The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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february 2014 / the tasting panel / 71 O ver the last 33 years, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits has built an array of highly successful brands—the likes of Girard Winery, Joseph Carr and [ yellow tail ]—and much of that success is owed to Bill Deutsch's founding principles. Production decisions are left to the produc- ers, while the distribution and marketing is handled by Deutsch—a symbiotic relationship that has cultivated a tremendous synergy between grower, producer and distributor. Now, for the irst time in his family's history Deutsch is involved from the vineyard to the consumer with The Calling, a partnership between CEO Peter Deutsch and celebrated CBS Sports Commentator and author Jim Nantz. In just three years, The Calling has become a fast-grow- ing luxury wine brand carried in more than 6,000 accounts across the U.S.—places like Pebble Beach, the Del Frisco's steakhouse chain, Commander's Palace in New Orleans and a slew of other high-proile accounts such as the pres- tigious Park Avenue retailer Sherry-Lehmann, whose CEO Chris Adams has said of the The Calling, "I cannot recall ever tasting any wines that so dramatically over-delivered on quality for the price." By Chance or Fate? In December 2009, Deutsch came upon Nantz's book Always by My Side about his father's battle with Alzheimer's disease. Deutsch, who has been in business with his dad for 30 years found a reference on the cover to a father and son's journey which piqued his interest. "The book had a lot of highs and lows," recalls Deutsch who marvels to this day over what happened two days after reading it: He was dining at Valbella restaurant in Greenwich, CT when he realized that Jim Nantz was sitting at the table next to him. "I recognized him and had the strange feeling of seeing a man I'd never met but felt I knew intimately," recalls Deutsch. Introducing himself to Nantz, he remarked how "heartwarming and terriic" the book was and that the reason he had purchased it was to see what Nantz's father-son dynamic looked like "as a comparison to mine." Nantz thought that was a great reason and the two struck up conversation and discovered they lived only a mile apart. They decided to meet again over a neighborly dinner at Chef Luis in New Canaan, CT and the conversation quickly turned to wine. Nantz was very inquisitive about Deutsch's work in the industry and had been seriously thinking of starting his own wine brand. "I was caught off guard," recalls Deutsch, who hadn't met with the intention to talk business, but as the two spoke of the wines they loved, Deutsch began to see the potential for a partnership. But the idea of starting a celebrity-driven label gave him pause, since Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits had never backed a celebrity-named brand. "The consumer may connect to Michael Jordan and PHOTO COURTESY OF DEUTSCH FAMILY WINE & SPIRITS The famed Dutton Ranch in the Russian River Valley AVA, source of The Calling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. PHOTO COURTESY OF DEUTSCH FAMILY WINE & SPIRITS

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