06 Apr Star Struck & Bougie AF
PLEASE NOTE *All opinions stated in this blog are Justine’s and do not officially reflect the opinions of Strey Cellars.*
In the age of Intermittent Fasting, Keto, Paleo, Sugar-Free, Point Systems and Clean Eating, where does wine fit in? Obviously, I think wine fits into Sunday morning brunch, Friday night hangouts, evening dinner prep, and any time I am reading a good book. In recent years we have seen a rise in celebrity wine companies that would have you think otherwise. Several of them emphasize that their wine is cleaner or healthier than other wines. These celebrities who only eat organic hand-picked by the light of the full moon produce, and know the name of the cow their burger came from have now come for wine. It wasn’t enough for their wine labels to state federally required information like vintage, varietal, AVA, ABV, producer and sulfate information, now these celebrity’s wines are: “lab-tested” and sugar-free, dry-farmed and Vegan, Keto and Paleo friendly.
I Swear to Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth
Some celebrity websites claim that we don’t really know what is in our wine. This is misinformation. I can’t speak to wines outside of California, but having been a part of a boutique winery in California for the last 8 years, I can tell you that this is not the case. California has strict regulations regarding any additions in the wine-making process. Because of these laws typically a dry wine will have no residual sugar, and less than 2 carbs per serving. A sweeter wine could potentially have up to 4 carbs per serving. Comparing that to, say a bottle of beer which has about 14 carbs, I’d say that wine is the safer choice. In fact, most wines have less carbs than one Hershey’s Kiss.
Some of these celebrity websites would have you believing that wine (other than theirs) is haphazardly made and that winemakers have the liberty to add whatever they want to their wine during the winemaking process for flavor. This simply is not true, and in fact, it is not even legal. (scott legal wine info) Winemakers pride themselves on their ability to work with the grapes. Winemaking is an art and all the rules raise the stakes. More often than not celebrities purchase wine that has already been produced, not grapes, with very little understanding of the way winemaking works. They taste it and approve it and their labels may go as far as to include a complete “list of ingredients” and nutrition facts on:
I get it, for many people every calorie counts, and it’s not just the calories that count. It’s the quality of the calories counts. We live in an age where more and more people want to know where their food comes from in order to decipher the quality of nutrients they are ingesting, especially if they are trying to lose weight or manage certain health issues. I’m just not totally convinced that having a nutrition label changes the quality of the wine. To complicate matters, celebrity brand wines are claiming that they are sharing all of this information to show you how much they care about you. Whether they like it or not, this directly implies that other wineries don’t care about you. Having been in the wine industry I can tell you that Strey Cellars cares a heck of a lot more about you than your average celebrity. (No hate on celebrities, we love you!)
LOVE YOU; MEAN IT
Small wineries like Strey Cellars care because they get their hands dirty. Making wine is a labor of love and if you have not seen the immense energy that goes into winemaking, I encourage you to visit them, in particular, during harvest. You will find a sleep-deprived, wine-stained, sticky winemaker with his trusty and beloved equally wine-stained Cellar Rats. With each new release, winery staff are thrilled to gush about the new wine and the work put into it. Everyone has memories of each stage each wine went through; even stories about picking and delivery. This last harvest, our winemaker and owner Scott, was personally picking up Chardonnay grapes from Santa Maria, when he couldn’t help but notice an excessive amount of tarantulas. (If you know me, you know that I cannot handle spiders, so this news deeply troubled me.) He came to find out that it was tarantula season and it was going to rain soon. Evidently, when rain is coming tarantulas come out for mating; symbiotically alerting the vigneron and staff that rain is coming. I can imagine about 100 better ways to find out if it’s going to rain, but I did find this fascinating and now, in the tasting room, guess what story you may hear when we pour our 2022 Chardonnay!
Not all celebrities hire out for their booze. Alicia Moore, or as you may know her, P!nk is and has been a winemaker for many years! Wine became Alicia’s second passion. So much so that she has since bought a vineyard that she named Two Wolves where she has her hand in every part of the winemaking process, including pruning the vines (which she claims to love). Now, this is a story worth telling- and one I will save for its own blog. I bring Alicia up because I know the type of love that goes into creating wine, and it exudes from Two Wolves. While I am sure those celebrities that merely “collaborate” with large wine producers all love their brand, there is just something to be said for being truly hands on.
I have been helping write wine labels and descriptions for Strey for years now, and to be honest, due to this new emphasis on labeling, we are considering adding more information than ever before. We would never want you to think we have hidden anything from you. So now you will be able to enjoy more bougie information on both our website and our labels. However, in my opinion (recall the above disclaimer) the emphasis on trigger word labeling is pretty unfair. Shoppers now read wine labels and assume that if a wine doesn’t state that the grapes are sustainably grown or vegan it must not be those things; it probably is. If a celebrity makes a claim it MUST be true in every sense; it probably isn’t. So I leave you with this: Rub your star struck eyes and pop open a bottle of your favorite wine- guilt free!
Author’s Note: My name is Justine, and I have been a part of the Strey Cellars family since infancy. Responsible for various roles, my favorite has been penning their blogs. During the hiatus of the pandemic, I took a leap of faith and began blogging and writing for different niche websites. You can search them through my IG @justinethewitch. Strey Cellars is my home away from home and will surely be your new favorite Ventura County Winery. If this is your first visit to our blog, you’ll notice that I write as if we are old friends because this is the energy of our winery. Visit sometime and see for yourself! If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend. Cheers!