Daily Wine News: Pandemic Pivots

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-27-2020

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks at how small wineries have pivoted and expanded with Zoom tastings and company team-building events.

Jancis Robinson explores the rise of Stockinger, a small Austrian cooperage business. “tockinger don’t have brochures or even a website, so unsophisticated is their sales effort. But so admired is the quality of Stockinger’s oak and workmanship that winemakers around the globe have been lining up to acquire their handiwork (which since the mid 1990s has included small barrels as well as fermentation vats).”

In Meininger’s, Jeff Siegel tells how, in the 16th century, witches once came for wine in Friuli. “Some 500 years ago… producers and their customers in northern Italy relied on the Benandanti to protect their wine from a faction of bad witches who wanted to defecate and urinate in barrels and bottles, as well as the locals’ wine glasses.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov’s obituary for Anthony Terlato. “Over a 60-year career, Mr. Terlato was a retailer, wholesaler and importer, and later a winery and vineyard owner. But he will probably be best remembered as the man who introduced pinot grigio to Americans.”

“Italy’s winemakers had already had a difficult year in 2019, contending with floods, heatwaves and storms, and then the coronavirus pandemic came along,” reports Holly Ellyatt in CNBC. “Although life is getting back to normal, industry experts are forecasting a tricky year for Italy’s winemakers.”

In VinePair, Lottice Taylor reports on an illegal wine ring worth over $100 million uncovered in Spain last week. “The suspects are accused of producing adulterated wine using cheap substitutes such as corn syrup and grain alcohol…”

Megan Soll shares how the Vivino app has impacted the way she buys wine during the pandemic in Food & Wine.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan responds to a Washington Post article about increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

Daily Wine News: The Future for Grower Champagne

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-24-2020

Flickr, Jérôme-.

Champagne’s grower producers are under threat. Global economies, erratic harvests, incentives from négociants and the French taxation system are driving them to relinquish their status or sell up altogether. Are grower Champagnes on a path to extinction? Tyson Stelzer investigates in Club Oenologique.

Who will fix wine education? Two sommeliers who are on a mission to rebuild a broken system share their thoughts in PUNCH.

Eric Asimov offers his picks for summery sparkling wines in the New York Times.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery explores what “earthy” means in wine.

Elin McCoy reports that 2016 Barolo was a near-perfect vintage for collecting in Bloomberg.

In Wine-Searcher, Margaret Rand considers the importance and meaning of complexity in wine.

Napa-based importer Quintessential Wines has acquired all of the American wines within Accolade’s portfolio, including Geyser Peak, for an undisclosed sum, according to Lucy Shaw in the Drinks Business.

Daily Wine News: A Few Words for Celebrity Winemakers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-23-2020

In Esquire, sommelier Victoria James has a message for celebrities-turned-winemakers. “Do the research. Partner with small businesses, farmers, sommeliers who champion quality, rather than people out to make a quick buck off your name. I know that many of you have good hearts and only the best of intentions in choosing a creative—and complicated—venture such as wine. Please, make wines that we are all proud to drink.”

“Across the U.S., wine retailers are mobilizing their customer base and trade networks in an effort to raise awareness of how potentially increased and expanded tariffs on European wines could — literally — decimate their ranks. “ Yet, says Jeremy Parzen on his Do Bianchi blog, most Americans don’t care about wine tariffs.

Ravenswood founding winemaker Joel Peterson talks to Wine Spectator’s Tim Fish about the winery’s uncertain future. “When I queried Constellation and Gallo about the state of Ravenswood, each company told me to talk to the other. Neither seemed to know whether grapes were harvested or wines made in 2019. Ultimately, both declined comment, citing FTC rules that prohibit it until the sale is finalized.”

In the Buyer, Richard Siddle profiles Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery’s Meaghan Frank, the fourth generation of the Frank family that first came to the United States from Ukraine in 1951.

Ruinart has launched an eco-friendly alternative to the Champagne gift box—a 100% recyclable “second skin” case—after two years of research and development, reports Amy Wislocki in Decanter.

In the Drinks Business, Lucy Shaw looks at pink wine’s revolution, and how it’s gone from a frivolous tipple to a wildly popular celeb-backed drink.

Wine advertising is lacking in humor, says Robert Joseph in Meiniger’s, who thinks it’s time that marketers lightened up.

