Daily Wine News: New Categories

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-19-2019

(Flickr: Gnawme)

(Flickr: Gnawme)

How seriously should we be taking the rise of wines in a can? In the Buyer, Richard Siddle explores the answer. “One thing for sure is canned wine has quickly become a category in its own right. Now how small or large that category will become is where the friction comes, but a category it is.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Alexander Peartree delves into the world of cider. “Much like grape wine, variety selection is important in cider. Similar to how table or juice grapes are not ideal for winemaking, common eating apples—think Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady—are not the best options for making the most complex or balanced cider. High-tannin and/or high-acid fruit is key for quality production. Most of the varieties are obscure, rock hard and solely cultivated for use in cider.”

Brenna Ritcher explores the “supposed generational gap between older wine-drinkers and young people” in an essay on Vinous.

In SevenFifty Daily, Julie H. Case talks to seven newly minted MSs about their strategies for conquering the difficult exam.

In the Guardian, David Williams explores the “great 1970s wine revival” of lambrusco, muscadet and more.

This year’s small Santorini harvest may raise prices for Assyrtiko wines, reports Panos Kakaviatos in Decanter.

Tom Wark offers a look into the state of the Oregon wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Napa’s Staffing Crisis

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-18-2019

Napa“Back in 1970, a few hundred thousand visitors came to the Napa Valley. In 2018, that number had grown to 3.85 million, statistics show.” Tim Carl reports on how increased tourism in Napa Valley is worsening the staffing crisis in the Napa Valley Register.

In SevenFifty Daily, Katherine Cole charts how Lindsay Woodard, founder of Retour, became a cult Willamette Valley vintner. “She didn’t come up through the cellar—she worked events, sold stemware, and harnessed her marketing, public relations, and design savvy to hone the images of fine wineries. Rather than viticulture and enology, her skills range from public speaking to product design…She has also found a niche that enables her to support causes she believes in while building awareness for her brand.”

In 5280 Magazine, Douglas Brown talks to sommeliers Jane Lopes and Bobby Stuckey about the Court of Master Sommeliers scandal.

Jeff Siegel, the wine curmudgeon, also looks into the sommelier cheating scandal, and how it may be part of more extensive problems at the Court of Master Sommeliers.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery highlights 10 great wine clubs.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe does a deep dive into the reds of Italy’s Umbria.

In Penta, Abby Schultz chats with Peter Mondavi Jr. about his family legacy in wine.

In Forbes, Nicole Trlivas puts together a list of the best coffee table books for wine lovers.

Daily Wine News: Diversity in Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-17-2019

winepoured“It may be happening at what some consider a glacial pace, but black people are occupying positions in the wine world unheard of only a few years ago,” writes Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher in Grape Collective. “Representation, highlighting blacks doing anything significant in the wine world – growing it, making it, selling it, serving it, enjoying it, writing about it, anything crucial in the chain — is critically important, as is genuine inclusion…”

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford reflects on the evolution of English wine.

Jamie Goode joins Abe Schoener on some of his vineyard visits. “People like Abe deserve a lot of recognition for their work in trying to champion, and thus preserve, the viticultural heritage of California. Quite a bit remains, and the unfashionable regions and grape varieties can make some amazing wines in the right hands.”

Emily Saladino talks to Chicago-based sommelier Derrick Westbrook about dry riesling, the power of Champagne, and more in VinePair.

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Lee C. Iijima offers a guide to Tokyo’s best wine bars.

In the San Francisco Examiner, Lyle Norton reports on how Bordeaux is coping with climate change.

In Forbes, Joseph V. Micallef reports on Oregon’s growing wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Spotlight on Italy

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-16-2019

Photo courtesy of Banca del Vino.

Photo courtesy of Banca del Vino.

In the Washington Post, Simran Sethi reports on Banca del Vino, a stored collection of Italian wines in Pollenzo, Italy that was conceived by Slow Food. “There is no profit in aging, Rinaudi explains, because the bottles are stored for free and most are used for education. But the stories of soil and grapes, the knowledge of history and identity, inspire a different — deeper — kind of savoring, the kind that honors people and place, time and care.”

Christine Clark highlights the young winemakers championing Barolo’s new wave in VinePair. “By focusing on terroir, highlighting the natural attributes of their fruit and manipulating the juice less in the winery, these next-generation winemakers are returning Barolo to its rightful glory.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Carol Ryan reports on the reasons why drinks companies like Jameson Whiskey-owner Pernod Ricard have struggled to succeed with wine brands. “The wine world relies on aging baby boomers, unlike liquor and craft beer brands that have done a better job of using social media to appeal to a new generation of consumers. Some brands have shown that a similar approach can work for wine…”

Elsewhere in the WSJ, Lettie Teague looks into online wine courses to see if they’re worth it.

