There is a sea of wine out there from California. There is also a sea of difference between the two main schools of thought that most brands fall under. On one hand, you have big multi-billion dollar corporations scooping up wine brands, much like the game we Gen-x-ers used to play called Hungry Hungry Hippo. It’s furious, and it’s for total domination of the market. The majority of these labels – even if they started small – end up being mass produced by the bigger brands, all with the fatal future of ending up to die on a grocery store shelf. Not that there isn’t some great wine in the grocery store, it’s that the wines that are there are not really “hand made”, generally speaking.

On the other side, you have groups of young, passionate, hard-working (and sometimes, self-taught) winemakers and grape growers that are passionate about things like ‘health in the vineyard’ and ‘finding ways to combat bugs and stuff organically’. They also – almost always – are pushing back against the big wine establishments that like to give ratings and scores to wines, but instead, preach that wine should be experienced with friends. There’s even quite a bit of reverence involved that whether unspoken or not, comes out in an almost childlike amazement to what the grapevine and the earth is capable of: rain, soil, photosynthesis, flowers, fruit, sugar, acid. Oh, the acid…

Obviously, this little write-up isn’t for the wine professional out there. They see the shift happening… the space between both side growing larger… This is for the curious or (somewhat) discontented wine consumer out there that is ready for more… and less than what the big stores are peddling.

  1. More freshness and natural acid. A ton of the bigger wineries add all kinds of garbage into the wine during the production stages, so that it is drinkable when you open it. Things like Mega Purple, artificial acid, colorings, the list goes on and on. When a wine is balanced with the natural acid from the grape, it is nothing less than awesome.
  2. Less alcohol and more food-friendly. When the alcohol is at a high percentage, that’s usually what you taste; especially when it’s dinner time. Wineries like Banshee (pictured above) are helping lead the way when it comes to balanced and purely enjoyable wines. They realize that you can drink a whole bottle of something that is naturally made – and without all the extra junk in it (see #1) and lower alcohol – and feel great the next day. The alternative? Not so much…
  3. More love. More time in the vineyard. More hand picked. More handmade, period.
  4. Less snobbery. Less about points. Less about celebrities. Less about what the bottle costs. Less about exclusivity.

This is truly where our heart is at Vino & Vinyl and where our energies lie: searching to find those gems out there that are really ALL THESE THINGS. We don’t get it right all the time, but we’re never going to stop trying. We’re never going to stop supporting the underdog that has the same heart and passion as us.