Tag Archive for pinot grigio

Review: Craftwork 2012 Pinot Grigio

It smelled like honeydew when I stuck my nose into my first glass of Craftwork’s 2012 Pinot Grigio, but when I drank it, I forgot about that alluring scent. I expected a fruity concoction, but was distracted by the alcohol burn. The bottle says it’s 13.5%, but it tasted like more. I feel like this wine, because of the bite, would do well in a white sangria.


I’m usually a fan of Pinot Grigio, but I don’t think I’d pick this one up again. It’s not a bad, but it wasn’t for me. Unfortunately, I picked up two bottles at the most recent Bevmo 5 cent wine sale. I was hunting for Pinot Grigio and this one had 91 points, so I snagged it. Lesson learned: points can be deceiving.

Have you ever disliked a highly rated wine? Tell me about it.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Craftwork
  • Type: Pinot Grigio
  • Origin: Monterey
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $15.95, but I got one for 5 cents
  • Alcohol content: 13.5%
  • When to drink: If you’re making a white sangria, I think this wine would go well with a few shots of clear liquors in your cabinet, peaches, raspberries and a splash of bubbly.

What Millenials Want

Did you know 29% of the 39 million regular wine drinkers in the U.S. are under 34?

Wine insiders have been saying for the past few years that Millenials–those 21-34 year-olds like myself– are shaking up the wine industry and smart wineries should take note.

So what should wineries do to please this fickle demographic?

1) Get online, duh.


In Napa, where a quarter of vineyard visitors are 24-35, the some wineries are leaning on social media to tap folks like me. The Napa Valley Vintners Assn. hosts Taste and Tweet events that attract a younger crowd, said Patsy McGaughy. It’s true, I do find out a lot about wine through Twitter, and the internet in general, so I can see this working. The Association also encouraged visitors this summer to share their photos on Instagram with a pre-defined hashtag to win a prize. I’d also recommend posting on reddit, a Q & A style forum where users can “upvote” the best posts. I see a lot of wine enthusiasts on there, but few actual wine brands joining into the community.

2) Study says: Millenials are shallow


Yes, many of us care about labels. We probably shouldn’t, but sorry that’s not going to change.

We’re the generation that doesn’t just pay attention to other brands, we brand ourselves. We curate our lives on Facebook and Instagram (#mylifeisperfect), so we tend to pick up a bottle of wine if it looks cool, especially since we’re probably going to bring it to a party.

According to a 2012 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo study, Millenials prefer wine labels that are “brightly colored, less traditional and more graphically focused.”

But trying to cater to us can go wrong. I would never buy TXT Cellars’ OMG!!! Chardonnay or WTF!!! Pinot Noir. It’s trying too hard. They’re wines my dad would buy me–if he bought me wine, which he doesn’t– because it would be something he thinks I would think is cool. It’s like seeing your parents on Facebook. If looks weird.

3) Be different


According to the Wine Market Council, 89% of 26 to 34 year-olds frequently purchase wine from an unknown brand. That’s because many of us, including myself, like to try new things.

“Millennials have reached legal drinking age at a time when more wines from more countries are available than ever before. So it’s not surprising that their tastes are adventurous as they explore and form their own preferences,” said David McIntyre, in a Washington Post food column this week about a 27-year-old and a 25-year-old who set up a pop-up wine bar in a parking lot in DC. 

Peter Eastlake at Vintage Berkeley is benefitting from that trend at his wine store near University of California Berkeley. He’s been buying and selling wine for a long time and he’s noticed that rather than going for the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, his customers want something different. They’re willing to explore, he said.

For example, I bought a fizzy wine from Slovenia described as weird, but great, at his store.

Blends are good, too. I picked two up at Area 5.1 Winery when I was in Santa Barbara because they were delicious and unique and I knew I’d never find them again unless I went back.

4) $$$$$


Price matters.

