Interview | George Miliotes | Seasons 52 Phoenix

Seasons 52 opened in Phoenix opened on October 25th, 2010.  The Weekly Wine Journal was invited to a VIP pre-opening event and managed to get a quick interview with Master Sommelier and director of beverages and hospitality for Seasons52 restaurants across the nation.

Click HERE for directions to this restaurant

The new 100% recyclable wine bottle

I was invited by Rene Moore PR to

recylclable wine bottle

100% recyclable wine bottles

participate in a market research wine tasting for a brand new and as of yet unreleased wine label called “Kind Vines”. The wine tasting was held in the private dining room at the True Food Kitchen located in Phoenix’s upscale Biltmore Fashion Park.

The private dining room at True

glass walled dining room

Tru Foods Kitchen private dining room

Food Kitchen is a room adjacent to the main dining area.  It is separated by glass walls and a large Euro styled glass door, as in a large frameless sliding glass door.  There is a large rectangular wooden table in the center of the room and hanging above the table are some large glass lights.  The lights are in a row and resemble a Newton’s cradle. The room is light and airy with very high ceilings and a large window that looks outside. True Food Kitchen opened in 2008 and is a partnership between Fox Restaurant Concepts and best selling author Dr. Andrew Weil.

Kind Vines is the brainchild of David Williamson.  David has two decades experience working in many of the major liquor distributors.  Part of his job was to always be looking out for ways to save money.  He eventually came to the conclusion that shipping wine in glass bottles is expensive and not very good for the environment.  He noticed that bottles account for 50% of the shipping weight and volume.  Secondly, David sites an EPA MSW report from 2008 which states that nearly 3 billion wine bottles end up in landfills every year.

Kind Vines is a different kind of wine company

wine glasses on table in front of window

Inside the private dining area

with a very different business model.  So far the company only has plans for Arizona, but this idea could be adopted for other states.  The basic idea is that the wine would be shipped in bulk to the Kind Vines facility in Flagstaff.  From there it would be bottled and distributed.  The really exciting part about this company is their wine bottles.  They are 100% recyclable.  How is that??  Well first, the label is not made of paper, its painted on and then baked on.  Secondly, instead of a cork, there is a glass stopper with a rubber gasket.  Thirdly, you pay a $2 or $3 deposit on each bottle and when you return the bottle to the store, you get a $2 or $3 discount off your next bottle of Kind Vines.  With David’s background in liquor distribution he was able to see that using beer distributors to distribute his wine was the way to go.  Why?  Because beer distributors have the network in place to not only deliver product but bring back the empty kegs and wine bottles.  The wine bottles are collected and washed and sanitized and refilled with wine.

So far this company is in the very early stages of planning.

big light bulbs

Those interesting lights

Right now David and his team are determining which wines to buy.  Part one of this selection process involved selecting members of the media and community and having them sit down and taste the wines and give their feed back.  Kind Vines is going to have a two tiered approach to wine.  Tier 1 is what we tasted and would be their more economical line of wines, typically retailing for under $10 including the deposit.  We tasted wines from Red Hills Lake County, Napa Valley and Paso Robles.  I found the wines to be interesting enough for that price point, though some did stand out as a little more exceptional than others.

Part 2, the part where people choose the upscale tier number two wines will be where it gets interesting.  If David can get himself some bulk juice from some premium producers he might just have a winner.

Visit the Kind Vines website here

Visit the True Food Kitchen here

Follow Renee Moore on Twitter here

Tasting Wine at the historic Wrigley Mansion

The Weekly Wine Journal was lucky enough to be invited to a very special wine tasting last week, held at the historic Wrigley Mansion.  I did a quick bit of research before showing up and found out that the mansion was built between 1929 and 1931 by the same Wrigley fellow who made Wrigley’s Gum.  Tragically he died in 1932 right after completion of his mansion.  My initial impression was that the Wrigley Mansion is some kind of exclusive club.  It is not.  It is a club, but merely as a formality due to zoning restrictions.  It costs $10 a year to be a member and you can sign up when you get there.  They don’t check references as far as I know!  What do you get for 10 bucks?  You get a lot.  Discounts on food and drinks, and a truly unique experience.

The mansion is a 16,000 square foot Spanish colonial style building sitting on a 100ft tall “bump” or hill right in the heart of central Phoenix.

Spectacular view!

This slight elevation allows for spectacular views of the valley, and sunsets and other romantic things like summer monsoon storms!  The mansion has 24 rooms and 12 bathrooms, it has a separate bar and lounge called “Gordie’s” which has really interesting peacock feather lampshades.  Gordie’s has a “pay what you think is fair” pricing structure! No kidding!

Peacock feather lampshade!

I will have to try that out soon.  Then there is the piano room and the front banquet area.  The piano is a 1929 Steinway, that you can play, and it also plays itself!  According to the nice young lady giving us the tour, the piano is priceless.  It costs more to insure the piano than it does to insure the whole rest of the mansion!  I overcame a desire to play chopsticks and headed towards the wine…

Tonight we were tasting Arizona Stronghold’s 4 current offerings:  Tazi, a Sauvignon Blanc/Riesling based blend, Dayden a dry rose, Mangus an Italian styled wine and Nachise a Rhone styled wine.  I found all of the wines to be superb examples of the what Arizona is capable of when it comes to wine.  I especially liked the Nachise.

Complete reviews of  the wines here

Short video of the views