Each year, people from the global wine world come together for North America's Unified Wine and Grape Symposium (Link.)
A hot topic each year is Wine Trends.
The forecast for wine fans and the industry, & what to keep an eye on.
Today's Rose' has matured. She and can proudly hold her head high,
lift her chin, and be chosen for her merits—not just good looks.
Rose' isn't the Hershey bar of wine anymore. It may have been an easy go-to wine when people wanted something a bit sweet, served very chilled, or just looked pretty in the glass.
It was easy to grab on the end-cap.
Jason Haas, of Tablas Creek Vineyard, (Link) shared that some tasters say, "I don't drink Rose'.”
Since it's already on the tasting menu, the staff encourage guests with
"Just try it. It won't cost you anything.”
Hugh Chappelle of Quivira Vineyards (Link) shared that Rose' is "one of the most technically challenging wines to make outside of sparkling wine. Rose' is a very difficult matrix.”
Tasters are often pleasantly surprised by how well Rose' pairs with foods and what it has to offer.
Rose' is for women and not masculine. It's too sweet, and it's something you serve in hot weather.
Guys like Rose'. It can be bone-dry, not sweet. It's wonderful on a rainy day or any time of the year.
Rose' can be found in approachable price points.
Budget: < $10. Serve with pasta topped with veggies, and parmesan.
High end: > $10. Serve with grilled chicken or pork, fresh herbed bread, and spring greens.
Premium: > $20 Serve with seafood, fresh strawberries or melon, or mushroom risotto.
California is home to envy inducing Rose's. You can always find a selection at your local big box grocery store. Even better, you can find Rose' in almost every California wine region and tasting room.
It's rare to find the winemaker who has all the capital needed to start a winery. From the land, to winemaking facilities, the tasting room, supplies, and staffing—the costs add up. Many winemakers are turning to sharing or renting tasting room space with other wineries. Another trend is using custom crush services for winemaking needs.
Crush facilities can allow winemakers to bring in their grapes, crush, ferment, age, and bottle their wines under their own labels. And winemakers can still be hands on, making their wines. It's similar to a personal chef renting a commercial kitchen, instead of building and paying for one of their own. They are still the chef.
#3 Beverage Competition
Wine is in competition. It's vying for your attention.
With only so much shelf space in a store,
it's trying to keep its voice in a sea of beverages, which include:
-Non-alcoholic mixers and beverages: coffees, ice tea & lemon-aid, juice coolers, flavored sodas, etc.
-Mixed drinks, and wine spritzers, and juice blends.
-Other alcoholic beverages such as beer, and spirits.
-Sports, health drinks, even bottled water.
As much as I like wine, sometimes a kombucha really hits the spot.
Or if I need to drive, a glass of mineral water will have to do.
Beverage options are exponentially expanding.
People are looking for sustainability made products. For the benefit of their health and the world. How do we do this and make it a way of life; not a diatribe? By making small and large changes, even in the wine industry.
#5 Guest Experience
Trends show that tasters are looking for an “experience" along with their wines.
Consumers are drinking better, not necessarily more, wine. Couple that with online wine shopping and there is less opportunity for discovery, or impulse, wine purchases in tasting rooms.
What are tasters looking for? That “something special” to go along with their wine moment--and seeking out wineries who can provide it.
Common wine experience trends include wine and....
But what about small wineries? Or winemakers who don't event have their own tasting room? Are you...near the beach, on a ski route, or close to hiking? A hip, urban winery, or set in a quiet, bucolic setting? Show off what's special about your winery or tasting experience!
Cheers, and clink your glasses to one of these wine trends,
For more Wine Jaunts Beyond the Bay Area, take a look...
Wineries of the Santa Clara Valley gathered for an evening of pouring the wines of their region...San Martin, Saratoga, Gilroy, and Morgan Hill!
The Wines of the Santa Clara Valley Passport Kickoff party was an amazing chance to tour the valley all within a few feet. Winemakers gathered and poured three of their wines. Guests tasted as few or as many wines at they liked.
