Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pinnacle Ridge ready to lavish customers

So how many pizzas will owner and winemaker Brad Knapp have to make if all of his customers show up for Appreciation Weekend at Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Kutztown, Pa.? Oh, he better have had started tossing the dough a week ago Wednesday.

“We’re probably selling around 10,000 gallons annually,” he said by phone the other day, “so that’s about 50,000 bottles. And I figure a typical transaction is four bottles. So that tells us we have like 12,500 sales in a year, most of those would represent a couple. Obviously some of those are returns. So I think we probably get 15,000 to 20,000 through our door a year, something like that.”

Knapp noted that the winery’s e-newsletter list is up to around 5,000. “So when we send one out, it’s significant. We get some who drop off, but we get a lot more who pick it up, so it’s growing.”

A portion of that number figures to take advantage of Knapp’s hospitality and stop by this weekend for what Knapp says they’ve been doing annually for years. The hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. “It’s basically along the line of an open house kind of thing,” he said. “We put out a spread of food as a way of thanking people for being customers of Pinnacle Ridge. I make pizzas actually. . . . We typically go over to Wegmans and get a nice selection of cheeses and have some other things there as well, and we’ll be pairing the wines. I’m not sure exactly what we’ll be pairing yet, but we’ll have to figure that out. Should be a nice time.”

That pairing with the tomato pies probably will include what we can call the distinguished 2007 Chambourcin, which was recently released. That wine earned an American Example of Greatness award at the invitation-only Jefferson Cup competition in Kansas.
Doug Frost, one of only three humans in the world to hold the titles of Master Sommelier and Master of Wine, directs the contest.

Around 400 wineries were invited, with
Chaddsford being the only other one from Pennsylvania. In addition to the award for its Chambourcin, Pinnacle Ridge netted a Certificate of American Merit, essentially a bronze medal, for its 2007 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc.

“What’s a little odd about this particular competition is that because they choose the wineries that enter, it’s truly a U.S. competition,” Knapp said, calling the list of judges one of the best he has ever seen. “There’s lots of wineries from the Midwest, from New York It’s not as heavily dominated by the West Coast.”

All in all, it has been another year of recognition for the 15-year-old winery: six awards at the Pennsylvania Farm show and a double gold for its Brut Rose among the eight honors it took away from the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. And more could be reaped from what was recently released – the 2008 Naked Chardonnay and the 2006 Reserve Chambourcin – and what’s yet to be bottled – the 2008 Riesling and ’08 Vidal. “We expect those to be out late December, early January,” Knapp said.

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