Metro Wines Blogs

Metro Wines Asheville, NC
We are asking our customers to help us decide what wines should be on our shelves. A small wine shop has limited space so we have to be right! On the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30 to 6:30pm @MetroWines, we will pour wines that have been presented to us by our sales representatives. 
So many think owning a wine shop must be a...
We are asking our customers to help us decide what wines should be on our shelves. A small wine shop has limited space so we have to be right! On the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30 to 6:30pm @MetroWines, we will pour wines that have been presented to us by our sales representatives. 
So many think owning a wine shop must be a great job. And it is! But it is also difficult. It's easy to say what wines we like. Not so easy to decide what wines most of you will like. So, we thought, who better to ask for help in the selection process than you. Tell us what you think.
Seating is limited to 10. The first who call (828) 575-9525 every month have a seat at the big table. As we are asking your guidance, the tasting is "on the house" and parking is free, close and easy.
We will be taking notes on our tastings and discussions and inviting comments on our Asheville Wine Focus Group Blog here: 

Size Up the Sparkling

Jacquart Brut Mosaigue

Half Bottles

Image result for jacquart brut mosaic half bottle
Holiday and Host Gift Perfect
Mosaique is a non-vintage brut from top Champagne producer Jacquart. Lively and fresh, with a good backbone of fruit and a very fine mousse.
STOCK UP! These bottles will sell out.

This is a good time to mention our tasting
"Sizing Up The Holidays" @MetroWines!
Saturday, December 14th from 1 to 4pm

Taste Sparkling Wines in all sizes 
including single servings in a four pack
perfect for stocking stuffers or a host gift,
half bottles suited for opening a dinner for two followed by wine, and magnums that not only make an extraordinary gift but also look fabulous and festive on a table!

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November Winner: Furmint


Katerina Dordelman of Sour Grapes brought two wines from Croatia and two from Slovenia for consideration. The clear favorite was 2017 Kobal Furmint from Slovenia.  
Group appreciated the varietal as you could enjoy it solo or pair with food. Flavors found ranged from Meyer Lemon, Green Apple to Ginger. Good with Asian dishes. The wine is dry, medium in body and acidity. No need to decant and it can go for 10 years in the bottle!
Some thought this wine would also work as a palate cleanser between courses. But whether paired with a dish or served between dishes, this wine is spot on for Thanksgiving. $17.99
2016 Plavac was also very well received. This wine is from the cooler island locations presenting aromas of plum, cherry and local herbs. The palate is bight, rustic and earthy but with soft tannins leaving the fruit to shine. Group thought this wine was very versatile. Another good choice for the Thanksgiving Table
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November Wine Focus Group

Reserve Your Seat HERE!

News Release: Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

About: Asheville Wine Focus Group: November
Join us on Wednesday, November 13th for The Asheville Wine Focus Group from 5:30 to 6:30@ MetroWines. Renee Roscoe of Klinker Brick will host the event presenting four wines, including their highly regarded Zinfandel, for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.
About Klinker Brick:

The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of “Old Vine” Zinfandel that range in age from 40 to 120 years old. Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils in the Mokelumne River Appellation of Lodi and the Clements Foothills.

In the nineties, the family began to market their zinfandel in the bulk wine market, selling to a number of prestigious, benchmark producers of Zinfandel in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

In 2000, Steve and Lori produced their first vintage of Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel. They continue to produce wine from all of the vineyard blocks, culling only the very best lots for bottling Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel and designated vineyard wines. They produced their first vintage of Farrah Syrah in 2001.

The Feltens and Klinker Brick have one goal…produce world-class wine.

