Wine Subscription Blog

June 01, 2017

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Posted in wineries


Wine Clubs - 12 Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know

wine clubs secrets

There are a few secret processes that most winery wine clubs won't advertise. This is the less glamorous side of what wineries do to create that romantic, corked bottle of wine. We believe transparency is the key to success, so we are pulling back the curtain to show you the less romantic parts.

We believe an educated wine drinker is a better wine drinker. Once you can tell the flash from the product, you will agree that great wine can be easy, affordable and fun, without ripping you off.

1. Wineries could switch out the wines in your wine club order for different wines if they wanted.

Wine clubs we have encountered create a "Wine Club" packaged order that cannot be changed. If the winery has an overabundance of a red blend with a slightly jagged finish they can use that for wine club wines and be confident they are going to move that product regardless of you really wanting it or not. You give up your choice when you sign up for wine clubs.

At Craveyon CloudWines we saw this practice as a hindrance. Our clients should be allowed to get only the wines they want not what we want them to have. A Craveyon CloudWines' wine subscription allows members to select and switch wines in any and every order.

2. The wines selected for wine clubs are often the worst selling wines

It certainly isn't pretty, but the wines that don't move in the tasting room are often repackaged and selected for wine clubs. This means your best option is to only buy from the tasting room floor which isn’t extremely feasible for most people. Or, worse still, these higher priced wines are selected to go into the wine clubs' selection. After all, these are guaranteed sales, wouldn't that make the biggest impact on a winery's bottom line?

At Craveyon CloudWines all our wines have been chosen through a crowdsourcing model (Blind Ballot Bar® Event) using our client's opinion on five different criteria, making every Craveyon wine we bottle a pre-selected winner. In addition, you always get the exact wine you want in your wine subscription, not what we want you to take.

3. They buy bulk wine

A winery can only bottle so much of its own wine before it has to supplement the supply with wine from the bulk market. Being one of the largest wine clubs in town means the wine needs to come from somewhere and in the range of over 1,000 gallons at a time. Once a wine is bottled in larger lots the entire game changes. Instead of carefully crafted products, you are receiving a wine that has been chemically or otherwise manipulated to fit a profile.

The bulk wine market has something for every winery. Wineries may sell their excess wines in bulk or purchase different wines that they may not be able to craft on their own. The Cabernet Sauvignon you get in one bottle may be the same Cabernet Sauvignon (or Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio) you get at another winery with a different label.

At Craveyon CloudWines all wines are coming from small lots. This means each 750ml bottle you receive has been lovingly tended from vine to bottle with no extra manipulation of the base chemical make-up involved to make the miracle that is wine.

4. Sweet wines may have been chaptalized

Adding Sugar to Wine

Chaptalization is the process of adding sugar before the fermentation process to give the wine a higher alcohol content and change the body and feel of a wine. This process can change a wine that may be from a poor growing climate and the process is illegal here in California as well as Argentina, Australia, Italy and South Africa. It is allowed but in pre-set amounts in France and in the other United States. It can mask a wine's inferior appellation or simply boost a wine's alcohol. It’s a practice that has been going on for centuries with some evidence that even the Romans added honey to their pre-fermented wines to make these kinds of improvements.

Violent (yes, violent) protests erupted in France in the early 20th century over what was perceived as "cheating" by certain winemakers attempting to increase the popularity of their wines through this process. Protesters argued that these wines were "artificial" and the resulting clashes left five people dead and others wounded. The French government put a taxation on sugar and set limits for ABV (alcohol by volume) which varies by wine region.

Craveyon CloudWines never ever adds sugar or wine concentrates. All wine is essentially finished well before bottling (certain concentrates are allowed in California wineries).

5. Cork is for romance; screwcaps are a far better enclosure for wine

Cork versus Screwcap

To start the conversation on cork first one must understand the relationship between wine and oxygen. Too much oxygen in a wine too quickly can cause oxidation resulting in corked wine. This wine is undrinkable and unsalvageable. Not enough oxygen can arrest the maturation of wine retarding the wine from developing their secondary qualities upon maturation as well as expelling unwanted aromas all the while softening the tannins over time.

