Vineyards off Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
“The Swiss certainly don’t make a whole lot of wine, only about a million hectoliters — a drop in the bucket compared with France’s 42 million or Italy’s 48 million hectoliters. And Switzerland only exports about 2 percent of its wine. By comparison, Italy and Spain each export about half of the wines they produce.” But we’re starting to see more of it in the U.S.—and that’s a good thing, says Jason Wilson in the Washington Post.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley finds a Lodi vineyard that is likely the oldest existing planting of Cinsault in the world: “…Bechthold, in the southwestern Lodi sub-AVA of Mokelumne River, a 25-acre standing of ungrafted, dry-farmed, organic Cinsault (pronounced sin-SO) vines planted in 1886. These ancient plants produce red wines that are ethereal and diaphanous, clear refutations of any notion that intensity of color is linked to complexity of flavor — and of any stereotype of Lodi wines.”
In VinePair, Simon J Woolf profiles Michael Moosbrugger, president of the Austrian Traditional Winemaker’s Association, or Österreichische Traditionsweingüter (ÖTW) in German, a private organization, to create a hierarchy of Austrian wines. The ÖTW wants to put Austria’s best on par with France’s most storied estates.
In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on how the wine industry is beginning to embrace robotics and artificial intelligence in vineyards.
“What would happen if ingredient and nutrition labels became mandatory for wine? Would people start buying less of it? More? Would anyone actually care?” Becca Yeamans-Irwin (aka the Academic Wino) considers the effects of mandatory wine label nutritional and ingredient information.
In Wine Enthusiast, Jessica Ritz highlights wines that benefit charitable causes.
In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague talks to three sommeliers about the art of a polished pour. (subscription req.)
In the New York Times, Eric Asimov and the tasting panel explore the charms of aglianico. “Among its many charms, aglianico is versatile, able to make wines that are delicious when young as well as those that can benefit from years, even decades, in the cellar.”
According to Bloomberg, Pernod is considering a sale of its wine division, which includes Australia’s Jacob’s Creek and Spain’s Campo Viejo labels.
In Wine Enthusiast, Mike DeSimone offers an introduction to Israeli wines.
Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe ponders the pros and cons of crop thinning. “Fast-forward to today’s warmer, drier growing conditions, and this now-commonplace practice has contributed to naturally higher alcohol levels and lowered fresh acidity. It’s time to rethink things.”
In Sprudge Wine, Aaron Ayscough on how Aurelien Lefort is championing natural winemaker in Central France.
Neal Martin tastes 2009 Bordeaux 10 years on and offers his praise in Vinous.
Ari Bendersky explores the resurgence of lesser-known American wine regions in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)
Meininger’s offers insight into Austria’s 2018 harvest, the earliest in the modern era.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, editor in chief of the Wine Advocate, talks to Meininger’s Felicity Carter about scores: “I’m not saying you can do away with them, just saying they’re not everything. I’m dead against a shelf talker with a score selling a bottle of wine. It’s incredibly misleading.”
In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy shows hybrid grapes some love, and highlights the ones with the most potential right now.
Agustin Francisco Huneeus, 53, president of Huneeus Vintners, was charged Tuesday in the college admissions bribery case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to W. Blake Gray.
“Its defenders, myself included, could argue for its social, historical and cultural value, but at the most basic level, wine remains as unnecessary for existence as scented candles or indeed wine writers,” writes Richard Hemming on JancisRobinson.com. “But if that is true, then is it still possible for wine – despite its inherent expendability – to be a force for good?”
In Wine Enthusiast, I offer a guide to the budding wine and cider scene in Burlington, Vermont.
In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on the consumer groups putting pressure on the TTB to include more calorie and nutritional information on wine labeling.
On his Do Bianchi blog, Jeremy Parzen looks at the reasons why 400 Italian scientists are opposing a newly introduced legislation that would promote and protect organic farming.
“We owe a lot to Listán Prieto, also known as Mission, País and Criolla Chica.” Tim Atkin considers the grape’s importance.
Mission Grapes. (Source: Wikimedia)
In PUNCH, Megan Krigbaum explores how the natural wine movement is embracing the mission grape a.k.a. listán prieto a.k.a. país a.k.a. criolla chica. “While the grape long predates most of the varieties we hold in high esteem today, the story of país’s long journey from Old World to New is one we’re only becoming acquainted with now.”