Daily Wine News: Transparency

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-22-2020

(Credit: Avaline Wines)

“It seems most took issue with the “clean” identity they’re promoting because yes, it’s ridiculous as these wines are no different than countless other organic, large-production wines out on the market…But this has all been debated to death and what interests me more is, what are these wines in fact?” Miquel Hudin delves into how Cameron Diaz’s Avaline wine brand defines “transparently produced,” and where, exactly, they are from.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party has slapped a ban on the domestic sale of alcohol. This, plus the loss of wine tourism, threatens to cripple the wine industry, says Michael Fridjhon in Meininger’s.

In the Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider looks at how the West Coast’s largest auctions are committed to going virtual this year.

Kerin O’Keefe explores Soave in Wine Enthusiast. The white wine “is often associated with light-bodied, zesty bottlings destined for immediate consumption. But the best of them, made with grapes grown in hillside vineyards planted in volcanic or calcareous soils, are world-class, full of flavor and characterized by depth and surprising longevity.”

On WineBusiness.com, Diana Macle charts the rise of rosé from Provence.

“The New York restaurant Del Posto is auctioning off its wine cellar online on July 24 and 25…In this online auction, of the 29,400 bottles for sale, 13,755 are from Barolo,” reports W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher. “There is one huge caveat: Hart Davis Hart does not ship wine within the US. If you win a bid, you must either pick it up at their Delaware warehouse, or have it shipped internationally.”

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, looks ahead to the long, slow road to recovery for U.S. wine.

Daily Wine News: The Natural World

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-21-2020

In the New York Times, city dweller Eric Asimov explores how wine has provided him the opening to a greater understanding of food and agriculture. “Nothing in wine has affected me so profoundly as observing the intimate relationship that enlightened farmers have with the land that they tend… It’s also made clear to me how little we know about the natural world, particularly the complex and intricate links that govern the well-being of a healthy ecosystem, from the network of microbial life in the soil to the diversity of plant life to the importance of animal life all the way up to the apex predator.”

Anna Archibald delves into the long history of lead toxicity in winemaking in Wine Enthusiast. “The highly toxic element was, for millennia, included frequently in winemaking and storage. The metal was used as a sweetener and preservative, as well as for its ability to impart brilliant clarity to glassware. Its role in wine history dates to at least 2000 B.C., and even extends to today.”

In Meininger’s, Igor Serdyuk reports Russian winemakers have become more interested in the possibilities offered by their indigenous and hybrid grapes.

Could Timorasso be Italy’s most exciting, age-worthy white wine? Kevin Day talks to producers and sommeliers about the once-obscure Piemontese grape in SevenFifty Daily.

In Decanter, Amy Wislocki explores Greece’s flagship grapes. (subscription req.)

On JancisRobinson.com, Arnica Rowan considers the social implications of piquette. (subscription req.)

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher look at how a U.S. convenience store magnate is turning around Italy’s Enrico Serafino Winery.

Covid aside, it has been times of change for Domaines Baron de Rothschild and Château Lafite, as James Lawrence finds out in Wine-Searcher.

Daily Wine News: Clarity & Consideration

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-20-2020

“For the sake of clarity, let me state that I vehemently hate the idea of using the word “clean” to describe alcohol, a carcinogenic poison, and I hate the bullshit behind describing a wine as gluten-free, as Diaz does. However, there are no laws to stop entrepreneurial wine businesses and celebrities from piggybacking onto a widely recognized term and turning low intervention into something larger than the natural wine world could ever have imagined. And, if it means that people switch from Barefoot to a sustainably or organically produced Barefoot Clean, in the way they have switched from fast food burgers to the Impossible Burger, will that be an entirely bad thing?” Robert Joseph makes the case for—and against—the clean wine movement in Meininger’s.

The canned wine market is expected to be worth $155.1 million by 2027, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.

“My hope is that as more serious winemakers make food-friendliness a consideration, and as more people from the food world, like me, become immersed in the wine scene, this stigma that food friendly equals simple will begin to fade.” In Wine Enthusiast, Layla Schlack on the beauty of food-friendly wines.

After years of Soviet rule, the once-forgotten Moldovan wine industry is making a comeback. Michelle Williams explores the tiny country’s wine return in Wine-Searcher.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reports on the European wine tariffs that are back on the table.

Jancis Robinson considers whether the soon-to-be launched “ambitiously priced Chinese wines” are worth their cost.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O teamed up with Napa Valley’s Ashes & Diamonds to hand-paint 18 labels for bottles of wine, reports Emily Tan. All proceeds went to The Okra Project, an organization that supports the Black trans community.

