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Introducing the 2018 Hot Brands -- Smith Story Wine Cellars

by Erin Kirschenmann
January 28, 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!

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img 1Smith Story Wine Cellars
2016 Helluva Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, CA

Amidst any number of app, animation or product projects, pitches for documentary production funding, or calls for support in self-publishing, one enterprising couple found a loyal new base of friends, investors and future customers on Kickstarter and built a brand known by many as the “All-American Wine Story.”

Smith Story Wine Cellars, founded by Alison Smith-Story and Eric Story, was one of the first new wineries to be crowdfunded in 2014. Through Kickstarter, they were able to raise more than $26,000 in just 30 days and begin purchasing grapes, equipment and collateral to start their own wine brand.

The full story on Smith Story Wine 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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