The rise of the internet has opened the door for all manner of Italian wine entrepreneurs. No longer shackled by the need to create physical marketing networks, small producers that may have previously not stood much chance of breaking out of the shadows cast by some of the larger producers can now use the web to reach much larger audiences.
While this has been a boon for the small companies that existed before the internet was widely available, it has also given rise to another phenomenon – the wine auteur. Today, those with a passion for wine can buy their own vineyards and use the web to advertise the products they create.
Of course, a lack of quality will scupper the efforts of even the greatest self-promoters. But, the internet offers opportunity to individual winemakers where they may not have been one before. Those who can grab it with both hands and create wines that back up their efforts find that they can reach much wider audiences that they did a mere 20 years ago.
That brings us to Domaine Grus & Fils. A small wine company today, Domaine Grus & Fils is the brainchild of a single man, who struck while the iron was hot during the dawn of the internet revolution. Let’s take a look at the brief history of the company before examining one of the many excellent white wines that it has produced over the years.
Domaine Grus & Fils has existed for much longer than the internet has been around. In fact, the family that operates the vineyard has been in existence since the 1600s, which shows just how hard some wine producers have to work in order to be noticed. But, it has been since André Gruss took the reins from his father in 2001 that the company has really started to develop a reputation for itself in the French wine industry.
Working in a dual-role, in which he helps his father tend the vines while working with his mother on the business side of things, Gruss has leveraged the power of new marketing techniques to bring a whole new audience to the family’s product. The most interesting this is that the company has done this without having a website of its own. Instead, it has a growing network of retailers, both online and off, who offer their wines to customers that may previously have never tried them before.
Let’s step back a moment and look in more depth at the history of the family. The family comes from the old village of Eguisheim, which you can tell by looking at the two keys that make up the family’s emblem. These come from an old inn that still stands in the center of the village. Despite its long history, which stretches back to the 17th century, the family didn’t enter the French wine industry until the beginning of the 20th century.
This early endeavour saw Eugene Gruss take his own son under his wing. Together, the two of them began developing and selling grapes that were representative of the small village that the family has called home for so many years. For many years, the family produced grapes to sell to other winemakers. This provided an adequate income, but showed a certain lack of ambition that they would rectify following the conclusion of the Second World War.
It was during this mid-century period hat the family decided to start producing and bottling their own wines. As a small company, they began developing a minor reputation, though never achieved international acclaim for the quality of their products. Still, the seeds had been planted and the winery was set for growth by the time Eugene’s son Joseph was ready to pass the vineyards onto his own son, Bernard.
The father of current manager André, Bernard was the first to really look into expanding the company. Building on the work of his father, he, along with his wife, carried on building the foundations from which his son would later expand.
André’s work since has been all about restructuring and ensuring that as many people as possible get to experience the wonderful wines that the company creates. With respects for the traditions put in place by his family, André has built the company’s legacy with the aim of fully representing the region of Alsace with its wines. He has been responsible for restructuring the company’s structure and equipment, brining modern sensibilities to Domaine Grus & Fils in the process.
Today, the company is well positioned to really take off and join the pantheon of great French winemakers. All of this has been achieved through a combination of respect for tradition and adaptation to the newest technologies in the wine industry.
Now, with all of that being said, it’s about time that we took a look at one of the many excellent white wines to emerge from Domaine Grus & Fils in recent years.
This beautiful white wine looks the part before you even open it up. The bottle looks amazing, with a wonderfully rounded figure that is sleek and elegant in equal measure.
Of course, you want to know about the wine that lies inside the bottle. Upon pouring, you will encounter a wine with a straw yellow colouring, which has just the occasional flare of gold to light it up under the right light. This colour tells you everything you need to know about how well the wine has been aged and is the earliest indicator of the quality that Domaine Gruss & Fils brings to the table.
Of course, the bouquet is the next. The most prominent note is that of white musk, and you’ll soon find yourself drawn into the aromatic structure that quickly leaves an impression on your nose.
The taste is equally sublime. A soft wine, with just the slightest hint of dryness, you’ll notice spicy elements make themselves known on the palate. The perfect balance and robust textures make this truly a wine to remember.
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