It’s a tricky question for a winemaker. You’ve made a dessert wine in the traditional style of a Port, but you have to name it something else. Unless the dark, sweet, fortified red wine was made in Portugal, the name Port cannot appear on its labeling or in the marketing, due to a 2006 law.
Rodney and Gayla Schatz, the winemakers at Peltier Station, found a clever and technical solution. They call their wine USB, like the hardware port on a computer. For extra nerd credit, the gnarled vine image on the bottle is composed of 0s and 1s, spelling out Peltier Station in binary code.
That smart design and flavorful wine caught the attention of editors at Martha Stewart Living magazine, who included USB in their Christmas gift guide issue, on newsstands this month.
Last year, the Schatzes sold a few cases of USB to the California Wine Club based in Camarillo. When the magazine asked the club for wine gift ideas, they offered USB.
“We sent samples to the magazine,” said Tina Rodgers, an employee at Peltier Station Winery. “But they’re really hush-hush about the gift guide, so I didn’t know for sure until we started getting orders from out of state.”
Her desk has gotten a rush of orders from Michigan, Washington, and elsewhere on the East Coast. Around this time of year, the wine does perk up in sales as a gift item for techies.
The wine, with hints of butterscotch and dried cherry, is made from Zinfandel grapes planted near the winery in 1965. It’s aged in oak barrels for four years, and was first released in 2009. Tasting notes recommend pairing the wine with a favorite cigar, or vanilla bean ice cream covered in chocolate.
“We’re excited for people to see that a Lodi wine made it in to this magazine,” said Rodgers. “It’s got something like 3 million readers, and hey, it’s Martha!”
Contact Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.