Archive for the ‘Wine Events’ Category

Origins of No Cookie Cutter Wines

November 17, 2009

Over the last few years I have been showing different small production Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand. Two wines were from different regions in Marlborough, the Golden Mile and the Awatere Valley. Another the Waipara Valley near Canterbury. All have different approaches in the vineyard and winemaking to include blending of Semillion, another high density vineyard planting and yet another the subtle use of barrel fermenting. All are produced in small quantities of less than 3,000 cases.

In New Zealand, wines like this are the minority in terms of total litres produced and the majority in terms of number of producers. About 87% of all New Zealand wine producers make less than 25,000 cases per year. This means the majority of wines found outside of New Zealand are from the bigger players, this makes sense.

Here is an exchange that took place in London that highlights why much of New Zealand’s wine never leaves the country.

“I also met 2 charming Antipodeans from New Zealand who were working in Bristol to whom I apologised beforehand about part of my talk re the additives in cheap New Zealand wines.”

Their reply was “Please don’t apologise. It’s a well known fact back at home that the cheaper wines are produced for the masses and the locals won’t buy it – so we send it over to you!”  You can read the full article here.

For this reason, it was not uncommon to hear  the phrase “No Cookie Cutter Wines”  because most people had and still have not been exposed to this side of New Zealand wine. So I filed the comment away for future use. At the same time there were many comments about wines from many places all starting to taste the same and it made sense to use the comment for a greater purpose.

Here are few writers who have used the phrase Cookie Cutter Wines to describe this category of wine. Alice Feiring, Frank Prial, Howard Goldberg, Eric Asimov, a web search will find more.

Today, we have a simple site with some guest commentary about wine. The site is open to those who have a story to share. With today’s changing flow of wine information, this is one more place to both contribute and find new and delicious wines. We will also develop the regional themes in the image below.

Include Your Story


Sippin’ at the Ritz

February 20, 2009

I want to expand No Cookie Cutter Wines beyond just sharing the stories from artisan handcrafted wine producers to include wines and wine events that give back to local communites around the world. Here is an upcoming event in Twin Cities that will be fun and good karma.

A Food and Wine event at the historic Ritz Theater to benefit Second Harvest Heartland food shelf.

Cat and Fiddle Beverage, along with some of the Twin Cities’ favorite chefs present an unforgettable night of food and wine.  Local chefs and international winemakers will be on hand, along with local wine professionals, to present the evening’s gastronomic fare. 

Minneapolis, MN     March 19, 2009 – Cat and Fiddle Beverage, a local wine wholesaler based in Arden Hills, is presenting an unforgettable night of food and wine in one of the city’s most interesting theater settings.  A number of local chefs will be on hand, preparing appetizers to accompany the international wines which will be poured from many exciting wineries.  Second Harvest Heartland will be the beneficiary of the proceeds, providing a much needed boost to area food shelves.

The event is a celebration of artisanal, craft foods and wines, and an opportunity to meet producers while being treated to tastings of their fare.  The featured wineries and chefs share a similar respect for tradition and local agriculture, in a way that is respectful of the land.  The majority of the wineries represented are smaller boutique producers and the chefs are those of restaurants who represent a marriage of local and organic foods. 

Some of the featured chefs include JD Fratzke (The Strip Club Meat and Fish, St. Paul), Hector Ruiz (El Meson and Café Ena), Jim Grell (The Modern Café), Stuart Woodman (Heidi’s) and John Hunt (Al Vento). 

Cost to attend this event is $50, with proceeds benefiting Second Harvest Heartland of Minneapolis.  We will also be collecting food at this event, so please bring a canned food item to the theater to donate.

Thursday, March 19th

Ritz Theater: 345 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis 55413

Tickets available through the Ritz Ticket Box Office: (612) 436- 1129ls, MN 55413

The event will run from 6-9 for the public.  Guests must be 21 years of age to attend.

For additional information (including promotional artwork and logos), contact April Torzewski at 651-785-3360 or at

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