By now, you’ve heard of the Millennials. Much has been written about this next generation of wine consumers, who according to NPR average 80+ text messages a day, have more disposable income (excluding mortgages) than their parents, are just reaching the legal U.S. drinking age, and are poised to displace Baby Boomers as the next big thing in wine consumption. Hell, even I’ve written about them.
While we have heard quite a bit about Millennials’ wine drinking, we haven’t heard much about Millennials taking an active part in wine making. Nor have we heard how Millennials involved in the wine industry view the buying habits of their peers.
Until now, that is.
I recently caught up via email with certified Millennial Hailey Trefethen, daughter of John and Janet Trefethen. Yes, that Trefethen, the “didn’t they win Best Chardonnay in the World back in the late `70s?” Trefethen. Hailey, along with brother Loren, has recently joined in the day-to-day involvement of the Trefethen wine business and while she’s not making the wine itself, she’s certainly making her presence known within the family enterprise and is a frequent traveling ambassador for her family’s brand.
As you’ll undoubtedly glean form reading the following interview, Hailey is well-spoken, passionate about the family business, and has a keen sense of where the wine industry is headed (not to mention being insightful enough to realize that her generation’s rock music isn’t as good as mine)…
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Joe interviews Ted Henry from Jarvis and Prime Cellars in Napa inside the Jarvis wine cave.
But will any trolls or superheroes appear…?
Joe visits Matthiasson in Napa, tastes some groovy wines, and makes some new bestest friends! Sort of…
A group of young, talented winemakers are on a mission to change the perception of wines from the Rheinhessen; a look at one of those winemakers reveals just how dramatic – and successful – that change might be…
The first thing one notices about Alexander Gysler… is that he’s tall.
Even for Germans this guy is tall. Even to a traveling writer of Mediterranean decent who is 5’5”, and to whom everyone seems tall, he’s tall. Alexander towers a good head height over everyone in our traveling party.
We’re in Weinheim, having arrived at noon after a wine-related guided city tour of Mainz. The previous evening, I’d been given an introduction to quality Rheinhessen wines over dinner in nearby Oppenheim, our hosts being a trio of winemakers that belong to the group Message in a Bottle – an organization of young winemakers who are trying to undo the sins of the Rheinhessen’s past, at least in terms of wine. Judging by their output – especially the bone-dry but somehow still very well-balanced Riesling Auslese from Pfannebecker, they’re starting to succeed.
Which brings us back to the big guy, Alex.
To hear Alexander’s story is to get a glimpse into the history of Rheinhessen wine. Despite his formidable size, Alexander is soft-spoken, almost quiet, but quick with a smile or short laugh. He’s also understated. Case in point: His 2008 Huxelrebe Beerenauslese was recently chosen as a showcase German wine on offer in Lufthansa’s first class service. And it might be the best Huxelrebe you’ve never tasted, with honeysuckle, lemon, and grapefruit aromas, balanced with vegetal and citrus notes and a honeyed finish that clocked in at 20+ seconds. When I asked Alexander how he managed to score the Lufthansa gig, his answer was short and almost as sweet as the wine itself: “We were very lucky. In Germany, it’s impossible to sell sweet wine.”
Which brings us back to the story of Rheinhessen wine…
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