Many wine consumers have a romantic notion that any given bottle of wine comes from a winery with vines growing on-site and all operations happening in one place. While there are plenty of estate-produced wines, that isn’t always the case. In fact, a good majority of wines are sourced from other growers.
Sourcing is a way for wineries to meet customer demand. Whether they simply don’t grow enough grapes themselves or want flexibility with the wines they offer and produce, sourcing allows winemakers to stay creative and give people what they want. It allows them to stay consistent each year and produce better wine than they would be able to otherwise.
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Take Sharon Fenchak, VP Winemaker at Biltmore Winery in Asheville, North Carolina. With conditions in North Carolina being less predictable for grape growing, she augments her supply by sourcing grapes and juice from the west coast. The Biltmore Estate sees hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, making Biltmore Winery one of the most visited in the country. It’s necessary for them to source grapes to produce the more than 45 SKUs they serve on site.
Even wineries on the west coast find themselves sourcing grapes. Two winemakers for WX Brands, Rob Takigawa, winemaker for Baileyana Winery, and Kip Lorenzetti winemaker for Chronic Cellars, use growing partners to keep their wines consistent and high quality. Rob Takigawa’s portfolio focuses on the Edna Valley AVA and started with the Paragon Vineyard under the Niven family. Expansion of the brand under WX ownership has allowed him to look to other growers and sources for more variety and complexity.
Kip Lorenzetti focuses on red wine blends with grapes from the Paso Robles AVA. The brand’s flagship wine, Sofa King Bueno, contains varying amounts of syrah, petite syrah, mourvedre and grenache which must be sourced to keep quality high. Each vintage is different which allows him to keep a consistent representation of the region while staying creative.
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