Daily Wine News: Label Law

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-29-2022

“Future regulations may require wine labels to list ingredients and nutritional information, a move welcomed by some winemakers and resisted by others,” reports Kenny Martin in Wine Spectator. “Do increased labeling regulations, particularly around ingredients, truly stand to serve the interests of consumers, winemakers, and the industry at large? Many winemakers hope that greater transparency will help wine drinkers make more informed choices. On the other hand, some in the industry fear that transparency about ingredients and additives, many of which have unfamiliar and perhaps even scary names, could turn off potential consumers.”

It may not have the fame of Rioja or Ribera del Duero, but Toro has the oldest Tempranillo plantings in Spain, and Moët Hennessy is on a mission to secure their future by raising the reputation of this region. Patrick Schmitt reports on their efforts in the Drinks Business.

There are seven exciting new winegrowing regions across Washington, Oregon, and California. Kelly Magyarics breaks down what you need to know about these new West Coast AVAs in SevenFifty Daily.

Kathleen Willcox and Robin Shreeves explore the future of sparkling wine in the Finger Lakes.

Is the wine industry immune to inflation? In Inside Hook, Kirk Miller reports that wine prices have barely risen, which is good news for consumers but troubling for wine producers.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray also explores how inflation is affecting wine prices. “I can tell you that this has been a theme since the pandemic started: wineries want to raise prices but they can’t, even though their own prices are going up. Sometimes big distributors push back against price increases and have the power to do so; sometimes consumers push back”

In Decanter, Sara Schneider highlights four champions of sustainability in the California wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Two-Buck Chuck’s Wine Legacy

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-28-2022

“First, I will say that I was not a fan of the wine or the man…How were the grapes farmed, and who provided the labor? What steps were taken at the winemaking facility to ensure some semblance of consistency, since the sources of the wine changed year to year? We can only guess.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov considers the cost of Two-Buck Chuck to the wine business. “Two-Buck Chuck did not damage American wine culture. But Mr. Franzia relentlessly told American wine drinkers that no wine could possibly be worth more than $10…His message not only promoted his own company’s products, it also destroyed the notion that any wine could be better.”

“Many Bay Area wine drinkers might not be able to point out Redwood Valley on a map, but they’ve probably tasted Redwood Valley wine. This little-known slice of inland Mendocino County has become the go-to vineyard region for some of California’s most popular young wine producers,” writes Esther Mobley, who explores how climate change is transforming the region. “But the last three years have dealt Redwood Valley one devastating blow after another. Drought, frost and fires have decimated the crops, particularly in older vineyards. Many grapevines last year yielded less than 10% of the output of an average harvest. Other vines collapsed entirely, reaching the end of their life spans. Some farmers in the region said it’s been the most difficult period they’ve ever experienced.”

In Wine-Searcher, Caroline Henry reports on Champagne’s “blissful” harvest.

For the first time in several years, sales of Burgundy wines have fallen in some markets. In supermarkets, “sales fell by 25.2% by volume and 16.7% in revenue over the first eight months of 2021/2022”, said Laurent Delaunay, vice-president of the Burgundy wine bureau BIVB. Vitisphere has the details.

How bad are law violations in the US wine industry? Pretty bad, finds David Morrison.

Sarah Linn highlights Mexican Americans working in the wine industry.

Emily Saladino explores muscadine wine in Wine Enthusiast.

Daily Wine News: Tempranillo’s Longevity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-27-2022

Tempranillo grapes from Rioja. (Wikimedia)

Jancis Robinson praises Tempranillo’s potential longevity. “My guess is that the average wine enthusiast most readily thinks of Cabernet Sauvignon as the grape variety that makes the longest-living reds in the world, though there might be the odd vote for Nebbiolo. But think again. Spain’s most-revered grape Tempranillo is very possibly the strongest candidate.”

In Wine Spectator, Kristen Bieler explores Israeli wine, including a deep dive into the stylistic changes charting a new course for the country’s wines.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher check in on and old favorite—Amarone—and consider the ways in which their palates have changed over the last few decades. “It’s not so much that the wine tastes the same to us, though it does. It’s that it gives us the same feelings. Even if we could afford Amarone on a regular basis now, we don’t think we’d buy it as often as we once did, in the same way we don’t eat as heartily or as late as we once did. It has more to do with lifestyle than palate.”

