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Recap: 2024 Asheville Spring Trade Tasting

On March 18th, 2024, Empire Distributors, Inc. of North Carolina customers and trade members were invited to our annual Trade Tasting for the Asheville area! The 2024 Asheville Trade Tasting brought together many of Empire’s brands with retail & on-premise beverage buyers from across the Asheville, NC area. Read on to get a recap at some of the suppliers & brands that attended the event and their featured items available in the Asheville, North Carolina market.

Duplin Wine Cellars

About Duplin Wine Cellars: Duplin Winery strives to produce wines that capture the spirit of our heritage while maintaining the freshness of the fruit with unwavering quality. Every bottle produced by Duplin draws the same pleasure and appreciation as the first.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Duplin Carolina Red, Duplin Muscadine Moscato, Duplin Orange Blossom, Duplin Scuppernong Blush, Duplin Southern Mist and Duplin Sweet

Clif Family Winery

About Clif Family Winery: The best wines begin with careful viticulture. At Clif Family we keep a keen eye on our vineyards, ensuring their health and sustainability, and we make our wines with minimal intervention for a true expression of the grape’s character.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Clif Family Bici Rhone-Style Red Blend, Gary’s Improv Zinfandel, Kit’s Killer Cab, Rosé of Grenache, Rte Blanc Sauvignon Blanc, The Climber Bordeaux-Style Red Blend, Unoaked Chardonnay

DAOU Family Estates

About DAOU Family Estates: As young men, brothers George and Daniel Daou shared the same dream: to live a life in wine. Their dream prevailed years later when they discovered what would become known as DAOU Mountain, an untapped world-class terroir in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: DAOU Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, DAOU Chardonnay and Reserve Chardonnay, DAOU Bodyguard and Pessimist Red Blend, DAOU Rose and DAOU Sauvignon Blanc

Tastings from American Beverage Marketers

Reàl Infused Exotics 

About Reàl Infused Exotics: Crafted with mixologists and chefs in mind, Reàl Infused Exotics is a one-of-a-kind family of products that capture real fruit taste in a squeezable, pourable, and shelf-stable container.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Banana and Black Cherry Reàl, Blueberry and Blackberry Reàl, Crisp Apple and Coco Reàl, Mango and Passion Fruit Reàl, Watermelon and Strawberry Reàl, Ginger and Guava Reàl, Kiwi and Lychee Reàl, Madagascar Vanilla and Pina Reàl, Prickly Pear and Pumpkin Reàl, Raspberry Infused Syrup and Peach Reàl, Cream of Hazelnut and Blue Agave Nectar Reàl

Finest Call

About Finest Call: Finest Call is our robust line of high-quality cocktail syrups, mixes, and purees designed exclusively for professional bartenders and mixologists.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Finest Call Espresso Syrup and Espresso Martini, Finest Call Premium Lemon Sour, Blood Orange Sour and Citrus Sour, Finest Call Sweet/Sour and Pornstar Martini, Finest Call Mango Puree and Strawberry Puree, Finest Call Margarita Mix and Lime Juice, Finest Call Loaded Bloody Mary, Zesty Bloody Mary and Premium Bloody Mary, Finest Call Sugar Syrup and Grenadine, Finest Call Pressed Lemon Juice and Lime Juice

Tastings from JUSTIN Vineyards & JNSQ


About JUSTIN: JUSTIN Wines were first planted back in 1981 with a mission to make world-class Bordeaux-style blends. They combine traditional Old World methods—like hand-harvesting and small-barrel aging in French oak—with New World technology. For example, the “Air Knife”, an ingenious New World process invented by JUSTIN winemakers, boosts grape quality and efficiency.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, JUSTIN ISOSCELES and ISOSCELES Reserve Paso Robles, JUSTIN JUSTIFICATION Paso Robles, JUSTIN Rose Central Coast and JUSTIN Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast

JNSQ Wines

About JNSQ: The phrase “je ne sais quoi” was the inspiration for JNSQ, a superlative new wine made from select California grapes and crafted in the style of the best French Rosés. The result is a taste so unique and surprising that you’ll be at a loss for words to capture what elevates these wines into a class by themselves.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: JNSQ Rosé

Tastings from Delicato Family Vineyards

Black Stallion

About Black Stallion: The winery takes its name from a major equestrian area that once occupied the grounds. Its calling card is Cabernet Sauvignon, made in a classic Napa Valley style that offers richness and finesse. While single-vineyard wines are occasionally bottled, most Black Stallion wines are made from small lots cherry-picked from the valley’s disparate winegrowing zones. These are then painstakingly blended to create luxurious, unforgettable wines that capture the depth and brilliance of Napa Valley’s diverse growing regions.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon, Black Stallion Pinot Noir Los Carneros and Black Stallion Sauvignon Blanc North Coast

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

About Francis Ford Coppola Winery: Award-winning wines crafted uniquely for every wine occasion, highlighted by their popular Diamond Collection and sparkling Sofia wines, to their limited production Francis Coppola Reserve wines. For more than forty years, the Coppola family has searched for innovative ways to implement environmentally responsible practices into the vineyards and winemaking techniques and became 100% certified sustainable in 2019.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Coppola Archimedes Cabernet Sauvignon and Coppola Diamond ‘Claret’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Coppola Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, Coppola Diamond Collection Prosecco and Coppola Diamond Collection Prosecco Rose


About Stoneleigh: Stoneleigh is a premium New Zealand wine that expresses the vibrancy and fresh flavours of the Marlborough region through our minimal intervention winemaking philosophy and collaboration with nature. The cool climate, high sunshine hours and distinctive stone studded Rapaura soils in Marlborough provide the ideal conditions for our signature style – uniquely fresh, crisp & aromatically rich wine ripened by sunstones, sustainably sourced and vegan certified.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

Tastings from Domaine Bousquet


About Ameri: Named after Domaine Bousquet co-owner Labid al Ameri, Domaine Bousquet’s flagship wine is a Malbec-dominant blend. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot add the complex dimensions that elevate this wine from “expected” to “exciting.”  The grapes – but only the best clusters — come from a single vineyard, located at 4,125 feet, the highest of the estate. These grapes are the last to be harvested.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Ameri Single Vineyard Organic Red Blend

Domaine Bousquet

About Domaine Bousquet: Domaine Bousquet’s premium varietal series comprises a blend of estate and purchased fruit from the Uco Valley. The grapes benefit from major diurnal temperature swings, achieving exuberant ripeness while retaining the juiciness that invites a second glass. The wines are vinified with a French sensibility. The wines are un-oaked – an on-trend sensibility of little or no oak to let the fruit shine through and make the wines extremely food-friendly.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Domaine Bousquet Organic Gran Reserve Malbec, Domaine Bousquet Premium Organic Sparkling Brut, Domaine Bousquet Reserve Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Domaine Bousquet Reserve Organic Chardonnay and Domaine Bousquet Reserve Organic Malbec


About Gaia: Named for the Earth Mother goddess in Greek mythology, Gaia Red and White Blends are a multi-varietal cornucopia of estate-grown grapes. This Old World tradition of blending varieties is updated to highlight modern, non-classic New World pairings. The primary grape comprises around 50% of the mix. Each vintage, the bounty from the estate is blended a bit differently to reflect what Mother Nature has offered.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Gaia Organic Cab Franc, Gaia Organic Cabernet Sauvignon and Gaia Organic Malbec

Michael David Winery

Michael David Wines

About Michael David Wines: We’ve been farming this soil since the 1860’s and cultivating wine grapes since the early 20th century. Our founders, brothers Michael and David Phillips, are 5th generation grape growers who have raised their families in the vineyard, and now the 6th generation has joined the team, Mike’s daughter Melissa. We, more than most, understand the importance of leaving it better than you found it for future generations. Our family legacy and love of Lodi drive our focus on sustainability.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Michael David Rose and Sauvignon Blanc

Freakshow Wines

About Freakshow Wines: The fruit for Freakshow Wines comes from the original superfreak himself, Michael Phillips’ Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, located just a medicine ball away from the winery. Known for taking the roads less traveled, Michael David Winery has always stood out from the crowd. Whether it’s their bizarre brands and packaging or their quirky personalities, Michael and David are definitely on a stage of their own and these wines show exactly that.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Freakshow Chardonnay and Zinfandel


About Inkblot: The Phillips family has been farming since their Great Great Grandfather Andrew Harshner and his wife Lucille homesteaded 160 acres near the town of Lodi, following the Civil War in the 1860s. The region’s natural affinity for grape growing quickly became evident, and by the turn of the last century, twenty-five percent of California’s grape acreage was in Lodi.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Inkblot Petite Sirah

Sixth Sense

About Sixth Sense: A claimed favorite varietal to both Michael and David Phillips, Syrah was first planted by the brothers in 1982 after falling in love with wines produced from the grape on a trip through southern France. This vineyard, located just a hop, a skip and a jump from the winery, is one of the earliest plantings of Syrah in California.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Sixth Sense

Tastings from Wine Hooligans


About Broadside: Since 2006 Broadside has crafted wines that embody the pioneering spirit of Paso Robles. Bold and expressive, our portfolio is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, with three distinct Cabernets that showcase the exceptional quality and diversity of Paso. 
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Broadside Central Coast Chardonnay, Broadside Margarita Ranch Merlot and Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Cycles Gladiator

