What does it mean to be the only curated clean-crafted wine club? For Sarah Shadonix, founder of Scout & Cellar, it means no wine headaches. Sarah was studying to become a sommelier and started developing headaches. She went to a variety of doctors and they could find no reason for them. One night she shared a bottle of wine with friends and didn’t have a headache. As she did more research, she realized that the way wine is made may contribute to headaches.
For a wine to be considered clean-crafted, it must satisfy the following guidelines:
Chemicals, pesticides and added sugars have allowed wine producers to get around the natural unpredictability and promote wine that tastes the same, bottle after bottle, year after year. This also made it possible to hide flaws that may exist in those bottles, like bacteria and other unpleasant elements. Unfortunately, wineries rely on pesticides, additives and added sweeteners, which means chemically altered, completely unnatural wine is now the norm. Scout & Cellar is here to offer a cleaner, healthier, altogether better wine experience to everyone.
Check out the range of clean-crafted wine available from Scout & Cellar here.
Sometimes I can be lazy and the subscription box trend is something I really enjoy. Whether it’s beauty product samples from Birchbox, personalized book selections from Just the Right Book and the awesome independent bookstore RJ Julia or a monthly sock club, I like the convenience of having items that I want delivered to me on a monthly basis. And I like the surprise of being introduced to new items.
I’ve been part of a wine club for as long as I can remember and this has been my favorite subscription/membership. Getting a specified number of bottles of wine delivered on a regular basis ensures that I always have wine on hand to share with friends. I’m also introduced to new wines and wine producers that I most likely can’t find at my State Store in PA.
The wine in the Scout & Cellar wine club is curated by the founder, Sarah Shadonix and is done on a quarterly basis. Sarah, a Level 3 Sommelier first identifier the most wildly delicious wines that reflect a sense of place. Then, she talks with the grower and/or producer to understand their process in the vineyard and in the cellar. Then, they independently lab test the wines to confirm that there are no synthetic pesticides present in addition to any other necessary analyses if not previously confirmed or provided.These wines are tended to by actual people and not produced by industrial agricultural methods. The producers are typically using sustainable, organic and/or biodynamic methods. This reminds me of my favorite stand at the Farmer’s Market in Pittsburgh. There is a guy who sells the best asparagus I’ve ever tasted. He also sells flowers. That’s it – asparagus and flowers. He knows what he does well and he sticks to it. And every spring when the Farmer’s Market opens, I run to his stand to get my asparagus. And every spring he welcomes me back. This is what life is about. Making connections with the people that are producing what you consume, trusting in their process to make the best and healthiest products for you. And this is the experience I get every time I receive my box of wine from Scout & Cellars. Connections to wine producers who are doing what’s right for their consumers and the land and producing great-tasting wine.
I love my job. I really, really love my job. I get to help people identify the most meaningful ways they can invest their money into nonprofits in the community. So, you might be wondering why I signed up to be a wine consultant with Scout & Cellar in my spare time. Three reasons:
1. I like to drink wine. At the end of the day, I like to relax with a glass of wine. And I really like sharing a tasty bottle of wine with friends and family. And I find the State Stores in PA overwhelming when I’m trying to buy a bottle. Having a curated selection to chose from narrows my choices and alleviates that stress. Have you read the book Paradox of Choice? In it, Barry Schwartz identifies how too many choices can lead to anxiety and stress. I’d rather have a Level 3 Sommelier make my decisions for me.
2. I like to eat organic when I can, I use products without chemicals on my skin, so why wouldn’t I do the same with wine? Knowing that the wine I’m drinking is clean-crafted is reassuring. And what does clean-crafted mean? To Sarah Shadonix, the founder of Scout & Cellar and the curator of the wines, it means that the wines are grown naturally—without the use of synthetic pesticides—and bottled consciously—without added sugars or chemicals to modify texture, flavor, color or aroma. The result is wine that is clean, delicious and better for you—just like nature intended!
3. I like getting packages in the mail – if I sign up for a wine club membership, I can get packages regularly throughout the year. It’s kind of like celebrating my birthday all year long! Wine clubs have been a long standing tradition between me and my dad. He has given me a wine club membership as my Christmas gift for a while now. I love having packages to come home to-sort of why I also have a history with Birchbox, Sock of the Month and Yogi Surprise.
And that last point leads me to another important reason why I’m working with Scout & Cellar – family. I mentioned that my father regularly gifts me with wine of the club memberships. Well, Sarah Shadonix is my father’s brother’s daughter. Did you follow that? She’s my cousin. And she grew up in Texas and I grew up in Pennsylvania and our grandparents lived in Iowa. We didn’t see each other very often. As I’m getting older I’m wanting a stronger connection to my extended family. Working with Sarah and her wine business is one way to do that.