“After a summer when drought, heat and wildfires have brought the subject of climate change to the front of everyone’s minds, tasting the 2021 Mosel vintage seems all the more remarkable: a cool throwback to an bygone era of high acidity and steely, taut wines that may challenge when young, but will reward patient cellaring,” says Richard Woodard in the Drinks Business.

On WineBusiness.com, Kerana Todorov talks to California winemakers about the challenging 2022 harvest.

Lindsay Tramuta offers tips for how to find the best wines from the Loire Valley in Food & Wine.

Wine Market Council alongside EthniFacts LLC underscores the need for authentic cross-cultural wine products, packaging, and marketing aimed at the ever-growing Hispanic and African American populations.

Daily Wine News: Natural Wine a Scam?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-26-2022

“A very natural wine.” (Flickr: Chris Pople)

Is natural wine a scam? Jesse Hirsch delves into the research in the New York Times. “If you enjoy how natural wine tastes, or if you want to support sustainable farming, then go ahead and drink it. But just know that it may not be the superior health choice you may have thought it was.”

Elsewhere in the New York Times, Valeriya Safronova explores Vienna’s wine taverns. “As fall and the harvest season arrive, the city’s residents grasp for one last bit of summer and head by the thousands to the vineyards to spend just a few more weekends drinking and eating in the sun. There to host them are wine taverns known as heurigen — a word that refers to both young wine and to the establishments themselves…Once the domain of the older generations, heurigen have begun to attract more and more young people.”

“Recent news from abroad has it that Eataly has had a change of ownership. Investindustrial, headed up by Andrea Bonomi, has acquired 52% (majority) share for about $200 million. Not a ridiculous amount for a concept that started almost 20 years ago,” reports Alfonso Cevola.

Decanter publishes an excerpt from Andrew Jefford’s new book, Drinking with the Valkyries. ““I urge every reader to enjoy wine thoughtfully, which means seeing it in its largest context: not only a way for us to celebrate what we have, but to ensure it has a future. Ground your wine-drinking in discovery; let it bring you closer to the earth, to the other, to difference and to place; use it to deepen friendship, family ties, shared experiences, human solidarity, planetary custodianship.”

In Eater Chicago, Chasity Cooper highlights the Midwest’s best wineries to visit in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy on the drama, heartbreak, and hope that comes along with wine harvest season.

In the Wall Street Journal, Nick Kostov reports on how French growers are changing the grape varieties they grow and reshaping landscapes in an attempt to protect their vineyards from rising temperatures.

Jessica Dupuy offers a complete guide to orange wine in VinePair.

Wine Reviews: Two Hands Shiraz

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 09-24-2022

Syrah is my favorite grape, and I love all of its great iterations.

In a world of increasing uncertainty and change, I find Two Hands wines to be refreshingly reliable. I first tried Two Hands in 2007 or so, and I was a newb and venturing into more “serious” bottles while trying to spend my money wisely. That’s when I tasted some of Two Hands’ Australian Shiraz, and I was hooked. A few years later, I shared a 2002 Ares Shiraz with friends, and the experience was exquisite. It was such a memorable, singular bottle and time that I became a life-long fan.

That said, it had actually been a while since I opened a Two Hands wines, so I was excited to attend a virtual tasting with co-founder Michael Twelftree. When he and his co-founder decided in 1999 to pursue making great Aussie Shiraz and marketing it to the world, I wonder if they imagined it would turn out so well. As a lover and student of wine, I respect this winery’s approach, from the consistency and quality of the wine (of course – that’s first), to the diverse range they produce, to the whimsical yet meaningful names, the label design and marketing. It seems like a team that take their work very seriously, but not themselves too seriously.

Coming from a background in construction, Michael fell in love with wine at an in-store tasting (just like me) and said, “this magical world of wine unfolded before me.” He continued: “We are always trying to think of everything we do through the consumer’s perspective.” Its a stated goal that rings true to me, as a consumer of these wines.

