Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Secret to Keeping Your Everyday Wine Buying Organic and Simple

DON'T: Don't try to buy wine at the store - the organically grown wines are usually not there
I was just talking to an organic personal chef today and was reminded from their comments how confusing it can be to "do the right thing" in drinking organically grown wines.

At a certain point in the conversation, I realized: I can make this super simple for people. So I'm going to share the secrets of ordinary wine drinking at everyday prices with you.

Here's the easy on ramp:

1. Don't look for wine in the store. The best, affordable options are rarely here. 

Order wine online.

You can get it by the case from the winery (or buy it at winery) or from the lowest priced online provider. 

It's the Farm box concept applied to wine - the wine box.

It would be nice if we could all buy our wine at the farmers market, but that day seems aways off, doesn't it.
DO: Do buy wine online from 4-5 main wineries
until you've sampled their wares and decided what you like
2. The Basic Three

Visit the wineries in the Ukiah/Hopland that have only organically grown and affordably priced wine: McFadden, Terra Savia, Barra.

All three are run by long time growers (from 2 to 4 generations on their vineyards) who have gotten into the vinification business and make great, everyday wines - along with the occasional super star standout varietal.

If you like, you can taste their wines within a ten mile radius of Hopland, which is two hours north of the Bay Area, or order some sampler cases from the wineries.

Shop their sales, join the wine clubs - and you can wind up paying 30-60% below retail prices.

Terra Savia
Best bets: Chardonnays and Blanc de Blancs under $20

Best bets: Brut, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Riesling

Become a wine club member and buy what you want at big discounts; 30-40% off sales for members. You'll also get invited to parties at the vineyard/ranch. You can also buy grassfed beef from the ranch at the tasting room (whether you are a wine club member or not.)

Best bets: Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Muscat and Girasole Pinot Noir

Shop the sales - right now Zin is 60% off ($8.25 a bottle) in a year end sale or join the wine club for discounts.

You could also add Ceago to this list as well. It's in Lake County and well worth a visit.)

3. Plus One 

Buy Bonterra.

It's the biggest selling wine in America when it comes to organically grown wines. If you don't want to buy wine by the case from wineries, this is the way to go. However, I personally can't always find it in the store and end up buying cases from the winery online.

Best bets: Riesling

4. Explore More

Once you've tasted your way through the wines above, branch out. You've got hundreds of options. See "The Map."

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