It’s that time of year to pop some bubbly, and a good time to find out how the Korbel brothers eventually created California “champagne” 139 years ago. In this podcast, owner, president and chairman Gary Heck shares the story of Korbel Champagne Cellars. It’s a multi-layered history full of drama and perseverance. The Hecks are only the second family to run the business, and as a result of their decades of determination the brand can be found across the U.S. and internationally. Click here to visit Korbel Champagne Cellars.
Cheers, and Happy Holidays!
The Korbel brothers
The original Korbel building with the Brandy Tower in the background
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Korbel-web.png6401400Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2021-12-21 09:46:232021-12-21 09:46:23Korbel Champagne Cellars’ Gary Heck
Just off the southwest coast of Britain, 100 meters below sea level, lies a First World War merchant ship holding an extremely rare and valuable cargo.
Codenamed “Mercury,” the ship has laid on the seabed undisturbed for over a century, according to luxury adventure tourism company Cookson Adventures. Torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1918, Mercury was making her way to the U.K. from Bordeaux, carrying a precious cargo of Champagne, brandy, fine wine, and Benedictine.
The ship’s location was only discovered recently, and a team of divers has just completed an initial exploration of part of the vessel. According to Cornwall Live, the dive revealed “hundreds of intact bottles of vintage alcohol including Champagne, wine, and brandy.”
Though they’ve spent more than a century underwater, wine experts believe the darkness and constant cool temperatures will have helped preserve the cargo, and the wine should be drinkable upon its return to the surface.
That’s incredible news but it gets better…if you have enough $$$
Cookson Adventures is partnering with a team of marine scientists and wine experts to salvage the historical artifacts, and they’re allowing (paying) members of the public to join them for the adventure.
The next stage of the expedition will see submarines and remotely-operated underwater vehicles dive to the seabed to complete a further survey of the area and recover a few bottles.
Following that, an “exclusive seven-day marine expedition,” which is open to members of the public, will include a week-long stay in a private mansion and culminate in the salvage operation. The expedition will also include meals cooked by a private chef, as well as helicopter transfers to and from the salvage vessel.
Cookson Adventures hasn’t disclosed how much this is all going to cost, but private chefs and helicopter rides don’t come cheap. On the other hand, century-old Champagne…
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/champagne-shipwreck-header.jpg450800Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2019-04-10 16:03:452019-04-26 16:22:01Century-Old Wine and Champagne Discovered in Shipwreck Off British Coast
I’ve been seeing Breathless Sparkling Wines around more and more lately. They’ve been winning awards, and I hear people say it’s their favorite bottle of bubbles. It was time to find out more about this burgeoning winery. The three sisters who share ownership and responsibilities pursued the endeavor inspired by their mother’s zest for life. I enjoyed a tasting and interview with Sharon, and admitted to her that I prefer still wines over sparkling. The one they have now captured my heart…the silky, lightly sweet Ratafia. Like liquid gold. Speaking of which, they’ve already picked up 10 Gold medals in 2018, four of which were Double Golds. To that I say “Cheers!”
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Breathless-Sharon.jpg16822990Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2018-04-26 16:08:182018-04-26 16:08:18Popping the Cork on Breathless Sparkling Wines
What is a vintage wine? It’s the wine made out of the single year’s harvest, the date on the label is the vintage. It does not indicate the year the wine was bottled.
Non-vintage wines are those produced by mixing harvests of two years or more. On occasion you’ll see NV on the label marking the distinction. This is a common practice with Champagne and sparkling wine producers as winemakers provide a continuous house style through the blending of various vintages, to create the yearly non-vintage Champagne.
It’s not uncommon to see vintage year sparkling wines in California. However, in the Champagne region of France, vintages are generally produced three or four times a decade. This represents less than 5% of total Champagne production.
As you see, the vintage of this Lanson Champagne is 1998
This label does not indicate a year which would suggest a non-vintage Champagne
I should note, often a vintage date may appear on the foil of the bottle or on an attached tag,
especially these days with screen printed wine labels.
As you see here, Lanson does put their vintage dates on the label so it is likely the Black Label is a
non-vintage Champagne. As it turns out, Black Label was chosen to indicate a specific non-vintage Champagne they bottle to honor the long relationship it has with the British Court.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Lanson-NV-label-1.jpg400555Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2018-04-20 15:31:512018-10-20 16:01:57Vintage and Non-Vintage Wine