"Zinfandel is considered one of the best varietals for Thanksgiving," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "and many say that no winery does it better for the shelf price than Klinker Brick."
But is that a fact? You decide! 
The event is on the house. Reserve your seat by calling (828) 575-9525 or online here:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Asheville Wine Focus Group: October


News Release: September 18th

About: Focus Group: Croatia and Slovenia
Please join us as The Asheville Wine Focus Group considers wines from Croatia and Slovenia on Wednesday, October 9th from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines.
Katerina Dordelman of Sour Grapes Imports and Distribution, a native of The Czech Republic and recently returned from a trip to Croatia and Slovenia, presents four wines. Katerina will share photographs and stories from her trip including meeting with the winemakers and their families.
"But, while all that promises to be great, the bottom line is," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines, "do you like the wines and should they be in the shop."
Reserve your seat by calling (828) 575-9525 or online here:
This event will fill up quickly. Call Reserve NOW!
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Focus Group Survivor!

Where is the Love? That is what we were asking at the last Focus Group ("Group"). We presented four wines that we thought were great for the price, that have either fallen out of favor or just never got there. As always, Group was spot on and provided invaluable information.

Group was concerend about blends that do not indicate what the heck is in the bottle on the label. And while a wine story is good, it is not a great sales tool. For example, a bottle that was made from a special clone might be of interest to wine geeks but not so much to most customers. Group did think an eye catching label was imoortant in a sea of wine. But of most importance is education. More classes on wines such as txakolina are necessary to insure customers know what is being offered. And more informational cards on the shelf so custoemrs can roam around by themselves and get the drift.

So, of the four wines reviewed by Group, only one survived! While two of the others were acceptable for now, don't reorder! And one was a flat out why bother. Here's the winner:

Image result for valley of the moon 2014 sonoma

Winemaker's Notes: This Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon has all the hallmarks of a great, true-to-style Cabernet. Its structure is approachable, the fruit is juicy red with a hint of savory which is appropriate for this varietal. Oak is well integrated and lends spiciness on the palate. This wine is very fitting for a weekday wine and/or for more formal occasions.

Blend: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 4% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petite Verdot

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August Wine Focus Group

** Save the Date: August 14th **

Image result for michele d'aprix

Asheville Wine Focus Group
Hosted by Michele d'Aprix (Pentimento) 
and Christopher Campbell of C and P Wines

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July Focus Group Winner

Eva Luna 2016 Garda

Cabernet Suavignon & Csabernet Franc Blend

The decision was virtually unanimous! 
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc is spectacular! 

As a second generation producer in a region that her father Sergio Zenato put on the map, Nadia Zenato and her mother Carla Prospero created Evaluna out of a deep love but also deep knowledge of the area. Evaluna (Eve + Moon) evokes the passion and a long practice in the vineyard sites of Lake Garda by the Zenato family. Evaluna in name and intent endeavors to break the mold of what is considered possible in a land of diverse agricultural abundance.

Customers like that this wine would not only hold up to heavy flavors and cold weather foods but could also be chilled for a summer dinner. Eva Luna offers an opportunity to really taste the cabernet grape without the full throttle of a California bottle or the vegetal flavor, not always completely pleasant, this variety can show.  This wine is very flavorfull yet light.

Some of our BEST Participant comments:

"Full bodied but light."

"Not too overwhelming for a red."

"Yes! So MF good. Summer."


Most participants guessed price to be between 1$18 and $20 or higher. Eva Luna is $15.99 @MetroWines.


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Le Quattro Terre Rose'

WINNER: June Great Rose Tasting
Le Quattro Terre, Barbera, Piemonte Rosato, $14.99

03 - LE 4 TERRE.png
The soil is calcareous-clay and silt with south exposure. Manual harvest. Direct pressing of grapes. 
Static cold decantation, fermentation in stainless steel tanks on fine lees for 3 months at controlled temperature. 
Brilliant rosé with light purple hues. Delicate but intense. Pleasant, with light hints of wild strawberry and sour cherry. 
Medium body, good acidity and minerality. Provencal in style with Italian Grapes!

"Quattro Terre" Piemonte Rosato is Gianpiero's is an iconic rosé made of 100% Barbera grape,
This wine represents the Piemonte Region, specifically the Monferrato terroir.
The rosé is also made with grapes from four different types of soil at La Meridiana Estate;
hence the name, "QUATTRO TERRE" or "FOUR SOILS." Clay, sand, limestone, and iron. 
The blend presents  complexity and minerality. Elegant body and harmonious acidity. 

