Three Recent Wine Observations

Posted by | Posted in Sponsored | Posted on 06-24-2013

Please note that this post, authored by Mark Aselstine, is sponsored by Uncorked Ventures, a online retailer based just outside of San Francisco that specializes in wine clubs and high-end gift baskets.

As the proprietor of Uncorked Ventures, I’m always on the lookout for interesting people, places, and trends in the wine industry. Here are three things that recently caught my eye.

Coro Mendocino
Despite our best efforts to visit the many wine regions of California, Oregon, and Washington State in person, we’ve been particularly negligent about spending much time in Mendocino.

Last week, a large event in San Francisco showcased the wines, food, and travel possibilities in Mendocino. What caught our eye was the first large-scale attempt at a wine collective, which is common across Europe. Right now in Mendocino, multiple wineries are coming together to make Zinfandel-based blends with a uniform packaging, pricing, and review structures in place. It’s been ten years and while the marketing has some room for growth, the wines were good and gave an interesting and unique perspective into a California winegrowing region trying to compete with its much better known neighbors.

We think you’ll see more and more of this as time goes by.

A Cool Climate Focus
If you pick up Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, or if you read any wine blog, you’re inevitably hearing more and more about cool-climate fruit and its affect on the wine industry. Far from just a marketing mechanism, you’ll notice a very real difference in the wines being produced from cool-climate vineyards in comparison to their warmer counterparts.

Some of the best new wineries that we’ve found recently focus on cooler climate fruit, therefore producing wines more consistent with old world relatives than the style which made California famous. From Donkey and Goat in Berkeley to Two Shepherds in Santa Rosa, quality, cool-climate wines are being produced across California in record numbers.

The Rise of Urban Warehouse Wineries
There are a several benefits to opening a winery in an urban warehouse.

For starters, the costs associated with many of these collective warehouses are significantly less than opening the shining winery on the hill.

Secondly, an urban winery can often put a startup winery in closer proximity to the average consumer. That’s a good thing, because in wine country, more and more wineries are fighting for the attention of consumers. In an urban setting, a winery can become part of a consumer’s weekly routine.

Lastly, one thing you’ll immediately notice about these new urban wineries is that the winemaker is generally available and running a larger portion of daily operations than he would be at some of the wineries in more traditional locales.

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