Gettin’ Tipsy with Louisiana’s Vending Maching Winery
The whole experience of buying wine can be overwhelming and make you feel like you literally know nada about what’s what. Often the best strategy is to grab something with a good lookin’ label and roll with it. Well, if you are into some rad Louisiana designs and an equally tasty pour, take a sip of Vending Machine Winery’s vintages.
We sat down with Monica Bourgeois and Neil Gernon, the power couple behind the brand. Monica, a Baton Rouge native and LSU grad, and her New Orleans-raised husband, Neil, have worked in the business for years. It was their love of unique grape varieties and their annoyance with the unapproachable vibe surrounding wine that made them start their own winery. Based in New Orleans, they are exploding in popularity and are expanding their presence in Baton Rouge, across the state, and across the country. We got the details from the dream team.
What makes VMW different?
Monica: We are a super small production made with grapes from Napa (and other awesome spots) blended with some soul. We champion some of the less known grape varieties and create unique blends. Our labels are painted by my brother-in-law (also an LSU grad) and really bring the spirit of Louisiana to the experience.
What’s the deal with wine snobs?
Monica: For a lot of people there is a disconnect with wine; it seems expensive and you have to be some trained expert to know what is good and what is not. That is absolutely not true and we want to rip that down; take out the old guard. Try a small wine shop where people are friendly and can help you pick something in your price range and to your taste, no judgement. Also think about wine and food together and just have fun. They are made for each other.
Neil: Wine is actually the ultimate blue-collar drink. It is from the soil and the grapes taste different depending on where they grown. You get one shot with your harvest to make something awesome. Wheat tastes the same no matter where it is from.
Neil: We are all about passion for the product and are going to keep making exciting and fresh blends. More experiments are in the works and we are going to push the limits of what is expected. “Field Trip” is our collaboration wine and our newest one. It is a Picpoul/Chardonnay blend (made in collaboration with Forlorn Hope Wines in Napa) that works perfectly with Louisiana seafood- oysters, crawfish, etc. Who knows what Field Trip we will take next.
Vending Machine Wines are available for purchase in Baton Rouge at many local stores, including: Mid City Craft Wine & Brew, Bin Q, and Calandros. They range in price from $25-$30 a bottle. VMW is also available for purchase by the glass at many area restaurants including: Bin 77, Blend, French Market Bistro, and others. Complete vendor listings and upcoming events are posted on their website: www.vendingmachinewinery.com and on their social media accounts @vendingmachinewinery.
By Ailsa von Dobeneck | Photos by Minh Kiet