As much as 10% of wine which has been sealed with a cork can become corked. From a pragmatic standpoint, why would you want even 1% of your wine to become corked on you? You may be able to return a bottle of corked wine at a restaurant and some wineries may even replace your corked bottle but this only increases prices across the board and the hassle. Proper enclosures are integral to a good bottle of wine. The very best enclosures allow 1 milligram of oxygen to enter the bottle each year.

Cork is sourced from the cork oak tree primarily in Portugal and can be harvested only once every nine years from trees that are at least twenty-five years old. Cork has been the traditionally preferred enclosure for wine since the late 16th century. Before cork oak trees were used glass, cloth, leather, sealing wax and even clay was used to seal bottles.

Screwcap Rules

Craveyon CloudWines knows the very best option for wine bottle closure is screwcap. Studies over decades have empirically shown that wine enclosed with a screw cap continues to age at a slower rate than cork and there is zero risk of the precious liquid corking.  In fact, winemakers are able to select exactly how much oxygen their wines will need to age to their exact specifications depending on which screwcap they select. A thin plastic layer, called a saranex liner, placed in the top of the screwcap, creates the seal and the pass through for that tiny bit of optimal oxygen resulting in wine that ages beautifully and no more corked wine. This means a perfect glass of wine every time.

Being on the right side of history while the story is still being written is never easy. And it is only through education that screwcap will eclipse the cork. Craveyon believes our clients are smarter than average and will appreciate and even revel in the fact that every bottle, even Craveyon CloudWines' phenomenal port wine, is sealed with a screwcap.

6. They add SO2 in amounts over what is minimum required for preservation

There are a couple factors when it comes to protecting the wine. The enclosure was covered in Secret no. 5 but along with alcohol level and tannins, SO2 is the next most important factor in preserving wine.  Winemakers make decisions during the process of when and how much SO2 to add to preserve wine.

The alcohol and tannins and some level of SO2 are naturally occurring in the wine. Additions of SO2 are carefully measured and added at precisely the right time to increase the longevity of the product. With little data on how long the wine will need to stay fresh and viable often, winemakers will add the maximum amount allowed by law. The legal maximum allowed is 350 ppm (parts per million) total SO2.

Some late harvest wines easily approach this level. Sensory considerations alone should be enough to tell you if an undesirable amount of SO2 has been added to a wine. But it won't show up on the label, and you'll be hard pressed to get it straight from the winery.

Craveyon CloudWines adds the absolute smallest amount of SO2 required for the wine to stabilize before bottling, always well below the state and federal allowable amounts. 

7. Wine bottles can’t be recycled

This one is very sad. In addition to the danger of oxygen, there is the lurking danger of light. UV rays, sunlight and even fluorescent light can damage wine. To combat light waiting to disintegrate wine's delicate balance, wine bottles are tinted with dye meant to block out or at least decrease the amount of light reaching the wine. This dye is given cute names like antique green or dead leaf green. But because of this cute dye in the glass, wine bottles can't be recycled.

Craveyon CloudWines has painting and craft workshops where we repurpose our bottles for good!

8. The wine in restaurants may be entirely different than the one you get at the winery

Selling wine wholesale direct to restaurants or through a distributor means wineries need volume. Typically, they purchase even larger lots of bulk wine and mass bottle for their wholesale clients at a cheaper price. There is no doubt wines at restaurants are a poor imitation of the wines you experience at the tasting room. This is a simple supply and demand issue.

Craveyon CloudWines has no different brand names. Wines are the same for restaurants and our clients. The very best wine is available to you wherever you purchase, never a second-best option.

9. The alcohol level is usually estimated instead of tested

Testing for alcohol in wine can be expensive, and unless the winery has a full-scale enology laboratory on site with a lab tech there to run the testing on each batch, alcohol levels are often estimated.

At Craveyon CloudWines every wine we bottle has been extensively tested, multiple times at an enology lab in St. Helena, California for basic chemistry, glucose, alcohol as well as yeast and bacteria levels. If anything is ever off, we won't bottle.

