Daily Wine News: Restaurant Wine Clubs Are Sticking Around

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-16-2021

Photo by Louis Hansel via Unsplash

In Wine Enthusiast, Emily Saladino reports on how restaurant wine clubs started as a pandemic pivot are sticking around. “Restaurants create wine clubs for an array of reasons. Some do it to build loyalty. Others use it to distribute allocated bottles. Some simply want steady income in a notoriously unpredictable business. During the darkest days of the pandemic, wine clubs provided a means of survival for some beleaguered restaurants and linked up isolated patrons.”

Rob McMillan offers an update on his 2021 prediction of greater wine sales. “I don’t like it but…it’s true. I might have missed on a prediction that I made…In making my prediction of positive sales growth this year, I postulated if growth was zero at the start of 2021, growth should be something more than zero as we moved into a better economy, but thus far in 2021, that’s not turning out.”

Meininger’s reports on a dispute over sparking wine bottle capsules between VDP vintner Peter Laurer Winery and the German wine control. “According to EU law, sparkling wine bottles must be covered with a foil capsule, according to the wine controller’s point of view. In Lauer’s view, however, the capsules serve no purpose whatsoever and are nothing more than unnecessary waste and therefore harmful to the environment.”

Emma Mannheimer explores the world of sparkling red wines in Imbibe Magazine.

In SevenFifty Daily, Domaine Dujac’s Diana Snowden Seysses explains how producers can become key players in the future of green fuel by working together to trap CO2 during vinification.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning looks at how Jean-Luc Colombo’s passion for vin de garde, wine for aging, helped transform the Cornas appellation.

In the Santa Barbara Independent, Matt Kettmann profiles winemaker Michael Brughelli. “Unlike wines of a similar price tag, such as Sine Qua Non or Saxum, Brughelli’s wines put the emphasis on elegance rather than power.”

Daily Wine News: Cab Franc Comeback

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-15-2021

Cabernet Franc. (WIkimedia)

“Marginalized by Bordeaux’s appellations; derided by winemakers; subjugated by Merlot – Cabernet Franc’s history is less than glorious.” In Wine-Searcher, Margaret Rand looks at Cabernet Franc’s future in Bordeaux. “But as global warming continues to shake-up European viticulture, a growing firmament of producers are willing to give Cabernet Franc a second chance.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on the wine-tasting collectives popping up in the Bay Area, a new business model that allows multiple wineries to use one tasting room. “These collective tasting rooms aren’t a brand-new concept… But at least five new ones have opened during the past year, a reflection of how important tasting rooms have become to a small winery’s business model. For vintners, these cooperative arrangements make opening a tasting room significantly more affordable in Wine Country’s competitive real estate market.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Jess Lander explores whether the wine industry is ready for cryptocurrency.

In the Drop, Emily Monaco looks at how French vignerons are rediscovering overlooked and undervalued ancestral grapes.

“Why is it that some sparkling wines glide like fluffy meringues whilst others seem to fizz and froth like an angry jacuzzi?” Tom Hewson explores bubble science on Tim Atkin’s site.

In VinePair, David Nilsen looks at the new wave of American wine-inspired beers.

In the Long Island Press, Kristen Catalano toasts the women winemakers on the East End.

Daily Wine News: Chillable Reds Cont’d

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-14-2021

Jancis Robinson explores the growing world of chillable reds. “What’s interesting and unexpected is how many of these low-alcohol wines come from parts of the world we associate with hot summers, and therefore with very ripe grapes and particularly alcoholic wines.”

Andrew Selsky offers an update on the condition of grapes after the Pacific Northwest’s heat wave. “The good news for grape growers, wineries and wine lovers is the historic heat wave came during a narrow window when the fruit suffered little, if any, damage. Earlier or later in the growing season, it could have been disastrous.”

In the Drop, Tšepang Molisana introduces the new generation of South African winemakers shaking up the local wine scene.

On Tim Atkin’s site, Peter Pharos pens a tribute to Assyrtiko. “The wine is a natural match for Greek cuisine. And it is made in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. If anything, the question is not why Assyrtiko is famous – it is why it took so long.”

Last week, Russian President Putin banned the name Champagne on Champagne bottles. What exactly is behind the new law and what consequences does it have for the wine industry? Sergey Panov takes a look in Meininger’s.

In Decanter, Simon Field explores wines from Azerbaijan. (subscription req.)

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Stephanie Johnson reports on how Sui Lieviti is transforming traditional Prosecco Col Fondo. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Insurance Issues

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-13-2021

The Kincade Wildfire from 2019. (Photo credit: @amyhollyfield)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on the impact of California wineries losing their fire insurance. “With a severe drought and a fire already sparking in early July, the insurance difficulties underscore a challenging reality: California wineries have very few ways to prepare for a worst-case wildfire scenario this year… The implications for an uninsured winery are far-reaching.”

“After more than 40 years under tobacco company ownership, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has been sold to a private equity firm for $1.2 billion,” reports the Seattle Times.

