Uncorked Ventures Blog

Mark Aselstine
August 17, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Do You Have A Great Wine Cellar?

wine cellar Do you, or does someone you know have a great and memorable wine cellar?  No, it isn't either of ours, but we thought it was a cool use of space under the stairs!  IMO, it beats another closet!

Mark Aselstine
August 16, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

We Love Great Images

Anyone have any interesting images to share?  What's your favorite image of wine country? Vines? Buildings?

Mark Aselstine
August 13, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

For Sale in Texas Only

"For Sale in Texas Only"

Just to be clear, this doesn't mean anything in terms of where the grapes were grown, or where the wine was made.  It simply means that a winery was forced, due to some economic goaltending, to produce separate labels for a single state.

As a country we can and should do better at both regulating alcohol sales as well as stopping stuff like this, which does absolutely nothing for consumers other than increasing prices.

Time Posted: Aug 13, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Mark Aselstine
August 3, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

The End of Crushpad

Crushpad was an incredible concept.  People who wanted to make wine, could with some professional help at a central facility.  For about $10k per barrel (no small expense to be sure) you could have fruit grown and then take as much of a lead in the winemaking process as you wanted. Now, it looks like Crushpad is going under.

It really was a great way to let those people who wanted to make wine, but didn't have millions of dollars to buy a vineyard get involved in the wine industry in a meaninful way.

Unfortunately, there were misteps along the way.  Personally, I think moving the facility from San Francisco to Napa in the first place was a mistake.  Weekend winemakers need something central, even if transporting the grapes when picked in August-October was a challenge.

It seems that there are now about 900 barrels of wine sitting at the Sonoma facility (relocated from Napa and probably an even worse idea than the initial move) and only little hope for them to be rescued by those people who have prepaid to have wine made.

It's incredibly unfortunate to say the least.  Personally, I'm disappointed to see the concept go under, although I'd venture a guess that new verions will spring up shortly.

Time Posted: Aug 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Mark Aselstine
August 2, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Napa Valley is an Interesting Place

We like telling people that Napa Valley is an interesting place.  Of course, people think we're only talking about the wine, or maybe the wine and the food.

What has always fascinated me about Napa was the way the wine industry is completely and utterly integrated into the local community.  I guess it is probably to be expected and you certainly see something similar happening in some of the other world wine capitals (Bordeaux is a great example) but I don't think anywhere else in the United States offers the range of opportunities for either aspiring winemakers, or those of us who love great wine to learn and experience the entire winemaking process.

This weekend marks another year of the Napa Valley Wine Libraries, tasting series.  Founded in 1963, the Napa Valley Wine Library has a simple goal, to help people learn about winemaking and  the history of wine through local libraries.  Specifically, the St. Helena public library has an extensive collection of wine specific materials that really aren't found anywhere else in the country.  As you might expect, the organization found a willing partner with UC Davis and their viticulture program.

In any case, if you're planning a trip to Napa-joining the Wine Library is a great way to experience a side of exclusive Napa Valley which isn't available to everyone.

Time Posted: Aug 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM