Daily Wine News: Armenia’s Wine-Drinking Renaissance

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-08-2021

Vineyards of Artashat in Armenia (Wikimedia)

In the Week, Andrew Connelly reports on how Armenian winemakers are working toward recovery after war. “Armenia has one of the world’s oldest wine industries — archaeologists have unearthed fragments of jugs and presses dating back more than 6,000 years. But the country’s turbulent history has held it back from becoming a Napa Valley of the Caucasus… But in the last decade, Armenia has experienced a wine-drinking renaissance.”

On Wine Anorak, Jamie Goode offers a study of Zweigelt, and asks: Is Austria’s “Merlot” capable of greatness?

In PUNCH, Miguel de Leon highlights Mary Taylor’s collection of natural wines. “Taylor wants to make noise in the industry’s “boys clubs,” right down to the labels, which stand intently opposed to the natural wine scene’s obsession with surreal, abstract label art—a genre I call “My Kid’s Drawings That Should Have Stayed on the Fridge”—and its tendency to focus on atypical varieties and emergent regions. Her labels are meant to evoke steadfast tradition and an easygoing classicism, and the wines themselves impart an attitude of “you should know this.””

In Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss charts the rise of Pinot Noir in an “ocean of Sauvignon Blanc” in Sancerre. “These wines are succulent in rich black cherry tones, lifted by acidity that comes from picking the grapes at just the right moment, and not from under-ripeness. They show all that effort put into growing Pinot Noir in the chalk soils of Sancerre was worth it—that there was a logic to putting the red vines among the ocean of Sauvignon Blanc.”

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher are optimistic about what’s to come for wine in 2021.

Cameron Hughes has done something unthinkable—made fine wine private labels and reinvented how consumers buy wine. In Meininger’s, Jeff Siegel explores the story.

Daily Wine News: What It All Means

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-07-2021

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley explains what the mega-deal between Gallo and Constellation means for supermarket wine, and the implications of the sale for the California wine world. “During the last two harvests, the limbo state of the Gallo-Constellation transaction has caused considerable instability in the grape markets, since many farmers who had fruit contracts for the brands in question didn’t know if they’d suddenly be working with a new company at harvest time. Now, at least, everyone knows where the chips have fallen.”

Does lower yield mean better wine? Alex Russan investigates the enduring wine myth in Wine-Searcher.

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Archibald talks to wine shop owners about advice they have for those considering opening one of their own—with special advice for opening one during the age of Covid-19.

On WineBusiness.com, Cyril Penn looks at how Covid-19 has strained the wine supply chain.

Zach Geballe considers how the sommelier profession will forever be changed after Covid-19 in VinePair.

In Meininger’s, Jeff Siegel looks into whether there’s a great wine can shortage or not.

“The U.S. government has opted not to redefine moderate drinking,” reports Mitch Frank in Wine Spectator. “On Dec. 29, the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2020–2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. While there were some changes, the guidelines left the federal recommendations on alcohol—that women drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day and men drink no more than two—unchanged.”

Daily Wine News: $810 Million Acquisition

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-06-2021

(Photo credit: E. & J. Gallo Winery)

Gallo has finalized a $810 million purchase from Constellation, one of the biggest wine acquisitions in history, reports Esther Mobley. The acquisition incudes more than 30 brands (including Arbor Mist, Black Box, Clos du Bois, Estancia, Franciscan, Hogue, Manischewitz, Mark West, Ravenswood, Taylor, Vendange, and Wild Horse).

Diversity and inclusion efforts are key to the American wine industry’s future, says Betsy Andrews in VinePair. “What impact will all these diversity efforts have? How will American winemaking evolve with the involvement of ambitious young people like Darwin Acosta? A commitment to diversity has moral value in itself. Yet, there are myriad nuts-and-bolts benefits, too. The transformation is in its nascency, but for an industry that has long attracted investors and collectors from white male-dominated sectors like finance, asserting the tangible advantages of diversity can help it become a matter of course. That’s important because diversity is essential to the health and future of the wine industry.”

In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox explores three regions’ sustainability initiatives, which “can certainly include organic and biodynamic initiatives, but could also include, say, greener packaging or solar-powered production lines.”

