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Fetzer Vineyards, Merlot and Cannabis

What's relevant in wine in 2019?

Every so often a bottle of wine makes me think a bit. This Merlot, from a Mendocino producer, got me thinking about the relationship between wine and cannabis, while wondering whatever happened between wine and craft beer. Also, I thought a Fetzer bottle in this space was overdue because it shows so much of what the industry is going through.

Video Transcription:

Hi all, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

I’m joined today and you’re gonna be shocked I know it’s a bottle of Fetzer Eagle Point right yeah no Eagle Peak Merlot. So if you’re not aware so Fetzer is one of the pioneers of kind of the affordable wine genre if you take a logical step up from two buck chuck you and that’s seven to ten dollars depending on what state you live in and how realistic your wine shipping laws are and that’s kind of where Fetzer comes in.

So this bottle also couldn’t be more kind of relevant in 2019 and I’m shocked to say and think that despite the fact that this is Merlot so you know if you know Merlot is kind of on its death bed in a lot of places. Pinot has kind of taken this huge step forward and has taken most of the great growing spots, Cabernet or he has all the all the other ones and pretty much anybody who has Merlot would love the grafted over to something better and we even have tape of that happening (grafting grape vines)so why is Fetzer relevant in 2019?

Talking about Fetzer, so this winery became this kind of big huge multi national conglomerate of wine that was being produced and shipped to you know 50 or 60 countries around the world and then in 2011 the Fetzer family sold the brand and a lot of the associated parts to a South American wine company and that South American wine company as you might know grew because the export rules were easier you know it’s a hell of a lot easier to get South American wine to say Ohio than was Californian wine for some time which was just dumb.

Anyways, so Fetzer the family kept the original vineyard which is kind of touching if you think about it you know this is 80 acre vineyard you know kind of North of Mendacino County and the family kept it and I think a lot of people within the industry thought that this might be where the family have restarted under a different name and then a couple weeks ago the property went up for sale for three and a half or four million dollars or whatever and ended up sitting in escrow now and it’s being sold.

This is where that gets really relevant to Cannabis, so of course California is one of the states where it’s legal and it’s kind of the push and pull that’s happening especially in Mendocino County which has been known for illegal cannabis for years and years but now is you know obviously there’s legal cannabis vineyard, orchard, fields?

I guess all over the place and so you know how does it you know two years after legalization it’s actually fairly amazing to think that they have four million dollars to buy an 80 acre site.

It’s also something you know for long for a long time we’ve thought about craft beer versus wine and how those kind of two things are intertwined with one taking sales from the other.

I don’t necessarily think that’s true I think those two coexist as well there’s a lot of those same kind of you know this is going to be the end of the industry or this is going to constrain in the growth of the industry kind of thing between cannabis and wine. I don’t know what happened to craft beer in this scenario but really you know I think as population continues to grow there going to be plenty of space for cannabis, craft beer and wine.

I think the wine industry does need to be careful cannabis is awfully easy to understand in a lot of places and the wine industry is not that awfully easy to understand because not only do we have to worry about you know where the heck is this vineyard where was this made what grape is it but also what’s the vintage and how does that change things and you know can we as an industry to do a better job of communicating all that stuff on the bottle instead of this kind of flowery language that everyone seems to like to use you know that’s a question for a different day.

So this is a Fetzer merlot and if you’re wondering and maybe the review part of this is that this is a 90 point wine and for a merlot for 10 bucks I mean what’s my plate so once again Mark Aselstine with uncorked ventures hope you’ve enjoyed a short story of better the winery the label and the space which i think is really relevant in 2019 although at first glance of this bottle you would’ve never thought that whoever was having a good week so far.

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