A Sea of Wine

Sometimes it feels like we're a tiny little ship bobbing along in a growing sea of wines. The water is choppy and the weather does not appear to be letting up any time soon. Nor are the tides in our favor. Distributors are tightening up their inventories, restaurants aren't buying, and retailers are sticking with the tried and true labels that sell. (Thankfully we fit this category.) Differentiation is the name of the game, along with a million other details including 90+ scores, a stellar track record, and the right contacts on all sides of the business.

Just last night I came across yet another new brand that made me choke. Dry Stack. Maybe it's my weakening 40+ year old eyes, but to me, when I quickly scanned the wine list at one of my favorite local restaurants, it looked a lot like Dry Creek. I shuddered in disgust. Where do all these new brands keep coming from???

I have written before about the challenges of running a winery today. It is just not easy folks. Of course the recession is making it doubly hard. But even if you remove the current economy, there's a glut of wine out there with eye catching labels and slick brands oozing out of every corner of the globe. When you factor all of this in, I wonder why it is that anyone in their right mind would consider starting a new winery today. That is why I read with great interest about a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting and Running a Winery. I first heard about it in the blogosphere, and thought it was a joke. But sure enough, a quick perusal of Amazon revealed there really is such a book.

I've already placed my order. I can't wait to hear what pearls of wisdom author Thomas Pellechia has for those of you who want to join our ranks. I'm planning to read it over the holidaysÂ…just so I can have a good laugh here and there. I'll report back my findings. And who knows, I just might be inspired to write my own title: The Wilma Way: Clawing Your Way to the Top, One Barrel at a Time

| | Comments (6)


russell said:
December 19, 2008 12:46 PM

Funny . . . Of course I instantly went to the Dry Stack Winery web-site and see that they have had to change their name - now Grey Stack. You're not the only one who choked on that name - so did Dry Sack Sherry.

Hadn't heard of Complete Idiots Guide . . . we'll all look forward to your review.

Sauvignon blanc eh? Sure why not!

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
December 19, 2008 8:55 PM

Talk about karma. I've been stewing about this Dry Stack thing for a while. I figured there's probably little we could do anyway without spending a ton of money to fight it. Now, Dry Sack Sherry solved it for me. Thanks Dry Sack! And, thanks Russell!

hustler Author Profile Page said:
December 20, 2008 8:26 AM

possibly the worst winery names I've heard in my short life.

JohnLopresti Author Profile Page said:
December 21, 2008 5:37 PM

There is a folkloric scene in the classic Cervantes novel about Quijote, in which a sleepy hero somehow enters the store room of the road house where he is lodging, in the dark of late night, and begins to sword fight with the suspended goatskins of new wine, each of which holds about 46 liters [see footnote].

A secret jewel in a neighborhood I learned on a foreign journey was a restaurant which had preserved that age old practice, of ordering its table wine in adult goatskins of 46 liters, called odres. Every few months the restaurant would be out of red table wine altogether, while it waited for the filled skins to arrive from remote mountain vineyards.

Maybe that is something like a dry stack. Tom's book looks intriguing, as well. Everything you ever wanted to know about managing a wine estate.

I am glad the upstart winery changed its name, too, the dispute seemed to create an image of Jesse and Ernesto arguing about chardonnay in an oak foliage adorned 750ml, it fooled me once when I left the eyeglasses in the car, but, who would they call as an expert shopper witness?
Here is a link to an ecclectic literature publication with a rendering of the three slain no longer dry stack skins each still with some part of their original 46 L of table wine: http://www.editorialalaire.com/articulo/175/el-vino-y-don-quijote

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
December 22, 2008 9:04 AM

Hustler, I couldn't agree more!

John, thanks for sharing.

Cheap Wine Author Profile Page said:
December 22, 2008 6:45 PM

Even though the economy is bad wine is still "cool" and people think that anyone can enter the wine biz.

Hate to see short time buzz prop up a bunch of soon to fade vineyards all the while they are collectively taking a small piece of the pie from the steady consistent wine producers we all care about.

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on December 19, 2008 12:35 PM.

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