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January 15, 2018 | 5:32 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of 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.

When we set out to choose our Hot Brands, our goal is to always represent the American wine industry. Often, that means discovering a new winery in an established region while also paying homage to the stalwarts who continue to move the industry forward. It means we look at wineries in emerging states, that might be bucking a trend or trying new techniques. Our editors look for wines that are embodiments of national trends or have soaring sales. Sometimes we’ll choose the winemaker, not the wine.

Quite often, we end up with a couple of wines that were unexpected. During the search for a Pinot Noir, for example, we may discover a producer who is also making Tempranillo—and is doing such a good job of it, we adjust our plans to include it. We’re never quite sure how the list will turn out, but it’s a chance for us to explore new regions, varietals and winemakers.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. That’s exactly what we do, as representatives from each of these wineries were 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. Cheers!

Band of Vintners
2015 Consortium Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA
Collaboration at the Heart of Affordable, Enjoyable Napa Cab

In households across the country, oenophiles gather together to taste wines. Some are more systematic about the tastings than others, such as participants preparing to take their Master Sommelier or Master of Wine exams and are rigorous in their tasting notes and process. Some gatherings are much more informal: just a group of friends hanging out and trying wines from a new variety or region for the fun of it. And sometimes, it’s a group of winemakers honing their craft, learning new techniques and processes from each other, going over the latest vintage or release.
One such tasting group turned into a winemaking project.

Band of Vintners was born from a seven-member tasting group, each member with a unique wine knowledge base and hailing from across Napa County: Stephane Vivier, a winemaking consultant from Vivier Wines and winemaker for Hyde de Villaine; Cameron Hobel, owner of Hobel Wines in Napa; Brennan Anderson, vice president of marketing and partner at Folio Fine Wine Partners; Jason Heller, a Master Sommelier and vintner at Scale Wine Group, with stints at Harlan Estates and Promontory; Barrett Anderson, associate winemaker at Jackson Family Wines; Mark Porembski, winemaker and owner of Zeitgeist, and winemaker at Anomaly Vineyards and Lost Cellars; and Dan Petroski, winemaker at Larkmead Vineyards.

The full story on Band of Vintners ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2018 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.

Taste all the Hot Brands at our Annual Bottle Bash, the night before the Unified Symposium.
Click here to register
 

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