Crushpad, the Californian company that allows anyone to become a winemaker, is opening a branch in Bordeaux.
The Napa-based company buys in top quality grapes, of which customers buy a minimum of one barrel’s worth.
They can then follow the winemaking, either via the internet or in person, joining in at every stage, from punching down, making the press wine, or choosing the label.
Michael Brill, founder of Crushpad, was in Bordeaux last week looking to extend its offer to European vineyards.
He met producers and consultants, including Thibault Despagne and Stephen Derenoncourt. As yet nothing is finalised, but there are plans to begin the offer in either 2009 or 2010.
Stephen Bolger, Crushpad’s European managing director, told decanter.com, ‘There is only a modest market for high end California wines outside of the US, but Bordeaux is universally loved.
‘There are many winemakers in Bordeaux with great terroir and passion, but who maybe lack the marketing skills to differentiate themselves. It means that we have access to high quality fruit, and can help bridge the gap to get to market.’
Because Crushpad purchases grapes rather than finished wine, the bottles can not be labelled with a specific appellation. Labels will be AOC Bordeaux no matter where the grapes are sourced.
Written by Jane Anson