Bodegas LAN: Rioja Innovation and Evolution
Every wine brand has a culture, strategically built or cultivated. For Bodegas LAN, a relative newcomer on the Rioja scene, comparative to its peers, it seems strategy and cultivation go hand in hand.
LAN - an acronym based on the initials of each of the three provinces that form the D.O.Ca. Rioja: Logroño, Alava and Navarra - was founded in 1972 in the heart of Rioja Alta. Bodegas LAN’s attention to detail, pristine raw material and pioneering use of mixed oak barrels results in personality-first wines with vintage consistency.
LAN prides itself on its technical advances which ensure the protection and sustainability of its vineyards and the surrounding fauna and flora. This nurturing of viticulture creates the correct environment to pursue winemaker / technical director Maria Barúa’s tailored ageing system, which is the first of its kind in Rioja.
Follow the Bodegas LAN #winestudio chat on Twitter
November 5, 12, 19, 26 - 9:00pm - 10:00pm ET
WSET Wine Educator Lyn Farmer @fizzfan
Week 1 - November 5: Bodegas LAN Introduction > Historical & Topographical Overview
Week 2 - November 12: Modern Innovation
Week 3 - November 19: Viña Lanciano > The Relationship between Vineyard & Oak
Week 4 - November 26: Tech and Sustainability
Introducing our Seasonal Beverage Club - elemental Salon!
A beverage club based on the seasons, paired with art and locally-made foods through our community creatives.
Included each Season (4 times per year):
Our introductory salon features Virginia Beach local Cindy Pennybacker > business owner, artist, designer and overall badass! Cindy has been featured in some of the hottest magazines such as Distinction, Southern Living and Coastal Virginia. Many of you may know her as Chartreuse Interiors owner in the Vibe District before she closed to concentrate exclusively on her art, which is now sought after by collectors.
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Tina Morey Certified Sommelier | Crystal Cameron-Schaad DipWSET
[a Crystal Palate & #winestudio production]
Dirt, Regenerative Farming and What Farming Truly Means to Today’s Young American Farmers - The Burnt Hill Project via Old Westminster Winery
Just six years ago, Maryland's Old Westminster Winery turned heads at Boston's Drink Local Conference. Today, they're in the midst of producing, as they call it, "an iconic Maryland red" at their newly planted Burnt Hill. Drew calls this particular area the "mid-Maryland ridge," west of Sugarloaf Mountain and the BlueRidge.
“We’re going to challenge current beliefs with unique and transparent wines – wines that offer balance, nuance, and character. We’re going to farm thoughtfully, using biodiverse cover crops, biodynamic principles and incorporating animals. And then, in the winery, we’re going to craft wines with a light hand, ferment with indigenous yeast, and bottle it all without fining or filtration. These wines will be made without makeup – a pure reflection of the time and place where they’re grown and the people who guided the process." Drew Baker.
Follow the conversation:
Tuesdays - 9-10pm Twitter, hashtag: #winestudio
Week 1 - Tuesday 4 June: The American Family Farm > How Old Westminster Winery is Establishing a Farming Legacy
Introduction to the Baker family.
Week 2 - Tuesday 11 June: The Burnt Hill Project - “Wind blows, fire burns…”
Climate, Grapes, Soil and Biodynamics
Week 3 - Tuesday 18 June: Summer Solstice Festival - A Natural Wine Celebration
The Wine Festival is Dead, Long live the Wine Festival! Why this particular wine festival matters for the Mid-Atlantic Wine Region
Week 4 - Tuesday 25 June: The Afterglow of Solstice > Now What? A Family Moving Forward
More info to come!
We’re all searching for something: purpose, love, money, religion, justice, truth, beauty. At the core of it all is this idea that something must represent that search; perhaps something that provides an outstretched hand, an embrace, a satisfying beverage or a field of flowers. Whatever that “something” is, it provides us a connection.
