So I don’t know if you know this about me, but I love wine.
One of my all-time favorite wineries is CRŪ Winery in Madera. CRŪ has been quietly crushing it for years—in fact, they have had some of their wines receive 90+ scores from the current best-selling author of Crushing It, Gary Vaynerchuck!
Some of my favorite CRŪ wines have come from their sourcing efforts out of the Santa Lucia Highlands area. I always recommend to people the Pinot Noir that CRŪ puts out because of its drinkability. A novice wine drinker can easily enjoy a glass just as much as someone with a more experienced palate.
This Saturday, CRŪ is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a really special party from noon to 4 p.m.
I recently asked Katie Hunt, VP of Sales and Marketing, a few questions about CRŪ’s past, its present, and its future, and what you can expect from this 15-year milestone event!
FresYes: What can fans of CRŪ expect from next week’s party?
Katie Hunt: CRŪ’s anniversary celebration will provide an afternoon of delightful (and award-winning) wine-tasting, specialty food trucks, music by the Lucky Devils Band, and special performances by Aerial Arts Dancers. We are also showing off our new event center (the CRŪ Pole Barn) and outdoor entertainment space, and each guest will receive a complimentary CRŪ 15th anniversary wine glass to take home.
Awesome! Can you give me a little history about the winery?
CRŪ is the story of an accidental winery, an endeavor shared by long-time friends and entrepreneurs Richard Spencer and Mike Conway. In 2003, they purchased several wine-making assets, invested in the refurbishment of an abandoned processing facility in Madera, CA, began to source grapes from some of California’s finest appellations, and CRŪ was born. CRŪ, a French term traditionally translated as “growth” and generally used to identify a prestigious vineyard or group of vineyards, has come to embody the spirit of this company well beyond what was originally planned.
Though Richard and Mike continue to own and operate several businesses in the Central Valley, their commitment to the growth and development of CRŪ has never wavered. Fifteen years into the wine business, the winery enjoys a beautifully renovated tasting room, a wonderful outdoor facility used for monthly wine club, tasting events and concerts, and is proud to boast some of California’s most decorated wines. CRŪ has a come a long way since its inception and, even with its long list of awards and accolades, believes the best remains yet to come.
What lessons has CRŪ learned about winemaking along the way?
CRŪ is a French term that identifies and classifies prestigious vineyards and the wines made from them; it expresses the idea that every vineyard site cultivates a unique and indigenous style. So, as our name suggests, sourcing the right fruit from the right locations [in California] greatly impacts our ability to make exceptional wine. Doing this has been—and perhaps always will be—a learning process. At CRŪ Winery, we always want to respect the history and locations of the exceptional vineyards from which we source our fruit, while also encouraging our winemaking team to be creative and distinct …. with a touch of charm and modernity. We have to keep up with the ever-changing wine world, and that means that we will always be learning.
What makes California wine so special?
Though the wine business in California is highly competitive—there are over 5,000 wineries in this state alone—it is precisely this competition that makes so many of us better. This state benefits from some of the most fertile soils and climate variations that combine to make wonderful growing conditions for growing wine grapes. It’s true that much of the wine world looks to France, Italy or other European countries for high quality wine, but California has a rather unique ability to make some really wonderful wines at price points that don’t frighten either established or new wine drinkers.
In the last 15 years, what’s been your most popular wine?
It’s really hard to pick just one, but we have had great success with our CRŪ Montage Pinot Noir. It’s very balanced and approachable with hints of cherry, pomegranate, olive, spice, and tea on the palate. More recently our CRŪ Unoaked Chardonnay has also become very popular with those Chardonnay drinkers who prefer no oak. We are also very excited about the launch of an extraordinarily special “José’s Rosé” this May that we think will sell out quickly.
What can we expect in CRŪ’s next 15 years?
CRŪ is growing! With the recent expansion/construction of our event center and our decision to more than double our wine-making this year, we are planning for aggressive but manageable growth. 2018 is a pivotal year for us and we definitely do not intend to rest on our extraordinary history. We intend to use the lessons that we have learned and the history that we have created as the foundation for our future success.
I’m so excited to see CRŪ’s growth continue and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future!
To get your reserved tickets to the 15th Anniversay Bash, call (559) 673-6372. And make sure to follow CRŪ on Facebook for updates on events and wine releases.
I love where I live, and I also love what I do. I'm lucky to be able to work in a profession in which I get to build relationships; one that has me meeting new people each and every day and helping them to build new lives in my beloved city. I'm lucky enough to work in a profession in which I can marry cutting-edge technologies and marketing techniques to good, old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work. I am lucky enough to work in a profession that allows me to work as an advocate for my clients; to use every tool at my disposal to get a job done well for them, and with as little stress and expense as possible.
I love my city. I love my job. One inspires my excellence for the other.
Fresno? I say FresYES