Al Gore tells the wine industry to act on ‘global emergency’ of climate change.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley and Tara Duggan report on how restaurants and wineries in Sebastopol’s Barlow are stuggling to pay bills after the recent flooding.
Wine & Spirits Magzine reports that the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation made a $50,000 donation toward the United Way of the Wine Country Sonoma County Flood Recovery & Wellness Fund. United Way will leverage the funds with an additional matching gift opportunity.
In Travel + Leisure, Ray Isle explains why Washington’s Walla Walla region has grown to become a compelling wine destination.
Condé Nast Traveler explores the growing trend of California wine country loyalty programs.
James Lawrence looks at the maddening business of marketing wine to millennials in Wine-Searcher.
In Decanter, Patricio Tapia argues why Argentina’s Monasterio vineyard, in a remote corner of Uco Valley’s Gualtallary region, is a top candidate to be the country’s first officially recognized ‘grand cru’ area. (subscription req.)
Vineyard in Côte de Beaune. (Source: Wikimedia)
Chris Munro, Head of Wine for Christie’s in the Americas, profiles the 10 Burgundy producers every wine lover should be looking to have in their cellar.
On JancisRobinson.com, Gavin Quinney of Chateau Bauduc puts the Bordeaux 2018 vintage into perspective. “While it was a glorious year for some growers, which will presumably be borne out by the tastings, for others the size of their crop was the stuff of nightmares.”
In the Dallas News, Alfonso Cevola explores how Bichi is rescuing long-forgotten heritage grapevines from nearby Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California.
Rémy Charest explains the science behind achieving the right shade of pink for rosé in SevenFifty Daily.
In Decanter, Andrew Jefford takes a close look at the wines of his local wine appellation, Grés de Montpellier. (subscription req.)
In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery speaks with six New World female winemakers. Each gives a nugget of advice for the next generation of winemakers.
Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss offers a guide to finding value in Burgundy.
In Harpers, Jo Gilbert explores how the rising temperature in Beaujolais is leaving producers to worry.
Christopher Barnes explores the soulful wines of Bruno De Conciliis in Grape Collective.
In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores Luke Lambert’s pursuit of nebbiolo in Australia’s Yarra Valley. “There, on part of a steep, bowl-shaped hillside facing northeast, he will begin this October to plant nothing but nebbiolo. Ultimately he will have about six acres, just about the size that Mr. Lambert, a fierce individualist, and his life and business partner, Rosalind Hall, can farm themselves. He will make just the one wine.”
Jancis Robinson reflects on the “the sheer magnificence of what man and Nature had achieved in the best reds of the 2009 vintage” in Bordeaux—and what their prices are today.
After more than 30 vintages at her Fattoria Le Pupille, Elisabetta Gepetti is releasing her first all-syrah red. Robert Camuto reports on the details in Wine Spectator
In this era of social-media influencers and crowdsourced ratings, which sources can wine drinkers trust? Lettie Teague looks into the LeBron James effect and what it means in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)
In Wine-Searcher, Tom Jarvis talks to viticulture expert Dr. Amber Parker about how to mitigate the effects of climate change in the vineyard.
Alfonso Cevola on the complexities of importing Italian wine into America.
In the World of Fine Wine, David Williams reviews Miquel Hudin and Daria Kholodilina’s Georgia: A Guide to the Cradle of Wine.
Dave McIntyre offers his notes on a bottle of Playboy red in the Washington Post.
In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman looks at what’s ahead for US wine: new delivery services, new shipping laws and new technology.
In SevenFifty Daily, Shana Clarke reports from Vinexpo, where wine professionals discussed how they were utilizing emerging technologies to maintain a competitive edge.
A project to install ‘colossal’ wind turbines in the heart of the Chablis vineyards will ‘completely spoil’ the landscape, according to wine grower Jean-Marc Brocard. Richard Woodard reports on the objection in Decanter.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley pens an obituary for John Shafer, founder of the influential Shafer Vineyards, who died March 2 at the age of 94.
In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth pays a visit to Faust Wines’ Coombsville vineyard. “Located adjacent to Hobbs’ vineyards, Faust’s 130-acre property was planted by the Huneeus family in 1998, making it one of the earliest vineyard developments in the area, following Caldwell and Farella.”
