Daily Wine News: Co-Fermentation Experimentation

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-06-2022

In PUNCH, Leslie Pariseau looks at how a handful of natural winemakers is pushing the limits of co-fermentation, aromatizing their wines with everything from chestnut flowers to sumac berries and basil. “Today, a nod to herb-infused and plant-based everything can be observed in the beverages-focused offshoot of wellness, things like Dry Farm Wines’ bolixer label and former Miss USA Nana Meriwether’s Navina line, both of which are low-alcohol, herb- and botanical-infused wines. But a handful of agriculturally focused, low-intervention winemakers across the globe are exploring a parallel path closer to the historical precedent—one that is reconnecting with the vineyard as an ecosystem beyond vines and grapes.”

It’s now against the law to sell a bottle of wine for under 7.4 euros ($8.36) in Ireland. The rule was introduced in an effort to curb alcohol abuse and underage drinking.

There’s changes afoot at JancisRobinson.com, including news that Elaine Chukan Brown has been promoted to the post of executive editor US.

The departure of Château Angélus from the Saint-Émilion classification system is unlikely to affect wine sales, says W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher.

Felicity Carter recommends a new crop of wine books in the Drop.

Daily Wine News: Douro Superior

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-05-2022

The Douro.

Roger Voss explores Douro Superior wines in Wine Enthusiast. “As Douro wines have developed in quantity and quality since the 1990s, so has Douro Superior…Despite being the largest of the three Douro regions (from west to east: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior), the Superior is also the most sparsely planted. Only 23% of the land has vines. In theory, more land to the east as far as the Spanish frontier could be planted, with more wine produced.”

Also in Wine Enthusiast, Mekita Rivas explains the difference between wild and cultivated yeasts.

In Club Oenologique, Richard Woodard explores a smattering of smaller, boutique Cognac producers quietly making their voices heard, and ponders whether this family-owned model can survive.

Peloton has spawned a tight-knit wine drinking community. Aaron Goldfarb has the story in the Drop.

For Wine Industry Advisor, Stacey Briscoe profiles Ali Smith Story, who with her husband and business partner, Eric Story, launched Sonoma-based Smith Story Wine Cellars in 2014.

Amateur winemaking club Garage Enologists of Sonoma County

On JancisRobinson.com, Max Allen explores the evolution of the bag-in-box wine format. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Growing Pains

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-04-2022

In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox explores the rise of American bubbly. “Once considered the sunnier, cheaper and cheesier alternative to the real deal, more and more quality sparkling wine is emerging from the US, especially in California and Oregon. Frequently made on a small scale, in the Méthode Champenoise, from estate grapes (often harvested organically), some see grower sparklers filling the gap created by the logistical and climactic challenges experienced in Champagne.”

Virginia’s wine industry is expanding. “Over the last 10 years, 90 new wineries have opened across the state, which now lists a total of 281 businesses in the directory maintained by the Virginia Wine Board,” reports Kate Masters in the Virginia Mercury. And yet local grape-growing hasn’t caught up with demand. “As the push for locally grown grapes continues to expand, there’s been a focus on Southern and Southwest Virginia, former tobacco territory that’s still working to find its future footing.

When it comes to child-rearing, says Jess Lander in Wine Business, female winemakers and viticulturists need more support, flexibility and company policies in place.

Can wine really ever be natural? Robert Millman says no. “Wines never make themselves. The “natural” destiny of grapes is to become ripe, fall to the ground and either be eaten or for the juice in the grapes to start fermenting spontaneously (naturally), turning eventually into vinegar. So, if we define “nature” as that which develops by itself without any intervention, then wine as wine cannot be natural.”

Could fortified wines be Michigan’s answer to climate change? Julia Coney investigates in VinePair.

Are you part of the Italian wine trade—or any overseas wine trade—looking to come to America right now? Alfonso Cevola warns you not to.

Tom Work highlights “11 Important Facts You Need to Know About the Wine Industry in 2022.”

Norm Roby explores the diverse wines of the Rogue Valley.

Daily Wine News: Tracking CellarTracker

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-03-2022

CellarTracker’s app logo.

CellarTracker, an 18-year-old company survivor whose web and mobile apps help people manage the wines they own, is looking to expand. CNBC talks to founder Eric LeVine about how the site has grown during the pandemic and his plans for the app’s future.

