Hedges State of the Union 2023 by Christophe Hedges

Esteemed Global Partners:

Time has eluded most of us over the last few years. It’s bizarre, but writing this feels like crawling out of a cave and seeing light for the first time. And what a sight it is...

The economy, through the lens of a high alcohol drip down the Zalto, is all too much a reminder of the blurry state of our industry. It's getting rough out there!

Let’s consider some examples of what we are up against-

-Inflation / WARS / Alcohol is bad for you / Generation Z / Consolidation / Factory wine / Celebrity wine / Climate change

Reading this list makes for sobering headlines. The reality is we all have to weather the storm together. And that is why I am sending this note. Our partners, some for decades, others brand new, have chosen to be with us despite the challenges.

So, let me share some general news and updates, as well as opinions, on the state of Hedges.

Firstly, our goal is to grow, produce, and bottle authentic, non-toxic, vintage-varied, naturally fermented, pure wine that you can sell with transparency and pride. We’ve chosen the Biodynamic® path, but like other methodologies, such as regenerative farming, these decisions promote a context very central to wine: Terroir! Yes, the automatic geography-driven trademark of the wine industry. Without this attribute, wine has less meaning and less intelligence...

And that is why we have embraced the mantra: Drink Less, Drink Better. If this understanding of moderation comes to fruition, as the data points, then Hedges will be primed to position itself among the like-minded on/off trade partners to promote a better tomorrow. Not only for our environment but for our health.

Even our newest entry-wine SKU, shipping now, is sourced from vineyards moving to organic certification. This is a big step for our region, as we all know that commitment to the environment comes with a market price. If you have not tried our new CMS ORGANIC Red 2022, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your contact for samples. The SAQ in Quebec just signed on, and it's even in an eco-friendly lightweight bottle!

As our successive Red Mountain AVA estate vintages start to make it onto wine lists and retail shelves, starting with 2021, all HFE Red Mountain wines will be certified Biodynamic@ in the vineyards. And, as we move into 2022 and 2023 vintages, our fearless winemaker, (my amazing sister Sarah Goedhart) will also be managing estate wines to be certified in the cellar. No easy task, as Hedges is a mid-size family winery, so allowing nature to take its course in our production at scale is a risk worth every bit of reward.

Yet, despite our efforts, the consumer will take time to adapt. Hopefully, we can follow
Europe’s effort in 2024, which pertains to new regulations that all wine must have ingredient listing. This will certainly help wineries like us, by providing necessary compliance to enlighten consumer choice for quality vs wines conceived by synthetic chemistry or Hollywood branding.

Moreover, our new sales team is out and about! As I’m sure many of you have engaged with them over the course of this year. But that is no excuse for my absence in the market! I’ll be traveling more in 2024, so hopefully I will get to see some familiar faces....so long as you stick to my personal rider. :)

And If I don’t see you in 2024, please reach out to your contacts. We are committed to your attention and would love to see you on Red Mountain. Our new chef, Aislinn, is quite a talent in the kitchen!

The future is clear, there will be winners and non-winners. But the former will take effort. And as we seek to guide our ship in these stormy waters, two things are predictable: Wine will never go away and people will evolve. So, let us all educate Generation Z to look up from their screens and enjoy nature's gift to humanity that helped shape civilized society...

Cheers to a fruitful and productive holiday selling season,

Christophe Hedges

Hedges Family Estate! Red Mountain AVA