Hey, hope all is well! I just wanted to respond to the last thing you wrote about the pasteurization issue. The process to remove the water is a type of pasteurization but different from ultrapasteurization. The concentration process involves a heat flash that lasts only a few minutes but it does not produce an aseptic product. This is why it has to be kept cold. When juice is ultrapasteurized, it’s cooked at a minimum of140° for at least 20 minutes. We’ve compared our concentrates to those that have undergone this secondary process and it’s a very noticeable difference. Ultrapasteurization really changes the chemical composition. The ramifications are not just for taste. It also harms the pigments and other compounds. There’s been a lot of discussion about “the kit taste“ that is present in all traditional wine kits but not FWK.
I think it is important to point out that it is only this year's batch of Bordeaux blend adds Syrah and Petite Sirah to the Cab and Merlot, but only because they could not source Cab. Franc this year. They still wanted to offer the popular blend, so they figured a work around, but I think that they were a bit dismissive of what Cab Franc brings to the party (I think they said something like, 'it adds color'), whereas I think Cab Franc brings a flavor all its own, the bell pepper flavor, which adds to the blend.
Along the same lines, they could not source Sangiovese this year, so the Super Tuscan blend adds Grenache and Syrah to approximate the Sangiovese. Label Peelers notes that substitution is noted on their websites description, but the Bordeaux one is not mentioned on their website, which I'd love to see. Super Tuscan description "Though the classic blend is Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Sangiovese is not available in the 2021 harvest however, we have been able to make a convincing substitution of Syrah and Granach that preserves the character of the Super Tuscan as a medium body fruity yet earthy wine with a cherry bouquet that will keep your friends asking for more."
As far as new products I think that they pretty much said a Rhone blend was in the works? If so, perhaps doing some test batches already with different amounts of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, etc. to settle on the final blend?
I would love it if they also were able to contract in advance for some fruit sourced from beyond Lodi, perhaps by contracting in advance for the grapes (and maybe paying for those grape contracts by pre-selling most of those kits to customers like us, eager to get Napa, Sonoma, Walla Walla, etc. fruit).
Right now they are, I think, getting their fruit all from the same facility in Lodi. And I am guessing that facility gets grapes from Lodi and perhaps the rest of the central valley which have not been purchased by wineries. As a result they are more at the mercy of the market, and some years there won't be enough Cab Franc or Sangiovese.
EDIT - to be clear, even if they got fancier fruit from beyond Lodi, they would still need the same Lodi facility to process it, not sure any other place does the same non-pasteurized concentration of grape juice. That might be a possibility but adds more variables, which is why I think we are more likely to see more blends, or limited run varietals, rather than "fancy fruit" from "fancy AVAs".
Also, I think they said on that video that the process gets as hot as 140F for a short time, which is still pretty darn hot, but not long enough at that temp to pasteurize.