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August 11, 2009


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Jason - I'm curious about the move to Cabernet Franc. Pinot Grigio is, after all, an easy-selling and well known wine. Cabernet Franc is sort of the antithesis of that. It would be wonderful to see the Cab Franc sell just as briskly, but that might be a stretch...

Nice piece. Steve Shaw is always a fun person to chat with, have a drink with, etc. Passionate and opinionated -- hard to beat that.

Why make a 1.4% RS wine if it would be balanced at .8% RS?

I'm sure the answer has less to do with wine making and more to do with marketing and sales, but I do see wineries cynically over sweetening up here in Niagara too.

I think they are under-estimating their customers ability to enjoy a balanced wine.

To put the RS into context of the conversation I had with the winemaker, I don't think the 1.4 RS was created as a cynical marketing ploy as it works very well with this wine as bottled. All the other wines at Shaw are very dry. Since 1.4 is not extremely high at all, I took away from the interaction that this varietal and its grapes lent itself to this marketing experiment with just a touch more RS.

I'm not a winemaker, but it seems that .8 to 1.4 is not a huge swing at all and comes down to nuance and style more than a defiance of balance. At some wineries that bottle different versions of certain varietals, ranging from under 1 to nearly 4...well, that is a marketing ploy indeed!

As for the cab franc inquiry, your guess is as good as mine. Since the overall goal is quality cab franc, it will be interesting to see if pricing, marketing, packaging, etc. have an effect that would otherwise be hard to predict.


It is gospel for most places that +RS = +SALES.

When I talk about marketing, I try not to insinuate that it has to be a "ploy", but rather a strategic business decision. So I don't think of it as a negative.

cool piece, ive been trying to talk my bosses into doing a second lable, i think it would help buisness.

Bryan, talk about cynical? A: i think you underestimate a wines ability to be ballanced and have sweetness, and B: no amount of dissaproving browbeating is going to convince the majority of people in the world that dry wine is better than sweet. wineries are tourist driven buisness, and sweet sells, period.


I don't intend to speak for Bryan, but he implies an interesting question through a previous comment: Is there a single balance point for wines with regards to sugar and acidity? More specifically, if a winemaker decides that a wine is balanced at 0.8 RS, can that same wine still be balanced at 1.4? Or is it technically off balance and favoring sugar a little too much?

Or is there a range of balance in wine? We talk about Rieslings showing impressive balance at 2.5, but that same producer might also have a Dry Riesling that clocks in at 0.5 -- which we might also say is "balanced." Is that technically possible?

(I think it is, but it's an interesting discussion).

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