When it comes to America’s love affair with wine…the official beverage of romance….the State of the Union is STRONG! And not just from the standpoint of consuming the liquid of the gods: Winemaking in the USA is truly a “growth industry,” even in the face of the deepest recession, since the Great Depression. In fact, now more than ever, you don’t have to be rich to switch….to a pastime or career of bottling your own. No champagne budget required, if you choose to become a purveyor of Pinot.
The numbers tell the story. And they are impressive numbers, indeed…as well as in seed. Believe it or not, while housing and small business were tanking, America’s affinity for wine was growing, despite the recession. According to the Wine Institute, the overall US wine market grew 2 percent in 2010. Nearly 330 million cases are devoured per year here, albeit that many consumers switched to cheaper wines. In the words of John Gillespie, head of the Wine Market Council, based in Napa Valley, “We’ve just completed 17 straight years of growth in consumption of table wine in the United States, which is really an incredible record.” His assessment is not an exaggeration: America has more than a million acres under vino cultivation, and for the first time ever, overall US wine sales have topped the wine-loving French. That’s big news for vintners — on both sides of the Pond.
Which brings us back to the idea that you or I would not be pipe-dreaming, if we dared to dream…of making our own. Let’s take a look at California, by far the country’s leading wine-making state. More than three fourth’s of California’s 2-thousand wineries are small, mom-and-pop outfits. The bounty of these boutiques goes largely to local markets and private customer lists. So, even if your last name isn’t Gallo or Mondavi, YOU, too can be a player in this beloved industry.
But…where do you turn to get your turn at becoming the next 2-Buck Chuck? You can start by Googling “DIY” as in do-it yourself, followed by wine. You’ll immediately pull up more than 20-MILLION leads….everything from
hundred-dollar home-brew starter kits, to blogs detailing how to make-your-own. There’s even a site based in California’s Napa valley called Crushpad, dedicated to helping you create your own boutique wine, from grape
to bottle. Crushpad promises, “Even if you’re new to winemaking, and lead a busy lifestyle, you can still make your own wine, your way.” The idea is, you choose your own level of involvement, and let them take it from there.
You select the grapes….from California’s wine country or the French vineyards of Bordeaux…and Crushpad custom-makes batches in small lots. For a fraction of what you’d pay for a new set of wheels, you get 25 cases of your own boutique wine. So, whether you are a wine enthusiast, retailer, or run a restaurant, a modest investment can launch your very own label. Now, that’s a flavor you might just savor!