10. Wine clubs release wine on their schedule

Wineries release wines for wine clubs based on several factors; inventory levels, bottling schedule and cash flow needs. This means the shipments and charges are catered to their business needs and ability, not yours.

Craveyon CloudWines lets you customize when and how often you get your wine. Skip an order, recover, buy more, buy less. Every decision is in your hands every time, never ours.

11. With winery wine clubs, you're paying for ambiance

A beautiful relief or mural stretched across a tasting room wall or those big double arched doors may look nice but they don't make the wine in the bottle taste any better. At the end of the day, the wine must stand up on its own and be able to be served anywhere and make the winery proud. If the winery puts that much emphasis on the trappings they can't put as much emphasis into the wine itself. The only thing a fancy tasting room does is increase the cost of that bottle to you.

At Craveyon CloudWines we believe any place can have the right ambiance if you have the right bottle of wine. Nothing is more important than the wine. Drink it out of a mason jar and in your jammies and the aroma, feel and taste will transport you to a magical place absolutely chock full of ambiance!

12. Most wine marketing claims are half-truths

Many marketing claims are either flat out false or half-truths.  It's sad that many new wine clubs are taking advantage of new wine drinkers with catchy or trendy marketing terms what sound great but simply aren't true.

Wine clubs' wines are "Natural Wines"

They claim that Natural Wines are non-interventionist.

1)  Little to No sulfur is added - The amount of any sulfur additions is up to the winemaker.  One "Natural Wine" company claims that 75ppm SO2 is all they use.  Too high!  Between 35-50ppm is a better level and can be found in many wines.

2)  No yeast or sugar added to manipulate the flavor or the alcohol content - Most winemakers do not add sugar. Yeasts have been used in wines for hundreds of years.  Adding yeasts is a natural process. Without the added yeast the wine must use the naturally occurring yeasts resulting in unpredictable quality and quantity.

3)  Food coloring hasn't been added to give the wine the right color - Most winemakers of premium wines DO NOT add coloring. We think they are talking about color concentrates here as food coloring isn't the accepted nomenclature in the wine industry. Although perfectly legal it certainly isn't the norm.

"Low Sugar and Carb Content"

1)  Dry wines have extremely low sugar content

2)  Dry wines are "statistically" sugar and carb free

"We use a certified enologist to lab test all wines for our purity standards"

1)  All wines are tested either by the cellar rat on duty that day or the winemaker

2)  Laboratory tests are important for truth in labelling and accurate alcohol and admission of SO2 additions are required to be granted Federal label approval for each wine. Each wine should be tested for a basic chemical panel which includes different SO2 measurements, titratable acid, and pH along with glucose and fructose level testing. Alcohol levels are tested as well as what's called a Scorpion panel. The Scorpion panel gives a reading of microbial yeast and bacteria levels present if any, in the wine.

Craveyon CloudWines doesn't need to fudge the truth in marketing. Our wines stand on their own. Sweet ones are naturally so and dry ones fit the statistically sugar and carb free claim. We believe the Miracle on 34th Street philosophy will ultimately allow our clients, acting as our Research & Development Department, to select the best wines every time given the correct information to make an educated decision.  It's time to bring the wizard out from behind the curtain because in today's market there is nowhere to hide and smoke and mirrors only work for so long. We welcome everyone to sign-up and try our wines.

April 18, 2017

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Posted in Barbera, wine regions


10 Fascinating Facts about Barbera

Barbera grape cluster

Many believe Barbera originated in the gently sloping hills of Monferrato, in central Piedmont Italy. In California Barbera is extremely rare with less than 1,000 cases produced annually. Being so uncommon makes finding an excellent version akin to the proverbial four-leaf clover.

Craveyon CloudWines’ Cravers did all the hard lifting on this one. Craveyon’s Barbera 4a 2015 is ready for consumption, no lucky rabbit feet necessary. (1 million California rabbits heave a giant sign of relief).