Understanding our world through wine and our part in that world
The historically tragic, yet brilliant outcome of “critter” labels is that it polarized wine drinkers. Critter, or rather picture labels with that “animal” slant were fun; they made wine choices easy for those just looking for a good bottle on a Wednesday night without the worry of becoming overwhelmed or making a “bad” choice. In a world where we’re bombarded by numerous products daily, this choice needed to be seamless. And the same could be said for “wordy” wine labels; who wants to decipher those after a long day?
Perhaps the advent of the “critter” label was just the logical “next thing” in wine labeling. But there was an inherent problem: many of the wines associated were seen as inferior, the labels, subterfuge. And as these critter labels flooded the market, we soon figured out their purpose. So, what now? Maybe the answer lies within a palette of pink.
Evolution in Wine Thinking
The enigmatic part about rosé is its ever-changing landscape: a profusion of colors, complexity, grape varieties, production methods, bottle shapes and flavour profiles. Rosé is neither governed by any set of wine rules nor would it want to be anything other than what it is. Which, when you really think about it, is kind of cool, and dare I say, desirable, next-level thinking.
So then, what’s next for an evolution within the context of labels, and therefore connecting to a polarized group? Wine drinkers have at least a “working” relationship with rosé now, meaning only that we understand the “pink” liquid can be and mean many things depending on how, where, why and with whom we’re drinking. We’re having a good time with rosé.
According to Wines and Vines, it’s seen the strongest growth of any wine type at 48% and shipments totaling $48 million. And because there are inherently no particular rules within the world of rosé, there’s an even playing field for our polarized group. Now that’s exciting!
“Wine is kind of like going to a live show. Every performance is distinct, the audience enjoying it influences the experience, and every so often the band knows when they just created their next big hit. That’s why I keep coming back to wine.” Jaleh Najafali, Wine enthusiast / law student
Elizabeth Gabay MW and author of Rosé - Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution wrote: “...the real pink revolution is only just beginning.” I agree, and I think through rosé, there’s an infinite amount of learning and possibilities to be had! As wine lovers and well, human beings, we look to food and wine to nourish us, to connect us, to elevate us to something else. We want to feel good, even to make us look “cool” to our friends. What better way to find fulfillment than with another culturally-nourishing endeavour - art.
Design and Human Nature
I recently connected with oenographic: Graphic Design + Wine founder Jeff Gilligan whose Instagram account reads like only cool profiles could: “oenographic celebrate(s) the best of DESIGN + WINE.” And I thought, how forward-thinking is that!
Anyone can like art. Much like rosé, art can be and mean many things depending on where, why and with whom we’re enjoying it. There are no rules, no parameters, only a desire to experience, to feel, to connect with something that encourages us to look outside of ourselves while simultaneously looking in.
“Art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time. Research has shown art affects the fundamental sense of self. Art preserves what fact-based historical records cannot: how it felt to exist in a particular place at a particular time. Art in this sense is communication; it allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, sounds and stories. Art is often a vehicle for social change.” Reference.com
Much like artists, winemakers are creatives who see the potential in their grapes, in the soil, in the world around them, pushing winemaking boundaries every day, so what better way to showcase their bottled wine than with an artist’s label.
Kent Humphrey and his wife and business partner Colleen Teitgen, owners of Eric Kent Wine Cellars, know the value of wine and art. While Kent crafts their wines, Colleen, an artist and curator of their galleries, oversees their dream of combining their shared passions in wine and art. I asked them their goals for the artist labels and if they feel people are drawn to bottle art. “Definitely! You can’t help but choose a bottle on a shelf based on how it looks. I think we all do it.” Kent Humphrey
“Order wines and it's like having your personal art gallery at your table!! Zelda Sydney Illustrated Wine
“We are trying to expose our customers and the general public to lesser known artists and get them an audience for their work. There is a lot of stereotypical wine art out there and we want our labels to represent the artists, not wine country. Be different. Be true. Help artists. Get attention. Bring pleasure. Yes, we can say definitively that many people have discovered they love our wines after being drawn in by the art labels. They were happy to learn the wine was good too!” Colleen Teitgen
The couple “encourage(s) up-and-coming local artists by commissioning them to design the beautiful Eric Kent back labels, as well as by supporting Sonoma arts events.” Sommelier Journal
Eric Kent Wine Cellars, 2017 Rosé, Sonoma County, CA Artist Yellena James
Blogger Cathie Schafer, CSW writes: “I realized rosé is the ideal medium to connect us with its evolving landscape with an art-inspired label. It shows that we want something more than the alcohol in the bottle--it tells an even bigger story. I like to believe that the label creates an unspoken connection between the winemaker and the consumer.”
Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, NY has been in business since 1980, now growing 75 acres of sustainably farmed grapes. Since 2000, owner and art collector Michael Lynne, (April 1941 - March 2019) a trustee for New York's Museum of Modern Art, commissioned artwork for the wine labels from artists like Barbara Kruger and Eric Fischl.
Bedell Cellars 2017 Taste Rosé, Long Island, NY, Artist Barbara Kruger
Bedell Cellars is considered to be a benchmark for quality in the Eastern US, and winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich crafts his Long Island rosé with a unique blend every year, made by gently pressing whole clusters of sustainably grown estate fruit, before fermenting with indigenous yeasts.
The artwork that graces the rosé is by Barbara Kruger, an internationally renowned American conceptual artist. She created the image “Taste” exclusively for Bedell Cellars, suggesting the notion that taste can influence what we love, how we live, and who we think we are. Bedell Cellars
“Art opens everything up to such a bigger spectrum of people. And this is why I personally believe art is powerful, because art saved my life.” Artist David Tovey, Museum of Homelessness, Tate Exchange
Perhaps rosé is the connection for polarized wine drinkers after all.
Last February, Amy Bess and a few of her member wineries joined #winestudio to discuss her new project. We listened, we tasted and we loved her spirit and drive.
Over a year in and Amy Bess has created a community of advocacy and solutions for women in the wine industry.
She is a mighty force! Consider supporting today.
February 2018 #winestudio Program:
Beginnings: Woman-Owned Wineries of Sonoma County
I met Amy Bess Cook on a writer retreat last September and I knew this was someone I wanted in my life.
After Amy Bess released her new project, Woman-owned Wineries (WoW) of Sonoma I contacted her immediately to offer #winestudio as a platform to get the message out.
From Amy Bess:
"I was compelled to create this site because, during my eight years of helping to operate a boutique winery, I witnessed hardworking women throughout the industry being marginalized every place from sales meetings to the cellar floor. I wanted to do something positive to celebrate their work. This project is my love letter to them."
Tuesdays, February 6, 13, 20 - 6:00pm -7:00pm Pacific | 9:00pm – 10:00pm Eastern - hashtag #winestudio
Tuesday 6 February 6pmPT / 9pmET
Who is Breathless Wines?
Aesthetics and Mission
Breathless North Coast Brut SRP $25
Vineyards, Grapes, Winemaking
Breathless Blanc de Noirs SRP $30
Art, Sabering, and Building Connections through Crowdfunding
Tuesday 13 February 6pmPT / 9pmET
Amy Bess Cook and WoW
March (1) Launch
Tuesday 20 February 6pmPT / 9pmET
How to find your voice and your calling amidst a family business
Necessity is the mother of all invention
Pedroncelli 2017 Friends.White SRP $14
A go-to winery - 90 years worth!
Pedroncelli 2015 Mother Clone Zinfandel SRP $19
When the Smithsonian National Museum of American History comes knocking
I was recently interviewed by the team at Mix + Shine Marketing + PR here in Virginia Beach and it was a killer experience.
Being your own boss is great, but it's good to face yourself head on sometimes and evaluate past decisions, good and bad so that you're always innovating, challenging others and yourself.
Big thanks to Rachael and April who forced me to rethink in ways I hadn't yet.
What's in this episode –
Listen here for the full Podcast.
