Daily Wine News: Evolution & Extinction

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-18-2019

twowineglasseswhitewineIn the New York Times, Eric Asimov reports on how farmer, biologist, and winemaker Mimi Casteel is working to combat climate change and reverse ecological damage with regenerative agriculture in vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

“Extinction is such a final word that it seems strange to use in terms of an entire category of wine, but along with gorillas, the Sumatran elephant and the white rhino we may soon have to add the name Sherry,” says Don Kavanagh in Wine-Searcher. “Looking back across the past five years, Sherry’s decline has been well signposted. Continuous decline in interest has been matched by apathy in the marketplace.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague highlights the wine importers she’s always happy to see when she checks a back label.

Napa County’s wine grape harvest is about 75 percent completed, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers said this week.

It was a catastrophic event that nearly bankrupted the Champagne producer, but almost 120 years later, Pol Roger has opened two bottles unearthed from its collapsed cellars, which caved in at the turn of the last century. The Drinks Business has the story.

In Fortune, Stephanie Cain talks to Champagne concierge Lisa Legrand about what goes into the job.

Daily Wine News: How Scores Changed Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-17-2019

Wine_bottle_rating_signIn Meininger’s, Roger Morris considers how scores changed wine—for the better. “Simply put, ratings points were the prime reason consumer interest in wine, especially in the United States, exploded during the last 25 years of the 20th Century. However much professionals hated them, ratings provided the framework by which both trade and consumers could have a conversation about their thoughts and preferences on styles as well as individual bottles. Those who wanted guidance now had a system to follow, and those of us with independent palates had something to rail against whenever we felt combative.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, David Ferry looks at why Wine Country isn’t attracting millennials.

Clay Risen explores the American craft distillers working to reimagine what American brandy can be in PUNCH. “In a way, the brandy renaissance is a return to history. Brandy made from all sorts of fruit—especially peaches and pears—was among the most popular spirits in colonial America… It’s ironic, then, that the resurgence in American brandy owes much to the return of American whiskey.”

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland talks to Burgundy legend Jean-Nicolas Méo about pricing, climate, Henri Jayer and spreading his wings to Oregon.

In Decanter, Michaela Morris offers insight into Nova Scotia’s developing wine industry. (subscription req.)

The New Yorker published a new “humor” piece about natural wines.

Daily Wine News: Reputations Rising

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-16-2019

Vineyards in Bolivia. (Source: Wines of Bolivia)

Vineyards in Bolivia. (Source: Wines of Bolivia)

John Otis looks at Bolivia’s rising wine scene in NPR. “Bolivia’s wine industry is based in the southern city of Tarija, near the southern border with Argentina. This region has long produced small amounts of artisanal wine, as well as the distilled grape-based spirit known as singani, the national drink. But a growing number of wineries here are improving their techniques, ramping up production and starting to export.”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy highlights Italy’s white wines that can compete with Super Tuscans and Barolos in terms of collectability.

“Beyond my own appreciation of merlot, and certainly in spite of it, the noble grape deserves a good deal more credit and appreciation than it receives for all the hard work it does in wineries across the world. A perpetual performer, it is prized by many winemakers and largely disregarded by consumers. It is a classic example of the consumer doesn’t know best.” On his Good Vitis blog, Aaron Menenberg makes the case for merlot.

Could the new tariffs placed on French wine cause Bordeaux producers to raise their alcohol levels? W. Blake Gray investigates in Wine-Searcher.

In the World of Fine Wine, David Schildknecht reviews Amber Revolution: How the World Learned to Love Orange Wine by Simon J Woolf.

On Yahoo News, Livia Hengel explores the volcanic wines of Pompeii.

On WineBusiness.com, Linda Jones McKee highlights eight wineries making a difference in Pennsylvania’s wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Taking on Climate Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-15-2019

(Flickr: telex4)

(Flickr: telex4)

In the first of a four-part series on winemaking and climate change in the New York Times, Eric Asimov looks at the ways winemakers are dealing with climate change around the world. “…more disruptions are coming, much faster than anybody expected. The accelerating effects of climate change are forcing the wine industry, especially those who see wine as an agricultural product rather than an industrial beverage, to take decisive steps to counter or adapt to the shifts.”

