Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: Controversy Swirls Around New Franchise Wineries with Out of State Grapes

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Controversy Swirls Around New Franchise Wineries with Out of State Grapes

The good news is that interest in Colorado-bottled wines continues to grow. The bad news is that many of a new breed of franchise wineries rely on grapes grown outside of Colorado, typically in California or even outside the U.S.

Denver Post Reporter Steve Raab writes in the business section about this controversy between the state's artisan "Colorado grown" wineries and the new franchise model. On one side are the traditionalists who often grew the brand often painfully, on the other side are the franchisees modeling their business plans on Colorado's highly successful microbrewery industry. While it's not exactly mom and pop stands against McDonald's -- the economies of scale are too small -- the debate rages around what makes for authentic Colorado wines.

Under the headline, "Clash of the Vintners," Raab writes:

"Not so many years ago, Colorado's nascent wine industry was fighting for respect against snobs whose "you expect me to drink this?" mentality couldn't fathom a drinkable, locally produced wine.

"Now a new battle for credibility and customers is fermenting among a fresh, fast-growing entrant in the business — winemaking franchises with mass-market appeal and do-it-yourself attractions.

"At least three of them recently set up shop in Colorado, including D'Vine Wine, Vintner's Cellar and Water 2 Wine. A fourth, Iron Mountain Winery operated under the Wine Not franchise, went out of business earlier this year.

"Collectively the franchises operate dozens of storefront locations in North America and are on a strong growth curve.

"'You see how big the microbrew (beer) industry has become in Colorado? We're hoping the same thing happens to the wine industry here as it did to the beer industry,' said Ray McCarthy, owner of Vintner's Cellar in Littleton.

"His wines sell for $12.95 to $25.95. On a recent weekday afternoon, McCarthy's tasting bar was doing a steady volume."

You can read the rest of the story here.

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