The wine industry is a very large and uniqe business. While many of us drink wine on a regular basis there are general questions of what we do to produce and sell it. We hope that this blog offers some insight on what we do on a weekly basis written by members of the family.
I returned home last weekend from Denver after participating in Elite Brand's annual event, The Great International Beverage Festival. Elite Brands is our Colorado distributor, and did a magnificent job hosting the five hour show. Literally hundreds of people from all around the greater Denver area attended. Wine and beer from all parts of the United States and Europe were showcased - even some spirits as well. The booths were situated on three floors of the McNichols Civic center Building, and we were all treated to some great passed appetizers so no one left hungry.
As usual, it was great to speak to fans of our wines and also to have the opportunity to pour for those who hadn't tried them before. Shows like this are an integral part in introducing our brand to new consumers, and pouring at them is one of my favorite parts of the job.
Mary Ann, Dante and I attended Henry Wine Group's Taste of the World Monday at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco. The event name is a nod to the array of varietals offered, and it gives wine buyers from restaurants and retail stores the unique opportunity to taste wines from around the globe. Dante hosted the Michael Pozzan booth for five hours and poured wine for old & new fans alike. Events like these are a favorite, and gives us an opportunity to really get to know our customers and share our story & family history.
Like all good evenings, the night was wrapped up at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco, Perbacco. Pictured is the roast duck breast in a rhubard (surprisingly pronounced "rhu-bar") sauce with braised greens and roasted green strawberries. We'll take two please!
Michael was on the road this week down in the Central Coast visiting one of our favorite wine purveyors, Bevmo! He hosted a few tastings with some new vintages of our wines, and was thrilled with our Sailors Grave Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (a favorite of ours) and the Michael Pozzan Russian River Pinot Noir. Russian River produces incredible Pinot Noir & Chardonnay and we are lucky enough to have forged strong relationships with growers to continue with that fruit source.
His next stop was the beautiful city of Carmel, where he enjoyed a great lunch at 7th & Delores. If you're not hungry, you might be after seeing these pictures! He started with a endive salad with sliced red pears and gorgonzola cheese and moved on to a grilled octopus with braised greens and gigante beans in a Romesco sauce. And of course the wine that pairs well with the dish? The Michael Pozzan Russian River Pinot Noir.
It was a short trip, but the beautiful coastal weather and the wonderful dining experiences won't soon fade from memory.
It’s been a busy month for all the Pozzan men.
After pouring at events in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, Dante met me in Atlanta, Georgia to introduce our Matthew Joseph wines to our new distributor, Quality. We met with their managers and tasted through the wines over a wonderful lunch at the Blue Ridge Grill. If you ever make it there, try the lobster Cobb salad. It was delicious!
The group was very impressed with the quality of the wines and felt that they over delivered. We look forward to building the brand with such a prestigious distributor.
Later that day, we flew to Charleston, South Carolina, where we met up with my lovely wife, Mary Ann. We were in town to participate in The Country Vintner's annual trade show. This year it was held at the Cigar Factory in the Cedar Room. Great venue! Buyers came from all over the state to taste wines from all of the producers they represent. We had a great response to our wines, but the two that really stood out that day were the Michael Pozzan Russian River Pinot Noir and the Sailors Grave. I think it's safe to say that we made some new fans.
Bright and early on Monday it was back to Napa and trying to get caught up. Wednesday morning will find us tasting through Cabernet barrels to put the 2015 Marianna blend together.
After traveling from Texas, where Dante finished doing wine events in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, he met me in Atlanta, Georgia to introduce our Matthew Joseph wines to our new distributor, Quality. We met with all of their managers and tasted through the wines over a wonderful lunch at the Blue Ridge Grill. If you ever make it there, try the lobster Cobb salad. It was delicious! The group was very impressed with the quality of the wines and felt that they over delivered. We look forward to building the brand with such a prestigous distributor.
Later that day, we flew to Charleston, South Carolina, where we met up with my lovely wife, Mary Ann. We were in town to participate in The Country Vintner's annual trade show. This year it was held at the Cigar Factory in the Cedar Room. Great venue! Buyers came from all over the state to taste wines from all of the producers they represent. For us, we had a great response to our wines, but the two that really stood out that day were the Michael Pozzan Russian River Pinot Noir and the Sailor's Grave. I think it's safe to say that we made some new fans.
Bright and early on Monday it was back to Napa and trying to get caught up. Wednesday morning will find us tasting through Cabernet barrels to put the 2015 Marianna blend togther. I will let you know the outcome later in the week.
Just returned from Cleveland, Ohio this week and had a great trip. Participated in the Grapes Under Glass event sponsored by Heinen's Market's. On Thursday evening we poured our 2014 Napa Valley Sailors Grave Cabernet Sauvignon that was paired with a wonderful pork entree, flavored with Moroccan spices and served on a flat-bread accompanied by a yogurt and cilantro sauce. The subtle nuances of the wine paired perfectly with the pork.
