Uncorked Ventures Blog

Mark Aselstine
January 31, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

Regulations, Regulations, Regulations

So the UK is basically proposing that wine clubs and retailers no longer will be able to offer discounts if you buy more than one bottle.  The government will also create an artificial floor in pricing, that no retailer can undercut.

These are bad ideas across the board.

We understand that city governments, state governments and federal governments all over the world are experiencing severe budget issues.  My wife works at a high school, so we hear about the budget and the affects of the budget on what seems to be a weekly basis.

We also understand the want and need of governments to raise revenue through higher taxes.  Without a doubt, it’s a tough job right now with no easy answers.

I don’t think excessive regulation is the way to do it though.  First, there simply isn’t much revenue being created by the sale of $2 Chuck.  Sure things in the UK are a bit different, but I’m sure there are various states here that have considered some of these same steps.

If I could lend a fairly simple idea-let everyone compete for business.  One thing everyone has learned over time, consumers love a good deal.  What happens after consumers drink a bunch of $2 wine is interesting, if their budget allows they eventually start buying $10 wine.  Later in life, they’re ordering single vineyard Pinot Noir from folks like us (only like us after all since we don’t exactly ship to the UK).

What I’d hate to see happen are states and federal governments impose these excessive regulatory laws and cut out a generation of wine buyers from being able to start tasting wines and finding out what they like.  Frankly there isn’t any reason given the level of money we’re talking about, versus the need.  As a retailer, we’d much rather see a simple raising of sales taxes while allowing us to continue to compete for consumer’s business.

Time Posted: Jan 31, 2013 at 3:55 PM
Mark Aselstine
January 28, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

Sonoma Tries to Simplify

Does that really make sense to anyone?  I ask because Sonoma is trying to simplyfy its AVA system, in large part because even winemakers in the region struggle to explain exactly what is consistent in terms of the current setup of Sonoma County etc.

Generally I still think this is too darn complicated.  Part of the success of Napa Valley's marketing is in its simplicity.  When you buy a Napa Valley wine, in large part you know what you're getting.  Sonoma is too big and too varied for that, but having smaller AVA's inside others still, like the Fort Ross Seaview inside of the Sonoma Coast AVA-doesn't make a ton of sense from a marketing perspective.

I think it's a shame for one big reason: Sonoma continues to make world class wines at a fair price and has both the production levels and facilities to allow startup and new wineries to emerge and they do on a yearly basis.  I wish they could make it easier on the average consumer to not only access those wines, but to understand exactly what they're likely to be getting.

Time Posted: Jan 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Mark Aselstine
January 25, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

The NRA Has a Wine Club-Really?

When Matt and I speak with customers on the phone or through email, we’re often asked to describe how our clubs with Uncorked Ventures differ with some of our larger and certainly more well known competitors.

Our answers vary depending on which wine club we’re talking about and quite a few other factors-but overall this is a great example.

The NRA has a wine club and a few Australian wineries were not even aware that their wines were being sold by the NRA wine club.

Which made me wonder, really?

I realize not everyone is taking the time to interact with winery owners and winemakers like we do, but for a major corporation to seemingly not be having any interaction with their suppliers, seems well a bit strange.

What you don’t get with us are wines that are being pushed out indiscriminately into the wine retail world.  When we say carefully curated-we mean it.

Time Posted: Jan 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM
Mark Aselstine
January 24, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

$2 Chuck Is No More

No, Charles Shaw and their famous Two Buck Chuck isn’t going away anytime soon-according to most everyone involved with the brand and outside of it, Bronco Wine Co and the folks behind Charles Shaw are doing quite well.

The big news today is pretty simple, the price of Charles Shaw is going from $1.99 in California to $2.49.

I guess, even when rounding it is still $2 Buck Chuck!

Of course, Charles Shaw has been sold outside of California for $3 for some time, so in some ways we’re just catching up with the rest of the country.

While we sell much more expensive wine here at Uncorked Ventures, we still enjoy keeping tabs on the wider wine market and we know Trader Joe’s sells Charles Shaw by the cart load on a daily basis.

Time Posted: Jan 24, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Mark Aselstine
January 24, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

The World's Top Wine-Producing Regions Revisited

The top wine-producing regions of the world are dependent on certain people's tastes and experiences. However, a select few locations across the globe are well-renowned for their deliciously delicate selection of wineries and vineyards. The impact that these regions have on both the economy and culture of a nation cannot be understated and the following regions are rich in everything, from colours and tastes to business and real estate.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley, situated in the state of California, is perhaps the most famed region in the world. It's almost attained legendary status and is known best for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Its quaint setting is enveloped by looming mountains and the 30-mile region contains hundreds of wine producers, up and down its lands, from small to large. For those visiting the state, it's also a very popular tourist attraction.


For those who wish for something a little more exotic than to enjoy a bottle of premium Tesco wine, Stellenbosch is perhaps South Africa's stand-out region. Its products are of the highest quality and its laid-back attitude makes it the perfect holiday for budding tourists as well. It is known primarily for its production of Merlot and Shiraz and the region is comfortably close to Cape Town, perfect for those relaxed summer visits.


Mendoza is an Argentinean region and has the benefit of being backed up by the Andes. The wineries found here produce two-thirds of the output found in the country and are famed for their expertise when it comes to the fine tastes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay. Its consistency has aided Argentina in becoming one of the fastest growing wine regions on the planet and has resulted in a significant economic growth.


France's Bordeaux is incredibly well-regarded in the UK, most likely due to its convenient proximity. The collection of wineries found here are world-renowned and are simply the best you'll find. From Merlot to Cabernet Franc, the strong-tasting grapes are matured into something sophisticated and elegant, summing the region up suitably. The markets in the area are just as popular with tourists, creating an experience and an atmosphere that will be cherished for a long time.


Italy gets itself on the board with the charming region of Tuscany. It shares its title as 'Best in Europe' with Bordeaux and deserves its coveted reputation. The Chianti, renowned as the true epitome of fine Italian wine and referenced eerily in The Silence Of The Lambs, is found in this region and the small farms that are found dotted around the land speak of a relaxed yet dedicated workforce.

Time Posted: Jan 24, 2013 at 10:17 AM