Daily Wine News: Wine Education

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-10-2020

(Flickr: pedrosimoes7)

Terry Theise explains what he sees as what’s wrong with wine education. ““Expert” is a word I really really hate. I want my dry cleaner to be an expert in removing stains, but a “wine expert” is a pathetic thing to aspire to be. And there is Thing-1 that’s wrong with wine education. Its frame of reference is unfriendly, even hostile. If I were a wine teacher, I’d want to make people comfortable with wine by first being comfortable with themselves as receivers of flavor and texture, so that their ordinary happiness with wine can flow unimpeded.”

Why is there so much celebrity rosé? Gabrielle Moss looks into the category in Wine Enthusiast. “A celebrity endorsement goes a long way to change consumer sentiment, especially if someone may have once associated rosé with their mom’s lipstick-stained glass of white Zinfandel.”

Price cuts have delivered an unexpected rise in sales for Bordeaux 2019v, reports Andrew Catchpole in Harpers.

In Vinous, Neal Martin tackles the growth of English sparkling wine. “Nothing extraordinary or unusual underlies the ascendency of the English wine industry in recent years…once investment began to pour into the industry, winemaking had to become financially viable. That meant that you could not get away with selling substandard fare.”

Jamie Goode offers a quick primer on grape vine trunk disease.

In the Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty remembers Anthony Terlato. (subscription req.)

In VinePair, Tim McKirdy explores the use of copper in vineyards, as well as some copper alternatives.

Daily Wine News: Pandemic Burdens

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-09-2020

“According to the California Wine Institute, 97% of all U.S. wineries produce under 50,000 cases of wine annually, and they are expected to lose between 36% to 66% of their revenue in 2020 because of the pandemic. Wineries producing 1,000 to 5,000 cases are expected to lose 47.5% of their revenue, and wineries producing under 1,000 cases will lose as much as 66% of revenue,” reports Thomas Pellechia in Forbes. “The total U.S. wine revenue loss in 2020 could be $5.94 billion.”

In Esquire, New York-based sommelier Amanda Smeltz pens an essay about how losing her sense of smell due to Covid-19 caused her to reconsider wine and wealth. “With the loss of smell, the temporary loss of the ability to sense wine altogether, and perhaps with it a job, I was reminded, sharply, that our culture does not teach us what is important outside of the practice of amassing wealth and fancy goods. Or at least, it’s not a lesson taught prominently. And even after the pandemic exposed again all the intense economic imbalances involved with wine and restaurants, I don’t know that our culture will agree to relinquish the tight connection between money and wine.”

As more producers shift away from chemical treatments, vineyards are becoming more experimental around pest control. In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig explores how winemakers are waving goodbye to pesticides.

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig covers Beaujolais Blanc.

In Food & Wine, Camille Berry explores sparkling wines from Canada’s Okanagan Valley.

Just 0.1% US winemakers are Black. Elin McCoy suggests ways we can start changing that.

The UK wine trade has “significant” problems with ethnic diversity and discrimination in the work place, according to a new report.

Daily Wine News: Embrace the Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-08-2020

Screwcaps and wine cans have offered consumers new and easier ways to get acquainted with wine. It’s time the Bag-in-Box got just as much respect, says Robert Joseph in Meininger’s.

In the Daily Beast, Victoria James talks to the sommelier Tonya Pitts from San Francisco’s One Market about her career, the need for diversity in the wine world, and her plans for the future.

What does the “new normal” look like for Italy, 7 weeks in? In the Buyer, Michèle Shah talks to producers in Lombardy, Tuscany, Sardinia, Veneto and Sicily to find out.

As Singapore gradually reopens, JancisRobinson.com contributor Richard Hemming offers insight into how the city-state is adapting to post-Covid life, and how wine consumption has been affected.

In Wine Enthusiast, Jermaine Stone considers the powers of wine and hip hop when they’re combined. “As Fritz Hatton, the greatest wine auctioneer to ever grace the podium, once said, “wine is the social equalizer.” Now, with hip hop as a conduit, we have the opportunity to bridge cultures in a way neither has in the past.”

Has the Champagne bubble burst? Change is on the horizon, says Tyson Stelzer in Decanter. (subscription req.)

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague highlights the best wines to drink with salmon. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Pivotal Moment

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-07-2020

“We are writing this column now because we are at a flex point in wine, wine appreciation and wine education. The people who make it and sell it and serve it are struggling for their very survival. It’s terrifying for them and we feel for them. However, if there were ever a time for hard truths to be reckoned with, for introspection, re-evaluation and perhaps renewal, that time is now.” In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher address the current state of the wine industry in a post titled “How Wine Can Stop Its Return to an Era of Snoot.”