Archaeologists have been studying three Roman-era wine barrels found in Reims in 2008. Rupert Millar reports on their findings in the Drinks Business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Taylor Tobin offers an introduction to semi-sparkling wines, which “offer a different flavor experience than their fully sparkling cohorts. Some experts also believe that the less intense fizz makes them better suited to food pairings.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto looks back on the challenges of 2020 and the lessons from it that we can learn for wine.

Daily Wine News: Pandemic Drinking

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-05-2021

Pandemic drinking did not save the wine industry’s slowing sales, reports Esther Mobley, who looks at new data in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on new wine tariffs the Trump administration has hit France with, which go into effect on January 12.

As COVID-19 cases surge in South Africa, along with a more contagious strain of coronavirus, the government imposed a fresh shutdown on all alcohol sales. Aleks Zecevic considers the impact in Wine Spectator.

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph looks at how 2020 changed our wine social life. “Without Zoom, I doubt I’d have been able to ‘meet’ D’Lynn Proctor and André Mack, Gary Obligacion, and Tanisha Townsend and talk about diversity in the wine world, as we did in one of the early Real Business of Wine sessions. I look forward to many more such discussions next year.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Anne Krebiehl delves into the differences between high- and low-elevation wines.

Also in Wine Enthusiast, Stacy Briscoe looks at how New World wineries are cultivating pride and profits with old vines.

Italian wine with thrive in the 21st century, says Alfonso Cevola.

O’Neill Vintners and Distillers has acquired Gen Z-oriented Rabble Wines.

Daily Wine News: New Year, New Tariffs

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-04-2021

(Flickr: GoonSquadSarah)

“The Trump administration said it will target more French and German wine and spirits with 25% tariffs starting Jan. 12,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Among the new levies, the U.S. will for the first time apply the 25% levies on wines from France and Germany that exceed 14% alcohol, which had previously been exempt, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre talks to winemakers about 2020, the year that “dropped us to our knees” faced with the twin crises of the pandemic and wildfires.

Jancis Robinson looks at the progress being made on ingredient listings on wine labels.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence reports on how sugar-free styles of Champagne are rising during the age of climate change.

Also in Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig surveys the rise of resurrected wine.

In Forbes, Liza B. Zimmerman talks to Paul Mabray about how the wine world is changing.

Alder Yarrow highlights the wines that helped him survive 2020.

In VinePair, Larissa C. Dubose explains why now is the time to try wines around the world

Daily Wine News: End-of-Year Reflections

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-31-2020

Avaline, one of the so-called “clean” wines to pop up this year. (Credit: Avaline Wines)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers his thoughts on the clean wine movement. “If political, environmental and ethical considerations enter into your decisions about which foods to buy, they should inform your wine-buying as well. But let’s not rationalize wine as healthful. The reason anybody should seek out minimally processed wine made from conscientiously farmed grapes is not because it is healthier but because it is better. It’s an aesthetic choice, not a medical or “lifestyle” decision. No matter how a wine is made, it contains one inherently dangerous substance: alcohol.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley highlights the most overlooked wine stories of 2020.

Wine Spectator remembers the innovators, luminaries, friends and family of the wine industry who died this year.

The Economist looks into China’s fascination for Chilean wine. “The absence of tariffs helps. Since Chile signed a trade deal with China in 2006, the value of its wine exports to that country has rocketed from $5m to $250m in 2019. Another factor is Chile’s ability to make wine that is specially branded and packaged for the Chinese market, known in the trade as “private-label” wine.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Laura Neilson explores a new generation of wine clubs (subscription req.)

On Wine Anorak, Treve Ring explores the wines of Champagne Agrapart & Fils, founded in 1894.

In Grape Collective, Jackson Mattek talks with Cath and Kingsley Edwards from the Ashbrook Estate about the potential of western Australia’s Margaret River.

Antonio Galloni looks back on 2020 in Vinous.

Daily Wine News: Better With Age

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-30-2020

Photo via Wikimedia

A new study suggests appreciation of wine grows with age. Linda Geddes explores the details in the Guardian. “Changes in the composition of our saliva and how much of it we produce appears to intensify our perception of smokey and peppery aromas in red wine, new research suggests.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Derek Brown explores the new wave of non-alcoholic sparklers.

