Uncorked Ventures Blog

Mark Aselstine
January 25, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Wineries Here, There, Everywhere

I noticed a short story in Wines and Vines the other day about the continued growth of wineries in the United States.  It seems that year over year there are 450 or so new wineries in the United States, with about half of those coming from....you guessed it, California.

I've been telling people there are over 5,000 commercially active wineries in the United States, it seems that is a number that I need to adjust up quite a bit as the final American talley is well over 7,000.

For a wine club, more choice is definitely a good thing especially since so many of these entries are going to be small operations for a while and likely will fit the mold of what we're looking for, if they can achieve some really high quality wine.

Mark Aselstine
January 24, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Beer, Wine, Starbucks and California

I have to admit one thing before going any further: during a family reunion in Texas 2 summers ago, one of the highlights of my trip was passing through a drive through liquor store on the way to float the river.  It was a very Texan day, but the drive through liquor store caught my attention, especially when my drink came complete with a straw-although it was shrink wrapped since I wasn't suppose to drink it in the car.

I bring that up out of curiously for how Starbucks plans to handle beer and wine sales in stores with drive-thru's.  Especially with recent news that the coffee giant would be expanding beer and wine sales to a small number of stores in Atlanta and Southern California. More from USA Today.

Overall, this shouldn't be surprising.  Starbucks has spent plenty of time, money and their marketing muscle to become an afternoon destination.  The afternoon iced coffee discount with your morning receipt comes to mind and I'm sure was wildly successful.  It seems this is likely the next step in the process.

For a company like ours, it doesn't affect us much.  We certainly aren't positioned to distribute to a company the size of Starbucks on any meaningful level and the wineries we work with and represent don't make enough wine to even entertain the notion.  That being said, Starbucks has made a name charging what at the time it started, seemed like an ungodly amount of money for a cup of coffee to most people.  

Can it be long until they start selling more premium wine and beer in select stores? That's something we'd be interested in.

Mark Aselstine
January 22, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

This week Sacramento is the center of the wine world.


No, nothing is happening with the UC Davis Viticulture program.

The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium occurs this week at the Sacramento Convention Center. It’s the largest gathering of its type in North America, with well over 12,000 industry attendees every year.

We bring it up, not because we expect any of our customers or readers to attend as members of the general public, but as a notice that winery response times this week may be sluggish as owners, winemakers and general managers are likely out of the office.

Mark Aselstine
January 21, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Reality TV & Wine

I have to admit, we watch plenty of reality tv in my house.

Usually it’s just Amazing Race and occasionally something along the lines of Toddlers and Tiaras (that one makes me sad though), sometimes it is Undercover Boss.

Undercover Boss is really, really good when it is a company with a really varied set of operations. Watching Todd Rickets (part owner of the Cubs) clean Wrigley Field rather poorly was quite a lot of fun.

It seems that along with the Bachelor this year, reality tv is smiling on the wine industry as Undercover Boss is making a stop in Sonoma with Kendall Jackson.

KJ has dominated Sonoma’s wine scene for well over a generation and I hope the company is able to put its best foot forward while President Rick Tigner is put through the paces in a series of entry level jobs.

Of course, more attention is always a good thing for those of us selling wine online. I do hope that the show is able to somehow help people to process the incredible work that a winery the size of Kendall Jackson and their various holdings put forth in order to produce five million cases of wine per year.

Mark Aselstine
January 13, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Hold up a Minute-Red Wine, How Healthy is it?

Fabricated data.

When it comes to a research study, there isn’t any more damning set of words. It turns out that the work of leading cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Dipak K. Das is being called into question after his employer, the Univesity of Connecticut found a number of irregularities with his data as well as his lab practices. More from CBS News.

While I don’t want to draw any firm conclusions in days after the main advocate for red wine’s health benefits has been called on the carpet, there are a few other studies which have come to the same conclusion-including one recently completed by the Mayo Clinic.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming days and weeks after every subsequent study is called into question and investigated as well.