THE SPELLwine STORY
Kristen Spelletich’s Spellbinding Next Generation Brand
SPELLwine, a new generation wine brand, is “A Carnival in Your Mouth”, according to 31-year-old Kristen Spelletich. “It’s a wine that’s in your face, not one-dimensional, rough and lush, and not delicate at all.”
Kristen Spelletich is an owner and director of operations for her family’s 17-year-old winery, Spelletich Family Winery. To stretch her scope of influence in the Napa Valley wine industry, in 2009 Kristen created her own brand for the company, that she calls SPELLwine.
Edgy like herself, SPELLwine’s labels display a bright, abstract design in various colors – a different hue for each of the half-dozen varieties currently under the brand’s portfolio. What’s in those bottles of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and two red blends called Severed Head Red and Spellonu, are wines that represent Kristen and her generation.
“Millenials are visual buyers and I wanted something that was saturated with bright colors, something with texture, and something that rocks ‘n’ rolls,” she explains. “Something that someone would pick up in a store that looked raw, like a silk-screened t-shirt. The label is something to be second-guessed, and not easily figured out, like a modern, abstract painting. It’s a happy label.”
The SPELLwines, from fruit sourced from the Napa Valley and Amador county that range in price from $16 to $20, are generally big and fruity “with different dimensions and layers,” Kristen says. “The different regions of the Napa Valley are expressed by the various soils and taste profiles of those areas, even though they may come from the same clone.
“I like fruity wines with high acids. I like wines you can drink alone (without food). The one response I get about them is, ‘Wow!’ They hit you in the right place on your palate. They are a carnival in your mouth.”
The wines are made by Kristen’s mother Barb Spelletich, who also makes the wines for Spelletich Cellars. Barb says of her daughter’s foray into having her own brand, “It’s what the market needs, and the market needs different things.”
The winemaker believes that Kristen, who gets final say on what blends go into SPELLwine, “has the experience to make it work, from A-to-Z. She is very clear about what her goals are.
“I’m a parent and I was always hopeful that my child would go into the industry,” Barb Spelletich continues. “She learned and she did her due diligence.
“As a parent -- and she’s my only child -- there’s a pride there.”
Barb says after two vintages of making SPELLwine with her daughter, she knows Kristen’s style. “It’s got to be upfront, racy, fun; and it’s got to have the wow! factor – something that will stop you in your tracks and make you go, ‘That tastes really good.’ They’re more upfront wines, but they are balanced. Kristen’s demographic wants wines that show more readily.”
Barb concludes that the SPELLwines taste differently than the more high-end wines she produces for Spelletich Cellars, the latter of which she describes as “more round, full, and elegant.”