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There's a Story Behind Our Wines
There's a Story Behind Our Wines
Wine Buyer, Gina Langone’s Wellsley Farms Wine Story
Gina Langone has so much to say about Wellsley Farms wines that she doesn’t exactly know where to begin. The beautiful grapes? The breathtaking vineyards? The amazing value? All topics she quickly touches on before excitedly moving on to the next.
"Many people don’t realize that you can get an excellent wine for $9.99, and we're doing that for our Members"
However, she did know exactly where to begin when deciding where Wellsley Farm wines would be sourced from — California. But — as Gina would carefully point out — not “generic California.” The seasoned wine buyer pinpointed her desired locations with GPS precision. It would be Monterey for Chardonnay, and Lodi for Cabernet Sauvignon and the Red Blend.
In a state flush with wine-growing valleys, these regions are the sweet spots. “We wanted grapes from these specific areas — not just from anywhere in the Central Valley,” says Gina.
Monterey’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean offers ideal conditions for Chardonnay’s cool climate-loving grapes. And Lodi, which many say has the potential to be the next Napa, is nestled between San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where grapes prosper in a classically Mediterranean climate. Both regions trended toward drier winter weather and long, sunny summer days, which allowed for full ripening of the grapes for Vintage 2013 — creating wines of exceptional character and flavor for BJ’s Members.
Gina’s successful sourcing story traces back to day one, when Wellsley Farms wines were still just a bold idea. “The first questions I asked myself were, ‘Why would Members buy this product? And why would they continue buying it?’ Quality was definitely number one. And, of course, we wanted to deliver an unbeatable value,” says Gina.
“Our goal was to overdeliver. And when we tasted these wines versus more expensive ones, the quality was as good as or better.”
“Many people don’t realize that you can get an excellent wine for $9.99, and we’re doing that for our Members,” Gina says proudly.
Wellsley Farms Wines
The Monterey region runs about 100 miles up the coast of Central California and is home to more than 40,000 acres of vineyards. The northernmost portion of this region is typically cooler with a very long growing season, and is best known for producing cool climate-loving varietals like Chardonnay.
2013 Monterey Chardonnay
Harvested mid-September to early October, our Wellsley Farms Monterey Chardonnay came from 11 diverse vineyard blocks that were hand-selected for their specific complementary characteristics. The grapes were harvested at their peak and gently pressed into either barrels or stainless steel tanks. Leaner lots were fermented in stainless steel to retain their more delicate aromas and good acidity, while fatter, richer lots were fermented in barrels. Following fermentation all the grapes underwent the additional process of malolactic fermentation, in which the tart-tasting acid naturally present in grapes is converted to a softer tasting acid, imparting a characteristically “buttery” texture.
Nestled between San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, this region is known among California winemakers for its ability to fully ripen Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Characterized by cool, wet winters, followed by very warm, dry summers, Lodi’s classically Mediterranean climate and red cobblestone soil provide the right conditions for balanced vine growth. The region’s vineyards consistently produce wines that are balanced and full-bodied, with bold fruit flavors and layered aromas.
2013 Lodi Red Blend
The grapes for the Wellsley Farms 2013 Lodi Red Blend were selected based on winemaker evaluation, vineyard condition and proper flavor ripeness. Once the grapes reached maturity, they were picked in the cool of the evening, and slowly warmed to fermentation temperatures. After fermentation the wine was transferred to a variety of oak barrel styles, to impart complex layers of earthiness. The wine then underwent malolactic fermentation, and the winemakers performed the blending process.
2013 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon
Optimal harvest for Cabernet Sauvignon is a culmination of grower vigilance, winemaker evaluation and Mother Nature’s blessing. This crop was selected based upon proper flavor and tannin ripeness, with our winemaker determining the optimal harvest time. The fruit was picked in the cool of the night and delivered to the winery for fermentation. The juice and skins spent 24 – 48 hours slowly warming up to proper fermentation temperatures. To attain different layers of character and flavor, the wine was divided into three portions for aging: One to a mix of barrels, another to selected American and French oak barrels, and the third to stainless steel. Smaller berries within the harvest made for a higher skin-to-pulp ratio, imparting juicy tannins and an elegant structure and body.