“No winery in the world is more important to its region than Ste Michelle Wine Estates is to Washington,” writes W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher. “But after the company was sold last week…it’s fair to wonder if Chateau Ste Michelle will even be a Washington brand going forward.”

“Why are some wines so hotly sought after? Which bottles do you go ‘wow’ at, when someone pulls them out at a wine dinner? Why are some wines almost mythical in their reputation, while others equally well scored in blind tastings never in that peer group?” On his blog, Jamie Goode explores what he sees as two steps to establishing greatness in a wine. “The first is liking: the wine tastes really good and you like it the first time you try it. But then there’s also coolness, which usually includes desirability and rarity in the mix.”

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow reports on how the recent heatwave in the Northwest affected vineyards. (subscription req.)

“Wine glassware today is less about rules and more about joy.” In Wine Enthusiast, Angela Burke explores how our relationship with wine glasses has changed.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre considers the meaning of Robert Parker Wine Advocate adding a filter for organic and biodynamic wines.

Daily Wine News: Summer of Piquette?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-12-2021

Bottles of piquette. (Source: Wild Arc Farm)

This will not be the summer of piquette, says Tim McKirdy in VinePair. “The fact remains that most drinkers have never heard of it; only a fraction of the wineries in the U.S. have experimented with the style; and even if more enter the fray, it’s highly unlikely that most consumers are ready for its challenging flavor profile — no matter how many write-ups place it as quaffable and refreshing.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Aleks Zecevic looks at how Austria grew to be a leader in the natural wine movement. “Austria has a long history of environmental consciousness… What sets these natural wines apart is their lack of technical flaws like volatile acidity, signs of Brettanomyces and “mousiness,” undesired traits for which natural wines are often criticized.”

In Food & Wine, Helena Fitzgerald shares an essay about how her relationship with her wine-loving parents changed when she stopped drinking. “Wine was how to mark celebrations and occasions—how could we really know something mattered, or had happened, or was worth celebrating, if we weren’t having a glass of wine about it, if we didn’t open a special and particular bottle? How were we supposed to celebrate anything, to make any occasion, if we couldn’t use this language to do so?”

In the Drop, Amber Gibson explores Oregon’s new sparkling wine chapter. “In the past decade, the region has produced some of the most exciting sparkling wines in the U.S. And that success is largely due to the work of one man.”

On JancisRobinson.com, Anthony Hanson shares some updates on Burgundy’s 2021 growing season.

As America’s restaurants fully reopen, sommeliers who lost jobs are now making critical career choices. Roger Morris talks to a handful of wine pros about their decisions in Meininger’s.

In Vinous, Eric Guido highlights wine treasures of Italy’s Southern Adriatic and Ionian Coasts.

Daily Wine News: No to Nouveau

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-09-2021

In Wine Enthusiast, Janice Williams looks at how Beaujolais Nouveau won—then lost—generations of U.S. wine drinkers. “Nouveau became a victim of its own success in America. Sure, it was a great source of income and recognition for Beaujolais, but producers and distributors relied too heavily on the revenue from one specific style of wine… For most U.S. consumers, Beaujolais was synonymous with Nouveau. Once they lost interest in that wine, the entire region fell out of favor.”

“But among those in our industry who place so much emphasis on terroir, shouldn’t we be concerned with the livelihood of terroir’s principal stewards? Those who spend the most time with the fruit? Shouldn’t our definition of “responsible farming” include not just environmentally beneficial practices, but humane practices that consider the workers themselves?” Katy Severson reflects on the issue of labor in wine. “It’s undeniable that the wine industry flourished as a result of human exploitation. And this early model arguably informs the way viticulture still functions today.”

“There’s nothing unusual about a winemaker changing jobs, but what happens when an entire winemaking team jumps ship to another winery? That’s just what happened in Washington wine country this week,” reports Tim Fish in Wine Spectator. “Three winemakers from Quilceda Creek, the state’s most elite Cabernet producer, were lured away by Matthews Winery.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley admits being impressed by Idaho wines.

In the Drinks Business, James Lawrence considers whether white Burgundy is pricing itself out of the market, and if so, how other premium whites are keeping up.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores the beauty of Savoie whites.

Angelina Jolie reportedly wants out of the wine business. “Angie allegedly has a buyer on the line for Miraval, and she doesn’t want to lose them.”

Daily Wine News: Standing Still

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-08-2021

The World of Fine Wine set out to assess the quality of the increasingly fashionable still wines of Champagne. “The archetypal description of old-school Coteaux Champenois rouge was mean, lean, and green, while the whites were typically guilty of being razor-blade sharp and base-winey. But with a growing number of producers putting their hearts and souls into crafting serious still wines—and with climate change contributing—the category is fast evolving.”

Margaret Rand also looks at the growing category of Coteaux Champenois in Wine-Searcher. “In a good year they can be very nice – sometimes even delicious. But they taste like vins clairs. A Coteaux Champenois needs to go beyond this.”

