Godspeed, Robert Mayberry

Back before there was Google, us wine lovers used to research things by reading books. And, if you happened to be a lover of Rhône wines living sometime before 1987, there really wasn’t a book that addressed your particular passion. It was in 1987 that a little-known educator by the name of Robert Mayberry published a book entitled, “Wines of the Rhône Valley: A Guide to Origins”. What it lacked in graphic appeal (really…who thought a Pepto-Bismol pink dust jacket would ignite sales?) it more than made up for in content.

Mayberry was the first wine writer to give producers in Rhône Valley a spotlight. He was encyclopedic in his tracking down details on most of the important (and not so) producers, including acreage, production techniques and tasting notes. His passion for the region was obvious even if you gave his book only a cursory glance, and his efforts won him the respect and affection from Rhône winemakers, including a knighthood from the French Ministry of Agriculture. Even upon its release the book was all but impossible to find. I had the good pleasure of meeting Professor Mayberry a few times, the last being, I believe, 1998 or 99. I treasure my copy of his book, and had Robert sign it the first time I met him.

Within a few short years of his book’s release, things began to heat up for Rhône wines (that I had a hand in making that happen remains a highlight of my career). I always wondered why Robert never published an updated edition of his book…and then I learned that he was suffering from MS, making it difficult (and, later in life, all but impossible) to transfer his notes to the written page.

Sadly, a new edition of Wines of the Rhône Valley will never be. On December 8th, Robert Mayberry passed away at the age of 79. Even if you never read the book, you should raise a glass tonight in his honor. And it better be a Rhône!


Thanks to my friend, Merritt Olson, who shared this graphic in her excellent blog. If you’re in the wholesale/supplier business, you should check it out – merrittolson.wordpress.com

This graphic pretty much sums up why I started Négoce.

WSJ Says We’re “Hot”!

What does Puebla, Mexico; Kuelap, Peru; Dundee, Scotland; Grenada; Madagascar; Montenegro; Shanghai, China; and La Rioja, Spain all have in common with Minneapolis? They’ve all been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as being one of the world’s hottest travel destinations for 2018.
Minneapolis was the sole U.S. city so honored, and specifically called out our restaurant scene for being one of the reasons we’re ‘hot’.
High praise indeed!

After The Fire

Here’s a nice video of Carole Meredith showing Wine Spectator’s MaryAnn Worobiec around her property on Mount Veeder. Carole and Steve were relatively lucky.

We are happy to report that Carole has agreed to visit the Minnesota market next Spring. While in town, she will share both her knowledge of grapevine genetics AND her incredible wines.

Speaking of the latter, we currently have all of the 2014s in stock. If you’ve not had the wines of Lagier Meredith Vineyard, you owe it to yourself to do so!

Thoughts & Prayers

This morning has us thinking of our friends and partners out West, dealing with yet another fire. Stay safe!


Envinate is Hot!

The winemaking quartet behind the Envinate label are crafting some amazing wines. We’re proud to have Envinate in our wine portfolio. Unfamiliar with them? We can change that. First, read this recent article in Punch (link below), and then talk to your Négoce rep.

How Envínate Became a Symbol of the New Spanish Wine

Les Amis du Vin

This is a business that is all about relationships. I first befriended Bob and Jim Varner back in 1994. At the time, they were brokers for a winery I was a manager at. 23 years later, we’re still partners…but now the roles have reversed somewhat. 🙂

The Varner boys have been crafting exquisite wines from Central Coast fruit for almost as long as I’ve known them, and their Foxglove label offers exceptional values. Don’t just take my word for it, Food and Wine Magazine just placed Foxglove Zinfandel at the top of their “Best $15 and Under Wines”. This follows last month’s issue that featured Foxglove Chardonnay as on of the “50 of the World’s Most Reliable, Inexpensive Wines”


Peter has written another insightful article for The Growler. This time, it’s a great overview of the more-popular white wine grapes. Very proud that this guy’s on Team Négoce…

A hearty ‘Thank You’ to all who came out to attend our inaugural trade show yesterday. We hope that this event provided a better idea of our portfolio. Thank you also to the over 60 of our supplier partners who made the effort to be here to showcase their efforts.



Our inaugural trade show starts at 1pm, and will go until 5pm. This is the first (and a rare) opportunity to taste through a lot of our portfolio, and to meet the people behind them.

Come join us at Machine Shop in Minneapolis!