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Wine Buzz: January 2014

Posted on  | December 30, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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GRAFFIGNA SCALES GREAT HEIGHTS WITH NEW RED BLEND

In 1870, Santiago Graffigna planted vines in the shadow of the mighty Andes, with an understanding that altitude would enhance the quality of local red varieties. Graffigna Centenario Elevation Red Blend pays tribute to his vision, with the high-altitude fruit delivering a complex, powerful wine that still retains food-friendly freshness. The blend is composed of Argentina’s signature Malbec, enhanced with dollops of Bonarda, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, plus some Tannat for structure. The result is full-bodied with notes of spice, dark chocolate and vanilla.

SRP $13.99

graffignawines.com

GUARACHI FAMILY SETS UP IN SONOMA COAST

Things are getting serious in the Sonoma Coast AVA as wineries continue to not only buy grapes, but also invest there. Guarachi Family Estates has purchased their first estate, Sun Chase Vineyard, situated within the Sonoma Coast AVA and Petaluma Wind Gap. The 248-acre property is named for how the sun “chases the fog” in the mornings, and it enjoys prime exposure on the southern side of Sonoma Mountain. The first single-vineyard wines from there are scheduled for the 2013 vintage.

guarachifamilywines.com

 

UNION WINE CO. TAKES A PAGE OUT OF THE BEER PLAYBOOK

At last year’s Feast Portland (Oregon), attendees were treated—as part of Union Wine Co.’s “Pinkies Down” campaign—to limited-edition wine in a 12 oz. can. The cans were a hit, instantly conveying the image of wines with less fuss. Based on the positive response, the Willamette Valley-based winery decided to take the project even further, planning to can some of their Underwood series of young and fruit-forward wines. Aside from sheer novelty, the cans also make wine a more practical choice for outdoor events. Expect them to debut widely in March 2014, with SRP $5/can.

unionwinecompany.com

FREE FLOW AIMS TO KEEP WINES ON TAP GROWING

The scenario: An innovative production option strikes many in the trade as hypothetically smart, but fraught with risk of rejection among tradition-minded wine drinkers. Haven’t we been down that path before with screwtops?

Free Flow Wines, started in 2009 by industry veterans and a restaurateur, has developed a business model that provides a positive hedge against perceived consumer resistance to wine on tap. In short, Free Flow helps wineries fill kegs with whatever they would like to sell. As more and more respected wineries and restaurants team up to use their service, the easier it will be for consumers to embrace the simple notion that wine by-the-glass from a tap is every bit as good and fresh as the same wine in bottles.

Recently, at their new headquarters in Napa, Free Flow introduced the first automated wine-kegging line in North America to help meet demand. The operation can now increase its processing from 7,000 kegs per week to 20,000. Each keg holds the equivalent of 26 bottles of wine.

Free Flow now kegs more than 300 wine brands and services more than 2,000 restaurants, hotels, sports, and entertainment venues nationwide. Top clients include King Estate, Simi, Paul Dolan, J Vineyards, Qupé, 10 Span, Trefethen and The Hess Collection. And if the lower carbon footprint of going bottle-free is not environmentally inspiring enough, Free Flow also installed a water reclamation system that recycles 99% of all water used when cleaning and sterilizing kegs for re-use. freeflowines.com


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