Italy-Piedmont region-Barbera vineyard
Italy-Piedmont region-Barbera vineyard

1. Back in its home of Italy, Barbera is known as the “Wine of the People!”

Barbera is often associated with the Nebbiolo grape and its expensive wines the Barolo and Barbaresco. But Barbera has no relation to these wines. It is its own grape not to be confused. While Barolo and Barbaresco are often called the "wine of kings: Barbera is the "wine of the people", for Craveyon that's pure gold to hear!  

2. Low natural tannin level makes it a good match for individuals with a sensitive constitution

Barbera can be enjoyed at a very young age.  This is because Barbera's tannin level is very low making it easy to digest for some. Although Barbera can be aged it doesn't need to be. 

3. Strawberry and sour cherry flavor notes count as fruit salad, right?

This wine's low tannins and high acidity make it taste juicy. Dark cherry, dried strawberry, plum, and blackberry are often found in Barbera. Craveyon's has a touch of that strawberry and sour cherry. 

4. Treat Barbera like Beaujolais, no aging required.

Beaujolais wines are young, versatile, light wines with heady aromas. They are easy drinking wines for any occasion and can move from appetizers to seafood to barbecue effortlessly. So too can Barbera! 

5. Barbera’s bright acidity can highlight one pony show dishes

The bright acidity in this wine makes fatty or high tannin dishes complete. Pair this wine with rich dark meats, mushrooms, herbs, smelly cheeses like blue cheese, higher tannin foods like root vegetables and cooked greens.

6. Barbera is light enough to be your summer date well after your Cabernet Sauvignon has been put in the cellar

red wine on a summer day

Unlike the boldness of a Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is light, fun and can be drunk at a young age, which makes it the perfect summer red.

7. Barbera has been served at royal and papal tables alike

Unlike Even though it was popular with the "Everyday people" there is documentation that shows Barbera was also popular with the upper classes in Italy where it was served at the papal court of the Catholic Church and royal tables. 

8. Historically Barbera has been blended with fancier wines to borrow its amazing ruby color and high acidity

Barbera is often blended with wine varieties that lack great color and high acid, creating a more balanced and softer wine.

9. Barbera vines loves clay soil with plenty of water drainage

This grape vine is perfect for clay hillsides.  It loves clay and the excellent water drainage slopes provide.

10. A dark and forbidden history haunt this wine like an Internet meme of an awkward middle school photo

It is claimed that this variety is 1,000 years older than Cabernet Sauvignon. So with that history, there's bound to be many great stories surrounding it.

  • It is, allegedly, the grape written about by Paul the Deacon in his description of the Battle of Refrancore in 663 when the troops of Grimaldo defeated the Franks after getting them drunk
    He confirmed that the troops of Grimaldo filled large two-handled storage jugs with wine and scattered them around the surrounding fields. When the Franks found these jugs they drank all the wine greedily making them unfit for battle.

  • The Piedmont region was stunned by a scandal In 1985
    Barbera producers were illegally adding methanol to their wines. This killed over 30 people and causing more to go blind. 
April 11, 2017

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Posted in wine regions


Lake County AVA - Clear Lake and Diverse Soils Create the Best Wine

Clear Lake with Diverse Soils Create the Best Wine

“Lake County” for me will always mean Blue Lakes and the best wine. As a child, I camped every summer with my extended family at the Blue Lakes Campground. My two younger sisters, our cousins and I became junior rangers every summer; climbing over the rough terrain, learning the native plants and animals.  There were six of us kids altogether.

I remember how stocked up we were with juice boxes for the kids and ouzo and Chardonnay for our parents.  The adults would drink Chardonnay before dancing around the campfire.  There was nothing scary about those alcohol-induced, hedonic camping trips. They simply “were”. 

We grew up over those warm summers laughing and learning to appreciate the beauty of the area. Cotton candy clouds were slowly passing overhead and freshwater lakes in which to wade and swim. The air seemed cleaner and fresher; the beauty of Lake County seduced us year after year.

Creating the Best Wine Now - The Wine Industry Dominates Lake County

The wine industry dominates Lake County today with over 35 wineries and over 9,000 acres of vineyards planted and that acreage increases every year.

