Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Elchonon Hellinger

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Elchonon Hellinger » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:02 am

Craig Winchell wrote:I believe I said before that the sweet spot is around $25/bottle average and 14,000 cases, at least at this time. This assumes purchased fruit and 100%distribution rather than direct sales ($12.50 per bottle return to the wine company). 14,000 cases at that price allows adequate pay to workers, with good salaries to winemaking and marketing teams, and good returns to investors, and more than enough marketing and sales budget to sell that much wine. Of course, one always hopes for full price direct sales, but it's a worst case scenario. It works out to around 25% profit on $2 Million in sales, after factoring in all costs. No wonder people like the wine biz. That's a nice, tiny winery by CA standards. Since it's an average, it allows wines below $20, and of course, above $30 or even way more. But it does mean making a concerted and continuous effort at sales. People like the Weiss boys do the micro production and high prices because they can have little investment and still make enough in distributions to make significant parnassa above their day jobs, but it doesn't pencil out for real investors who want regular cash flows generated from an initial investment, as well as capital appreciation. If I had had the investors, I'd have started from scratch doing things the right way. I had potential investors, but not enough money to do things right. Thus, the boobie prize of working for someone else. But it allowed me to identify a potential opportunity that could get me some semblance of independence.


its called amex ;) i can charge 5 million to my biz amex lol
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Gabriel Geller » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:28 am

OK PLEASE! SOMEONE DIG UP TASTING NOTES OF OLDER VINTAGES OF GAN EDEN! I'VE NOT FOUND A SINGLE ONE ANYWHERE FROM NEITHER ROGOV, RACCAH, HORWITZ, PINCHAS OR ANY OTHER REVIEWER WHOSE OPINION I VALUE. NOTHING! NADA! RIEN DU TOUT! שום דבר! GUR NISHT! :cry: :cry: :cry:
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Yossie Horwitz

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Yossie Horwitz » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:36 am

Gan Eden was basically done around the time I moved from Israel to NY (in August 2004) and I barely had any of the wines when living in Israel, as there was plenty of good vino there and barely any US wine was imported at that time. There isn't going to be any reviews on this forum since it migrated to the new format from Strats place post Gan Eden shutting down. I believe Raccah has the entire old Strats Place on file and there may be older Gan Eden notes there, at least from Rogov...
Sign up for my weekly newsletter on wines, wineries & other oenophilic goodies at http://www.yossiescorkboard.com
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Craig Winchell

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Craig Winchell » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:54 am

I'll tell you right now that Rogov never particularly liked my wines. Raccah has been there since the '80s ('85 was my first year of operation), and he's had spectacular examples and others he didn't like, some of which were designed to be exactly as he tasted but which flopped with him, others of which were mistakes that had to be marketed. I'm sure many here had mixed reviews. Many names here I've known since the '80s, or early '90s. Later, when I was liquidating, the wines were hit or miss depending upon many factors, not the least of which was my choice of closures for my 2000 Syrah and Chardonnays, which caused premox, much to my dismay, but I absolutely hated my worst experiences with natural cork. While my Chards were decent, my dry reds and sweet whites tended towards high second-tier, with an occasional foray into the top, review-wise. My heyday was, in the main, late '80s to mid '90s. During that time, I made critically acclaimed Cabs in a variety of styles from all power to all finesse, finally settling in my maturity upon balanced and elegant, at a time when the acclaimed Cabs were tending towards power and gobs of fruit and oak. Certain wines, like Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, were very good but didn't sell that well. Finally my dry whites became commodities that I was required to make. The sweets were a different matter. From the start, my Gewurzes were commercial successes, as were my late harvest Chenin Blancs. In 1992, I innovated Black Muscat as a late harvest wine, and now there are plenty of examples based upon my successful formula. I had no new wines released after the 2000 vintage, which was marginal except for my Syrah. I made a wonderful Cab in 2001, but having not bottled it before I decided to sell, and having nobody to sell the wine to in bulk (I contacted Hagafen,for instance, and Peter Stern as well), it was just bulked out to the nonkosher market. I made great wines, good wines and bad wines, but thankfully, people seem to forgive the bad ones because of the amazing ones. Of course, like any California winery, hundreds of medals and a few White House appearances. In a sense like Harry Potter, who was remarkable because he was the boy that lived, my most remarkable attribute was that I died, or rather, folded the winery in favor of the needs of my family. Stupidest move in the world, in retrospect (not really, but I sure miss Sonoma County and being my own boss).
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Yehoshua Werth

