Mullineaux, Swartland Independents, Vision Wine Brands

Mullineux is a founding member of one of the most exciting young group of wine producers in South Africa, The Swartland Independents. This group of likeminded producers has set guidelines for vineyard and cellar practices with the goal of creating wines that enhance the expression of the Swartland terroir.

Smantha O'Keefe, Lismore Estate Winery, South Africa, Vision Wine Brands

Lismore Estate Vineyards

Berkeley educated Samantha O’Keefe left her native California and an executive TV job, in search of a simpler life. She settled into her own sliver of paradise in the form of a 600 acre former dairy farm in Greyton, South Africa. The estate is at 300 meters elevation and tucked into the foothills of the dramatic Riviersonderend mountain range. She shares her property with a troop of baboons and a leopard.

Ricardo Castiblanco, Pago de Carraobejas, Vision Wine Brands, Luis Canas

We toured Galicia, Rioja and Ribera del Duero in September 2014. A special thank you goes out to our guides Jen Riis and his son Marco Ruiz Jimenez. Our visit was slightly ahead of the beginning of harvest, and all indications are that 2014 will be a good to very good vintage throughout most the important wine regions in Spain. The highlights of our visit included a visit to Bodegas Valmiñor in A Guarda just south of Vigo, Galicia. Their vineyards, overlooking the Duero river and Portugal, are breathtaking.

Dandelion Riesling Vineyard

Ronnie Sanders of Vine Street Imports, arranged a tour of South Eastern Australia for members of the Vision Wine Brands team, in the summer of 2012. Australian wine is undergoing a resurgence in the American market, and Vine Street has their fingers on the pulse of that resurgence. Mr. Sanders has been feverishly seeking out the next generation of winemakers to compliment his existing portfolio of star winemakers. The next generation, educated in France, Italy, Spain and California have returned to Australia eager to produce wines that are clearly Australian but have an old world soul.

Dambach, Alsace

Our tour through Alsace in 2012 comfirmed our belief in the quality and value of Domaine Willy Gisselbrecht. The wines of the 2010 vintage will be long lived. They display firm textures, purity of fruit, and great acidity. This wine region with it's bevy of remarkable producers and fairy tale villages, is a sheer delight to visit for any passionate fan of the noble grape, Riesling.

Finca La Emperatriz, Vision Wine Brands, Vinergia, David Gonzales

Finca La Emperatriz, in the Rioja Alta, has emerged as one of the great producers of the region. The 101 hectare estate is planted on ancient riverstone from the nearby Oja river. Maria Eugenia de Montejo, the last Emperess of Spain and wife of Napolean III, owned the property during her lifetime. The estate was inherited by the Duquesa D'Alba in the early 20th Century. Its present owners, brothers Eduardo and Victor Hernais Lopez, purchased the estate in 1996 and built a new winery in 2000.

Il Campo, Armida Winery

We visited Sonoma in February 2012 to preview their upcoming releases. The 2010 vintage had early rains, a cool growing season, and a heat spike in the fall. Yields were low. In general the wines displayed lower sugar, higher acids, and deep colors and flavors. The productiion levels were down, and overall the wines displayed restraint and elegance. The 2011 vinage had a cool spring and summer season. The harvest was lighter and later than usual. The lower sugar levels gave winemakers the opportunity to make flavorful, elegant wines.