I tasted around 25 wines. No, I didn't drink all of the pours. Yes, my handy 8 ounce paper spit-cup came with me and was well used. There were over twice as many more wines to try. The experience was a full introduction the Santa Clara Valley wine region. The Merlots were less mineral-like than coastal Merlots. The Zins were less spicy and offered more warm fruit than California Foothills' Zin. The Cabs shined!
The golden mantra of travel is “ask the locals.”
One of the highlights of any wine event is meeting people. A group of local tasters shared their thoughts on the wines. They were so passionate about the area, they could have gathered and been a marketing team for the region!
Here's what they had to say about the Santa Clara Valley Wine Country.
The winemakers were eager to chat about their wines. Here are a few highlights.
Miramar Vineyards, San Martin: owner, Ed Castro
GSM (Grenache, Syrah, & Mouvedre) is a red blend of wine.
It's a light bodied wine but still full flavored—which makes for a perfect red wine on a hot summer's night. Dry, good tannins, and flavors of pomegranate, this would pair well with food, or small bites.
90% of their grapes are from the Santa Clara area, offering seven different varietals.
Within a couple of years, Miramar plans to craft their wines using all Estate fruit.
Gary Robinson, from Left Bend Winery, is winemaker for Miramar wines.
(see my feature on his wines and tasting room on Los Gatos.)
The 2013 Syrah boasted a deep, rich red color and was not as inky purple as Syrahs can be. A bit more body and mouth feel, the dry, boysenberry flavors made for an enticing wine.
Dorcich Family Vineyards, Gilroy
They have of vineyards. 5 acres on Montebello Rd. up the Santa Clara Valley,
the Estate Vineyards on Day Road in Gilroy, and in San Martin.
They offer, Sauv, Chard, Mouvedre, Merlot, Malbec, Estate Cab, 100% Petite Sirah, and Petite Verdot.
Their “Dad's Blend” wine is a compilation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.
TASS Vineyards and Winery, Gilroy: owners/winemakers Ron & Lynn Mosley
TASS: Tradition. Art. Science. Style.
Ron has managed over 80 small vineyards in the Santa Clara Valley. As a vineyard manager, he's cleared acreage, planted vineyards, produced wine, and crafted wines for personal clients.
His approach to wine is three fold. First is growing. Next, winemaking by small lot production. Lastly, the wines reach tasters via marketing and direct sales.
Ron creates wines from Santa Clara Valley grapes. Since he also produces wines from a variety of vineyards for numerous owners, he also offers wines from other California regions.
Lynn's sharp eye for good color in wines, along with her attuned sense of smell, has influenced Ron's winemaking. Ron shared how women can often pick up essence, acids, and aromas in wines.
Ron commented that “winemaking is 90% ingredients.”
He's given the right ingredients, now, as he says “don't mess it up.”
I ordered a glass of Sparkling Rose', a salmon steak, and a Wedge Salad
with classic blue cheese, tomato, and bacon.
The Creme Brulee' and coffee were a perfect ending to the meal.
This made up for the many In and Out Burger trips I've made between wineries.
September is Passport Month, so there is still time to taste at the Wineries of the Santa Clara Valley.
And even better, most wineries are open year round. (Link to WSCV)
Cheers to your Silicon Valley Wine Jaunt!
Take along some Nose & Palate Tips on your next tasting room visit.
Santa Clara's luscious wineries,
just down the road from your commute.
September is Wine Passport Month for the
Wineries of Santa Clara Valley (WSCV.)
One Passport gives tasters access to dozens of Santa Clara wineries and tasting rooms.
To plan your own Silicon Valley wine jaunt and for tix visit WSCV (Link.)
Solis Winery, Gilroy
Clos LaChance, San Martin
Martin Ranch Winery, Gilroy
Sycamore Creek, Morgan Hill
Here's to your Santa Clara Wine outings.
For more wineries in the area visit my Santa Clara Wineries page.
September is Wine Passport Month for the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley (WSCV.)
One Passport gives tasters access to dozens of Santa Clara wineries and tasting rooms.