In 1944, a pioneering group of winemakers sat around a dinner table and came up with a visionary idea to band together. That’s how Napa Valley Vintners was born. In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone talks to multiple generations about the group’s impact.

“Jackson Family Wines has announced the purchase of Balo Vineyards winery, vineyard and tasting room on Highway 128 in the heart of Anderson Valley in Mendocino County…The purchase price was not disclosed, but the property had originally been listed at $4.6 million,” reports Wine Spectator.

In the Buyer, Richard Siddle considers what’s next for New Zealand wine.

In Decanter, Jane Anson examines how some Bordeaux producers are stuck selling in particular price brackets.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher tell the story of Navarro Vineyards’ Dry Gewürztraminer, “what we consider a unicorn wine.”

Wine-Searcher looks at its most-searched wines to determine American users’ favorite grapes.

Daily Wine News: Fred Dame’s Reign

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-14-2019



In SevenFifty Daily, Betsy Andrews profiles Fred Dame. “Industry people speak floridly of Dame. The praise is earned…he has raised an army of somms.”

In Bloomberg, Edward Robinson reports on how Berry Bros. & Rudd, a 321-year-old wine merchant, works to catch counterfeit bottles.

“The CEO of PG&E has apologized after it was revealed several of its employees mingled with some of its top customers at a wine tasting event paid for by the company while hundreds of thousands of people in California were facing an unprecedented power outage,” reports Ewan Palmer in Newsweek.

In the Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider explores the debate pitting authenticity against fashion in wine that has grown louder in recent years. “To be authentic, does a wine have to be picked at low enough sugar levels so that characteristics of soil and climate come through?… Hot-button issues like native fermentation, alcohol extraction, adding acid and boosting color and flavor with the likes of Mega Purple (a grape-juice concentrate) lurk around every turn.”

Dave McIntyre offers a primer on decanting wine in the Washington Post.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence tells the comeback story of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague ponders the unexpected surprises of an unorganized wine cellar inventory.

Daily Wine News: PG&E Power Outage

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-11-2019



In Decanter, Jess Lander reports on what the PG&E power outage means for California wineries. “Since Tuesday night, the outage has affected roughly 800,000 customers, extending to several California wine country regions—including Napa Valley, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Santa Cruz—and could last up to five days in some areas.”

Bloomberg also reports on the PG&E California power outage, and how it’s affecting the wine industry.

Elsewhere in Decanter, Jane Anson on how the Bordeaux 2019 harvest is looking: “there is cautious optimism for an excellent vintage with serious quality in the bottle. Promising, but I would think not quite enough to banish the worries of the wider economic clouds.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Matt Kettmann looks at how San Diego became a natural wine haven.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery offers an in-depth look at the story of Pliny the Elder, one of the first wine critics. “Pliny’s writing, much of it informed by a conviction in terroir, recognition of vintage variation and desire to rank vineyards, continues to influence the wine industry today.”

In Food and Wine, Vicki Denig explains why Baja wine should be a bigger deal in the U.S.

“I can think of only two entities in this world that were born in 1949 and became one of the world’s largest wine consumers before the age of 70. One of them is Oz Clarke, the other is the People’s Republic of China.” On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming explores China’s “insatiable” thirst for wine, and whether it’s expected to diminish.

Liv-ex published a new report about the increased demand for Italian wine.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland offers insight into Italy’s 2019 harvest.

Daily Wine News: White Wines Now Allowed in Ribera del Duero

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

In Ribera del Duero. (Wikimedia)

In Ribera del Duero. (Wikimedia)

“Ribera del Duero’s ruling council has changed its regulations to allow the region’s wineries to make white wines under the main DO for the first time in its history,” reports the Drinks Business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Alexander Peartree explores the exciting diversity of Primitivo, Puglia’s premier grape.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Jenn Rice offers a wine guide to Hawaii.

“In this southern area of Germany where Pinot Noir wines are gaining a following with their balance of juicy fruit, bright acidity and sense of place, another grape is quietly developing a niche market: Gutedel a.k.a. Chasselas.” In Forbes, Cathrine Todd explores the wines from the “outback” of Germany, near the Swiss and French borers.

In Decanter, Elin McCoy meets Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards, and tastes through his northern Rhône-inspired Oregon wines. (subscription req.)

