Tuesday, July 22, 2008

State of the Estate Philosophy

I make no pretense that an estate wine automatically means the wine will taste good.  I have also had lots of home-made food which was not to my liking!  We regularly taste wine, and just this week after sampling seventeen estate-grown wines in one morning, we found only two which met our standards for quality, flavor, typicity, and value.  We are very selective.

Corporate owned wines are not all bad and can be quite nice to drink in some instances.  At Wine Authorities we choose not to support these Big Liquor Company (BLC) wines because they usually represent chemical winemaking vs. grape winemaking; marketing based on label designs and color vs. quality of wine; and we want to support small farmers who grow their own grapes and make their own wine. I cannot argue taste with as that is subjective. However, I can assert the BLC use of chemicals which harm the land, the chemicals used to adjust the wine's color, flavor, and aromas, the overpriced costs of wines which support the large corporate overhead, and the intentional manipulation of the market to make certain styles popular and trendy.

Our store also focuses on estate wines to distinguish ourselves in the market.  We want to offer a new wine experience to the consumer and to show some of the nearly 4,000 grapes used in winemaking around the world.  There are people who enjoy wines made from Friulano, Godello and Mencía.  The BLCs put very little to no effort in making these wines available in the market.  If these grapes are not supported they risk becoming "extinct" leaving us with Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet choices.

The word "corporate" continues to get a bad rap, but I don't think all things corporate are bad.  I just think corporate wine making leads to cutting corners and cutting costs to the detriment of wine, wine culture, human culture and human health.  My gosh, we could be facing the downfall of human kind through bad wine! 
 - Salamanzar


Melanie Busbee said...

Estate grown simply means grapes are grown on site, right? If I am correct, I know that a lot of the Yadkin Valley wineries grow their own grapes for the majority of their wines, but will purchase only certain grapes like Pinot Noirs and Rieslings elsewhere. Would they still be considered estate wineries?

Salamanzar & Grand Poobah Wine Swami said...

Estate grown actually means that a winery grows their own grapes, makes their wine in their own winery and bottles their wine on site. Some NC wineries would be estate grown, but it can also vary wine by wine as a winery may be purchasing some fruit for certain wines. Also, some of the smaller ones do not actually have wineries, but make their wines in other places. I guess it all depends. - Salamanzar

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