Second Wines, First-Rate Quality: Alternate labels deliver huge value

Caymus, Grgich Hills, Haut-Brion. These wineries, and others of their ilk, have worked tirelessly to build brand awareness. They start by crafting memorable and compelling wines, as all great wineries must. Then they travel, in the flesh and digitally, telling their story from hilltops and dales. With this work they build recognition, and garner top-tier … [ Read more]

3 Lodi wineries offering authenticity and intrigue in the bottle

The Lodi region of California has grown wine grapes for over a century. This history has both burnished and oxidized its reputation. Lodi has some name recognition, but for a specific niche: high octane zinfandel and bulk filler for the kings, queens, and princes to the west, nearer the cool coast. Both because of and … [ Read more]

Wine of, by, and for the People

Real wine is hard to find. The charade that populates most store shelves is a group of elixirs, created to poke and tickle the right taste buds. Made in the vein of Pepsi or Fritos, these commodity wines typically showcase excessive fruit, residual sugar, and serious chugability. These are circus wines with circus labels, and … [ Read more]

The Waconia Wine Triangle: How a Twin Cities suburb became a hotbed for cold-climate wines

As a thunderstorm rolls across the prairie, Ben Banks rests a finished bottle flat and deftly hand-labels his new vintage release. Disturbing the zen of the moment, he looks up to give me a warm handshake. Banks leads the winemaking at Sovereign Estate, his family’s winery established in 2008 on the north shore of Lake … [ Read more]

In Ontario, Great Lakes Make Great Wine

Wine from the Great Lakes region can feel like a one-trick pony—mostly white and mostly sweet. But venture to the eastern reaches of the area and you’ll find microclimates well-suited to grow riesling, cabernet franc, chardonnay, and pinot noir. And in Ontario, these grapes not only grow, but are nurtured into finished wines worthy of … [ Read more]

Little Minnesota in the Willamette: Winemakers from the North have staked their claim in Oregon’s wine scene

Pinot noir that seduces with satin-and-lace elegance. Riesling worthy of her exalted status as Queen of the White Wines. Chardonnay that walks a tightrope with both energy and grace. These are the kinds of wines coming out of arguably the most exciting wine region in the United States today—Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Over the years, several … [ Read more]