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Sales Pressures and Differences For Blends

Longevity Wines Philosophy

Blends are where a ton of winemakers think they make their money. Every single one of them will tell you how good their palate it and if they don’t, they think it.  Here’s why we see so many varietal specific wines despite this.  Blending makes for some challenging sales here in America and that’s because of how we structure wine stores.

Video Transcription:

Hi guys, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

I’m joined today by a body of Longevity 2010 Philosophy red wine, and so, Longevity’s that winery out in Livermore that we taped for Winemaker TV a week or so ago, and have talked about on at least one occasion in this space, and I wanted to bring up Philosophy.

This is their namesake blend. The winemaker’s name is Phil, so this is Philosophy. He makes another Rhone blend for his wife under her name, and so, it’s Merlot, Cab Franc … Oh no, I’m … Yeah, Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec … It’s kind of the classic Bordeaux blend, so why don’t more wineries do this in the United States?

Longevity Wines Philosophy Back LabelAnd the answer really comes down to, this is not how we sell wine in America, so if you go to a wine shop in France or if you look at a wine list in France, you’re shown the way that they show a bottle. You’re given not varietal-specific but region-specific, so if it’s Bordeaux, you won’t necessarily see if it’s Cab Sav or Merlot that’s the dominant varietal. You’ll see that it’s Bordeaux, and so if you think about it, it makes it a hell of a lot easier to do a blend that’s not based on a specific varietal if you set it up by location instead of it you set it up by varietal.

In the United States, that Bordeaux is often … You’ll see a Merlot section of Bordeaux, and then you’ll see a Cab Sauvignon section of Bordeaux, like we’ve separated the left and right bank from each other, like they’re in completely separate regions. It’s a little silly to do it that way, but there’s also an element of success in saying what varietal it is, it makes it a little easier for people. They have to learn less about wine to get started, but the problem is, for wine’s like this, if you are a wine shop, where the hell do you put it?

And that’s really the question. Can you put it with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, when there’s really only 40% of either in there? Not really, so you get this kind of nebulous other red section in the back, and that’s why winemakers tend to avoid it, and so this is kind of a tasting room sale. This is a, “Hey, 90 Point Spectator, buy this wine,” kind of sale. This isn’t like a … You know, people will seemingly just fall into this and purchase it kind of thing, so that’s a challenge for winemakers.

You know, a lot of winemakers will say that the best thing they do is their blending, but really, our market is not set up to encourage blending in the way that it is in Europe, although our wine market is set up to help people have that first glass of wine in the way that theirs just simply is not.

So in any case, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, we are recovering from fires and from some sourcing issues caused by the fires here in California. We have a bunch of Napa and Sonoma stuff ready to go out, and we’ll make that happen over the next coming days, and if you’re a wine club member, shipments’ coming soon.

Hope everybody’s doing well, and hope everybody enjoyed Halloween. We had a good one at our house. Thanks.

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