For our 2019 Sensory kick-off event, we'll be visiting ski regions around the world! Join Sommeliers Tina Morey and Crystal Cameron-Schaad as we explore which wine regions sport the Après Ski mindset > skiing, warming fires, wine! No matter if you ski or not, wine and snacks are always welcome at the end of the day. Come explore some fabulous mountain wines and learn how high altitude can produce some of the world's most stunning wines paired with a variety of goodies.
As always, we'll be tasting and sniffing through our Sensory Table to reflect what's in our glasses.
Tickets $35 from Eventbrite
Date And Time
Sat, March 2, 2019
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM EST
Add to Calendar
Crystal Palate Wine & Gourmet
4500 Pretty Lake Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23518
There's always one particular association that drives the advancement of a wine region. This is where the Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) shines!
"MWC’s mission it to enhance the sustainability and profitability of the Michigan wine industry by supporting wineries, growers and other businesses and individuals connected to the industry – today and for future generations. We focus on bringing Michigan wines to the global wine stage and creating a more inclusive wine industry."
The Collaborative is a non-profit organization which serves the Michigan wine industry and its consumers. MWC is a member-run organization comprised of winemakers, grape growers, suppliers/vendors, educators, industry affiliates, researchers/educators, consumers, and more. Their main mission is to enhance the sustainability and profitability of the Michigan wine industry. The immediate goal is to bring exposure to the industry and make Michigan wines more understood and accessible for wine lovers.
Follow hashtag #winestudio 9-10pm ET
5 February - An introduction to Michigan Wine
Michigan Wine Collaborative Director Emily Dockery
St. Julian Winery Lake Michigan Shore AVA
Winemaker: Nancie Oxley @stjulianwinery
St. Julian Winery Lake Michigan Shore AVA
Winemaker: Nancie Oxley @stjulianwinery
As Michigan’s oldest winery, St. Julian Winery truly reflects the soul of Michigan. For nearly 100 years they have focused on achieving the highest quality and consistency in their products. Through the years they have cultivated land in the state’s most premium appellation — Lake Michigan Shore, which has lead to their unrelenting commitment to using local fruit and resources to craft their exceptional products.
Their dedication to creating the finest quality from farm to bottle, while supporting the local community, has allowed the best of our state to shine through in every bottle. Over the past 15 years, St. Julian has focused on producing a new line of single variety wines. The grapes come from the vineyards in Southwest Michigan, producing top quality wines. In 1999, Braganini Reserve Meritage was “born” establishing a small lot production of dry, single variety wines. St. Julian now has over 15 Braganini Reserve wines ranging in many different winemaking styles.
2017 Mountain Road Riesling ($19.99)
2017 Braganini Reserve Grüner Veltliner ($19.99)
Amoritas Vineyards Leelanau Peninsula AVA
Viticulturalist: Emily Goodell @AmoritasVines
Michael, Emily, and Matthew Goodell carry the torch of entrepreneurial wine industrialism, originally lit wife & mother, Mary Northcutt, into the forefront of Michigan farmers and winemakers. Along with Matthew’s wife Nora, the team has forged ahead tirelessly, pursuing a goal to craft clean, delicate, and delicious wines. Wines created from grapes planted, nurtured, and harvested by hand on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula.
2016 Chardonnay ($21)
L. Mawby Winery Leelanau Peninsula AVA
Winemaker: Peter Laing @mibubbly
Fine, traditional method sparkling wines, classically styled, produced entirely from grapes grown on the Leelanau Peninsula. Mawby wines express the character of this special place, the care of the people tending the vines, and the purity of intent of those guiding the transformation of grape to sparkling wine.
Blanc de Blanc ($25)
Big Little Wines Leelanau Peninsula AVA
Winemaker: Peter Laing @bigLITTLEwines
Big white wines. Little Leelanau Peninsula. Big brother. Little brother. Big passion. Little ego. The goal is to make full-bodied, hand crafted wines that are expressions of both staff and parents’ ten-acre vineyard in Lake Leelanau, Michigan.
2017 Mixtape Field Blend
Fenn Valley Vineyards Lake Michigan Shore AVA
Fenn Valley Vineyards is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery complex established in 1973. Their goal has always been to produce world-class wines from grapes grown along the shore of Lake Michigan.
