We’ve just returned from our scouting trip to Virginia and my mind this morning is swimming with ideas. The local wine scene in Richmond is vastly different than the one evidenced by consumers in the metropolis where I currently reside, with the most obvious contrast being the abundance of boutique shops adorning the landscape. From one corner of that beautiful city, with its trees as tall as skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, boutique wine shops, offering wines I’ve come to love over the past many years and decades, open the consumer’s eyes to a world of wine completely unknown in this big city where I reside.
As my family and I researched the market, we discovered that Virginia, in particular Richmond, is quite suited for the type of business we wish to bring to the good people of this friendly region. And having visited with more than a dozen locals, each with their own personal insights, it would seem that while the market is ripe for what we have in mind, our product selection – not to mention location – is going to be crucial.
Of the nearly dozen stores I spent time visiting, only one (that’s 1) offered the community the types of biodynamic wines that will be the focus of our new venture. Opportunity? I certainly like to think so. Especially when one considers how over-priced the offers were. Pricing these naturally made wines that far above national average only serves to diminish the marketability of these wines. And let’s face it, these are not mainstream wines in the first place. Most biodynamic wines are from places the average consumer has never heard of – or at the very least rarely considered – and we as advocates of these great vinous specimens need to price these wines as consumer-friendly as possible if we’re to ever have a shot at repeat purchases. Selling an $18 Loire Valley Pineau d’Aunis for $24, simply because you have no competition (yet) is not likely to encourage repeat purchases.
That being said, I did notice there were other, even more obvious opportunities in the market, speaking on the biodynamic front in particular. And understanding California’s hesitance to jump on the wagon so adored by the Europeans, resulting in fewer biodynamic wineries out West than what we find from across the pond, it’s probably reasonable to see so few wines of the genre adorning shelves not only in Virginia, but anywhere these days. West Coast offers of the biodynamic sort were quite difficult to locate while in Virginia, just as in many states. But now that I’ve returned home, to my cellar, I once again bring to your attention the work being performed by one of the best.
His name is Coturri, and his wines, from some of the purest and most biodynamic in California, are among my favorites. Drinking Tony’s wines, as I hope many of you reading this will resolve yourselves to do, secures his place as a leader in the natural wine movement. His wines not only “speak” of their origin, they quite literally scream of place and time. His Pinots prove that yes, indeed, with attention to pure, vineyard sustaining practices while harvesting with an eye towards balanced acidities and lower sugars, this country can very well offer the Burgundian palate a wine they’ll love. And at price points that make most “simple Bourgognes” appear over priced.
Try these out friends, and let me know what you think: