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January 22, 2016 | 7:24 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Savage Grace Wines

2014 Cabernet Franc  
Cool-climate Wines and a Minimalist Approach

Savage Grace Wines was established in 2011 by Michael Savage (his wife is named Grace), with an inaugural vintage of Cabernet Franc. Savage’s vision was to make Old World-style, lower-alcohol, balanced and expressive wines. As he deepens his understanding of the winemaking process, he’s putting his philosophy of low-intervention winemaking into practice.

Savage is a musician and an engineer that records music. He said great recordings have been made by engineers who capture the essence of the artist without getting in the way. That philosophy spills over into winemaking, where he’s looking to create wines where the vineyard shines through. Savage began his wine career by studying for the WSET, but along the way discovered that he should just start making the kind of wines he enjoyed. His first wine, the 2011 Cabernet Franc, sold out within two tasting events.

The full story on Savage Grace ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

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