And Le Quattro Terre Red will be "on the taste at Foucs Group on Wednesday!

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Focus Group: Natural Wines from Sour Grapes


Customers had been asking about the "Natural Wine" trend so we set the stage at Group to taste and learn.
Katerina Dordelman of Sour Grapes took us through the world of "Natural Wine" first explaining the differences between this style, organic and biodynamic.
Much time and work goes into making a "Natural Wine" which essentially means no manipulation of the wine, no additives or deletions, no nothing! The product is vine to bottle. All this labor means the process is not for big grocery store national brands. 
Natural Wines are mostly made at very small wineries from very carefully chosen grapes. And that means these wines tend to cost a bit more. That also means that a naturally made Pinot Noir, or any other grape, will taste quite different than most Pinot Noir Wines on the shelves. One of Group suggested that these wines be on a rack by themselves as it is difficult to compare "Natural Wines" in taste or price to their new world counterparts. We agree and will do.
Four wines were presented and, while there was agreement on the first and last wine, opinions ranged widely on the other two wines. 
The first wine was an Aligote, Qu'est-ce queen Crest Aligote?, from Burgundy, France. Most liked the minerality to this wine and some thought it was good to find a French Chardonnay alternative at such a reasonable price. Almost everyone liked this wine and thought it should be in the shop Done.  
This Aligote was also a good example of how "Natural Wines" can appear a little cloudy. This is because these wines are unfixed and unfiltered. Remember, nothing is done, no additives, no deletions! Katarina suggested this wine pairs nicely with Thai food and told us that it has been on the menu at Little Bee Thai. And people thought this wine might be a transitional wine for beer lovers. Makes sense. 
Next up was a Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Atena Sauvignon Blanc, Valle de Casablanca, Chile, by Couvelier in Chile. The wine presented less acidity than some had come to expect in a Sauvignon Blanc and was disappointing to some for that reason, but others (me included) found that aspect to be a positive. Nevertheless, most enjoyed this wine and thought it was very drinkable on its own. A possibility for our all new "Natural Wine" Rack!
The next wine, 2016 Atena Pinot Noir, Valle de Casablanca, Chile, by Couvelier, presented was where the rubber met the road. Over the 16 months that we have hosted Focus Group, staff and Group have disagreed on a few wines but not like this one! The Pinot Noir made by Couvelier was divisive, you were all in one way or the other. Overall, Group did not care for a natural version of Pinot Noir. But staff (including me) loved it! We thought is was very similar to a high end naturally made Oregon Pinot Noir at a third of the price.
The last wine, 2017 Anella Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero, Spain, was the winner of the overall preference in taste and best quality to price ration. Again, staff disagreed but Group bought every bottle we had to sell! And that is what we are here for at Group: what YOU want. 
The bottom line is that "Natural Wines" DO, for the most part, taste differently than new world wines. Often, "Natural Wines" are described as "raw" and there is a sense of the wines being unrefined, a bit wild, not smoothed out to please every palate, somewhat unfinished. 
For me, I would say there is a historic quality to the wine that appeals to me. When you think about, as we speculate in our emails, what Caravaggio might have had in the flask or what was on Vermeer's table, THIS is what IT was. Real wine. Vine to bottle. No manipulation. No nothing.
Wine, and especially "Natural Wine," is one of those links that binds us to the past. Thank you Katarina for a special night.

And Katarina had a great time and has already agreed to return in October!

Extra Info: HERE!

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June Wine Focus Group @MetroWines

Reserve Your Seat HERE!


