Thursday, May 31, 2012

A first for "flash-deal" wine business

The past few years have seen an explosion of "flash-deal" websites like Living Social and Groupon. Every local newspaper and television station has one of their own now. These business models of course have found their way into the wine industry, too. These websites have a penchant for blasting emails to subscribers from several times a week to several times a day highlighting wines (often wines that the winery or distributor have a difficult time selling at full price) at discounts at up to 70% off the suggested retail price. I've bought by fair share of wines from the likes of Wines Til Sold Out, Invino and Lot 18, but a new platform launched in January that his piqued my interest.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Made with Conviction: The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

http://palatepress.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Lil-logo.jpgIn 1886, two Benedictine monks from Pennsylvania moved to Breckenridge, Colorado. Other monks followed and in the ensuing years they moved to the Arkansas River Valley near the town of CaƱon City.  They founded the Holy Cross Abbey in 1924 as a summer home for the Pope. Well, that didn’t exactly work out and the monks instead operated a boy’s boarding school until 1985. The Abbey was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Despite the school’s closing, the Abbey remained in operation as offices and housing for the monks until 2006.

Continue reading at Palate Press: the online wine magazine.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet the Winemaker: Jeff Carr (Garfield Estates Vineyard & Winery)

Carol & Jeff Carr
Garfield Estates Vineyard and Winery was the winery that gave me my first a ha moment when it comes to Colorado wine. Back in 2007 after my wife and I moved back from Japan we spent a short weekend in the Grand Valley. We visited a few wineries that were pleasant enough, but Garfield Estates and Reeder Mesa Vineyards were the two that left an impression on me. It was a 2005 Garfield Estates Cabernet Franc that really made me recognize that Colorado was capable of producing terrific wine. I purchased one bottle of the cab franc and opened it a few months ago (I still need to publish the write-up) and it was even better than I remember. Also, just a few weeks ago, I had a 2009 Garfield Estates Syrah that was very good and will soon find its way into my cellar (only if more 2005 cab franc were available...). With the winery in Palisade and a tasting room at Colorado Winery Row in Denver, Jeff and Carol Carr offer a bi-slope wine experience that makes it easy to get to know their wines. Jeff was kind enough to answer our Winemaker questions this week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Colorado (might) have its sh*t together...(a response to 1WineDude)

In between the time that he is prepping his young daughter for a singing career launched by posting videos on his website (oh wait, isn't that someone else?) and cleaning up after his rhinoceran-sized dog (did you know rhinoceros have no knees?), Joe Roberts is traveling the globe spitingt some of the best (and worst) wines the world has to offer. Last week, he made a quick stop in Colorado (two weeks in Australia and only four days in Colorado, really Joe??) for the Drink Local Wine Conference. I think that the conference was a smashing success, but then again I helped organize it so why wouldn't it be great?

This morning, Joe posted a late dispatch about the conference. The theme of his piece was the topic of one of three seminars at the conference, "Why Do Local Wine and Local Food Hate Each Other?" Unfortunately, I did not get to witness this panel discussion as I was washing glasses for the subsequent Nomacorc Twitter Taste-off. According to Joe (and probably most other people in the room), the panel's discussion revolved around the question, "Why don’t more local restaurants stock local wines, when they almost always stock local produce without much hesitation?" He concludes that local restaurants could (and should) celebrate local juice when three conditions are met. The Dude abides and claims that Colorado seems to have its sh*t together when it comes to these conditions, but he offers no further explanation. Well, I'm going to offer an explanation for Joe...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Meet the Winemaker: Braden Dodds (Ruby Trust Cellars)

Braden & Amy Dodds (left), Ray & Jean Bruening (right)
This past weekend saw the fourth annual Drink Local Wine conference make its mark on Denver. It was also the first public appearance by a new Colorado winery: Ruby Trust Cellars. And how just how did this new upstart fare? Their cabernet franc-based Smuggler (90% cab franc, 5% cab sauv and 5% petit verdot) was voted Best Red Wine by a group of 200 media and consumers. It looks like founders Ray and Jean Bruening are off to a pretty impressive start to their new venture.

After spending two decades as an options trader on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, Ray and his wife decided to slow things down and focus their passion for wine by crafting premium Colorado wine. They brought in winemaker Braden Dodds, who has made wine in California, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia, to craft a series bold red blends with local fruit. Ruby Trust's first vintage release of approximately 400 cases has already sold out and is on the list of some of Colorado's top restaurants. Judging by the comments I heard from many of the media attendees at the conference, Ruby Trust is going to be force to be reckoned with in the Colorado wine industry. Make sure that you pick up a bottle from this newest award-winning winery on your next trip to the wine shop! And with that, please let me thank Braden Dodds for taking the time to answer the questions in our latest installment of Meet the Winemaker.