Category Archives: Wines & Wineries

The “New” Wine Industry

For many years, wine was branded for, and consumed by, the higher echelon of the American population. People flaunted the brands that they drank. A vineyard’s reputation was as important as consumer’s enjoyment of the actual wine fillings his or her glass. However, a new rogue group is breaking out of this trend consisting of a younger wine consumer for value driven wines that didn’t compromise quality for price. They didn’t want to be limited to “Two Buck Chuck”. They wanted an options..

Thus we find ourselves in a very different wine industry, one that has become split. Wine makers must still brand and create wines for the “traditional” wine drinker, but now they have to also provide fun and innovative wine and products for the “new generation” of wine drinker.

The “new” wine drinker wants to have fun when they drink. They go camping with wine (a previously beer-heavy activity), they BBQ while drinking wine, and even go swimming with wine. But all of this created new needs for the market: good inexpensive wine and products that enhance the wine experience.

Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine recently featured an article on this new generation. In their new addition called, “The Pouch Revolution”, they say that wine drinkers aren’t even limiting their bottles. In the article they explain about how new wine drinkers are actually going after bagged wine. They go with bagged wines because they are cheaper, and the pouches allow for more print space to brand their wine. Essentially the “new” wine drinker is not about the wine itself all the time, but also the wine’s branding, visual appeal, value, and sometimes portability.

Fun loving wine drinkers are expecting more and more out their wine and their wine experience. With new branding, and fun gadgets and products, wine drinkers are sure to fine something that will make their next wine the most enjoyable one yet!

Washington State Wine Month

With over 750 wineries, Washington State is the second largest producer of wine in the United States.  To celebrate the success of the industry, March was designated as Washington State’s wine month.

This entire month is full of promotions and events by restaurants, retailers, hotels and wineries coming together, offering discounts, and tastings to celebrate just how dynamic the Washington State wine industry is.

“Washington Wine Month is a time to commemorate the hard work of Washington’s more than 750 wineries and 350 wine grape growers,” said Steve Warner, president and CEO of the Washington State Wine Commission. “Our state’s wine is enjoyed across the country, but it’s the enthusiasm of retailers, restaurants and hotels to promote Washington wine that always makes this month shine.”

The main event every March is the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event, Taste Washington.  An entire weekend of Washington’s leading wine and food, featuring everything that makes Washington such an exceptional place for all things delicious and enjoyable.

So, this March support Washington Wineries and enjoy Washington wine month!

It’s Harvest Time Again

It’s that time of year again!  August, September and October are the busiest time for winemakers; it is prime time for the annual grape harvest for most wineries around the world.

Grapes increase in sugar levels the longer they are left on the vine. For this reason, sparkling wine grapes and white wine grapes are harvested first to ensure lower sugar levels.  Red wine grapes take longer to mature, so they are sent to crush next. Finally, ice wine grapes are harvested last and sent to crush.

There are two traditional methods wineries practice when getting grapes ready for crush, hand-harvesting, mechanical harvesting or sometimes a combination of the two.  Hand-harvesting allows more accurate selection and does a better job of protecting the grape’s juice content from eliminating damaged skins, which results in oxidation.

Mechanical harvesting is more efficient, especially for larger vineyards and usually more cost-effective.

The United States, Italy, France and Australia are a few countries among the many different countries that produce wine grapes.  A winter that is cool with good moisture, a moderate spring and a summer with temperate days and cool nights is ideal weather for growing grapes.

Weather has a remarkable impact on how the grapes grow, which greatly affects the quality of the wine. If you would like to learn more about grapes and wine be sure to check out Zin-Zig, our wine tasting trivia game that is a not only a great way to learn, but fun as well!

If you are interested in creating your own backyard winery, check out From Vines to Wines: The Complete Guide to Growing Grapes and Making Your Own Wine.  From breaking ground to savoring the finished product, Jeff Cox’s From Vines to Wines is the most complete and up-to-date guide to growing flawless grapes and making extraordinary wine.

Perfect Wine Pairings for Your Holiday Feast: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated all across the U.S. in a number of ways. From dining with loved ones to watching parades and football, Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday season. Although the Thanksgiving meal is often marked by turkey and side dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation, True Fabrications would like to remind you to not forget about the wine this Thanksgiving.

 According to Better Homes and Gardens, more wine is consumed with the Thanksgiving meal than any other meal of the year. We would like to suggest a few wines that we think would pair well with this weekend’s meal. Because turkey is a lighter meat, a lighter wine with high acid is perfect for your table. A heavy read like cabernet or Syrah would overpower a meal like this and leave your mouth not being able to appreciate everything on your plate. Instead, if you are a die-hard red drinker, try a Pinot Noir. We recommend visiting your local wine shop and asking for a nice bottle from the Willamette Valley.

