Business Insider FINANCE . June 26. 2014.
3 Ways That Winemakers Trick You Into Paying Too Much
Unless you’re a wine connoisseur, finding the right bottle can be tricky. It’s generally accepted that the more expensive a bottle of wine, the better it is.However, Ryan O’Connell fromNakedwines.com says belief is prompting winemakers to up their prices, sometimes unreasonably so.
Nakedwines.com is a customer-funded winery that helps independent winemakers set up a business.
O’Connel, a marketing manager-turned winemaker says that the day he entered the production side of wine, he began spotting patterns — ways that winemakers could potentially take advantage of consumers.
Here are three main indicators he gave us to tell whether or not you’re paying too much for a bottle of wine.
1. Award competitions
It doesn’t take much to convince the average wine buyer that a medal means high-quality.
“In the industry, we all know that medals and competitions of that sort, especially in the U.S., are pretty much luck-based. So many competitions award medals to 80 percent of the entrants, that it’s just kind of a money machine for the people running the competition,” O’Connell says. “Those medals are worth about as much as the blue ribbon on a PBR.”
He says that large production wines can pay a lot of fees to rack up awards in easy competitions. Good indicators of a trustworthy wine competition include locality, a diverse panel of judges and a low percentage of awards. Several good competitions O’Connell mentioned were the North Coast Wine Challenge and the International Wine Challenge.
2. Bottle packaging
Like most products, winemakers can get away with higher pricing just by spending more on the packaging. To tell if you’re paying for the packaging or the wine, O’Connell recommends feeling the weight of the bottle first. He says some companies use heavier bottles to make people subconsciously spend more.
Another embellishment winemakers add is the punt, or the indent on the bottom of the bottle. Luxury wine punts usually measure about 1.5 inches, which means more money spent on design. Although larger punts make for more stable shipping, O’Connell says it’s a pretty good indicator of how much effort was put into the packaging.
Even things opacity and color of the glass can cost extra. O’Connell says once you’ve noticed the differences once, it becomes easier to pick them out in the store.
“If you’re buying wine for $10-15 and it’s got expensive packaging, you’re probably putting more money into the packaging than the grapes. If you spend $100, then there’s a fair chance that the winemaker just spent a ton of money on the fruit, AND a ton of money on the packaging,” he says.
3. Regional acclaim
When buying wine from a famous region, you’re paying for the region’s brand just as you’re paying for the bottle.
“If a region is really world-famous, then it’s probably spent a lot of money achieving that world fame,” O’Connell says. “Then everything gets more expensive as a result of that marketing expense.”
Not that those regions don’t deserve their reputation. But O’Connell believes that it’s hard to extricate the costs of the marketing from the costs of actual wine production.
As a work around, O’Connell suggests finding a region nearby that makes a similar style of wine. You may end up paying a quarter of the price you’d find for a celebrity region.
For beginners, find some local wine stores. Talk one-on-one to winemakers who can open up some bottles and let you taste their wines. Once you familiarize yourself with the different regions and their tastes and prices, you’ll be able to better understand what you’re getting with your money.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/3-ways-that-winemakers-overcharge-2014-6#ixzz36lehdBe0
Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all! How do you like our O’Chasan dressed in green and ready to go!
At O’Vineyards, St Patrick’s day will be celebrated ALL WEEK! ….. Good excuse to have more green … or white … O’Chasan! Cheers!
I like to serve dishes, French or fusion, that our World Visitors can discover and appreciate. Travelers from Japan love sea food but I knew enough not to feed them shrimp tempura. I treated them to a Liz’s bouillabaisse.
Here is the receipe:
As for all my ingredients, the fish need to be very fresh! Then add onions, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes, salt and pepper.
I use the carrots for the color and the potatoes to thicken the broth and give it more of a “bisk” look and taste.
Sauté the fish before in a little amount of colza oil.
Sauté oinions, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes.
Put all ingredients together in a steamer and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove the bones, keeping only the meat of the fish.
blend fish and vegetables with some fresh dill. Serve hot. You can add on top a grilled toast covered with ementhal or gruyère cheese. or a grilled garlic toast!
With Joyce from Singapore and Jing from Australia
Their first evening was at a wine tasting sponsored by Vins de Cité de Carcassonne, with food prepared by Michelin Star Chef Jerôme Ryon of Hotel de la Cité, to welcome about three hundred international wine professionals and journalists.
Shopping for fresh food is just 5 to 10 minutes drive from O’Vineyards. It’s easy to cook when you are lucky to find great fresh ingredients: vegetable, poultry, meat, fish, cheese.
The next post “More of Joyce and Jing” features some of the dishes shared with our Honeymooners during their stay.
The recipe for our Raclette Lunch can be found in this O’Vineyards B&B page
Ryan is in Napa. Muse filled in and helped Joe and I entertain our Visitors! She takes them for long walks around the vineyard. We always knew she had the potential to do more! and here she is!.. doing a wine tasting … and lunch… “Raclette and Charcuterie” with a bottle of Naked100 2011!
Joe raised his glass to our Naked 100 Share Owners! I do to!…but someone has to take the pictures! Cheers!
Saint Vincent Celebration in Carcassonne
“We do good with very good,” was the motto of Prosper Montagne, master French chef and culinary writer, recognized as one of the most celebrated talents of French cuisine.
Club Prosper Montagne is unique. It brings together all areas of Food and Drink: butchers, bakers, chefs, chocolatiers, farmers, restaurateurs, caterers, winemakers,… all are committed to develop quality products.
