Monthly Archives August 2020

These small wine brands have found an opportunity in 2020, despite the setbacks

Amy Krahe and her husband Aaron Bryan currently sleep in their newly purchased cellar in El Dorado County, California. They own three small beverage brands: Conduit Wine, Divergent Vine, and Tag + Jug Cider Co. This life of a winery, well, it’s totally new to them.

Both self-proclaimed “city dwellers”, they had settled in San Francisco: urban winemaking, education of their young son, enjoying one of the most dynamic wine cultures in the country. In the spring of 2020, the couple applied for a loan to purchase a winery and vineyards in the Fair Play appellation, totaling 21 acres, six of which are planted with Viognier, Syrah, Tempranillo and Primitivo estate vineyards. Krahe says these are the highest plantations in the state: “mountain fruits, considered borderline continental climate,” shallow patches of soil bordered by outcrops of granite boulders.

The day San Francisco shut down due to COVID-19, they found out the good news. The loan has been approved. “It was not very encouraging because we didn’t know if we were going to lose our business, if we had to return to a day job or if we would be infected with COVID. So unknown, ”Krahe says. But they went ahead and closed the loan in late June, cementing a six-month process that Krahe said was filled with “submission and resubmission” of documents.

At the end of July, they made the decision to move, taking the “San Francisco crazy plunge to be landowners, water owners and winegrowers-farmers-slash”.

Krahe and Bryan organized the construction of a tiny house, working with a local builder who had lost his own place in Paradise in the campfire two years ago. In the meantime, they settled into a safari tent (at this point in the story Amy reminds me that this is all with a two year old son and that the building deal was done “on a handshake and in good faith – the country way “) until the August 2020 wildfires in Northern California broke out. Although sheltered from the fire, the air quality prompted the family to move in. in the cellar.

“Not ideal. We’re a little homeless right now, ”Krahe told me over the weekend. “The harvest begins tomorrow and it is our son’s second birthday.”

Despite all of this, Krahe and Bryan look to the future and plan to open their cellar to visitors after the harvest. “We will focus on light and bright wines, rosados, rosés and pét-nats as well as our ciders and cider-wine blends,” says Krahe. “It’s really stressful, but we hope we can get out of the other side of pandemic and fire season in one piece.”

PARRA wine company

Meanwhile, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Sam Parra, founder of PARRA Wine Co., publicizes the first release of his brand of wine. The range includes a “carbonic style” Tempranillo, a Tempranillo rosé, a single vineyard Syrah and a single vineyard Tempranillo.

Hailing from St. Helena, in Napa Valley, California, Parra says the Willamette Valley suited her perfectly. “It’s possible for many young winegrowers there,” Parra explains.

Earlier this year, Parra expressed her positive outlook and enthusiasm: “Although we are on the cusp of a pandemic, I certainly see an opportunity. “

Parra builds its brand on relationships, selling its wine exclusively through its mailing list. As spring 2020 unfolded in a summer season altered by a pandemic, Parra says he picked up the phone. “I’ve found that with COVID, some customers have more time and are happy to talk to someone new,” says Parra. “Some even sent me thank you cards for taking the time to hear them speak out if I caught them at a bad time.”

He also embraced the power of personal delivery service in the Willamette Valley and beyond: “I drove all the way to Grants Pass. I made deliveries along the coast. I have just delivered wine to Eugène’s customers for the first time.

Parra uses her brand’s social media footprint with a particularly personal touch, using Instagram Stories to connect with people through wine, music and food. He also hosted a Zoom tasting with a cooking seminar featuring tapas recipes he collected from his travels in Spain and Portugal.

Meanwhile, Parra is active in the local community, as co-chair of the Asociación Hispana de la Industria del Vino in Oregon y Comunidad (AHIVOY), an organization working to create “opportunities and empower Latin and Hispanic winegrowers in the Willamette Valley to overcome socio-economic challenges”.

