At Kwiker Liquor they know that the key to having a great selection of Fine Wines, is knowing a great selection of Vintners and Winemakers. And they take pride in cultivating these relationships to bring the very best to their customers on the Beach and beyond. This month we will explore the year gone by, with Kent Humphrey, Wine Maker and Co-owner of Eric Kent Wines.
I didn’t want to write about the record-setting fires out here on the west coast, I really didn’t.
As I sat down to tell a more romantic story – about sweeping vineyard views, gorgeous colors, wonderful harvest smells, intense friendships, the 18-hour days, the adrenaline and the thrill of making something magic – it just didn’t feel right. The reality is many small wineries are facing an existential crisis. For the little guys like us who have poured our hearts, our souls and every last penny we have into pursuing the dream of making world-class wine to share with family and friends all across the country and around the globe, the one-two punch of a pandemic and the worst fire season in California history will push many to the brink. Sadly, it may have sealed some producers’ fates already. Even if vineyards were not in the direct path of the flames, smoke has threatened an enormous amount of the crop. Our family operation will harvest no more than 50% of our grapes this year and we count ourselves among the lucky.
How will the growers with destroyed crops survive? How will winemakers with no wine get by? Somehow, through one challenge after another, we always seem to find a way. We are a creative, passionate and resilient bunch, and every time we hear about you celebrating the joys of life with the product of our labors, it always seems worthwhile.
Our tiny Eric Kent team finds never-ending pleasure crafting something for just about every joy you can imagine. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or lively Chardonnay for a summer day by the ocean. A delightful rosé that always hits the mark. Juicy, spicy, fruit-forward Pinot Noir for a five-star gourmet meal or just because you’re in the mood. A bold and rich Syrah for a chilly winter’s night. We are even about to introduce our first two Cabernets and some stunning red blends. I could go on endlessly about all the wines we lovingly raise from grape to glass and perhaps I’ll have the chance to do exactly that in person on one of my many visits soon. I certainly hope so!
Yet here I am writing a story about the fires after all. Why? Because wine is stories, and this is ours right now. It’s a terrible truth that will have lasting impacts on our entire industry – and on many wine lovers drinking choices – for years to come. How could I not share such a tale? After all, my favorite thing is to share a glass or three and swap real life stories for hours. Wine is full of cultural history and personal past. There are countless stories in every bottle, and by the end of the evening, so many more coaxed out among friends. Ever since we began back in 2003, there have even been stories on our bottles, told by the many artists we feature on the labels. Ultimately, this is why we do what we do – to create stories that weave the colorful fabric of our lives and make memories that will live on long after the bottles are empty.
This is 2020, a vintage story for the ages.
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