Two days later we poured our Giapoza Cabernet and Pinot Noir at their Gala event along with 35 other wineries. Truly a memorable night! The event brought out some serious wine drinkers and connoisseurs.
My youngest son, Matt, accompanied me on the trip, and offered a great deal of insight to the Giapoza wines since it was named after his daughter, Gianna Pozzan. We just introduced this wine only a few months ago and it has been met with rave reviews. Only home for a couple of days and then off to Atlanta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina for another wine event.
Just finished doing the Ranhco Mirage Food and Wine Festival in Rancho Mirage last Saturday. Mary Ann and I flew ddown the day before. We had visited the Bevmo store in Palm Springs and had a nice visit with Mary, the store manager. The store was very busy. Later that evening we had a wonder dinner at one our favorite Italian restaurants in the Dessert, Mama Gina. We started with Capeillini in a Pomodoro sauce and it was delicious. Mary Ann had scampi and I had seared scallops in a sffaron sauce over a bed of fresh asparagus.
The event itself went very well. Met a lot of people, not only from the Dessert communities, but from LA, San Diego, and from as far away as Canada. The wines were all recieved, especially the Sailors Grave.
I am often asked how the craft beer market is affecting the wine business. It’s a good question. The craft beer market has exploded in recent years. What was initially a niche market has extended into a focal point for beer lovers. Stores and restaurants adorn their alcohol selection with craft beers from all over the country in various styles and flavors. The cases of Budweiser, Coors, and the occasional Sierra Nevada no longer dominate the market. While it is still customary to carry some of these well known mass market beers, people are demanding new exciting brews that are often big, hoppy, and high in alcohol. As a result, people are willing to pay a higher price.
It has always been a challenge to get “beer-only drinkers” to begin buying wine. A big part of this was because of price. But now, as craft beer prices climb to around $10 a bottle, the gap towards premium wine shrinks. I am reminded of a story I heard from the Franzia’s, who own Bronco Wine Company, where they received flak for producing Charles Shaw…or as you may know it, “two buck chuck”. Many people in the industry felt that the production of this wine cheapened the outlook of the industry, especially if other producers wanted their wine to be considered “luxury goods”. It wasn’t until years later that many vintners praised Franzia for what he had done; which was getting people to buy wine when they wouldn’t have otherwise because of the price.
Now, the beer industry has created a large social aspect which also benefits the wine industry. Brew pubs have become a hip place to drink, eat and play games. Many breweries have opened their doors to the public for beer tasting and feature food trucks, pizza ovens, and games such as corn hole or shuffle board. And some of these breweries offer a limited selection of wine to appeal to the few wino’s who join.
So, although craft beer has begun to play a bigger role in the alcohol industry, it also provides more opportunity for wine sales. Cheers to beer!....and wine of course.
In the wine business, there are three little letters with a big meaning: OND. Standing for October, November, December, it is a sales term that has become synonymous with the busiest time of the year. The last three months are when you expect businesses to make a big push to hit their end-of-year sales goals. While most businesses are affected in some way by the Holidays, the wine business goes into a special kind of frenzy as people begin to drink more.
As a producer, we also spend this time working distributor & trade shows. These allow retailers and restaurateurs to set their wine line-up for the holiday season. Every year, come October, we are busy traveling the country in pursuit of these wine placements. And as abruptly as our traveling begins, it ends. Mid October signals the start of the sales staff race as they begin calling on the accounts to secure wine placements for the remainder of the year.
With this increase in sales comes the need for an increase in inventory. Bottling is shut down during the harvest period, so with the end of Harvest comes the beginning of bottling. This means it is full speed ahead to finalize our wine blends. Just in the past few weeks we have put together the Dante Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, our Annabella Red Blend, and the Matthew Joseph Cabernet and Chardonnay.
OND can be stressful, exhausting, and will quickly remind you that there is always something happening in the Wine Industry. Luckily, we’re always working with family and have the added benefit of loving what we do. We are thrilled with the wines we produced this OND and can’t wait to share them with our customers.
On Saturday, October 14th, my wife Mary Ann and I returned home after being displaced by the Napa and Sonoma fires. My son Matthew and his family evacuated Monday at 1:30 am and came to our house. By 3 pm that afternoon, we all decided to get out of the valley. Our grandaughter is only four months old and we were especially concerned with the amount of smoke that was accumulating in Napa.
This was the worst act of nature that I have ever experienced. Luckily, all of us are well and our homes escaped destruction. Our hearts go out to friends, family, neighbors, and fellow vintners that were not as fortunate. Napa came together as a community like never beore, and I am proud be a resident.
We are thankful that all of our grapes had been picked and crushed before the fires began. It is now time for us all to move forward and help our neighbors get their lives back to some type of normality.
Thank you to family, friends, and customers that reached out to us during that week. We are grateful for your thoughts and prayers.
A special thanks to fire fighters, police, rescue crews, and all first responders. You are awesome!