Simon J Woolf responds to the New Yorker article about orange wine. “Patterson implies that he doesn’t want challenges or new experiences when it comes to beverages – which surely isn’t ideal for a critic. Does he really believe everything that wine has to offer can be understood in just a few sips? Some styles take more time to reveal their magic.”

According to the Sonoma County Winegrowers Association, 99 percent of its vineyards are certified sustainable.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Jarvis offers a complete guide to phylloxera.

Daily Wine News: Unsung Heroes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-13-2019

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

In SevenFifty Daily, Maria Bastasch, wine director of D.C.’s Maydan, explains why buyers should source from unsung regions. “Allowing ourselves to enjoy the aroma and flavor profile of a quality organic wine from Syria, Bolivia, or any other unlikely wine region can do more than just diversity our portfolios—it can change our perceptions of that region, help to elevate families out of poverty, and transform headlines of crisis into idyllic images of vineyards.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Caroline Hatchett explores the rise of Mexican wine, and considers its future in America.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley responds to the New Yorker piece about orange wine. “Like Patterson, I want to understand why people drink what they drink, to trace the broader cultural movements that lead individuals to order something new at a restaurant. I just don’t think that moral improvements and suffering always have to enter into it.”

Eric Asimov highlights 12 top-tier (but undervalued) Burgundy producers in the New York Times.

In the Oregonian, Michael Alberty visits the Lewis Peak Experimental Vineyard outside Walla Walla, Washington, where Dean Richards is experimenting to see if grapes will attain physiological ripeness at an elevation with fewer growing degree days than on the region’s valley floor.

In Decanter, Jane Anson explores the lesser known, but great value, Bordeaux appellation Lalande-de-Pomerol and tastes her way through a horizontal of 31 wines from the 2015 vintage. (subscription req.)

In VinePair, Vicki Denig dives into the versatility and diversity of Pinot Meunier.

Daily Wine News: Gen Xers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-12-2019

winecheersIn Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox explores the potential of marketing wine to Gen Xers. “In the end, Gen Xers are willing to pay more than Boomers or Millennials for an item that they believe hold meaning and is of a high quality, producers have found.”

“Trump proposes 100% tariff that would double the cost of European wine, cheese and olive oil,” reports Igot Derysh in Salon.

In VICE, Jelisa Castrodale reports on a wine consultant who allegedly scammed wealthy investors out of millions.

Xyella fastidiosa, a bacteria known in the USA as Pierce’s Disease, has been discovered in France. In Meininger’s, Sophie Kevany looks at whether it can affect viticulture in Europe or not.

In Fortune, Stephanie Cain looks at how the research Michael Benedict did led to his founding the first vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills.

Researchers comparing the genetic difference of wine grapes have found that the “differences definitely contribute to one important feature of grapes: their color.”

After a trip to Switzerland, W. Blake Gray is not impressed with Chasselas. “…I drank a lot of Chasselas, which is the most boring grape in the world.”

Daily Wine News: New in Napa

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-11-2019

Vineyards in Napa Valley. (Source: Wikimedia)

Vineyards in Napa Valley. (Source: Wikimedia)

In SevenFifty Daily, Master Sommelier Matt Stamp explores Napa’s next-wave winemakers. “It’s an uphill climb to start from scratch as a winemaker in Napa Valley… How can entrepreneurs with skill and vision who live and work in Napa Valley make their mark now? And if the only new brands that Napa can nurture start with sky-high prices, what is the real future for this valley?”

In Wine Spectator, Lynn Alley reports on how winegrowers in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley are confronting phylloxera in their vineyards.

Tim McKirdy considers what constitutes a modern-day sommelier in VinePair.

In the Oregon Wine Press, Sophia McDonald on how Slow Wine is opening up the conversation for climate change in Oregon.

On WineBusiness.com, Linda Jones McKee delves into recent spotted lanternfly research, and how to manage infestation in vineyards.

Jancis Robinson talks to Wine-Searcher about her newly released 8th edition of The World Atlas of Wine.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, takes a close look at canned wine. “Canned wine isn’t going to revolutionize wine, but it seems to have the potential to evolutionize it — to help it evolve in ways that are relevant to today’s consumers. That’s worth a cheer or two in my book.”

