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Chardonnay… GO

Friday, August 5, 2016

I am trying to understand this phenomenon of Pokemon Go and not quite getting it…But I may be able to get on board with Chardonnay Go a lot easier.

Apparently, there is a new game where you can use your phone and get virtual glasses of chardonnay. Of course, my first reaction is "Why would you want a VIRTUAL glass of chardonnay?" If I am going to be running around, I want a real glass of chardonnay at the end of the journey.  I will look at it like this.. It will get some interested in different chardonnays. You know my philosophy is to try it all, you never know what you may like. Even in this virtual world it may give those playing a few ideas to try. And I will add, I love the fact they have added that it is a "Pokemon Go for Moms." This way, when they are driving their children around looking for the critters, they can be looking for their virtual glasses as well. And getting some ideas of what chardonnay they want when they get home. Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-UxDbxBuvo.

Wine and Family

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

We have had some really interesting guests on the show recently and I think it shows a promising future for wine.

Whether it is the story of Justin Winery and what they are doing in Paso Robles to Doug Shafer who has done so much for his community and still just wants to create, there are great things that are happening in the industry. Compare these stories to those of wineries being bought out and snatched up, these family wineries are pioneers and standing on their own two feet. They are looking to make great wine, use positive business practices and are giving back to their communities- they are the heart and soul of the wine industry. Yes, popping that cork, smelling the wine.. . this is important, but when you look at these families and their stories and the caring nature of these wineries, what more could you ask for? Get to know the stories of the wineries and see what they are about, it will enhance your wine experience even more.

Wine, Wine Bars and Kegs

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I decided to try out a new (trendy) wine bar recently and was surprised when I sat down and looked at the taps behind the bar. They were marked with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc. All of the tap handles were just listed by varietal. I started to look around for a board with more description to no avail. I waited for the bartender to come over and hand me a sheet of paper with the names, but I was just greeted with a smile and,  "What would you like to try this evening?"

I asked if there was a list and he said, "It's behind me on the handles."  I decided to go ahead and try a chardonnay- I trusted this establishment and I was hoping the $16 a glass I was paying was going to work out in the end of all of this. Turns out, it was a fantastic chardonnay. And I struck up a conversation with the bartender and asked if other people were as willing to try as I was. He went on to explain that this was their way of getting their customers to try different wines. He had such a passion for wine and plenty of ones he was ready to pour, but they weren't the "traditional" labels and such. This way, he got many people to try and get excited about new wines.

Keg wines are becoming more prevalent in the areas I frequent and I couldn't be more pleased with the way different wine places are utilizing them. I suggest you get out there and enjoy what your local establishment has to offer. I believe this trend is redefining how we consume wine.

Since I visited the value wine section of a big box store, I have been searching for a complete definition of value wines.

When I was going through the store, I kept asking myself, how does somebody know it is a value? Why is there a difference between value wine and value beer, value soda or even value tires? Because in most cases, especially in the previous examples, value is replaced by cheaper(er).

For wine, this isn't the case. I have been asking many guests, winemakers, customers and I believe I have come up with a working definition- "Value is worth compared to price that over-delivers for the price point."  I do know that it needs to include the 3 Es- Expectation, Experience and Excitement.  Next time you come across a 'value wine,' let me know what made it so valuable. 

Spring is Almost here..

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I have noticed a few trends that are coming back into play into the wine world. The first being Roses. Not too long ago, if you walked into a country club and saw two women drinking something pink, it would have been white zinfandel. No more…. Now it is a dry Rose. I have seen Roses making a comeback and I am gladly supporting this trend.  The next one is big, oaky, powerhouse Chardonnays. Many wineries expanded their portfolios to include stainless Chardonnays a few years back to accommodate the switch, but recently I have seen many grabbing onto the "there's so much in that glass you will need a chair and whip to get that chardonnay tamed' chardonnays. This is what turned me onto chardonnays in the beginning and I am glad to see their return. I have also seen flavored wines being minimized as of late. A few years ago we saw an abundance of wines flavored with mint, raspberry, coffee or chocolate but the shelves seem to carry a smaller section now. 

