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During the recent grape glut, many growers felt forced to make bulk wine when they couldn’t get the prices they sought for their grapes—or couldn’t sell their crops at all. With the supply suddenly tightening, however, many have found that making bulk wine was a good decision. Some growers report that they’re making more from the bulk wine than they could have gotten for the grapes alone. Some even see it as an alternative path for the future—even if there are plenty of buyers for their grapes today. Winegrower Michael Rowan looks at the situation that way. He owns 18-acre Wine Creek Vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley of California, where he grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. He says that for the past five or six years the market has been unpredictable, particularly as to who would buy grapes and who would repeat their purchases. “We faced being at the end of October with no customers. We had to look at the alternatives.” As a result, he made wine six of the past seven years. “It’s turned out to be very workable for me,” he says. Rowan says that it’s important to make good wine. He originally fermented the wine himself, but more recently he has used Mike Draxton in nearby Windsor, Calif. “I’m very comfortable with him. We take the same approach, and I have little to add once we agree on how to proceed.” Rowan likes the fact that Draxton is set up to offer wine to many buyers. “The wine won’t sell itself, and he has contacts.” He says the last lot he sold (2010) took 18 months, but it was his best lot. “I netted 15% above the Sonoma County average after crush fees.” Rowan adds that he’s already sold his 2011 wine at a better-than-average price. As a result, he’s keeping his options open. “I don’t ever intend to commit all my grapes to one form of sale or another. I’m looking for long-term contracts—both for my grapes and my wine. I think this is a viable option; it could be very attractive.”

Read more at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=features&content=101238&ftitle=Desperation%20or%20Diversification%3F
Copyright © Wines & Vines
During the recent grape glut, many growers felt forced to make bulk wine when they couldn’t get the prices they sought for their grapes—or couldn’t sell their crops at all. With the supply suddenly tightening, however, many have found that making bulk wine was a good decision. Some growers report that they’re making more from the bulk wine than they could have gotten for the grapes alone. Some even see it as an alternative path for the future—even if there are plenty of buyers for their grapes today. Winegrower Michael Rowan looks at the situation that way. He owns 18-acre Wine Creek Vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley of California, where he grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. He says that for the past five or six years the market has been unpredictable, particularly as to who would buy grapes and who would repeat their purchases. “We faced being at the end of October with no customers. We had to look at the alternatives.” As a result, he made wine six of the past seven years. “It’s turned out to be very workable for me,” he says. Rowan says that it’s important to make good wine. He originally fermented the wine himself, but more recently he has used Mike Draxton in nearby Windsor, Calif. “I’m very comfortable with him. We take the same approach, and I have little to add once we agree on how to proceed.” Rowan likes the fact that Draxton is set up to offer wine to many buyers. “The wine won’t sell itself, and he has contacts.” He says the last lot he sold (2010) took 18 months, but it was his best lot. “I netted 15% above the Sonoma County average after crush fees.” Rowan adds that he’s already sold his 2011 wine at a better-than-average price. As a result, he’s keeping his options open. “I don’t ever intend to commit all my grapes to one form of sale or another. I’m looking for long-term contracts—both for my grapes and my wine. I think this is a viable option; it could be very attractive.”

Read more at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=features&content=101238&ftitle=Desperation%20or%20Diversification%3F
Copyright © Wines & Vines
During the recent grape glut, many growers felt forced to make bulk wine when they couldn’t get the prices they sought for their grapes—or couldn’t sell their crops at all. With the supply suddenly tightening, however, many have found that making bulk wine was a good decision. Some growers report that they’re making more from the bulk wine than they could have gotten for the grapes alone. Some even see it as an alternative path for the future—even if there are plenty of buyers for their grapes today. Winegrower Michael Rowan looks at the situation that way. He owns 18-acre Wine Creek Vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley of California, where he grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. He says that for the past five or six years the market has been unpredictable, particularly as to who would buy grapes and who would repeat their purchases. “We faced being at the end of October with no customers. We had to look at the alternatives.” As a result, he made wine six of the past seven years. “It’s turned out to be very workable for me,” he says. Rowan says that it’s important to make good wine. He originally fermented the wine himself, but more recently he has used Mike Draxton in nearby Windsor, Calif. “I’m very comfortable with him. We take the same approach, and I have little to add once we agree on how to proceed.” Rowan likes the fact that Draxton is set up to offer wine to many buyers. “The wine won’t sell itself, and he has contacts.” He says the last lot he sold (2010) took 18 months, but it was his best lot. “I netted 15% above the Sonoma County average after crush fees.” Rowan adds that he’s already sold his 2011 wine at a better-than-average price. As a result, he’s keeping his options open. “I don’t ever intend to commit all my grapes to one form of sale or another. I’m looking for long-term contracts—both for my grapes and my wine. I think this is a viable option; it could be very attractive.” He says that he thinks buying well-made wine from good sources would appeal to many wineries, too. “They don’t have to have grower managers and other costs of sourcing the grapes, and they don’t have to pay until closer to the time they can sell the wine.” According to Rowan, most wineries get no benefit from identifying their vineyard sources. Beckstoffer makes bulk wine David Beckstoffer is a grapegrower who also has made wine. The president of Beckstoffer Vineyards says that his family’s company, which has roughly 1,000 acres in each of Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties, has made bulk wine for four or five years.

Read more at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=features&content=101238&ftitle=Desperation%20or%20Diversification%3F
Copyright © Wines & Vines