Daily Wine News: Transparency

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-12-2020

In VinePair, Cristie Norman explores the ways in which the Court of Master Sommeliers’ lack of transparency has failed us. “The CMS-A, as it stands today, creates an unsafe and inequitable environment for everyone in the wine industry. The lack of leadership and gross ineptitude demonstrated by the board of directors on several public occasions have created an industry-wide uproar of anger and mistrust in the sommelier community toward the CMS-A.”

As restaurants shuttered, on-premise wine sales plunged. So how many bottles do producers need to sell in the off-trade to make up for the loss? In Meininger’s, Jeff Siegel talks to one researcher who may have the answer.

Wine Enthusiast profiles the winners of the 2020 Wine Star Award winners.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Natasha Bazika highlights wineries’ accidental projects that turned into unexpected success.

Weaker price momentum for some top wines in 2020 has not dulled optimism among analysts and merchants that collector interest in Napa—and California in general—will continue to grow on the international fine wine market, says Chris Mercer in Decanter.

In a conversation highlighted on WineBusiness.com, five women Masters of Wine discuss gender bias, diversity, and finding their voices in the wine industry.

In Vinous, Rebecca Gibb highlights a range of New Zealand white wines. “Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 88% of wine that leaves New Zealand ports but 63% of what’s in the ground, which has led to countless accusations that New Zealand is in danger of being a one-trick pony and over-reliant on one variety. Curiously, there is little concern relating to Sancerre’s Sauvignon-centric status.”

VinePair talks to sommeliers about the wine trends they wish would catch on.

Daily Wine News: More Representation in German Wine

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

“Black wine professionals are invisible in the world of German wines. Sammie has never met another black woman (“or man, if that’s any comfort”) in wine in this area. “I would love to change that,” she says.” In TRINK, Valerie Kathawala profiles Sammie Steinmetz, one half of Weingut Günther Steinmetz, a mid-sized, family-run winery in Brauneberg on the Mosel.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher look at the “small lights flickering in the darkness” that show some hope for inclusion in the wine industry.

“I like to say that some people run marathons for fun. I don’t like running. Instead, I taste the Premiere Napa Valley auction lots each year.” Alder Yarrow highlights the quality and rarity of the wines of Premier Napa Valley.

In Wine Enthusiast, Layla Schlack talks to NBA’s CJ McCollum about wine, basketball, and how the two have come together for him in Oregon.

In Meininger’s, James Lawrence reports that the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the demand for imported wine labels in Spain, according to a range of stakeholders involved in the market.

In the Buyer, Jessica Broadbent looks at how Covid-19 has impacted Chinese imports and drinking.

Carl Giavanti talks to Richard Hemming, JancisRobinson.com wine writer and Master of Wine, about his journey in wine.

Daily Wine News: Out-of-Work Somms

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-10-2020

(Source: Wikimedia)

“It’s been more than seven months since hospitality businesses initially shuttered due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. While many restaurants have since reopened, thousands of wine professionals remain out of work. They do not expect to return to their pre-pandemic positions any time soon.” In Wine Enthusiast, Daniel Majid Mirzakhani explores how sommeliers are faring with a grim job market.

Also in Wine Enthusiast, J’nai Gaither talks to members of the industry about the sexual scandal that has roiled the Court of Master Sommeliers, including women Master Sommeliers who have resigned from the Court.

“The country’s most prominent women sommeliers are demanding action in response to recent sexual misconduct allegations against their male colleagues,” reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “These women say that the Napa-based Court of Master Sommeliers — the most prestigious professional group for sommeliers in the nation, and one that they belong to — needs to make some big changes in order to earn back the trust of women who claim that male master sommeliers sexually harassed or assaulted them.”

Jancis Robinson explores a range of new-wave Grenache. “Reds no longer need to be dark to be admired, which has opened the door for Garnacha/Grenache that is relatively transparent but fresh and sweet with floral aromas – often of roses – a sort of less-expensive alternative to delicate red burgundy.”

In VinePair, Tish Wiggins explores Texas Tempranillo. “The aromas and flavors of Texas Tempranillo mirror those of the Spanish versions. The abundance of sunshine and hot summers in Texas typically result in notes of lush, dark red fruits, along with vanilla, fresh tobacco leaves, and leather.”

In Vinous, David Schildknecht offers his notes on Mosel 2018. “It’s the rare wine among Mosel Rieslings of 2018 – a generally forthcoming, even effusive bunch – that seems to demand cellaring, and then usually only because a surfeit of sweetness is among a given wine’s generous-to-a-fault characteristics.”

Daily Wine News: Rudy K Update

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

Rudy K’s counterfeit wines being destroyed. (Flickr: U.S. Marshals Service)

In Wine Spectator, Mitch Frank ponders the current status of wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan, who was scheduled to be released from prison on Nov. 7. “Counting his time in jail awaiting trial, Kurniawan served nearly nine years of his sentence. Now he’s waiting in a different jail as immigration courts decide his fate.”

