Daily Wine News: Straw Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-18-2020

Grapes drying on the vine for straw wine. (Wikimedia)

In Wine Enthusiast, Sophia McDonald Bennett breaks down of the various types of straw-dried wines, as well as what to expect from a true straw wine (also known as raisin wine).

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto profiles Stefano Cesari, renowned for his Amarones. Now, he believes “Valpolicella has the potential to be a Burgundy produced in Italy.”

Elsewhere in Wine Spectator, Augustus Weed explores how the past weeks of wildfire smoke on the West Coast will impact the 2020 vintage. “Wineries with vineyards that were near the fires are carefully monitoring their crop this year. Most producers won’t release a wine if it shows any signs of smoke taint exposure. But the loss of those grapes and wines could have a financial and human impact on wineries already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. And the fire season is not over yet.”

In Eater Portland, Brooke Jackson-Gidden reports on the Willamette Valley vineyard workers still picking grapes in hazardous air.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley highlights Alicia Kidd and Mari Kemp, owners of a new Oakland wine bar, CoCO Noir, that celebrates producers from underrepresented backgrounds.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov highlights 12 fresh wines for the transition from summer into fall.

Breanny Ritchey explores wines from the Sta. Rita Hills in Vinous. “The influence of the Pacific Ocean is part and parcel to the magic of the Sta. Rita Hills… Meanwhile, the AVA’s soil map is a puzzle of textures.”

Daily Wine News: California Calling

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-17-2020

An exciting $10 bottle of California wine? San Francisco Chronicle columnist Esther Mobley highlights a selection of Kitson wines, from East Bay vintners Brad and Svetlana Kitson. “It sounds too good to be true, but Brad Kitson says he simply sees the math a little differently than some of his peers. By keeping production costs low, foregoing a brick-and-mortar tasting room and doing all of the distribution themselves, he and Svetlana are able to sell their wines at shockingly reasonable prices and still eke out a little profit.”

Napa Valley Vintners has pledged $1 million to increase diversity in the wine industry.

In the Washington Post, Brooke Van Dam and Steve Johnson report on how Sonoma’s wineries have embraced online sales and budget pricing to woo drinkers during the pandemic.

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph now embraces wine typicity. “To print an appellation or grape variety on a label is to make a promise to a potential buyer; an undertaking to deliver a flavour and style they have good reason to expect… I love atypical, innovative wines, but I don’t like giving surprises to people who aren’t looking for them.”

Gonzaga University Wine Institute announced the launch of its wine certificate program.

Eric Guido explores Italian Verdicchio in Vinous. “The fact is, it may be the most versatile of all of Italy’s white grapes.”

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on the U.S. wine market and what consumers are embracing now.

Daily Wine News: German Wine’s Uncertain Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-16-2020

Mosel Valley vineyards

For years, German wines struggled to get respect in the US market. Finally, Germany gained traction—and then came the Trump tariffs and Covid-19. In Meininger’s. Valerie Kathawala looks at what happened next. “The closure or uncertain future of so many American restaurants has hit German wines particularly hard, as by-the-glass placements and on-premise communication are often essential to getting these niche wines into consumers’ hands. “

In PUNCH, Miguel de Leon reports on Ulli Stein’s approach to winemaking in the Mosel. “Ulli Stein is a man of paradoxes—outspoken yet demure, entrenched in the details but still conscious of the bigger picture. It’s perhaps why he’s drawn to fight for the future of the Mosel, a region known for its tradition of extreme, steep-slope winemaking and, more recently, as a cautionary tale about climate change.”

Loire Valley-based writer Emily Dilling wants to eliminate the word “funky” from the natural wine lexicon. “While trend status is effective in creating excitement around natural wine—and using a basic vocabulary is a great start for talking about wine—clear communication regarding the movement is essential. Not all natural wine should be filed under “funky” and indeed, this does a great many fine natural wines a grave disservice.”

The Almeda fire has destroyed Simple Machine Winery in southern Oregon, reports Michael Alberty in the Oregonian.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy surveys the 2020 wine harvest around the world, and says it may be the most troubled one yet.

On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming looks at who’s writing about wine in China.

Daily Wine News: Climate Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-15-2020

In VinePair, Jess Lander reports on how California winemakers are challenging the status quo and producing a more intense and refined style of Cabernet Sauvignon from significantly cooler sites, which may also fare better — or at least longer — in the face of climate change.

In the Oregonian, Jeff Manning shares the evacuation story of Washington County winery Ruby Vineyard & Winery—and how they’ve seen climate change drastically in recent years.

