Several Years ago at the Asheville Wine & Food Festival, a couple approached me and spent a few minutes telling me how much they enjoyed the festival and how excited they were to discover NC wines. It was several months later I received an email reaffirming the same from this couple, Debby and Philip Halpern stating again that they had so enjoyed everything that they were considering moving to our area from Chicago and starting a new business involving NC wines. Thus the beginnings of NC Wine Gifts was born and this year they are at the festival as an exhibitor, promoting their selections of the best wines available for shipment to you home, office or as a gift for your friends and business partners.
Debby and Philip had spent several months traveling around NC and selected 33 wines they considered some of the best available for their collection. But how could they narrow this selection even more and communicate to their customers that these wines did not just reflect their taste in wines but were good wines based on independent criteria.
Well, they made the acquaintance of Chuck Blethen grapesavi.org/ and the French Broad Vignerons and together they researched how NC wines were rated. Guess what, there are no rating scales used to evaluate local wines other than popularity contests and state fairs. The FBV group decided to adopt the Davis Card wine evaluation criteria http://www.americanwinesociety.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=64 which is a 20 point evaluation scale developed at the University of California at Davis.
So in the early spring of this year 12 of the club members met to learn about the Davis Card wine evaluation criteria and how to become wine evaluators. It was a fun evening, one of discovery (yes, I was one of them!) and understanding that you do not judge a wine on what you like but on the Appearance, Aroma & Bouquet, Taste & Texture, Aftertaste, and Overall Impression of the wine being evaluated. A few weeks later we met with Debby and Phillip to evaluate the 33 wines and help the select the 15 best for advertising on the NC Wine gifts site. It was a tough job but we did it!
I just received an email from Debby and they are growing and they have just incorporated the North Carolina Wine Club http://www.ncwineclub.com/ into their selections. “We look forward to bringing the convenience of receiving consumer quality rated, award winning NC wines to wine lovers on a regular basis through the new NC Wine Club.”
You will meet Debby and Philip at the festival, Chuck Blethen, members of the FBV and you will get an opportunity to talk to them about how they evaluated the wines for the Amateur Wine Competition (almost 40 wines were entered) and how you can apply their evaluation criteria for wines at the festival to help you choose wines to take home with you.
I learned a lot and have a better respect for our local wines, dry, sweet, fruit, Vitis vinifera http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis_vinifera or Vinifera hybrids http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_grape_varieties. With over 110 NC wineries that I would love to visit, I’ve also found NC Wine gifts and just presented a box of local NC wines to some great folks wishing them success in their new venture, just as I wish Debby and Phillip much success with their new venture. Check them out, both on-line and at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival www.ashevillewineandfood.com this Saturday. August 25th at the US Cellular Center, downtown Asheville.