Elsom Cellars Scores a Goal with Stefan Frei Partnership

I still recall my first encounter with Elsom Cellars wine years ago. It was a malbec, and a distinctive one at that. It exuded a spicy, black pepper nuance. Is there a spice more popular than pepper? It adds abundant flavor to life. As do the wines coming out of this woman led business.

While Malbec is still considered the signature variety of Elsom Cellars, the winery is about so much more than that. Especially to me personally. I am a member of the board of Seattle Urban Wineries as a result of Winemaker Rebecca Weber’s outreach. Even if it weren’t for that, I find it admirable that the people behind the brand create such a welcoming space and foster community. They also have much to offer wine loving consumers such as a one-of-a-kind urban tasting experience on the outdoor patio, an indoor space available for private events, and a diverse range of tantalizing wines that even includes a vermouth. There are also bottles that give back to the community.

Celebrating the release of The Keeper
Photo via Elsom Cellars Facebook Page

Meet The Keeper

Elsom Cellars recently scored a collaboration with celebrated Seattle Sounders goalkeeper, Stefan Frei. The wine project, aptly named The Keeper, benefits youth sports programs through Washington Youth Soccer. The bottle is adorned with label artwork created by Frei, a two-time MLS Cup champion and an avid artist.

“I’m really excited about this project,” said Frei. “It’s about coming together to support our community’s young athletes and helping them reach their goals on and off the field.” Continue reading “Elsom Cellars Scores a Goal with Stefan Frei Partnership”

Celebrate Earth Day with the Slow Wine Guide USA

How about a glass of wine to celebrate Earth Day? In keeping with the theme, be sure it’s from an eco-friendly producer. How do you know whether a winery uses sustainable practices? If you ask Esther Mobley, Senior Wine Critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, “The best resource I can recommend is the Slow Wine Guide.”

It was my privilege to conduct 17 interviews in Washington and Oregon for the Slow Wine Guide USA 2023. Each winery entry provides a snapshot of the people, the vineyards, and wines.

Top Slow Wine Awards

When I received my author’s copy it was a thrill to see that two of the wineries I wrote about are among recipients of Slow Wine’s top award for their dedication to greener farming practices. This includes Bethel Heights Vineyard, one of Oregon’s pioneering wineries. In Washington, Hedges Family Estate achieved this special recognition.

Celebrate Earth Day and Learn More About Slow Wine

I’ve previously written about what Slow Wine means and why it matters as well as which Washington wineries attained Slow Wine Awards last year.

The Slow Wine Guide USA 2023 is $25 a copy. Purchases made directly from the Slow Food USA Bookshop help support ongoing work. This isn’t just a terrific resource for buying wine, it’s been helpful to me when planning trips to wine country.

Find more pictures and back stories about some of the wineries on my Instagram account including my tour of the Hors Categorie Vineyard of famed Bionic Wines (aka Cayuse), where Syrah vines grow on a 65 degree slope. Their biodynamic practices previously earned them Slow Wine’s top accolades.

Discover the Pecorino grape in my write up about a master class offered during the 2020 Slow Wine Tour.

Want to hear more about Washington wine and wineries in the guide? I was interviewed by Scott Cowan for the Explore Washington State podcast. Give it a listen!

About the Author

The founder of VinoSocial.wine, Nancy coaches wineries and wine regions on social media practices and provides marketing services. A graduate of the Northwest Wine Academy and a Certified Specialist of Wine, she works with wineries, wine regions, event producers, and wine competitions. In addition to writing for the Slow Wine Guide USA, her work has been published by Explore Washington State and Washington Tasting Room Magazine. She serves as Vice President of Seattle Urban Wineries.

A Colorado Winery for The Ordinary Fellow

Look up “Colorado wine” and Google suggests people want to know, “Is Colorado good for wine?” and, “Does Colorado have good wineries?” Up until last week, I had no idea.

