During our most recent visit to King Family Vineyards we chatted with one of our favorite tasting room managers, Matt Brown. He has transitioned out of his role as Tasting Room Manager at King Family Vineyards and has begun a new adventure in the wine industry. Along with his business partner, Melissa Bingler, he is starting a wine management, consulting, and education firm in Charlottesville called Bingler & Brown.
There are essentially three components to their business:
(1) They provide storage and management of private wine collections in their climate controlled warehouse. These collections can range from 1 case to 100 cases. Each case in their care is cataloged and clients will have access to their staff to discuss the ins and outs of their various bottles (value, when to drink, how to serve, what else they may like to try, etc..)
(2) They consult with local wine shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars about purchase decisions, wine lists, and proper wine service. They can provide training not only for owners but also for front line staff on how to present their wine programs in the best light.
(3) Knowledge is power! They will be offering numerous casual level classes for consumers who want to have a stronger understanding of what wine is all about. In addition, they will also be leading professional level classes for those who want to start a wine career or for people in the industry who want to take their careers to the next level. Initially this will start by offering a prep course for the Certified Specialist of Wine designation through the Society of Wine Educators. In the Spring, in conjunction with some other people, they will begin leading some of the Level I and Level II courses that are a part of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust curriculum.
Matt grew up in a family owned business, then graduated college to work for another family owned business, and is now starting his own small business. He is very excited about this new venture! Check out their website and see what they can do for your wine collection. And when you do, tell Matt and Melissa that Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Swirl, Sip, Snark and Cellarblog have posted pictures of their wine racks. I’m very impressed with their wine storage. Frank from Drink What You Like also kicked in his photo on Twitter. They have issued a challenge for all Virginia wine blogs to post about their wine storage. Wanting to be part of the in crowd and participate I decided to show how I store my wine. I have two separate areas for my wine. I store them both in my dining room. I have one rack just for white wines and then on the other side of the room I have two racks for all my red wines. Both racks are organized by winery. My wine collection is almost exclusively Virginia wine so I can store them on the racks by winery. This works out well when I’m looking for a specific wine from a specific winery. So here are the pictures of my wine racks. How do you store your wine?
White wine rack…I also have several bottles chilling in the refrigerator.
Red wine racks.
Not to leave out Warren, I will say that he stores his wine in several places around his house. He has most of them in a closet that keeps a pretty constant temperature and lots of darkness.
Last weekend we went to Unicorn Winery. It was time to check in and see what was new and chat with Sandy LePage, one of the owners of Unicorn Winery.
The white wines we tasted were the 2008 Pinot Gris, the 2008 Chardonnay, the Table Rock White, and the 2008 Traminette. We also tasted the Slightly Embarrassed, the blush wine. Warren and I both agreed the gold star for the whites went to the 2008 Traminette. Its a light white wine with hints of pear and melon. We thought this one would be a good summer sipper on a warm day.
During our tasting we were able to sample the different flavored pita chips, sauces, and olive oil they now sell at Unicorn. Warren even left with a bottle of the olive oil. The olive oil is from Greece and can be purchased in 250 ml or 500 ml bottles.
On to the reds. We tasted the 2005 Merlot, the 2005 Chambourcin, the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2005 Cabernet Franc, and the 2005 Crimson Sunset. While they were all nice wines, Warren and I agreed again the gold star should go to the 2005 Merlot. Its medium bodied with black cherry notes and an easy finish. We thought this one would go well with pizza.
To finish our tasting we tried the Frappe Vino. Its like a wine slushy. They serve it in two flavors; pinot gris and merlot. I really enjoyed the pinot gris version. It was refreshing considering how warm it was that day. Its always fun to catch up with Sandy at Unicorn Winery. If you stop by, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Are you looking for an iPhone app that helps you pronounce the wines of the world? The Enotria Guide is for you. With this app you can find the wine word you’re looking for and have the app pronounce it for you. We received a copy to test out. I have an iPad and while it’s written for the iPhone, it does work on the iPad. An iPad specific version is in the works. We tested it out and found that it had lots of layers to go through to find the words but the words are pronounced clearly and with the correct accent. If you are in the industry and already know how to pronounce the wines of the world, you’ll find this app useless. However, if you are new to wine this app might help you pronounce the words correctly. Have fun!
Wine, of course! Actually, I’m referring to Drink This: Wine Made Simple by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl. Grumdahl’s purpose for writing Drink This is to bring the potentially bewildering (and pretentious) experience of wine tasting to a very basic level. Written for both the novice oenophile and the experienced sommelier and everyone else in between, Drink This offers wine tasting and pairing tips, debunks myths and mistakes about wine, and presents easy-to-understand facts about wine regions and varietals. Wondering what kind of wine to bring to a dinner party? Want to splurge on bubbly for a special event but your wallet has the recession flu? Drink This offers practical advice for these circumstances and many others. Grumdahl’s wise words for the budget weary allow the consumer to buy quality wines at value prices; at the same time, she offers savvy selections that present creative alternatives to California Chardonnay or French Champagnes.
I also appreciate Grumdahl’s no-nonsense approach to the wine experience. Her clever style and straight-forward approach disarms the wine snob and puts the beginner at ease. So you like Merlot? So does Grumdahl! No Sideways poseurs allowed in her book; however, if Merlot is not your thing, Grumdahl has a suggestion for you. Don’t know the difference between Bordeaux, Burgundy or any other wine region? Dara is glad you asked. Structured in a concise, clearly organized yet complete fashion, your questions are answered.
With the holiday season upon us, consider giving Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Drink This: Wine Made Simple as a gift for that favorite wine collector or budding aficionado on your list. Should anyone wonder where you heard of this excellent wine source, mention that you read about it on Virginia Wine Time.