On The Road: The New Mobile Tasting Room For The Wines Of Redemption
Chris Cutler is in the redemption business, but is not a Minister, Pastor, Priest or Rabbi. He is in the wine business, being both a viticulturist, and wine proprietor. He is familiar with all aspects of making wine, in his case, the Wines Of Redemption.
At present, he has created Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, he will be introducing his first Cabernet/Syrah for Fall release. But wine is not all he does, though it is a guiding passion. In addition to owning five businesses, he also renovates and restore small, interior spaces. His latest and most lucrative idea combines these talents by creating a new idea -- a mobile tasting room for his Wines of Redemption.. This tasting room, the first of its kind anywhere, will be created inside a 26 foot 1968 International Overlander Airstream Trailer, that he recently purchased and has begun renovating. A local St Helena (Napa Valley) design firm, 38 Spatial, is so intrigued, they have volunteered their expertise to make the space a truly unique, wine tasting experience on wheels.
I asked him about his Wines of Redemption, and his new idea in process about a mobile tasting room.
How did you decide on the name Redemption for your label?
Redemption is a term that signifies new beginnings, persistence, and victory. It's a positive thing. I don't see the redemptive process as the result of punishment. Redemption means something personal to everyone I speak with. To some, it has a very spiritual, biblical connotation. To others, it is a feeling of change for the better.
How do you choose the artists who do you wine labeling?
"The artists I work with are given full creative authority to express how they view Redemption. It has been really fun seeing what they come up with and I look forward to future releases so I can continue to include new artists in the creative process. I think the bottom line is that art, culture and wine are all forms of artistic expression. Small changes to a painting, sculpture, song, movie, or barrel of wine will tremendously affect the outcome of each I select the artists involved in the Redemption project based on their design sensibility as well as their ability to work with different media. For instance, Gary Taxali, who designed the first label for the '07 Monterey Pinot, did so by first silk-screening onto a dusty book he found in an antique store in Rome. He is a master at taking distressed materials (paper, canvas, book covers, etc) and bringing them to life with different textures and whimsical images ( see above). The point of this label is that finally, the hare overcomes the tortoise, in contrast to the popular fable, where the opposite occurred.
"The next artist, Thomas Campbell ( see below), is a self-taught photographer, filmmaker, music producer, sculptor, painter, and a guy who sews. I was thrilled to receive his support for the project and eager to see what he would come up with for his label. The finished result is a sewn-together collage of Chinese currency, symbolic stamps and clips from his own paintings."
Describe your winemaking vision for the Wines Of Redemption.
"Our goal is to strike a balance between old world style-- food-friendly wines with finesse -- and a new world style : deeper color and slightly bigger mouthfeel. To do this, and in order to retain acidity, we pick at the crack of dawn, we then hand-sort, leaving some full berry clusters, then use 25% new oak (75% "neutral") so as to show off the varietal characteristics of our wines. There is a slight amount of filtering at the beginning of our production process, but so far we have not found the need to fine before bottling. "
Where did you get the idea about creating a mobile tasting room for the Wines Of Redemption and how far along are you in realizing that dream?
"I had always had an idea about doing this – I just thought, well, people go on book tours on buses, others takes their bands and travel, why not wine? We are working on renovating the Airstream Trailer for just this use. The renovation work will take about a month, but I think the mobile tasting room idea has legs, and we have plans to do a send-off tasting with ACME wines in Napa on September 24th. After that, we have plans to do a tasting at a San Francisco boutique called Luna, then do private wine tastings with colleagues and friends in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.
"We realized after we bought the Airstream and began plans on renovating its interior, that it too is going through a redemptive, restorative process. It will once more be put to good use, redeemed from being retired, to being active again, allowing customers to become more familiar with the Wines Of Redemption. There is a kind of synergy here – a sort of positive, redemptive flow -- from environment to product, from value in use combined with value in taste ---that produces a win/win for everyone."
For future information as to how Chris is doing, go to www.1968Airstream.com. He will be posting updates once the Airstream of Redemption is on the road..