Today, raising money to make entrepreneurial dreams come true has become a tad bit easier. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo give consumers the power to bring innovative ideas to market quicker and with less risk. Scrolling through Kickstarter you can find just about any creative and sometimes very niche concepts looking to get funded.Meet Mark Prior, an entrepreneur with the drive to open his wine retail and lounge concept focused on California small production wines by raising money through Kickstarter. Prior is a wine geek who has traveled to wine regions throughout California and abroad. He's so passionate about wine that he organizes an annual wine-tasting road trip for his circle of friends, and is regularly the "go-to" guy for wine recommendations. Now, he's looking to take his love of wine and hospitality to the next level. What's your background, how did you get into wine? It's an unlikely chain of events...I was in sales & marketing, then came to LA for the typically Hollywood dream, fell in love with the state and its wine country, and found a new dream.Why do you feel it's important to have a tasting room catered only to labels most of us haven't even heard of? I always find great wine when I visit the vineyards of Santa Barbara, Napa and elsewhere, but you never see those labels on the grocery store shelves or the big beverage retailers. It's important to spread the message that when a you walk down the wine aisle at the grocery store you're really only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the amazing wine made in California. There is so much more out there that should see light of day. What's the retail strategy? Price points? Wine Club? No thoughts on a wine club at the moment. And I can't specify as to price points other than saying I WILL have offerings from $8-$20 that may be sourced from a wholesaler/broker [versus being directly from wineries], but I stand behind my commitment that 80% of my inventory will be small-batch and family-run vineyards. There are plenty of California wines out there, that you never heard of, which I can offer at $20, $30, $40, and $50 a bottle that give you a new take on winemaking here in California.#1 Resource on Napa Valley's Wine Regions as written about in the LA Times! Now on Amazon.Who and how do you choose your wines? What do you look for? I lean on my friends, kindred spirits. You can't fill a wine shop with wines that only you like! But personally speaking, I love Pinot Noirs, Syrahs/Shiraz that have earthy notes and hints of plum or prune...maybe even a hint of smoked meat!Who is your demographic? Why? Give me the beginners. People who just like wine. Challenging & developing your wine palate is noble, but it's not for everyone. There's a famous quote, I can't remember who said it, but it goes something like " there's too much tasting of wine and not enough drinking it!" I think a lot of oenophiles forgot that it's okay for wine to be fun. I don't want to set expectations with flighty descriptions & tasting cards. I'll let what's in the bottle do the talking.What are the details of your Kickstarter? Target Goal: $50,000. Start Date: May 14 2019. End Date: June 14 2019. Link to Kickstarter: http://bit.ly/2HlaZASWinery Direct Deal: Yount RidgeShipping included on the award-winning 2017 Sauvignon Blanc from Oakville (Napa Valley). Winemaker: Celia Welch (yup, that Celia Welch!)Use code: SHIPINCL
Here we are for another AMAZING Pick of the Week on this 2015 Brandline Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon out of the Mount Veeder region of Napa Valley.The winemaker for Brandlin is Steven Rogstad who just so happens to be on Episode 41 of the Mr. Wine Guy Podcast, set to debut this coming Tuesday, April 30, 2019.Steven is also the winemaker for Cuvaison which is a family owned, 50 year old winery in the Los Carneros region of Napa Valley. In our podcast we talk about his ability to craft wines Bordeaux style, mountain-driven wines, all the way to beautiful and sexy Chardonnay’s and Pinot Noir’s.His Brandlin Cabernet is a Bordeaux blend that can stand next to any mountain wine that I could imagine, blind or not, and is sure to please on any day and any occasion you decide to open.- Our favorite $10 corkscrew with a rosewood handle! -It's all about the tasteThe blend in this 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is:77% Cabernet Sauvignon19% Malbec4% Cabernet FrancThis Cabernet is one of the most beautiful wines I’ve been privileged to feature, showing off a bright beautiful display of sensuous regal maraschino cherries.The nose on this wine boasts of rich acidity and bodacious black fruit, while hints of sweetened black current sinfully tease the senses with seduction.The palate of this wine is massive with an aggressive amount of tannins, crumbled mocha, and a sense of place and terroir that tantalize the mind with the varied soils and minerality present.Pair this wine with food respectably and decant for a good 2-4 hours to really expatiate all the things this wine is begging to offer.To learn more about this wine and it's incredible winemaker Steve Rostad take a listen to episode 41 of my podcast! Link to podcast on iTunes.🍷Cheers! Drive Through Napa, your ultimate companion to Napa Valley's wine regionsA modern way to learn about the 16 wine regions of Napa Valley through bold design, exclusive winemaker interviews, maps, Price to Value charts, lists of wineries for every region and more!
