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.

Daily Wine News: West Coast Riesling

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-22-2021


In SevenFifty Daily, Valerie Kathawala explores the small producers in California, Oregon and Washington leading the West Coast’s Riesling revival. “What’s behind the West Coast’s love for a notoriously neglected grape? The short answer is fearless, boundary-pushing advocates…Riesling is also winning fans for a very different reason: climate change. Despite the popular perception of Riesling as the ultimate cool-climate grape, it can produce stunning results even in the erratically dry and searing conditions that now mark West Coast growing seasons.”

Winery direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipments hit new highs in November with total volume surpassing 1 million cases and the average bottle price for shipments coming in at more than $50, according to Wine Business.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov recommends bottles from the latest crop of alcohol-free sparkling rosés.

Oak-fermented Champagne is making a comeback, reports Kelly Magyarics in Wine Enthusiast.

In Vinous, Eric Guido explores the sparkling wines of Italy, which “continue to increase in quality.”

In the Drop, Janice Williams delves into the world of sweet red wines.

Riboli Family Wines has announced the acquisition of Jada Vineyard & Winery in Paso Robles, California for an undisclosed amount.

Daily Wine News: French Estate Numbers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-21-2021

The vineyards of Burgundy.

According to new report on Vitisphere, every day, three French grape growers or winemakers decides to give up working as an independent enterprise. “In 2020, metropolitan France has 59,000 wineries according to the first results of the latest census by the Ministry of Agriculture. With the disappearance of 11,000 estates compared to 2010, the number of winegrowers and winegrowers has fallen by 16% in ten years.”

In the Buyer, Jamie Goode shines the light on why he thinks Bairrada is Portugal’s rising star region. “The use of international varieties is very un-Portuguese: this is a country that by and large has resisted the move to plant more famous grapes and go down the varietal route, instead sticking with wines that are usually blends of a subset of the uniquely Portuguese grapes. In this sense, Bairrada is unusual in that its red wines are often made from solely Baga.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Sean P. Sullivan delves into the Red Mountain region. “Over the last four decades, Red Mountain has established itself as not only Washington’s premier winegrowing region, but one of the finest in the world. Once a well-kept secret, the recent boom in plantings and investments have served notice: Red Mountain has arrived.”

In the Drop, James Lawrence explores three Old World wine regions experimenting with new wine styles.

For Wine Industry Network, Robin Shreeves ponders whether wine competitions are worth it.

Alder Yarrow explores the wines of Savoie-based Matthieu Goury and his Domaine de Chevillard.

Daily Wine News: The New Investors

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-20-2021

As more people collect wine for profit, platforms and services have arisen to cater to them. Jeff Siegel explores the new generation of wine investors in the Drop.

In SevenFifty Daily, Jaclyn DeGiorgio reports on an exciting new wine initiative that has returned Emilia-Romagna to its roots: A cultural exchange with Georgian winemakers, ANsomigaFORA has helped Romagnoli producers rediscover the region’s native grape varieties through qvevri.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow explores artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the wine industry. (subscription req.)

With omicron on the rise, restaurants are feeling the squeeze again.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence reports on how COVID is still affecting the South African wine industry.

The long-running trade fair Vinexpo Bordeaux has been officially retired by its organizers, replaced by the inaugural ‘Bordeaux Wine Week‘ in 2022.

“Philippe Cambie, one of the most influential winemakers in the Southern Rhône Valley, has died Dec. 18, just a month shy of his 60th birthday,” reports Mitch Frank in Wine Spectator. “Cambie was consulting winemaker for dozens of wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the surrounding appellations of the Southern Rhône and in the Languedoc.”

Wine Reviews: Year-End Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 12-18-2021

As a long year winds down, I hope you have some nice bottles lined up to share with loved ones. With the holidays in full swing, I’m taking a break from sparkling wines and focusing on some wines that offered me a chance to travel. In my mind at least; I’ve been cooped up for a long time. But there are places I want to visit and wine regions I want to dig into, and tasting wine always gets me thinking and planning.

I’ve long been a fan of wines from Argentina, and I recently tasted through several wines that reminded me that there’s a lot more to explore. The value to be found there has always attracted me, but more and more I’m finding wines that show a whole lot more depth and nuance than I expected. Oh, to visit one day!

Chile is another country I have had on my list. Surfing the coast, climbing some mountains, and visiting the wine regions in between, it’s a bucket list trip I plan to take one day. But, in these pandemic times, some delightful reds from Chile offered a peek into a beautiful country.

