La Crema Winery today launched Virtual Vintner™, a digital experience that engages consumers in an interactive program resulting in a unique, crowd-created La Crema wine. Affording participants an intimate and hands-on invitation behind the scenes of an artisan winery, Virtual Vintner™ provides an opportunity to embark on a “choose your own adventure”-style winemaking journey, learning about wine while taking an active role in its creation. Decision points along the way include varietal, appellation, specific vineyard, and barrel treatment, as well as wine name and label design, with educational information at every step to help participants make their choice. Popular vote will determine the path, and ultimately the finished wine. The experience will unfold in real time beginning on August 11 with the wine to be released in late Fall 2015.
“One of the most fulfilling aspects of winemaking is the ability to collaborate with our vineyard and winemaking teams. Bringing the process to the Web gives me the chance to share that experience,” said Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, winemaker, La Crema. “This new approach to winemaking offers a fun and accessible way for wine lovers to engage in-depth with the many facets of wine. I cannot wait to start connecting our Virtual Vintner™ community with this centuries-old craft via a modern means of communication and learning.”
With videos and winemaking education from Grant-Douglas, interactive maps, food and wine pairing quizzes, lessons on wine fundamentals and more, La Crema Virtual Vintner™ presents a dynamic platform for casual wine drinkers and sophisticated enthusiasts alike to further their curiosity about and passion for wine.
La Crema is calling on “virtual vintners” to join the winemaking process. From vine to bottle, each participant will help chart the course to a whole new La Crema wine via eight key decisions. Stages include:
- Varietal & Appellation selection, August 11-24: The first decision will be to determine the varietal, Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, and appellation, Russian River Valley or Arroyo Seco, crucial steps that set the course for the entire journey.
- Vineyard decision, August 25-31: Based on results from the previous stage, participants will select a single vineyard for the wine.
- Fermentation, September1-7: The critical period when the grape juice turns into wine, participants will choose between several yeast options that kick off the fermentation process.
- Barrel Type, September 8-14: Further impacting the flavor and texture profile of the wine, participants will choose barrel toast profiles and use of new French Oak.
- Barrel Time, September 15-21: One of the final decisions is to determine how long to age the wine.
- Harvest Updates and Sensory Contest, September 22-October 15: Through email and social media updates, participants will receive details on harvest. There will also be an opportunity to partake in the Sensory Contest which will give participants the chance to create their own flavor profile of the wine, based on the results of all the previous decisions. The winemaker will create her own tasting notes and the closest contestant to the “real” profile will win a cash prize.
- Wine Name and Label Design, October 2014-February 2015: The final stages of the program will include choosing the wine name and developing the label design. Both final stages will be completed by February 2015. Participants will then receive monthly progress updates and the chance to purchase the wine when it is released in late Fall 2015.
By the end of the program, members of La Crema’s Virtual Vintner™ community will not only have gained winemaking expertise, but will have a wine to call their very own, to savor and share with friends and family. Participants may join the experience at any point in the process by visiting www.LaCrema.com. Connect with La Crema on Facebook www.facebook.com/LaCremaWinery or Twitter @LaCremaWines.
From August 11 through September 21, participants will have the opportunity to enter the La Crema Wine Country Experience Sweepstakes. One winner will receive a trip for two to wine country which includes airfare, two nights of accommodations, and exclusive tours and education with winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas. For official sweepstakes rules, please visit http://vv.lacrema.com. Must be 21 or over to enter, and no purchase is necessary to enter or win. Odds depend on number of entrants. This sweepstakes is void where prohibited.
About La Crema
La Crema is widely loved for handcrafted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and new Pinot Gris. For more than 30 years, the family-owned and operated winery has focused exclusively on California’s cool-climate coastal appellations, where ocean winds and fog allow grapes to ripen slowly on the vine. Winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas continues to use boutique, time-intensive techniques to produce distinctively balanced and elegant wines. A leader in sustainable vineyard and winery practices, La Crema combines traditional farming methods with new technologies to conserve water, minimize energy use and naturally reduce pests. For more about La Crema, including pairing ideas and recipes, visit www.LaCrema.com or follow La Crema on Facebook (www.facebook.com/LaCremaWinery) or Twitter (@LaCremaWines).