News Release: Thursday, May 9th, 2019

About : The Asheville Wine Focus June 12
Join us on Wednesday, June 12th for The Asheville Wine Focus Group from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines. 
This month our host will be our manager @MetroWines, Zach Eidson! "Zach comes to us from Cincinnati where he owned a wine shop and wine bar," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "Zach will be introducing some of the wines that were popular in his shop."
Parking is free, close and easy and the event is "on the house." Please reserve your seat by calling (828) 575-9525 or online here:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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April Focus Group Winner

Image result for dusi model m 2016

Our 1939 Model M tractor has been a workhorse for three generations. Like this wine, it’s enjoyable, unassuming, and reliable for the long haul. Dusi has sold grapes to Turley! This wine reflectes that big, rich, lush style. A blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel from Central Coast of California. The Asheville Wine Focus Group found it to be a crowd pleaser. $14.99

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May Wine Focus Group

Image result for sour grapes wines logo

News Release; Saturday, April 9th

About: Asheville Wine Focus Group @MetroWines
Please join us for The Asheville Wine Focus @MetroWines on Wednesday, May 8th from 5:30 to 6:30. Four wines will be presented by Katarina Dordelman of Sour Grapes for consideration by the participants.
"With all the publicity surrounding "natural wines" lately, we are offering our customers a chance to taste and decide if more of these wine should be included in our shop, says Gina Trippi, co-oner of MetroWines. 
The event is "on the house" but you must reserve a seat. Call (828) 575-9525 

Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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April Wine Focus Group


Thursday, March 14th, 2019

About: April Asheville Wine Focus Group
Please join us on April 10th from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines for The Asheville Wine Focus Group @MetroWines with our host Orsini Wines.
"Nearly 40 participants gathered in March for the Focus Group," says gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "The more opinions, the better our selections of wines for the shop."
and sign up for our April gathering by calling (828) 575-9525
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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March Winner: Ser Passo 2017 Toscana Rosso

 Winery Said:

Ser Passo was conceived as an attempt to surprise and delight the wine consumer with new flavors, tastes and aromas. The unique flavors are of intense, strong and ripe fruits, such as cherries and black cherries. A velvety structure on the palate leaves a graceful softness in the mouth which make it suitable for tasty pasta, red meats and game in general.

Focus Group Said:

"velvety palate"

"strong black cherry flavor


"touch of chocolate"

"could enjoy alone or with food"

"can handle meat"

Among Group last night was a sommelier from Italy, Roberto, who said "This wine is a good example of the great values coming out of Italy. You could definitely take this wine to a dinner or party with confidence."

We say: $11.99 !!

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March Wine Focus Group


News Release: Monday, February 25th
About: Asheville Wine focus Group @MetroWines 
Join us on Wednesday, March 13th from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines for The Asheville Wine Focus Group hosted by Anne Kaufmann of Advintage Distributing of The Carolinas.
"This is your opportunity to not only play wine shop owner for the night but to help determine what should be on our shelves,"says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "The importers have also found the feedback very helpful in guiding their future choices as well."
Advintage Distributing of The Carolinas was chosen as one of Top 100 distribution companies by Wine Spectator.
The event is on the house. Your opinion is valued!
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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February Focus Winner



Rarely has Group been so unified in their choice of of best quality for the price wine as was the case last night. Group was passionate! passionate I say! about Anne Pichon "Sauvage" Grenache Rhone Valley 2017.
This 100% Grenache Noir is made with biodynamic methods and aged in neutral oak. Small berries are matured and dried on the sunny
and windy days in Provence. Group found the wine to be both lively and versatile, full bodied with smooth tannins. A strong nose leads to a very berry palate with a touch of chocolate. Group thought this French Grenache was less "aggresive" than a Spanish Garnacha can be.
Group thought this would be a good wine to serve at a dinner or to bring as a gift. This wine would also be a good choice when you don't know what the host is serving as this Grenache could pair nicely with many dishes.
Bottom line: Group was passionate!
About Anne Pichon Winery
Marc Pichon purchased Domaine le Murmurium in the Cote de Ventoux village of Mormoiron in early 2008 and named his new wine label after his wife, Anne. Comprised of 13 hectares of old vineyards on prime terroir adjacent to Chateau Pesquie, Murmurium is derived from Latin, meaning "The Buzzing Song of Bees", an old estate name which is honored by the crest on the Anne Pichon labels. 