In the Buyer, Richard Siddle examines how diversity and inclusion have become key issues for the drinks and hospitality sectors in 2021 and why in 2022 we all need to look at the personal actions we take.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray implores you to pull corks and pop bottles. “I have never opened a bottle of wine to drink for dinner, tasted it, and thought, “I should have waited five years.” Never. Thus this is my message for you: Let 2022 be a year when you start drinking up your cellar.”

Jancis Robinson revisits her New Year’s wine resolutions to see how she did last year.

Tom Work looks back on the worst things that happened in wine in 2021.

Wine Spectator remembers the standard-bearers, friends and family of the wine industry who died in 2021, including Philippe Cambie, Becky Wasserman, Steven Spurrier and Andrea Franchetti.

The European Union’s exports of sparkling wine to the rest of the world fell [in 2020] for the first time in a decade, reports Reuters. “The COVID-19 pandemic dampened wine trade globally in 2020, the latest year for which data are available…”

Daily Wine News: The Year in Review

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-31-2021

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks back on 2021 and highlights the wine stories that defined the year, covering climate change, “healthy” drinking, equity and access in the wine world, and more.

Small wine producers in Turkey are calling for support to survive amid mounting economic and environmental pressures. Erin O’Brien has the story in Al Jazeera.

In the World of Fine Wine, Joanna Simon reflects on the bottle that meant the most to her this year—a rare lost gem of an Alsace Gewurztraminer that she uncovered during a house move.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, dives into the world of investing in fine wine. “Fine wine investment is a very specialized field and anyone who is interested in taking the plunge is advised to get acquainted with research on the topic, especially including the reports from Liv-Ex, a leading fine wine trading platform.”

In VinePair, Chasity Cooper talks to sommeliers about overrated wines.

Alie Shaper explores Long Island’s orange wines for Northforker.

Michaela Morris explores English sparkling wine in Quench Magazine.

Daily Wine News: Wine Caves

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-30-2021

Some California wineries want to replicate Champagne’s underground wine caves. But should they? Nicole MacKay delves into the appeal of caves in Wine Enthusiast. “Aside from natural temperature control, caves have a firm upper hand for long-term sparkling wine storage. The darkness means that transparent glass bottles won’t see the adverse effects of natural or artificial light…The geological risks of building underground should be heavily weighed before blasting begins. Additionally, the inherent risks of people working below Earth’s surface day-to-day should also be considered.”

Franco Ziliani, the winemaker and revered “founding father” of Northern Italy’s Franciacorta sparkling wine appellation, died of natural causes over the weekend at his home on the shores of the appellation’s Lake Iseo, reports Wine Spectator. The winemaker and co-founder of Berlucchi was 90.

In Club Oenologique, Adam Lechmere profiles Peter Mondavi Jr., who despite being co-proprietor of Napa’s oldest winery, and from a line of legendary winemakers, still has ambitions he’s yet to achieve.

In the Drop, Meg Maker offers a plethora of sparkling wine facts.

Hans van Leeuwen reports on how winemakers are looking to cut emissions by using a new flat bottle design in the Financial Review. (subscription req.)

In Forbes, Liz Thach explores how the International Wineries for Climate Action members are working to decarbonize the global wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Comparisons

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-29-2021

(Flickr: noviceromano)

Is Barolo Italy’s answer to Burgundy and Brunello di Montalcino its Bordeaux? Margaret Rand investigates in Wine-Searcher. “Both wines have been helped by the enormous changes that have happened in the last 10 to 15 years.”

“When Riccardo Campinoti’s family bought some of the highest vineyards around Montalcino in 2002, few had high hopes for the place…The problem with Le Ragnaie, a small estate that climbs to 621 meters (2,037 feet) above the village of Montalcino, was that it sat at an altitude considered too high to produce good, classic Brunello.” But now, as Robert Camuto reports in Wine Spectator, climate change has shown the merits of high-altitude Brunello and other producers are moving up.

Since Alder Yarrow first wrote about the wines of Zorah in 2013, few people had ever heard of wine from Armenia. But that has changed, he says, and “Armenian wine has undergone something of a rebirth, thanks in no small part to Gharibian’s pioneering work as the founder and proprietor of Zorah Wines, an estate that continues to demonstrate the promise and potential of Armenian wine.”

Jamie Goode explores the Crouch Valley in Essex, “a leading region for English still wines.”