These trends are what make wine interesting. Taking different perspectives is the way to go. Embrace new trends, but if you want to go back to the old, well that's fine as well.  I like seeing people experiment, you never know what is right around the corner.

If you learn only one thing from me, it should be this.. Four must have varietals around the holidays- Chardonnay, Champagne, Port (or Sherry) and a Red Blend. Be a savvy sipper and have some wine around the house that won't overwhelm your table or conversation. I do believe you should do your homework before you go out to pick up those wines. Whether you are casual drinker or want to get a hold of those 2011 cult cabernet sauvignons that are coming out on the shelves for the season, you need to consult with a few retailers. Wine retailers are not consistent and prices can vary with 10-60% markups. I was reminded of this last weekend,   when I was out of town and found a great local wine that I wanted to bring back home.  I had to go around to several stores, where the price varied from $15 to $26.  My second piece of advice, buy in cases. It may not be advertised, but always ask your retailer if there is a case discount. Most stores offer 10-15% discount. There are so many great retailers that have helpful staff and are doing tastings, take advantage of these opportunities, but don't get distracted. Most will ask you what you are serving and if you have a varietal and country in mind. These questions will help you narrow down your search. Have fun, enjoy and experiment where you can.

Growth is Upon Us

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I have embraced the craft beer movement. In my business, I not only get many wine questions, I also have been getting a lot of craft beer questions. I believe this movement is doing good things for the wine industry. If you think about it, both craft and wine drinkers are looking for the same thing.. that distinct taste. Craft beer drinkers are looking for not only hops, but for watermelon, strawberry, or even cucumber… A natural progression from this is wine. For example, I was at an event the other day and I spoke to a gentleman who was excited about his recent purchase of a pumpkin shandy. His excitement stemmed from being able to put it away for a while and bring it out when it was a little cooler and adding some cinnamon and sugar on the rim of a glass to add to the flavor.  What types of trends are you seeing in your local wine and beer shop? Email me at lauralawson@winecrush.com

We have heard from several winemakers on this show, and most recently Bryan Davison from Michel Schlumberger Winery visited us to discuss his new chardonnays.  Bryan, like so many others,  spoke with such passion about his wines,  that I immediately wanted to try each one to make my preference.  When you listen to these winemakers speak about their wines, it is as if they are talking about a family member- and for the most part they are. These wines are a part of them.

On the other hand, it has been stated that you can pick a good bottle of wine from a linear equation.  Can we really break down our choices by a formula?  Check out this article (http://onforb.es/SUEZaU) and formula.  Play around with it, see if this formula holds true to what you believe you enjoy. 

I am not a numbers person, but I can appreciate this formula for what it is.  I believe that wine is so subjective, depending on your mood, season, food, smell… this list could go on for quite a while.  I'm not going to sit at a computer and work the numbers, instead I will sip and swirl.  I do believe we can take both of these approaches and find an average balance.   

Change

Friday, May 2, 2014

Change is part of the fun in the wine industry.  For instance, a winemaker can set out with one type of enclosure or chardonnay.  Based upon what they experience and learn with their creation, they are willing to stand up and say, "Hey listen, this was fun, but this is what we found and what we are going to embrace."  This is why our wine business is so dynamic, this is why it grows.  People are willing to change.  We have over 105,000 different labels in the US that consumers are willing to try.  This is what I consider fun.

The Subjectivity of Wine

Friday, April 4, 2014

You can't always judge a book by its cover. Three Sticks Chardonnay is one of the best chardonnays I have had in about nine months, but the name doesn't express a big, serious chardonnay. All "pink wine" is not sweet, there are several nice dry Roses. But who do you listen to? How about a server at your favorite restaurant?

In the upcoming few weeks, I want to focus in on restaurant lists and programs. I want some feedback from you. What trends are you seeing? What would you like to see when you go out for an evening?

Email me lauralawson@winecrush.com.

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