Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rose sales 'blooming' nicely at Hauser Estate

Winemaker Michelle Oakes welcomes several visitors to the winery during the 2009 Tour de Tanks in March.
Wrote a day or two ago about Seattle native and Cornell educated Michelle Oakes, who joined the then soon-to-open Hauser Estate Winery in Pennsylvania's Adams County in the late spring of 2008. That winery is now open and pulling visitors to its hilltop spot overlooking the rolling terrain that borders Gettysburg's Civil War battlefield. If you're visiting Hanover or Gettysburg, or driving through the area on Route 30 or Route 15, it's a stop you need to make.

Oakes was asked if the sales of any one wine that Hauser Estate produces has surprised her.
Yes, she answered, there was one, the
Cabernet Franc Rose.

"I guess one I personally wouldn't to be shocked by, but just based on what people usually prefer I'm shocked by, is the sales on the rose," she said. "Rose is a hard sell. It's one of those wines that just based on its repuation is a hard sell. You're dry wine drinkers think blush when they see it and they think it's sweet, and your blush drinkers assume it's going to be sweet as well. So when you put a Rose on the market your blush drinkers get excited about a wine that they're probably not going to care for much and your red wine drinkers don't want to touch it.

"But the rose has been really well received. I think initally it was getting the people to try it, and then the word kind of spread that it's not a blush style; it's actually a fairly heavy rose, it's got a lot of earthiness to it. It was actually on the skins a little bit longer than you usually would do a rose."

Given the winemaker's background in food, the obvious followup was a question about pairing. In her mind, it matches up with almost anything.

"Rose is a great food-pairing wine because you can do it with lighter fare, but if it's a heavier rose it will still hold up to some heavier dishes," she said. "I mean, it comes about perfect when you're thinking things like pork or chicken in a heavier sauce, where you're like, I could go white but if I wanted red, it's a good crossover. I always say rose is a good picnic wine."

Also a good wine for a feast, such as Thanksgiving, where you're likely to see it recomended as one of the perfect wines to place around the food-laden table. Oakes agreed, noting that "it doesn't overshadow your turkey but it holds up to your gravy and your stuffing, all those things."

Wines & Vines updates readers on Md. fight

The head of the organization pushing to allow direct shipping of wine in Maryland noted in a Thursday e-mail that the publication Wines & Vines just published a story documenting the fight. Adam Borden, executive director of Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws, told that magazine that "our goal is to get a majoity of members in both the House and the Senate to co-sponsor the legislation,” Borden said. “We have worked with legislative services to draft our legislation so that when it goes to the committee, the members will debate the merit of the bill, and not become immersed in technicalities.”

The article noted that the showdown will come during the period between Jan. 12 and April 12, covering the 90-day period each winter and early spring that the Maryland General Assembly meets. You've been following this initiative on my blog for almost a year now and read much of what was in the article. Still, here's a link to the Wines & Vines story.

Pennsylvania study: Impact of industry has risen 31 percent over the last three years

What better time than Regional Wine Week for the state of Pennsylvania to tout the findings of a study commissioned by the state's Wine Marketing Research Board (PWMRB), which found that the total impact of the wine industry at ore than $870 million in 2007. That's the last year that data was available.

The last such study was done three years ago, which found an impact of $661 million based on the figures from 2005. This year's results represent a 31 percent increase. Economic impact is measured in total revenue from tourism, wine sales, taxes, and employee wages.

According to a release from the Pennsylvania Winery Association, wine production is also up by more than 13 percent over 2005 totals with 920,000 gallons produced in 2007. That ranks the state seventh among the country's top wine makers. The Commonwealth was previously ranked eighth in wine production.

The study confirmed that Pennsylvania’s wineries are growing in number – from 104 wineries in 2005 to 114 wineries in 2007 – but it also showed an increase in winery output. Although 71 wineries are classified as small, producing less than 5,000 gallons annually, the number of wineries producing 20,000 or more gallons has doubled since 2005 to include 14 wineries throughout the state. Though these larger wineries represent just 12 percent of the Pennsylvania winery industry, their production represents 59 percent of the state’s total wine output.

Here are a few other facts:

* Pennsylvania’s grape juice industry, fueled by the 140-plus vineyards that serve the wine industry, has an impact on the state economy totaling $1.48 billion.

* In 2007, the Pennsylvania wine industry contributed $252.5 million in taxes to the state and collected $179.6 million in tourism expenditures.

* Wine, winegrapes and related industries account for 5,286 jobs in Pennsylvania, with an associated payroll in excess of $210 million.

Tourism and Pennsylvania winery income is expected to rise in 2009 as the PWA continues to work with the Pennsylvania Office of Tourism on a marketing campaign designed to boost tourism to state wineries and wine trails.

I'll add that no one from the association is ready to say just how much the state will fund its planned activities in 2010. That figure is expected to be released in the next few weeks as more becomes known on the specificis of the recently passed state budget.