Wine tends to be romanticized, oftentimes referred to as “bottled poetry”; the fundamental business structures are rarely considered when shopping for and enjoying it, and we sort of assume that a winemaker’s profession is 100% passion-driven. With Atlas wine company, founded in 2013 as a vineyard management company, the proprietors learned the hard way that shrewd marketing and thoughtful strategy were paramount to maintaining a healthy business within a highly competitive industry. Partners Alexandre Remy, Barry Belli and Mike Cybulski started off producing premium Pinot Noir from reputable sites in Sonoma County, but after realizing that they couldn’t market an unknown brand in the $50-$70 price point, they returned to the drawing board. Alexandre, the winemaker, who hails from France and gained experience working harvests in Languedoc-Roussillon, the Rhône Valley and New Zealand, suggested they focus on producing wines of incredible value that could rival grocery store hits like ‘The Prisoner’. By sourcing fruit from ‘hidden gem vineyards’ in lesser-known regions in Oregon and California, keeping barrel-aging to the minimum and opting for an alternating proprietorship at Perry Creek Winery in Fair Play (as opposed to traditional ownership), he convinced his partners that they could craft affordable, crowd-pleasing wines while operating a profitable and sustainable business. Today, the company produces multiple brands including ‘Omen’, and their commitment to creating great wines at incredible values (but remaining transparent about how it is done) is quite refreshing! A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite Sirah and 5% Syrah sourced from both Sierra Foothills and Paso Robles AVAs, this is a killer value for such a well-composed and elegant blend. Aromas of Crème de cassis, cracked peppercorn and graphite greet you on the nose, while flavors of blueberry pie, coconut, cedar and clove emerge and expand across the full-bodied palate. Rich and mouthcoating with a firm structure and slightly grippy tannins, this delectable wine offers complexity and poise that we rarely see at this price point, especially in a California Cab!