July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
On Sunday afternoon I had guests over to our house for dinner, and they were kind enough to bring wines that I typically don’t see the likes of. Ralph Sands, his wife Kim, and son, Alton, joined my wife and I for dinner at our house. I met Ralph several years ago when he came into the tasting room to talk about the possibility of bringing Kokomo wines into Hong Kong. In getting to know Ralph, I discovered that he is one of the foremost experts on Bordeaux wines in the country. He has visited Bordeaux over thirty times representing K&L Wine Merchants. For my honeymoon last year when we visited Bordeaux he made sure that we were treated like royalty.
One of the things I love about this industry is the passion that people have for what they do, and the opportunities that present themselves as a result of this passion. One of those opportunities came about last Sunday when Ralph decided to pull from his cellar a 2001 First Growth White Bordeaux, followed by a 2002 Grand Cru Burgundy, a 1990 Second Growth Bordeaux, and a 2003 Grand Cru Sauterne. We, in fact, finished all four bottles between the five of us and the wine geek volume was on “high!” I always love exercising my palate with wines from the old world – but particularly old world wines with age. I don’t happen to have those bottles in my cellar, and it is always appreciated to have guests like Ralph and his family who enjoy sharing their treasures.
My passion for wine continues to be sparked by seeing how different regions and different wineries make wine with an eye on the future. I have to say the 2001 White Bordeaux was one of the most unique white wines that I have ever had an opportunity to taste. I hope to make wines with these interesting characteristics and agreeable lives in the future, even though I know only a select group of people with “get it.” Thanks again for the love and education, Ralph!
July 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
I had an interesting meeting this morning, where we discussed our dilemma of what to do about not having any wine. Luckily, we have secured enough wine for our wine club for the next two shipments. However, for the first time ever, our distribution is going to be put on hold. When I started the brand, all of my wine was sold through distribution channels, as I did not have a tasting room to sell direct to consumer. After opening the tasting room in January 2008, we have built a wine club of over 1,000 members, and the daily sales from the tasting room are very strong.
I know this sounds like great position to be in… and it is! But, I have developed many strong relationships throughout the country with my distributors who have been selling our wines for the last seven years. Now, some of my conversations with distributors have been less inspiring than in the past. Instead of talking about how much wine we can offer, we are talking about how much we don’t have available. When a distributor decides to take on and build a brand, they expect that the availability of product will be fluent. I do cherish our by-the-glass pours at some of the best restaurants in the country, and I am going to hate to see our wines come off of some of these wine lists. But first and foremost, we have a tasting room open seven days a week, 362 days per year that we have to serve. Our loyal wine club members deserve the first crack at our small production wines.
Can you say growing pains?!