About Cycles Gladiator: At Cycles Gladiator, we celebrate everyday adventures and inspire good times. Proudly sourced from the top growing regions in California, our wines have earned over twenty Best Buy designations from Wine Enthusiast to date. Drawing our name from the 19th century bicycle manufacturer, the Gladiator Company, we honor their iconic, inspirational artwork on our wine label, as we strive forward in our mission to empower women.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon, Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay and Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir


About Portlandia: Portlandia welcomes you to the PNW state of mind. The vision since our first vintage has been simple – to create delicious, affordable wines, all while having loads of fun. Sourced from some of Pacific Northwest’s top growing regions, our wines have earned eighteen 90+ point ratings to date, and counting! With our eye-catching, irreverent labels, these are wines made to be enjoyed, guided by our life philosophy: play hard, work later!
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Portlandia Big Believer Cabernet Sauvignon, Portlandia Oregon Pinot Noir and Portlandia Sparkling Brut


About Shortbread: Shortbread welcomes you to the bright side of life! With a nod or two to our namesake cookie, we craft our Buttery Chardonnay with rich, lush flavors and sunny, smooth character. Whether it’s a glass at the end of the day, or a couple of bottles among friends, our Chardonnay is sure to delight.   
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Shortbread Buttery Chardonnay

Tastings from WX Brands

Bread & Butter 

About Bread & Butter: At Bread & Butter, we believe good things in life shouldn’t be complicated. Good things should just be, well, good. Good, honest, and delicious. And uncomplicated.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Bread & Butter Chardonnay and Sliced Chardonnay, Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir

Chronic Cellars

About Chronic Cellars: Using only the best – or ‘chronic’ – grapes from each year’s harvest, we create truly intriguing blends made with character. The chill vibe and adventurous flavor profiles of our wines deliver a totally chronic experience.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise Red Blend

Our Daily Wines

About Our Daily Wines: Since 1989, we’ve been committed to producing earth-friendly organic wines, free of synthetic additives and preservatives. Our wines are all certified USDA Organic, vegan, and gluten-free.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Our Daily Red Blend


About Trapiche: The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec Mendoza and Trapiche Tesoro Malbec

Tastings from Santa Margherita

Santa Margherita Wines 

About Santa Margherita: Grown, harvested, and produced in Italy, our wines are rooted in classic Italian ideals and reimagined for the fine wine lover of today. We invite you to discover the heart and soul of Santa Margherita, our people, passion, and commitment to producing authentic, sustainable, deliciously enjoyable wines for the life you live.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Santa Margherita Sparkling Rose

Lamole di Lamole

a bottle of Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico on a table with cheese and a glass of red wine

About Lamole di Lamole: Selected from exclusive lines of grapes, shaped by their location’s unique microclimate, and crafted in the cellars of an ancient castle, the wines of Lamole di Lamole offer exceptional flavors that complement the finest traditional meals and which only get better with age.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Lamole di Lamole Maggiolo Chianti Classico D.O.C.G.


About Masi: The Masi story began in 1772, when the Boscaini family acquired prestigious vineyards in the small valley called “Vaio dei Masi”, which is the origin of the company’s name. After more than 200 years of passionate winemaking the company is still in family hands, run by the sixth and seventh generations.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Masi Costasera Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico DOCG

Ca’ del Bosco

About Ca’ Del Bosco: Ca’ del Bosco is considered a category leader and the industry standard when it comes to luxury sparkling wines; not only in Italy, but around the world. Our commitment to excellence starts with the grapes, and as one of Franciacorta’s pioneers, Ca’ del Bosco was able to plant in the best viticultural sites. In addition to championing the Metodo Franciacorta, Ca’ del Bosco patented its own innovative techniques that ensure purity as “king” and quality as “queen”.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Ca’ Del Bosco Franciacorta Edizione #46

ROCO Winery (Coming Soon)

About ROCO Winery: When Rollin Soles and Corby Stonebraker-Soles came to Oregon in the 1980s, they arrived at the leading edge of a movement. But in those early years, the movement we know today hadn’t yet picked up full momentum. The idea of Oregon wine was actively in the making, emerging in real time through the daring efforts of people like Rollin and Corby and a diverse group of entrepreneurs who wanted nothing more than to produce world-class wines in an unproven but promising winegrowing region.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: ROCO Gravel Road Pinot Noir Willamette Valley AVA


About Torresella: From the timeless Venetian vineyards to carefree times in good company, Torresella “lives your story with you: authentic, fresh, and unforgettable” with wines that capture the true flavor, character, and personality of Italy.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Torresella Prosecco

Sella Antica

About Sella Antica: Sella Antica is a red blend as adventurous as you are. Born in a place as generous as it can be unforgiving, Sella Antica expertly blends the fruit-forward expressions of the land with a bold new style unlike any found in the Tuscan wild.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Sella Antica Tuscan Red Blend

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