Thursday, July 23, 2009


Ever since I came across the river in 2002, I have tried in vain, to convince a great number of importers and producers to re-examine their ventures in our state of Kentucky. Most of these wine companies tend to roll their eyes at the mere thought of coming to KY without tying themselves up in an exclusive agreement with one wine store – and not ours. Sour grapes? Perhaps, but I think ultimately, the disservice is being done to the customer, considering this particular market, which I have explained on a number of occasions, should be considered part of Cincinnati, Ohio, and not part of Kentucky. The reason is we ARE part of the metropolitan Cincinnati region, and many of our customers our from the Ohio side of the Ohio River, where a great deal of the wines in question are available EVERYWHERE; these customers do not understand why they cannot buy them in our stores like they can in Ohio. They want to buy them here because of our price advantage over Ohio. Losing that sale is not only bad for us, but bad for the winery in question.

Such used to be the case for Bookwalter Wines of Washington State.

While not a large producer, and not readily available in Ohio, you could still find them there. However, a trip across the river, and they were completely absent from the market, unless you drove to Lexington or Louisville, where one particular retail chain had them locked up in exclusivity. (I know, I am whining again.) Well, thankfully, along with a sort-of relauch of the brand, with new packaging for their wines, comes a new distribution model, at least for Kentucky. And we are proud (and relieved) to finally add these astonishingly good wines to our store.

Currently, we’ve added 4 of their wines: the 2006 Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon ($36), the 2006 Foreshadow Merlot ($33), the 2006 Protagonist Red ($43), and the MV Subplot #22 Red Blend (the most affordable of the bunch, at $16.99/bottle).

These wines are exemplary of what is coming out of Columbia Valley: rich, concentrated reds that overdeliver in quality. I can only hope that other Washington State producers, and indeed other purveyors of exclusive wines re-examine their approach to this market, and open themselves up to new and appreciative customers.

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