+ A

Napa Valley winery brings barrels to Seoul

Feb 15,2018
Bruce Cakebread, the owner of Napa Valley winery Cakebread, pictured above, talks about his wine in Seoul during a barrel tasting and seminar held last week. Below are unfinished bottles of wine brought to Seoul for the seminar. [SHINSEGAE L&B]
Some wines from Napa Valley currently being made for 2018 and 2019 releases may be more pleasant to the taste bud for Korean consumers. Cakebread Cellars, a prominent winemaker from the United States, came to Korea to share fresh wine made from grapes harvested in 2017 in order to get feedback and winemaking ideas.

The process involves drinking out of the barrels that freshly-made wine is stored and matured in for months, and is usually only possible when customers or wine experts make an in-person visit to a vineyard. However, Cakebread Cellars decided to travel to the other side of the globe to give local wine lovers the chance to taste their products straight from the barrel.

Bruce Cakebread, the owner and CEO of the winery in Napa Valley, California, brought batches from 15 different barrels to show how different styles of winemaking affects how certain wines taste. He showed how one variety of wine can taste different when fermented in different containers as well as different soils.

At the seminar hosted together with its local distributor, Shinsegae L&B, Cakebread Cellars encouraged attendees to try to mix the wines presented in front of them, as some of the company’s wines are mixed before being bottled and sold. It also served wines that are currently available in stores, so that the tasters could compare and contrast.

“We are doing our style of wine education,” said Brucea Cakebread, the owner of the winery, in an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily, “while keeping our consumers engaged.”

“Through these seminars, consumers get to understand why their wines come out certain ways, and when you understand how it’s made, you will have a deeper appreciation of wine in general.”

The winery held its first barrel tasting away from its vineyards in London. After seeing how enthusiastic people got about trying out what could previously only be tasted at a vineyard, Cakebread Cellars decided to do more international events, especially in countries that are not traditionally winemaking countries. Prior to coming to Korea, the winery held a similar barrel tasting event in Japan, and it plans to go to Singapore in March. The only time they can do these barrel tasting events is in February and March, as the wine in the barrel needs to be bottled or stored.

The winery has been exporting to Asia for about 14 years and it wants more candid feedback from consumers as the winery continues to make updates to its style of wine.

The company is interested in knowing whether their customers are welcoming their wines made inside their new concrete fermentation containers, or if they prefer wines made in stainless steel ones. They are also curious whether drinkers notice any differences between the wines made with handpicked fruits and wines made with grapes that have been harvested by machines.

The fires in Napa Valley that occurred last year and destroyed some major vineyards rarely have an effect on Cakebread wine, the owner said. The winery thankfully finished its harvest one day before the fire became a serious issue, and Cakebread explained that the staff is prepared to handle those types of situations in order to maintain the quality and style that the brand has been known for over the past few decades.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]