Daily Wine News: Natural Wine Bar Boom

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-07-2019

Jean_2_natural_wineIn PUNCH, Leslie Pariseau considers the growth of natural wine bars across the country. “In short order, the natural wine bar has been dreamed up in some incarnation in nearly every major city in America. And while some declare their mission more loudly than others, the question of what exactly a natural wine bar is—and should be—remains open to interpretation. No longer influenced solely by French caves à vins, these places are a product of the evolution of the American wine bar itself, cycling from a restaurant with a renegade ethos into a more self-aware iteration with a mandate.”

“For winemakers in California, a new reality is sinking in. It is the second October in three years in which fires have raged across Sonoma… Wine insiders say disaster planning for employees should also be a greater priority. That’s a logistical challenge for most, as wineries are often small businesses with limited technology to deploy for rapid response communication that’s needed in an emergency. There should also be a greater effort to corral local farmers that have water trucks to deploy those resources to help put out fires.” In Fortune, John Kell looks at how the wine industry is reckoning with the impending effects of California wildfires.

In Decanter, Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson talk about the most memorable wines they have tasted.

As trade war clouds gather, France’s winemakers are looking to revive their connection with China, reports Jim Boyce in Wine-Searcher.

In Wine Enthusiast, Kelsey Ogletree offers tips for becoming a sommelier. “Whether you want to make the leap to professional wine taster or just expand your knowledge, many of the same tricks and tips that pros use can help you on your journey, and not all involve expensive wine classes.”

On Guild Somm, Vicky Burt MW shares some advice for WSET students.

In Forbes, Brianne Garrett explores how black women in wine—and their allies—are banding together to achieve better representation.

Also in Forbes, Sandra MacGregor says Switzerland is the next hot wine destination to visit.

Daily Wine News: It’s Time for Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-06-2019

(Flickr: GoonSquadSarah)

(Flickr: GoonSquadSarah)

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross reacts to Julia Moskin’s recent piece on the sexual assault allegations against sommelier Anthony Cailan. “I can’t believe I still have to say this in 2019, but we have to do better at talking publicly about sexual harassment and assault in the wine industry and beyond… Those of us in leadership positions—shop owners, importers, event organizers, winemakers—need to ensure that our bars, restaurants, wineries, festivals, and other events are inclusive and safe for everyone.”

In VinePair, Emily Saladino highlights the work of Wine Empowered, “a nonprofit providing tuition-free education to women and minorities. Co-founders Victoria James, Amy Zhou, and Cynthia Cheng also aim to transform the predominantly white, male wine industry by creating paths to access for women and people of color.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Layla Schlack explores gamay beyond Beaujolais nouveau.

Robert Simonson charts the rise of the porrón in American bars in the New York Times.

Tom Wark reviews Elizabeth Schneider’s new book, Wine for Normal People.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alistair Cooper considers the evolution of Australian shiraz.

Zinfandel Chronicles’ Tom Lee recommends 10 of the top zinfandels he’s tasted this year.

In Town & Country Magazine, Jay McInerney explores the great divide between Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Daily Wine News: After the Fires

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-05-2019

Flickr: Ren Kuo

Flickr: Ren Kuo

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks at how families in the fire-ravaged Alexander Valley fought to save homes and wineries. “The Alexander Valley wine community is unusually close-knit. People who stayed behind helped to defend their absent neighbors’ homes. Friends fed each other’s animals. Communication was constant. And although some faced devastating loss — including the destruction of Soda Rock Winery and of Julia Jackson’s home — the majority of the valley’s wineries, for now, have survived.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone reports on how Sonoma is remaining strong after the Kincade Fire. “Vineyards remain excellent buffers against fire, but it’s also impressive how winemakers know what to do in the cellar with wine that is already fermenting, given the Tubbs fire of 2017 and the Camp fire of 2018.”

“The fire’s impact — which is considerable — was mostly felt by wine industry workers who were unemployed while their job sites and homes were under evacuation orders. And by small, family wineries that sell most of their wares from tasting rooms, which have been closed during this, the end of the high season. And possibly by the 2019 vintage itself.” The Los Angeles Times looks at the devastation and fear left by the fire in Sonoma County.

Katherine Cole reports on how labor challenges affected the 2019 grape harvest in SevenFifty Daily.

Should we lament that the taste of wines have changed? Britt and Per Karlsson consider the answer.