Parra was also invited to participate in Celebrating Hispanic Roots, a union of several Oregon Hispanic vineyard owners and winemakers who come together for Hispanic Heritage Month. The group found ways to bond despite the pandemic, offering a virtual roundtable with participating winemakers on September 15, 2020.

There will be two events, one in Spanish and one in English. Hosted by Katherine Cole, Creator of James Beard Award-Winning The Four High Podcast, the panel will feature Parra and other wineries and vineyard owners to celebrate Oregon’s Spanish speaking community. The event is free and open to the public, register here.

Spencer Wine

Shaunna Cooper and Shayla Smith are two sisters behind Wine Spencer, the company they founded to help more people appreciate their shared passion: wine. Their mission is to “redefine what wine means and give it modern meaning, especially among minority communities, various ethnicities and cultures that have traditionally not been taken over by the wine industry”.

Wine Spencer started out by offering in-person tasting experiences, private events for groups of colleagues, families or friends. But when the pandemic put an end to this style of gathering, Cooper and Smith revamped their business into a mostly virtual offering.

Many wineries have discovered the benefit of virtual tastings for connecting with customers and selling wine to people who can’t make it to the tasting room. Jason Lede, hospitality manager at Lede Family Wines, says wineries like his see the value of virtual events. “Digital is extremely important,” says Lede. “Consumers use social for everything. “

But for the virtual party to continue, brands must evolve their offer beyond the pandemic. Cooper and Smith got that and shaped their offering to include a set of bespoke online experiences, led by the duo for any group with a screen and internet connection.

Current courses include Wine 101, Rosé All Day, Let’s Get Bubbly, South African Wine Tour, and Black-owned Winerys. Each has an educational aspect and is fully customizable for the public.

Wine Spencer will offer a set of two to four wines that each group can easily purchase locally, to encourage access. “Our goal is to provide recommendations so that guests can taste the same wine together,” says Smith.

Experiences typically last 90 minutes to an hour, and throughout the event, guests enjoy anecdotes and quizzes and practical tips, like how to read the characteristics of a wine label. And the sisters insist on an environment where everyone feels they can participate: “It’s a safe space for people to ask questions,” says Cooper.

To book a time with Wine Spencer, contact us through their website. A portion of the proceeds goes to the BET Saving Our Selves relief effort with United Way. Wine Spencer is also available to organize bespoke tasting events for wineries or other organizations.


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20 wine brands that are cheap in price, not in taste

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Tabitha Brown says going vegan helped stop her daily panic attacks

Tabitha Brown distributes a great deal of wisdom in her first book, Feeding the Soul (Because That’s My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love, and Freedom – which, yes, also includes a handful of herbal recipes. While discussing his mental health, Brown says switching to a vegan diet has helped restore not only his physical health, but his mental well-being as well. “I had major anxiety and panic attacks and suffered from depression,” she says. “And after I went vegan and started to feel better, it’s like I stopped having panic attacks. I mean, I had severe manic panic attacks, like 50 a day sometimes. , where I just couldn’t breathe. It disappeared, and the depression just disappeared. The light has just passed the darkness. “My hope and my mission is always to just share my life, so I share what I do. eat, “she said.” I share my trip with the hopes that others are saying, ‘Oh, I’m a little curious about this. She makes him a little attractive. Let me try. ‘ I hope people try [veganism] for their health, for animals, for the planet. Even one meal a day changes the way things are … it can help your body, it can help animals, it can help the environment. So I always hope that I make a difference and that someone is willing to give it a try.


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Ricky Ponting tries his hand at luxury wine

Ricky Ponting’s wine is available now.

A cricketer making Shiraz doesn’t immediately look like a natural career progression, but even a novice can say that Ricky Ponting’s first foray into the wine world isn’t so bad. Conceptualized in late 2019 and coming true during the COVID-19 lockdown, Ponting and his wife, Rianna, took their isolation project to the next level with the launch of Ponting Wines.

