It’s fun to follow the national and international wine holidays for popular wines or wine events, such as Zinfandel Day or National Prosecco Week. It bolsters visibility for that particular wine and is a great excuse for us to sample different varietals throughout the year.
But where do wine holidays come from? And what happens if a particular varietal doesn’t have its own holiday?
Well, it depends. For instance, International Mavrud Day, celebrating that Bulgarian grape, was recently invented by the Bulgarian Association of Wine Professionals.
But you don’t have to be an organization to create a holiday. Individuals can – and do – create wine holidays for grapes they believe deserve such recognition. Power to the people!
Let’s take a look at the holiday for Cabernet Franc, created by Lori Budd, founder of Exploring the Wine Glass and co-owner of Dracaena Wines in Paso Robles, California. Cab Franc Day is celebrated on December 4.
Cab Franc is primarily known as a blending grape used in making other wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Budd wanted people to know that Cab Franc is a great single varietal, not just a blending grape.
Budd also hosts a Cab Franc winemaker roundtable to commemorate Cab Franc Day. The 2022 roundtable brought together 10 winemakers from California, Australia, France, and elsewhere, such as Leah Jorgenson Cellars in Newberg, Oregon, the premier Cab Franc producer in the state and the only winemaker there dedicated to Cab Franc.
The roundtable winemakers particularly extolled Cab Franc’s elegance, versatility, balance, and ageability and acknowledged that it is a relatively unknown “underdog” varietal that deserves to be better appreciated.
Wine With Our Family recently had the opportunity to chat with Budd and learn more about the origins of and rationale for creating Cab Franc Day.
Wine With Our Family: Why did you create Cab Franc Day?
Lori Budd: My husband and I started our winery in 2013. We decided our flagship wine would be Cab Franc. I was looking to help the inaugural release in 2015 and realized there was no holiday for Cab Franc so I decided to make one up.
Cardenal Richelieu, the father of Cab Franc, is credited with bringing this grape from Southwest France to the Loire Valley, the first region to truly appreciate it as a single varietal. I chose December 4 for Cab Franc Day since it is the anniversary of his death.
WWOF: What makes Cab Franc deserving of its own holiday?
LB: There are other grapes without a “day.” But what bothered me is that we wouldn’t have Bordeaux without Cab Franc. It’s the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carménère, and they all have their own wine holidays.
A lot of people have never heard of this grape. Cab Franc Day is about educating people.
WWOF: What should consumers know about Cab Franc?
LB: It’s so much more people friendly and food friendly than Cabernet Sauvignon [which is known as the most popular red wine grape]. It’s very difficult to find something it doesn’t pair with.
And it comes in so many more expressions. Cab Franc is very different from region to region.
WWOF: Is Cab Franc Day catching on?
LB: Yes! In 2015 we did a Twitter chat and ended up trending second. [This year] we had 3,000 posts about Cab Franc Day. And it’s being celebrated in countries I’ve never been to.
WWOF: Do you have anything in store for the future?
LB: I was happily surprised a winery from North Carolina participated in the 2022 roundtable. I’d love to have more East Coast wineries represented, like ones in Virginia and Michigan.
WWOF: So what do you think of Cab Franc Day?
LB: It blows my mind how far it’s come. It’s now on every holiday calendar. It’s internationally recognized.
I celebrate other wine holidays. But I don’t have the same soul in it!
We hope you enjoyed this interview with Lori Budd, the mastermind behind Cab Franc Day. We look forward to celebrating Cab Franc Day and other national wine days in the coming year!
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
Have an idea for creating a new wine holiday? We’d love to hear about it. Send us a message at email@example.com.
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