Farm-to-Table. Locally Sourced. Organically Grown.You’ve heard the terms that swarm our society’s conversations today. Sometimes it’s hard to believe the marketers telling us such things--do they mean what they say? Let us introduce you to Sacramento: the California capital city that is saying what they mean, and meaning what they say. This Northern California city is indeed the location of hard-working men and women who enjoy where they live, and insist on bringing out the best of its resources. Long-time basketball franchise, the Sacramento Kings, paired up with much-beloved local family winery, Bogle Vineyards, to bring wine lovers and fans alike a bottled expression of the area: Proud Roots.This limited-production wine is a blend of Petite Sirah and Malbec, and is a juicy, satisfying and palatable sipper. The grapes for the one-of-its-kind partnership wine were grown and harvested just 15 miles away from the King’s new arena--Golden 1 Center; perfectly fitting in to its main philosophy of supplying 90% of its food from within a 150 mile radius of the stadium. Now that’s what we call “Locally Sourced”!Desiring to tie into this philosophy of tribute and commitment to sustainability, the Bogle Family--avid Kings fans themselves--reached out to the franchise with the idea of coming up with a celebratory wine that expressed the land they each are so proud to occupy.- Our favorite $10 corkscrew with a rosewood handle! - As the first NBA partnership of its kind took off, Bogle comprised many blends for the team’s executives to sample. Both the winery and the basketball team’s representation decided on a blend of 85% Petite Syrah, a heritage grape to Bogle as it was their first-ever varietal planted in 1968, and 15% Malbec; both certified sustainable grown grapes and fitting to the qualifications of the King’s arena. The result was a wine that is approachable and versatile; making it the perfect drink for fans to pair with the arena’s food selections, or simply have unaccompanied while enjoying their favorite display of athleticism. For the project’s inaugural year, Jody Bogle of the Bogle family said that only 2,400 cases of the special drop were produced this year, and as they have been supremely “pleased with the response”, it’s possible that more production will come as a result. At this time, Proud Roots is not available at your local watering hole nor wine retail store. However, if you want to make the visit to Sacramento, you can certainly taste the blend there, while supplies last, at the Bogle Vineyards tasting room. While there, be sure to also partake in Bogle’s line up of reserve, single-vineyard wines that are only available to visitors at the tasting room. - Questlove from the iconic Roots Crew's latest book: "something to food about: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs" - A new partnership expressed, and a fine tribute to the land--Proud Roots is a beacon of symbolism you can sip with a smile. Cheers.
“An excellent wine, someone’s best attempt at cooking, and the candles and flowers on the table can turn the simplest dinner into an unforgettably romantic event.” Letitia Baldrige, Jacqueline Kennedy's Social secretary 1) GRAHAM’S 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORTLike they say, “Old is gold”. So, don’t overlook the oldies while deciding on a perfect wine for your date night. In that spirit, a Tawny Port would be a great choice. Displaying a rich amber color, 20-year-old Tawny Port is a blend of older vintage wines. Treat your date with a bottle of this semi-sweet dessert wine. With the delicious taste of exotic wood spice and dried citrus, and a long finish of Tawny Port, enjoy the company of your significant other at ease. The icing on the cake is that it pairs gorgeously with fudgy brownies, vanilla ice-cream and all things chocolate.2) KENWOOD VINEYARDS’ SONOMA SERIES ZINFANDELOn my date night, I like to play it casual with Kenwood Vineyards’ Sonoma Series Zinfandel. This enticing wine highlights a bright red-fruit and spice expression of Zinfandel. This classic goes well with a casual meal like pizza & a Ceaser salad. A nice, no fuss dinner with a bold Zinfandel works wonders!3) FATTORIA SAN GIULIANO MOSCATO D’ASTI 2015Nothing is more romantic than a slightly sweet wine with a light exuberance. And that’s what makes Moscato a great choice for a date night. Explore this sweet option as the residual sugar in it will leave a pleasant sweet aftertaste while the fizz adds a light sparkle to the date.4) CHATEAU COUTET BARSAC 2011A bottle of lusciously golden dessert wine from Sauternes isn't cheap, but it is one of the most delectable wines available. The nutty flavor of golden fruit like apricot and peaches drizzled in honey gives way to a nice long finish. With full sweetness balanced with a touch of acidity it provides great balance and satisfaction!5) 2013 HATTINGLEY VALLEY ROSEAs they say, ‘Roses are the symbol of romance.’ This elegant English wine with excellent mousse and aromas of rose, strawberry, and currants, is perfect for an ultimate romantic date night. It has excellent acidity giving it a refreshing finish. Serving it on a date night might be a useful ice-breaker. 6) CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE RIESLINGIf you’re a whiskey person, and fond of rich fruity aromas, sweet fragrance and long lingering finish of Black Velvet whiskey, Riesling can be a great alternative for you. This label’s Riesling is dry and approachable. This bottle is textured, layered, and will be a versatile food-pairing option with flavors of nectar of apples, apricots, peaches, and pears. You can pick up a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle riesling for $10 7) NICOLAS FEUILLATTE, CHAMPAGNEIf you’ve been married for a long time it’s really important to make your better half feel special once in a while. Plan a special dinner and enjoy each other’s company with a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte. It is plenty tasty with its aromas of white fruits, apple, and raspberry. This intense, concentrated and seductive Champagne pairs with firm, aged cheeses drizzled with honey to elevate the experience.Have a suggestion or wine you want to share? Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or tag @ilikethisgrape on Instagram! Going to Napa Valley soon? Here is your must-have guide.