On JancisRobinson.com, Ferran Centelles offers an update from Navarra, Spain’s northern wine region now reveling in its ability to make delicate expressions of Garnacha. (subscription req.)

In TRINK, Ellen Wallace explores Switzerland’s Pfyn Nature Park, home to 80 wineries you can hike to.

Before Napa Valley was a household name, the Missouri River Valley was the capital of the American wine industry. Now, wineries in the Augusta area are plotting a comeback, reports T.J. Olwig in Food & Wine.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley highlights Revelshine, a new line of Sonoma County wines packaged in aluminum bottles.

In Vinous, Joaquín Hidalgo explores Argentina’s high-altitude white wines.

Daily Wine News: Slow Wine Coalition

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

Slow Wine launches the Slow Wine Coalition, “a global network that unites all those active in the wine industry in order to bring about a revolution in wine driven by environmental sustainability, protection of the landscape and rural social and cultural growth.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Stacy Briscoe explores “wine twins”—duos that might share chemical makeups, agricultural and winemaking practices, or characteristic styles—and how wine pros tell them apart.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto profiles Andrea and Roberto Ferrando, who have taken on the challenge of continuing to farm pergola-trained Nebbiolo on the ancient terraces of the Carema appellation.

Amber LeBeau shares another rant about bottle weight. “I do encourage wineries to think about if heavier bottles are truly helping them. If consumers are truly wedded to them as much as they are to their favorite grape variety.”

In National Geographic, Julia Eskins looks at why ancient wines are having a moment in Italy.

On his blog, Jamie Goode visits Bodegas Tradicion, “one of the best sherry producers of all.”

Alder Yarrow explores the wines of Alma Fria.

In PUNCH, Megan Krigbaum talks to sommeliers and retailers about the top wines they think will define summer 2021.

Daily Wine News: Burning Questions

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-06-2021

In Bloomberg, Francis Wilkinson wrestles with the mounting threat of fire in California’s wine country. “The fires threaten both a way of life and a thriving, much-admired industry. Napa wine alone injects about $34 billion into the U.S. economy. Now the Michelin-starred life of Napa Valley, a rarefied micro-culture marked by affluence, natural beauty and the aesthetic alchemy that transforms farms into terroir, and grape juice into something else altogether, has been shaken. Relentless drought and fire have drawn down the wine industry’s boisterous confidence as surely as they’ve sapped the region’s water supply.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley considers how alcohol marketing has and hasn’t changed. “But whereas wine coolers, so popular in the 1980s, became intensely associated with femininity, the makers of today’s wine spritzers appear to be trying to reach customers of all genders. The emergence of “brosé,” which suddenly made pink wine an acceptable drink for dudes, has surely helped the spritzers’ marketing efforts,” she writes. “It might be tempting to see this shift for wine spritzers as a triumph of feminism or gender equality: alcohol marketing in a post-gender world! But don’t be fooled.”

Last month, Max de Zarobe—chairman of the board of Avignonesi Winery—published an open letter to wine critics that urged them to pay as much attention to how a wine is made as to how it tastes. The Washington Post’s Dave McIntyre responds to the argument.

Moët Hennessy has been forced to re-label its products as “sparkling wine” in Russia in order to comply with a new rule signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Richard Woodard has the details in Decanter.

Jancis Robinson considers the problem of glass bottles and looks at some sustainable alternatives.

“What if at the end of 2022 it turns out wine sales have dipped below the pre-pandemic 2019 level? …What if the reaction to greater online sales results in fewer wine club memberships?” Tom Wark ponders the future of the American wine industry.


In Thrillist, Meredith Heil highlights LBGTQ+ wine pros that are shaking up the stuffy industry.

Daily Wine News: Volcanic Wine’s Value

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-02-2021

John Szabo ponders the power of volcanic wine in the Drop. “In multiple volcanic wine regions around the world, there’s an uncanny preponderance of indigenous, often rare, very old, hyper-local grape varieties found almost nowhere else and farmed in ways unfamiliar to almost anyone born in the 20th century or later. In a world now thirsting for new flavors, exotic local varieties, and traditional wine styles, this alone makes volcanic wines worth a look.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, Chenin Blanc, and announces what’s up next: the darker side of rosé.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence explores a possible silver lining to the pandemic: “a sommelier reset with inflated egos taking a back seat to a passion for wine.”

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman explores Arizona’s growing wine scene.

In Wine Enthusiast, Amy Beth Wright explores the budding wine scene in Fredericksburg in Texas Hill Country.

In Fodors, Amanda Calnon Vowels highlights the Black winemakers who are diversifying Oregon’s wine scene.

In VinePair, Katie Brown looks at the education and mentorship programs offering inclusive alternatives to traditional wine certifications.

In Decanter, Jane Anson calls Margaux’s Château Marquis de Terme “an estate on the rise.” (subscription req.)