Blended Red Wines are the Hot Trend, According to Clayhouse Wines
PASO ROBLES, Calif., May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As early as two years ago, Sunset Magazine's wine editor, Sara Schneider , chose wine blends as the magazine's number four (of six) wine trends for 2010. Canada's Tom Firth , writing in WineAccess in June 2010, said, "the future of red wines does not lie in the sudden popularity of an obscure grape, but rather in the artful creation of new and unique red blends." Then, in February of this year, the Wine Business Monthly continued the refrain by writing that:
"(In 2011) Moscato, sweet reds, red blends, unoaked wines, Prosecco, Pinot Noir and Malbec were hot. As consumers continued to seek out value, the strongest sales growth came from wines priced at $10 to $15...The father of the red blend category has been Menage a Trois from Trinchero Family Estates."
Paso Robles' Clayhouse Wines has been making the popular Adobe Red since 2006 and has watched the red blend category burgeon, as well. And while the Adobe Red has a suggested retail price of $15, the winery also believes there is plenty of opportunity for red wine blends at higher price points.
Winemaker Blake Kuhn says that, "blends are what Paso Robles does best, at any price point." He believes that as wine drinking palettes mature, consumers who now enjoy $10 blends will trade up to more expensive blends with additional character and flavor, and "that's when they'll really see the quality of Paso Robles wines shine."
To bolster his claim, Kuhn plans to begin producing more blended red wines from the winery's 1400-acre Red Cedar estate vineyard outside Paso Robles on California's Central Coast. His Adobe Red and Adobe White wines are currently the only nationally available blends he makes, though smaller bottlings of select blends are made for the Clayhouse wine club. "The new ones will be Estate-bottled wines made in large enough quantities to showcase Paso Robles blends nationwide," says Kuhn.
Based upon the quality of the grapes on the Estate, he's currently considering a new white Rhone blend with Viognier and Grenache Blanc, and three red blends with different combinations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo and Malbec.
"Our vineyard is large enough," says Kuhn, "that I have the luxury of getting first choice of the best quality grapes on the Estate." Kuhn says the winery uses approximately 10% of the grapes it grows, selling the remaining 90% to other wineries throughout California.
But is it easy to get consumers to try blended wines rather than varietal wines, flavors of which they might already be familiar?
"Newer wine drinkers are much more adventurous," says Clayhouse national sales manager Richard Hanen . "Twenty and thirty-somethings are fueling an incredible resurgence and expansion of the cocktail scene," he says, "so they're not only willing to experiment with new flavors, they're also looking for flavor intensity, which blended wines provide."
Kuhn will be taking his hypothesis on the road for a few weeks this spring to work with Clayhouse wholesalers and to offer up blending sessions for consumer groups. "We want to get people excited about red wine blends by allowing them to blend their own wine with samples we provide," he says. "That will give them a feel for what goes into making a blended wine, some background on how flavors interact, and the concept of flavor balance."
Kuhn sometimes uses as many as 50 different components to put together a finished wine blend, and he says each part contributes something specific to the finished whole. "With California wine," he reminds us, "even if it says Cabernet Sauvignon on the label it only has to be 75% Cabernet...people drink a lot of blended wines already, without even knowing it."
Kuhn will be visiting Florida, the northeast and California over the next few months. His schedule and more information will be available on the Clayhouse Wines website, www.ClayhouseWines.com.
CONTACT: Rusty Eddy , 707-272-9351, email@example.com
SOURCE Clayhouse Wines
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