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Pinot Noir & the tricks of the commercial wineries - ie. Meomi

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AaronSC

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My experience with the EU is "the Italians propose the laws, the French write them up, and the Germans obey them."
This hilarious! When I was in Italy I noted to a home winemaker that you can't make your own home wines in France (at least not without going through a bunch of bureaucratic hurdles), and I wondered why it was legal in Italy (which of course also has a huge wine industry). He just said "Unlike the French, we would just do it anyway, so why bother forbidding it?"
 

Rocktop

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And there you nailed it Booty Juice.
That is the realization I am coming to. The masses like what they like and the commercial wineries have figured that out, I just always assumed it was all natural to get to that point (understanding that term is open for more interpretation).

It brought me back to a quote that hokapsig said about people, they say they like dry wine but buy sweet.
All this makes me think for a boutique winery to break into the market they have align with the current big flavour, big colour , somewhat back sweetened wines to at least get a foothold, and as Booty says the marketing is Everything and even more important when small and starting out.
In a competitive market of so many wineries, if you don’t have the ‘premium’ grapes, so that you can make a far superior product to the rest, then you either have to out ‘adjust’ the big guys or have a marketing angle that sets you far apart from the noise of competition.
Grist for the mill when dreaming of one day starting a family winery...
RT
 

sjjan

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It is true that the Germans (our next door neighbors just a 15 minute drive away from my home) are known to obey the laws. For example, now with the corona pandemic, the German government will issue guidelines and mandates on what to do and not to do (wear masks for example). The Germans, in general, will just follow these mandates. Over the border here in The Netherlands, we as a people would by nature question each rule and will not just follow it. It is for a part a cultural thing even though we do not live that far apart from each other.

Marketing is important. There is this hipster place in Amsterdam called Chateau Amsterdam (website: Home - Chateau Amsterdam) which buys grapes elsewhere in Europe and which makes wine of it of questionable quality but which sells a lot of wine and attracts quite a few investors as well helping them expand their business.
 

Booty Juice

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Yes, it's quite striking to drive from say, Como into Switzerland which is a very germanic culture. The towns, organized landscape, and even music on the radio change dramatically - like going from a hand painting to a computer model.

In the central valley of California, along the 5 and the 99 from Stockton to the Grapevine, there are tens of thousands of acres of wine grapes the vast majority of which are “bulk grapes” owned or controlled by the usual names – Gallo, Constellation, The Wine Group, Mondavi, Trinchero, etc. They make wines from very low cost grapes that people love – Barefoot, Apothic, Woodbridge, Sutter Home, Yellow Tail, and dozens of others that you may like and not even know are from these companies.

A statement of the obvious - In order to make these wines from low grade grapes, which are subject to yearly variations from nature, many manufacturing processes and interventions are required. I wont say they are processed within an inch of their lives because that would be rude. The point is that processes and additives exist to drastically alter your wines should you wish to do so.

There are also situations where higher grade vineyards and wineries have product they cannot move through their normal channels and must “bulk out” their grapes or wines to the buyers of last resort where there seems to be an endless demand for cheap, predictable wine. In 2019 many vineyards here in SLO County had to do some hard math – harvest and bulk out or let fruit die on the vine. Wineries that have sub optimal wine must also decide – additional interventions (which is an entire separate industry and not cheap), or bulk out. If you are an owner-operator winery faced with either insolvency or intervention……

Even if their wines are good, wineries don’t always have buyers for all of their inventory at their established price-point, in which case they can sell to independent third parties who bottle and sell under their own label (with NDA’s to not identify the original source winery). One example of this is de Negoce, whose business model is to negotiate a quantity and price with the winery and before even taking delivery/bottling they sell-out to their customer base who pre-pays in advance. I usually have a few cases around for parties and gifts. Although they are prevented from explicitly naming their sources, the descriptions are sometimes a give-away, the discount becomes obvious and you end up with a $1,000 case for $120.

I apologize for the tangent, the main point I wanted to make was – enjoy making your wines your way and then enjoy sharing and drinking them. Most people focus on color, taste, body, mouth feel, etc. and those things can absolutely be altered – even by the home wine maker. Some people focus on “100% natural” or minimal intervention. Some people have wine making in their family and culture that goes back many generations and it’s part of how they live.

Cheers to all you good home wine makers!
 

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