Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Boatman

If you've been following this blog for any length of time you can't help but recognize the recurring rants we go off on.  One that seems relevant today concerns the question of ownership of some of today's California wineries and relatedly - Who's making the wine?

The Boatman is this really luscious red blend marketed by the Brack Mountain Wine Company.  We've been curious about them for some time.  Their website is so you figure Ted Edward (or Ted and Ed) must be the owner(s).  Maybe that's the case.  But is the website for a sizable New York alcoholic beverage importer/distributor.  So what's going on here?

Once you get to the Brack Mountain page you see that they too are quite sizable.  Scholar & Mason, Bench and Fable are just a few of their labels you may have seen here in the store.  But no Boatman.

If you go to, which is on the back label of The Boatman bottle, you get an advertisement for   While vacuous winery websites are another regular peeve here at the old blogspot, this one takes vacuosity to a whole other level.

It took us going to a third party liquor store website to learn The Boatman is made by Papagni Vineyards of the San Joaquin Valley.  Papagni is a credible wine company we've known for as long as we've been in the business.  The Boatman blend is 40% Alicante Bouschet, 26% Merlot, 23% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petite Sirah.  The berries are picked at dawn, crushed and de-stemmed while still cool, then immersed in a long cold soak, then heated in fermentation tanks to maximize fruit and color extractions.  Plenty of oxygen is introduced by pumping over the wine twice a day resulting in a wine that is an inky purple color.  The nose features blueberry, blackberry and spice; the palate, sumptuous layers of dark forest fruits and pepper.  

So here's where it gets interesting - If you go to the Papagni website where they market their Papagni labeled wines, they also offer bulk wine to the public.  Papagni has been growing grapes in California since 1912.  Moreover, as Italian immigrants in the hot and dry San Joaquin Valley, they planted the right grapes; Alicante Bouschet, Grenache and Barbera.  They obviously knew what they were doing.  Now we have to wonder - Did Brack buy Papagni's bulk wine and put The Boatman label on it?

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