Enter Colorado winery, The Ordinary Fellow. The labels on the samples I received are anything but commonplace, splashed with colorful artwork. A small peel off tab enables an outer sleeve to rotate around the bottle. With each turn of the clever wrapper, cutouts highlight different images below along with clever sayings. The innovative approach is something perfectly playful and enchanting for those who feel that stodgy wine labels can be a snooze fest. Perhaps this is one way to attract a new audience to wine?

 

While the labels may be unique and unconventional, the varietal contents are more commonplace. Bottles I received include consumer darlings Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Riesling. What may be a surprise to learn is that the Riesling and Cabernet come from the same vineyard. However, different microclimates can enable very different grapes to flourish within one vineyard. That’s not to say Colorado wine country doesn’t have distinctive qualities. By way of example, here’s a quick overview.

Fun Facts About Colorado Wine

Want to dazzle people with your knowledge of Colorado wine? Here are some talking points to share the next time you’re at a party courtesy of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board.

  • Colorado has more than 170 licensed wineries.
  • It is home to two federally designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): the Grand Valley AVA and the West Elks AVA.
  • These two AVAs contribute 90% of the wine grapes grown in Colorado.
  • At 4,000 to 7,000 feet in elevation, Colorado lays claim to the highest growing regions in the Northern Hemisphere (by comparison, Washington State’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA ranges from 200 to 2,000 feet).

The Ordinary Fellow Origin Story

Interestingly, Ben Parsons, the bloke behind The Ordinary Fellow, sounds anything but ordinary. The winemaker previously founded The Infinite Monkey Theorem (TIMT) winery in 2008. A 2019 Wine Spectator article announcing his resignation reports, “He kickstarted the urban winery and canned wine trends.” Sounds like Ben is intent on making wine more accessible, something the industry desperately needs. Continue reading “A Colorado Winery for The Ordinary Fellow”

Explore Seattle Urban Wineries During #TryJanuary

It’s here – the fun way to make wine discoveries and break out of a Cabernet Sauvignon rut! Take the #TryJanuary challenge and explore Seattle Urban Wineries. The idea is to try new-to-you grape varieties, wines, and wineries. With over 80  varieties grown in Washington State, and a proliferation of tasting rooms in Seattle there is a lot to investigate. Make it even more entertaining and turn wine tasting into an inspired scavenger hunt of sorts. The resources below make it easy.

Disclosure: I am an associate member of Seattle Urban Wineries and a volunteer board member. My idea for the challenge was devised as a way to help wine consumers experience some fun during what can often be a dreary month. At the same time, my hope is to aid the wineries and locals employed by them in the often painfully slow month of January. I am not paid for my work on this. Thank you for all you do to help the local wine industry thrive!

Explore Alternative Varieties

Use the graphic below for inspiration to try some new-to-you varieties. By the way, these unsung heroes are typically priced less than the ever prevalent Cabernet Sauvignon. So if you discover a new wine that you want to take home, it might actually save you money!

Geeky Grape Varieties

For a closer glance at some of these selections take a look at Twenty Fun Red Washington Wine Varieties You Need to Try.

Visit Different Tasting Rooms

Continue reading “Explore Seattle Urban Wineries During #TryJanuary”

Washington Wineries Attain Slow Wine Awards

The Slow Wine Guide USA 2022 is now available. This edition includes twelve Washington wineries. That’s nine more than the 2021 edition. Better still, two are recognized with Slow Wine’s top honors. Read on for some insights about the Washington wineries that attained Slow Wine awards.

Of the 36 wines published in the Washington chapter for this edition of the Guide, nine are named Top Wines. Of the wines sampled, these represent the finest bottles from a sensory point of view. From cool climate Madeleine Angevine to the state’s first commercial plantings of Sagrantino, the varieties represented showcase the diversity of grapes that can  successfully grow in Washington. Combined with styles ranging from carbonic maceration to well-made pet nats, the wines in this publication exhibit the exciting range of winemaking in the state. Continue reading “Washington Wineries Attain Slow Wine Awards”