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Intro Video: Barter and Trade Volume 2

Wave of the future?  Something like that actually. Here’s a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon that was actually trucked down to be fermented in Paso Robles.  Plus, it’s awfully, awfully good.

Video Transcription:

Hi all, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. So today this is an intro for our Barter and Trade, which is part of our Explorations Wine club. It’s our cheap wine club but this Barter and Trade … So this is volume two. I did volume one last year. I try not to go back to the same wines over and over again, I know that we lose some interest and people are like, “Look, we’ve tried that. Let’s kind of introduce me to something else.” Every so often something is kind of so well received that I feel like I almost should go back to it and Andrew Jones makes the wine for field recordings and he does a number of other kind of labels. Some wineries have the opinion that they just want to build one brand. Other wineries want to build multiple brands based on varietal or based on type of wine and so for this the interesting thing is, and it says right on the front, if you get your bottle and you read the whole thing, and this is probably … Well, I’ll show you the back and you can see how much text is back there.

You get a kind of lot of information right on the bottle. But it says, “Brought 917 miles south to be cellared and bottled.” And so this is a very interesting topic so cellared and bottled, so that’s a legal definition on every single bottle. You can tell what a winery actually did. So if it just said bottled, they might be buying finished juice and just putting it in bottles and passing [inaudible 00:01:27] but really what’s happened here is grapes were created or grown in Washington and then cellared and bottled in Paso Robles. And I talk in the newsletter about how this is probably the wave of the future. I think California has better, larger, more established wine making facilities than other states do. We also have larger wine making facilities because our average grape price is lower and we’re accustomed to processing larger amounts of fruit. If you want to make wine in California you can start tomorrow at a custom crush. In Washington, they are starting to get those type of facilities but they’re not as widespread yet. Much the same in Oregon.

In Oregon, actually, you don’t see these kind of separately owned investment style custom crushes, you see wineries renting out space. It’s all fine and good but it’s just a difference in scale. So yeah, Barter and Trade, they’re kind of at the forefront here of bringing Washington fruit to California to be produced. I think this is a great example of what happens with Washington fruit. It’s a mid palate kind of mid tannin, mid acidity and it’s not a wine that’s not good being not offensive, it’s a good wine that just happens to be in the middle road of tannins and acidity. And it’s 92% Cabernet. Talked a lot about how it’s difficult to make Cabernet and ticket it at this price point. In California, we have fruit that’s really highly sought and vineyard space is hard to come by for high end fruit and by high end fruit, anything over $20 a bottle is considered premium.

Super premium starts according to the wine trade at 35 or so a bottle. And so it’s hard to get access to vineyards sometimes if you want to make something that’s around this price point. In a lot of ways, $20 is a sweet spot and so people are logically looking to other sources. This happened with Pinot a number of years ago, that’s how Oregon grew so fast and so quickly. Outside of the obvious quality involved but Washington offers a lot of the same. If you think of Oregon to Pinot, Washington for some Bordeaux varietals, might give you kind of some of those same inclinations. So I’m kind of happy to introduce this to folks. I hope you enjoy it. I know that last year in our expirations and our special selections wine club people really did and I think this’ll show up in multiple wine clubs along the route too. So, yep, Barter and Trade, this is volume two and I’m kind of interested to see what other wineries start to do this. We are starting to see Napa wineries are starting to buy Washington vineyards.

It’s a little trickier process. Washington doesn’t have winery owners of vineyards as much as high percentage of the time as we do elsewhere and Oregon probably has the highest percentage of those, California second, Washington third. Often the Washington folk have said we don’t need to invest in buying a vineyard and running it because we have these great growers who are accustomed to growing fruit and while that might have been onions for a long time, it might have been wheat, whatever. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter but you have these professional growers and we can teach them how we want them to grow grapes and it’s cheaper for us to do it that way than for us have to manage 100 acres or something on our own. That also creates an impediment for wineries in Napa or elsewhere that want to buy into the State of Washington from a vineyard perspective. So that’s gonna be something that we’ll watch too and it’ll be interesting to see how this all works out and the kind of co-dependence of the three West Coast States on each other and how sales are divided up.

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