Daily Wine News: Japan’s Potential

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-10-2019

Koshu grapes at Katsunama Vineyard. (Wikimedia)

Koshu grapes at Katsunama Vineyard. (Wikimedia)

“This led me to wondering whether Japan has to go beyond Koshu to become a global wine hot spot. Yes, Koshu’s low-alcohol crispness and range of styles, from sur lie to skin-fermented orange wines, put it squarely in today’s wine zeitgeist. But I’m convinced Japan’s take on Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will be even more key in getting less adventurous drinkers to think of the country as the wine world’s new star,” says Elin McCoy in Decanter.

In Grub Street, Chris Crowley reacts to the New Yorker piece that declared orange wine “an assault on pleasure.”

Jeff Siegel explores the downside of premiumization in the wine industry in Meininger’s.

In VinePair, Linda Gradstein profiles Portuguese winemaker Filipa Pato. “In person, Pato is short and energetic, with a ready laugh, and seems happiest in the vineyards. Her philosophy is to intervene in the winemaking process as little as possible, to produce “wines without makeup,” she says with a smile.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Mike Cherney reports on how wineries are moving past the bottle, now offering whimsical things like petting zoos, climbing walls, and a tasting nest. (subscription req.)

Lauren Mowery chats with Al Gore about climate change and the wine industry in Wine Enthusiast.

There’s a new, updated edition of The World Atlas of Wine from Jancis Robison and team.

Daily Wine News: German Wine’s Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-09-2019

The Mosel Valley. (Flickr: Megan Mallen)

The Mosel Valley. (Flickr: Megan Mallen)

In the Washington Post Magazine, Jason Wilson explores the past and future of German wine on a personal journey through the country’s wine regions. “Climate change is a topic you can’t avoid in Germany’s wine regions. Yet the strange thing is, the talk is not all negative… A visit to Germany’s wine country doesn’t have to be burdened by history. On the contrary, there is so much youthful energy in the wine scene, with so many experimental and enterprising young producers, that it always surprises me how few wine lovers visit.”

In the New Yorker, staff writer Troy Patterson has a much-talked about piece about his problem with orange wines. “In this sphere, a full-bodied orange wine, with its uncompromising austerity, approaches an absolute limit: sensation without sensuality. It tastes like an assault on pleasure. A wine with a finish like sucking on a grapefruit rind is not a wine to drink for enjoyment. It is a wine to suffer through…”

“The U.S. is moving ahead with an investigation into a new French digital tax that could lead to import tariffs on French wine and other goods, despite hopes raised at August’s G-7 summit,” reports Bloomberg.

In Terroir Review, Meg Houston Maker highlights three Bordeaux estates that are embracing biodynamics.

Rachel King tracks the popularity of red blends in Fortune.

In Wine Enthusiast, Michael Venutolo-Mantovani offers a guide to Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s wine scene.

In the Washington Post, Lenore Adkins pens a profile of Maria Bastasch, wine director at Compass Rose and Maydan.

Tim McKirdy makes a case for half-bottles in VinePair.

Adapting to a new climate reality in the Côtes de Bordeaux

Posted by | Posted in Grape Adventures | Posted on 09-07-2019

I was gearing up for a day of touring vineyards and tasting dry red wines in Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, yet I felt anxious. The temperature reached 104 Farenheit the day I arrived, and I had been reading about the record-breaking high temperatures across Western and Northern Europe. Prone to heat exhaustion and missing my air conditioner at home, I hydrated feverishly, soaked my cooling towel and hung it around my neck, as I headed out for the day. It reached 108 degrees that July afternoon.

The intense heat wave passed halfway through the trip, as rain fell on these vineyards for the first time in more than a month. And while this was one for the books, bouts of extreme heat are becoming more commonplace.

Merlot vines at Chateau La Peyruche.

Merlot vines at Chateau La Peyruche.

Known for its iconic sense of history and tradition, Bordeaux winegrowers and vintners are reassessing how they operate in light of climate change. From picking grapes earlier, to altering their blends, to considering new grape varieties altogether, winemakers are utilizing different tools to brace for the impact of a much warmer climate.

To be clear, I felt no sense of panic from anyone I spoke with about this topic. Winemakers all over the world are struggling with how to adapt to climate change (some more than others), and when it comes to farming, change is constant.

But as I talked to people in the wine industry during a week-long trip, I found a stoic acceptance that climate change will drastically alter the landscape of Bordeaux wine. Adaptations are necessary, and well underway. Read the rest of this entry »