Prohibition Hits Lake County

Lake County has deep roots in making some of the best wine, punctuated by the long, dry era of Prohibition. Temperance was made into law with the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919 until legality was thrown back into the domain of the state by the Twenty-First Amendment on December 5th, 1933. Although the entire country felt the sting of Prohibition, California’s wine industry was absolutely eviscerated. Over 96% of the California wineries that flourished pre-prohibition were closed with only a few hanging on to rebloom after 1933.

One group specifically, the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, managed to escape the scourge of Prohibition by making sacramental wine during those long, dry thirteen years. One of their Order, Brother Timothy, set up a wine lab in the Mayacamas Mountains which cross through Lake County.

In 1932 the Christian Brothers eventually became one of the leading brands in California’s wine industry. In fact, it was jugs of Christian Brothers’ wine that I remember gracing my parents’ picnic tables then. At least that’s how I remember it.

The Climate and Soils Make This AVA One of The Best Wine Producing Regions in California

Lake County AVA Map

Today the Lake County AVA stretches out from the waterskiing hotspot of Clear Lake at its heart and includes the volcanic soils of the Red Hills and High Valley AVAs to sandstone on the hillsides and alluvial soils of the streams and valleys. The warm summer temperatures of my childhood memory drop off dramatically as the season turns because of the higher altitude of the area. The unique air quality, clean, fresh water and the soils of the area culminate in fantastically high-quality grapes coming out of Lake County.

The six of us are all grown now and living in different states with kids of our own. But when we get together and share a Craveyon CloudWines' bottle from Lake County we can taste the sunshine!

 

April 10, 2017

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Posted in


Give Yourself Permission to Join The Right Wine Club

Three Reasons The Right Wine Club is Important

In our experience, there are three main reasons you may not join a wine club.  First, you may not want to commit. Second, you have too much wine at home.  And third, you may belong to several wine clubs, and you do not want another one.

Join The Right Wine ClubCasi Mayo, President of Everything (right), Lori Cuevas (left), and Brenda Morken (center), address these three concerns by explaining how Craveyon CloudWines' unique approach to wine subscriptions solves each issue.

1. The Commitment Can Be Hard

  • Set-up your subscription to be the way that suits you
  • Totally customizable
  • You know the wine because of you, the member, selected it

2. I have too much Wine

  • Casi asks if too much wine is a problem
  • Give wine away as gifts
  • No such thing as too much wine
  • Have your wine shipped to other people
  • Set your Craveyon CloudWines membership to suit your needs regarding quantity and frequency
  • For example, we have customers who get wine every Friday, for their weekend wine

3. I Belong to Other Wine Clubs

  • You love the wine clubs you're in or maybe, you're just used to them. Craveyon CloudWines offers something completely different from other wine clubs
  • The Craveyon Wine club is flexible
  • You decide what you want and when you want it
  • Get the wine club that allows you to customize 
  • Craveyon CloudWines will not make you purchase wine you may not want

 

March 29, 2017

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Posted in


What We Do - Who We Are

What we do

We often get asked, what do you do? What is Craveyon CloudWines all about? Well, what do we do? Casi Mayo, President of Everything, and Brenda Morken give the 30-second elevator speech.

The 30 Second What We Do Elevator Pitch 

  • We are an online wine company
  • We source our wines from the great wine regions
  • Once the wine is selected, we:

Our Member Selected Wines Win Awards

In the process of our members choosing the wines they drink, they are selecting wines that win awards.  See Craveyon CloudWines Conquers the San Francisco Chronicle and Craveyon takes Double Gold

Read what our members have to say about us. Read reviews »

 

March 28, 2017

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Posted in wine label, wine tasting


Tasting Notes Workshop

Tasting Notes Workshop

In this members only Wine Tasting Notes Workshop you will learn how the pros at Craveyon CloudWines create each wine's tasting notes.  The tasting cards, product pages, and the wine labels use the tasting notes that you will create.

You will learn how spices and foods (smell and taste) play a role in determining how to create wine tasting notes.

When:
Friday, March 31st, 2017
12:00 - 6:30 PM

Where:
Craveyon CloudWines Facility
27884 Del Rio Rd. 
Temecula, CA 92590
(951) 972-8353

 


Casi Mayo, President of Everything, Brenda, and Lori talk about the Tasting Notes Creation Workshop.  Members will learn how Craveyon CloudWines creates their tasting notes and have fun doing it!