Aver Family Vineyards was my first stop this Passport season.
For your own tix visit: Wineries of Santa Clara Valley (Link)
The Santa Clara Valley is a jewelry box of long standing wineries and
tasting rooms, as well as up and coming vintners.
Many people think of the Sonoma, Napa, or Paso Robles regions when planning a winery outing.
But the Silicon Valley is home to our very own wine region, and one worth exploring.
Progressing from high-tech and finance backgrounds, John and Carolyn Aver journeyed into wine. The couple have traveled extensively. After tasting in Burgundy, Champagne, the Rhone, and Bordeaux, they developed a love of wine. John is a collector of Bordeaux wines. In 2005 they took the plunge and purchased the 8 acre site. Now their lives incorporate farming, manufacturing, and hospitality in their Aver Family Vineyards.
The property is tucked in the Uvas Valley, nestled in the southern end of the Santa Clara Valley. The winery and vineyards feel a bit like a world within a world, or a story within a story. It's a gem of a setting just miles from the frenzy of the Silicon Valley.
The Avers produce Rhone varietals; wines that are often found in the Rhone region of France. Many winemakers in the Santa Cruz Mountains produce Rhone wines. But what's unique to Aver wines is that John intentionally lets his grapes sit on the vine a little longer than other local wine growers and producers may.
Some would argue this could produce wines that are too sweet or heavy. But quite the opposite. Aver Family wines are often dry, with balanced tannins to acidity, smooth—and notably, the wines have such personality! They offer a bit of spice, deep flavors of fruit, and pair effortlessly with food.
John is the vineyard manager. The vineyard is the place he loves to be. John said, “The worst day in the vineyard is better than the best day in the office.” He and his assistant Carlos do all the vineyard work. Winemaker, Kian Tavakoli, works in collaboration with John to craft their Rhone focused wines.
The winery's motto, “ Where Friends Become Family,” is evident in all the Avers do. They have a dedicated staff who know the Aver story and wines. The winery offers European Wine Tours for club members, and each year the tour sells out quickly with a waiting list. While I was visiting, one taster signed up to be a Club Member. Carolyn offered her a hug, exclaiming, “Welcome to the family.” It was sincere and cheerful. Not a drop of cheesy.
Wine tastings are offered in the Avers' Italianate courtyard. However, the day I visited, it was over 100 degrees so the wine tasting was hosted in the cellar—with air conditioning. Carolyn showed me around the courtyard. For being a newer winery, the patio and setting had an Old World feel to it. That's due to Carolyn's keen eye for detail. She sourced items in Europe, then had them sent to the US in a shipping container. The aged, recycled materials “have life to it,” as she said. For example, 300 year old roof tiles were used as courtyard tile-pavers and an antique water trough is now a fountain.
You can rest easy knowing you're enjoying organic wines. John said, “Great wine comes from great fruit.” We've heard this sentiment in the wine industry. And at the Aver vineyards, John takes steps to bring this to life. When they first bought the property, he shifted the vineyards from being conventionally farmed to holistically farmed.
John is soil focused. In this he uses mulch to keep the soil moist and cut down on water usage. He also does not till the soil. He feels that all the rich, organic matter is found in the top six inches of soil. John attends soil conferences in an effort to learn and implement better vineyard practices that eventually taste great in the glass! After this harvest, look for the new herd of sheep as part of their eco-vineyard care.
For the tastings:
Family is very important to the Avers.
The Family Album line of wines has pictures of family members past and present,
including; John's dad, mom, and grandmother, Carolyn's mom and dad, and
even the vineyard canine family members.
John's mom, Susan who is in her 80s, is often greeting tasting guests.
The Grace Rose' is named in honor of John's and Carolyn's mothers who are gracious,
and demonstrate that grace each day.
If you come tasting at Aver Family wines for a day, you just may become family!
You can save the airfare and enjoy Rhone wines here in the Santa Clara Valley,
at Aver Family Vineyards.
Here's to your Rhone wine jaunt!
For more local Rhone wines visit my feature on Bottle Jack Winery.
Join me at California Wine