I also have three wines that could only come from Southwest France. With some many varied appellations and styles, I always enjoy trying to dig into the diversity and history of the wines from this region. With a host of indigenous varieties, plenty of value to find, and a fascinating winemaking culture and history, the three wines in this report are barely scratching the surface.

An inexpensive red from Veneto and an impressive Napa Cab round out this report.

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

Daily Wine News: 45 Years of Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-17-2021

Updated annually since its 1977 debut—and now in its 45th editionHugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book continues to provide a unique perspective and authoritative information. In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague talks to its creator.

After a record-breaking 2020, the growth in the fine wine market was even stronger in 2021, reports Mike Pomranz in Food & Wine.

In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh looks at how the Champagne shortage is beginning to affect the retail sector.

Regardless of the shortage, Eric Asimov highlights six Champagnes and six sparkling wines to help you toast 2022 in the New York Times.

Want to learn more about sparkling wines? Read these books, recommended by Janice Williams in the Drop.

In Wine Enthusiast, Amanda Best explores how slate soils impact wine.

Dave McIntyre reflects on how the quality of boxed wine has improved in the Washington Post.

The southern hemisphere is set for an ‘average’ 2022 harvest, but supply chain delays and inflation are concerns, reports Meininger’s.

To mark the end of the year, the World of Fine Wine asked writers to reflect on the bottles that meant most to them in 2021. For Stuart Walton, an uncelebrated name from starry Brunello di Montalcino was equal to an occasion that was special in more ways than one.

Daily Wine News: Changing Winds

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-16-2021

In SevenFifty Daily, Sophia McDonald looks at how winemakers are adapting their growing practices and vineyard protections to changing winds. “As with other climate factors, the strength, temperature, and unpredictability of wind is expected to get more extreme as the planet warms. The winds in places like the Petaluma Gap and Van Duzer Corridor are the result of inland air warming and rising, which allows cooler air to flow in and take its place. In these places, the increasing temperature differential is likely to make this effect stronger.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Hillary Richard reports on the looming global Champagne shortage. “The CIVC sets Champagne production limits every year, singling out how much can be harvested, how much should be reserved for future multivintage blends and how much will be turned into vinegar. In 2020, as countries experienced lockdowns and demand fell, the board set the upper limit for Champagne production about 25% less than in 2019.”

Laurie Wilson explores the New England’s ice wine tradition in VinePair. “According to the German Wine Institute, the frozen grapes must be picked off the vine in the frigid early morning hours when the grapes are still frozen — before they thaw. It is a game of poker with sizable risks. New England, especially in northern states, has a winning hand in the game — wineries embrace winter and take pride in the wines they painstakingly proudly produce — but not every year. Some years you win, some years you fold.”

On his Wine Anorak blog, Jamie Goode offers notes on No es Pituko, “an exciting range of natural wines from Chile.”

In the Financial Times, Alice Lascelles profiles Dwyane Wade, who says he got into wine to “be a voice for the black winemakers and vineyard owners; to show how wine can be a gateway to careers that have never been presented as a real option in the community of color.”

Swiss wine is no longer a secret. In the Drop, Adam Lechmere explores the country’s two main winemaking regions.

Norm Roby offers an introduction to the Walla Walla Valley AVA on his blog.

Daily Wine News: Hybrids in the EU

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-15-2021

Jacquez, a hybrid grape. (Wikimedia)

Following a recent modification of EU rules, member states are now allowed to employ resistant hybrid varieties in the production of wines with protected denominations of origin (PDO), reports Jacopo Mazzeo in Decanter. “The new EU rules are likely to have a revolutionary impact on the future of winegrowing in key wine countries such as Italy and France, yet wine drinkers won’t be noticing the changes any time soon. Member states’ approval – as well as green lights from relevant regional authorities – are needed before hybrid varieties may be integrated into any given PDO regulations.”

The price of Burgundy wines is ballooning. In the Drop, L.M. Archer explores the reasons why, ranging from supply chain blockages to climate change-related issues.

In Wine Enthusiast, Chrissie McClatchie reports on how cargo sailboats are harnessing wind energy to decarbonize maritime transport—including transportation of wine.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland looks at how the first 100-point score for a Chianti Classico could spark a challenge to Brunello di Montalcino’s Tuscan supremacy.

Decanter rounds up their list of best wine and spirits books of 2021.

In Wine Industry Advisor, Jeff Siegel ponders the future of wine packaging.

In Vinous, Eric Guido offers notes on new releases from Montepulciano, Carmignano and Montecucco.