The club radiates throughout France with presidents by region . Its scope of action never stops expanding. Internationally, delegations are also present in Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Alphonse Caravaca, President of Prosper Montagné Carcassonne put together a great event, celebrating the Patron Saint of Grape growers & Winemakers with a delicious private 350 sold out Lunch.
On Saturday January 19th, festivities will start at 11:00 with Deputy Mayor of Carcassonne leading the parade. Participants will be guided through the streets of the Bastide St Louis to the Church of St. Vincent where will be held the blessing of the wine!
Truffles supplied by Philippe Barriere will be the hi-light of the Celebration. Lunch will be served by a young and talented caterer.
The five winemakers representing the Region are:
Joe O’Connell, O’Vineyards,
Raymond Julien, Chateau Mirausse,
Jean Louis Poudou, Domaine de La Tour Boisée,
Domaine de l’Horte,
Alphonse called a meeting to verify the final preparation…we drank and ate as much as we talked!
The Merlot came in last week nice and clean and everything feels great. Another 3AM harvest so some of the photos are a bit dark. But that means the grapes could come in really cool and do a pre-fermentation cold soak.
The juice is tasting yummy and we’re inducing fermentations in two of the tanks. A third tank will ferment spontaneously (hopefully) with the wild yeasts that live on the grapes. Yay!
Yesterday, we harvested the Chasan for our first ever white wine!
We harvested by machine starting around 4 AM so that we could bring the grapes in extra cold. We also used dry ice in the harvester and intake trailer to keep the grapes cool on the short journey to the winery.
Intake was very simple compared to the red. We used a destemmer at first (although we eventually decided the destemmer on board the harvester was sufficient). The grapes then go into a pump where they’re lightly crushed on their way to the press. We drain the free run juice into one tank and then press the grapes for the rest of the juice in another tank.
We sort of had a mini disaster which I’ll get into some other day when I’m less exhausted. We now have a white wine! Or juice at least. Wine is on the way. 100% Chasan!
Katie Preparing Chef Liz's Hors d'Oeuvres
One Brave Soul in O’Vineyards Kitchen…
One brave soul dared to spend a few hours in the shoes, or rather apron of Chef Liz to participate in one of O’Vineyards’ fascinating Food & Wine Workshop. Katie’s parents hungrily observed the process as she learned how to prepare a multiple-course meal under the guidance of none other than Chef Liz herself. Katie began by testing her skills at preparing Chef Liz’s unique sweet-and-savory hors d’oeuvres:
- Pear-Roquefort Crumpets with almond slices and coconut shavings
- Homemade Spring Rolls and Chef Liz’s garlic and lime soy sauce
- Melted Goat Cheese and Herb Crumpets, starring rosemary and thyme from O’Vineyards very own herb garden (yes, they do grow plants other than grapevines!)
- Black Pudding Stuffed Apples
Not dainted by this initial challenge, Katie dared to attmempt the second step: preparing Liz’s internationally inspired main dishes, including:
- Bami (an Indonesian national dish composed of vermicelli noodles, spring onions and other vegetables)
- Roasted turkey à la crème fraîche with leeks
- Perfectly grilled Merguez, the celebrated lamb- and beef-based sausages typically enjoyed in North African dishes
- Mashed Potatoes with Melted Brie
- Twice-Baked Potatoes à l’Américaine, with fresh chopped bacon, melted brie and chives from the O’Vineyards herb garden
The second-to-last challenge in Katie’s Workshop involved learning which herbs go best with which cheeses. She found that some of the best pairings were sheep’s milk cheese with rosemary, and the brie with a sage leaf.
To finish “avec une petite douceur” (with a little touch of sweetness) — as Mom and Dad’s tastebuds could hardly hold out another minute — Chef Liz walked her through the process of making the perfect Tarte Tatin, a sort of carmelized apple upside down pie, if I may dare. This final challenge proved to be a difficult one: properly carmelizing sugar is no easy task, and neither is the scary-impressive-pie-flip-over step, but Katie pulled off these final stunts with flying colors.
Katie was very proud (and after surmounting the challenge, quite hungry too). The other guests around the table were delighted to taste the end result of Katie’s culinary escapade, accompanied with none other than Joe’s pairing of O’Vineyards delicious wine! Having personally experienced all of these dishes and many more delicious meals paired with O’Vineyards wines at the Winemaker’s Table, I can only say…
“Way to go, Chef!”
Way to Go, Chef!
When I asked Ryan to explain his choice of name for the new O’Vineyards wine OMG, he replied: “I’m an O’Connell. So it’s O’Vineyards, O’Syrah, O’MG, hahaha”
O’Vineyards recently began having visitors taste their new wine called OMG 2011, and your reactions have been promising. For those of you who missed that memo, OMG stands for Oh My God in online communication culture – though if you’re reading this blog, then you surely already knew that.
OMG 2011, new O'Vineyards wine
We have been fortunate to hear professional opinions too, including the Maitre Sommelier of Carcassonne’s Hôtel de la Cité, Georges Gracia. In Georges’s words, OMG has the following characteristics:
color: purple, black cherry
- The New Arrival at O’Vineyards: OMG 2011
1st nose: red berries; slightly spicy; la garrigue (thyme, laurel, Mediterranean spices)
2nd nose: combination of fruits, prunes and kirsh; beautiful intensity; fairly complex
Freshness, spices, thyme, bay leaves, pepper; beautiful balance
This is a nice aromatic wine that can adapt to a variety of different dishes. It can be drunk at room temperature or slightly chilled, in any season.
Fruit, spices, with a silky tannic wine with Bordeaux-like charisma
OMG is available for purchase exclusively at O’Vineyards for now, but will be available elsewhere this coming fall. More details to come.