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Simplifying the Complexity of Wine Sourcing

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. 

Watch Benson Live: Simplifying the Complexity of Wine Sourcing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdMZ3kWrvvw&t=21s  

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. 

Biltmore Winery, Winemaker

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.  

Rob Takigawa, Chronic Cellars Winemaker

Contact us to learn more about these brands and others…. 

Discover California's Central Coast

Discovering California’s Central Coast

California’s Central Coast is garnering an increasing share of the spotlight, and deservedly so.

In 2022, the San Luis Obispo Coast AVA was recognized, joining previously recognized areas like Paso Robles, Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco. This addition is a new chapter in the region’s evolution as one of California’s top wine producing regions, and good reason to discover, or rediscover, California’s Central Coast.

Beyond the wine, the Central Coast also has people’s attention as home to fantastic aquatic activities, hiking trails, and relaxing spas. Located half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the region has an incredible amount to offer and can be more approachable than some wine regions to the north. Featuring unique takes on Bordeaux and Rhone blends, Central Coast wineries have something to whet everyone’s palate.

Here’s a look at a few key wineries and their wines:

Hahn Family Wines has tasting rooms in the towns of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Soledad. Pioneers in the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH), Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn first purchased land in the 1970s and was keen to see its potential as a renowned wine region. He led efforts to officially establish Santa Lucia Highlands as an official AVA. Today, Hahn Family Wines owns one of the largest shares of planted vines in the SLH, farming 650 acres (10% of SLH). They remain an independent, family-owned, and operated wine company focused on growing and producing luxury and ultra-premium wines from certified sustainable estate vineyards. Their wines include:

Hahn SLH Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – SRP $35 – Hahn Family Wines was one of the first wineries in the region to have all its estate vineyards certified under the rigorous Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Program. The vineyards used for sourcing the Pinot Noir grapes for this wine experience a long and dry growing season that results in wines with remarkable depth, complexity and ripe fruit flavors.

Discover California's Central Coast

San Luis Obispo Coast AVA Vineyard

Hahn Appellation Series Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco – SRP $20 – Located south of the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco is one of the smallest AVAs in California, boasting one of the longest growing seasons in the state due to cool winds that blow in daily from Monterey Bay. As a result, this Chardonnay is vibrant on the palate, with flavors of pineapple, lemon, apricot and gentle notes of honey, followed by nuanced toasty spice on the finish. Hahn Appellation Series includes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Grenache Syrah Mourvédre (GSM) priced $20-25/750ml.

Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend, Central Coast – SRP $25 – The Smith & Hook story begins 40 years ago in the hills of Monterey County where the Hahn family founded Smith & Hook, launching a decades-long exploration of Central Coast winemaking. Today Winemaker Megan McCollough produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon wines, priced $25-45, as well as this classic Bordeaux blend of primarily Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is sourced from three prestigious appellations of the Central Coast: Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands and San Antonio Valley. This expressive blend features vibrant aromas of cranberry, dark cherry and plum, underscored by notes of mushroom and subtle hints of lavender.

Chronic Cellars in Paso Robles is fully committed to making seriously good wine for people looking for a little dose of adventure. Their disruptive style is matched only by the killer quality of their wines, made with character to match the clever and playful labels.

Chronic Cellars Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $17 – Noble to the core and made with character in Paso Robles, Sir Real delivers striking but approachable layers of dark fruit, currants and dried cherry with cedar and tobacco flavors.

Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise – SRP $17 – Catch a lucky break with Purple Paradise. This Zinfandel-dominated blend rolls out blackberry fruit, cherry cola and touches of mocha and lavender. The alluring balanced acidity and mild tannins float towards a blissful finish as an ode to the perfect landscape where it originates.

Discover California's Central Coast

Morro Bay, California

Baileyana Winery in San Luis Obispo (SLO) has numerous accolades from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator and is in SLO’s historic Independence Schoolhouse, built in 1909. The winery has award-winning wines that hail from lush vineyard vines set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Santa Lucia mountains in the Edna Valley. They also produce wines under the True Myth label from Paso Robles.

Baileyana Firepeak Chardonnay, Edna Valley – SRP $28 – A chardonnay as bright and complex as the central coast with upfront flavors of crisp pear, lemon zest, pineapple and a hint of vanilla. This wine has a smooth and relaxed finish.

