April 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
We are gearing up for a bottling. From my very first vintage in 2004 there is always much discussion about which shape (and heft) of wine bottle to use. Perhaps a topic most consumers don’t think about but to us winemakers it’s a big deal.
When selecting a glass bottle the first consideration is regarding the varietal which then often determines the shape of the bottle. For example, Pinot Noir typically goes in a Burgundy bottle which has a big base and sloped shoulders. Cabernet, on the other hand, goes in a Claret bottle with high shoulders and straight sides. These choices are the norm although some winemakers choose to mix it up a bit.
The focus of this blog is more about the weight and size of glass bottles. The punt is the indentation at the bottom of the bottle and that can vary with depth and size. It is assumed that folks will think that a wine in a big heavy bottle with a really deep punt is going to be a superior wine (they usually cost considerably more!). I tell people that the glass companies are happy to sell me any glass bottle that I want. Makes sense, as it is not their job to taste my wine and tell me what bottle to put it in. Point being, is that I and my fellow winemakers can produce an “average” wine and put it in a really big, heavy bottle so it will stand out on the shelf. I am sure you have heard the phrase perceived value; the ginormous wine bottle is a good example of perceived value.
The reality is that these big, whomping bottles take a lot more fuel to make, more fuel to ship and even more fuel to recycle! They’re bulky and not as easy to handle and they still only hold 750ml of wine. There are no benefits to the winemaker or consumer in using these big bottles and they come with a cost to the environment. At Kokomo we never use these monster bottles because we strive for sustainability and have faith that just because our bottle is not the tallest on the shelf it still might be one of the best on the shelf.
Erik Miller, Winemaker, Kokomo Winery
April 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
I just returned from a three-week sales tour to several markets including Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta. For anyone who travels for a living you know how demanding it is to be on the road and to be constantly on your game. Exhausting, but, very rewarding.
The word distribution comes up a lot when I am talking with folks in the tasting room and at wine events. We are fortunate to be in the position where we would be solvent without distributing our wines and just relying on tasting room sales and wine club (direct to consumer). To be honest, sometimes I feel like my time could be better spent in the tasting room meeting and chatting with visitors as opposed to traveling the country and putting on the public relations hat. On the other hand, like a lot of small premium producers, Kokomo has a growing fan base in where we have found our niche in key markets; not only among consumers, but with chefs, sommeliers and other wine professionals.
This is where the reward comes in: I really enjoy meeting people that are passionate about wine – telling them my unique story – the guy from Kokomo, Indiana – and delving into detail about the farming, the fruit, and the winemaking. It’s inspiring to meet the chefs, somms, restaurant owners and boutique wine shop merchants who buy, pour, and praise our wines!
My goal is not to sell boxes of wine or to be in every wine outlet in the country. The goal is to get Kokomo on some of the coolest wine lists possible and to see our wines on the shelves of boutique wine shops where the owner is on site daily and hand sells small production wines like ours and can tell my story to his/her customers.
It is immensely satisfying to work with some of the best grapes on the planet and turn them into something that I can share across the country. I am fortunate to have the time and support to create and foster the Kokomo Winery connection.