Alia Akkam reports on how wine auctions are pivoting to the virtual world—and doing so quite profitably—in SevenFifty Daily.

A 2,600-year-old wine “factory” was recently unearthed in Lebanon, according to reports in National Geographic.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher talk to human rights lawyer Angela Scott about her journey to becoming the first Black Master of Wine.

Spain has been hard-hit by coronavirus, reports Gillian Sciaretta in Wine Spectator, but vintners are adapting to rebuild businesses and keep workers safe.

Wine auctions are very specific and special in Germany, and this year’s are just about to start, says Jancis Robinson, with a Covid-induced difference.

Lauren Mowery looks at the many faces of Zinfandel in Wine Enthusiast.

And in other news: Taco Bell is now selling its own custom wine.

Daily Wine News: Harvest Hurdles

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-14-2020

Hand-harvesting grapes. (Wikimedia)

“Around this time every year, thousands of young winemakers-in-training from countries like Australia, Chile, South Africa and Italy descend on the Bay Area to participate in a long-standing, international wine industry tradition: the harvest internship.” But not this year. In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks at how Trump visa restrictions have added another obstacle to California winery harvest season.

In an excerpt from his re-issued The Story of Wine, Hugh Johnson looks into the ancient origins of Spanish wine.

In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox delves into the varying opinions surrounding grape clones.

The Heitz Cellar team has purchased Napa’s Burgess Cellars, reports Wine Spectator, and Meghan Zobeck will take over winemaking duties from Kelly Woods.

Also in Wine Spectator, Suzanne Mustacich reports on Champagne’s struggles, due to Covid-19 and slumping demand.

Camille Berry explores “the dirty business of “clean” wine” in Food & Wine.

In Wine Enthusiast, sommelier Cheron Cowan shares the importance of mentorship in her own career.

Daily Wine News: Ingredient Labeling

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-11-2020

Ridge adds ingredients to the back label of their wines. (Photo credit: Ridge Vineyards)

Tom Wark offers his thoughts on the fight over ingredient labeling on wine bottles. “From it’s beginning, natural wine champions have consistently insinuated that “commercial” wine is bad for you, letting anyone who will listen know that there are countless approved ingredients that can go into wine that consumers know nothing about… Beyond the claim that consumers want ingredient labeling, there are other arguments for it. “Transparency” is one. This is a somewhat banal argument, but it can be powerful in that it insinuates that something bad and nasty is being hidden by those that don’t agree that ingredient labeling is necessary.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov reports on the recent retirement of Joseph DeLissio, after 43 years as the wine director at the River Café in Brooklyn. “With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the restaurant industry sinks into an alarming unknown, Mr. DeLissio decided earlier this summer that he had had enough. It was time to retire… When he joined the River Café shortly after it opened, he said, the wine list included just 12 bottles. Spirits made up 90 percent of bar sales. Now, wine dominates sales, and the list offers roughly 800 choices, pruned from a peak of 1,150 bottles before Sandy.

In Eater, Gabrielle Pharms reports on a new political action committee formed by Texas wineries. “With tasting rooms still essentially closed (with exceptions), the state’s wineries banded together in July to form a political action committee (PAC), Texas Winery PAC, to educate, advocate, and assemble Texans in support of the industry amid the pandemic. Otherwise, many wineries will be forced to close.”

In New Jersey Monthly, I profile Rutgers grape researcher Gary Pavlis, who helped put New Jersey wine on the map.

Jim Gordon looks at what research has shown us about making wine with smoke-affected grapes.

In the Denver Post, Sarah Kuta explores why winemakers in Colorado are experimenting with Teroldego.

Daily Wine News: West Coast Wildfires

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-10-2020

The orange sky in San Francisco yesterday, caused by a combination of smoke from various wildfires sitting above the marine fog layer. (Photo credit: Twitter user @cherrysree)

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on the West Coast fires, which now encapsulate large swathes of Oregon and Washington. “The Oregon situation is the biggest crisis at the moment. The worst of the fires are in the Rogue Valley AVA in the southern part of the state… There are at least 20 wildfires spreading across Oregon and Washington, including a large one in the outskirts of Portland, and the smoke can be seen everywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon governor Kate Brown declared a state fire emergency.”

NPR also reports extensively on the West Coast wildflires.