Elin McCoy offers a brief guide to top women winemakers in Bloomberg.

Wine Reviews: Argentina & Chile

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-18-2020

I’m excited to be back this week with some offerings from Argentina and Chile.

Domaine Bousquet’s organic “Virgen” reds dole out plenty of freshness and complexity for a crazy low price. I also have some crisp and deep Malbecs from some of the highest elevation vineyards in the world, Bodega Colomé. And Los Vascos continues to put out reliable, value-driven Chilean wines.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Reactions & Responses to Clean Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-17-2020

(Flickr: piker77)

“The claims are a hoax at worst and ignorant at best. Avaline is no more “clean” than the average bottle of wine you’d find on a grocery store shelf and no more “natural” than the Cabernets that stain your tongue.” The San Francisco Chronicle’s Esther Mobley reacts to Cameron Diaz’s new “clean” and “transparent” wine brand.

On his blog, W. Blake Gray pens a defense of Diaz’s “clean wine” brand. “The point is not that Avaline wine is a scam. It might be. The point is that there is a market for a wine like Avaline, and the wine industry on the whole is not filling it, so Cameron Diaz can step right in.”

Dwight Furrow looks at the “clean wine” phenomenon and the problem with commercial wines.

Elsewhere in the Chronicle, Danielle Echeverria reports that coronavirus cases are rising in cramped farmworker housing.

In Wine Spectator, Aaron Romano reports on how California wineries are adapting as Covid-19 cases spike, forcing them to close their indoor dining and tasting rooms.

Vicki Denig looks at why some European winemakers choose to declassify their wines in VinePair.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explores the category of easygoing wines. (subscription req.)

Peter Mitham shares consumer wine buying trends for June on WineBusiness.com.

Daily Wine News: “Clean” Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-16-2020

Uploaded to flickr by Kyle May

“Some people seem to have no issue taking a swig of Vitamin Water and then going on and on about “frankenwines” and the industrial wine complex and all its evils. That’s pure ignorance and hypocrisy… those of us in the wine industry, and those of you who enjoy wine should know that the term “clean wine” isn’t worth the pixels used to print it on your smartphone. We should also know that Avaline Wines aren’t any better for you than any other wine produced from organically grown grapes made by a small or medium sized winery in this country or in any other.” Alder Yarrow breaks down the problem with “clean wines.”

In Wine Spectator, Mitch Frank offers an update on wine tariffs. “The Trump administration has decided not to place tariffs on French sparkling wine in retaliation for France’s taxes on large tech firms. That’s good news for American wine consumers. The bad news is that the government will be debating over the next few weeks whether to maintain 25 percent tariffs on many other European wines and could possibly raise them.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley shares the frustrations being voiced by California wineries as the state rolled back reopening plans amid coronavirus spikes.

In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard explores Australia’s new wave of lower-alcohol wines.

“Constellation Brands has acquired a minority stake in California’s Booker Vineyard, the Paso Robles superstar winery founded by Eric Jensen,” reports MaryAnn Worobiec in Wine Spectator.

Gallo has purchased New Zealand wine brand Nobilo, according to Wine-Searcher.

Matt Kettmann looks at Justin Vineyards’ influence on Paso Robles’ modern wine scene.

Daily Wine News: Covid Setbacks

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-15-2020

With rising cases of Covid-19 in California, the state is rolling back reopenings. In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley gets Napa vintners’ reactions to the news. “As of last Thursday, Napa County wineries and restaurants were forced to close for indoor seating, and bars to close altogether… The quick about-face has left many winery owners scratching their heads—and feeling angry, especially since there’s no evidence yet of California wineries being the source of coronavirus outbreaks.”

In VinePair, Courtney Schiessl explores how Covid-19 has impacted the competitive world of wine allocations.

Roz A. Gee profiles Jenny Dawn Cellars’ Jennifer McDonald, the first Black woman to open an urban winery in Kansas.

Which 2019 Bordeaux wines sold best en primeur? Chris Mercer takes a look in Decanter.

In Wine Enthusiast, Kathleen Willcox explores the divisive nature of brettanomyces in wine.

In Wine-Searcher, Oliver Styles on “the terrible persistence” of celebrity wine. “Should this celebrity ‘invasion’ not prompt a revision of the way wine critics write about wines?”

In SevenFifty Daily, Christy Frank shares how she’s found success as a retailed in a changed era of selling wine.