Wine and cider sales up in Virginia – Staunton News Leader

Staunton News Leader

Wine and cider sales up in Virginia
Staunton News Leader
Virginia wine sales have increased by 34 percent since fiscal year 2010, a release said. The Virginia Wine Marketing Office also tracked Virginia cider sales separately from Virginia wines, which showed a 52 percent increase from 2015. During fiscal ...
McAuliffe touts record year for Virginia wine industryWTOP
Virginia Wine Sales Hit Record HighWINA AM 1070 (press release)
Virginia wine sales reach record highVirginian-Pilot

all 12 news articles »

Wine Night The Next Morning: Got Wine?

A fun look behind the scenes of the popular show “Northwest Wine Night TV,” as well as wine musings from the show’s Senior Producer.

Guest Writer: Brittney Perreault
Northwest Wine Night TV Senior Producer

We taste two bottles of wine per episode, plus what our live audience tastes along with our panelists. There’s forty episodes per season, times that by the five seasons we’ve filmed so far. That’s a lot of wine, hiccup!

Where does all that wine come from? For this month’s behind the scenes of Northwest Wine Night TV I sat down with the host Brian Calvert to get the scoop!

Q: What can we expect on Season 6 launching September 7th?

Brian Calvert: “The same fun we’ve always had.  Why re-invent the wheel when all we’re really trying to do is have fun with local wine, and give you a couple of new bottles to try each episode.  There are so many delicious wines in the Northwest, and we’ve barely scratched the surface!”

Q: Any regions we haven’t covered but would like to?

BC: “I’m really curious about wine from British Columbia.  I’d love to get some of that wine on the show.  Can you help me figure out how to get it across the border?  LOL.”

Q: Where does the wine come from that is featured?

BC: “From day one, we’ve made this show open and available to ANY winemaker who calls the Northwest home.  The wine you see on the show has been given to us directly by these winemakers.  They submit three identical bottles of wine at no charge, and then we wait for another Northwest winemaker to submit the exact same varietal.  Once we have a pair, we book both wines on the show.”

Q: So there’s no catch?

BC: The winemakers themselves never pay to have their wines on the show.  We have sponsors who pay the bills and make this opportunity available to the industry.  It’s really important to me to support local industry.  So, to answer your question as clearly as I can, there is no catch.  Submit your wine, let us find an appropriate pairing for it, and then it will be on the show.”

Q: What do you consider Northwest?

BC: Our “Northwest” is any wine made in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, or British Columbia.

Q: If a wine maker has their wine on the show how many people are likely to see it?

BC: “Average viewership for Season 5 is a new record:  765,000 views per episode. We had a couple episodes of Northwest Wine Night TV top a MILLION views.  So, I’d say a lot of people are going to see your wine on this show.

John Bigelow of JM Cellars has not only had his wine featured on the show, he’s been a panelist as well. He says participating on Northwest Wine Night TV is such a fun thing to do, calling the exposure secondary. He added that as a wine maker he loves the blind comparison aspect of the tasting experience. When I asked him how he felt after watching his episode he said, “happy, uplifting, and not so serious.” He reiterated that the wine tasting experience shouldn’t be snooty or serious, it should be fun. It’s safe to say John is a big supporter of our motto, “wine should be fun!”

Join me every month for refills as I bring you more behind the scenes moments from our Northwest Wine Night TV filming days and be sure to watch the season opener on September 7th. Cheers!


Northwest Wine Night TV                          Northwest Wine Night Radio

 Wine Night The Next Morning: Got Wine?

The post Wine Night The Next Morning: Got Wine? appeared first on Woodinville Wine Country.

Hannah Nicole Vineyards Release “New Era” White Wines – EastCountyToday (press release) (registration) (blog)

Hannah Nicole Vineyards Release “New Era” White Wines
EastCountyToday (press release) (registration) (blog)
Last week, Hannah Nicole Vineyards and Winery released three new white wines under its “New Era” label after investing 18-months in production and creating a new taste. The release was the first by winemaker Julian Erggelet which include the '15 Rose, ...

But First, Wine Books (August 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Squeaking this one in juuuust under the wire, here’s the August 2016 edition of the wine product roundup, in which I highlight non-drinkable wine products from the ever-growing sample pool.

Annoyingly, I’m not going to actually be reviewing this month’s products, only mentioning and recommending them. This is due to the fact that said products – both of them upcoming book releases – were authored by people that I consider to be wine writing friends and colleagues; so the potential conflicts of interest are of war-torn Bosnian proportions.