Over the past years Anne Pichon Wines acquired more old vineyards to bring the size of the domaine to 21 hectares. “The best vineyards in Ventoux are low-yielding and difficult to cultivate,” said Marc. “They’re the ones that people want to get rid of.” With organically farmed holdings that include 9ha Grenache, 5ha Syrah, 1ha Merlot, 0.8ha Carignan, 1.2ha Roussanne, 1.5ha Viognier, 0.7ha Grenache Blanc, 1.5ha Clairette and 0.3ha Bourboulenc, the micro-climate at Anne Pichon is dry, with cool, manually tilled soils that retain moisture when it rains. And because of the Mistral that sweeps up from the hills below, fruit is less susceptible to rot and disease, providing and ideal environment for organic viticulture.

Employing careful vineyard management, low yields and late harvesting, Pichon hand-harvests and destems all of the fruit. Reds are vinified in small 50 hL cement tanks or stainless steel, at low temperature to achieve a long maceration. For extraction Marc generally performed two gentle pump overs daily, with additional manual punch downs if necessary. The fermentations extend 3 to 4 weeks with a slow progressive increase in temperature to extract a very fine tannin structure. The malolactic fermentation and ageing take place partly in oak barrels but mostly in cements tanks. White wines are made from only a light pressing of first run juice and vinified in stainless steel tanks with strict temperature control to maintain a balance of ripe fruit and freshness.

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February Wine Focus Group

Register HERE!

News Release:  Thursday, January 10th, 2019

About: Asheville Wine Focus Group for February
Join us on Wednesday, February 13th for The Asheville Wine Focus Group from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines hosted by Charlie Stanley of Rise Over Run. 
"Last February, Charlie Stanley was one of the first to address the Wine Focus Group," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "We are excited to have Charlie host the event a year later. He will find a much larger group with the benefit of a year of information and tasting experience!"
The event is open to the public and "on the house" but you must reserve a seat. Please call (828) 575-9525 or online here:
Rise Over Run describes their philosophy like this: 
Rise Over Run is an anthology of singular wines from steep and often challenging sites, and the dedicated families who farm them. Even down to our name, the inception of Rise Over Run emanated from our mutual passion and respect for challenging viticultural microclimates, often individuated by vertical, rocky slopes where little else can thrive. Many are viticultural marvels, and the finished wines are expressions that could not be recreated elsewhere. Our book is a compilation of these wines that have stories to tell, and we are excited to be the ones doing so.

Gina Trippi: Contact for MetroWines
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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January Wine Focus Winner

45 customers gathered to consider the wines presented by Richard McKinney and Nick Demos of Tryon Distribution. 

We talked wine, soil, biodynamic methods, Chile and Argentina, Bordeaux grapes, and herbaceous flavors!

We liked all of the 4 wines presented and thought they met the quality to price ratio challenge. But in the end, one was the most impressive to most of the group. While everyone has a different palate and preferences and every wine has a different best use, the fact that most people liked this one is a good indicator that most customers will like this wine. And in a small shop with limited space, that matters! And the winner is.......


Image result for tikal patriota 2015 malbec bonarda vine connections

A biodynamic blend of 40% Malbec and 60% Bonarda. Mendoza

Winemaker Says:

