Hopland, Mendocino County, CA , July 1, 2002 — World-renowned chef/restaurateur Emeril Lagasse, and Fetzer Vineyards announce today the launch of an exciting new line of wines from California - Emeril’s Classics™. Created and blended by Emeril Lagasse and Fetzer Vice-President of Winemaking, Dennis Martin, Emeril’s Classics™ Wines are crafted from premium quality grapes and designed to make wine consumers feel more comfortable with buying and enjoying fine wines.
“A lot of folks are intimidated by wine,” says Lagasse. “They feel that there are lots of rules about choosing the right wines - and enjoying them. I’m hoping to take some of the guesswork out of it for folks by introducing Emeril’s Classics. Both are food-friendly wines that pair well with lots of your favorite dishes.”
Initially, the line will feature two wines, a Red Wine and a White Wine blend, both offered in selected national markets for a suggested $12.99 retail price. The Red Wine blend is comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah from select vineyards in California’s North and Central Coasts. The White Blend is the unique combination of Chardonnay and Viognier, both from Mendocino County, home of Fetzer Vineyards. The wines will be offered to select retailers nationwide beginning in June, with store distribution expected by the early fall selling season.
The Emeril’s Classics™ program is the result of two years of blending trials and meetings between Lagasse and the winemaking team at Fetzer. Lagasse has been intimately involved in all aspects of the winemaking process, walking the Fetzer vineyards, tasting through the barrel lots of prospective samples and leading the blending process with Dennis Martin. “What impresses me most about Emeril, is his desire to know everything about the process of making premium quality wines. From knowing the vineyard land, to understanding the process of blending for flavor, Emeril absorbed himself in working with our team. His putting together the blends really allowed his personality to show through the wines,” says Fetzer Vice-President of Winemaking, Dennis Martin.
This coming September 13th and 14th, Emeril returns to Fetzer’s Valley Oaks Ranch in Hopland to launch the Emeril’s Classics™ wines in the second annual, “Emeril in the Harvest Sun at Fetzer Vineyards.” Information on tickets and event details can be found online at www.fetzer.com, or by calling 1-800-VINTNER (1-800-846-8637).
Chef Emeril Lagasse is currently the chef/proprietor of eight restaurants including three in New Orleans (Emeril’s Restaurant, NOLA and Emeril’s Delmonico); two in Las Vegas (Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House and Delmonico Steakhouse); two in Orlando (Emeril’s Restaurant Orlando) and (Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (pronounced chop-chop) — scheduled to open at Universal Orlando ’s new Royal Pacific Resort in fall 2002); and one in Atlanta (Emeril’s Restaurant Atlanta) scheduled to open in summer 2003. Lagasse became a national TV personality with the Food Network’s production of “The Essence of Emeril” and “Emeril Live” which reaches over 70 million homes daily. In addition, Lagasse is a food correspondent for ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Also an established cookbook author, Chef Emeril Lagasse has authored seven books including Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking, Louisiana Real and Rustic, Emeril’s Creole Chris™as, Emeril’s TV Dinners, Every Day’s A Party, Prime Time Emeril and the kids cookbook, Emeril’s There’s A Chef in My Soup! In September 2000, his book sales exceeded two million. Lagasse’s corporate office, Emeril’s Homebase, located in New Orleans houses Lagasse’s restaurant operations, as well as cookbook and recipe development and testing, product shipping, the emerils.com website, and a store front for Lagasse’s signature products.
Fetzer Vineyards was founded in 1968 by the Fetzer family in rural Mendocino County, California, and has been part of Brown-Forman Wines since 1992. Fetzer produces several lines of quality wines including a premium line with such category leaders as Sundial® Chardonnay and Eagle Peak® Merlot, a new line of wines from the Central Coast called Five Rivers Ranch, and the super-premium Barrel Select and Reserve wines that are available in restaurants and high-end wine shops nationwide.
Whether pioneering unique styles of Chardonnay and Merlot that led to the immense popularity of those varieties, being the only winery with an on-site cooperage, or leading the way in its respect for the land, Fetzer owes much of its success to innovative leadership. In particular, Fetzer’s environmental efforts in organic farming, sustainable business practices and waste reduction have been widely recognized as industry standards. The commitent to crafting quality wine at every price point has catapulted Fetzer to become one of the country’s top-selling wine brands and the clear industry leader in the $7-10 price category.
To learn more about Fetzer Vineyards, please visit www.fetzer.com.