The email began: “Could a chance encounter with a taxi lead to one of the biggest new things in wine?”

Locations Wines Got My Attention

It went on:

A strange statement, I know – but true.

Just after the 2010 harvest, Dave Phinney (Orin Swift fame, and the winemaker for Stanton Vineyards, for instance) was at the Charles de Gaulle airport, lamenting with a friend about how existing wine regulations were limiting his ability to make some really nice wine. He joked about possibilities, imagining what he could do if there were no rules. What if you could blend across French appellations? What if you could produce a blend that represented France? What if there were no rules, and how fun would it be to travel this country to find great growers with old vines while experiencing the culture and people of this place?

As he said his final goodbyes, a taxi pulled curbside and he noticed the very distinctive “F” sticker on the license plate. His mind exploded with thought and possibility. What if he could take this idea and do this not only in France, but also in Italy, Spain, and Portugal? Great wine is made all over the world. What if he could produce a range of wines across all of the major wine regions of the world? What if this could be done while having a whole lot of fun, and by creating a team of some of the best people in each of these countries, producing a wine that pays homage to their home land without compromise and without boundaries?

Who would have thought this bumper sticker would be his epiphany, and the vision for Locations Wine?

I was offered the opportunity to taste Dave Phinney’s Locations Wines, which are non-vintage wines from Portugal, Italy, and France. Having them be non-vintage has opened the door to not only great opportunities, but also for wines that are tasty, under $20 (Hello!), and have ingenious packages.

  • If the wine is from Portugal, the label simply has a really big “P” on it.
  • If the wine is from Italy, the label simply has a really big “I” on it.
  • If the wine is from France, the label simply has a really big “F” on it.

Each wine is crafted to represent the as much of the essence of its country or place as possible; yet, they are non-appellation, non-variety and non-vintage. They ARE very tasty, I can tell you that…

This is one for the “Wine for Dummies” book (when a new addition comes out), because it’s so “reduce it to the lowest common denominator.” This is always the route I take, when I’m teaching. Get to the bottom of it and you can build anything upon that with clarity and precision. So, there it is… My choice for Ingenious packaging for 2017. Great job, Dave Phinney!

According to the Locations Website:

In the world of wine there are compelling Locations that exist where soil, climate and vines interact to produce grapes that uniquely express their Location through wine. Our love of wine recognizes the nuances of time and place that combine and interact to represent location. These Locations exist individually within appellations of the new and old world, but are seldom combined across appellation, in the art of blending due to laws and restrictions that make it near impossible to express true winemaking freedom.

Locations, bending the rules of regulated crafting, but not in the integrity, nor the quality departments.

One more minor detail on the labels, y’all.

I noticed that each bottle not only has the letter for stated country of origin, there is also a flag of that country (on the left as we’re looking at them), but also on the right is a red five-point star, 12 point star behind it, surrounded by laurel leaves and a banner with “Surculus Peruro.”

I looked up the Latin:

  • Surculus = shoot, sprout, sprig, twig
  • Peruro = burn, consume, inflame

There’s passion in the details. Wine details?


F = France

  • F5 Rosé – French Rosé Wine
  • This is a second release of F5 Rosé, and the variety is Grenache. Anytime there’s a rosé and it’s Grenache, I’m ALL in. I can’t think of a better grape, with soft colors and tannins to hand the rosé process. The vineyard blocks that this wine comes from are sitting on granite… Get ready for a bit of flint, due to its solid roots clinging to minerals. Also… think stone fruit.
  • Peaches, nectarines, cherries, mangoes are ones you want to think about.  The vineyard is also dry farmed. I believe that means more – dry farmed – in California, land of sunshine and deprived from water for an entire season. Let’s remember, France is more like the US’s East Coast,when rain happens from one spring to the next spring. Still, the fact that there’s artificial irrigation says there are some risks involved. And, this one comes off with flying colors… including its beautiful pink colors. This is your appetizer wine, ladies and gentlemen. Melon, prosciutto, hummus, while enjoying company and conversations before your meal.


P = Portugal

  • P4 – Portuguese Red Wine
  • Inaugural release that’s a blend of Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, and Touriga Franca. This is a traditional Portuguese blend, and this wine was true to form as a solid dry red. The juice mostly came from the Douro, with the remainder coming from Alentejo.
  • The alcohol is 15 percent, but the balance is there and is brought me right back to Portugal.  I loved the wine, because it did scream to me… P-o-r-t-u-g-a-l! If you’re at all curious about a Portuguese wine, you’ve got all of it with Locations. You’ll taste terroir… Pair with Pork. The Portuguese are very humane with their Black Pigs, which run wild in oak forests. They dine on oak and truffles… Need I say more?


I = Italy

  • I4 – Italian Red Wi
  • With over 2,000 indigenous Italian grape varieties to choose from, Negroamaro and Nero d’Avola from southern Puglia and some Barbera from Piedmont (to the north) make up this seamlessly delicious, Italian red wine blend.
  • True to its country’s classic varieties, this wine is just searching for some pasta with a cream sauce. This wine has black cherry flavors and spices hint at vanilla. Be prepared for a silky, smooth finish that lingers with fun conversations.

Whatever you’re going to enjoy with one of these wines, you’re in for a fun surprise with a very affordable, delicious treat. Locations Wine won’t disappoint, in my humble opinion. Food and wine = matches made in heaven and in the country with the letter of the Locations on the label. Life just got really uncomplicated.