EDITOR’S NOTE: After posting my most recent newspaper column I realized I had not posted the one before it. Hey, 100 columns and that’s the first time! But here is great story about really good wine and a better restaurant delivery system for our favorite beverage. This column was released to my 18 newspaper Aug. 1
As a life-long creator, innovator, and food scientist, Chaim Gur-Arieh has always sought out new products and better ways of delivering products to customers.
It might be a natural progression that after opening a winery, C.G. Di Arie
, in 1998 that he would focus on wine delivery. Small production wineries like Di Arie often rely on restaurant sales. Gur-Arieh found an industry rife with inefficiencies he’s now trying to change.
“To me making wine is easy, quite easy,” he said during a recent Indianapolis visit. “I’ve been in the food business for 35 years, on product development side. I make wine but I’ve got to sell it. Selling it is more of a challenge.
|Chaim drawing a pour of Syrah from Pure Eatery in Indy.
“I sell a restaurant a case of wine, it goes onto the wine list but they may have another 100 wines. So I may sell them a case every three months. But the wines that sell the most are the wines by the glass and my wines are little more expensive than most wines by the glass. My wines retail at $18-$35 a bottle”
So Gur-Arieh wanted to develop cost efficiency for the winery and the retailer. “When you open a bottle of wine by the glass, you have a preservation problem. If you don’t sell the bottle, and a bottle is four to five glasses of wine or you don’t sell it that day, it loses quality.”
So Gur-Arieh penchant for development and innovation took over and launched his wine by the tap delivery system. Essentially the system is not unlike others boxed-wine delivery systems. It has wine vacuum sealed in a plastic bag, inside a cardboard “keg” with a draw tap for a restaurant bar or serving area. He developed the seal between the tap and bag which makes his product different than others.
He has the system in place in three Indiana restaurants, including Pure Eatery in Indianapolis’ Fountain Square neighborhood. He has three in Chicago and four in California. But this man doesn’t think small. He hopes to have the system in place in up to 100 restaurants this year and 500 establishments by the end of 2014.
“I can put a quality wine in a keg,” Gur-Arieh said. “I think the retailer has to change his thought process. Right now they want to charge the cost of a glass, same as cost of a bottle. They open a bottle and don’t know if they’re going to cover their cost. They have to change their mentality; they have to think of more modest margins. This system eliminates the risk.”
The Turkey native guarantees his wine for a year until each keg is opened. He extends the warranty for 60 days once each “keg” has been tapped.
Gur-Arieh’s winery is in the Sierra Foothills region of California. He produces a variety of wines including Sauv Blanc, Verdelho, Roussane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Primitivo, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and a number of blends. His winemaking philosophy is for very drinkable fruit-forward wines with great balance and low acidity and tannins. He also thinks it’s important to keep his wines’ alcohol levels in check. A taste of his Syrah and Zinfandel from the keg’s tap mirrored the description.
It’s important to include a little bit of Gur-Arieh’s background as a food product developer. You may or may not have ever tried his wines but the odds are very high you’ve tasted other products he has brought to market. He’s best known as the man behind Cap’n Crunch Cereal but also helped bring Hidden Valley Ranch and Power Bars to market.
C.G. Arie Wines are distributed in Indiana by World ofWines
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