Uncorked Ventures Blog

Mark Aselstine
October 19, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

What Does an Early Vintage Mean for the Wine Industry?

It should be a simple enough question, what does an early vintage mean for the wine industry? The very short answer is that you're likely to see good, not memorable wine from 2014 in California.

Video Transcription:

Hey guys, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. One question that came up over the weekend was; "What does it mean with an earlier harvest? What does that mean for grapes? What does it mean for the Vintage in 2014 in Napa, Sonoma and kind of elsewhere in California which all ran earlier this year?"

The short answer is; wine makers would generally prefer earlier harvest especially in Napa and Sonoma where we traditionally see some rain in October. An earlier harvest means that they don't have to deal with rain, that they can let the fruit kind of hang on the vine as long as they want and they don't have to worry about it. So earlier harvest, generally speaking, leads to good vintages, sometimes not necessarily great vintages. Some of the best great vintages have hung on the vines long into October and this looks like it's going to be a very good vintage, but not necessarily a memorable or one of these vintages you write home about, thirty years from now. We pay attention to this stuff because we find that wineries, great wineries even, end up having some extra juice available for wine clubs like ourselves, if it's not a memorable vintage and if there's a large enough crop.

Once again, Mark Aselstine - Uncorked Ventures.

Mark Aselstine
October 18, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

Amare Stoudemire and His Red Wine Bath

Every so often, wine finds its way into the popular discourse of sorts.  In this case, vinotherapy and a red wine bath gives me the opportunity to mention sports and more specifically the NBA.  Thanks Amare Stoudemire for providing the opportunity.


Video Transcrption:

Hey, guys. Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. It's not very often in this space that I get to talk a little bit about my love for sports and basketball. In this case it's Amar'e Stoudemire. [inaudible 00:00:11] a rather large contract for New York Nicks, posted a picture of himself that evidently originally went on Instagram, and then blew up across social media, of himself taking a bath in red wine.

That brought up two things. First, there's a whole concept of vinotherapy that I'd never even heard of. Evidently there's a whole cottage industry of it, especially in France where they say that it can replace facelifts. According to an NBA player at least, it helps with circulation of red blood cells, so there's that. Not very often in this space can I talk about the NBA but I figured I should take the opportunity when it presented itself. Why does an online wine club bring up sports in this space, or even watch sports? Well, sometimes it's just fun and interesting. 

Mark Aselstine
October 12, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

The Rise of Processo

The rise of Processo has been interesting to watch here in San Francisco, I think there are price points where people vastly prefer Italian sparklers to Champagne....which is something that couldn't have been said five years ago, let alone a generation ago.

Video Transcription:

Hey, guys Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. A couple of interesting things have come up over the last 24, 48 hours. 

First, the Italian wine industry has announced two things that you would think didn't necessarily go together. First, imports are down, so there's less Italian wine coming into the United States. But second of all, which is probably more interesting, total sales, as far as total money coming in, has gone up. 

Clearly, two things have happened. First, people aren't drinking quite as much Italian wine, but when they do drink it they're spending more for it. The days of going to an Italian restaurant and getting the cheap bottle of Chianti sitting on the red checkered tablecloth maybe have not ended. Certainly I'll do that from time to time. The international organization of Italian wine with Cabernet coming in and some of the big Tuscan blends and that kind of stuff has driven price points up.

Second of all, as you can see there's a couple of sparklers sitting in front of me. We're actually sourcing for a new Champagne style of gift basket that'll include coffee and some other breakfast goodies since that's the time when we most drink champagne in my house, although there's nothing wrong with it in the evening either. Prosecco is the Italian version of Champagne. It's an Italian sparkling wine made from outside of Venice actually, which is one of their coolest regions. If you've ever been to Italy it's both hilly and cold, which is if you're going to grow Champagne or a kind of similar white wine grapes, that's kind of a good spot to do it. Even if you're using Pinot, like you do in the Champagne region of France, that's a good spot to do that too.

Even tasting through some stuff we have Spanish sparkler, which they refer to as Cava. We have a French sparkler. We can't call it Champagne because it's not from Champagne, it's just from a different part of France and not to be left out, Helwig's from Lodi, California, winery that focusses on Syrah, So that's a sparkling Syrah. We feel like we've been run off the rails with that one a little bit, but Helwig makes some interesting stuff.

In any case, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, a couple of interesting things up, and I hope you guys are having a good week. Thanks again.

Mark Aselstine
October 11, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

Can You Ship Wine to Canada?

Can you ship wine to Canada? It largely depends, but overall it's better than shipping to Utah!


Video Transcription:

Hey guys, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. A question has come up a few times of late, "Can you ship wine to Canada?" So the short answer is Canada's liquor laws are every bit as complicated, if not worst, than the United States. Much like in the U.S., where we have 50 states or in this case, really 50 states plus D.C., makes 51 and everybody has different rules. Canada has 13 provinces, much the same kind of thing exists. 

So the short answer is, to some provinces, we are able to ship, and to some, we're not. Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta are currently the three that I am legally allowed to ship to. And hopefully, there is a movement in Canada just like there is in the United States, that will hopefully lead to direct shipments opening up. Frankly, the U.S., Canadian border for anybody who has ever crossed it is more of a suggestion than a hard rule, I guess, would be a good way to say it. I was born in Buffalo, so I go to Niagara Falls. It's something that happened pretty often. And so, yeah, we can ship to Canada. 

It's fairly limited and there are some tax issues that come up. So there might be a little bit out of the expense but we're happy to do it. For some people, part of the enjoyment of doing a wine club is getting, kind of, that wine of the month club shipment in the mail every month. We find with Canadian customers sometimes, it's a little bit easier to send, you know, say, three or six month at a time, just to deal with kind of all the paperwork, tax issues, and all that kind of stuff that come up. 

Anyway, Mark Aselstine, Uncorked Ventures, "Can you ship to Canada?" I wish it was less complicated, but the answer is it depends where you live. Thanks again.

Mark Aselstine
October 10, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

Can You Process a Credit Card from Canada?

It's hard enough to ship wine state to state with regulations being so different everywhere.  That being said, a Canadian credit card offers it's own challenge, mainly the fact that the billing zip code includes an extra digit.  The quick take away is that we can process your credit card with a billing address in Canada, but you'll have to give us a call to do so.

Hey guys, it's Mark Aselstine from Uncorked Ventures.

One thing that came up today is we had a lady call in to order a six month Explorations Wine Club gift for a friend who lives in the State of New York. We're happy to ship to New York. She was running into some issues though because she happens to live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

You know, you may not realize but American credit cards are attached to a zip code which shows five digits. Our website is set up to process American credit cards. Funny thing is that Canadian credit cards are attached to their zip code, of course, too. Theirs is six digits, It's a mixture of letters and numbers. Quite frankly, it probably makes a ton more sense than a five digit number. 

Our software provider is actually a Canadian company based in Vancouver called Vin65, but our websites aren't set up to process a Canadian credit card zip code. The short answer is if you live in Canada and you want to order a wine club for a friend who lives in the United States, give us a call. We're happy to process it over the phone. It's not a big deal. 

Thanks again, Mark with Uncorked Ventures. C'est la vie, I guess. Canada, we appreciate the business.