Also in Wine Enthusiast, Matt Kettmann charts the rise of California’s Central Coast wineries. “The best of these brands aren’t content to remind us of yesteryear. They’re also focused on the future, evolving constantly to compete with the best wines in the world.”

In Decanter, Chris Mercer looks back at 2020’s top wine stories.

“Paolo Foradori, an Alto Adige pioneer, passed away on December 22, 2020, at the age of eighty-five,” WineBusiness.com shares. “Foradori helped to write the history not only of the J. Hofstätter Estate Winery in Tramin, but in particular also that of the culture of winegrowing in Alto Adige and Italy.”

“South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reimposed a ban on alcohol sales and ordered the closure of all bars Monday as part of new restrictions to help the country battle a resurgence of the coronavirus, including a new variant,” reports AP.

In Slate, Seth Stevenson explores what makes Manischewitz the ultimate nostalgia product.

Daily Wine News: 2020/2021 Reflections

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-29-2020

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy considers the ways wine will change in 2021. “Expect many of 2020’s trends to evolve in 2021—the health and wellness alcohol-free drinks boom, the canned and boxed wine movement, vino from extreme regions—helped along by new digital and AI technology innovations, even if everyone really dreams of returning to sharing wine with others outside their homes.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto shares what his experience having Covid has been like.

In Decanter, Peter Richards spoke to winemakers in six different nations to find out how they and their teams coped during a year like no other.

In Vinous, Neal Martin reflects on 2020 and the most memorable bottles of wines he tasted.

On Loam Baby, R.H. Drexel shares her top 25 wines of 2020.

PUNCH editors and writers on what drink trends should disappear in 2021, and which ones should stay.

In the World of Fine Wine, London-based Australian wine merchant Greg Andrews remembers the much-loved and respected Taras Ochota, maverick winemaker behind Ochota Barrels, who died on October 12 at the age of 49.

How long does a bottle of opened wine stay good for? “The short answer is: as long as it still tastes good to you,” says Alder Yarrow.

Daily Wine News: The Chronicle Not Naming Winemaker of the Year

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-28-2020

Instead of honoring a single winemaker this year, the San Francisco Chronicle is recognizing individual wines. “We’re in the business of storytelling, and we chose figures who could, through a detailed profile of their careers, illuminate something true about what was happening in the world of California wine in that period. Zeroing in on one person who can accomplish that is always a daunting task, but in this extraordinary year it also felt like a futile one. Who could possibly contain the multitudes of 2020?”

In the Washington Post, climate reporter Sarah Kaplan covers an experimental vineyard in Bordeaux seeking to save the region’s wine from climate change.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray looks at Gallo’s new line of high-quality brandy, called Argonaut.

On JancisRobinson.com, Tamlyn Currin reviews Wine Girl by Victoria James and Tasting Victory by Gerard Basset.

Mary J. Blige talks about her new wine label, visiting Italy and her latest Netflix projects in Wine Spectator.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, considers how Dry January and the rise of non-alcoholic beverages is affecting wine.

In VinePair, Katie Brown raises a cake to Champagne cakes.

Daily Wine News: Reflecting on 2020

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-23-2020

“The jolts of 2020 have been an education. The lesson is care: Covid has taught us to care for each other; fire and other climate disasters insist we now care for the atmosphere and the biosphere. We cannot afford more carelessness,” writes Andrew Jefford in Decanter. “Across this month, we’ll all sit down to taste the best wines we can. Each is a message from somewhere: ‘this place is special’. Every wine resumes a season, a climate narrative; every wine tells a story of human partnership with nature. Its passage to your table comes at some environmental cost, and that we must rectify; but wine’s 8,000-year history is also proof that we can draw sustenance and joy from our environment without causing it damage. Quite the contrary: wine inspires care.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Ian Le Guillou reports on how scientists are using discarded tannins to create plastics that could extend the shelf life of packaged food.

In Atlas Obscura, Rafael Tonon explores the tradition of Turriculae, an ancient Roman wine with added seawater that winemakers are experimenting with again today.

In Bloomberg, Barossa Valley winemakers speak about the impact of China’s wine tariff.

On WineBusiness.com, Peter Mitham reports on the latest off-premise wine sales stats.

In Forbes, Cathrine Todd profiles Jules Taylor, a female New Zealand winemaker celebrating 20 years of her own wine brand.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague highlights value sparkling wines.