Being farmers, we accept that Mother Nature will throw us a curve ball every now and then. With our 36 year legacy of farming our Carneros Estate Vineyard, along with Winemaker Steve's expertise, we are positioned to optimally handle just about any agricultural challenge headed our way.
Over the past few years, Winemaker Steve Rogstad has observed signs of a developing grapevine trunk condition in our prized Spire Pinot Noir block. When the condition (called Eutypa) is left unmanaged, it has the potential to cause a decreased yield, and interfere with the vine's ability to properly ripen fruit, therefore compromising quality.
Steve has chosen an uncommon yet highly innovative and sustainable solution to overcoming the trunk condition, ensuring our Spire block will thrive for many years to come.
Without getting too technical, for the past three years Steve has carefully trained an off-shoot to evolve into what will become the vine’s new trunk. And just last week, his vineyard management team removed the parts of the trunk that have been affected by the
condition. The new shoot will begin to bear fruit this year, and while the yield will be 25-30% less, we anticipate the same high quality and elegant wine we have grown to expect in years' prior.
This is one of many examples of how Steve has resourcefully approached a vineyard management challenge, exemplifying our commitment to innovation, sustainability and uncompromising quality.
Photo at left: Sharp cut across the top of the main trunk and the newer off-shoot being trained up from the base. Photo at right: Tractor carrying away a load of vines).
Last year, Cuvaison President Jay Schuppert conducted tastings with the Napa Valley Vintners at Vinexpo in Hong Kong. Vinexpo is an expansive showcase held in Hong Kong every other year, and features producers from all over the world, representing the best products in the wine and spirits industry.
Jay Schuppert had the opportunity to meet with Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine, wine journalist and wine judge. Recently, Debra started a video series called “Meet the Winemaker.”
Now, we all know Steve Rogstad is Cuviason’s Winemaker, but in Steve’s absence, Jay stepped in to talk about what makes Cuvaison so unique. We hope you enjoy this short video!
Every year and a half we have three day meetings with the principals of our sister wineries from South Australia (Chapel Hill) and Argentina (Finca Decero) and the owner (Thomas Schmidheiny) and members of his team from Switzerland. Tory, Steve and two of our directors, John and Jon joined us in comprehensive discussions as wide ranging as individual and group marketing, winemaking and viticulture techniques, comparative tastings and the global economy. We always schedule some time for visiting local wineries and this year it was Gantenbein and Georg Fromm www.frommwineries.com for tour and tastings of their excellent Swiss wineries.
After the meetings most returned home but Steve was off to Spain to visit some of their wines while I continued my travels with importer visits in Sweden and Denmark. Market visits usually entail meetings, visiting restaurants to gain new placements and what the rest of the world calls “Wine and Dine”, (we call them winery dinners). One night it was in Malmo, Sweden’s top restaurant call Vendel. vendelatsturehof.gastrogate.com. The chef constructed an exceptional menu that that showcased our Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot and Brandlin Cabernet. I also hand-carried our Bald Mt Zin and Espiritu dessert wine. If you do your math you’ll see there were seven courses.
The second night (after more market work and meetings) was at a seafood restaurant out along the coast. As patrons were seated Richard (my importer and friend) and I would visit the table and offer them a taste of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We where both pleased that we’d lost none of our old restaurant expertise from our previous careers and sold 15 bottles of wine.
Friday morning I took a train from Sweden, over the straight to Copenhagen for meetings and lunch with Ole, our Danish importer. Ole like most of my associates, become dear friends over the years but I have too little exposure with them due to distance and expense of market visits. We ate at a coastal village that was the old site of the ferry departure area to Sweden before the bridge was completed over 12 years ago. We dined on traditional Danish food with a modern touch and another exceptional meal (with a bottle of Cuvaison Pinot Noir).
After lunch Ole dropped me off at the Copenhagen airport for a quick flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Having never visited the German wine regions I planned a quick three night, two day visit to the wine regions of Rhinegau and Middle Rhine. I stayed at Breuer’ Rudesheimer Schloss in Rudesheim (ruedesheimer-schloss.com) and quickly made friends with Susanne and Heinrick Breuer. Their Inn and restaurant was a perfect place to enjoy lovely accommodations and great food and wine. Heinrick stays busy with the management of their top rated winery “Georg Breuer”, and still finds time to work at the Inn and restaurant at night. Susanne never stops with managing the Inn and restaurant as well as directing guest like me with itineraries. She even found time to take a group of us guests on a four hour tour and hike of the surrounding vineyards and into the next town in the middle Rhine.
One of many great benefits of my job at Cuvaison is travel. It’s not for everyone but I’ve had the opportunity to see the world due to our global market exposure, and I now have friends and associates in over 43 countries. And that doesn’t include domestic travel.
While I truly enjoy my business associates, I especially enjoy running into one of our club members. I’m amazed at how often it happens and in some of the most surprising locations. I’ve had this experience at wine dinners and consumer tastings in Singapore, London, the Caribbean and other locations in the USA.
I was just in Mexico supporting the Four Seasons Punta Mita with staff training, guest tastings and winery dinners and guess what? At one of the guest tastings, I hosted club members who had never met me or each other. Two of the couples even brought their own Cuvaison wines from the US into Mexico to enjoy! They didn’t offer to share any with me but I guess they thought I’d brought enough of my own. So, there I was with 10 guests of the Four Seasons, some club members but all had visited our tasting rooms. One person even mentioned our Tasting Room associate, Brady, by name and what a great tasting he’d given.
It is our desire to keep you better informed about my travel and events for you to attend in the future. Who knows, we may even run into each other in Kazakhstan?
Jay Schuppert, President