A long-time player in the U.S. market, he also acknowledged it can be difficult to convey regional differences in Australia, from the purple-fruited but coastal-influenced McLaren Vale wines to the deeper, more concentrated juice from Barossa. But the more time you spend with these wines, especially when tasting them together, those regional nuances and signatures start to become evident. While I drink far more Syrah from France and the U.S., I love that Two Hands consistently provides Shiraz (and other wines), that speak so eloquently of their place.

While the winery has expanded to acquire new sites in recent years, I found the same quality and vibrancy in this recent tasting that I remember from years and years ago. The alcohol is kept in check, which makes these wines lively and refreshing, and the oak is also used sparingly and efficiently. If you’ve never tried Two Hands, or if you’re of the opinion Australian wines just aren’t for you anymore, I’d urge you to reconsider. As long as this crew continues doing what they’re doing, there will always be a welcome spot on this Cornas-lover’s table for Two Hands wines.

These wines (all 100% Shiraz) were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Kosher Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-22-2022

“The selection of kosher wines available in the U.S. has expanded immensely beyond sweet wines made from table grapes — most notably, Manischewitz — in the past 20 years. High-end kosher wines from Israel, Europe and California have replaced cheap and overly sugary wines on the table at weekly Shabbat dinners and on Jewish holidays, like Passover and Rosh Hashanah,” writes Jess Lander in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Jewish drinkers know they have more high-quality options than ever, but…They are still fighting against the stigma that kosher wine has carried for more than 100 years, ever since more than 1 million Jews migrated to New York and could find only Concord grapes for their religious wine needs. The grapes made bitter wine, so they sweetened it up — often with corn syrup.”

Exciting new developments and significant investment across the continent have led to a surge in the number of sparkling wines coming out of South America, with a wide variety of styles to be explored. Amanda Barnes explores the scene in Decanter.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy checks in on how major wine regions fared in this extremely challenging summer.

Jamie Goode shares highlights from a tasting of Château d’Yquem, “the world’s most famous sweet wine.”

In Smithsonian Magazine, Lauren Oster delves into the science behind nonalcoholic wine.

On JancisRobinson.com, James Lawther offers an update on the 2022 Bordeaux harvest.

A collective of alternative Bordeaux winemakers officially launched as the Union des Vignerons Bordeaux Pirate on Thursday, 15th September, reports Jacopo Mazzeo in Decanter.

Daily Wine News: Time to Buy?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-22-2022

(Flickr: market208)

In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox offers insight into how fine wine is faring, and why now may in fact be the ideal time to invest.

In Wine Spectator, Tim Fish catches up with Lynn Penner-Ash, who’s retiring after four decades in the wine business after selling her namesake winery to Jackson Family Wines in 2016. “Jackson Family has invested in Oregon extensively in recent years, and the Penner-Ash brand has been a star.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley offers some tips on how to tell if a wine was farmed with Roundup (hint: not easily). “Some wine bottles make it easy for you, by carrying a little seal from one of the certification programs. Look for the following logos: USDA Organic, CCOF Organic, Demeter (a.k.a. biodynamic), Regenerative Organic Certified, Agriculture Biologique or Biodyvin (the latter two for European wines). But, confusingly, not all organically farmed grapes will end up in a bottle with an organic logo. That might be because a farmer farms organically but has chosen not to obtain a formal certification, for one reason or another. Since these certifications take several years to obtain, a farmer might have to wait a few years after starting to farm organically before their wines can reflect it. It’s also possible for a wine’s grapes to be organic but the wine itself to not be organic.”

Dave McIntyre charts the Mission grape’s comeback in the Washington Post.

The National Association of American Wineries shares their economic impact study of the wine industry, which VinePair sums up well here.

On JancisRobinson.com, Walter Speller makes the case for aging Gavi.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy looks at how the visionary class of ’72 created California’s wine wonderland.

Daily Wine News: Smoke Show

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-21-2022

Uploaded to flickr by Kyle May

In Wine Enthusiast, Kate Dingwall looks at how White Pinot Noir is emerging amidst wildfires in Oregon and British Columbia. “While Pinot Noir is famously known as the heartbreak grape for its inability to adapt to change, it’s arguably time to reconsider the moniker. Going back decades, white Pinot Noir has proved a solution for West Coast winemakers under duress.”