 

March 25, 2017

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Posted in wine label, wine tasting


Creating Craveyon CloudWines Wine Tasting Notes

Creating Craveyon CloudWines Wine Tasting Notes

Transcript: Creating Wine Tasting Notes with Casi Mayo and Brenda Morken

Casi Mayo, President of Everything, and Brenda Morken, Duchess of Production, sit down and walk us through the process of created Wine Tasting Notes.  The wine tasting notes are an important part of Craveyon CloudWines' wine club process.The wine tasting cards are used for guest and members

The wine tasting cards are used for guests and members during wine tasting events. Guest and members are encouraged to take the note cards with them so they can remember what wines they LOVED and can include those wines in their wine subscription.

The wine notes are also used on Cravey CloudWines product pages and the Craveyon wine labels.

 

Wine Tasting Note Card
Wine Tasting Note Card

Casi Mayo (CM): Alright let's get started I am Casi Mayo, and this is Brenda with Craveyon CloudWines.

Brenda Morken (BM): Hi everybody

CM:  And what are we doing today Brenda?

BM:  We are going to write our wine tasting notes cards, and our label has already been created. However, this is one of our new ones that we just followed, so we have to write our tasting note card now. So we've collected a variety of sense in spices and different things and what we're going to do is smell the wine and then also smell the different spices in the different sense that we have so that we can create an incredible tasting card.

CM:  But somewhat accurate. Yeah, so we've got this is only what I could really pull out of my kitchen this morning.

BM:  You did a great job

CM:  Short notice -oh so we'll have ground mustard, cloves nutmeg, coriander, pumpkin, five spice powder which is my very favorite. I use that in Gingerbread and in cookies. Ground ginger, just pure dry ginger. We've got almond lemon and vanilla cardamom, I think that's how you pronounce it, and saffron.

So that's what we're going to at least get started with, and we made these smelly things that aren't here, so we'll have to run over to the spice merchant and get some other things. But this is our old wine tasting note, and it says that our old cab had blackberry, cassis and a hint a rose petal. We don't have any rose petals, so we know it is not like.

Ok, so should we just start. Let's just start.

BM:  What does it say on our label for the cabernet sauvignon? It says that there are enticing aromas of ripe Jami berries and vanilla.

CM:  Oh, we have vanilla. Let's smell the vanilla. This is going to be strong because this is concentrated vanilla extract and I think, Wow, well you only need a teaspoon. So, what if we just did a teeny tiny little tiny bit we have to dilute it a little bit. You don't need that much that's overpowering

Did you get any vanilla in that you? You should. I'm probably putting ideas in your head that you're then smelling in the wine.

BM:  I do smell the vanilla

CM:  And I smell raspberry I think me yes hmm maybe a hint of strawberry. Yes okay, I'm writing that down. Okay we're getting strawberry I'm getting raspberry we're getting a little bit of vanilla what about what about almond or cinnamon?

BM:  Yes, just a hint yeah.

CM:  So, if we're going to see the cinnamon vanilla on this one, then we should try cloves. We should take mustard away, ginger away, because if we know no ginger and there's no mustard.

BM:  I don't think there's any pumpkin spice either.

CM:  Okay coriander?

BM:  No.

CM:  No that's getting eliminated. So we got left five spice powder, nutmeg, saffron and cinnamon, cloves. Lemons can go. Goodbye lemon. Oh, holy mackerel that is so strong it smells like pine-sol.

BM:  It does. Yeah, that's really strong.

CM:  Whoa. No lemon

BM:  No lemon

CM:  Let's try almond. I really like almonds stuff. Okay and vanilla. It was definitely vanilla. Yes, I sent almond packing, but do you think there's almond.

BM:  No I don't think so, we should have picked up some berries.

Note: During Blind Ballot Bar wine tasting events, our members are encouraged to write down their thoughts about the smells and tastes of each wine they are grading and we will also use that information in our wine notes.

 

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