Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Story of Dr. Frank Wine Cellars

I'm not sure of the date of this article but it is a great in-depth look at the history of the legendary Dr. Frank and his son Willy of Dr. Frank Wine Cellars:

After a quarter of a century of struggling to earn recognition and financial stability for the New York winery started by his father, Dr. Konstantin Frank , Willy, at 79, has finally pushed that Sisyphean rock to the top of the hill. Dr. Frank wines are available in 30 states, wine competition awards arrive on an almost weekly basis and son Fred is in place to take over.
Anyone else might figure it's time to enjoy the grandchildren, go sailing on Keuka Lake, or nap in the sun. Not Willy. His week still has seven days, all for working. If he's not manning a tractor at 6:30 in the morning or working the streets with wine salesmen, then he's speaking at wine events or educating distributors, just as he's been doing for the last three decades--and he doesn't intend to stop. Wife Margrit and son Fred urge him to throttle down, but Willy knows only one pace: straight ahead at quick step.
His high-geared striving to build a healthy winery, while also bringing attention to an often overlooked region, have been likened to what his idol, Robert Mondavi, did in California or what Alan Shoup did at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington. Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars , New York wine, and the Finger Lakes, have arrived. The tourist trails clog up in the summer, the wines are hot in the New York market and the dreaded word "allocation" is being heard, particularly after a brutal winter.
Unlike Mondavi and Shoup, Willy Frank remains in harness. Dispatched to Florida for a recent winter vacation, he spent most of the month working with the distributor for Vinifera Wine Cellars and Chateau Frank, doing missionary work with salesmen and retailers. Back from what could only loosely be termed a vacation, he hit the road again, visiting distributors up and down the Atlantic Coast, and spreading the word at an endless round of winemaker dinners. One dinner was in a remote corner of Western Pennsylvania where he's been the speaker for the past 10 years. The event is so popular that it now runs for two nights.
Read the whole article by Mort Hochstein at Wine Business Online

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