“By now, it’s clear that smoke and its possible effects on wine grapes will be the question of the California wine industry’s 2020 harvest. It’s a question that we can’t yet answer,” says Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “In the meantime, though, I think it’s important to get one message across: Smoke taint is a concern for winemakers and farmers. It should not, however, be a concern for wine drinkers.”

Lockdowns have seen consumers grapple with their relationship to alcohol. Many of them are choosing no-alcohol products instead. In Meininger’s, James Lawrence looks at the rise of alcohol-free sparkling wine.

Alder Yarrow explores the story of Bonny’s Vineyard, a special Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in Napa that Silver Oak used to make single-vineyard bottlings from.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his thoughts on wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

In Decanter, Jane Anson speaks to Indian entrepreneur Namratha Prashanth about her journey into Bordeaux wine and her new brand, Solicantus, from the Blaye area.

Daily Wine News: Alcohol Bombs

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

(Source: Wikimedia)

The swing away from the overly alcoholic wines of the past may have gone a little too far, says James Lawrence in Wine-Searcher.

In SevenFifty Daily, Christy Frank looks at the new strategies for wine retail success mid-pandemic. “New challenges pop up constantly, the most dramatic being a near overnight shift to online ordering and delivery. Consumer behavior has changed, too.  Maximizing success in this new landscape means that a retailer’s approach to buying and stocking must evolve.”

On his blog, Jamie Goode ponders the benefits of the QR code during the pandemic, and what their rebirth means for the wine and hospitality industries.

In Wine Enthusiast, Omolola Olateju, explores what led her to launch Black Girls Drink, and explains why building an inclusive digital drinks community requires care and commitment.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Stacy Brisco reports on scientific efforts that were made to “fingerprint” terroir in the Russian River Valley.

Wall Street Journal wine columnist Lettie Teague shares her top takeaways from a decade of columns.

On his Do Bianchi blog, Jeremy Parzen delves into the history of the term “Super Tuscan.”

Daily Wine News: Wine Language

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-08-2020

“How many people have actually tasted a wet river stone, anyway?”

“Wine language is so often absurd that it’s a punchline,” says Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “But now, it’s becoming clearer than ever that the conventional language used to describe wine isn’t merely intimidating and opaque. It’s also inextricable from racism and sexism, excluding dimensions of flavor that are unfamiliar to the white, Western cultures that dominate the world of fine wine and reinforcing retrograde notions of gender.”

Increasing experimentation and the exploration of new terroir means South America is now the source of an exciting and diverse array of white wines, says Dirceu Vianna Junior MW in Decanter. (subscription req.)

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds explores Oregon wines beyond Pinot Noir. “ White wine and reds not made from Pinot Noir are approaching almost half of our annual Oregon coverage, which is a remarkable development over the last decade.”

Celebrity wines are proliferating on retail shelves. Is this a good or a bad thing? Robert Joseph offers some thoughts in Meininger’s.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning talks to Javier Pagés, president of the Cava DO, about how the Cava DO is working to increase the image of its wine.

In Wine Enthusiast, Michael Schachner explores the diversity of Spanish wines.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre highlights a handful of wine-themed books (though misidentifies nonfiction history book Wine & War as a novel).

Daily Wine News: Bad Reviews

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-04-2020

U.S. wineries cannot sue for bad reviews, judge decides in Penrose Hill v. Mabray decision, reports Jeff Siegel. “The case concerned wine producer Penrose Hill and its CEO, Philip James, who accused wine e-commerce expert Paul Mabray of writing a blog post and making Twitter comments defaming the quality of its products, and that Mabray had implied Penrose Hill was more concerned with marketing wine than making a quality product.”

Santa Clara University’s Lucia Albino Gilbert and John C. Gilbert reflect on the progress made in the numbers of women in lead winemaker positions in California from 2011 to 2020.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, Zinfandel, and announces what’s up next: three wines from different appellations in the Northern Rhône Valley.

“Alain Voge, the dedicated Rhône Valley vintner who helped develop the Cornas appellation, passed away yesterday at the age of 81,” reports Suzanne Mustacich in Wine Spectator. “For more than 50 years, he made wine from Cornas and St.-Péray, helping preserve their hillside vineyards at a time when development threatened to erase them from the map.”

In Club Oenologique, Elin McCoy considers how Napa’s tasting rooms will fare in a post-Covid world. “The future of many of Napa’s most collectible wines will also depend on what those vintners do over the next year.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Nickolaus Hines reports on the scene in Colorado as the state’s wine and cannabis industries reel from wildfire smoke and ash.

Rachel Arthur looks at Brazil’s growing sparkling wine industry in Beverage Daily.