Sarah E. Daniels recommends skin-contant wine for Thanksgiving in Wine Enthusiast.

In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant highlights Orange Glou, an orange wine subscription box.

Daily Wine News: Reckonings

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-04-2019

wine_pour_glass-651694.jpg!dSommelier Anthony Cailan was hailed recently as a rising star in the wine world. Now four women have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse. Julia Moskin investigates in the New York Times. “In every region of the world and at every level, the wine business remains overwhelmingly dominated by men. Women have made some inroads in the last two decades, especially in the niche market of natural wines… But even there, women say they are far from being considered equals. Interviews with more than 30 women in the industry suggest that sexual harassment is routine and sexual assault is pervasive.”

Victoria James considers the lack of diversity in the NYC wine scene in Eater NY. “In the fine dining world, it’s not uncommon for beverage sales to be responsible for a third to half of a restaurant’s sales. To become a wine buyer, one usually trains for years as a sommelier or an apprentice. What is the impact of mostly white men occupying these influential roles?”

In VinePair, Zach Geballe explores the rise of cold-soaking as wine science evolves.

In Quartz, Tim Fernholz reports that French startup, Space Cargo Unlimited, planned to “launch a dozen bottles of the finest wine to the International Space Station on a rocket built by Northrop Grumman. They are believed to be the first glass bottles flown to the orbiting laboratory.”

Château La Tour de Mons has been sold to the Perrodo family, in the largest Bordeaux vineyard sale of the year, reports Sophie Kevany in Meininger’s.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning talks to Laura Catena about her hope that Argentine wine, in her words, “can compete with the greatest wines in the world.”

Chris Mercer takes a look at smoke taint in Decanter.

Daily Wine News: Climate Change & Fire

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-01-2019

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

In the final part of a four-part series on wine and climate change in the New York Times, Eric Asimov looks at how wine producers in Napa Valley are grappling with a maelstrom caused by a warming planet: heat waves, droughts, cold snaps, wildfires and more. “If any region has had an incentive to act collectively to try to limit [climate change’s] effects, it would be Napa Valley.”

The catastrophic Kincade fire may be contained, but is it a sign of things to come? If so, will wine producers have to plan for wild fires? Jeff Siegel looks at the evidence in Meininger’s.

Elsewhere in Meininger’s, Michèle Shah reports on how Alto Adige is preparing for climate change.

Wine Spectator reports that evacuated residents have Sonoma County have started returning home, enabling winemakers to return to their 2019 vintages.

Antonio Galloni explores the Santa Cruz Mountains in Vinous.

In VinePair, Alia Akkam offers a guide to London’s new-wave wine bars.

Jonathan Cristaldi highlights 25 Sonoma wines to drink right now in Yahoo.

Book Authority puts together a list of the 56 best wine books of all time.

Daily Wine News: Away With Wax Seals

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-31-2019

Wine bottle being sealed with wax.

Wine bottle being sealed with wax.

Why do wineries use wax seals when so many people hate them? Aaron Ayscough investigates in Meininger’s.

A new Oregon wine tradition association—The Oregon Wine Council (OWC)—has been formed. Tom Wark looks at what the news means. “…the fact is that the coalition of growers and wineries that seemingly broke away from the Oregon Winegrowers Association to form the Oregon Wine Council is the same coalition of mainly southern Oregon growers and wineries that successfully defeated Oregon Senate Bill 111 earlier this year… Make no doubt about it, both the Oregon Winegrowers Association and the new Oregon Wine Council claim to represent the entirely of the Oregon wine industry. This is somewhat awkward.”

On NPR, winemakers discuss how Italy’s prominent regions are adapting to climate change.

In the New York Times, Besha Rodell is impressed by Melbourne’s energetic wine bar scene.

WineBusiness.com reports that wine journalist Mort Hochstein has died. He was 90.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher explore pinotage’s growing popularity.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, checks out the wine tourism scene in Walla Walla.

