So, I was thinking about wine… I’m almost always thinking about wine, obviously. In this case, I was thinking about some trends I have noticed, and even a few I predicted. You’re welcome for all the delicious Rosé at Strey Cellars. 5 years ago Rosé wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now, but I used my spidey senses (AKA Housewife Life) and really supported the Rosé idea… every year… While “Rosé Season” has been a thing for a while, Rosé totally outgrew it’s summer only status. We are allowed to drink it all day every day, now. I personally think we can thank moms for breaking that particular stigma. Our 5 o’clock comes much earlier than yours, and Rosé pairs nicely with goldfish crackers. Dads started jumping on our Rosé all day bandwagon, too, particularly as they became drier. There is absolutely no shame in drinking pink, especially if it means you can pop a bottle at noon!
It’s thrilling that these trends can unfold and reshape over time, I remember when White Zin was the only pink wine I had heard of, and I’m not saying it was “trashy”, but it wasn’t good quality. It was totally drinkable, like an alcoholic juice, just not award winning. Then we started seeing more and more winemakers creating Rosés from other grapes than Zinfandel. Beautiful colors ranging from the prettiest pinks, to the calmest sunset. Which brings me to another trend I was not expecting, but totally approve of, orange wine. No, the wine is not made from oranges, it’s the color of the wine thanks to a certain amount of skin contact. We are used to striving for very specific colors in winemaking, this trend is changing up the game.
I also remember the horror I felt when I discovered wine in a can. As a Jewish woman, tradition is extremely important to me, and within a few years, screw caps and canned wine not only made an appearance, but hit the ground running. I was reeling from all of this newness! I LOOOVE the sound of popping a bottle, how boring to unscrew the cap! Oh, the horror of cracking open a can of wine! Blasphemy! Well, my dismay was short lived, thanks to that time I forgot a corkscrew, and sighed in relief when I realized the bottle of wine had a screw cap. My apprehension over canned wine came to a quick halt when I realized I could easily smuggle wine to the pool and the beach without the risk of potential broken glass. Not to mention the constant irritation that I can’t take my bottles to the recycling center… but I can take my cans! (Where else do I get allowance money for my kids?) I was sold, guys. The purest in me has been slowly infiltrated by the practicality of these ideas. In fact, it’s not just me who’s buying it. In January, when Scott proposed the idea to add a tap for wine, I immediately suggested canning our whites and Rosés. The canning part has not come to fruition yet, but our fancy tap is pouring our beautiful 2018 Barbera Rosé. We will be switching different wines onto the tap here and there for a fun twist. Scott has been working on different limited addition blends that will be sold by the glass, out of the tap. (If you are not already following us on social media, I’d get on that. You’ll find out when we change the wine on tap, release new wines, upcoming events, and a little birdie may have mentioned an imminent 1K giveaway on Instagram that you should definitely keep your eyes peeled for.)
Alright, here is a trend that is actually a serious pet peeve of mine. The “I don’t like Merlot.” line. I feel like Paul Giamatti’s character in Sideways when he yells, “I am NOT drinking any f***ing Merlot!” Not because I don’t want to drink Merlot, but because too many people have come into our tasting room claiming that they don’t like Merlot, and it’s not because that don’t like Merlot. So imagine me throwing a fit and yelling, “You probably DO f***ing like Merlot, you’re just brainwashed by a mis-perception based on a movie!” Let’s think about this for a second, why on Earth would anyone be that upset over a wine varietal? It’s not about the wine. Miles’ heart is broken, and his ex wife loved Merlot. It’s not about not liking Merlot, it’s about not tasting his heartbreak, not drinking the memories of a woman he loved. In the end of the movie, you’ll notice that he does open that bottle of Merlot and thoroughly enjoys it. Because Merlot is delicious. Thanks to that unfortunate scene (that actually is a beautiful representation of the hoops we jump through to avoid feeling our feelings), Merlot sales plummeted. Winemakers call it “The Sideways Effect”. It’s such a shame because all grapes have such beautiful potential, and every winemaker is going to have their own style. Please don’t skip Merlot when you’re out tasting wine. You just may miss your favorite bottle of wine.
I guess the lesson of the day is that some trends are innovative, creative and even life-changing. Others, not so much. In a world that is ever changing, what do we hold sacred? I think the answer is enjoying the moment, and not getting hung up on who put ice cubes in their wine glass. Of course there are traditions that may be lost, but isn’t that what France is for? Let the Old World hold up the rules, and scoff at our modernization. In America we are victims of the daily grind, and the “work to live” mentality. I say, pop, unscrew, or crack open a bottle, can or… dare I say box of wine, and enjoy this moment.
Author’s note: My name is Justine and I have been working in the tasting room at Strey Cellars for over four years. We are a small family owned local boutique winery. If this is your first visit to my blog, you’ll notice that I write as if we are old friends, because this is the energy of our winery. Come visit sometime, and see for yourself. If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend. Cheers!