The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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Page 82 of 112

WINE CONCEPTS Bill and richard Hirsh of Malibu’s Cielo farms. TAKE ALL THE FEELINGS AND ASSOCIATIONS SURROUNDING THE WORD “WOODSTOCK” AND PLACE THEM INTO A BOTTLE. THIS IS WHAT TWO BROTHERS IN MALIBU HAVE DONE Purple Haze W by April Novotny / photos by Maria Anna Waller oodstock. In one word, a story is told. When you think “Woodstock,” many different images come to mind: music, a festival, a summer, a generation. This one word is, in a powerful way, meaningful to so many. Now, take all the feelings and associations surrounding the word “Woodstock” and place them into a bottle. This is what two brothers in Malibu have done. Richard and Bill Hirsh of Cielo Farms have taken this idea and turned it into a portfolio of wines that they call the Woodstock Collection. Richard and Bill Hirsh began making wine six years ago. It began with their Estate Collection, which boasts Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and a much- loved Syrah. Bill calls this series ”the backbone of the whole venture.” But in a twist of fate, Cielo’s second collection, named for the music festival, has surpassed the Hirsches’ Estate Collection in popularity and production. Inspired by the ‘60s The idea for the Woodstock Collection was conceptualized three years ago, when Richard and his wife Diana traveled to Montreux, Switzerland. While there, they happened upon an exhibit of work by Peter Max, a graphic artist who became popular in the 1960s creating album covers and poster for The Beatles and other musicians. When speaking about how this exhibit inspired his second collection, Richard recalls, “It just clicked.” On returning home from his trip, Richard collaborated with his brother Bill. It was Bill’s idea to attach the Woodstock Collection’s big wines to themed names with artsy labels. The result is an amazing portfolio full of rich and concentrated wines that boast edgy names to match. Glancing at a wine list, you would never expect to see labels that trigger a memory, a time or a song. However, Richard and Bill Hirsh have found a way to capture the hearts of their consumers by sparking an interest in a name. Once consumers see a wine named “Honey Pie,” “White Rabbit” or “Purple Haze,” curiosity can’t stop them from taking that first sip. Once they do, they’re hooked. “Woodstock is an easy sell,” says Bill. “The proof is that people buy it and they keep coming back for more.” Woodstock represents brotherhood, unity and culture. Within the mind of each individual the meaning can change. What does Woodstock mean to consumers? Putting a bottle from Cielo’s Woodstock Collection on any table is sure to spark a conversation directly from the soul. 82 / the tasting panel / september 2010

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