So, when Matt and I first started Uncorked Ventures, we had quite a few dreams. After we realized how the wine industry really worked, some were crushed, but one persisted….eventually, high quality, small production wineries would contact us, instead of us having to go around finding them and begging for wine all of the time.
That’s happened on occasion, but perhaps no email subject line gets my attention like the one I received from Attune some months ago “We’d Love to Be a Part of Your Wine Club.”
Usually when stuff like that comes in, it’s fairly evident that they’re just trying to make some sales to wine clubs and really, it has nothing to do with us. But, Attune seemed different. Plus, the email showed they generally had taken the time to learn more about us and had written something specific. They invited me up to say hello in person.
Also, there were no price lists exchanged, just a simple invitation, we’d like to pour you some wine, please let us know a good day to come by the house and the vineyard.
As it turns out, the house and vineyard sit in a section of Sonoma, that the locals sometimes don’t realize exists. 8th Street is a common address when it carries a West abbreviation, but this is 8th street East, where you’re more likely to find warehouses, a start up making Limoncello (ok, so in this, I’m extremely interested as Limoncello has taken up much of my carry on’s during return trips from Italy) and a farm or two, growing stuff other than wine. I know, in Sonoma, blasphemy.
The house itself, gorgeous. Not, in a quaint way mind you, but in a….should be featured in Architectural Digest kind of way. 5+ bedrooms with a private gate and entrance off the main road, it’s the kind of place that a reclusive pop star with an international following likes to stay (no, I can’t share which one, but literally among the five hardest to find tickets these days).
My contact at Attune, also a bit different: their “Sales” guy. Jason Champbell is really a sales guy-although a professional one. He worked at Southern Wine and Spirits for quite some time and that’s where the professionalism comes from. Southern, if you aren’t familiar is the largest national distributor remaining. It’s the New York Yankees of wine distributors so to speak, since baseball season is finally upon us once again. One of the things I always want to talk about with former Southern employees is how they go about selling wine to their customers. Really, when you talk to people they have two specific routes. First, every single wine, or spirit is taken and sampled to every single client. Eventually, people like something. Sales are about 10% of all showings.
Secondly, you take specific wines and spirits to match the brands that you’re pitching. Here’s what I want if someone from one of the big boys wants to pitch me-it’s going to take a pretty specific offer to produce a sale.
Attune is pretty much exactly what I want. Production quantities are low. This Pinot Noir, as they proudly state on the back of the bottle, comes in under 300 cases. They make a Chardonnay, as well as a Rose (on purpose a Rose, in fact one of the three owners is a huge fan of the wine) and sell much of the fruit produced on this 12 acre parcel (8 of which are planted) to others.
Patz and Hall, which has become a fairly well known name, sits directly to the south.
Attune’s Chardonnay is the only wine that is crafted from sourced grapes, in this case, the vineyard location was explained to me, as right behind that white building. I asked about where the wine was made and was told….second driveway behind you.
As so many of us truly look toward micro producers and small scale businesses to support, Attune fits the profile. Importantly though, you’re gaining quality while not seeing an uptick in price point.
Patz and Hall next door has Pinot Noir priced at $60, $70 and $90 (the $70 versions are the vineyards directly akin to Attune. Attune’s retail is $48, if you’re wondering). Likewise Attune’s winemaker Kenneth Juhasz makes the critically wines at Donum Estate, priced between $70 and $90 as well.
Ok, so I talked to a wine sales guy and didn’t hate the experience. It probably won’t happen often, but in this case, I think you’ll agree that the wine that ended up in your glass is well worth it. Attune’s a really, really quality Pinot Noir, at a price that’s likely $15-$20 less than what you’d pay for equivalent quality from a better known producer.
With that, Enjoy!