The first is American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink ($35, University of California Press), by Patrick Comiskey. The only thing that I don’t like about Patrick’s upcoming book is the lack of the word “that” in the title. I’ve known Patrick for several years now, though our paths cross far too seldom. In this new book, he takes on the struggles of the people behind the movement to produce and promote wines made from Rhone varieties grown in the U.S.

Comiskey has a skeptical reporter’s mind, a poet’s way with turns of phrase, an editor’s sense of conservation of words, and a keen (and deep) understanding of – and respect for – wine as a subject matter, all of which come to bear in American Rhone. I’ll just leave it at that…

But First, Wine Books (August 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

The second (see what I did there?) is But First, Champagne: A Modern Guide to the World’s Favorite Wine ($18 , Skyhorse Publishing) by David White. I think by “modern,” David’s publishers meant to convey “up-to-date.” And an up-to-date one-stop-style guide for Champagne (including history, producers, and notable wines) was arguably so long overdue – and its subject matter so universally popular among wine lovers – that it’s shocking, in hindsight, that we haven’t seen a similar take published already in the last four or so years.

David’s fond of short sentences, and probably overly-fond of effusive qualifiers, but he writes very well, clearly cares about the stories being told about the region’s producers and their histories, and he has done a very, very good job of laying out the current state of Champagne in the context of the world wine marketplace.

There’s a lot to like in But First, Champagne, not the least of which is the fact that both newbies and jaded connoisseurs alike can find ample merit within its pages.


Grab The Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at But First, Wine Books (August 2016 Wine Product Roundup) from - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Trump’s Dozens: America’s Insulter-in-Chief


In Black culture, there is a spoken-word game, The Dozens, in which (to quote Wikipedia), participants insult each other…in front of an audience…until one gives up.”

Among the more common topics for insulting one’s opponent are “lack of intelligence, ugliness, cowardice, poor hygiene, and exaggerations of physical defects…” (Eminem’s 2002 movie, 8 Mile, features a good re-enactment of a Dozens contest.)

Ugliness…physical defects…lack of intelligence…If, dear reader, you are by now thinking of a certain Republican candidate for President, who can blame you?

There is no evidence Donald Trump knows of the existence of The Dozens. He certainly didn’t grow up black (despite his recent pandering to black voters). And yet I am not the first or the only one to note that Trump’s nonstop insults, both during the primary and now during the general election, can well be called a version—white and rightwing—of The Dozens.

Following the South Carolina primary, when Trump repeatedly insulted Jeb “Low Energy” Bush, the National Black Chamber of Commerce on its website headlined a blog post “Trump Plays The Dozens,” in which the author criticized Jeb for not defending himself vigorously enough against Trump’s onslaught: “You…got hustled,” he wrote. In other words, in front of an audience, Jeb Bush gave up.

In June, the Huffington Post ran an opinion piece, “Donald Trump And Playing The Dozens,” in which the Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas, a black man, nailed Trump’s strategy: “The object of the dozens is to bewilder and confound one’s opponent with swift, skillful and creative speech. It is a contest of personal and rhetorical power—of wit, self-control, emotional strength, and mental agility and toughness—in which the person who gets angry or has no comeback is the loser.” A year ago, in yet another post also titled “Playing The Dozens,” the Daily Kos slammed the media—and NBC’s Chuck Todd in particular—for “treat[ing] the bullshit of oratory vomit gushing from Trump’s lips as something coherent and substantive”; this is a charge with which I fully agree (and CNN is the absolute worst in this regard). If media talking heads really wanted to call out Trump’s bullshit, they have plenty of opportunities: the New York Times studied Trump’s tweets and came up with a list of “258 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted…” If that’s not enough, try Googling “Why does Donald Trump insult people?” You’ll get 5,550,000 hits. That’s a lot of insults.

Where did Trump come across this particular form of verbal bullying? You can source it to his New York roots. He was born in Queens (where my own parents lived, after moving there from The Bronx). Queens was, of course, the home of Archie and Edith Bunker (“All in the Family”); Archie was, famously, a bigot, loudmouth and bully, an early model of the angry, working-class white males that form Trump’s shock troops. Still, we loved Archie despite his flaws, because he possessed a trait Trump does not: after all the bluster and blarney, Archie was a sweet man with a tender heart, and capable of perceiving, however dimly, his faults. (Archie’s family also was a lot more likeable than Trump’s.)

