Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
04.02.2014  
 

Carneros Wine Alliance Adopts New Focus

Wineries and growers in California's Carneros region look to raise awareness of AVA

 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
“carneros”
 
Members of the Carneros Vintners Alliance board from left: Anne Moller-Racke, Brandon deLeuze, Alison Crowe, TJ Evans and Heidi Soldinger. (Photo by Ashley Teplin/Carneros Wine Alliance.)

Napa, Calif.—Most of the winemakers pouring during a recent tasting hosted by the Carneros Wine Alliance agreed that the group—and the region to some extent—had lost its focus in recent years.

“It had been dormant for so long,” said winemaker Alison Crowe, who was joined by several other winemakers and winery staff at a recent tasting at the ZD Wines property on the Napa County side of the Carneros AVA. (To see more photos of the event, visit the Wines & Vines' Facebook page at facebook.com/wines&vines.)

Crowe was pouring samples of a 2013 Pinot Noir sourced from different parts of Carneros. The wines will ultimately be bottled under the Garnet Vineyards brand. Crowe is a member of the Carneros Wine Alliance board and said the historic appellation is undergoing something of a renaissance, with new leadership that’s implementing a focused and aggressive approach to marketing the region’s wineries and vineyards.

She said new restaurants and the Carneros Inn hotel are helping to make the area more of a destination for the thousands of wine tourists who regularly drive through Carneros on their way to other parts of Sonoma and Napa counties. The alliance currently has 25 winery and grower members.

A few feet away from Crowe, Larry Hyde and his sons Peter and Chris were showcasing their own Larry Hyde & Sons wines as well as the wines of HDV, or Hyde de Villaine, which is a partnership between the Hyde family and the de Villaine family of Domaine Romanée-Conti.

Hyde, who was a founding member of the alliance, said it lost its way after coming to be dominated by large wine companies. In 2010, Hyde grew so dissatisfied that he withdrew from the alliance and only rejoined this year. He said membership means more now that he’s making wine under his own label, but he’s also happy with the alliance’s board and its new direction.

This May the Hydes are starting construction on a winery on their property near the intersection of Highway 12/121 and Los Carneros Avenue. Once the winery is completed, the family plans to lease it to a winery client.

A relatively new name at the tasting was Carneros Hill Winery, which is located on the site of the old Buena Vista winery on Ramal Road. General manager Mitch Davis said owner Jackson Family Wines has made a significant investment in upgrading the property and winemaking equipment to produce quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the adjacent 275 acres of vines.

Push for publicity
The alliance recently hired the public relations firm Teplin+Nuss and launched a publicity campaign featuring a redesigned and updated website. In 2015, the appellation will be celebrating its 30th anniversary, and the campaign is intended to drum up publicity in advance of that milestone.

Speaking to the group of growers and winemakers, the board’s vice chair Anne Moller-Racke, who is the president of the Donum Estate, said she was thrilled to see the renewed focus of the alliance. She said the collaborative and cooperative spirit of the region is part of what sets Carneros apart—as well as the area’s excellent Chardonnay. “For myself, I think we should always pay more attention to Chardonnay,” she said.

Highlighting Chardonnay
Andrew Brooks, winemaker at Bouchaine Vineyards, said he’s come to appreciate and enjoy the soil and weather conditions that make Carneros an excellent home for Chardonnay. Brooks said that while Chardonnay may not be trendy, it’s become a pleasure for him to work with the variety.

What sets Carneros Chardonnay apart is an acidity that comes through ripe fruit flavors, making a refreshing wine that also has the potential to age, Brooks said. “You can make really powerful wines that are still light on their feet,” he added.

Bouchaine’s founding winemaker and co-owner Michael Richmond also pointed out that Carneros Chardonnay typically exhibits notes of lime and citrus as opposed to the lush tropical flavors found in other California Chardonnays. “Another thing about Carneros wines is that they endure,” Richmond said.

T.J. Evans, president of the alliance board and the still winemaker at Domaine Carneros, also referred to a “Carneros renaissance.” He said the challenge of being one of the first appellations to specialize in Pinot Noir is that Carneros can’t be the hot new region.

But he said he and other Carneros winemakers aren’t going to criticize other regions like Santa Barbara or Anderson Valley, or even claim Carneros is better. They want to regain a place on the short list of the top regions in California for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “We want to be in the conversation, because we have something to offer consumers,” he said.

 

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 $558 million
5%
$7,613 million
6%
August 2013 $531 million $7,167 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 $78 million
17%
$1,686 million
10%
August 2013 $67 million $1,530 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 218
12%
224
19%
August 2013 194 189
     
 
MORE » Released on 09.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • October 8
     
    Exporting Wine to China
     
  • October 10-13
     
    Celebration of Harvest Weekend in Santa Barbara
     
  • October 16-19
     
    Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine Festival
     
  • October 17-19
     
    Harvest Wine Weekend in Paso Robles
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Optimization of limited water resources in irrigated vineyards »
 
Very interesting article! Sap flow monitoring was in the past mostly used for research but...
Reader: Virginie Scoarnec
 
Article: New York OKs Out-of-State Grapes »
 
If the resultant wine, using out of state juice,bears the "American" on the label, I...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Financial Impact of Napa Quake Rising »
 
I still think the numbers are low and don't include legal fees. Section 165 was...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
In addition to oxidation of somee of the SO2, post-bottling chemical changes are a continuation...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
I agree with the 14:46 post. I have switched to screwcap on most of my...
Reader: Chris Baker
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Tasting Room Manager
 Los Gatos, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Work At Wine-Searcher ...
 Telecommuting, Auckland
General Administration and
 Director Of Marketing
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Northern California Sa...
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Event Planner
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 New York Regional Sale...
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Asst. Store Manager/ A...
 Petaluma, CA
General Administration and
 Lead Wine Tracker
 St. Helena, CA
Winemaking and Production
 District Manager, Wisc...
 Milwaukee, WI
Sales and Marketing
 District Manager, Metr...
 White Plains, NY
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.