Oliver Styles is also thinking about Pinot Noir in Wine-Searcher, namely why you can’t approach a glass of it like you would another red wine such as Syrah or Cabernet.

In the World of Fine Wine, Andrew Jefford explores dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, and wonders why the ones from Saumur, Vouvray and Montlouis are overlooked.

Reduced planting density initiative was approved in Champagne, reports Decanter, bringing the mandatory density planting of 8,000 vines per hectare down to approximately 6,000.

Alfonso Cevola is feeling the effects of inflation. “We…find ourselves looking at wines costing $200, watches costing $20,000 and cigars costing $100. Something’s gotta give…The thing is, for many of us, wine and watches, and to a lesser extent, cigars, are everyday items. Common things. Something that we think are within our grasp. But when they start becoming unattainable, even for folks with a little money in their bank accounts, what is it saying about who we are as a people?”

According to the Drinks Business, a joint project between the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux and China, the gargantuan Universal Wine Museum in Beijing is set to open its doors to the public in 2024.

PUNCH predicts the drinks trends that will shape this fall.

Daily Wine News: A Hybrid Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-20-2022

Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid grape.

In Smithsonian Magazine, Sarah Kuta looks at how scientists, growers and winemakers are working with experimental hybrid varieties to adapt to the effects of climate change.

In Wine Enthusiast, Jenni McCloud, proprietor of Chysalis Vineyard, discusses the future of the Virginia wine industry and why she’s replanting Norton grapes.

“The EU, which has previously dictated to Europeans such minutiae as the shapes of bananas and cucumbers, is now telling French farmers who have been using Vermentino for years that they may no longer call it that; only Italian wineries may now use the name “Vermentino,’” says W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher. “I tip my hat to the Italians for mastering EU bureaucracy. They forced wineries in Greece’s island of Santorini to stop calling their dessert wines Vin Santo because the Italians asked the EU for the name first. The fact that “Santo” in Greece comes from the name of the island where it’s made – so it’s a place name, whereas in Italy it’s not – did not matter. Italy asked first.”

Alder Yarrow explores what happened with Pix on JancisRobinson.com.

The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade left hospitality workers with even fewer healthcare choices—now some industry professionals are fighting back. Betsy Andrews has the story in SevenFifty Daily.

In the Guardian, David Williams reports on how growers across the planting are having to adjust to extreme conditions in a warming world.

Lettie Teague highlights some of her favorite bottles of Sauvignon Blanc in the Wall Street Journal.

Daily Wine News: White in Gigondas

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-19-2022

Until now, the winemakers of Gigondas, the southern Rhône cru, have only been permitted to bottle reds and rosés under the appellation, but they will be able to produce white wines from the 2023 vintage following a decision by the French appellation authorities. Wine Spectator has the details.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto catches up with Tom Bove—the man who restored the now-famed Château Miraval (before Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bought it)—who has built a side career in Provence restructuring and replanting vineyard properties to farm them organically.

In Meininger’s, Giorgi Iukuridze, co-founder of Shabo, Ukraine’s leading winery, shares his experience of the last seven months—since Russia invaded his country.

Rioja has stepped up an aggressive campaign to “protect” itself against the impending new Basque wine appellation, leaving many growers aggrieved and crying foul. Barnaby Eales reports on the situation in Wine-Searcher.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning explores how Loire Valley vintners are embracing organic wine. “Loire Valley wine producers have been quick to adopt environmentally-friendly farming methods, with 65% of vineyard land now certified, or in the process of being certified, organic, biodynamic or sustainable. Yet clearly, the direction is heading towards chemical-free, with 25% of Loire estates and 18% of the vineyard surface organic, an increase of 29% since 2021.”

The Wall Street Journal remembers Fred Franzia.

Meanwhile, Samantha Sette looks at the complicated legacy of Fred Franzia in Wine Enthusiast. “Regardless of where one’s opinion lands, Two-Buck Chuck is undeniably an iconic American wine. Perhaps there’s a grander point to be made about stateside palates, perhaps not. But one fact is clear: For it, we have Fred Franzia to thank.”