Two other wines that are great with Thanksgiving meals are Rieslings and Gewurztraminers. We recommend tracking down a bottle from Germany to enjoy this Thanksgiving. Our final recommendation would be a rose. A happy medium between red and white, Rose as well as the other wines listed are acidic enough to cleanse your pallet without overpowering your meal. From all of us at True Fabrications, have a great Thanksgiving!

Guide to Viticulture & Encology in Washington State

Because True Fabrications is based in Washington State, we thought we would pay tribute to the Washington wine industry. Although the history of Washington wine is relatively young, the state of Washington is the second largest producer of wine when compared state by state. The diverse variety in climate from region to region in Washington allows the state to specialize in a variety of grapes. Grapes featured in Washington include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, just to name a few.

According to Washingtonwine.org, the wine industry “generates more than $3 billion for the state economy and it employs more than 14,000 people directly and indirectly.” Over the past 50 years, Washington wine has grown with every decade. To support its 11 federally defined American Viticulture Areas, Washington has invested in wine education. Washington State University and Central Washington University both boast very successful and in depth wine programs.  Many of the regional community colleges have picked up two year wine programs as well.

At WSU, the university’s Viticulture and Enology program focuses on the science and business of wine. The V&E courses take students to annual trade shows and meetings, winery and vineyard tours, and even a WSU Cougar Mediterranean Wine Cruise in the summer. Washington State offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs for scholars interested in wine-grape growing and winemaking, as well as critical research and development opportunities in the wine industry.

From the warmer areas in the east and the south, to the cooler climates in the west, the diversity across Washington’s landscape allows for a variety of grapes to flourish. For those unfamiliar with the expanding and vibrant Washington Wine Industry, we highly recommend taking the time visit or at least picking up a bottle next you’re at the store. We think you’ll like what you find.

Image Courtesy: Washington State Wine

 

The Harvest: How Climate Change Affects Where Wine Grapes Grow

With climate change constantly in the news, many people often ask about its effects on various wine growing regions around the world. While the extent and cause of the change in the climate is unclear, a shift in average temperatures and seasons has had an impact on areas that have traditionally been regarded as established growing regions. In fact, True Fabrications carries many essential books on the topic.

According to an article in USA Today, average temperatures are expected to be 2 to 4 degrees higher than they were in the 1970s. No matter the cause of such increases, the effects on many wine regions would be drastic. A temperature that is constantly warmer by 2 to 4 degrees would not only impact day to day growth, but also the push harvest to an earlier date. An article from Wired.com featuring the subject says the increase in temperature would “eliminate wine-grape production in many areas of the United States.” In America, areas like California’s famous Napa Valley and centuries-old wine growing regions overseas like those in Southern Europe would be dramatically altered and possibly eliminated.

However, this new change in weather would also open the door for other areas around the world to take up grape growing. Locations that have been too wet and cold in the past may become the new garden states for wine growing. Areas like Southern England, the Willamette Valley, Washington’s Puget Sound and New York’s Finger Lakes area, are a few of the places that have expanded in recent years. While many of these areas have already been established as great grape growing areas, their popularity will only continue to increase should the global climate continue to shift.

Image Courtesy: Washington’s Wine Country Regions, from www.washingtonwine.org/explore

Journey from Grape to Glass: Guide to How Wine is Made

As food and drink is made more convenient, we often get further and further away from knowing where our food comes from and how it is made. In a world where salads come ready in bags, meat is deboned and ready to cook, and bread is bagged, pre-sliced and ready to serve, the origins of our food and the processes used to make it can become a mystery to the average consumer. True Fabrications is a company that focuses on wine tools, gift bags and entertaining items so we thought we would go over a little “Wine Making 101” with our fans!

Most wine drinkers know that their wine comes from grapes grown in vineyards. But, what happens to take grapes from the vine to your glass? Knowing the steps that go into making wine is important. The differing processes that go into wine production are often what give a wine its distinguishing characteristics. This will help you identify wine traits that you like. After that, you can use this knowledge to make educated buying decisions for your future wine purchases.

First, as grapes grow in the vineyard, the winemaker keeps close watch on his/her grapes by testing the flavor texture and sugar levels. Once it has been decided that the grapes are ready, they are harvested as quickly as possible. The weather and harvest date ultimately affect the quality and characteristics of the wine. This can often explain variations from vintage to vintage. Grapes are then carted away to either an onsite or off site location where they are crushed. This is where the process changes for white and red wine. The skins and seeds stay with the wine when red wine is made. The skins and seeds are removed for the production of white wine.

Wine Grapes | True Fabrications

Next, the recently crushed grapes are transferred to fermenting tanks (often made of stainless steel). After yeast is added, fermentation begins giving off alcohol as a bi-product. The next step after fermentation is often the transfer back into oak barrels. The amount of time spent in the barrels is up to the winemaker. The time in the barrels, combined with the age of the barrels, will contribute to the distinct characteristics of the wine. Knowing whether or not you enjoy oak flavor in your wine can help guide you towards wine with less, more, or no oak at all. While not all wines are put in oak, the time wine stored and the way it is stored, ultimately affects what arrives in your glass.

Wine Cellar | True Fabrications

Knowing how wine is made is important because it will help you find more wines to enjoy without having to try your way through styles and varieties that you are less fond of. Salud!

Image: xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Friday, It’s Almost Football Season!

Dear Retailers,



For those who haven’t heard, the pending NFL lockout that would have delayed the upcoming season is over! America’s beloved fall pastime will begin on schedule. This is a great time to focus on merchandise for the tailgating season.


Have you considered offering tailgating suggestions in your store? Create a list of wines that go well with tailgating foods. From malbecs and cabs for red meat to Riesling for brats, offer suggestions that can fill the beverage hole that beer usually fills. Although wine might not be the traditional football season drink, the right wine might just set your tailgate apart.


Along with wine paired for tailgating, football season can also be a great time to focus on tailgating merchandise. For those who don’t want to bring their stemware to the parking lot, the takeyaswirl and the acrylic wine glasses can be great replacements for enjoying pregame wine. For customers who like watching football from their living rooms, Mr. Beer gives weekend couch potatoes the opportunity to easily make their own beer to share with friends. In honor of the lockout ending and this being a Friday, check out our facebook page to see our first Fab Friday deal of the day!


Cheers,


True Fabrications

Economy Wine in a Changing Market

Dear Retailers,

Since 2008, many industries have had to shift their focus to keep up with consumer needs. While wine has managed to weather the storm better over the last three years than other industries, the price points and goals of the consumer have changed. In pre-recession times, there was a large focus on brand names and expensive labels. While this market still exists, the recession also developed a new niche for enterprising wine makers. As the recession set in, a need for less expensive, drinkable/enjoyable wines developed. Many winemakers have taken up the challenge of trying to create the best bottle for the consumer’s dollar.

Check out this story about a wine importer that adjusted it’s portfolio in order to keep up with the changing market. These affordable bottles can actually be turned into a great marketing tool in your store. Many stores have offered “recession specials” and highlighted or added lower priced, high quality wines. A wine shop in my neighborhood has a section that offers 100 wines from around the world for $10 or less. This is a great way to try different and very affordable bottles. Have you considered promoting a lower price point section in your store? We would love to hear about it.

With over 800 products, we try to provide our customers with options at every price point. No matter what you’re looking for, we will do what we can to get you the right product to satisfy your store’s needs. Also, if you ever need something that we don’t have, please share your ideas; we’re always looking for new product ideas and suggestions.

Cheers,

True Fabrications

Blueprint for the Perfect Spring Tasting


Here is our blueprint for the perfect Spring Tasting that you can pass on to your customers to put them in the mood. No one wine is the best companion for any time of year. The fun part is tasting, matching and trying different wines of the season. If you inspire your customers to do so, they’ll be forever grateful. Spring is so dynamic and invigorating it’s the perfect time to explore new food & wines!

Start with Prosecco a friendly sometime sweet, sparkling wine from Italy (Grandma will love it!) which is a great match for your brunch. Prosecco is typically low in alcohol (you see we told you grandma would love it!) and energizes your wine tasting with the nuances of spring: fresh cleansing renewal. Easily quaffed and convenient with food, yet still serious. To showcase your Prosecco serve in our elegant Champagne Flutes to highlight the sparkling bubbles and make sure to keep it fresh with our Champagne Stopper.

An off the beaten path wine that deserves more respect then it garners is Rosé. When featuring a Rosé remember when people see that pink-orange hue they think “sweet”. A true Rosé is not a frilly, fruity, fiasco.

Rosé wines provide an “out of the box” flavor experience and fragrances that require atmosphere. You begin with a slight chill, an array of food and interesting conversation. Since food and warmer weather are the theme of the season accent your Rosé choices with beautiful Spring infused flowers. Our Spring Assortment is a great gift for the Sunday brunch hostess and the perfect accent for this under rated wine. If you are lucky enough to enjoy Spring outside Pinic Stixs are sensational spiral shoots reminiscent of the flowers of Spring and will brilliantly display the special notes of Rosé. Remember…atmosphere is key.

Big reds are in the rear-view mirror so we can now focus on the full yet accessible flavors of Burgundy…this means Pinot Noir. Whether it is freshly harvested shellfish, the first runs of spring salmon or the annual feast of lamb, Pinot Noir is a formidable and spectacular Spring wine tasting favorite. Choose your selections from a variety of regions to provide value, tradition and the best vintages they have to offer. Cheeses and meats from throughout the world are traditional matches for the great red grape of Burgundy and our Slate Cheese Board is the perfect presentation for these food pairings. Great food & wine coupled with our Bamboo Buffet Plates will allow you to keep one hand free while you enjoy your Spring infused fare!

 

Share your ideas and thoughts with us on what you think go best with the season of re-birth and awakening…Happy Spring.