Saturday, October 18, 2014

BRAMBLES: Change Buy Design

Buzet, France 2007
Once harvest is done the winemakers attention goes into his workshop, the cellar. Outside in the vineyards, grapevine leaves are changing color and dropping. Chlorophyll in the vines leaves breaks down, its work is done, and the eventual leaf fall prepares for the dormancy of winter. Yet here, it can be the most beautiful, colorful time of year to be outside. There is still plenty of Sonoma County sunshine, but there is also the feeling that things around us are slowing down.  It is nature's change by design.

A discount coupon and a need for wine to complement a beef and onion stirfry brought me to discover Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec 2012 from the hills of  Mendoza, Argentina. This historic and bio-dynamic enterprise grew with its nation's developing rail transport to become one of the biggest wineries in Argentina from its humble origins more than 100 years ago. Its entry level Malbec displays a opaque purple hue, smoky floral black plum and cassis; firm, refined tannins grip the front of the mouth, with resinous dark fruit and spice that linger. With wide distribution it offers a suggested retail of $14, a discounted price of $11 or below, and cost a staggering $5.99 with my coupon at check-out. How can they afford to offer delicious, quaff-able wine at this price, I thought?

Trimmings & Pomace:
  • With an early start to this years North Coast grape harvest, as reported by the North Bay Business Journal, overall tonnage is expected to be above average following record harvests of the previous two years, with good to excellent quality.
  • Harper's reports, following a low 2013 harvest which followed consecutive unexceptional vintages, which has translated into a downturn in global sales(US/UK/China), Bordeaux's(world's most regulated and orchestrated wine region) Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) has announced its first ever global marketing campaign to help counter fall in wine sales and volume.
  • Reported recently by Nation's Restaurant News, the nation is seeing the best sales trend in two years, traffic remains constant, however spending by customers is on the rise. On-premise wine and alcohol sales remain a consistent growth segment for this developing market.
  •  Federal regulators with the Tax & Trade Bureau(TTB) have approved eleven(11) new (sub)viticultural areas within the existing Paso Robles AVA, dividing up more than 614,000 acres. Created in 1983, the Paso Robles winegrape area had grown from less than 5000 acres to more than 32,00 acres and more than 200 wineries in the last grape-lovin generation. Marketing jobs to follow...

  • Industry rag, The Drinks Business, reported on the "Top 10 Wines in the U.S. Press", offering single selections from France(Beaujolais), Spain, Argentina & Italy. The list was filled out with two(2) selections each from California, Washington State.....and Virginia!! 
In the Spring that follows the cycle starts again. Even as California produces about 90% of the nation's wine, other regions are beginning to earn well-deserved acclaim, adding to consumers choices. After a string of successful harvests, domestic supply is steady, markets continue to evolve, and wine consumers benefit. International distribution into our markets continues to grow, and even the seemingly immoveable standard bearers of the wine market are beginning to change with the times.  For us global wine consumers, these are each positive changes, all buy design.