How do winemakers get their start, and where do they find their inspiration? We share a few behind-the-scenes stories about three notable bottles of wine.
An Earth-Friendly Wine with One-of-a-Kind Flavor
Sheep and chickens share space with other employees at Bonterra Organic Vineyards. The animals aren't just for show: Sheep help control the weeds, and the chickens make a meal of destructive insects. They're just two of the many ways this winery manages to bottle wines that are made from 100% organically grown grapes.
That commitment—animal power and human effort in place of pesticides—has enabled Bonterra to label itself as a biodynamic vineyard. Biodynamic farmers treat the livestock, soil, and crops as a single, interconnected system.
The winemakers at Bonterra believe that healthier vines equal more flavorful fruits and superior wines. "It's the basics of organic," says winemaker Jeff Cichocki. "You start with the best quality fruit, and then you don’t do much to it … the hardest part is showing restraint." And they've been doing it for nearly 30 years, in a lovely site three hours north of San Francisco in Mendocino County.
Publix recommends: Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine as a Tribute to a Beloved Father
Racecars and wine don't have much in common—unless you're winemaker Joseph Carr.
"In 2005, I was in the wine cellar with a friend tinkering around with a new wine,” Carr recalls. "It reminded me of how my dad used to tinker around the garage, rebuilding old stock cars with his friends."
That flash of insight led to the creation of Josh Cellars, a line of wines that captures the personality of Joseph’s dad, Josh—bold and expressive, but unassuming and approachable.
A former volunteer fireman, "Josh was an everyday guy living the American dream," Carr says. "While Dad would say he was just doing his duty, his commitment to his country and community were nothing less than heroic to me."
Publix recommends: Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
A Bold Wine Made for Meat Lovers
The creators at Carnivor Cabernet had one thing in mind when they began developing a new cabernet sauvignon: Make a wine that is hearty enough to stand up to a serious cut of beef.
That quest led winemakers to Lodi, California, about 100 miles inland from San Francisco. The region’s hot, sunny weather helped develop the robust Lodi Cabernet grape, which features deep, dark fruit flavors.
"It's known for adding a lot of richness without being overly tannic," says Megan Stockton, Carnivor spokeswoman.
In addition to the Lodi Cabernet grapes, Carnivor winemakers added two other grapes for character: petite sirah to enhance the purple-red color and flavor structure, and a hint of merlot to create a smooth mouthfeel. The result is a bold pour that stands up to an equally bold steak or other cut of red meat.
"It's designed to be the rich red wine that indulges your inner carnivore," Stockton says.
Publix recommends: Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon
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