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Duncan Ross, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards
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An interesting parallel, but you would need to modify it a bit. Grocery stores are great for selling national brands in a self service environment (generally). Grocery stores would be good for those national brands which are already popular (like iams). Grocery stores in NY would do little for lesser known brands even if they allocated shelf space (you would have to add a few hundred other brands of dog food to your parallel and a grocery store/big box isn't set up for this). If the grocery store replaced the wine store in the grocery store plaza, the result is reduced selection of wine. History has shown that as goods like artisan bread, meats, etc become available in grocery stores, those smaller shops fold. The same would happen in upstate NY where 1100 wine shops are located in grocery store plazas. It could work in NY if phased in over 10 years, but the sides are very black/white on the issue with little compromise. Most other areas where wine is in grocery have evolved that way since prohibition so they have evolved to their systems over a long period of time. This adjustment period is necessary to allow businesses to evolve rather than just changing the system in a day.
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Sorry.... feeling a bit feisty today, it must be the spring weather!
NIAGARA.....Spell check? where Cab Franc isn't rare! This is a wonderful marketing initiative. We would have had better participation from Niagara, but even with the minimum 5 wineries participation, NYW&GF thought we could not get the cellar visits because of the distance to the west coast of the state. We will have stronger participation next time, if we can the full program features extended to this region. It would seem to me to be easy to get the NY City press interested in a trip to Niagara USA (which is a short direct flight and has lots more going on for the visitor in addition to wine!) NY City is a fast growing market for our wines and one we are focused intently on.
Cool video - Gotta love Feb in Niagara (no snow!)
A pre-requisite for wine purchasing is having a way to bring the wine back home. Air travel is no longer a viable method for tourists to bring wine back home with them. Shipping becomes the only option, which gets expensive when purchasing a few bottles at several wineries. Rick - I would love to see rail serviced improved all over upstate. When it is faster and less expensive to drive than fly or go by train, then driving is the choice. Sadly, driving is the most cost effective choice for many trips within NY.
Nice synopsis, Evan. It is evident that things are warming up and you can taste it in the wines. Hopefully the lakes will continue to moderate the extreme swings that might be harmful to grapevines. Robin’s cousin farms cherries near the lake and his records in 2010 indicate about a 3 week shift in harvest dates since 1973. That’s pretty significant.
Evan - I would definitely encourage people to drink wine from all over the world. It is one food product that transports well and it is certainly fascinating to try many of these wines. However, "NY Cork Report" sets an expectation for at least some NY wine. And then there is the irresistible urge to give Bryan a hard time because he sets himself up so nicely....
I like Julia's selection better than Brian's. Next time you get the urge to drop $25 on a foreign wine, I can point you to a a few local producers who have great whites... and you dollars will go further.
So many things to comment on here, but I'll pick 2. First off, Chardonnay has a huge potential in NY. NY Chardonnays I have tasted are anything but simple. Styles range from barrel fermentation to stainless and everything in between. NY has a huge advantage over California and other hot climate places because the flavors and acidity achieve a perfect balance. If you don't like Chardonnay and can't bring yourself to do anything but be negative on the variety, it would be best to simply review things you do like. Lots of people really like Chardonnay, and lots of those people LOVE NY Chardonnay. “NY Chardonnay” is a superior product, so perhaps we should be branding “NY Chardonnay”. Second, I have to say that while Rochester identifies itself with the Finger Lakes region (nearly all of the fundraisers are done with FL wines), the city is equally close, if not closer to the Niagara region. You mention Keuka Spring at the north end of Keuka Lake, which is a drive of 1hr 20 minutes from downtown. In less than 1hr you can be at the east end of the Niagara wine trail and in 1hr 25 minutes you can be here, enjoying the estate Malbec that the gentleman at the bar was craving. I will continue to be interesting to see the city’s residents realize they are really close to two great wine regions, but it will take many years for that to enter the regional consciousness.
Lenn, My point is that we should not limit a region's brand to a single variety of grapevine. It's not "this or that", but "which varietals and styles really shine?" As an example, which of the following varietals from Bordeaux would be their signature variety? Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais? How about the Rhone or even Burgundy? Sometimes a region can be a single varietal focus, but usually there are several that will bubble to the top. We have 200 years of commercial fruit growing experience in Niagara County and have a very wide range of fruit crops that can be grown well here - I wouldn't want to say that only one varietal will do well when I see evidence for at least 6 that perform extremely well.
I think a region can be known for more than just one varietal- Pinot OR Cab Franc? Why not both, or several? In general, the escarpment has proven to be an excellent region for Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. These are the varieties that have excelled on the Canadian side of the escarpment over the past 30 years and our experience on the US side mirrors theirs (which isn’t a surprise).
I wish the wine made itself!
