A New Way To Make Wine: 2014 Crowdsourced Cabernet

This is a paid placement in partnership with Columbia Crest Winery. The opinions and text are all mine.

I’ve never really hidden my love or passion for wine, and with each trip out to whichever wine country I land in, attempt to always expand my understanding and knowledge of this truly great drink. But as I have toured winery after winery, I have found myself wanting to be involved with the making of a bottle, somehow applying that knowledge and taste preferences I have built up over the years to a bottle of wine.

Well, it seems I am not the only one who wanted to open up this side of the world. In 2014, Columbia Crest Winery decided to try something new and become the first winery to crowdsource a wine from production all the way to the table. Now, admittedly, I was a bit late to the game in being involved, but as I watched the final stages of the process unfold, I realized that Columbia Crest Winery was doing something that could drastically change the approach of boutique wines from larger distributors. Just check out their video unveiling of the whole program.

From the very start 18 months ago, the fans of Columbia Crest Winery were invited to vote on all aspects of the making of this wine. Everything from the bed break to even the time of day when the harvest is completed, and of course the all important blending, was at the hands of the online community. Now, it was not done blindly, and Columbia Crest’s head winemaker, Juan Munoz-Oca, and his team were very much involved with providing tips and information to allow the users to make their best decisions. In an interesting way, Juan became a wine mentor to the fans, and in that has created a new layer of education for the people. No other winery is opening up their expertise like this.

 Juan Munoz-Oca, head winemaker, Columbia Crest Winery, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington
Juan Munoz-Oca, head winemaker, Columbia Crest Winery, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington

There is a big reason this stands out for me; Columbia Crest Winery has produced a boutique wine experience while including its fans in a very unique manner. With 5 acres of their Washington winery set aside for these grapes and this series, the process and flavors are sure to be unlike anything I have tasted from the winery in the past. And as a fan of the unique, creative wines, I can only sit and wait for that opportunity to try something that will probably not have a repeated process in years to come. That alone is something to not only respect about the crowdsource campaign, but admire. The next version of the Crowdsourced Cabernet will have different votes, different participants, and in the big picture, different winemakers, so no two vintages will ever be the same. If that doesn’t help redefine the idea of boutique wines and take the industry into a new, interactive direction, I don’t know what will.

COL_Crowdsource_MockupBTL_MHNow, while I missed out on the opportunity to participate this time, as a few of you probably did, I still get to enjoy the fruits of the labor provided by this crowdsource campaign. Pre-orders go from February 22-29th, and with around 1,000 cases of the 2014 Crowdsourced Cabernet available to purchase, and for an incredibly reasonable price, I can say I look forward to adding a few bottles to my collection when they ship in June.

For a limited time, Columbia Crest is offering customers the opportunity to pre-order 1, 3 or 6 bottles, with pricing as follows:

For more information and to participate in the virtual winemaking experience visit, CrowdsourcedCabernet.com