When speaking at the Climate Change Leadership conference in Porto, Jamie Goode said: “Wine is the canary in the coal mine of agriculture.”
On the Northforker blog, Cyndi Zaweski profiles Ami Opisso, the creative leader of two major Long Island wine labels: Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane.
Tom Wark explores “wine, millennials and the art of a proper rant.”
VinePair shares a few details about their site redesign.
“Today’s sommelier is a very different animal to her counterpart of previous generations… Today’s sommelier is a brand in their own right. They almost certainly have a sizeable social media following – a key requirement when applying for a new job – and a blog in which they can tell the world about their latest discoveries. And ‘the world’, in this case, means other sommeliers.” In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph explores the rise and rise of the somm.
In the Harvard Business Review, Gregory Carpenter and Ashlee Humphreys report on what the wine industry understands about connecting with consumers.
In the World of Fine Wine, Ella Lister rounds up the last of the auction news of 2018, paying particular attention to the seemingly unstoppable rise of Burgundy, which is having no difficulty in seeing off all comers.
In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth talks to Paul Hobbs about his most recent venture in Coombsville, which only earned AVA status in 2011. “What makes the wines from Coombsville different according to Hobbs is the area’s cooler climate—”cooler” by Napa Valley standards, at least.”
Shana Clarke reports on how Oregon wineries are coming together to save grapes rejected for smoke taint in NPR. “For the Solidarity winemakers, helping growers recoup some of the potential loss just by purchasing grapes wasn’t enough; all net proceeds from the sales of the wines will go to Rogue Valley Vintners, the nonprofit Oregon growers association.”
In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery highlights six women that became “the first” to achieve a high accomplishment in the wine industry.
Oliver Styles meditates on wine snobbery in Wine-Searcher.
Demeter certification on a wine label. (Flickr: Daniel Spiess)
In SevenFifty Daily, Hannah Wallace traces the origin story of biodynamic wine. “Most wine industry professionals are familiar with the basic tenets of biodynamics, including precepts like the prohibition against the use of pesticides and artificial herbicides in the vineyard… The history of biodynamics in the wine industry, however, is less well known.”
“John Shafer was 48 years old in 1972, working as a textbook publisher in Chicago, when he decided to pick up and move his family to California to pursue wine, despite knowing very little about the business. He went on to create one of Napa’s first cult Cabernets in his Hillside Select and was among the pioneers of Napa’s Stags Leap District. Shafer died March 2 at the age of 94,” reports Aaron Romano in Wine Spectator.
Terravant Wine Company, Santa Barbara County’s largest winery announced that it has purchased Summerland Winery. WineBusiness.com shares more details.
In Eater, Jordan Salcito says to buy a decanter, but skip the aerator.
In VinePair, Jake Emen highlights Tohu Wines, New Zealand’s first Māori-owned winery.
Michael Edwards offers a producer profile of Veuve Clicquot in Decanter. (subscription req.)
On his Do Bianchi blog, Jeremy Parzen shares how impressed he was by Chicago’s wine scene.
In Forbes, Tom Mullen looks at South Africa’s ever-evolving wine scene.
Tannat grapes. (Source: Wikimedia)
From Tannat’s contested South American debut, back to its origins in southwest France, and forward to its latest outposts in New Zealand, Julia Harding MW charts the rise of this climate-sensitive and terroir-transparent grape variety in the World of Fine Wine.
“These are wines that sommeliers, retailers and Italian wine directors should take a plunge at. They are very drinkable and enjoyable, again and again (that which I can attest to). They are versatile, and they are varied in their flavor profiles to enjoy over different courses and seasons. Why isn’t America jumping on this wine?” Alfonso Cevola makes a case for Erbaluce.
In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy explores the rise of cabernet franc. “In 2018 the volume of direct shipments of cabernet franc in the U.S. jumped 19 percent, according to the recently released Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping Report. The growth trend, it says, started in 2014.”
Reuters reports that Australia’s hottest summer on record is impacting grape yields, set to drop to the lowest in years.
In Wine Spectator, winemaker Tegan Passalacqua offers James Molesworth a tour of Turley Wine Cellar’s lesser-known cabernet sauvignon vines.
In Wine-Searcher, Tom Jarvis explores the history of vine grafting.
WineBusiness.com highlights millennial vintners from California to watch in 2019.