Devon Broglie , the chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas, resigned on Friday, after a week of turmoil at the most elite organization in American wine, reports Julia Moskin in the New York Times.

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on the female Master Sommeliers that have continued to distance themselves.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley tells the story of Alpana Singh, one of America’s only women of color to become a master sommelier.

“Americans are reportedly drinking more at home as lockdowns continue, but the shift has done little to buoy turbulent wine, beer and spirits stocks.” In the Wall Street Journal, Amber Burton reports on how wine and beer makers continue to wait for recovery.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre highlights the great wines being made in states beyond California, Oregon and Washington.

In TRINK, Paula Redes Sidore explores Germany’s growing category of Blanc de Noir wines.

In Decanter, Jane Anson says to take advantage of Bordeaux’s off vintages. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Signature Varieties

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-06-2020

Do emerging wine regions need a signature variety to break out? Tim McKirdy explores the answer in VinePair. “Are these and other “emerging” wine regions missing a trick, or are there valid reasons to opt against close association with individual varieties? And is the key to success really just honing in on a certain grape, or are there other more complex factors at play?”

Rutherford’s Whitehall Lane planted disease-resistant grapes, Camminare Noir and Paseante Noir, to deal with the threat of Pierce’s disease. Aaron Romano checks in on their progress in Wine Spectator.

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone explores how California Pinot Noir became a global phenomenon.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov recommends wines for Thanksgiving this year.

Elsewhere in the New York Times, Australia critic Besha Rodell remembers Taras Ochota. “Wine is just a drink. But for those of us who obsess over it and love it and attach part of our identities to it, it can be more. It can be a way to express the soul of a piece of land, a marriage, a person. I’m not sure there was anyone in Australia who achieved that better than Taras Ochota.”

Alpana Singh shares why she resigned from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Food & Wine shares a new documentary, Embers & Vines, about the California Wine Country wildfires.

“Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. on Thursday said it had frozen plans to list its Penfolds business separately, a day after the company said it had become aware that a Chinese industry association has asked Beijing to impose retrospective tariffs on Australian wine,” reports David Winning in the Wall Street Journal.

Daily Wine News: Meet the Alt Mosel

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-05-2020

Mosel Valley vineyards

In the new TRINK magazine, editor Valerie Kathawala explores the new magnetism of Alt Mosel. “They’re untethered. Free to make wine any way, anywhere they want… What they all have in common is a sense of fresh opportunity in the “old” Mosel: the chance to work on a human scale among charismatic mentors and to test their mettle on untamed terrain in a mythic landscape where barriers to entry are low and superlative vineyards come very cheap.”

In the Napa Valley Register, Barry Eberling looks at the real story of Napa’s 2020 vintage. “Smoke damage to grapes will cost growers and wineries hundreds of millions of dollars and crop insurance rarely equals the full market price. A preliminary analysis shows wage losses for vineyard workers could total $50 million. Some wineries won’t make a 2020 vintage.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Shana Clarke delves into the new conversation being had about white wine and tannins. “Historically, tannins have been an evaluation point exclusively for red wines when describing texture and mouthfeel. Now, however, more winemakers are focusing on the tannin structure of their whites.”

Is Winc the Netflix of wine, as it advertises to be? Nope, says Wine Industry Insight.

On Tim Atkin’s site, Christy Canterbury explores Armenian wine culture. “Armenians drink vodka, and they’ve been famous for their brandy since the 19th century Tsars required them to produce it. In a rare point of agreement, this suited the Soviets, too. The near extinction of Armenian wine culture means there is little to preserve or restore, making Armenia simultaneously one of the world’s oldest and youngest wine-producing nations.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks at the rise of home alcohol delivery apps.

VinePair highlights 15 wine experts to follow on Instagram.

Daily Wine News: The Court Responds

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-04-2020

Five members of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas have been suspended from all court activities following last week’s New York Times report on the group’s longtime pattern of sexual harassment, reports Julia Moskin. “The men suspended — Robert Bath, Matt Stamp, Matthew Citriglia, Drew Hendricks and Fred Dame, a co-founder of the organization — will be subject to an external investigation, a representative for the court said Monday. They are suspended from court activities but not from the court itself…”

ICYMI, Miguel de Leon shared an important post on Medium: “The Court Needs to Adapt or Die.”

On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming reflects on what’s changed in 20 years of wine.

In Hakai Magazine, Ute Eberle delves into the history of an ancient Greek wine that’s infused with seawater in terra cotta jars.

In Saveur, Shane Mitchell highlights the natural wines of Australian winemaker Tamara Irish.

In Wine Enthusiast, Nicholas DeRenzo looks at how dry-hopped wines are helping to bridge the bee-wine divide.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Jim Gordon explains what “legs” mean in wine.

In Forbes, Jill Bath explores research done by UC Davis that confirms the Russian River Valley vineyard neighborhoods have “fingerprints.”