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Yehoshua Werth » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:59 pm

BS"D

KEEP THE GAN EDEN name it speaks volumes of history, good wine and you...

the Hashgacha thing is a big deal we should talk!
Yehoshua Werth, Manager
The GrapeVine Wines & Spirits
Monsey, NY USA
http://www.youtube.com/TheGrapevineWines
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Elie Poltorak

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Elie Poltorak » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:29 am

I have very fond memories of the cabs in particular. I was drinking them until roughly 5 years ago. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there. With all due respect, Rogov's taste in Cali wines was off. He didn't even like Four Gates!!!
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Craig Winchell

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Craig Winchell » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:42 am

As of now, it looks like I'll just be selling the wine as Agua Dulce Winery. If things go as planned, I'll be able to make a commission on the entire lot of 2010 kosher production and 2012 Chard, while at the same time biding my time for another shot at resurrecting GAN EDEN in the most proper manner-- Lechatchila. Already have a label designed as of today, and though I won't be using it this iteration, it will be waiting in the works for the opportunity to make wine entirely by my design.

The Agua Dulce wines are distinctive, no doubt. There's an interesting terroir in the high desert, amplified through stress. While I won't have the Merlot this year, it's probably the quality leader year after year, producing rich, full bodied wine in a field of often wimpy competition. These are estate bottled wines, unlike the vast majority of CA koshers. I don't know whether they will ring everyone's bell, and they aren't cheap, but they're in line with the nonkosher price list, and if I havemy way, they'll at least be drinkable by Pesach, and certainly by Shavuos. And they'll age.
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Gabriel Geller » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:40 am

Hope you can release some with GAN EDEN label, and please keep the name GAN EDEN, would be awesome to see threads and articles one day saying: "Wine Lovers, GAN EDEN is back!" 8)

ONLY THE VERY BEST FOR YOU CRAIG,

GG
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Craig Winchell

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Craig Winchell » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:29 am

Thanks, Gabriel. You know, it's been very interesting making wine at Agua Dulce, and the quality of wine, generally, is excellent, but it has been, and no doubt will continue to be, frustrating as well. I run the vineyard, somethingI had never done before. On the other hand, I am stuck with whatever comes out of the vineyard, and whatever comes off the ranch in Paso Robles, of which I am not in charge (no Paso fruit in the 2010s, strictly Estate Bottled, but later vintages may either have separate Paso offerings or be blended between the two). I haven't had my "wish list" of California fruit. I have not been able to procure my "wish list" of new French cooperage, only some new American and more used French, because of the boss's predilection with saving money. My ability to schedule tasks has been limited. Working for others, constrained by the requirements of others, has been an eye-opening experience. I've produced some very cool wines in the process, but they are not my personal vision, just my personal compromise. Not the best opportunity for resurrection of a very personal brand. This could still change, I could still potentially flip-flop, but this solution is probably the best at this moment to balance the needs and desires of both me and my boss. In the meantime, it's my wine, and I stand to gain financially, so I win either way. Of course, it presupposes the ability to get the wine bottled quickly and out for Pesach. If not, then one of the main benefits of doing things this way is inapplicable, which could cause a rethink of the entire situation.
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Gabriel Geller » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:24 pm

Wow, quite an experience for you indeed! Craig, question por favor: Does your boss visit this forum sometimes? Given how much info you disclose here I was wondering whether he minds or not your posting these thoughts of yours on here. Free country and yadayadayada but trust me, when I was working in LA I was subject to a very strict confidentiality contract.
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Craig Winchell

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Craig Winchell » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:28 pm

You're probably right. I've never been an employee before (in the past 30 years), and I've always been very candid.
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Bill Coleman

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Bill Coleman » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:19 am

Every person I've ever spoken to who has drunk kosher wine long enough to remember Gan Eden does. I'd be astounded if the name lacks value.

