BLENDING WINE, PEOPLE, AND COMMUNITY.
Bob built solid relationships with key retail buyers on the distribution side of the wine industry in the early 1980’s. At that time, there were a mere five wineries in the entire state! When he returned to the industry in the early 2000’s following a nearly fatal health crisis, moving wine from maker to consumer helped him stay mentally and physically fit but it also broadened and deepened his relationships with his winemaking customers.
Then 2008 came along with its financial woes and people stopped buying expensive wine. Bob noticed that there were “oceans of wine” just sitting in tanks with another harvest coming. He went to his man cave for some think time and hatched a business plan to buy up all this excess finished wine, bottle it, and move it to consumers at a deep discount. “Anytime Bob comes home from his man cave and says, ‘I have an idea,’ I hold my breath,” laughs Lauren who chose to look at the bright side – if worse came to worse and they couldn’t sell all 440 cases of wine, they would have a lifetime supply of gifts for friends and family.
THE FINE ART OF BLENDING
QUALITY WINES FOR MUCH LOWER PRICES
If it sounds a little like cheating, think again. Négociants serve an important purpose both to the wine industry and to consumers. Wineries usually contract with vineyards before the growing season, locking in the best prices when they commit to buying, for example, a whole acre or maybe even the entire lot. This gives the grower a guaranteed income and offsets farming expenses. If Mother Nature gives the vineyard a particularly robust harvest, winemakers may end up with more fruit than they have room to process or store. Enter the négociant who may purchase excess grapes. Or perhaps the winery makes all that juice into wine and only needs a portion of one lot for its signature blend. Enter the négociant who may purchase the finished wine at a fraction of the cost freeing up tank and barrel space for the winery and providing extra income to invest in other projects or equipment (like very expensive French oak barrels or a new crusher). Négociants help prevent all that perfectly delicious finished product from being dumped, provide an additional revenue source for wineries, and offer top quality wines to consumers for much lower prices than the original winery would have charged (costs are lower when expensive equipment, barrels, and storage real estate are removed from the equation).
From Bob and Lauren
TO OUR TEAM
We couldn’t do this alone & are so grateful for our enthusiastic winery team and STACKteers!! You ARE the best!