Daily Wine News: Wine Clubs in 2020

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-03-2020

(Flickr: theloushe)

In Wine Enthusiast, I explore how wine clubs are helping American wineries stay afloat this year. “Like buying a CSA that supports a farmer in advance of their growing season, committing to a winery’s wine club allows a small producer to craft new wines vintage after vintage. It also helps the winery forecast its finances for the next quarter, something that all businesses have been eager to do in 2020.”

“On first glance, the rebirth of Russian fine winemaking, catering to well-off Russians’ more refined tastes, is a Putin-era success story. But beyond the vines, a darker and very Russian tale of big dreams, dashed hopes, bureaucratic nightmares and police raids comes into view.” In the New York Times, Anton Troianovski explores the challenges upstart vintners are facing in southern Russia.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy reviews Wine and the White House: A History. Written by Frederick Ryan Jr., chairman of the White House Historical Association, the book delves widely, though not deeply, into how presidents have chosen to highlight ceremonies, foster diplomacy, and heavily promote the American wine industry long before the world viewed the U.S. as a serious producer.”

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman address “Wine’s Me-Too Moment” after Julia Moskin’s reporting on sexual harassment in the Court of Master Sommeliers last week. “Almost all the women I spoke to said that the issue of sexual abuse exploded this past week because of how the Court of Master Sommeliers handled both the cheating scandal and how it addressed the Black Lives Matter Movement. When documents where sent to those pursuing the MS degree, notifying them about the cheating scandal, many women thought they were going to address sexual harassment.”

France’s second lockdown coincides with the “biggest month” for wine sales.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explores the benefits of doing a bottle swap. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Wine/Fire Country

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-02-2020

Since 2015, California’s Wine Country has been stuck in a cycle of burning and rebuilding, the area’s bounty of opportunity colliding with rising danger and inequity. Welcome to the climate crisis, which J.D. Morris and Esther Mobley report on in the San Francisco Chronicle.

For wine to be ethical, does it need to be expensive? Esther Mobley talks to one winemaker who says yes.

There’s a new wine magazine in the world, from editors Paula Redes Sidore and Valerie Kathawala: TRINK, the first English-language digital publication dedicated to the “German-speaking wines” of Austria, Germany, South Tyrol and German Switzerland.

In Wine Enthusiast, Kathleen Willcox explores how one Champagne producer who used local honey in place of sugar in the dosage for one of its Champagnes is challenging the strict interpretation of the AOC’s rules.

In Texas Monthly, Jessica Dupuy highlights five facts about Texas wine.

In Paper City Magazine, James Brock talks to Bibiana González Rave, winemaker at and owner of Cattleya Wines and Alma de Cattleya, who wants you to respect California Syrah.

In Forbes, Michelle Williams explores the rise of carbonic maceration in wines.

On his blog, Jamie Goode on why Pinot Meunier is weird (but wonderful).

Daily Wine News: ‘The Wine World Owes Women More Than an Apology’

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-30-2020

In the New York Times, Julia Moskin reports on the Court of Master Sommeliers’ sexual harassment problem, in which 21 women share their experiences with being sexually harassed, manipulated, or assaulted by male master sommeliers. “Grading of the final test is cloaked in secrecy, determined by examiners drawn from the senior ranks of master sommeliers. Letters of recommendation, access to expensive wines for tasting practice and educational trips to wine regions are also needed to pass — and are all in the hands of these senior masters, who are, overwhelmingly, older white men. This dynamic has turned a system that should provide mentorship and equal opportunity to women into a bastion of sexual harassment and coercion.”

On of the men named in Moskin’s report is Geoff Kruth, the master sommelier who has been the president of GuildSomm, a wine-education nonprofit, since 2008, and who made unwanted sexual advances toward at least six female sommeliers. He has resigned from the organization after the allegations.

The Court of Master Sommeliers posted a statement in regards to Moskin’s reporting—and Geoff Kruth’s resignation from GuildSomm. “We were disheartened to hear that candidates and students in our community felt powerless to speakup, and we are making strides to address this power dynamic and offer a safe way to report misconduct without fear of retribution.”

On his blog, Alder Yarrow publishes a post titled: The Wine World Owes Women More Than an Apology, It Owes Them a Reckoning. “I don’t know how many different girlfriends I’ve seen that young, attractive sommelier with as we’ve crossed paths over the last decade. How many times have I shaken my head at the fact that every time I see that older Master Sommelier at wine events, he has a different student with him: always young, always female, always attractive… Of course, if we had listened, really listened, to any woman who had spent a lot of time in this industry, we would know. Such stories, in my personal experience, are usually told under the terms of strictest trust, and with the assumption that they will remain private, harrowing tales, shared between friends in an acknowledgement of the unfortunate reality in which we work and live.”

Other outlets have shared additional reporting to Moskin’s New York Times report, including Eater and the New York Post.