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Introducing the 2018 Hot Brands -- Alara Cellars

by Erin Kirschenmann
January 16, 2019

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 non-West Coast, “traditional” winemaking states, or those who 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’ll discover a producer who is also making Tempranillo—and is doing such a good job of it, we adjust our plans to get that Tempranillo in. We’re never quite sure how the list will turn out, but it’s a chance for us to explore new regions, varietals and new 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, this year held January 29, 2019. Cheers!


Alara Cellars
2017 Grenache Blanc, Gilroy, CA

When Alara Cellars’ 2017 Grenache Blanc was named “Best in Show” at the Central Coast Wine Competition—after it was awarded a Double Gold Medal, Best in Class (Grenache Blanc) and Best White Wine—Janu Goelz had to rush to fill the ever-growing number of orders for the wine. The award for her Grenache Blanc, sourced from Siletto Family Vineyard in San Benito County, marked the first time that this varietal was named Best in Show in the competition’s history and, though the varietal is growing in popularity on the Central Coast, served as a catalyst for more outside interest in the grape.

Shortly after the competition results were announced, her Grenache Blanc was awarded Gold and 92 points from the San Francisco International Wine Competition and 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. Goelz, founder and winemaker, said that though a bit overwhelmed at first, she has been incredibly excited over all the attention.

“I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to laugh, cry and puke all at the same time,” Goelz said. “I was in shock. It was my first competition—I was hoping for Gold and I wasn’t even thinking about Best in Show.”

The full story on Alara Cellars ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2019 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, Jan. 29, 2019, the night before the Unified Symposium.

Click here to register

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