When I was in college it was $2 buck chuck all the time. Now, I try to mostly keep my wine purchases under $20. Many of my friends though won’t buy a bottle of wine over $10.  If I’m at a boutique winery, I bump it up to around $20-$25 because I know I’m paying for the small-scale production, the experience of being at the winery, etc.

Wineries take note: I cringe when I see $15 tastings. Even with $10 tastings, my friends and I will share a glass to split the price. Drop your tastings to $5 and you’ll make up for the reduction in price with an increase in traffic. And if you can’t drop your tasting price all the time, make it an event, a happy hour of sorts, and reduce it during certain times. 

Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Gris

I had never heard of Pinot Gris until I visited this girl in Eugene:


I’m on the left, Ann’s on the right.

That’s Ann on the right, a great friend and Eugene wine ambassador. You see, when Ann was living in Eugene both times I visited she showed me amazing wineries. I had no idea there were even wineries in Eugene!

I also didn’t know about Pinot Gris until my most recent trip. But one sip of a glass of Pinot Gris from Silvan Ridge, and I was hooked. In fact, Oregon’s known for Pinot Gris.

I’ve even spread the gospel of Pinot Gris to friend’s this summer during visits to the Hollywood Bowl. I could never bring enough bottles of the varietal. It went quick!

OK, technically the two are the same grape variety. Now here come the stereotypes about taste:

  • Pinot Grigio tends to be lighter-bodied; Pinot Gris more full-bodied
  • Pinot Grigio tends to be fruitier–think pear and melon; some Pinot Gris have a spice kick

Now, I remember the Pinot Gris I had at Silvan Ridge being pretty soft. It was fruity, but not too fruity, and just felt like silk on the tongue. Full disclosure: it’s not a full Pinot Gris. It was 3% Viognier (the ones I’ve had have always been sweet and flowery), but that’s so little, whose counting?

Give me a glass of Pinot Gris (leave the bottle) and a cheese plate, maybe Manchengo and goat cheese, and I’m a happy camper.

Review: Main & Geary Pinot Grigio

The first time I had Pinot Grigio I was way under the legal drinking age in the United States, but I wasn’t in the United States! I was in Florence, Italy during a summer abroad “studying” art history after my junior year in high school. It was the first summer that I wouldn’t be going to camp playing Color War and swinging on the ropes course. Instead, I was going somewhere fancy, sophisticated; it made all my friends jealous.

On one of the first nights there, a few of us from the trip decided to see if we could order alcohol. I honestly think none of us had before, but this one very artsy, very Karen O girl seemed to know what she was doing. She ordered a bottle of cheap Pinot Grigio.

We were a couple of 16-year-olds in Florence, ordering wine on our own! The city smelled old, not musty, but old like a favorite well-read book. I remember the Pinot Grigio being sweeeet and honestly not liking it very much. I didn’t pick up another glass of the stuff for years.

Over time, I had transformed into a smoky red wine fan through and through. I thought whites were all syrupy. I had a closed mind. I was outright wrong.

Main & Geary Pinot Grigio, while arguably not even close to the best Pinot Grigio, made me a fan of the varietal about a decade after that trip to Florence.


I bought Main & Geary for the first time two years ago at a BevMo 5 cent wine sale (Yes, I sing the song: 5 cennnttt winnne sale). One, it was inexpensive: $12 for the first, 5 cents for the second. It’s become a favorite sipping wine, the kind you go to when you’re making lemon-butter shrimp stir-fry. It’s not complex or super special, but it’s crisp and refreshing and has a hint of melon. Like a good alfredo pasta or Martha’s Perfect Mac & Cheese are comfort food, I think of it as comfort wine.

There’s often a bottle chilling in my fridge and when I go to a 5 cent sale, it’s one of the first things in my cart.

Do you have a favorite Pinot Grigio? Tell me about it! Try Main & Geary and give me your review in the comments.

 Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Main & Geary
  • Type: Pinot Grigio
  • Origin: California (bottle’s not specific)
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $12
  • Alcohol content: 13.9%
  • When to drink: On your porch, on a hot day while gossiping with a girlfriend