In Wine Spectator, Gillian Sciaretta reports on Spain’s wineries as the country begins to reopen. “The impact on Spain’s economy, especially the hospitality sector, has been devastating. As the country slowly begins to unwind its months-long lockdown, wineries and grapegrowers across all regions are strategizing both short-term and long-term plans in an effort to keep their businesses alive.”

“Dom Pérignon or Krug? The ultimate first-world problem. But the rivalry between these two famous prestige champagnes from LVMH, the luxury brand owner par excellence, is fun to observe, even if you’d never dream of spending £150 on a bottle of champagne. Each has a new winemaker charged with maintaining their marked differences.” Jancis Robinson compares the two Champagne houses.

In Wine Enthusiast, Stacy Briscoe looks at the unique challenges custom crush facilities are facing in a pandemic-era wine industry.

Also in Wine Enthusiast, I explore how my DNA kit results made me reconsider my own genealogy as it relates to wine.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes rosé, on the most recent Wine School and announces what’s up next: Verdicchio di Matelica.

Daily Wine News: Alpine Mendocino

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-06-2020

(Source: Rootdown Cellars)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on winemakers in Mendocino County making Alpine-style wines. “Do these developments run the risk of looking faddish? Sure. In recent years Alpine wines have become darlings of sommeliers, celebrated on hip restaurant wine lists. But could they fall out of favor with the hipster set just as quickly? Is it worth years of toil and financial expense that these three winemakers are committing? They say yes…”

In Wine Enthusiast, Brad Japhe explores the role of the garagiste in today’s wine culture. “Garagistes are not uniquely, or even originally, American. Still, their philosophy is particularly amenable to the New World, where winemakers are unencumbered by centuries of tradition and rule-breaking gets romanticized in the retelling.”

In VinePair, Shana Clarke reports on a new winemaking technology called flash détente that is catching on.“It’s a fairly simple process: Fruit is crushed and de-stemmed, then pumped into the flash détente machine. That mash is heated for about three minutes to a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, then pumped into a vacuum chamber, where it is rapidly cooled. It’s in this vacuum process where the magic happens; the cell structure of the grape explodes, releasing tannins and color compounds. Ten percent of water is also removed, resulting in more concentrated flavors.”

“It is time for the wine industry to stop taking safe stances in order to keep its primarily white audience comfortable.” In the Guardian, Fiona Beckett talks to black wine professionals about the growing demand and desire for representation from black consumers.

In the Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider on why the 2019 vintage of Bordeaux is shaping up to be an incredible value.

Stony Brook University chats with alum Alice Feiring about her journey in wine and writing.

Wine Reviews: Monticello

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-04-2020

Considering today is Independence Day in the United States, I thought it fitting to highlight some recent samples from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I’ve been a big fan and follower of Virginia wine since I moved to Washington, DC, about 12 years ago. I’ve had the privilege to taste many wines from all over the Commonwealth, but this week I’m highlighting wines from the Monticello AVA. Carrying on Thomas Jefferson’s wine vision for this region, some 33 wineries call this area home. The region is centered around Charlottesville, stretching toward the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re ever travelling in the Mid-Atlantic (one can dream of post-pandemic wines, can’t one?) and looking for a wine trail adventure, this is a great place to start.

Stinson Vineyards makes two super-reliable pink wines from Tannat and Mourvedre. I’ve been tasting these wines for years now, and Rachel Stinson’s 2019s are true to form – some of my favorite rosés from the Commonwealth. The three red blends stem from a webinar I attended on the French influence in Virginia wine, curated by a great Virginia wine writer and ambassador, Frank Morgan. Matthieu Finot of King Family, Damien Blanchon of Afton Mountain, and Benoit Pineau of Pollak are all Frenchmen doing exciting things in Virginia, and the state’s wine industry is lucky to have them.

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

Daily Wine News: Bordeaux 2019

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-02-2020

Jeb Dunnuck offers his thoughts on the Bordeaux 2019 vintage. “While it’s always fun to consider similarities to older vintages when trying to understand current wines, given the changes in climate, vineyard management, and winemaking over the past 15 to 20 years, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make these comparisons… The 2019s have the ripe, sexy profiles of a warm, sunny year, yet the beautiful aromatics, terrific purity of fruit, and freshness of a cooler year. In addition, like the top 1982s, they stay light and graceful on the palate and will offer incredible drinking for most of their long lives.”

After Philipponnat has unveiled plans to create an online sales portal, James Lawrence looks at why Champagne houses are now embracing direct-to-consumer sites in Meininger’s.

In Forbes, Chelsea Davis talks to three Black wine experts on their journeys within the wine industry.

On Medium, Miguel de Leon offers some actionable items the wine community can take if it wants to push for diversity, and details how to dismantle white supremacy in wine.

