Let’s Talk About WineSmith Wines with Clark Smith

It’s not often that a winemaker initiates a discussion on consumer perceptions of wines and winemakers. Especially rare is a winemaker who openly discusses his use of oak chips in winemaking. Insists that wine tastes better paired with music. Or asserts that sulfite free wines age forever. Yet, all this and more was tackled head on during an online media tasting with Clark Smith, winemaker for WineSmith Wines & Consulting and author of Postmodern Winemaking.

I wasn’t sure what to anticipate from the virtual event. One thing was for sure, though. When I received the sample bottles, I was excited to see wines rarely associated with California such as Saint Laurent and Petit Manseng.

Here’s the first thing Clark wanted to say:

“My wines are highly manipulated. ALL wines are highly manipulated. Those are not grapes in the glass. No wine is as manipulated as any beer, and that’s the truth. The foundation of our brand is total honesty.”

Regarding Wine Lovers

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Let’s Talk About Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club

My husband and I have been members of the Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club for over eleven years. By wine club standards, that’s an extremely long time (18-36 months is typical). Also, Ken Wright Cellars is at least a 4 hour drive from our Seattle home. However, we don’t mind making that drive to Carlton, Oregon. Ken Wright and his team have made it worth our while by rewarding our membership in ways that no other winery has matched. Of course, let’s not forget the superb wine that drew us in from the start; membership keeps our home well supplied with our favorite Oregon Pinot Noir! So, let’s talk about the phenomenal Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club.

Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club Experience

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Karen MacNeil Virtual Wine Tasting Series

Worlds are colliding! Innovation in the wine industry is taking shape in the form of virtual wine tasting. This enables consumers to learn about wineries all over the globe. In some cases it provides the opportunity to taste wines. It also gives wine lovers access to a number of industry experts from winemakers to renowned authors. Now, Seattle based non-profit Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) is bringing all of these components together in a brand-new Virtual Tasting Series.

Hosted by AWW Honorary Chair, Karen MacNeil, the fascinating series features a who’s who of Washington winemakers.  Explore the world of their wines through 7 virtual experiences held between June 18 and August 20. Hosted by MacNeil on the Zoom platform, wine lovers may register to attend these events online at no cost! Bonus – those who wish to taste along in any or all of the sessions may pre-purchase wines at retailer partner Esquin Wine & Spirits.

The lineup of wines and wine industry greats is phenomenal! To give you a taste, the series premieres with L’Ecole No 41’s Marty Clubb, Long Shadows Vintners’ Allen Shoup and Woodward Canyon Winery’s Rick Small. Topics range from Washington Women in Wine to Red Mountain and Bordeaux Style Wine. Let the good times flow. Continue reading “Karen MacNeil Virtual Wine Tasting Series”

What Makes Avennia a Leading Winery in Washington

Although it is my regular practice to spread the word about notable wines and wineries, I don’t normally write about clients. However, these are far from normal times. Not to mention, I have been a fan of Avennia since the release of their inaugural vintage in 2012. Working with them for nearly two years in order to help wine lovers connect with the brand has just been icing on the cake. I consider myself extremely fortunate to assist such a celebrated winery and a team of generous and talented people. Through our partnership it’s become clear that there’s a lot to admire about the winery in addition to first-rate winemaking. Here’s an insider’s update on what’s happening at leading Washington winery Avennia lately, along with an exploration of some of their wines I’ve recently opened and the foods paired with them.

Avennia Winemaker, Chris Peterson (photo via Facebook)

Founded by Marty Taucher and Chris Peterson, Avennia is based in Woodinville, Washington about 20 miles outside of Seattle. The two met while working harvest at DeLille Cellars in 2009. When Chris reviewed Marty’s business plan for a winery, an innocent inquiry as to who was going to make the wine led to a partnership. By the 2010 harvest, the two were working Avennia’s first crush. Since then, Avennia has amassed top accolades and earned some of the highest scores in Washington State for their world class wines. Marty manages the business side of the winery while Chris oversees the cellar.

Avennia Founding Partner Marty Taucher during Avennia’s first live tasting

At the first signs of the pandemic, my company was impacted significantly. As business plummeted, so did my spirit. I remember speaking with Marty on the phone right when everything started going in a tailspin. Thankfully, the first thing he did was offer reassurance, “Don’t worry, Nancy, we’ll get through this.”

Principled Leadership

It turns out that Marty had read an article of mine that highlights five lessons on marketing during these challenging times. Like so many other businesses, Avennia was planning a quick pivot. In order to stay engaged with customers, social media would play a key role much to my relief! Additionally, employees would be kept busy with curbside pickup and wine delivery to customers’ homes. Remarkably, the winery also stepped up to help out the distressed hospitality industry. Continue reading “What Makes Avennia a Leading Winery in Washington”

Let’s Talk About Maysara Winery and Momtazi Vineyard

Take a drive out to the picturesque McMinnville Foothills in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and explore a winery built on the American dream and Biodynamic soil. Turn into Momtazi Estate, and the road ultimately leads to the impressive Maysara Winery. I had the pleasure of visiting this family owned and operated winery this summer as a guest while attending the 2019 Wine Writers Educational Tours. Our revelatory introduction to the 532 acre estate was led by owner Moe Momtazi.

Maysara Winery cellar door (L) and tasting room entrance (R)

Maysara Winery’s Momtazi Vinyeard

After touring Momtazi Vineyard with Moe, I will never gaze at a grapevine the same way. There is something very spiritual about how he perceives and cares for the vines. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Maysara Winery and Momtazi Vineyard”