True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $24 – Coming from hand-selected vineyard sites, this wine showcases the power and lushness of Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles. Sourced from old vines, which bring the bold, powerful and opulent notes of black cherry, cassis and pepper associated with high-quality Cab. Rich yet smooth, this wine is very approachable now, and will continue to mature for years to come.

Riboli Family Wines was one of the first wineries to come out of Los Angeles (they still have a winery there along with a restaurant). The brand has recently expanded to Paso Robles and the central coast. It has been family owned since 1917. San Antonio Winery, the Los Angeles property, was opened by Anthony Riboli (4th generation winemaker’s) great great uncle, Santo Cambianica who came to the US from Lombardia, Italy. Anthony’s grandfather, Stefano Riboli, joined the family business and expanded it with his wife, Maddelena who is turning 100 this year. The third- and fourth generations of Ribolis consider themselves stewards of the 1,400 acres of estate vineyard now under their care. Since 2019, REG has maintained sustainability certifications from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance for all of its estate vineyards, as well as the Paso Robles winery facility – something fewer than 5% of all California wineries can claim.

Maddalena Rosé – SRP $15 – Named after the matriarch and founder of Riboli Family Wines, this sustainably produced Rosé is a bright, luscious wine with ripe red plum and raspberry flavors.

San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc – SRP $19 – Located near the coastal town of San Simeon, the estate vineyards are located within the El Pomar district of the renowned Paso Robles appellation. Small lots are picked and fermented individually with minimal intervention to allow the true expression of the soil and climate. This is a bright, refreshing wine with intense flavors of citrus and pear. The nose reveals bright aromas of white peach and lime zest. Mineral notes express the rocky terroir of the vineyard.

San Simeon Stormwatch – SRP $70 –  Steep hillsides and rocky soils produce the intense flavors and aromas of this Bordeaux-style blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc). The wine is dark, rich, and mouth-filling complete with ripe flavors of blackberry and raspberry with touches of spice and vanilla.

Let us know if we can help you discover California’s Central Coast. Contact Nadea at mina@bensonmarketing.com to learn more.

Positive on Paso: Why you should be looking at Paso Robles for Cabernet Sauvignon

Positive on Paso: Why You Should Look to Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Cab is still ‘king’ in the U.S. wine market, but 2020 has shown it’s time to start looking at the areas these wines come from differently. According to Sovos ShipCompliant data, Cabernet is still the most ordered varietal, but the price per bottle is dropping.

And why is that?

COVID-19 lockdowns drove many people to buy online, and many of those buyers were in the Gen X and Millennial generations, an important demographic for the present and future of the wine industry. Looking for good value in the bottle, they migrated towards Cabernet’s NOT from pricey areas like Napa Valley.

Enter Paso Robles.

This region has long been known as a region that delivers all of the fruit and structure wanted in a Cab for more approachable prices. These are wines to enjoyed with family and friends at any time and not stored away for special occasions. But don’t take our word for it. Explore these Paso Robles clients, their winemakers and wines with our webinar, “BensonLive Presents: Positive on Paso Cab,” an interview with four winemakers taped June 24, 2021, located here on our YouTube channel.

Clockwise from top left: Kip Lorenzetti, Anthony Riboli, Roy Takigawa, Megan McCollough

Megan McCollough, Smith & Hook, Hahn Family Wines
Megan McCollough, Smith & Hook Winemaker, leads Hahn Family Wines’ Central Coast red wines that pay homage to the Hahn family’s first Monterey County properties. With nearly a decade of winemaking experiences under her belt, McCollough is setting an example for other young winemakers in California. Try one of her latest wines from Paso Robles: Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $45

Kip Lorenzetti, Chronic Cellars
Kip Lorenzetti’s winemaking career has taken him around the world, but he has called Paso Robles home for more than five years. Prior to Chronic Cellars, he was the winemaker at Wild Horse Winery & Vineyard, a pioneer in the Paso Robles area. It is the mission of Chronic Cellars to bring the nuances of the 11 different sub-AVAs in Paso into its wines. Good wine is in the winery’s bones.
Check out something noble with Chronic Cellars Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $15

