How to find the next cult wine
A guide to finding that wine everybody is going to be talking about, plus a few places to look!
One of the funniest parts of being a wine lover has been finding rare, hidden, and unearthed gems that the world can latch onto. You know those bottles that will make your geekiest wine friends gasp in amazement? Yeh, those wines! If you follow any wine influencers on Instagram you will find a world filled with glee over someone’s hard-fought acquisition of the fabled Susucaru Rosé or a vintage bottle of Nicolas-Joly. It's easy to say that wine lovers LOVE a good cult wine, something that is really good but also makes them look really cool to their friends. The harder to get, the better. Have to sign up to an email list to get an allocation and wait for 3 years? Yes, please!
For most of us though, we catch on a little too late. We miss out on really good wine because the limited allocations mean that as soon as a wine hits a shelf it is squirreled away by the shop’s employees. Power to them, but come on man! Share the love. If you can get a bottle of Andres Frederik Steen’s wines without having to pay someone under the table to hold onto a bottle for you, then you are better than most. But do you know what is cooler? Finding the next hip, cult winery before your friend in the obnoxious fedora does! Want to get one up on your wine geek friends? Try these wineries instead! Bonus, most of these wines are readily available on Vynlyf!
Berty van Zyl is the magician behind the scenes at the famous Tank Winery in California, but with his wife Ali, they created a passion project called Belong Wine Co. that is inspired mightily by the best of the best wines coming out of Bandol in Provence. What does that mean? It means an obsession with Mouvedre that shows itself in just two kick-ass wines. Their Mouvedre red wine is fresh, spicy, and easily crushable. It belongs with flame and smoke touched foods. Their Rosé is so light it's almost completely clear. Very chic for a pink drink, but it is insanely refreshing and enticing.
Why do you need to know them? Because Berty is one of the most infectious people in the wine business, and his big smile somehow comes through in the wine. Belong Wine Co. does not make a lot of wine, but what they do make is exceptional stuff. Plus you get to tell your wine geeks you found a Mouvedre that could kick the pants off of a Bandol. And that is very cool.
Another winery that goes under the radar because this is a passion project of the founding couple and they have other things they need to take care of. You know, like a young family! But Blair and Caroline Guthrie know their stuff, and Blair’s challenge to traditions and varietal norms is so cheeky and fun that it works. Blair goes for a style of wine that is his own and makes decisions based on what he would want to drink. Like a chef who makes the food they would want to eat, you know if you get to share it with him that you are about to experience something special. Each wine is different, and that really does mean from vintage to vintage. Lighter, more elegant wines that are supremely drinkable and made from grapes like Syrah, Grenache, and Petite Syrah make you rethink California norms.
Why do you need to know them? Because every wine is it's own and promises to be a pure reflection of vintage, terroir, and style. California sunshine meets rebel art project in a bottle. The Guthrie Syrah is bar far my favorite, but then again I'm also obsessed with Syrah.
Beaches, sunshine, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. There is a fresh movement celebrating Southern California and Los Angeles wines with Acri Wine Company ready to become the figureheads. The wines are pure Southern California cool. The husband and wife team (starting to see a pattern here?) responsible have winemaking in their blood and this is as much about getting to their roots as it is finding the best expressions of wine in the place they call home.
What do you need to know about them? Their Syrah might just be the most killer wine you will taste this year and you have to hurry up and get some right now.
If you have not heard of Cho Wines honestly where have you been? The Instagram darlings showed their journey to becoming full-fledged winemakers with the world. We watched as they shared their progress and finally got to celebrate their first vintage with them.
What do you need to know about them? Cho Wines are great across the board, but their greatest passion and the greatest reward for wine drinkers are going to be their traditional sparkling wines. These are world-class, Champagne ass-kicking wines and will be just as sought after in the coming years. Get in now!
Viviane Kennedy is an awesome woman and one badass winemaker. RAM Cellars is her small wine label that has been quietly keeping wine lovers in the Pacific Northwest buzzing with her wonderful natural wines. Like a lot of natural winemakers, Viv is not afraid to try new things while maintaining a sense of fun and accessibility. Much like her, her wines are for those who are not afraid to be their true selves and are just going to enjoy moments to their fullest.
What do you need to know? Always keep your eyes open for her release of Le Bellier Orange! A skin contacts Riesling usually with some other varietals. It is one of those mind-blowing wines that opens a door for the funky and fun.
My passion is to uncover wineries and showcase what makes them special. In each winery, there is something fun and unique especially when you get to learn the story behind them. There are many great wines out there waiting for people to discover them but it is in hearing from the people that you open your heart up to new wines. If you really want to discover the next great cult wine then all you need to do is dig into the story a little bit, because these wines are made by awesome people who have amazing stories to share.