Remember in middle school when you loved that band that no one knew about? And then they blew up and you had to tell all your friends how you knew them before they were cool? That’s the Douro Valley in Portugal right now.Even though it's been making wine for 1,000's of years - thanks to major infrastructure investments in the region and a growing reputation for red and white table wines - it's on the verge of a major breakout.Here's why you should be drinking it now...This ain’t just about your grandma’s port.When you hear "Douro", you may be savvy enough to be thinking about Port wine–and you are spot on, our dear friend. However, did you know that the Douro Valley also produces some of the best table wines in the world? Reds, whites, even roses? These are some of the most interesting and unique wines we’ve tried – ranging from light and refreshing whites to intense, velvety, complex reds.The incredible range of varietals will keep you guessing.There are literally 122 different grape varietals grown in just the Douro Valley. Not 12. 122. And they’re not growing your typical Cabs and Chardonnays. All the varietals are local – from Toriga Nacional and Toriga Franca to the spicy Tinto Rodiz. Most interestingly, all the wines from the Douro are blends. Different grapes bring different qualities to the party, which means you're going to find something unique with each wine you try from here.How many other regions literally dynamited mountains to grow their grapes?Beyond making the region one of the most breathtaking places you can visit in the world, the Douro's terraced vineyards are also part of what makes their wines so interesting. Not only are you dealing with 122 different varietals, but you’ve also got different levels of sun exposure on the North and South banks of the Douro river, a crazy wide range of topography, and varying altitudes. In typical wine regions, the difference in your wines really comes from the winemaker her or himself. Here, winemaking is an art form of a different degree based on the wildly unique terroir.Cheatsheet on what qualities you can expect from different areas of the Douro:South Bank: More elegantNorth Bank: More intenseCloser to the river: More intenseHigher altitude: More refreshingThe highest quality wines typically come from Clima Corgo (upper Corgo)These grapes know a good struggle.When you go through something tough in life, you come out on the other side even stronger and wiser than before because you are a badass human being. The same goes for grapes. The Douro bakes in what locals call "three months of hell." In a fact that was surprising to us, the Douro is a Mediterranean climate. That means lots and lots of heat in the summer. Additionally, the vines sit in and on shale, which holds that heat at a constant temperature, resulting in rich, intense red wines.When phylloxera hit the Douro in the 1800's, it wiped out +90% of production. Yes, 9-0. Winemakers across the Douro planted their vines closer together to try to increase their odds. This actually made it harder on the grapes. Think of when you and your sibling were put in a room together–you guys probably fought a bit. The grapes do, too. This ups the complexity of wines from the Douro and is part of the reason why you get an explosion of flavors with each sip.As required by law, winemakers are not allowed to irrigate the vines. This means all of the water on these vines is natural, even in those three months of hell.You can age the sh*t out of some of this stuff.Getting back into our Ports. The Douro was the first demarcated (i.e. has rules) wine region in the world. Ever. One of the strange rules that is required of all producers is that they keep one third of their production, every single year. In other words, they cannot sell you that wine. This is why you can drink a 100 year old port wine that was born before your grandma. It’s a good wine to be selfish with.Locals call tawny port "selfish port." Wine producers will tell you that once you open a fine tawny port, you should drink it all within a couple of months. Apparently, you can actually keep this stuff for a couple of years. This is because it’s already adapted to oxygen. Tawny ports are aged in small wooden casks that are porous, to age the wine quicker. That oxygen breaks down the fruit flavors (and turns it that brownish tawny color) and brings in notes of nuts, toffee, and caramel, along with upping its aging potential. All this means is you can hide it in a dark, deep corner of your fridge and pop it out every now to enjoy a couple of sips to yourself. Okay, okay, they're also good to share.For those of you who are nicer and like to share, they’ve got you covered, too. Even though the aging potential is killer on a lot of the reds and ports from the Douro, a lot of the wines produced here are meant to be drank young, once bottled. And because this region is still becoming really known internationally (beyond ports), you can also find them for pretty killer price points.So the next time your favorite middle school band comes on the radio, remember the Douro. Head to your local wine shop. And pop uma garrafa open.
