Thursday, May 10, 2012
Winery or Bottling "Facility'?
Not so fast...
According to Keith Wallace in his article on The Daily Beast, most American wine is nothing more than bulk wine repackaged with snazzy labels and cute animals in tow. This is especially true of the top 30 selling brand. You know which wines I am talking about. He refers to these wines as "grape-based processed food products." This article is fascinating and sheds light on a practice that most of us may not think about when we pop by the local grocery and pick up that $8 bottle of juicy California Cabernet to enjoy with dinner.
I have known for years that these wines exist and certainly one cannot expect a brand like "Two Buck Chuck" to have acres of vines to tend and then land on the retail shelf for $2.99 per bottle. What amazed me however, was HOW MUCH of our everyday favorite American wine brands are produced in this manner.
I popped by a local grocery store this evening and scanned through the wine section just to gander at the offerings and the label art. I started picking up bottles with fun names like Cupcake and Flip Flop. What I noticed on the back label was the text "vinted and bottled". I noticed these words on almost every bottle of California wine I handled. Even Acacia Pinot Noir and Louis Martini Cabernet had these magic words on their back labels.
I started wondering... What does vinted and bottled mean? Or what about "cellared and bottled". I am more accustomed to the term "produced and bottled" on most of the wine labels that I purchase and consume. Could it be that vinted and cellared were terms used for wine that was not produced by said winery but rather bulk wine repackaged?
Yes! The terms vinted and cellared are used on American wine labels when the wine is not produced by the winery or brand that bottles it. That means they didn't grow or crush any grapes but rather a tanker of wine showed up and after some tweeking, the wine was bottled with a label slapped on and rushed off to the retail shelf.
Another curious thing I noticed on a few wines was the text "vinted and bottled" and the cities Ripon and Livermore, CA. All American wine labels must note the location of the winery where the wine is bottled. Why would two cities be listed on a back label? Not to mention two cities that are 40 miles apart? Upon further exploration, the particular company that bottles these wines has two different "plants" where bottling takes place. Basically, its a wine bottling factory that has two different locations.
Read the above article from Keith Wallace in The Daily Beast and if it matters to you that the wine you purchase is produced by the winery whose labels adorn the bottle, simply look for the words "produced and bottled".