Olivia Wright and Knotty Vines – Not Your Grandma’s Brand

Winemaker Olivia Wright, of Knotty Vines

In the interest of full disclosure, when we talked to the Knotty Vines publicists, they insisted on sending us four bottles of wine for free. We’ll be honest. We had some reservations about some of the wines.

Winemaker Olivia Wright started working for Rodney Strong Vineyards about four years ago, and started the Knotty Vines brand there.

“We’ve had four head winemakers,” Wright said. “A lot of tenure, a lot of tradition. I was kind of hired on as a transition.”

Photo of winemaker Olivia Wright, of Knotty Vines wines
Winemaker Olivia Wright

Part of the problem was the brand image associated with Rodney Strong.

“We’ve faced the facts. A lot of people see it as your grandma’s brand,” Wright said. “Part of Knotty Vines came about when I started. This was a great opportunity to reach a younger audience. So, they tasked me with trying to put together this brand.”

Wright feels – just like we do – that too many people see wine as too exclusive. Or as Wright put it, that you have to have a PhD to enjoy it. That you only drink wine with fancy foods and it must the “right” wine with the “right” food.

“We do Knotty Vines and chips and dip pairings all the time,” Wright said. “You eat what you like and you drink what you like.”

She does like breaking the “rules,” offering fried chicken and chardonnay as a great pairing, and even a Knotty Vines pinot noir with salmon, once. We hold the opinion that if a pinot noir goes with salmon, that’s the sign of a good pinot noir

Getting to what people like

She spends a lot of time talking to people about what they like in wines.

“They want wine that’s smooth or rich or fruity or spicy, but basically no more than three descriptors.”

An example of that might be the cabernet, which we found simple, easy to drink, and better as a cocktail than with food. We also liked the chardonnay. It was nice and crisp and played very nicely with the caprese salad we ate with it.

Wright’s favorite wine to make is the label’s Red Blend, which was our favorite also, and paired really well with the curry chicken and vegetables we had that night.

“The Red Blend is really my playground,” she said. “It’s kind of a free-for-all.”

You can get Knotty Vines wines on the website here.

Please tell us what you think.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.