Teaming up with winemaker Ben Riggs to make sure the drips fall well, the former Australian captain has spent a lot of time (almost a year) perfecting each bottle and choosing which regions are right for the grape.

Beginning with four bottles, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Pinot Noir, a Shiraz and a Cabernet Sauvignon, Ricky and Rianna have bet on a combination of their own love of wine and the expertise of their winemakers. Which for a weekday wine drinker and cricketer like this writer is a winning combination.

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“It’s really a godsend. We had nothing to do during the lockdown other than home schooling for three children. It gave us something positive to focus on, ”said Rianna at the virtual launch event, where the famous cricket couple shared the inspirations behind each of the bottles.

The four wines available through the new range from Ricky Ponting.
The four wines available through the new range from Ricky Ponting.

“I have a little story to tell about each of the wines… there will be constant adjustment and evolution,” Ricky told the audience, going through each of the tasting notes. From sauv blanc “First Pitch” (“the first session of a test match was very special for me”) to cabernet “Close of Play” (“when the game was over and the crowd was gone, those were the moments. specials ”) each wine has a story to tell.

And from a wine drinker who knows less about tannins and more about whether it goes well with tagliatelle, I can firmly say that I enjoyed Ricky’s wine. In particular, the Pinot and Shiraz, which I found excellent, accompanied by a Friday night cheese platter and a shoulder of lamb. Ad test, right?

The packaging isn’t bad either, with a luxe embossed label with subtle hints of Ricky’s past life in the field.

“The most important thing is that they are tasty. They have to be satisfactory, ”noted Riggs. Riggs has worked on a number of celebrity launches in the past, including Backline Wines, the project of former Wallaby teammates Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell.

But according to Riggs and Ponting, this is not a single successful celebrity project in the headlines, Shane Warne’s foray into the wine industry in 2002. In fact, Ricky and Rianna have been involved in every step of the way.

Discussing pinot noir – an ultra light and easy to drink drop – the cricketer explains the choice of Tamar Valley in Tasmania. “This particular winery is probably 10 or 15 minutes from where I grew up. With Ben, we sat there on a finished product and we sat around the mixer and worked for a while until we found what felt right to us.

And the result is tasty and easy to drink, at least for Ricky, who Riggs said wasn’t very good at letting go while tasting. “We’re still working on Ricky to learn how to spit,” he laughed.

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Covid-19 Cuts Luxury Wine Sales, Says Treasure Wine Estates

Treasury Wine Estates says its profits fell 14% in Asia last year.

The decline in luxury sales during Covid-19 restrictions impacted sales at Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), with net profit down 25% as a result.

In results released today, TWE said that an “unfavorable volume and portfolio mix” in the second half through June was due to the closure of high-end restaurants and to consumers who pulled out. turned to low-priced wines in certain markets. Sales in the United States have been particularly affected by the pandemic.

Total sales fell 6 percent to $ 2.65 billion, while net income attributable to shareholders was $ 315.8 million.

TWE’s key brands include Beringer, Wynns Coonawarra, Lindemans, Wolf Blass and Penfolds.

CEO Tim Ford said the last fiscal year was “a unique moment” for the company.

“Our ability to weather the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the second half of the year and continue to generate profitability and strong cash flow performance is representative of the fundamental strength of our global business. “

Revenues in the Americas fell 37% as channels other than retail and e-commerce were shut down to enforce social distancing. Profits in Asia fell 14 percent and Australia and New Zealand fell 16 percent.

In Europe and the Middle East, a strong performance in the UK distribution channel was offset by declines in Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa due to channel closures.

Meanwhile, the company said the volume of Australian vintages fell 30% this year, with luxury wine consumption down 45%. Higher production costs in Australia will likely increase the cost of goods by about 3% per case, or $ 50 million. However, the company has a stock of unsold wine which will ensure stable volumes on the market.


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