Research: Wineries have enough stock for 1.6 years

On the local wine-business scene, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board will have two openings starting July 1 next year.

Executive director Doug Caskey said the open positions include a retailer’s spot and one of the two at-large positions, filled by someone from a region paying the most excise tax.

Curiously, the Grand Valley AVA and the Front Range are almost even in the amount of excise tax paid, according to Caskey.

Caskey suggests the at-large opening should be filled by someone from the Grand Valley and is looking for interested persons.

Applications are available at http://www.colorado wine.com/pdf/Boards&CommApp.pdf.

Which reminds me of the concern over grape growers and winemakers losing a year’s crop after several frosts killed many of the valley’s grape vines.

According to some research by state viticulturist Horst Caspari at the Colorado State University Orchard Mesa Research Center, Colorado wineries have enough stock on hand to go 1.6 years before running out.

This is based on figures from the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau, affectionately known as the TTB.

Wine “stock” includes bottled wines ready for sale as well as wine in tanks or barrels not yet ready for sale.

“If we would not make any wine at all this year, we could continue sales at the current level for 1.6 years before we would run out of Colorado wine,” Caspari said.

He stressed it’s highly unlikely either of these events — not making wine or running out — would ever happen.

However, many wineries in a sense do run out of wine, since their goal is to sell (or hope to sell) out of every vintage.

This is what pays the bills for the next vintage, similar to farmers everywhere who borrow today for tomorrow’s crop.

It’s particularly true in smaller wineries, which learn to balance production between customer demand and whatever dreams the winemaker might have.

Just like any other business, unless you have the freedom of an expansive outside income, which is more-common than not in the wine business, you have to please the customer to stay in business.

Which is why so many Colorado wineries offer sweeter red wines and Rieslings.

Realizing the 1:6 ratio may not reflect every winery, that number brings up something worrisome.

Apparently, there are wineries sitting on old stock, wines that need to be sold before they turn into salad vinegar or worse.

Most Colorado wines aren’t made to be aged (there are some exceptions) but to be consumed young.

No business owner wants to lose money, but refreshing your inventory is vital in an industry built on what’s drinkable.

And if you are making wines meant to be aged, instead of aging it in your warehouse where you pay taxes on it, sell it and have the customer age it at their house.

This from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, taking place June 18–20.

If you’re interested in the schedule or following the Classic during its glitzy 28th anniversary three-day run, you can get a free iPhone app and follow all the tweets at #fwclassic.

There also is a Best New Chefs app (available at the iPhone store online), which this year includes chef Alex Seidel from Fruition in Denver.

The app includes biographies of all 10 Best New Chefs along with the recipes the chefs will be preparing at the Best New Chefs dinner in Aspen.

And while we’re on the subject, I was asked if paying $295 for a one-day Grand Tasting pass is a good deal.

It’s certainly a lot of money, but considering a regular ticket will set you back $1,185 for three days of grand tastings, seminars and demos, the first number seems not so bad for a first-hand experience.

Here is what’s included: two Grand Tastings in a single day (June 18 or June 19), with hundreds (thousands?) of wines from around the world, numerous (I really don’t yet know how many) breweries and distilleries, along with worldwide samplings of meats, cheeses (including an 84-pound wheel of Parmesano Reggiano), olive oils and chocolate.

Again this year Wines from Spain will have its own pavilion dedicated to wines, spirits and foods of Spain.

That’s about three hours or so of tastings and samples.

In an hour, if you dawdle, you can taste, oh, maybe 25 wines or so, many of which you’ll never see in Grand Junction.

And you can go back two or three times, too.

Which, of course, means your dawdling might be worse than normal.

By the way, a recent tweet said the classic still is seeking volunteers.

Information is available at http://www.foodandwine.com/promo/classic-in-aspen/.

 

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