Authorities in Spain and Italy break open two alleged fake wine conspiracies, Barnaby Eales reports in Wine-Searcher.

A rising number of so-called “hobby vineyards” have been coming onto the French wine property market, especially in Bordeaux. Chris Mercer looks into the growing trend in Decanter.

Deborah Parker Wong reports on the threat of ansomia, the loss of taste or smell, caused by Covid-19.

Daily Wine News: Tony Terlato Dies

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-01-2020

Tony Terlato. (Source: Terlato Wine Group)

Tony Terlato, founder of Terlato Wine Group, has died at the age of 86. Mitch Frank reflects on his impact on the world of wine in Wine Spectator. “From the beginning, Terlato was an innovator…He almost single-handedly put Pinot Grigio on the map in the United States.”

The Drinks Business also remembers Tony Terlato.

In 5280 Magazine, Maia Parish speaks out about her experience as a Black female sommelier in Denver. “When I say I am a sommelier, many people ask, “Really?” and tilt their heads to one side. I have noticed that the farther the head tilt, the more ignorant their next questions tend to be. Yes, I am a sommelier and yes, I am Black.”

In Food & Wine, Jaime Brown highlights rosés produced by Black-owned wineries.

A wine bottle made from recycled paperboard, the “Frugal Bottle,” has made its debut in the UK. Decanter receives a sample to try it out.

How much does it cost to produce a bottle of wine? And should those costs be transparent? In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph weighs in.

In PUNCH, Jennifer Fiedler looks at the boom of online wine classes.

In Guild Somm, Bryce Wiatrak delves into the past and future of Chianti Classico and Brunello.

On JancisRobinson.com, British wine merchant Jo Purcell reflects on Hong Kong’s wine revolution.

Daily Wine News: Listening, Learning

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-30-2020

“Whether writers, sommeliers, retailers, farmers or winemakers, black people in the wine world face a barrage of slights, whether small, possibly unconscious hostilities or overt racism. As a result, getting ahead requires a constant, fatiguing effort to pull against the friction of discrimination that slows what for whites would be a natural career progression.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov speaks with nine black wine professionals “with the hope that their shared experiences might result in a deeper conversation and understanding among their peers in the wine world.”

“I got into wine because of its ability to connect people. We share bottles, we share stories, we share our vulnerability and ourselves. I connect with wine in a similar way that allyship and advocacy leads me to connect with my own and others’ humanity. Structures that aim to keep people like me away from this space don’t get the point of why wine exists.” In PUNCH, sommelier Miguel de Leon explains why it’s time to decolonize wine.

Robert M. Parker Jr. is this year’s Decanter Hall of Fame laureate. Andrew Jefford looks back on his legacy. “Robert Parker is the only rock star the wine world has ever produced. By that metaphor I mean a figure whose reach and influence is global, and whose name had a resonance beyond the confines of wine traders, enthusiasts, geeks and nerds.  He not only expanded that circle of enthusiasm colossally, but he altered and lifted the aesthetic parameters of what was possible in every wine-producing region around the world.”

Alder Yarrow explores the wines of Edmunds St. John. “Edmunds is notable, even venerable as a pioneer of California wine. But what makes him truly remarkable is the unswerving consistency of his winemaking vision. Edmunds St. John wines have always had a presence to them, a direction in which they are clearly headed. What they might seem to lack in flash (to some), they more than make up for in simply consistent deliciousness.”

It’s been 15 years since the US Supreme Court voted to allow interstate wine sales. Yet out-of-state commerce is still stuck. Jeff Siegel asks why in Meininger’s.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray shares how Jesse Katz has endured opening a winery in the face of the pandemic.

Daily Wine News: The Threat of Wine Tariffs Is Back

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-29-2020

In Forbes, Jill Barth looks at how wine tariffs may further impact small wine business in 2020, and explains how consumers can weigh in. “The next review is set for later this summer, and that process will again include a public comment portal which will address the goods currently impacted by the Airbus tariffs plus other items including wines from Italy and additional products from Europe.”

The Wall Street Journal reports on how US wine importers are bracing for higher tariffs.

In the New York Times, a pandemic work diary of Napa winery Heitz Cellar CEO Carlton McCoy, the first African-American to run a major winery.

Jancis Robinson provides some updates to her social progress report on South Africa. “A common complaint was that, while Black engagement in the wine industry may have improved a bit quantitatively (the number of Black-owned wine labels, etc), qualitatively there is still a great deal to be done.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe reports on reactions to the new Prosecco Rosé designation. “However, not everyone is thrilled. Producers in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, a separate appellation located north of Venice, strongly oppose the new designation.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre covers recent efforts to make the wine industry more inclusive.

Amber Gibson offers a beginner’s guide to consigning wine in VinePair.