It’s time to try pinot noir from Alsace, says James Button in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Wildfires Rage On

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-30-2019

FEMA_-_33311_-_Fire_crew_member_fighting_Poomacha_wildfire_in_CaliforniaIn NPR, Anna Maria Barry-Jester reports on how farmworkers are being impacted by the California wildfires. “For farmworkers in Sonoma County’s fabled wine country, the Kincade Fire poses a daunting set of risks. October marks not only fire season in California, but also the peak of the grape harvest. In areas not imminently threatened, some workers labored through the heat and dangerous smoke to retrieve some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grapes that had yet to be harvested. As the fire continues to spread, many now are finding that their work — and paychecks — have been suspended.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley explores how vineyards helped stop fires from spreading in the Alexander Valley.

In Bloomberg, Angus Whitley reports that China is turning to Australian wine amid an economic slowdown and months of protests in Hong Kong.

In the Wall Street Journal, Bojan Pancevski reports on how climate change is making Scandinavian wine a reality. (subscription req.)

Elsewhere in the Journal, Lettie Teague looks into the term “old vines” and what it really means. (subscription req.)

In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant shares details about Sotheby’s new line of wines, priced from $16.95 to $39.95.

On JSTOR Daily, Lina Zeldovich considers the impact of climate change on the wine industry.

In Forbes, Cathrine Todd tells the story of New Zealand’s Loveblock Winery.

Daily Wine News: Merlot Reborn

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-29-2019

Merlot. (Wikimedia)

Merlot. (Wikimedia)

In GuildSomm, Kelli White charts the rise, demise, and hopeful rebirth of California merlot. “Despite its tragic unhipness, a handful of Merlot loyalists stayed true, preserving the category against great odds. And today, a new wave of winemakers is giving the grape a second look. Unburdened by the baggage still lugged by previous generations, they have opened their hearts to Merlot as if it were a rescue dog—scrappy, kicked around, and desperately in need of a bath, a tummy rub, and a fresh start.”

Jancis Robinson is impressed with the evolution of Greek wines. “Counter-intuitively for its latitude, Greece is best at white wines… Greek reds have improved enormously, and are today much less reliant on imported grape varieties and on the specious make-up of an oaky overlay. It is also becoming clearer which are the real stars.”

As of last night, the Kincade Fire had grown to 66,230 acres and was only 5 percent contained.

“Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines may have started two wildfires over the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, the utility said Monday, even though widespread blackouts were in place to prevent downed lines from starting fires during dangerously windy weather,” reports the Associated Press.

In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig looks at how winemakers around the world are embracing carbonic maceration.

In Vinous, Neal Martin offers his thoughts on the Burgundy 2016 wines.

Jane Anson highlights five Bordeaux vintages worth opening right now in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Tariff Loophole

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-28-2019

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

In NPR, Scott Horsley reports on a Florida company that has found a loophole in the new French wine tariff. “Florida Caribbean Distillers has begun importing truckloads of bulk wine from France and bottling the product at its plant between Tampa and Orlando. That conveniently sidesteps the 25% levy imposed last week…its bulk importing strategy gives the company a serendipitous cost advantage, because the new tariffs apply only to wine in bottles of 2 liters or less.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the wineries that have been impacted by the Kincade Fire, and provides live updates of evacuations and power outages.

In Wine Spectator, Kim Marcus and Mitch Frank offer ongoing updates on the Kincade Fire affecting the Sonoma wine community.

In the third of a four-part series on winemaking and climate change in the New York Times, Eric Asimov looks at how Spain’s Familia Torres, a global producer, is fighting climate change by lowering its emissions and adapting in the vineyards.

In Food & Wine, Kat Kinsman talks to A Balanced Glass co-founder Rebecca Hopkins about why she wants to recalibrate the wine industry into a healthier, happier place to work.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland praises Ian D’Agata’s latest book Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs. “Not only is this a must-read book for students of Italian wine, it’s also a work I can recommend to almost anyone interested in wine in general, thanks to the author’s engaging writing style. It’s one thing to pinpoint soils and clones, while it’s another to describe these topics in a lively fashion.”

Anna Archibald makes a case for drinking wine in Oklahoma City in Wine Enthusiast.

Wine Reviews: Bubbles

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-26-2019

Americans love their bubbles. Even after more than a dozen years of growth, sparkling wine in U.S. is still on the rise, up about 5% last year. And, with the holidays and the New Year coming up, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for inexpensive bubbles.

I recently received some sparkling wines from around the world, most of which come in under $25 — no Champagne here, sorry!

Most of these wines come from Freixenet Mionetto USA, an amalgamation of the two brands known for their Cava and Prosecco, respectively.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »