Because there are so many wines available, new wine farms such as Silkbush have to make special efforts to distinguish itself. A nice package, competitive price, an unusual variety from an exotic location is appealing but it’s only when buyers in restaurants and wine shops actually taste the wine and carry it that consumers can buy it and drink it. Introducing retail establishments to Silkbush’s wine is a face-to-face-and-taste undertaking. Accordingly, I found myself in late January in St. Pete, peddling Pinotage, and having a delightful time.
For those who haven’t been there, St. Pete is St. Petersburg, Florida, co-founded in 1888 by Peter Demens, formerly Pyotr A. Dementyev, a Russian aristocrat who, orphaned at age 4, spent much of his youth in the original St. Petersburg. As a liberal minded, well educated and outspoken person during turbulent political times, he was exiled from Russia in 1880. Thirty years old, he came to the US, anglicized his name to Peter Demens, and headed for his cousin’s orange grove in Jacksonville, Florida. Soon after, he bought land in Western Florida and began producing railroad ties for the Orange Belt Railroad. When Orange Belt could not pay him, he assumed ownership of the railroad. He then extended the railroad to undeveloped land on Tampa Bay, named the area St. Petersburg, and the rest is history.
Silkbush’s South African Pinotage is an ideal accompaniment to picnics and grilling and St. Pete, sporting 360 days of sunshine per year is a perfect match for outdoor fun. Located on the west coast of FL, “Tampa Bay/St. Pete” is home to over 4.8 million people and has three major league sports franchises, the NFL Buccaneers, MLB Rays and the NHL Lightening. With air conditioning taming summer heat, the area’s beauty and bay has made “Tampa/St. Pete” a major retirement area and tourist destination.
Silkbush’s local representative is Bruce Alexander. Bruce retired from a career in public relations has decided he can’t play golf every day so he’s started a new career in imported wine. Living in downtown St. Pete, Bruce enjoys patronizing area restaurants such as Wood Fired Pizza and local wineshops including American Spirits in the Publix Mall, both of which now carry Silkbush’s Lions Drift Pinotage.