Betz Family Winery 2008 Clos de Betz red wine

A Kansas woman required police assistance to remove her “pet” 8-foot albino python’s jaw that was clamped on her neck. She had been previously ordered to remove the snake from her home because it posed a danger to children. She was heard to say, “I’ve had it with this (mo-fo’in) snake in this (mo-fo’in) house!” Please, lady, this is a family blog! Goddamn Arizona… if it isn’t enough that they shoot their own congressional reps, pass legislation discriminating against my Chicano homeys just looking for a better life, and pass more legislation that insidiously targets President Obama’s birth certificate, comes this: the renegade sheriff of Maricopa County now invites the online community to vote on their favorite (read: skankiest) mugshots of felons freshly booked into downtown Phoenix’s finest barred motel. What’s really the (sad?) statement here is the residents of that state mostly approve of such actions. Yep, I just bought my NCAA Final Four tickets at U.S. Airways Center next year! Arizona…meh! The president-elect of the American College of Surgeons resigned over his Valentine’s Day column for describing splooge as a mood enhancer for women and referenced a scientific study that concluded female college students who had unprotected sex as less depressed compared to their counterparts who used rubbers. He stated, “…now we know there’s a better gift for (Valentine’s Day) than chocolates.” Which brings me to what an ex-gf once voiced her fantasy of the perfect man: “has a chocolate penis and ejaculates money.” Yeah, length is overrated. Not that I know from personal…meh! While we are on touchy subjects, be aware that there’s a movement picking up steam to have Easter Day permanently set for April 5. A University of Cambridge professor concluded such for his book, “The Mystery of The Last Supper” and if you’re that deep into Christianity, you figure it out. Mama told me, “never discuss politics or religion.” I’ve been a good dookie…wait, did I just state that? Meh! Speaking of dookie… word’s out that Sean has been amassing a huge collection of 1-800 numbers that redirect the caller to a porn site. The report says the most dialed of his collection are: 1-800-ASEXUAL, 1-800-MOOCHER, 1-800-RAISINPALATE, and 1-800-HORKACHORK. The Gwine-ster followed his acolyte and purchased his very own number: 1-800-COPROLITE.

Ok, so Bob Betz sold his winery recently. What’s the big effin’ deal? Wine bloggers had a field day with this, but in the end, Betz Family Winery is still around. Bob is still making his studly wines. And, of course, Carmen is still greeting customers at the door with her infectious smile. So really, who are the new owners? Are they locals? Californicators? The Gallos or Franzias? South Americans? Surrender monkeys?

Here’s your wineman’s conclusions from the crack teamwork at world headquarters. Betz Family Winery is now owned by Betz Cellars LLC, led by Stephen Kenneth and Bridgit Yvette Griessel. Both were born and raised in South Africa. She looks a hella lot younger than him and they have a young son. Stephen graduated from a Catholic school, De la Salle in 1976, and they apparently were very successful in the tourism trade, later purchasing Live Africa Southern Africa Safaris in 2008. They also appear to have some ownership in South Africa Airways. Stephen appears to have hit it big in real estate speculation through his expertise in venture capital and as a company turnaround specialist. He is currently the big cheese at Invespro Partners and has a vested interest in Insync Equity Partners. Basically, what these companies do is invest in distressed companies and real estate and transform them into healthy entities. The couple have resided in some rather posh communities from Palm Coast, FL to Lake Forest, IL and Scottsdale, AZ, as these are just a few examples and will soon add Woodinville to their growing list of residencies.

This brings up some rather interesting and quite speculative quandaries. If Mr. Griessel is a “company turnaround specialist,” then does that imply there was some sort of mismanagement or ineffiencies? After all, winemaking and running a hugely profitable business are like Mary Poppins and Michael Myers on a blind date. Sure, on the front is Bob’s desire of “spending (more) time in the vineyards and the cellar” while the Griessels will handle the “day to day business management” and the intangibles. Also, the Betzs will be able to spend more time as a family. After all, Bob and Cathy are happy grandparents and Bob has devoted his working life to the local wine industry.

Then, there’s the implication that Bob has been shopping around his winery for the past year before meeting this couple, who had been shopping for a West Coast winery. However, this appears not to be out of desperation as the inventory of Betz wines is nonexistential, save for a miscue by an East Coast distributor (the other “Washington”) that refused their order of La Serenne syrahs which were quickly gobbled up by this spring’s closed-customer-list party. And remember, Betz Family Winery is open only twice a year for release parties. Sure, on occasion, I will see a Betz bottle or two at local wine shops and even Full Pull Wines was blessed with access to a small parcel, but on the whole, Betz has been one of Washington’s best kept secrets at 3500 cases a year.

Speculate all we want, but the deal is done and the Griessels are on the clock, with only five years to extract everything Bob knows about the making of world-class wines. That’s about 35 years of knowledge, from vineyard to glass. What they will find out is how to avoid making mistakes, and there is an innumerable amount of blunders to fall into. And, their lives will become more transparent in the process, as they are the new wine stars soon-to-be in town. Best wishes to the Griessels.

The food pairing was USDA Select New York strip steak and sautéed mushrooms/onions. A “duh” “winning” combination.

Tasted at 56-61 degrees on the IR temp gun. Deep magenta in Riedel, the nose was predominantly black cherry and soft red fruits. Fairly light on the palate, but with a long tail of oak, black fruits, and tar. This one needs lots of time to develop.

Alcohol: 14.6%. 68% merlot, 25% cab sau, 7% petit verdot. AVAs: 45% Red Mountain, 28% Horse Heaven Hills, 27% Yakima Valley. Power: 3/5. Balance: 4/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 91. Value: $25. Paid: $48. Music pairing: “Mr. Lee” by The BobBetz. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

P.S. Just a thought… anyone on board that this winery will be re-sold at the end of Bob’s contracted obligations? Do I smell Mondavi?

On an unrelated note, Alder Ridge Winery’s 2006 HHH cabernet is now going for $20 at Costco, proving the wineman’s earlier rant that their wines were too overpriced for the quality. It’s $30 on the winery’s confusing website (hint: look at the composition above and below). I quote my own thoughts when I said the red wines were overpriced by at least $10 on a visit to their Woodinville tasting room grand opening in January, 2010.

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2 Responses to Betz Family Winery 2008 Clos de Betz red wine

  1. Antoine Pin says:

    Sniff, Sniff!!…yep, I smell that too. Can we say, “Betz – Bridge” or “Wood-Betz”?

  2. wawineman says:

    This just in–
    Eric Ichikowitz, the head of James Gilbert SA (“group strategic and marketing director”), will also be a major investor. His company is the official supplier for the Rugby World Cup, of which the seventh commemoration will take place in New Zealand this October.
    What does rugby have to do with wine? I wouldn’t know as I still have all my teeth.

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