The next time you see a bottle of Ravenswood, take a closer look at the label. In place of the familiar trio of ravens that have long been the winery's logo, you might find kangaroos.
Crikey! The Sonoma County house of Zinfandel has gone Down Under to release an Australian Shiraz under its inexpensively priced Vintners Blend label.
"Everyone thought it was a crazy idea at first," said Ravenswood founder and winemaker Joel Peterson. "But it fit into the mood of what Vintners Blend is all about: the best wine at the price point."
The price point in this case is between $10 and $12. The first release, which will be available in the United States early in 2004, will be a 2002 Shiraz carrying a generic Australia appellation.
The idea for the new bottling came about when Peterson was in Australia visiting BRL Hardy, which was recently purchased by Ravenswood's parent company, Constellation Brands. Like many wine producers around the world these days, Hardy had some excess juice, and after tasting through a few samples, Peterson became intrigued by the possibilities.
The blend for Ravenswood comes mostly from the McLaren Vale and Barossa regions -- about 40 percent from each, Peterson said. The wine will be bottled in Australia and shipped to the United States. Production is expected to be between 30,000 and 60,000 cases.
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