19,000 advance tickets have been sold (a new record), so clearly the event is growing in popularity. If for some reason you didn’t purchase (shame on you) or would like tickets for a second weekend, at the end of the article you can read how to very easily win a pair! (Jump ahead if you are impatient.)
Barrel Tasting Explained
I will provide a short overview here. For more detail, you can read my previous article Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?
More and more wineries and consumers are warming to the idea of Barrel Tasting.
This is basically the concept of buying futures. How far in future can vary, but most wineries are tasting stuff that will be bottled this year and in your hands no later than fall. The consumer’s reward: – big discount, ranging from 20-40% plus. The winery’s benefit – cash flow. Cash is king, and I know small wineries who work on such a tight budget they sometimes are counting pennies to be able to bottle or label, and this become a key part of generating capital. Others have completely integrated it into their business model and have a large following.
What Barrel Tasting Isn’t
A drunk-fest. Each year the Wine Road has made progress towards this goal. Wineries and serious consumers alike are fed up with drunks rolling off a bus after pounding drinks, acting like idiots and worse. This has decreased dramatically over the years – the welcome is worn thin. These people aren’t buying wine generally, and are not a loss. Expect less than warm welcomes at more venues, and being denied service. If that’s your goal, go to Happy Hour. I will spot you a drink. Unfortunately these people aren’t likely reading a wine blog but just putting the widespread sentiment out there.
Whether you are interested in saving money via futures, or just a fun educational weekend tasting, Barrel Tasting is an excellent weekend to taste, learn and explore. You don’t even have to Barrel Taste if don’t want to. All wineries are pouring finished wine, some new releases. For $30 at the door for two days, its a great opportunity. I encourage those new to wine to try a few barrel samples, but remember, as the detailed article explains, this is unfinished wine. Try 1-2 and then perhaps focus your experience on learning and tasting regular wines.
For those a bit more exposed to tasting wine, try barrel samples. Where you can, compare them to the currently bottled finished wine, if offered. (Not always possible.) This is an excellent way to see how much a wine can change.
Again its important to remember, even if going to be bottled shortly, wines, especially reds will be bottled aged for 3-12+ months before release, and will continue to evolve. I watched consumers struggle with this at a recently blending seminar, when they were frustrated they couldn’t blend 3 varietals from barrel to compare to the finished wine that had a year in bottle. It won’t.
If you aren’t very experienced with futures, buying something that will not be bottled by summer maybe risky. The wine could change a lot.
If its a wine release you have had over multiple years, like it, buy it regularly, and the barrel sample tastes good, this is probably a good investment, saving money for a wine you’ll buy anyway.
The future I always buy is a varietal (grape) not common here (a surprise I know), I have loved the last 3 releases, and the winery aggressively discounts the future, 5% over industry. Unless the vintage had some significant change, this is a no brainer repeat for me. It also assures me I get sufficient quantity of a wine I really like, before it sells out.
EASY! And thanks for sticking through. There are TWO ways to win – read carefully, you can do BOTH!
Answer any of these:
1. Tell us what you like about Barrel Tasting. Do you buy futures ever? Why or Why Not? We will draw 2 pairs of tickets from answers.
2. Subscribe to Simple Hedonisms via Email. Receive new articles one time a day (max, usually less) so you never miss one. All email is secure and never used or shared. We will draw a winner from all subscribers. If you can not attend, we will send a Wine Road cookbook or alternate item. NOTE! you must confirm your subscription to be eligible – you will receive a confirmation email immediately, you must open and click. Unconfirmed subscribers are not eligible.
Drawing is 330 pm Thursday!
Come Back for Our Regular Sales Incentives Article
As we do for all Wine Road events, Simple Hedonisms will run an article highlighting special sales of finished wines, as a supplement to Barrel Tasting. This is very handy to print out, and stock up, saving a few extra dollars to boot. Watch for it!
Cheers and thank you for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog ! We are delighted and honored by continued growth – February was another record month with over 6700 readers and 250,000 hits!