Throwing My Hat into the Ring

Monday, March 3, 2014

Yes, I know that it has been quite a while since I have really written any good articles on the site.  To tell the truth I have been constantly revising my plans for my own wine label, and the past couple of weeks have been truly engaging.  Actually, this year has been quite interesting so far in regards to the world of wine and what I have experienced so far.

It all started with Benvenuto Brunello, an event focused on Brunello di Montalcino, which is a robust red wine made from the Sangiovese grape in the Montalcino region of Tuscany.  This is one of those big wines that needs time to age and grow in the bottle and so when you drink it, these best you’ll get now will have been bottled in 2006.  This is one of those wines where you really need to have developed your palate for red wines and go to a tasting exclusively of them simply because the prices for great Brunello starts at around fifty dollars a bottle, and unless you have a nice trust fund, your picks at the store could be hit or miss and turn you away from this.  I also came across another appellation in that region called Sant’ Antimo, which is named for a region near a church of the same name.  Those wines could be combinations of several different varietals or a single varietal, but just had to be in that region.  There were some great ones there as well.  Once I email them for the layout of the room, I can tell you the best ones there.  However, I would like to say that the 2006 Capanna Brunello DOCG Riserva was the best one in the room.  Also, the Sant’ Antimo DOC Vin Santo from Il Poggione was the best Vin Santimo that I have ever tasted, being alluring, decadent and demure all at the same time.

The next event was the VinItaly US Tour and Slow Wine event, which is now an annual thing for me to attend.  I, of course, run into old contacts and acquaintances and every year I learn something new.  This time around, I learned more about Prosecco, and thus finally know why they can taste so differently; the answer is that it has to be 80% Glera grape, and the remaining can be a blend from up to four different other varietals.  That in itself shows how different each producer’s releases can be.  At this event I also met some new acquaintances and found another producer whom I want to use for my own label.  I also tasted a Refosco dal Penuncolo Rosso from Canus and loved it.

Following this, my buddy Ottavio Ruggieri of Wines Unlimited invited me to a tasting of first and grand cru Burgundy wines from Maison Nicolas Potel.  As I had just finished reading Reflections of a Wine Merchant, I was more intrigued with these wines.  For those of you that don’t know, red Burgundy wines are made from Pinot Noir and their style is particularly different from Pinot Noir that you will find anywhere else in the world.

And then that last event was the Castilla La Mancha US Tour which featured wines from the area of which Don Quixote would have roamed in Spain.  I will tell you that I was completely blown away by many of these wines because most of the Spanish wines that I have had before in no way matched these.  Now, the question is whether my wine palate was as receptive to these types of wines before or if the people who were presenting wines were presenting one thing but telling you that it was so much more.  It’s like them selling you a Yugo and hyping it up like a Mercedes S Class; this I am finding out happens a lot. 

Some of the wines were so good that they made me revise both my short term and my long term plans.
So, that brings me to where I am today.  I have not only an overall business plan and several marketing plans, but a list of the four to five wines that I want initially to start out with.  And one of these wines is so great that I think it could easily sell 10k bottles in the first year, and I do really believe that that is a gross understatement/underestimation.  I’ve connected with the artist that I want to design the label and the logo, registered the business entity and have gotten estimates for wine transport from Italy to here.  The next thing is applying for the permits with the TTB but I still have a back-up plan in working through another importer and distributor who wanted me to join their team several years ago.  The last thing is getting final insurance quotes and deciding where to warehouse the product.

Oh, and of course there is thing in regards to raising capital, which I have started doing through Indiegogo, which you can find here.

So, that’s it.  I will get back to writing again and the next step is to make it to Italy by the third of April.  Aside from that, nothing else exciting has been happening.

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Our Mission: The Black Winer strives to expose African Americans [and others] to wines, without the flair, stuffiness, and airs of elitism and snobbery that you get from sommeliers and high level wine enthusiasts. We believe in finding something that you like the taste of, outside of the basic brands that you have been force-fed over the years through a combination of ethnically targeted advertising, and what people in your family have historically been drinking.

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