Deep reddish purple with aromas of bright berry/cherry fruit. Big body yet very balanced with luscious layers of raspberry, cherry, and cocoa flavors. Just a hint of baking spice at the end brings it all together. A great companion to grilled or smoked meats. Pairs well with beef and pork, and even pizza with meat toppings.
Robert Parker Says 90 Points
The 2015 Patriota was a similar blend of Malbec from the Valle de Uco (Vista Flores) and Bonarda from Ribadavia matured in oak barrels for some ten months. There is no astringency or herbal notes in this blend, and the Malbec is nicely complemented by the slightly rustic character of the Bonarda.
Wine Entusiast Says 90 Points
Spicy red-berry aromas with an accent of musky, cheesy oak get this Malbec-Bonarda blend moving in an interesting way. A tight, pointy palate with lean acidity houses flavors of plum and berry along with creamy oak and vanilla. Lactic oak is a factor on an otherwise bright and spicy finish.
MetroWines Focus Group Says:
"fruity but dry with a great nose"
"crowd pleaser!"
"love the biodynamic aspect"
"good value"
"bold but very drinkable"
"I like this and I think red wine drinkers will love it"
"approaches smoky"
"deep rich color"
MetroWines Staff Says:
"Toasty, spicey oak with rich, bold dark fruits. The palate is fruit driven but shows good acidity. Good to go solo but will definietly pair well with heavier foods."
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Asheville Wine Focus Group 2018 ReCap

With such a small shop working to serve different tastes and price points, stocking the shelves can be like pushing a wine barrel up a hill! And trying to maintain the constant favorites while still bringing in new wines is no easy feat. The Asheville Wine Focus Group ("Group") has been extraordinarily helpful in advising on decisions.
Some of our findings for the year are:
While Group enjoyed Chenin Blanc from South Africa and thought these wines had their place, if you had to choose just one, Group preferred the crisp acidity of a French Chenin Blanc while recognizing that pairing with a dish may call for the smoother South African version.
Rose works all year! On three occasions, the favorite of the four submitted wines was a Rose with the Backsberg Pinotage Rose being the biggest hit. Believe it. Kudos to Group for stepping outside their collective comfort zone and bringing a wine truth forward that the rest of the world already knows: Rose works all year!
Group was not afraid to tackle lesser known varietals such as Muller Thurgau. In fact, the Muller took the prize one night. Group thought the varietal offered a smoothness, showing good weight like a Chardonnay, that made the wine good to go solo but still presented enough acidity to pair with food. 
We also taste tested a Blaufrankisch. You cannot fool Group. While they liked the bottle, Group thought we could do better for the same or a lower price. This one was booted, baby!
Group went crazy for a blend of Tannat and Merlot from Brumont. We brought the bottle in and still have trouble keeping it on the shelf. Not only great tasting but Group thought the bottle was really good for the price. "A real deal," Group said. And who could forget the Copertino, a blend of 95% Negroamaro and 5% Malvasia. Again, this wine had a little age on it. Group will go there!
And Group showed their knowledge and interest in putting a little age on the bottle. A 2011 Rioja was a smash hit. Group picked this wine as a winner before we knew that James Suckling had given this vintage 93 Points! 
We showed that we got critical acclaim game again when we chose Airfield Cabernet Sauvignon. Turned out Wine Enthusiast loved it too. And we were ahead of Eric Asimov choosing a bottle from Broadside which showed up in his column weeks later!
And then there was the Biltmore Smack Down! What is "A Biltmore SmackDown" you ask? A while back, Biltmore showed up @MetroWines and blind tasted us on their Chardonnay and Cabernet. They pitted their wines against two very, very well known and good selling bottles of the same varietal and close in price. Let's just say, we were impressed. But, to land on the shelf, we told Biltmore that they must convince our customers. 
More than 40 showed up to take the challenge! Biltmore Wines held their own. The goal for Biltmore was to show that, even if you did not prefer the Biltmore Wine, it was a quality bottle. for example, The Biltmore Chardonnay was quite French in style. The majority of Group prefers a heavier bottle. BUT, it was agreed that the North Carolina chardonnay was great for the price and it was not at all clear, that style aside, the competitor was worth $10 more. When asked which of the Biltmore Wines we should stock, Group said the Blanc de Blanc Sparkling and the Pinot Noir.
And that brings us to the bottom line: the price to quality ratio. So many times Group loved a bottle but when the price was announced, it was a no go. In some cases, Group could even name a bottle already on the shelf of the same varietal that was, in their opinion, better and at a lower price! 
Name aside, you have to Bring IT! There is so much competition in the wine world, savvy consumers are passing up the name brands looking for quality at at a better price.
The Asheville Wine Focus Group did a heck of a job helping us to decide not just what goes on our shelves, but the wine landscape in Asheville as well. The importers, sometimes taken aback by how knowledgable Group was about wine and their discerning palates, took note of Group comments. 
One phenominon we did notice was consumer connection to a label. That goes bothe ways. You can continue to buy a wine that has long past its prime, that is, living off its respected label and subconsciously refuse to give a new label or a label on a wine, such as Biltmore, that has not peformed well in the past.
This is an article about both sides of label predjudice that we wrote for The Laurel of Asheville a while back:

  “I don’t buy wine because of the label. “  But the research says some of us, actually many of us, do.  Wineries want you to look. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. And so it is for the wine label. Who can resist the lure of Kungfu Girl Riesling?

  Labels were originally intended to provide legally required information. Wine Searcher, a service that posts information from online wine shops, says countries around the world have laws for both wines produced in country as well as imported wines. Labeling laws typically require name, region of origin, vintage, often the varietal or blend, volume and percentage of alcohol.

  But fierce competition in the wine world has forced the label to become a marketing tool.  “99 Bottles of Wine,” a new book by wine label designer David Schuemann, tells all in his book revealing the wine marketing strategy. The label, Schuemann says, is easier to remember than the taste of the wine.

  Schuemann notes that at a wine tasting held at the Edinburgh Science Festival in Scotland showed that while people could not consistently differentiate wines, they were consistently drawn back to the label they knew. So, from a wine marketing perspective, wine consumers look for the label, the brand, just like with any other product. And, again, just like any other product, research shows that an eye catching label can encourage the consumer to buy a more expensive bottle.

  Labels range from the traditional coat of arms style to animal portraits to high end design by artists whose works are seen in museums! Little did I know when I saw an exhibition by Mickalene Thomas at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, that her work might be sitting on my dining room table in the form of a wine label!

  Label designs also carry subtle messages and invoke what might be called wine label prejudice. People associate minimalist, uncluttered design with high end vintages, says Schuemann. Wine connoisseurs are attracted to labels with cream or white backgrounds, a touch of gold or metal. Labels with “critters” are out. The wine neophyte, Schuemann says, are attracted to labels that “pop” and that means color, design and sometimes, “critters!”

  Label prejudice can influence taste as well. An experiment conducted by Cornell University Professor of Marketing Brian Wansink, proved the point. Professor Wansink filled all the bottles with the same $2 wine, labeling half as wine from California and the other half as wine from North Dakota. Those drinking the wine with the California label stayed longer, drank more and rated the wine higher!

  But, in the end, the label really tells the story of the winery, the philosophy, the history, how the winery wants to be seen. There is no better example than the label on the Washington State Red Blend by highly regarded winemaker Eric Dunham. One night, Dunham heard a dog fight. He ran out to find and rescue a badly wounded puppy. The puppy lost his leg that night but, as Dunham said, the puppy found a home and Dunham a best friend. With a drawing of the puppy on the label, Dunham named a wine for his new friend, “Three Legged Dog.”

When it comes to wine, make your own decisions and have the courage of yor convictions!

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Asheville Wine Focus Group: January



News Release: Thursday, December 13th, 2018
About: January Wine Focus Group

Join us on Wednesday, January 9th for the Asheville Wine Focus Group from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines. Our hosts will be Richard McKinney and Nick Demos from Tryon Distributing (

"This night marks one year of working The Asheville Wine Focus Group @MetroWines" says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "The group has been incredibly helpful in guiding us to provide what our customers want to see on the shelves."
Four wines will be presented for consideration by the Group. Richard McKinney and Nick Demos will tell us about the varietals included and the history surrounding the wines as well as personal stories from their travels to the wineries.

The event is "on the house" but you need to reserve a seat. Register by calling (828) 575-9525 or online:

Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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