As for the market, I spend a fair amount of time at Hungarian in Skokie, home of kosherwine.com, and I talk to both management and customers whenever possible. I cannot believe that any distributor thinks that $50+ is the heart of the market, that sounds like very wishful thinking. $20-40 seems like the heart of the market from my observation.
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Joshua London

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Joshua London » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:27 pm

Gabriel Geller wrote:OK PLEASE! SOMEONE DIG UP TASTING NOTES OF OLDER VINTAGES OF GAN EDEN! I'VE NOT FOUND A SINGLE ONE ANYWHERE FROM NEITHER ROGOV, RACCAH, HORWITZ, PINCHAS OR ANY OTHER REVIEWER WHOSE OPINION I VALUE. NOTHING! NADA! RIEN DU TOUT! שום דבר! GUR NISHT! :cry: :cry: :cry:


Just found this thread. Not sure I remotely fit the "whose opinion I value" category for you, or anyone else here, but my TNs from back in the day (before I really began to formalize them into something vaguely professional) can be found on Craig's old Gan Eden website here: http://www.ganeden.com/critiques.htm, along with lots of other folks--at least a few of whom might be active here, or might at least be familiar names to you.

As for the substance of the thread... Craig, for whatever this is worth, I have only fond memories of Gan Eden wines. I loved your wines ever since I began drinking them back in the late 1980s/early 90s! Obviously, my palate has changed a lot since then, and I began to better appreciate different of your wines over time (though I will always think fondly of your Black Muscat and Moscato Nero even though I rarely drink similar styled wines today). I suppose nostalgia might be part of this, as your wines--along with Weinstock (back when Rob was still making them), Hagafen (once he switched to the reliable hashgacha) and, of course, Teal Lake (the old one, not the current one)--were part of my childhood. But even putting that to one side, I honestly loved your wines. Indeed, I probably owe more to Gan Eden than any other brand for my wine bug. I still have the Gan Eden label poster you gave me a decade or so back (had it framed long ago and it hangs proudly in my basement cellar/wine room).

Just as an aside, as I'm sure I've told you before, I used your Late Harvest Gewurztraminer (which I think you were already entirely bored with by then), at my chasuna in London 10 years ago. I brought an extra bottle for the rav because he wasn't familiar with Gan Eden. I gave it to him erev Shabbos before the wedding, he drank it over Shabbos, and under the chupah, just before using the wine, he put his hand over the mic and told us how much he loved the wine! I think I drank the last of my bottles of your 1997 Cab about 6 years ago (it had lost some of its oomph, but it had matured nicely and was still complex and lovely), and the last of my 2000 Syrah and Cabs roughly 5 years ago (these proved to be a bit more variable, bottle to bottle, but I think I only ever had a couple of actually bad bottles out of something like five cases). My last bottle of your 2000 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer we enjoyed five years ago on our 5th anniversary. Those of your reds that aged well, aged really well! I remember drinking two of your '94 Pinto Noirs about 6-7 years ago (with family and friends in Sacramento), the wines had been stored properly and they were drinking just beautifully.

All of that said, I'll buy your wines no matter what you call them so long as you stand by them. Frankly, as long as they are wines you actually drink, I'd even buy/drink them without certified hashgacha.

I only ask, if at all possible, that you email me when something of yours is actually available for sale because I just don't check this forum often enough.

Kol tuv,
Josh
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Craig Winchell

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Craig Winchell » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:25 am

Gee, Josh. Thanks!
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: California and GAN EDEN

by Gabriel Geller » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:54 am

Hi Josh,

You're indeed a valued member of my reliable wine reviewers club. Many thanks! :)

Best,

GG
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