The Fenn Valley estate is a 240 acre farm located five miles from Lake Michigan just south of Holland, Michigan. The site was chosen after reviewing weather, climate, and soil survey maps. Unlike farmers who already own farm land and then begin to grow grapes, the Welsch family migrated from the Chicago area and were therefore free to select the most desirable site for viticulture based on the available data.
What does their slogan, “The Lake Effect Everyone Loves” mean?
What they call the “Lake Effect” is the moderating effect that Lake Michigan has on the climate of West Michigan, and it is what makes grape growing possible. There is a narrow band right along the shore where cold tender grape varieties can be successfully grown. Most people who live there know the Lake Effect as heavy winter snowfall. But they know the Lake Effect as milder winter temperatures leading to great Michigan wine.
Director of Marketing: Kyle Browning @ChateauChantal
The Begin family, Robert, Nadine and daughter Marie-Chantal, opened the doors of friendly hospitality in 1993 upon the completion of a French style three room B&B, winery and vineyard estates. Focusing on Michigan wines, they produce Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and other varieties.
Perhaps even more interesting than the magical story of winemaking is the history of the Chateau’s founding couple, Robert and Nadine. Their fascinating tale begins with two previous careers of service to others. As a Catholic diocesan priest for 12 years, Robert worked in his home area of Detroit until a decision was made in 1972 to begin again as a businessman heading a construction business. Nadine had taken a similar path by entering the Felician Sisters in 1950. After earning her Master’s Degree in Home Economics and teaching for 22 years, she too made a decision to seek a different life. Married in 1974, the couple followed Robert’s dream of building a European style winery chateau.
30 Year Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay ($30)
How a Tech Device Revolutionized the Wine Industry!
Coravin is a wine preservation system that allows for all of us to enjoy drinking wine by the glass without ever pulling the cork!
For our Twitter discussion, we’ll be chatting with Peter Johnson, AVA Wine Manager at Coravin Tuesday, 4 December, then Greg Lambrecht, Founder and Inventor of Coravin on Tuesday 11 December.
Our topics for the program:
As always on #winestudio, we'll have a live, frank conversation! Join us online, Twitter hashtag #winestudio Tuesdays, 4 and 11 December 9-10pmET.
Established in 1820, Acker Merrall & Condit is the oldest wine merchant in America, and has been the largest global fine and rare wine auction house spanning over a decade and one of the largest and most influential wine purveyors in the world. And yet, most folks most likely have never heard of them. So Acker Merrall is on a mission to change that.
I used to work directly within auctions, and I get it, the whole process can be daunting. I've had several phone calls with the Acker team, who you'll meet online, and I have to say, they are a bunch of crazy wine geeks who, collectively, have worked for Acker Merrall & Condit for almost forty years, and today, that says a lot.
Acker prides itself as being uniquely welcoming to all walks of wine lover – from the novice inquisitor to the well-established collector, bringing new, unique and truly extraordinary experiences to all. The Acker approach is to “combine our expertise with yours” fostering, stoking and building upon a love of wine and the wine-enhanced lifestyle – from world-class auctions, to wines for your dinner table, to daily tastings, a killer wine club, corporate services and customized, once-in-a-lifetime wine experiences. It’s all here at Acker Merrall & Condit, and we are waiting for you, glass in hand.
As always with #winestudio, wine serves as vehicle for conversation and inclusiveness. This extraordinary program is more about opening wine to showcase the diversity of offerings, affordable AND aspirational quality. Embracing that wine is experiential and part of a lively, happy, lifestyle focused on joie di vivre; deliberately taking moments, minutes and hours, to savor special times with friends and loved ones over fine food and wine, creating sensory memories that last a lifetime.
The Acker Merrall & Condit team likes to say: “all wine in all ways." Awesome.
As a thank you, Acker Merrall & Condit has given us a discount code: enter #winestudio in Special Notes at checkout for 10% off your first purchase. (Discount reflected on final invoice. Exclusions apply.)
