Last week I attended the World Wine Meetings in Chicago (@WorldWineMeetIN #WWMChicago15) at the invitation of the organizers (who also run ViniSud in Montpelier, France, each February) including the Adhesion Group (www.adhes.com), a wine-focused public relations company. I’ve chosen to catalog the meetings as a travel itinerary and whenever a specific wine or winery is mentioned this means that I had an individual sit-down meeting with the principals of that business. I also will try to post a follow-up column in which I talk to some of the sellers and buyers and see what success they’ve had in getting some of these wines to the U.S. market.
In a departure from my usual style, I’ve not included my tasting notes at the end of the column (they are available on Twitter @wineontheroad).
1300: Master Class Cotes de Bordeaux – unfortunately, I did not arrive early enough to attend this event.
1420: Domaine de Beaurenard – distributed in Colorado but Direct Import only so they want to expand to more states as well as big retailers.
1500: Les Grands Crus de L’Ouest Algerien – for many of these wineries, the U.S. is considered the Holy Grail in wine sales. For this importer of the wines of North Africa, there is no current U.S. distribution, so they contacted Vinisud and asked how to start.
1830: Master Class Languedoc – a huge region gaining popularity. Mostly Rhone varieties are grown here in a bewilderingly large number of AOCs (30).
2030: All Exhibitor dinner.
2200: after the last sip at dinner I headed over to City Winery for a nightcap with fellow wine writers David Furer and Fred Swan. What a great place! Terrific wine and food, and great entertainment to boot. More to come on this innovative and successful venue.
1120: JIDVEI (Romanian wine) – They researched online to help find a U.S. importer and instead found the WWM.
1230: Master Class Beaujolais Beyond Cliches – Beaujolais can produce serious wines in great vintages!
1230: All Exhibitor lunch
1420: Chateau Pipeau – even Bordeaux must expand in the U.S. market, which at one point was a futures market winery but that has changed. Now these wineries must sell directly without the help of futures sales.
1440: Chateau Rives -Blanques – Limoux’s climate is more Atlantic than Mediterranean, and it is the most southwestern of all Languedoc AOCs. Great value to be found here in white wine.
1540: Champagne Charles Collin – this is a co-op with no U.S. sales until 2014. They now want to build their markett via small distributors.
1630: Master Class Ribera del Duero and Rueda – Ribera has major seasonal temperature changes that are perfect for Tempranillo. Rueda (East-Southeast of Ribera but very close) has lots of diurnal shift, which in turn is perfect for Verdejo.
1900: J Dumangin tasting w/Gilles Dumangin – Gilles is an old friend of whom I’ve previously written. He now has a three-bottle single variety set packaged in a wooden ice bucket specifically for the U.S. market.
2030: Bulgaria Exhibitor dinner – I was not invited.
1230: Master Class Chateauneuf du Pape and Tavel – Tavel is the king of rose (Le Roi des Roses). Chateaunuef is a few miles northeast of Tavel and becoming more famous although still less expensive in the middle quality ranges than most other Grand Vins.
1230: All Exhibitor lunch.
1400: To Airport for flight home.
Events such as the World Wine Meetings afford me the chance to stay current with trends as well as to taste some exciting new wines. If you are a small producer, importer, or distributor who wants to sell new products in the U.S. I highly encourage you to attend the next WWM event wherever it may be held.
BEN WILL BE IN RIAS BAIXAS AND CATALONIA, SPAIN INCLUDING BARCELONA MAY 3-8 AND JUNE 3 – 9
Ben has been invited to tour the food and wine of Rias Baixas (home to Albarino) in early May and also Catalonia (including Barcelona) at the beginning of June. Follow along with him on Twitter (@WineOnTheRoad), Facebook (Wine On The Road), LinkedIn (Benjamin Weinberg) and Foursquare (Ben Weinberg).
BEN’S ARTICLE ON WINERY BEEKEEPING IN EDIBLE MARIN AND WINE COUNTRY MAGAZINE’S SPRING EDITION
Ben has an article about wineries that keep and employ bees on their properties in the spring edition of Edible Marin and Wine Country Magazine (www.ediblemarinandwinecountry.com). The summer edition will include stories on the recent Napa earthquake and also the Rutherford Dust Society. Check it out!
BEN’S WINE COUNTRY PICTURES ARE FOR SALE
Have you ever read one of Ben’s columns and wondered how it would look to have one of his incredibly vivid, high resolution pictures of wine country framed on your wall? We’re now offering various size prints of his quirky photography at Pixels.com, where you can also add his images to smartphone cases, greeting cards, and many other items. Pictures can be ordered loose or matted and framed in various sizes. Click Here to take a peek.
WINE ON THE ROAD’S LUXURIOUS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINE TOURS
With Wine On The Road (www.wineontheroad.com), my wine-focused touring company, you can enjoy the ultimate wine country excursion with special access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines. Wine On The Road offers intimate wine country tours that combine award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor. We lodge at excellent and luxurious wine country estates (in the past we’ve occupied ancient yet completely restored castles as well as five-star resorts, all with modern amenities). We eat at amazing local restaurants and visit wineries that embody the best, most authentic expressions of local wine grapes.
You can learn more about these trips, book private groups in wine country world-wide and request more information on any of these extraordinary travel experiences by visiting www.wineontheroad.com, emailing me at email@example.com, or calling me at 303-522-6738.