Why is Trump so good at insulting? To him, insulting is not a game, as it is in The Dozens, where it’s fun and harms no one. In Trump’s case, it’s sheer, unprovoked aggression, which makes it the kind of trait nobody wants in a human being: neighbor, family, co-worker. We avoid these kinds of people, and rightfully so: they hurt others, for no reason at all, and are not responsive to attempts at friendship. In my view, Trump simply wasn’t raised right. His parents allowed him to be a bully, perhaps even encouraged him; and the lack of moral values in his home encouraged a feral, nasty streak, aided and abetted by his father’s wealth, which let him think he could get away with any behavior, no matter how objectionable. Trump is, in short, the classic mean rich boy, the kind of kid nobody liked–which in turn made him him even angrier and more insulting.

Trump is going to out-do himself for the next two months before the election in insulting Hillary Clinton. Expect an onslaught of “oratory vomit.” How is she going to defend herself? She can’t match Trump’s “rhetorical power”—can’t out-insult him, especially live, during the debates, nor should she try to do so. Nor can she take the haughty high road, as Jeb Bush tried to do: Trump will hustle her. If she looks hapless, this will feed into Kellyanne Conway’s latest smear: Hillary’s health.

The greatest asset Hillary has is her dignity. She has never lost it, not during the egregious calumnies lodged by Republicans during her eight years as First Lady. Not during even worse lies during and after her service as Secretary of State. She maintained her dignity (and her family, something the thrice-married Trump was unable to do, or maybe he just didn’t give a damn) throughout the awfulness of her husband’s philandering, and while he was being hounded by a rogue Republican House of Representatives attempting to drive him from office.

So here’s my advice to Hillary: stay dignified. When answering Trump, be in command of your facts: Trump’s racism, misogyny, xenophobia, bullying…his unsavory business practices…the way he insults, not only people, but our country’s allies…the flirting with dictators…the flip-flops, the pandering unreality of his “Wall”…the rip-off schemes of “Trump University” and his get-rich-quick T.V. scam…his anger and infantilism, his utter incompetence to be President of the United States, the fact that insults are all he has. You can point out, as needed, the glaring personal defects in his curriculum vitae (multiple wives, endless lawsuits, repeated bankruptcies) without seeming vicious. Just the facts, ma’am. Do it coolly, with a level head. Look the camera—the American people—in the eye. You are honest and sincere, Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump is not. Even his supporters know he’s batshit. So, Madame Secretary, dignity is your best defense to Trump’s Dozens.

Attend the Napa Wine Writers Symposium for Free

One of the great perks of having been at this wine writing thing for some time involves my association with the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, for whom I serve as an occasional speaker and mentor (just by way of a disclaimer in advance of the plug which follows).

And one of the great pleasures of this association is getting to spend a few days every year attending the convocation that occurs under this association's banner, nestled into the luxurious surroundings of Meadowood Resort in the Napa Valley.

I've been to all of these Symposiums in the last 12 years, save one, and I can tell you that for anyone who writes about wine, or dreams of it -- or anything in between -- the Attend the Napa Wine Writers Symposium for Freeconference represents an unparalleled opportunity. An opportunity to learn, to practice, and just as importantly, to celebrate wine writing and the people who are passionate about it.

And amazingly, it's totally free.

That's right. If you apply to attend, which involves submitting examples of your work, and you are accepted, you get to attend for free. No fees, free lodging at Meadowood, and all the incredible Michelin-starred food you can eat, all for the cost of getting yourself to the event, however much that might run you.

Of course, if you work for some sort of media outlet, they can just pay your way, too, but for the average independent journalist or aspiring wine writer, if you can convince the fellowship reviewers of your talents, then you're golden.

The event sponsors 30 fellowships, and applications are now being accepted until October 1st.

I've watched magazines get launched from this conference. I've watched amateurs with a few blog posts and a paid wine article to their name blossom into serious wine writers that write regularly for major print and online outlets. And I've both watched and participated in the continual renewing of the intimate sense of community that the world of wine writing enjoys in part thanks to this Symposium.

Attend the Napa Wine Writers Symposium for Free

The week I spend in Napa as a speaker or attendee at this conference is one of the best weeks of each year for me, and I hope you'll consider joining me (and lots of other folks who are more worth getting excited about) at the event, either as a paid participant, or as a fellowship winner.

The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers
February 21-24, 2017
Meadowood Resort
St. Helena, CA

Fellowship applications are DUE OCTOBER 1 and should be submitted online . Only professional (i.e. you have been paid at some point to write about wine) editorial or news wine writers are accepted, which does not include those who make their living in PR or wine marketing.

I am, of course, happy to answer any questions you might have about all this.