resort. In attendance were bloggers, traditional print media writers, VA wine industry folks, consumers and other members of the wine trade. I had the interesting perspective of being four of the aforementioned attendee types. I as most people in the room am a consumer, I help run my in laws VA winery, I manage a wine shop and I write a wine blog.  The bulk of the conference was focused around three sessions on Sunday followed by a VA wine twitter taste off, aka speed tasting smack down!

The first session, titled Thomas Jefferson was right: The grapes that work best for Virginia was led by Moderator: Richard Leahy, Vineyard & Winery Management magazine. Panelists: Matthew Meyert, Williamsburg Winery; Jennifer McCloud, Chrysalis Vineyards; and Matthieu Finot, King Family Vineyards. I had the perception that the session would revolve around hybrid varieties that have shown to thrive in Virginia versus the typical Vinifera varieties. (some of which also thrive in Virginia) A few of us mentioned after the session that we found it odd that the Chambourcin grape was mentioned, not that it is one I typically enjoy but it is one that shows up in a lot of Virginia wineries.  Jenny McCloud’s passion for Norton was evident as she holds the largest planting of Norton in the world.  Jenny McCloud is also doing great things with typical Spanish varieties such as Albarino, of which hers won the best white wine at the Twitter Taste Off. Brief mentions were made of the grapes that are typically thought of Virginia’s “best”, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and a recent front runner Petite Verdot. There was a general consensus that blending is a key component of making great wine in Virginia (specifically reds) and that Virginia needs to keep exploring grapes that thrive in climates similar to that of Virginia, like Albarino.

The second session, titled Social media: How regional wineries can get the word out was led by Moderator: Michael Wangbicker DWS, CWE. Panelists: Lenn Thompson, New York Cork Report; Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Breaux Vineyards;  and Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon. This session was the highlight of the conference, I think because it had the most interaction with the audience. The key take away was social media is all about engagement versus promotion. Jen Breaux was revered by Lenn and others in the room for “doing it right”, keeping her tweeting about a conversation instead of PR promotion. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, blogging, or Foursquare, social media is just another tool in the toolbox for the wine industry.

The third and final session titled If local food, why not local wine? was led by Moderator: Dave McIntyre,Washington Post. Panelists: Mary Watson-DeLauder, Lansdowne Resort; Andrew Stover, Chef Wino and Todd Kliman, Washingtonian magazine. This is one I was most looking forward to, but have to say was most disappointed by. Nothing against the speakers, but I felt that the discussion never really got to the heart of the session title. It danced around it and went off on a couple of tangents, maybe because there is no clear answer to the question “why not local wine?”.  The subject of pricepoint came up briefly and I think that is a large part of wine you don’t see more VA wines of wine lists of VA restaurants. The other reason is that a large selection of VA wineries thrive on the tourism part of their business and basically sell out of their wine from the tasting room. Why would you make less money if you didn’t have to, just to get your wine on a wine list.  The reason they should, is for more exposure! That loss in revenue can be chalked up to marketing in my opinion. As a retailer, my VA wine customer is very different from every other customer. People come in for a specific wine that they had a festival, or at the winery and if I don’t have it, they usually don’t want another one, VA or otherwise. It’s quite impressive, that their experience with that particular wine was so powerful.  A lot of times it’s not the fault of the retailer for not stocking it, but more times than not, the winery doesn’t distribute.  I still find it interesting that consumers go out of their way to buy local produce, meat or seafood but don’t extend that passion to their wine.  An interesting point was made after the session by Lenn Thompson I think, that local food portrays a level of quality and local wine hasn’t achieved that status yet.

The best part of the conference was seeing old wine friends and meeting new ones, all of which have a palpable passion for local wine.  The discussions between sessions, at lunch and at dinner were fantastic and were definitely one of the highlights for me.

Stay tuned for my wrap up of the Twitter Taste Off and the dinner Magnolia’s restaurant.

Categories: Drink Local Wine Conference, virginia wine, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Why you should buy wine from independent wine retailers.

Of course I am bias, and there are many reasons you should buy from independent wine merchants (service, selection, they know you by name, etc.) but this one is more to the quality of wine you are getting. In the picture below you can see how a certain grocery store care for their wine.
There it is, the Virginia Governors Cup winning wine leaning up against the rotisserie chicken station. Constant contact with a 125+ degree unit equals not good for wine! (the sign is correct, this IS A HOT PICK) Being next to that much heat for extended periods of time, will ruin the wine, by among other things, drying out the cork and letting air in, as well as literally cooking the wine.
Most independent wine shops are temperature controlled, as well as have the bottles lying on their sides and to my knowledge will never rest the wine against a chicken hot box. “They” care about the product they are selling you and want you to have the best experience possible when you enjoy your vino with family and friends.
Cheers!
Categories: wine industry issues | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Getting down with some Finger Lakes Gewürz’!

In a little more than three hours I will participating in another Twitter Taste Live event sponsored by Finger Lakes Wine Country and The New York Cork Report. This time the feature grape is Gewürztraminer, one of my favorites. I love examples from Washington State & Alsace, but have only had a handful of New York ones that I honestly don’t remember. Looking for the Finger Lakes to bring it tonight with some Gewürz goodness!  Thinking I’ll be pairing them with some cheese, either a Roquefort or the classic love of Gewürz, Mr. Muenster.

A few of my local tweeps will be joining me @dasjorge, @thegoodwineguru, @berylliumblonde & @voxinferior and hopefully a couple of others.

Here is the lineup of what we are tasting…

Keuka Spring Vineyard, 2008 Gewurztraminer  (Click here for tasting notes in PDF)
Sheldrake Point Vineyard, 2008 Gewurztraminer (Click here for tasting notes in PDF)
Lakewood Vineyards, 2007 Gewurztraminer (Click here for tasting notes in PDF)
Red Newt Wine Cellars, 2007 Gewurztraminer, Sawmill Creek Vineyards (Click here for tasting notes in PDF)

Follow the action on the Finger Lakes TTL site, and/or follow the hashtags #FLXWINE & #TTL on twitter tonight starting at 8pm Eastern.

Cheers!

Categories: New York Wines, twitter taste live | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment