Friday, March 7, 2008


Hello, and welcome to the blog site for Francis Berwyn Wineworks!

The fact that you've landed here leads me to believe that you've purchased one of my wines, and are interested to learn more about Francis Berwyn Wineworks (FBW). First and foremost, thank you for your purchase! Secondly, it's my hope that through this blog site I can explain to you a bit about FBW, our wines and our philosophy.

Francis Berwyn is the latest vinous adventure to spring from my 28 years in the wine business. Most wine lovers know me for my self-named winery, Garretson Wine Company. The wines I produce under my Garretson Wine Company label are solely crafted from grape varieties traditional to the Rhône Valley of France. While I am most-passionate about these varieties, they're not the only wines I drink. Garretson wines are of limited production and are in high demand. As a result, these wines are seldom seen in the marketplace, and at rarely below a price tag of $30 a bottle. If you're interested in reading more about me and my winemaking background, please check out the Garretson Wine Company website.

Five years ago I got to thinking of challenging myself to produce value-priced wines from more traditional varieties. I wanted to produce wines that really over-performed, that delivered an incredible 'bang-for-the-buck'. This interest coincided with a number of requests from distributors of my wines (in both the U.S. and abroad) to work with them on a series of negociant wines. The word, "negociant", is a French term to describe an agent who blends and ships wine. They do not actually make the wines they sell, but rather purchase bulk wines from wineries, blend them, and bottle them under their own label. While some of these 'negociant' wines can be nice, it's incredibly difficult to control both the quality and style of the finished product.

What I have always preferred was to have complete control over the entire winemaking process...from grape growing to winemaking, to deciding what wines went into the bottle. Luckily I was able to form a strategic alliance with the owners of the Margarita Ranch, a 1,000-acre vineyard producing exceptional fruit. This partnership of ours allows me the ability to have a consistency of grape sourcing that is a rarity in a negociant's world. This control allows me the ability to make the wines I want to offer you.

March 1, 2008 sees the release of my first efforts under the Francis Berwyn label. I've bottled 2,000 cases of Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - as well as 500 cases of Petite Sirah - from the 2006 vintage. While I am quite pleased with these wines, I will constantly strive to make better wines in each passing year...

...after all, it is my stated desire to craft everyday wines that will exceed expectations...both yours and mine.


Mathew J. Garretson

P.S. You are welcome to order any of the Francis Berwyn wines directly from my winery. By clicking on the "Order this wine" link you will automatically be taken to the Garretson Wine Company on-line order form. The Francis Berwyn wines are on the bottom of the ordering list. Thanks!


Faced with a need to come up with a name for our new winery, I decided to keep it in the family...literally. Francis Berwyn Wineworks is named in tribute to my two sons, Jack Francis and Thomas Berwyn Garretson.


Our 2006 Sauvignon Blanc is an extremely versatile wine...perfectly at home with a wide variety of foods, and an ideal apéritif. Pale gold/green in color, with aromas of sweet pea, fig, gooseberry and a hint of grass. On the palate this wine is medium to full-bodied, with a richness that's perfectly balanced by a racy acidity.

Click here to order this wine.


Paso Robles has a well-earned reputation for great Zinfandels. It seems these days most of them follow a similar path: big and bruising wines that deliver high-octane in every glass. After one glass of one of these 'monster Zins', I'm done...figuratively and literally.

I choose to make a more refined, 'claret style' of Zinfandel. It exhibits textbook Paso Zin style, but in a much more elegant style.

Click here to order this wine.


This wine is a beast...but a well-behaved beast. Dark, brooding in color, ripe and rustic in aroma, and mouth-filling in flavor, this wine has been known to stain a few teeth. While certainly massive, it knows its place around the dinner table.

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Does this wine ever deliver! Big aromas of jammy fruit and smoke leap from the glass. Full-bodied, with rich, ripe fruit that's tempered by a spicy finish with well-integrated tannins. Think you don't like Merlot? Think again over a glass of this one!

"Soft and supple, with plum and vanilla aromas and juicy cherry, spice and cedar flavors. 86 Points." - Wine Spectator

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To my tastes, most value-priced Cabernet Sauvignons rarely deliver real Cabernet Sauvignon character. This wine is a welcome exception. Aromas and flavors of cherry, plum, olive, and tea dominate. The finish is long and plush, and seems to go on forever. A very satisfying wine, and one that serves as the ideal example of our commitment to delivering great wine at a great price.

Click here to order this wine.