Wine futures in Talent

Terry Cooper Sullivan — grape grower, wine producer and wine glassmaker — has started something new in the Rogue Valley: selling wine futures.

Although pre-eminent European and American wineries long have offered customers opportunities to "invest" in a wine before it is bottled, it's rare that new wineries do. But it makes sense, Sullivan says, who grows grapes on his 6-acre property in Talent that has been certified organic since 2005.

He is debuting the first wine in his Upper Five Vineyard label, and he has fewer than 75 cases of the 2010 Tempranillo to sell. It is made entirely from organic tempranillo grapes, grown by the exacting Sullivan and made by respected winemaker Linda Donovan of Pallet Wine Co. in Medford.

Through June, the "en primeur" price is $20 (three-bottle minimum). Then the bottle price jumps to $28.

In 2010, Sullivan's organic sauvignon blanc grapes were purchased by Bill and Barbara Steele of Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in the Applegate Valley and made into 144 cases of Sullivan/Steele Sauvignon Blanc that quickly sold out. The 2011 vintage produced another 144 cases, and each bottle sells for $22.

Until Upper Five's release party in the vineyard this fall, the tempranillo will be protected in a climate-controlled storage facility. Other arrangements can be made for purchase or delivery by emailing info@upperfivevineyard.com.

On a recent Saturday, Denise Daehler-Piotter of Liquid Assets Wine Bar in Ashland poured samples of the tempranillo for potential buyers. She thinks this tempranillo is drinkable now but she defers to Sullivan. Until he gives her the go-ahead, she will wait to pour it again.

For more information, see www.upperfivevineyard.com or call 541-512-1341.

— Janet Eastman

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