Susan Sokol Blosser Receives Diploma of Honor
Now for some exciting news:
Our co-founder Susan Sokol Blosser was recently honored as the sole recipient of the 2019 Diploma of Honor by the Fédération Internationale des Confréries Bachiques (also known as the FICB). This award is given to individuals who have been globally recognized for their expertise and achievements in relation to wine and who support the values of the wine brotherhoods. Susan is one of only a few Americans — and only the *second* American woman in history — to receive this honor.
The FICB was founded in 1964 in Paris, France, as a non-profit organization dedicated to uniting and promoting wine industry professionals and wine enthusiasts around the world and raising funds for scholarships. While it is called a brotherhood, there are many female members. Susan Sokol Blosser was inducted as a “Supreme Lady,” the highest level of membership.
Susan is humbled and thrilled to be listed among past recipients of this award, which includes notable wine industry leaders such as Gina Gallo, Michel Rolland, and Jean-Charles Boisset.
Susan’s other honors include an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Portland, citing her entrepreneurship within the context of environmental and social responsibility, a Lifetime Achievement award from the Oregon Wine Board, and induction into the national Women for WineSense Hall of Fame—the first non-Californian woman so honored.
We couldn’t be more proud of Susan’s accomplishments as a true pioneer in the American wine industry, creating a values-driven entrepreneurial business focused on doing what’s right for people and planet!
In the Press: As Featured in Wine Enthusiast
Why Stock-the-Bar Parties Are the Next Big Wedding TrendSource: Wine Enthusiast
Millennials are getting married significantly later than their parental counterparts. According to the Census Bureau, the new average age to say “I do” for women is 27.8 and 29.8 years of age for men. In 1968, those numbers were 21 and 23, respectively. So, it’s only natural than that how couples celebrate marriage also changed.
In lieu of traditional wedding showers, Stock-the-Bar parties are becoming the new status quo. After all, these couples likely already have a toaster and coffeemaker by the time they’re walking down the aisle.
So, what exactly is a Stock-the-Bar Party? Rather than registering for items the couple may already own or don’t want, they can register for their home bar and wine collection. Wouldn’t you rather receive a bottle of bubbly than a gravy boat? This explosive trend has led to sites like ThirstyNest, the first wine and spirits registry for the modern couple. How else would a young couple start to set up their new wave gift list? Here’s what to add to yours.
Wine lovers should start with a mix of both special ageworthy wines and casual options. For your ageable wine collection, three bottles to a full case (12 bottles) is a good amount for starting a home cellar. They can be stored in a small to moderate wine fridge for safekeeping or in a cool, dark place in a home. Some favorites are the Louis Roederer 2008 Cristal Champagne for a one-year anniversary or Robert Mondavi 2013 Reserve To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon for a five-year anniversary.
As for everyday wines, it’s all about whatever the couple likes, which is what makes a registry such a great tool. It allows the lovebirds to make their selection personal. Workhorse wines that pair with different dishes and occasions include dry rosés like Belle Glos 2017 Sonoma Pinot Noir Blanc. It’s just as fitting for a trip to the beach as it is with a holiday meal. Additionally, some cool-climate Oregon Pinot Noir, like the Sokol Blosser 2016 Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir, can be enjoyed with lean meat dishes or even a hearty vegetarian meal.
On the spirits side, as with anything wedding related, it really depends on the couple’s personal taste. A good mix of cocktail essentials and some dram-worthy brown spirits tend to be well received by anyone looking to expand their home bar. On the cocktail end, a great vodka, gin, whiskey and Tequila, along with your stirring mixers such as vermouths and Campari are a good place to start. For those who like to sip spirits neat, make sure to include at least one fantastic Bourbon, like Bulleit, and a classic, smoky single malt Scotch, such as the Oban 14-year, to your list.
As for the serving tools, absolute must-have pieces are a great set of wine glasses, a wine opener and some cocktail tools. This 16-piece wine glass set is gorgeous and comes with a 10-year warranty. Also, personalized wine openers and decanters, along with a good set of cocktail tools and glasses, will always come in handy.
Lastly, a place to put all of these amazing gifts! For wine, there are a variety of wine fridges and racks available that range in size to fit a collection from six to 300 bottles. A good place to start would be in the 32-bottle range for post-nuptial storage with a little room to grow. For spirits and tools, bar carts are especially fabulous and there are even ones that work for a small-space living.
Hosting a Stock-the-Bar Party is the perfect solution for today’s couple. They can level up on their ability to entertain while creating new experiences with friends and family. Don’t worry: setting up the registry will be almost as fun as enjoying your gifts with ThirstyNest.
Published on February 22, 2019
In The Press: Sokol Blosser featured on NPR
Why Some Wineries Are Becoming 'Certified B Corp' — And What That MeansBy Shana Clarke
Many college students studying abroad focus more on soaking in the culture — and the local drinking scene — than on their future careers. But for Charles Brain and Walker Brown, their time as exchange students in South Africa in 2014 sparked something more.
They returned to the Western Cape two years later with the goal of developing a wine brand and bringing the cuvées they loved back to the U.S. However, they didn't want to simply start a winery in South Africa; they aimed to empower growers and laborers and, ultimately, create a unique platform that would benefit their partners in a socially responsible manner.
Under their label, Lubanzi Wines — which launched a mere three years ago — they set up protocols to ensure the well-being of their workers. As a testament to their commitment, in January, Lubanzi became one of just 25 wineries worldwide — and one of only 2,788 businesses — to become a Certified B Corporation.
While organic or biodynamic certifications are big buzzwords in winemaking today, B Corp calls for full transparency in the way a company conducts business — and not just in the vineyard. B Corp companies strive to be stewards of social change. As conversations around mindful winemaking continue to evolve, more wineries are aspiring to receive this certification.