It's more complex than a year being good for reds or whites.... it has more to do with varietals and ripening qualities, then there is regional variation. Early harvest reds like Pinot Noir did quite well here. Chardonnay was beautiful as well as aromatic whites like Riesling. Though Merlot is an early ripener, it did not fare as well in our vineyard, but the Cab Franc and Cab Sauv are terrific. I had a 2009 Cab Franc from Eveningside last night that was delicious.
It can work - only when there is enough support from the industry, which means that we not only have to realize that not all wines are not the highest quality, but we have to be willing to label that distinction with a mark line "NYQA". It can also work if the quality assurance is recognized by consumers as a better choice. In this case, sales would be higher for NYQA wines (for the category of wines that NYQA applies to). That would incent the entire industry to raise the bar. Either method will require intense marketing efforts as an industry.
Toggle Commented May 21, 2011 on What We Drank (May 20, 2011) at New York Cork Report
Just caught the "gap" comments and read Evan's posts from last year. We are incorporating quality standards in the NY Wine Council that will allow wines to be selected objectively for marketing events. This is needed to validate that wines will meet expectations of the target audience. The wines that are certified will also be able to carry a designation, which will boost consumer confidence (reducing the risk = increased sales). This is currently envisioned as being similar to Ontario's VQA system. Ontario enacted their standards for these very same reasons - close the gap for consumers and make wine selection more predictable so people would select Ontario wines more often. I'd be interested in hearing what your readers think of this idea. Will it make it eaier to select NY wines in a restaurant or store?
Toggle Commented May 21, 2011 on What We Drank (May 20, 2011) at New York Cork Report
So... Oak is not good in Chardonnay? It somehow makes the wine "less pure" or terroir driven? What about cold soaking on the skins? Interesting to see a discussion of oak in Chardonnay but not with other varietals like Merlot or Pinot.
Toggle Commented May 21, 2011 on What We Drank (May 20, 2011) at New York Cork Report
Thank you for not posting the inappropriate picture!
Jim - great writing. Well thought out and complete. Mark - I drink lots of wines from a variety of regions - I assume any winemaker does (at least all the ones I know do). I am a bit taken aback by the implication that many do not. Hopefully, this is just an assumption on your part about new world winemakers. I wouldn't exempt European winemakers from trying wine from outside their regions. There is nothing mystical or magical about the history of those regions. Nothing that would exempt them from trying a variety of wines or working a season or two in California or New Zealand Carlo, I think the reason people will try a Gruner before a Baco is that there is a marketing buzz around Gruner. A buzz around Baco could accomplish the same thing.
We have used Sawmill's grapes in the past and have labeled them as such prominently on the back label with the other details of the wine. Giving the growers recognition is important, epecially so when they are as committed to the finest quality, as Sawmill is.
Many industries pay to have their customer service skills tested like this.
I think Lenn's exercise will help all of us improve customer service. There really isn't a practical way to determine if any email inquiry will result in sales, as someone stated above. There are many emails and many visitors with no way to correlate them. The only thing we can do is respond to each inquiry promptly and completely. Measuring what we actually do is the only way to find out where we need to improve. Lenn, I hope you continue to run this test.
I'd be interested in seeing how Arrowhead Spring replied.... We have had some major system changes here - spring is "upgrade time", though that should not have affected responses to inquiries.
As a producer of ice wine, I would appreciate clarity of terms when referring to wine made from artificially frozen grapes. It looks like you are interchangably refering to it as "ice" (legal for now) and "ice wine" (reserved for traditianally produced, frozen on the vine icewine). The two products are similar, but Ice Wine develops greater complexity while it hangs through November and December. Since the Finger Lakes is even colder than Niagara, I have always wondered why more producers didn't take advantage of the natural cold in the Finger Lakes to produce traditional ice wine.
Having gone with and without the Meritage name, I have to say I think it works for cool climate wines. A proprietary name and a great back label work in the tasting room where wines are explained and sold, but in the stores the front label sells the wine. In a restaurant, the bottle isn’t seen until it gets to the table. Two things I really like about the name: First, it invites a comparison to Bordeaux, rather than California. Second, there really are not a lot of California Meritage wines as compared to varietal labeled wines like Cab or Merlot. $1 a case is a pretty low price to pay for a recognizable name (The $1/case caps out at $500). Kudo's to Morton for another great wine. There really is no substitute for the time and patience he puts into his wines.
Wow - I just read the atwater comment that Evan posted... I guess some people want to make every issue a WIGS or Non WIGS issue. read the documents. This has nothing to do with WIGS. If anything it makes WIGS easier to accomplish. The reason the "Wine Indstry Association" Lobbying group isn't doing this is because that group is a lobbying group and not a marketing group. (and lobbying around a divisive issue, to boot). Read the proposal again and you will see this is not a proposal to for a group that "represents" wineries. It's a proposal to market wine. Are you against marketing wine? WTF...