Tag Archives: business

Halloween Re-post: Return of the Living Red

30 Oct
vineyard zombies?  delicious!

vineyard zombies? delicious!

Mash Design, the marketing brains behind the labels for Mollydooker, Two Hands and Magpie Estate, is back with old friends Redheads Studio for this genius new brand. From the unmarked, wax-dipped bottle to the small envelope of crime files, vineyard zombies and disturbing photos, this packaging is utterly unique. The contents of the bottle (yet to be reviewed) is just as unique, blending the Portuguese variety Touriga Nacional with Cabernet Sauvignon from different regions and different vintages. Download this .pdf file for more. Scroll left-to-right to view all images.

Ret_of_living_red3

The attached package of medical images and eerie photos is more than mildly reminiscent of Pearl Jam's Vitalogy liner notes.

Fun with FAOSTAT

23 Mar


Recently, I’ve discovered a great new way to waste time on the Internet. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has a Statistics site that allows users to access all sorts of great information on food production, from crops and livestock to food prices and supply.  For fun, I crunched some numbers to look at recent wine production in some important wine-producing countries.  Google Spreadsheets helped with the chart.

I’ve looked at production data before and I’m always a bit shocked that Australia ranks so low. Aussie wines are definitely over-represented on shelves in BC wine stores, relative to that country’s production.  Chile, too, tends to get much more shelf space than higher-producing nations South Africa and Germany.

I find this interesting. You may not.

Drink Wine. Help Haiti.

21 Jan

Live in British Columbia? Love wine? Then listen up:

Everything Wine
will donate $1 from EVERY bottle sold Saturday, Janunary 23 to Red Cross Haiti relief!  Great specials and free tastings all day.  Our target is 5,000 bottles.

Drop by the store at 998 Marine Drive in North Vancouver, BC or buy online for shipping in BC.

Visit Everything Wine on Twitter

Drink wine. Help Haiti. It’s win-win!

Reviewed: Calvet Reserve de L’Estey Medoc (2005)

12 Jan

Calvet Reserve de L'Estey Medoc 2005

Warm and very dry, 2005 was one of the greatest vintages of recent decades in Bordeaux.  So, I was happy to discover a case of ’05 mixed in with the 30-odd cases of 2006 Calvet Reserve de L’Estey Médoc we received in the fall of 2009.  I picked up a bottle and stashed it for the holidays, only opening it recently.

My expectations were not particularly high.  First, this is not a premium Bordeaux:  at $25 it comes in at the value end of the Bordeaux spectrum (in BC).  Second, J. Calvet is not a producer best-known for ultra-high quality wines.  Third,  Calvet is actually a Saint-Émilion producer.  This wine, a Médoc, must be made from purchased grapes – certainly not their ‘flagship’ product.  All my hopes rested on the vintage:  it’s ’05, so it has to be good, right?

Well, it was pretty good.  Bright red cherries and red currants introduce themselves on the nose, followed by chocolate, dill, anise and hints of earth.   The palate follows a similar pattern, with bright, ripe fruit up front,  moving into dried herbs, cocoa and long tannins.  An approachable and very quaffable Bordeaux from an excellent vintage.  Now to try that “B” vintage ’06 to compare…

At last check, there were a few ’05 left at Everything Wine (North Vancouver), and plenty of 2006.  $24.99

Paul Hobbs: Argentine Pioneer

18 Sep
vineyards of vina cobos, mendoza

Vineyards of Viña Cobos, Mendoza

As a winemaker, Paul Hobbs is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards and for his innovation and pioneering spirit in working with new and historical sites and regions. His success has inspired a wealth of nicknames among the press, from quiet trendsetter to prospector to truffle-hunting dog. Hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, he went on to become winemaker for Opus One and Simi wineries.

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Recently, Paul is known for his namesake winery in Napa Valley, which has received high accolades (including multiple 100-point scores from Robert Parker) for its Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. What is less well known is that Hobbs is a pioneer in fine wine production in Argentina, having started there in 1988 with Decanter Magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 2009, Nicolas Catena. Señor Catena gives Hobbs much credit for the success of Catena-Zapata’s Chardonnay program. He has since extended his consulting efforts both in Argentina and Chile, consulting with various producers, including La Pampa winery Bodega Del Desierto. But the pinnacle of Hobbs’ work is Mendoza winery Viña Cobos, which began in 1998 and moved into its own winery facility in 2007.

Viña Cobos has expanded its lineup to include the Felino range of varietal wines: Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2007 vintage saw the entire Felino range score 90 points or better by Winedesierto Advocate reviewer Jay Miller.

