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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The wine that Eclipses all others

The Story of Eclipse Malbec
Courtesy of Joseph Daniel
Joseph Daniel poses with his wine.

Tucked in the heart of the winemaking epicenter, Northern California, one man laboriously stepped on grape clusters to break their smooth skins and release the coveted juice inside.

A few years later that same man, Joseph Daniel, bottled some of his first commercial wines. He carefully wrapped the bottle with a label featuring his own total eclipse photography on the bottle. Daniel then released his carefully curated wine that first featured an eclipse, which was bottled in 2021 and called the Eclipse Malbec.

“I’ve been so stimulated by it, I mean I love doing it, it’s just so creative,” said the filmmaker, vintner, and eclipse enthusiast.

The logo for Tiny Vineyards’ Eclipse Malbec features an actual solar eclipse captured by Joseph Daniel. (Courtesy of Joseph Daniel)

This eclipse, Daniel is offering the chance to purchase his eclipse wine from his wine company, Tiny Vineyards Wine Company, to toast the arresting event on April 8th.

Daniel spent most of his life in Colorado working as a documentary filmmaker. While working on a film, Daniel traveled to California where he found the inspiration for his career as a vintner. In Sonoma, he was “blown away by all the vineyards,” particularly the small backyard vineyards nestled between hills and homes. His passion for videography paired with the intriguing ecosystem resulted in the production of his full-length documentary ‘Tiny Vineyards’. The film’s striking visuals and stories are drawn from a variety of small, domestic vineyards. The documentary was presented at the Sonoma International Film Festival in 2019.

What started as an extension of Daniel’s film career resulted in a shocking turn of events.

“I got bit by the winemaking bug,” Daniel said.

Access to vineyards with excess clusters of grapes allowed Daniel to collect and process around 100 pounds of grapes or about 10 gallons of wine in his first year as an amateur winemaker. When Daniel first started making wine, he came into the process from scratch.

“The only thing I knew about wine was that I liked to drink it,” Daniel laughed.

Far from a misbegotten endeavor, Daniel’s wine won a gold medal at a local amateur wine-making contest. This added confidence prompted his quest to enter into the commercial business of wine production.

By the end of his participation in the UC Davis Winemaking Certificate Program, Daniel was equipped to face the fierce competition on the winemaking market. Tiny Vineyards Wine Company joined other small commercial vineyards at a “Custom Crush,” a co-op-like space in which many vineyards share the space and equipment for production. In 2021, Tiny Vineyards bottled their first wines, one of which was the 2021 Eclipse Malbec.

What inspired Daniel’s Eclipse Malbec? While chasing a total solar eclipse in Argentina in 2019 Daniel found himself immersed in and increasingly enamored with Mendoza’s malbec wine. Along his journey, he took the iconic eclipse photograph which delicately wraps around his Malbec wine bottle. With a newfound love of malbec and an old love of eclipses, Daniel decided to break into the “old tradition of commemorating celestial events with wine and alcohol.” But with such a grand image on the bottle, could the wine inside compare? According to Daniel, it does.

Daniel describes the Eclipse Malbec as “a big, complex, fruit-forward wine.” He continues on to say “it’s very powerful, but soft” and has “a lot of dark fruits, maybe a little licorice, and a little bit of spice.” The mélange of flavors seems as bold as an eclipse.

Daniel is quick to add that “everybody tastes wine differently,” so he hesitates to define the flavors within his magical blends.

Seventy-eight cases of Eclipse Malbec are ready for purchase online. There’s still time to make the Eclipse Malbec an April 8th toast or to buy a bottle for an “eclipse souvenir,” in Daniel’s words.

With the feverish rush for everything eclipse-themed, Tiny Vineyards Wine Company hopes to reap the benefits of foresight and the dreams of one passionate man who managed to embody the rich, immense power of an eclipse within a single bottle.

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