Europeans are also concerned about the industry’s widespread use of pesticides, while winemakers themselves will have to adapt to rising temperatures. From Bordeaux to Riesling and Champagne, EURACTIV takes a look at changing winemaking practices.

“Even California outstrips Italy when it comes to its most-expensive wines, so why is it so hard to find outstanding value?” In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh goes looking for value in Italian wine.

Daily Wine News: Trouble Ahead?

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

redwineglassesmoody“Throughout California, the wine industry is facing a major oversupply problem, and some farmers say it could drive them out of business. Fueled by a high-yielding crop in 2018 and slowing wine sales, wineries are cutting back on production. Grape growers, faced with an unprecedented challenge, are scrambling to find buyers, with many resorting to selling for rock-bottom prices before the grapes begin to rot on the vine,” reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “The predicament raises a troubling question: Is this a sign that the California wine industry is headed for an economic downturn?”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov talks with some of the importers most affected by the coming 25% American tariff on certain European wines below 14 percent ABV.

Jim Boyce checks in on the natural wine craze in China for Meininger’s. “While the scene is still small, it is tapping a younger consumer niche focused on exploring wine rather than just buying the default status-oriented brands.”

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, reviews Jonathan Nossiter’s book, Cultural Insurrection: A Manifesto for Arts, Agriculture, and Natural Wine.

In Wine Spectator, Tim Fish visits with Sonoma Zinfandel and Rhône-style reds star Jeff Cohn. (subscription req.)

In Forbes, Liza B. Zimmerman talks to Paul Mabray about the latest trends in the wine industry.

In SOMM Journal, Jessie Birschbach talks to Karen MacNeil about writing a third edition of The Wine Bible.

Daily Wine News: 2019 Harvest Reports

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-08-2019

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy looks at how the 2019 harvest fared in regions across the northern hemisphere. “France was particularly hard-hit… As many French winemakers told me: Welcome to the new extremes of climate change. The good news is that they’ve had some practice in years such as 2003 on how to deal with global warming. Despite everything, quality looks very good.”

Can dry farming help save California’s vineyards? In Civil Eats, Lela Nargi talks to advocates who believe dry farming is the only way to go as the state faces ever hotter, drier, and more erratic weather.

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph identifies three people and their inventions that created the modern world of mine. “None of them, as far as I know, had anything directly to do with vines, wine or winemaking, but their inventions changed the nature of the wine industry.”

In Club Oenologique, Peter Ranscombe reports on how one producer in the Abruzzo mountains is working to revive the Maturano grape.

Tyler Colman aka Dr. Vino answers questions about the 25% tariff imposed on wines imported from France, Spain and Germany.

Alfonso Cevola considers the role of the wine ambassador.

In VinePair, Kate Dingwall interviews winemaker Gérard Bertrand.

“Agustin F. Huneeus, the Napa vintner who pleaded guilty for his role in the college admissions scandal dubbed “Varsity Blues” by the FBI, has been sentenced to five months in prison,” reports Mitch Frank in Wine Spectator.

Daily Wine News: Talk About Tariffs

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-07-2019

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

“By isolating current and future American winemakers from the most powerful wine markets in the world, the U.S. is endangering the industry’s creative, technical, and economic futures in ways that are both abstract and very, very real.” In VinePair, Emily Saladino reacts to the news that there will be a 25 percent tariff on wine imports from France, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom, effective Oct. 18.

In Bloomberg, Charles Penty talks to wineries, cheesemakers, and other producers about how the tariffs will affect exports.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on the reasons why California wineries are planning price hikes. “Currently, 2017 California red wines are hitting stores. Because of fires that year, there are fewer wines available, and a supply shortage usually allows wineries to raise prices. The timing is perfect to cash in, because 2018 was a huge crop year and 2019 is shaping up to be another, so much so that wineries are reporting leaving grapes on the vines because their tanks are full. Wineries could raise prices in this short-supply year and reap tremendous benefits next year.”

Jancis Robinson offers a survey of the 2019 northern hemisphere vintage.

Lisa Denning explores Rioja’s best wine tourism experiences in Grape Collective.

In Decanter, Simon Woolf highlights Bordeaux’s top biodynamic and organic producers. (subscription req.)

On WineBusiness.com, Jim Gordon explores “wine’s apathy problem.”

On his Good Vitis blog, Aaron Menenberg pairs wines with Goldfish and suggests some other unexpected combos.