Bodega del Desierto is the first winery in the Argentine province of La Pampa, a new viticultural region on the western border of the desert route to Patagonia, 700km south of Mendoza. The premium 25/5 varietal range posses Hobbs’ signature rich concentration and drinkability and have been included in”Smart Buy!” and “Top Value” lists by Wine Spectator magazine.

felino cabernetViña Cobos Felino Chardonnay 2008
Classic Argentine Chard, with pronounced oak, but well-balanced by tropical fruit and decent acidity.  90 points, Wine Advocate (August, 2009) $21.99, Everything Wine

Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Good concentration for the price, with solid cassis fruit, dark berry and sweet vanilla.  91 points, Wine Advocate (December, 2008) $21.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5  Chardonnay 2007Bodegas_del_Desierto_25-5_Chardonnay
Top-notch Chardonnay by Mr. Hobbs, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel, great fruit concentration and enough acidity for food pairing. $27.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Another good example of the fruit-forward Paul Hobbs style.  Concentrated blackberry and sweet cassis fruit.  Good tannic structure and oak influence. $27.99, Everything Wine

sources:
http://www.bodegadeldesierto.com/

http://www.vinacobos.com/
http://www.paulhobbs.com/
http://www.erobertparker.com/
http://www.winetastetv.com/

Everything Wine blog

7 Jun

EWblogEverything Wine, BC’s biggest wine store, has launched a new wine blog featuring contributions from a variety of wine geeks including Tasting Room Confidential blogger Mari Kane and yours truly.  Along with a seachable inventory database and online purchasing (launching soon), the blog is a great addition to the increasingly-useful website.  I’m very pleased to be a part of it and I encourage you to bookmark the blog or better yet, subscribe to the feed. Watch for my first post early next week. I’ll have a teaser link from this site.

Fred Franzia: Champion of Cheap

15 May
Fred "Two Buck Chuck" Franzia, admiring his work.

Fred "Two Buck Chuck" Franzia, admiring his work.

Fred Franzia, the owner of Charles “Two Buck Chuck” Shaw just sold his 400 millionth bottle of wine. Mr. Franzia and his “super-value” wine segment is outlined in this great article, courtesy The New Yorker:

Fred Franzia owns forty thousand acres of vineyards, more than anyone in the country; crushes three hundred and fifty thousand tons of grapes a year; and his company, Bronco, has annual revenue of more than five hundred million dollars. Recently, Franzia celebrated the sale of the four-hundred-millionth bottle of Charles Shaw, known as Two Buck Chuck, which is sold for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s.

Franzia’s objective is to sell as much wine as possible—he sells twenty million cases a year now, making Bronco the fourth-largest winery in the U.S., and would like to reach a hundred million. He believes that no bottle of wine should cost more than ten dollars. Franzia is sixty-five and twice divorced. He is both a major seller and a major buyer on the bulk market. He owns several wineries, including one in Sonoma, and he acts as a custom winemaker for wineries without his capacity. In 2000, he opened a ninety-two-thousand-square-foot bottling plant near the Napa airport.

Talking about his wine, Franzia can sound like an old-fashioned Democratic populist, though personally he’s more of a Darwinian capitalist. With Two Buck Chuck, Franzia invented a category, now a significant segment of the marketplace, which is known as “super-value” wine. His idea was to make cheap wine that yuppies would feel comfortable drinking.

how did he do it? read more at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_goodyear

see also: Two Buck Chuck founder defends cheap wine at examiner.com

and: His Two Bucks Worth from The New York Times

and: Charles Shaw Wine on Wikipedia

Yes, it's really $2

Yes, it's really $2

Aussie winery firesale

24 Feb

20goundry01

Winemaking equipment at Goundrey

Western Australia’s Goundrey Wines is for sale. One lucky buyer can pick up the vineyards and winery (but not the Goundrey brand) from wine giant Constellation for a paltry $9M (AUD), drastically reduced from the $62.5M (AUD) paid by Canada’s Vincor for the brand and holdings back in 2002.  A lack of demand due to tough economic times is the main factor contributing to the price depreciation.  Stonehaven and Leasingham, two more Constellation-owned Aussie wineries, are also on the market.  Check out the Decanter article for more.

* * * * *

Foster’s Group has announced it is selling 37 wine brands and three wineries.

Foster’s will retain the rights to the brands already produced at (two of) the wineries, including The Rothbury Estate and Jamiesons Run. But, crushing and processing will take place at Foster’s large, modernised facilities at the Rosemount Denman Estate winery and the Wynns winery.

from ap-foodtechnology.com

Shottesbrooke's McLaren Vale vineyards

* * * * *

Also for sale is the small (10,000 case) and profitable McLaren Vale winery Shottesbrooke.  Shottesbrooke is on the market due to the impending retirement of founder Nick Holmes, as reported by Adelaide Now.