Small Batch, Local Wines Right Under Your Nose
How much do you know about local wine?
It seems easy to run past the grocery store on your way out to dinner and grab the first thing that stands out to you. Many of us will most likely gravitate towards the label first. Who doesn’t like a well-designed wine label, right? If you’re like me, your next clue to the perfect wine will be the region where the wine was produced. As a locavore, I’ve always thought how lucky I am to live in place where I have access to so many high-quality, local, California wines. From Napa/Sonoma to Mendocino County in the north, to the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey in the south, to Lodi and the Sierra Foothills in the east, we’re surrounded by local wines. It all seemed so perfect. What I didn’t know, however, was the dark side of the so-called wine industry.
Here’s something for you to mull over while you make your next wine purchase: 82% of all wine sold in the U.S. is produced or imported by seven multinational corporations. That’s right: seven. How many small local wine producers are out there competing with them? Well, there are about 4,000 boutique wineries in California alone.
If you went for wine from one of the big seven, you missed out on the 4,000 that are contributing to the world of boutique wine. These craft producers are not only passionate about their wine. There’s something that must be said about the small farmer’s relationship to the land. Sustainability is an integral part of small-batch, craft wine production. This manifests not only in mindful environmental practices, but also in the quality of the wine produced.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – in fact, we’ve got a way to help you get your hands on local, boutique wine without even leaving your house. Let’s take a look.
What Does it Mean to be a Boutique Wine Producer?
So, what exactly are we referring to when we say ‘boutique local wineries’? And what does it mean to be a boutique wine producer?
It’s a bit of a David and Goliath situation, a phrase that is thrown around a lot when the discussion involves big corporations. Boutique wine producers are small-batch wineries that focus on a small harvest every year, producing a small number of cases of each vintage. They have a small, tight-knit team behind the winemaking process, nurturing their craft every step of the way. This includes employing sustainable practices and avoiding those that tend to be associated with mass-produced wines.
While this may sound like something you’d want to support, you’d be surprised how easy it is to overlook these producers. Life in the modern world means the majority of us make purchases based on convenience and price more than anything – and when buying from big corporations, that means cutting corners to get there.
There are many California wines that are produced by local boutique wineries, but when placed alongside wines from the big seven, they rarely stand a chance. Local wineries don’t have the capital to invest in large marketing campaigns and, often, they don’t produce enough wine to stock multiple grocery stores or to appeal to the large distributors.
This means a lot of the time you have to go to them. But first they need to be discovered.
Are Their Wines Really That Much Better?
You might be surprised to know there was a time when most wine was made by small production wineries, and they often just made enough for the family dinner table. When market-driven brands spend lots of money catering to – and shaping – popular taste, this often leaves local wineries high and dry.
We find that boutique wines are better than most of the big brand wines – and here’s why. With the larger wineries, you tend to lose the soul that drives what you’re doing, and the day-to-day operations become focused on cutting costs and increasing efficiency. This often leads to decisions being made for cost-related reasons rather than being driven by the quality of the wine produced. Boutique wineries don’t generally compete in the grocery store where prices are kept low due to high volume sales and the associated cost-cutting decisions of corporate products.
The teams behind boutique wineries develop a personal and intimate connection with every part of the process – from the terroir to the vines and, ultimately, the finished product: the wine. Because the production process is guided more by passion rather than profit, skimping on quality isn’t an option.
The result? Some of the most distinctive and expressive wines that money could buy!
Why Vinely Can Bridge that Gap
Don’t worry, we get it – the lure of grocery store convenience can almost be too good to pass up, especially when you’re late to that dinner party. Or not. Being a little picky, I always found myself browsing the wine shelves longer than I should, looking for that one perfect wine. And to be fully honest, I never felt that I really got what I was looking for. Maybe what I was missing most was the story behind the wine. The winemaker’s story could be a good start. Wine is a social product and, as such, its story should be known. Getting to know the wine’s story isn’t always easy in the grocery store, however.
What if you already had a boutique wine ready to go, and you didn’t even have to pick it up? Vinely is a wine club that wants to bridge the gap between boutique local wineries and you. We partner with incredible winemakers that produce outstanding California wines, and it’s our mission to bring them to you to try!
With Vinely, you receive local boutique California wines delivered right to your door every month. This means you’ve always got something new to try – and share. If this wasn’t enough, wine tastings are also complimentary at all Vinely club wineries.
The world is all about convenience, and Vinely has found a way to make supporting boutique local wineries convenient for you!