FRANCE (Bordeaux) - Imagine a bottle of wine that does not only look good on your dinner table but which you can also show off to your guests: "Hey guys, this is my very own Bordeaux-wine. And I even designed the label myself". Well, well how good that must feel - a very own Bordeaux wine. No, really this is no joke. This is reality.
Making "Do-It-Yourself" wines has long been a trend in America and there is now more and more so-called "city wineries" in combination with a real winery (we reported). Most famous is the California-based Micro-Winery Crushpad in San Francisco. Here, "Do-It-Yourself" vintagers from all around the world have their "own"wines vinified. What you need: about 6,000 dollar, an internet connection and you're ready to get started.
With a consumer friendly software and videos, "Do-It-Yourself" vintagers can gather information, learn and make their own decisions. They then send their instructions to the personnel at the wine cellars. There, the desired vinification is supervised and followed, the data exchanged as provisional result and it is taken care of the "Do-It-Yourself" wines until they are filled into bottles and sent to the customer in every part of the world.
Crushpad, founded by Michael Brill in San Francisco in 2004, recorded sales of 9 million dollars in 2008 only. Most of the now 5000 customers are friends in real life or whole families who live in various US cities. Also US companies, which give those wines to their employees as gifts or at galas, even chefs, restaurants, yes even vintagers have their "Do-It-Yourself" wines made at Crushpad.
"Two years ago when I read an article in the magazine Fortune about the California-based company Crushpad, I had no idea that one day I would open up a Do-It-Yourself winery in Bordeaux" says Stephen Bolger, of French-American origin. "When I read that article, I felt like I was in the tv series Eureka. I thought I was dreaming".
Today, Stephen Bolger is president of Crushpad France. "I mixed the concept of the US innovation of Crushpad with the French wine culture" says Bolger. "My task was to build a bridge between culture, French grapes, tradition and French Savoire-Vivre".
"In the beginning everyone in Bordeaux thought I was crazy", grins Bolger. "I heard especially from the Negociants that this would never work". However, Stephen Bolger unwaveringly got started. With a group of experts e visited over 100 different wineries and selected 30 wineries that had the right quality of grape material and which he was able to convince of his project.
"When Stephen came up to me and told me about his idea, I thought that it was very difficult to realize it due to the wine economy in Bordeaux and the traditional marketing that is linked to it" said Eric Boissenot, international wine consultant among others of renowned French wineries like Lafite, Margaux and Léoville-Barton. "Stephens enthusiasm and dynamism really convinced me. And when I visited the Californian company Crushpad, I learned about the authenticity of the concept and in that moment I totally lost my prejudice."
"Every day we receive more and more emails, which shows us that there is many people that approve of our idea. They are curious like children and think that the idea of making ones own wine is very thrilling", Stephen Bolger gladly tells us.
"It will be interesting to see, which quality we can produce", says the customer Asko Kassinen, manager of Hawlett-Packard located in Helsinki. "We know that the grapes from Bolgers Team are chosen carefully, that they are from the best vineyards and that they are lead from the best cellar material and kegs to ready wines by experienced cellar masters" He selected grape types of the Cabernet Franc and Merlot of Château Cheval Blanc and a legendary winery in Saint Emilion for his wines.
And Taavet Hindrikus, customer from London, says: "You have access to some of the best grapes in the whole world. With those, together we can make really good wines. I think it will be very interesting".
The professional Boissenot says: "This project makes it possible for me to get to know the people, their wishes and their own understanding of wine."
"The customer's expectations are high, after all, we are talking about Bordeaux wines, their quality really has to be right", says Stephen Bolger. However, you cannot prove wrong one argument: Bolgers wines cost 22, 50 to 30 euro per bottle or seen in the total investment of the customers about 6,750 to 9,000 euro. This is very nice compared to the hundreds of euro that you have to pay for wines from classified wineries in Bordeaux.
"I am not a wine expert, neither do I know how wine is even made. However, I am learning fast and more about Bolgers team" says the customer Taavet Hindrikus who lives in London. "Every day, I follow the news and reports that I receive by email. I even receive notices of tastings, so I really feel like I am part of the team".
With Crushpad France, Stephen Bolger created a trend that perfectly fits in this time and which obviously also found fans in Europe. "I am not worried about our concept", says Bolger. "I am more worried about the largely increasing amount of interested people. We do not want to create mass wines, we only want to create quality and have satisfied customers". (aw.yoopress)