In TRINK, Nils Kevin Puls explores the winemakers giving old field blends a new voice.

Elevation affects aging spirits, too. Kara Newman explores the idea in Wine Enthusiast.

Robb Report highlights nearly a dozen sparkling wines for New Year’s Eve.

Daily Wine News: New Discoveries

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-28-2021

(Flickr: Jim Fischer)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, California Cabernet, and announces what’s up next: Orange wines. “Some wine professionals have assailed orange wines, dismissing the style as a passing fad or for emphasizing technique over terroir. We may not be able to resolve these issues with this small sample, but we can at least think about them.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley discovers Haliotide, a new label in San Luis Obispo County that makes small quantities of Champagne-inspired sparkling wine.

English sparkling wine is on the rise, according to the Associated Press.

In Thrillist, Jessica Sulima delves into the world of alcohol-removed wines.

Kenya Foy highlights eight films for wine and food lovers in Wine Enthusiast.

Penta talks with Wine Enthusiast president and publisher Jacqueline Strum about the magazine’s approachability and the industry trends she’s seeing.

In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes talks to Daniele Delaini of Villa Calicantus about going natural in Bardolino.

Daily Wine News: “Normal” Harvest

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-27-2021

A worker hand-harvesting grapes. (Wikimedia)

After four harrowing years of smoke and fires, Bay Area wineries rejoice in a ‘normal’ harvest, reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “In sharp contrast to the last several years, no Wine Country estates were destroyed, no Cabernet grapes tainted by smoke, no fermentations abandoned in the wake of an emergency evacuation order. Many vintners held their breath through the last few months, knowing that the state’s deadliest fire, the 2018 Camp Fire, wasn’t extinguished until Nov. 25. Instead, the region’s fall was smooth and easy — a brief and welcome reprieve from the serial disasters that had led this industry to fear it would never see “normal” again.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Jen Reeder explores how winery dogs are being used to sniff out pests, TCA and other contaminates.

In Fortune, Sheila Marikar looks at the return of luxury travel to Napa after the pandemic lockdown.

Felicity Carter mulls over mulled wine in the Drop.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray talks to Javier Pagés, president of the Cava DO, about the region’s image problems and what’s ahead for the sparkling wine category.

The VinePair staff highlights five drinks trends to leave behind in the new year.

Stephen Finch of Vagabond Wines, a group of wine stores and wine bars around London, responds to Alder’s article on AI and wine published last week, arguing that a much simpler approach will suffice. Vagabond just launched a personalized wine-subscription service, as above, touted as AI-driven.

Daily Wine News: Labor Protests

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-23-2021

“On a cool autumn day last month…Tourists were streaming into Simi Winery to immerse themselves in the storied winery’s Harvest Celebration — at $145 for a ticket, a meal, and, of course, wine pairings. As the well-heeled attendees arrived, a group of farmworkers, their families, and supporters picketed, chanting and playing drums.” In the Intercept, Alleen Brown reports on the Indigenous workers demanding basic labor standards—such as clean water, bathrooms and hazard pay—for working in smoky evacuation zones. “The price tag for the meal, according to North Bay Jobs With Justice, which helped organize the protest, roughly matches what a farmworker gets paid for collecting 1 ton of grapes. The protest organizers, led by workers, had been trying to meet with Simi Winery’s owners since September, but the winemakers never replied.”

In the Drop, Janice Williams on how wine shops are experiencing staffing issues this year. “The pandemic has done a number on small businesses in the U.S., forcing restaurants, bars, and brick-and-mortar establishments to close their doors or significantly reduce staff. However, some wine retailers are experiencing the complete opposite. Now having pivoted from in-store-only sales to delivery and pickup models, some shops around the country actually need more employees — not less — especially during the holiday season.”

A team of researchers from the University of Udine and Istituto di Genomica Applicata, both in Italy, has found evidence that the wine grapes grown in modern times across Europe were first domesticated in the South Caucasus.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray looks at wine prices. “US wine prices are up just 0.37 percent, according to Consumer Price Index information from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is based on the price people pay for the same items from one year to the next.”

Complications of alcoholic cirrhosis, an advanced stage of liver disease, led to the death of a Healdsburg winery worker who was found partially submerged in a grape fermentation tank in October, reports the Press Democrat.

In Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe explores the crisp white wines of Alto Adige.