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Cornerstone Cellars

Craig Camp
 
June 16, 2014 | Craig Camp

Kick in the Butt

Sometimes a pat on the back also gives you a kick in the butt. It never hurts to have some fuel tossed on the the fire of the passion you are pursuing. That is how I feel about Alder Yarrow's article about me and Cornerstone Cellars on Vinography.

I knew going in it would be a challenge to market Napa Valley wines made in a more elegant style. Certainly it would have been easier to just make a massive wine, slathering on oak and alcohol in a style many critics adore, but where is the pleasure in making wines you don't like to drink?

When we started releasing our more restrained style of Napa Valley wines we took our lumps from Laube and Parker, which, proudly puts us in a sort of elite club with some very fine winemakers whose vision we share. However, rejection by the old boys club has been more than countered by the likes of this exciting article in Vinography and excellent reviews in Connoisseurs Guide to California Wines, Stephen Tanzer and a host of wine bloggers. 

It's easy to make wines that get big points from the old guard, you can hire a consulting company that guarantees results point-wise (do they charge by the point?). But is it really easier? Does scamming the system just to get those points really bring you satisfaction? Maybe for some, but not for me. 

What brings me satisfaction is tasting a wine we created and having it excite and thrill, well, me. What brings me even more satisfaction is seeing someone else have that experience too.

It also brings true satisfaction to have someone I respect as much as Alder write such a, for me, moving article on the work we are doing at Cornerstone Cellars. Please take the time to read his article at the link below.

Vinography by Alder Yarrow: Building a foundation the right way, the wines of Cornerstone Cellars 

"Cornerstone continues to evolve, but like the rapidly shortening line of a tether ball accelerating towards the pole, the wines of Cornerstone are beginning to gravitate towards a quality and consistency that is quite admirable, and the equal of any of Napa's stalwart producers. Camp and Keene seem to be laying the foundation for becoming a fixture in the valley. Their Yountville tasting room has already become one of the town's most visited, and thanks to Camp, the winery has quickly become among the most successful industry players in social media and new internet technologies such as geofencing.

It has been a great pleasure watching Cornerstone Cellars coalesce over the past few years, and it will be even more fun watching it shift into high-gear now that it has seemingly settled into a comfortable groove. If you don't know these wines, I highly recommend you find some of the 2010s in particular."

Comments

Jonas Landau's Gravatar
 
Jonas Landau
@ Jun 17, 2014 at 10:16 AM
I admire you for sticking to your principles and not caving to the pressures delivered by taste gatekeepers like Laube and Parker. Even Tanzer, who claims to like balanced wines seems to still give the bigger numbers to the biggest wines. I think you're on the right side of the pendulum swing right now however as consumers are gravitating your way. The problem for me and a source of frustration is that even though Cali cab is among the world's best, the prices are too high for me to partake of any wines that haven't hit the close out bin. Cheers.

Craig Camp's Gravatar
 
Craig Camp
@ Jun 17, 2014 at 2:40 PM
Thanks for the comment Jonas. I agree that Napa pricing is a bit painful, but with the average price for a ton of cabernet sauvignon now over $5000 there is little we can do about it. It is always my goal to make our wines as affordable as possible. I want people to drink them.

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