Posts Tagged ‘Valley’

A fireman's range...

A fireman’s range…

 

What do winemaking and firefighting have in common?

“Not a darn thing,” admits Dan D’Angelo cheerfully. But that hasn’t stopped this Napa firefighter from starting a second career in the wine industry.

Seven years ago D’Angelo created his own wine brand, Vino D’Angelo Wines, with labels Rescue Red and Chief’s Blend.

“I just kind of jumped into it,” he said. “I enjoy it because I like the challenge of it.”

Today, his wines are found at a number of local restaurants and stores including Grace’s Table, Il Posto Trattoria, Sushi Mambo, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Siam Thai House, Vallerga’s, Ranch Market, Lawler’s Liquors and Val’s Liquors.

What fire station do you work at?

I’m at Station 3 by Justin-Siena.

How do you find the time to run your wine business?

We get our days off. I squeeze it in.

 

Read on …

Durbanville Hills cellar 01

 

 

From its first vintage 15 years ago, Durbanville Hills Wines, which is located on the Tygerberg Hills and overlooks Table Mountain and Table Bay, has produced some of the best received super premium wines in the country.

Cellar master Martin Moore, who was appointed in 1998 when the cellar was still in the early stages of construction, reminisces fondly of the first vintage and the memorable wines produced in 1999.

“When the first grapes were delivered to the presses, work had not even started on that part of the building which today houses the maturation cellar, restaurant and wine-tasting area.

“But regardless of the challenges both the Luipaardsberg Merlot and the Biesjes Craal Sauvignon blanc from our first vintage received double gold at Veritas while the Durbanville Hills Chardonnay was awarded gold. During that first vintage just over 3 000 tons of grapes were pressed. Within a few short years production moved up to reach the cellar’s full capacity of 8 000 tons,” says Moore.

“Over the years we have extended our product range to showcase the diverse terroir of the area. During the 15 years we have created a number of what I believe are quite remarkable wines; wines which in my view truly capture the unique flavour spectrum found on our valley slopes.”

Durbanville Hills has over the years become particularly known for its top-quality Sauvignon blanc, due also to the cool-climate location of its production units which all enjoy ideal conditions for growing this cultivar.

“During the summer months and then mostly in the late afternoon, the southeaster , blows off False Bay over the Cape Flats, bringing with it cool, moist air. The wind is surprisingly cold as it comes sweeping over the contours of the hills, cooling down the vineyards even on the hottest day. And when the southeaster is not blowing, a westerly wind coming off the cold Atlantic produces the same results,” says Moore.

Sauvignon blanc is represented across the cellar’s three wine ranges. All of them regularly receive awards at national and international competitions. Although the wines can be enjoyed immediately, the winery’s Sauvignon blancs are known for their longevity, with the Biesjes Craal in particular lasting for up to ten years.

The wines are available from the cellar and leading liquor outlets and retail for about R52 in the case of the 2012 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc and R85 for the 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc while you should expect to pay about R115 for the 2012 Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc.

 

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The popular, Guy Fieri.

The popular, Guy Fieri.

 

Guy Fieri, a celebrity chef known for his rowdy personality, spiky hair and love of roadside diners, is adding an unexpected venture to his mix: winemaking.

The star of the Food Network series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” has bought a five-acre vineyard of pinot noir grapes in the Russian River Valley appellation and submitted an application to open a wine tasting room on Willowside Road.

“Ever since I moved to Sonoma County and saw all this incredible environment of wine, from the agricultural side of it to the business side of it, to the community involvement side of it … I’ve just been in awe,” Fieri said Friday. “So my wife and I were talking about it, and saying, ‘Can we do that some day?’”

Fieri bought the property last year. In his first vintage, 2012, he sold his grapes to Jackson Family Wines for its La Crema brand and to Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg, which both have had long-term contracts to purchase grapes from the vineyard.

He has initiated organic farming methods on the vineyard and is… read on

 

There are easier ways to get to Durbanville Hills Winery than aboard a snorkel-equipped Land Rover, but I don’t think there’s a better way to go.

They brought out the 4×4 vehicles (snorkel-equipped — who knew? — so the engines can breathe even in deep water crossings) so that we could experience and appreciate the hills, the vineyards and the rugged terrain even before we came to the winery itself and the braai lunch that was planned for us there.

