University of Chicago Magazine
Gretchen Kalwinski speaks to VINIV founder Stephen Bolger: ‘I love the relationship with clients because wine usually brings out a number of meaningful stories and memories. It’s a product that generates emotion, and our clients come to Bordeaux to learn; they’re saying, “Shock me. Give me the behind-the-scenes information about how the Bordeaux wine world works.” And that’s the sweet spot. That’s what I love to do.’
Zhejiang TV China
A special Lynch-Bages and VINIV episode of ‘Lost in Food’ aired on Zhejiang TV, one of China’s main channels. Filmed in early January, the Lynch-Bages and VINIV cellars were transformed into a film set featuring an exceptional cast: Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche played opposite Yin Zheng and Xu Zheng, two famous actors in China. With guidance from Juliette Binoche, one of the best ambassadors of French culture, actors Xu Zhen and Yin Zheng learned the art of vine pruning, how to distinguish between grape varietals and an introduction to blending.
New York Times
In a front-page feature, Alessandra Stanley captures the VINIV experience best: ‘VINIV caters to clients who are willing to commit the time, travel and expense – and break Bordeaux taboo. For the wine establishment of Bordeaux, blending grapes from different appellations is the vintner's equivalent of fantasy football, or eugenics. Many clients say they go there not just to make wine, but to enter a sophisticated world closed to ordinary tourists.’
The Washington Post
Wine columnist Dave McIntyre writes: ‘At a recent tasting in Washington, Hank Werronen invited some of his team and a few guests to taste barrel samples of their final 2015 VINIV wines, which will be bottled this summer. “The first growths are priced out of orbit,” Werronen said, “and now the second growths are getting too pricey. The best bottle I had last year was a Chateau Palmer, but I don’t want to spend $300 for a bottle.” He raised his glass with a sample of his team’s wine. “This costs about $50.”’
Blend Ambition: ‘As far as we neophyte blenders were concerned, it was just a question of getting the proportions right’
Jancis Robinson writes about her experience working on a blend with VINIV consultant Eric Boissenot: ‘I was agreeably surprised to find that our samples came from appellations as grand as Pauillac, St-Emilion, Haut-Médoc and Graves. The blend may qualify only as AOC Bordeaux because it incorporates wines from both the left and right banks of the Gironde but it has an outstanding pedigree, and was blended according to the highest standards.’
How to Spend It
John Stimpfig writes: ‘Your barrel (equivalent to 288 bottles) will be vinified and matured at one of Bordeaux’s smartest addresses, Château Lynch-Bages, where VINIV’s dedicated high-spec winery is situated. Consequently, winemaking consultants include such Bordeaux luminaries as Daniel Llose and Nicolas Labenne, who oversee all of Lynch-Bages’s wines. And just for good measure, the great Eric Boissenot is also on hand through the entire process. For those of you who are not familiar with Boissenot’s handiwork, he also happens to consult for no fewer than four of Bordeaux’s five 1855 First Growths.’
South China Morning Post
Tracy Furniss reports ‘VINIV acts as a perfect gateway to fulfilling a wine lover's dream: making their own wine, but without the capital outlay and risk. I think this is certainly the key to success. It combines a hands-on education element and the pleasure of drinking your own, personally crafted wine. The sky is the limit in terms of cost of this experience, as on top of the cost of the barrel, the client can choose to fly to France and visit the vineyard as many times as they like, meet with the wine growers and be as hands-on as they choose.’
Elaine Sciolino writes: ‘France's premier wine-making region produces some of the greatest vintages of all time, but it has historically not taken kindly to visitors—until now. Jean-Michel Cazes works with Stephen Bolger, the CEO and founder of VINIV, a small company that teaches clients how to create their own custom blends. The château harvests, mashes, ages, and stores the juice; the clients choose the vineyards and experiment with taste.’
Food & Wine
An article on blogger Mimi Thorisson’s life in the Médoc which includes making her own wine: ‘The Thorissons are also making their own wine with the help of VINIV, a custom winemaking operation co-owned by the Cazes family and a French-American named Stephen Bolger. “We already know what will be on the label: an illustration of a smooth fox terrier,” Mimi says. “And we’ll name it after our favorite dog, Humfri. We’ll start by producing about 300 bottles. That’s just the right amount—one for almost every night of the year.”’
Armelle Vincent interviews Pete Johnson – founder of the Tatuaje brand and a VINIV winemaker since 2010. When asked about his wine making ambition, Johnson explains: ‘My other passion…I work with the VINIV vineyard in the Médoc region of France. They allow you to make you own vintage. I produced five of them. But that is another story.’
Vous aimez le Bordeaux? Faites-le vous-même!
‘Vous êtes amateur de vin ? Tentez l'expérience ultime et réalisez votre propre cuvée à Pauillac, dans les locaux du château Lynch Bages.’ Un reportage de Frédéric Durand-Bazin.
La Revue du Vin France
‘Vous n'êtes pas vigneron mais vous rêvez d'élaborer votre propre cuvée ? VINIV vous permet d'accéder à cette expérience, du choix de la parcelle à la création de l'étiquette, seul, entre amis ou avec des collègues. Sans avoir à effectuer les travaux à la vigne!’ Un reportage de Elsa Layen.