Rob Takigawa, True Myth
Rob has been making wine in SLO County for over 20 years. Each vintage has furthered his knowledge of growing and making excellent wine in Paso Robles. A native of the Central Coast, Rob is a graduate of Cal Poly with a Soil Science Degree. After first understanding the science side of wine, Rob was inspired to get his hands dirty and ventured into the in winemaking side in 1997. From there he has never looked back. Taste his experience in Paso through the latest vintage of True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $24

Anthony Riboli, Highlands 41, Riboli Estates Group
Fourth generation family winemaker Anthony Riboli received his M.S. in Viticulture from the University of California, Davis. Since apprenticing under Michael Weis at Groth in Napa Valley, he has lead winemaking and grape growing for the California portfolio at Riboli Family Wines. Anthony’s foremost goal has been a meticulous focus in the vineyards as well as winemaking at Riboli Family’s state-of-the-art facility in Paso Robles. Start your Paso Robles adventure here: Highlands 41 Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $15

Contact Thea Schlendorf at schlendorf@bensonmarketing.com to connect with these winemakers and their wines.

Chronic Cellars

Chronic Cellars: New Look, Same Attitude

January 26, 2021—Paso Robles, CA—No wallflowers here. Chronic Cellars, the Paso Robles winery known for making seriously good wine for people looking for a dose of adventure, is getting a fresh look for 2021. Inspired by the same disruptive approach to traditional wine culture on which Chronic Cellars was founded, the new package communicates a fresh and imaginative take on what it means to make ‘wines with character.’

Reimagined from the bottle to the capsule, the new look for Chronic Cellars starts with a distinct label on embossed, high quality textured paper that gives the artistic, colorful Chronic Cellars characters their rightful stage below a refined logo. The bottle also gets an attractive upgrade fit for Chronic Cellars’ highly acclaimed wine. An elegant new gray capsule and an updated signature skull icon tops the updated package.

“More than 15 years ago, Chronic Cellars shook up the traditional wine world with bold labels and witty names, while never compromising on wine quality or style,” says Chronic Cellars Winemaker Kip Lorenzetti. “Our new look communicates a continued commitment to that promise we made to our fans all those years ago. Great wine is in our bones.”

The legend of Chronic Cellars dates back to 2004 when founders, Josh and Jake Beckett, combined their winemaking skills with their wit and passion for fun to turn an idea into reality. The brand’s high personality wines garnered both critical acclaim as well as an extremely loyal fan base in the process. In 2020, founding Winemaker Josh Beckett handpicked Winemaker Kip Lorenzetti to carry on the Chronic Cellars mission of creating wines with character that showcase Paso Robles’ unique terroir and infinite possibilities. Today, Kip has completed his first vintage as Chronic Cellars head winemaker working alongside his friend Josh.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the new line up looks,” added Lorenzetti. “It vividly brings to life the outstanding wines we are making and beautifully shares our vision for the uninitiated.”

Chronic Cellars Wines at a Glance: Six Chronic Cellars wines are available nationally at retailers and restaurants across the country and select countries outside the U.S., including the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.

  • Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise Red Blend: Catch a lucky break with this Zinfandel-dominated blend that bursts with juicy blackberry, dark cherry and enchanting whispers of mocha.
  • Chronic Cellars Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon: Noble to the core, this Cabernet Sauvignon delivers layers of black fruit, plum, and bright cassis for a balanced mouthfeel.
  • Chronic Cellars Suite Petite Petite Sirah: Impossible to forget, this seductive stunner brings bodacious flavors of bursting blackberries, blueberries, anise and a subtle hint of cacao.
  • Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno Red Blend: With wit and confidence for days, this savory blend weaves together a zing of black pepper, luscious black and blue fruits and cool, earthy flavors.
  • NV Spritz & Giggles Sparkling: Spritz your senses with refreshing aromas of citrus blossom and a hint of apple. Then, giggle as crisp effervescence meets notes of ripe peaches and hints of pear.
  • Chronic Cellars Pink Pedals Rosé: Sit back and enjoy the ride with aromas of watermelon and rose petal. Then coast on to flavors of strawberries and a splash of citrus.

Chronic Cellars wines retail from $16.99 to $25.99 and are available at wine retailers nationwide or online at www.chroniccellars.com. Follow Chronic Cellars on Instagram and Facebook.

Press Contact:
Alex Parker
Benson Marketing Group
parker@bensonmarketing.com
707.266.8917