We're now well into the new year, which means everyone has been seeing resolutions blowing up social media feeds. The gym is packed, and we're all reconsidering our diet choices after the rich-and-sweet-holiday-super-funtime-food-bonanza. But what does that mean for your wine?Let’s consider the nutritional facts behind your wines to, at least, knock one worry off your plate and help you plan accordingly for the goals you’re setting. While wines (and other alcoholic beverages) are not required by the FDA to have nutritional labels, there are still some basic facts around calories, carbs, sugars, and dietary sensitivities we know that can help you make the best decision for you.What is a standard serving of wine?First things first: Though I’ve always been a liberal pour-er myself, a standard serving of wine is technically 5 oz (150 ml) and a standard bottle contains 25 oz (750 ml). So, in theory, you should be getting 5 glasses out of that standard bottle of wine you bought. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than 2 glasses of alcohol a day for men, and 1 a day for women (::sob::). Stepping over those bounds on the occasion will not mean any guaranteed and/or severe health issues for you; but like in all things, moderation is key to ensuring you stay as healthy as possible. Does wine have calories?Oh, you mean “delicious points?” Yes, it certainly and unfortunately does. Wine Folly has an awesome article that sums all of the details behind wine calories for you, but the gist is this: a glass can have anywhere from 80 to 200 calories per 5 oz serving, depending on the wine’s alcohol content and sweetness level. The higher you go in either of those two categories, the higher the calorie count. In general, dry wines with lower alcohol content will have the fewest calories. Your sweet, fortified wines at 20% alcohol-by-volume (ABV, listed on the label) will be your most caloric at almost 200 calories for a 5 oz pour. If you’re sticking to a 1500 calorie/day (women) or 2000 calorie/day diet (men) to drop some pounds, sacrificing 10-13% of your precious calories on one glass can feel like a lot! But be not deterred, wine lovers - if you’re watching the calories, seek out a dry wine produced in a cooler wine region* as cooler wine regions typically produce lower alcohol wines. In general, keep the ABV below 12%. Then (hydrate, then) consider 30 minutes of a physical activity to put you back on track. *Some cool wine regions to shop from can include the Loire Valley, France; Marlborough, NZ; Rheingau, Germany; Oregon and Washington states, USA; and Northern Italy. Does wine have carbs?Good news: wine is typically low carb to begin with! Dry wines, in fact, have negligible carbs as “dry” means an absence of sugar. Carbs in wine come from unfermented sugars, so apologies again to my sweet wine lovers: the presence of sugars in your wines will mean more carbs. If you’re concerned about carbs (Keto dieters, I’m looking at you) but can’t do without that occasion wine sip, search for still (non-sparkling) wines labeled as bone-dry and sparkling wines labeled as brut nature.Does wine have sugar? This is a resounding yes, and in fact sugar is how the alcohol is produced from the grapes in the first place. As already mentioned, sugar plays a major role in defining the calorie count as well as carbohydrate presence in a wine. Unless you are drinking bone-dry wine, your wine is apt to contain sugar. However, consider this: Is the sugar-free diet you’re on letting you drink milk? Milk contains about 50 grams per liter (g/L) a.k.a. 12 grams per cup of sugar. To stay under that amount of sugar per glass of wine, dry and off-dry still wines and extra brut, brut, extra dry, and dry sparkling wines are now all available to you. However, to play it safest: stick to bone-dry and brut nature.Is wine vegan? Even though wine is made from grapes, most wines cannot be officially labeled as “vegan” or even “vegetarian". Wine naturally clarifies during the fermentation process, but that can take a long time. To meet demand, wineries may use animal-sourced byproducts like egg whites as “processing aids” during the fining process. If a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle is important to you, you can find a list of vegan wines HERE.Is wine gluten-free? Generally, YES! However, if you suffer from celiac disease it is still important to consult your doctor and perhaps consider contacting the winery directly to be super sure you can consume their wine.Summary: in general, stick to dry wines from cooler regions with lower ABV to have the least amount of impact on your dietary regime. But rest assured, matter how you’re choosing to get and stay healthy for 2019’s “New You” know that there’s a wine waiting for you!