 

Surrounding vineyards.

 

My visit to Durbanville Hills Winery started as adventure and became a learning experience about the diverse nature of wine in South Africa. Now it is also Exhibit A in the case against the One Big Tank myth that I wrote about last week.

 

Entrance to Durbanville Hills Cellar at night.

Entrance to Durbanville Hills Cellar at night.

 

The Big Tank theory is that giant wine and drinks companies with dozens of brands in their portfolios offer consumers the illusion of choice, not real choice. It’s as if all the different wines came out of one big tank.  Although there is a grain of truth in this idea, I think it is fundamentally bogus and Durbanville Hills is a case in point.

From Oom Tas to Nederberg Noble

Durbanville Hills Winery is part of the Distell drinks empire. As I wrote last week, Distell is South Africa’s largest wine and spirits producer and is a global power in several beverage categories. They superficially fit the Big Tank stereotype, but within their range of brands you will find choices over a wide range starting with very basic wines such as Oom Tas (described as “an inexpensive, dry, golden, unsophisticated wine of constantly good quality and taste”) and Kellerprinz (” an unpretentious, fun wine, its quality is nevertheless good and consistent, offering value for money”) and moving on up the ladder to the rather special Nederberg Noble Late Harvest wine I wrote about last year.
Read on …

 

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The US wine industry report.

The US wine industry report.

 

Silicon Valley Bank’s annual State of the Wine Industry Report forecasts 4-8% sales growth in wine for 2013. The report identifies trends and addresses current issues facing the U.S. wine industry, offering data and observations that help that wineries can use to develop their business strategies.

Silicon Valley Bank’s wine report is based on its in-house expertise as one of the largest bankers to the West Coast wine industry for nearly 20 years, a proprietary database of more than a decade of winery financials, ongoing research, and an annual survey of 450 West Coast wineries.

 

Read on…

 

Click to download a PDF of the report:

 

Click thumbnail to view the full-size infographic

Click thumbnail to view the full-size infographic

 

 

Rob McMillan.

 

Rob McMillan has become one of banking’s experts on the wine business, but he might easily have spent his whole career thinking about corpses instead.

McMillan — an executive vice president at Silicon Valley Bank who founded its division that caters to wineries and others in the grape biz — is set to release Tuesday his popular annual report on the state of the wine industry.

But in the early 1990s, when the bank asked him to suggest niche segments to enter, wine was far from his mind. He crunched the numbers and found the perfect industry for the bank to target: mortuaries.

“‘Go find something more fun,'” his boss told him.

So McMillan kept looking. At the time, the wine industry was languishing. Major lenders were trying to reduce their exposure to wine, and the business was seen as extremely risky. But McMillan saw an opening.
Read on …

 

Bulk wine imports more than doubled in the United States this year because of competitive pricing and changing consumer attitudes, according to a new survey from Silicon Valley Bank.
Silicon Valley Bank’s annual State of the Wine Industry survey – published yesterday – noted that bulk wine imports to the US ‘soared’ in 2012 as compared to the previous year, ‘from 13.7m cases, to 31.5m cases, and totalling over 40m cases in the past 12 months.’

According to the survey, the increase is due to higher domestic demand, better access to foreign bulk and favourable exchange rates.

In spite of a high-quality and high-volume California harvest in 2012, survey authors predict a continued increase in bulk imports this year, especially if the dollar strengthens.

Chile, Argentina and Australia were responsible for 75% of all bulk imports to the US in 2012.

Read on …

 

South Africa’s Origin Wine has announced a new project with the Brandvlei Cooperative in the Breede River Valley, following on from the Fairhills Fairtrade project.

Origin Wines and Fairtrade hand-in-hand!

Origin Wines and Fairtrade hand-in-hand!

The new project will be in place for the 2013 vintage and will add to Origin Wine’s premium range of “Fairtrade Unsung Hero” as well as lower alcohol wines such as “Fair & Light”.

The Fairhills Fairtrade project started in South Africa in 2006 and now has partnership projects in Argentina and Chile.

Bernard Fontannaz, who founded Fairhills in 2004, said: “After the overwhelming success of our first Fairtrade project, which started the upliftment and the social development process for an entire community of over… read on