The Acker Merrall & Condit team on #winestudio:
Samantha has been a member of the Acker Merrall & Condit team for over a decade. She earned her undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and shortly after college, in pursuit of her passions for food, wine, and travel, she studied with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in New York City, earning her Advanced Certification with Distinction. She joined Acker Merrall & Condit in 2006, contributing to more than 350 live and online auctions in New York, Chicago, Europe and Hong Kong. She assisted in the coordination and execution of the Tsar’s Treasure auction in the Aland Islands, where a new world record for the world’s oldest and most expensive bottle of champagne was auctioned in 2011. She currently serves as auctioneer and Director of Operations.
Lily Mirabelle Freedman
Lily grew up in the New York City restaurant business which fostered her love of collecting and learning about fine and rare wine. While pursuing a degree at the University of Chicago, she worked in the kitchens of Daniel Boulud and Missy Robbins to learn the intricacies of the restaurant world. After college, she worked as a recipe developer at Bon Appetit Magazine and on several cookbooks. Lily spent a year as the client relations specialist at WineCredit, a specialty lender in the wine space, becoming an expert on the global wine market and cellar liquidation. She has served as the sommelier for Acker Merrall & Condit since 2014 and is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. As a Junior Partner in their Wine Workshop program, Lily orchestrates tastings of the world’s rarest wines and works with winemakers and wine critics to create the ultimate wine experience for novices and experts alike.
Cliff began his career at Acker Merrall & Condit in Sales and Management in the fall of 1996 upon completion of his undergraduate studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. In his over 22 years at Acker, Cliff has run Sales, served as Wine Buyer, managed the Retail Store operation, and now heads the Business Development Department. In addition to his years of work at Acker, Cliff also ran a retail shop and wine list for a major restaurant in Santa Barbara called the Montecito Wine Bistro, and started his own winery in 2008 called ‘No Limit Wines’, which focuses on Rhone varieties in the Central Coast of California. Cliff is an avid NY Mets and Rangers fan, and a native New Yorker.
#winestudio Tuesdays November 9-10pm EST @AckerMerrall
Week 1: Tuesday, November 6 - Building a Killer Wine Collection: Demystifying Wine Auctions
Acker Merrall & Condit will be celebrating its 200th anniversary! We'll discus how the company earned its reputation by having the best customer service in the industry and has provided expert wine services for nearly two centuries. Acker Merrall offers a vast array of services including a deep inventory of fine & rare wine, recommendations on new releases, first class wine education amenities, in-store tastings and their business foundation: fine & rare wine auctions.
Whilst discussing the above, we'll be sipping on these beauties:
2000 JJ Christoffel Riesling Spatlese Erdener Treppchen
2006 Palomita Syrah Hamilton Vineyard
2000 Chateau Latour Carnet
Week 2: Tuesday, November 13 - Badass Holiday Wines & Building Your Wine Cellar
The holiday season is upon us and that means even more reasons to rely on the experts at Acker Merrall. Wine and spirits make excellent holiday gifts (in various bottle sizes) for everyone on your list! We'll discuss holiday gatherings with family, friends and co-workers and how a well-chosen bottle makes a perfect gift that the recipient will always remember – especially if consumed together!
Whilst discussing the above, we'll be sipping on these bottles:
Orin Swift, 2017 8 Years in the Desert
Week 3: Tuesday, November 20 - “More Than a Wine Merchant” – The Accessible Luxury Lifestyle & Redefining Wine Culture
Acker Merrall, with 200 years of experience in the wine industry, is the ideal resource for anyone who loves wine, whether you’re just a beginner or an established collector. From their super easy auctions, to fine and rare retail, corporate resources, in-store tastings and of course education, Acker Merrall is redefining what wine culture is today.
Week 4: Tuesday, November 27 - “A Case in Point”: The Acker Wine Club
So what makes the Acker Merrall Wine Club different than other wine clubs? Tune in and find out with the Acker team!
We'll be enjoying this lovely:
Reserve Club selection: Frank Family Vineyards, 2015 Zinfandel Napa Valley