Andy Fyfe, senior manager for business development for B Lab, the organization that certifies and supports B Corporations, responded in an email: "I would actually agree with his opinion that B Lab is not intended to be, nor should be the expert or the ultimate 'needle mover' for farm workers rights. [However], every Certified B Corporation must meet a legal requirement. They are required to change their legal charter to hold them accountable and consider the impact of their business decisions on all stakeholders (including farm workers) and not just solely consider the interests of their shareholders (investors)."
Brain, the Lubanzi Wines co-founder, sees B Corp as being a voice for the wine industry. "There are a lot of wineries out there that are doing great things in terms of how they operate and how their wines are made but are getting lost when they're trying to talk to everyday people," he says. "I think B Corp really offers a way for people like us — and people like A to Z Wineworks and like Sokol Blosser — to actually get through and connect with customers in a way that they understand."
Shana Clarke is a freelance wine, sake and cocktail journalist who regularly contributes to Wine Enthusiast, HuffPost and Hemisphere, and is the wine editor for inside.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @ShanaSpeaksWine and see more of her work on www.shanaspeakswine.com.
Why do we call it Cellar Season?
Image credit: Christopher Peters / @dirt.coast
THE VERY IMPORTANT NEXT STEP
During harvest, winemaking is front and center: visitors to most wineries can see grapes being crushed, tanks being punched down, and barrels being filled. But once January hits, it can feel as though all of wine country has paused to catch a breath, and it’s not as easy to see what’s happening in the very important next step of the winemaking process.
That’s Cellar Season — the time of year when wines are undergoing the slower maturation process in barrel or tank after their comparatively fast fermentation. And just like the wines, industry folks from the tasting room to the production team are turning their focus on rejuvenation, hospitality and reflection.
THE QUIET ENERGY OF CELLAR SEASON
There’s a quiet energy to the Cellar Season that complements tranquil rainfall and brisk winter chill, and it carries through from the production team to the hospitality staff. “I love cozying up by the fire with our sparkling wines and ports,” says Katie Bass, tasting room manager and wine club manager at Eola Hills Wine Cellars. She adds, “I plan monthly trainings to keep us on our toes and to prep for the busy season. Getting out and about with the team is so valuable: tasting adventures to other wineries, breweries and distilleries, sledding expeditions, and maybe even an escape room outing!”
The wines made from the most recent harvest spend this time in barrel or tank to undergo their secondary (malolactic) fermentation, which affects all red wines and many white wines and creates a smooth texture. This also gives the new wines time to integrate their flavors, and if they’re in oak it’s a crucial process of slowly harmonizing fruit, earth and other characteristics with the aromas and texture that oak itself lends.
By February and March, the red wines of previous vintages are often ready to come out of barrel, and white wines designed for spring drinking and made in a fresh, oak-free style—such as many Pinot gris and almost all Riesling wines—are also ready for the bottling line. Bottling is the first really high-energy time of the winemaking year, and the excitement of the growing season to come is in the air. Meanwhile, there’s no better time to experience the tasting room; wineries take this time of year to focus on intimate and in-depth experiences for their guests.
Follow along on social media with #wvcellarseason. Cheers!
2018 Vintage Wrap Up from Alex Sokol Blosser
As I sat in my comfy chair, looking out on a cold, wet Thanksgiving Day, I thought back upon the growing season that was and have these thoughts……..
The spring was warm and fairly dry. How warm? Well April/May/June was warmer than in 2017 and was warmer than the 10 year average for that time period. Maybe not the warmest spring, but a spring that got things moving along quickly. Bud break happened in mid-April which is normal and was when the vines started in 2017, but that warm spring progressed the vine growth so we had bloom about a week earlier than 2017. Bloom in early June can be a treacherous undertaking as the spring weather can mess up a healthy flowering. A giant hail storm did descend on the Dundee Hills in early June and ruined some of the crop in our Thistle Vineyard, but not at our Sokol Blosser estate. A more typical bloom time of late June usually allows the inclement weather to miss us. O well. This is farming so we take what Mother Nature gives us.
The summer started like one giant furnace on July 5th. We did get our typical July 4th rain which lets us know that we are in Oregon and to light the fireworks quickly. July was a hot month and we had a lot of above 90 degree days. Just when it seemed like the warm spring and the hot July would not stop, August came and the weather moderated. We actually had a normal August in which it was not warmer or cooler than the 10 year average. It was super dry, but not as hot as July. This helped slow the ripening train down, and then we got to September. Thank you September! September was not only cooler than in 2017 but it was cooler than the 10 year average. This was fantastic!! It allowed us to let the grapes hang longer so we got the fruit riper without the sugar accumulation going crazy with super-hot days. In fact, our first day of bringing in fruit (sparkling base wine) was Wednesday, September 5th. It was 88F that day. On the first day of harvest in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 it was almost 100F. Wow is right!!
Our first Pinot Noir came in on Saturday, September 15th with our Peach Tree Block and our last block of Pinot Noir was from our coolest Pinot Noir site at Blossom Ridge on Saturday, September 29th. The color of all the blocks that came in was fantastic. The extra hang time was fantastic and the wine chemistry was super exciting too with the high acids, moderate pH, and plenty of flavor. The 2018 vintage is our coolest growing season since 2012 and I predict will be our best vintage as well since that year. Get ready for some really special wines from the 2018 harvest! Thank you Mother Nature!!!!
~Alex Sokol Blosser
Winemaker, Co-President, and Second Generation Winegrower
Photo Credit: Phong Nguyen