New School – Old School
The new issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine is a fantastic read. The entire issue focuses on mavericks, revolutionaries and agents of change in wine (and food…for example, I learned that Goat is "in" and Pork Bellies are "out"…who knew!!)
I’ve long thought that Wine & Spirits Magazine is setting the bar high for the rest of the traditional wine magazines and this is the issue to discover what I’m talking about. It was nice to see Wine 2.0 well represented, particularly in the story on "Innovations in Wine Retail" by Tyler Colman. And there’s a fine interview with Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary is just south of "mainstream" in the world of wine, which means, if I know Gary, that he’ll be needing to move outside of the world of wine and introduce himself to the wide world of the American Mainstream soon).
What was really most enjoyable about this issue is the celebration of what’s new, rather than a celebration of what’s hot. Big Difference and the Wine & Spirits folks nailed it. The profiles of America’s Best New Wineries was particularly enlightening. You’ll find lots of new faces there, even if you are a wine geek that usually knows it all.
All that said, here’s my challenge to Wine & Spirits Magazine. You’ve cataloged what’s new and brilliant and innovative. Good. Now, how about cataloging those Old School Wineries and wine people and wine companies that, though perhaps under the radar for not being new and flashy, nevertheless continue to deliver the goods.
My criteria is the winery or wine company must be at least 30 years in the business and not owned by a corporate entity and not making more than 70,000 cases of wine.
I was talking with just such a winery today. They definitely fly under the radar, yet they’ve been flying for over 30 years. It’s a family owned place. When I left the meeting I started thinking about all the "old school" wineries that don’t necessarily get the attention that new ones do or that cult wineries do or that the big, huge wineries do. Yet, these Old Schoolers have been doing it for a very long time.
You’ll find most of them in Napa, Sonoma, Livermore and the foothills. But they are out there. The cool thing about profiling them is that they will be "new" to many who themselves are new to wine.
Go check out the new Fall Issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine. It’s on the newsstands now. It’s outstanding. Then, send me the name of your favorite Old School winery or wine company.