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Vineyard Sources and Small Wineries

Dragonette Seven

We can file this one under, another issue for small wineries to have to worry about. Like there wasn’t enough of them to begin with!

Hi guys, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, so first, happy Monday to everybody. Second, I wanted to take a minute and talk about … This is a Dragonette 7, so this is a Syrah blend. Dragonette’s a smallish winery down in Santa Barbara, they have a tasting room in Los Olivos, still one of the very best places to go wine tasting on the Central Coast or really anywhere in California. I wanted to take a minute to talk about this bottle, not only because it’s going out to Red Wine Club members currently but also because I think it helps to tell the tale of some of the challenges faced by smaller wineries. If you’re thinking why didn’t they just call it Syrah instead of 7, well so, they did it in large part because when they first started making this wine I think in 2011 or so, they made it from seven different vineyards and it was really a blend and they’re trying to kind of give you a good idea of what does Syrah from this section of the Central Coast really taste like and they’re trying to find cool climate vineyards, et cetera, et cetera. You know they’re checking all the boxes.

The issue then came as Dragonette’s profile got bigger, they got access to more fruit from some of the very top vineyard sources that they were trying to source from and that meant that they then didn’t have to use fruit from sources that they didn’t like quite as much. Instead of seven, we’re really down to three or maybe four in some smaller vintages. From a smaller winery perspective, so they’ve had good scores on this from the beginning, 93, 94 points in Spectator consistently, do you change the name and get rid of all of the critical acclaim that went through past vintages just because you’re no longer using seven vineyard sources even though that’s what you titled the damn wine? That’s the question and not an easy one to answer for most people. I think most smaller wineries go through this as far as if they’re sourcing from a small vineyard and they’re putting the vineyard actually on the label, then what do you do if you lose access to that fruit?

This is almost kind of in the other direction, when if you outgrow some fruit that you don’t like quite as much. I think in essence this gave them the opportunity to keep kind of some of the critical acclaim that had built up behind this wine and this label and this blend that they do without having to kind of start all over again. That is truly one of the challenges that are faced by small wineries. If you don’t own a vineyard and you put time into marketing that vineyard or marketing that group of vineyards, even if you’re doing it through a trade name, what happens when you no longer have access or don’t need those vineyards? That’s a question that the injury as a whole, we haven’t been able to answer quite yet. So once again, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, I hope you guys are all having a good one.

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