Katie Bruce, marketing associate at Niner Wine Estates, said the businesses teamed up in late 2014 after Andy Niner, president of Niner Wine Estates, pitched the idea to Joebella Coffee Roasters, which he visits frequently.
Green (unroasted) coffee beans are porous and naturally absorb the flavors and aromas around them, Bruce said; beans that sit in used wine barrels for several weeks allows them to be infused with the wine’s flavors.
Wine barrels that have housed different types of wine will each give the beans a unique flavor, Bruce said, adding that the process is experimental. Initially the roasters decide which beans to pair with the wine barrel, and after they’ve aged, determine which roast to use.
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“The intensity of the wine’s flavors varies in each batch,” Bruce said. “Lots of people smell oak and spices.”
Niner Wine Estates released its sixth batch — organic Bolivian coffee beans aged in a cabernet franc wine barrel — to online sales last week and sold out of all 95 bottles of coffee beans within 24 hours.
Their previous five batches were only sold in Niner Wine Estates’ tasting room and each batch sold out in about a week, Bruce said. The beans are sold in nine-ounce portions for $20.
Initial investments were low, Bruce said, because the companies are using tools they already had and the main expenses are the beans, labeling and packaging.
The companies have begun a staggered barrel program, which they hope will fulfill the demand for the coffee beans.
So far, they’ve sold fewer than a hundred cases of the coffee beans. Bruce said that offering the product online helped them to gauge a potential market.
Niner Wine Estates is planning to offer a package for the holiday season that includes coffee beans and malbec wine aged from the same barrel.
While there are no plans for other collaborations between Niner Wine Estates and Joebella Coffee Roasters, Bruce said that the two companies work well together.
Niner Wine Estates, located at 2400 Highway 46 West in Paso Robles, is 100 percent estate grown. The company is owned by Richard and Pam Niner, who purchased their first vineyard in 2001. They farm 212 acres across three different vineyards.
Joebella Coffee Roasters is a coffee bar and roasting works located at 3168 El Camino Real in Atascadero. The business, owned by Joseph and Isabel Gerardis, began in 2002; the café in Atascadero opened in 2013.