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Winery Owner Cameron Hughes Visits Austin

Talks about his vast collection of wines

By Wes Marshall, 4:14PM, Sat. Jul. 14, 2012

Winery owner Cameron Hughes was in Austin recently to talk about his vast production of over 80 wines, a mere fraction of which make their way to Austin. What's surprising about a wine company this large is the majority of their wines are quite inexpensive yet really good. He does this by having what is best described as a virtual winery.



Hughes searches the world for great wineries that have small amounts of wines remaining unsold. There could be several reasons that the wines haven't been sold. Perhaps they were part of a lot sold by the container and there was a partial amount left over. Or maybe a buyer reneged at the last moment. Whatever the reason, Hughes is waiting there was an open checkbook, ready to purchase the overstock, bottle it, and sell it at a huge discount. It's a fascinating business model and one that pays great dividends for wine drinkers.

We tasted through about a dozen wines and every one was a very good to excellent example of the grape. I was especially impressed with his Argentinian Torrontés, a very fruity wine ideal for Asian food. My favorite red wine was his California Meritage, a wine that sits about halfway between a nice Bordeaux and the more normal California style. His wines are widely available in the Austin area and most of them run less than $13 a bottle, sometimes even less than $10 bottle. I'm hesitant to ever recommend a label in toto, but Cameron Hughes's combination of price and quality is pretty tough to beat.

We had lunch at Plate by Dzintra and started off the meal with a short interview. Cameron is a great fan of Austin, especially our barbecue, so expect to see him back again. Budding winemakers or people interested in how to finance a young company would find spending a few minutes talking to Cameron very instructive, so, next time he comes through town, take the opportunity to meet him at a tasting or a wine dinner. Note, at about 9:30 in, I klutzily tried to insert an edit that backfired. It only lasts one second. Mark it down as still learning to navigate the world of video uploads.

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