This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: August 16—August 21

Breathe. Everyone just take a deep breath in. (I know the air quality is bad.) Hold. Slowly release. We will get through this. We will get through this and 2020 will just be that year that happened that one time. We’re in the thick of it now, so it seems overwhelming and horrible and unforgivable. And it’s ok to feel that way. Let yourself feel that way. Then breathe. Then move forward. Move forward and let’s help each other through this.

Listen, much of the news this week centers around the fires that are strewn across California, many of which are concentrated in and around our state’s various (not just Napa/Sonoma) wine countries—North, Central and South. As a Sonoma resident, I’d like to let you all know that I am safe and healthy. Please send your thoughts, prayers, and charitable donations to those who are immediately affected. (Direct Relief, Napa Valley Community Foundation, California Fire Foundation, Red Cross, UndocuFund, Sonoma Family Meal)

A few helpful resources: County of Sonoma: Sonoma County Fire Incident Map; Press Democrat: What to pack in your evacuation bag

But let’s not forget, there’s still an election going on. And the US is not the only going going through issues at the moment—read about what’s happening in Australia cellar doors and international trade market and South Africa’s battle with prohibition.

I urge you, though, scroll through. It’s not all bad news. I love this profile piece by Dorothy Gaiter on Garry Farrell’s Theresa Heredia (cheers to this proud Latina, LGBTQ Sonoma winemaker); this first-person account by Jeanne Vito, an Afropean wine entrepreneur brought up in Chablis, working in the wine industry and living between South Africa, Togo, and Germany; and it looks like the Finnish are onto some kind of hangover cure

That’s all from me for now.

Breathe. Stay safe. Stay health. Stay positive. Breathe


Emeritus Vineyards 2018 Hallberg Blanc

I came into contact with Emeritus Vineyards when they started offering their monthly educational webinar series. I highly recommend them, and you can read more about the series here. It’s interesting to learn about their specific piece of Russian River Valley terroir. Indeed, the AVA is so huge, it really makes a difference which pocket you’re planting in. And what these different sections of the AVA offer are unique aroma, flavor, and textural profiles of the region’s most planted (and most well-known) red wine grape: Pinot Noir.

I previously reviewed the Emeritus Vineyards 2017 Pinot Hill Vineyards Pinot Noir. But this wine here is a point of difference. To make a Pinot Noir Blanc (note: not Pinot Blanc) Pinot Noir’s juices are immediately separated from the skins in order to prevent any color or tannin extraction. What this creates is a pure expression of how the extremely cool climate of Russian River’s Sebastopol neighborhood nurtures the delicate grape and allows it to maintain a pointed acidity and fresh fruit flavors. And with the Emeritus winemaking team’s minimalist techniques in the cellar, these innate characteristics shine through from first sip to lingering finish.


Tablas Creek Newest Releases: 2018 Counoise, Grenache, and Mourvédre

This is a first in a two-part series because, well, I just have that many (amazing) Tablas Creek wines to try.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Tablas Creek story, here’s a brief synopsis (Jason, feel free to step in and edit me if I got any of this wrong)…




This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: August 8—August 14

Happy weekend, my friends. Let’s take a look at some of the headlines in wine this past week…

Remember how the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released a report significantly changing the recommend daily alcoholic intake, stating men should not consume more than two drinks per day and women should only consumer one? (Yeah…right…) Well, the NAWR has something to say about that. And if that doesn’t put a damper on things, it looks like tariff drama continues and its affecting wine businesses all over the world. (They really want to make it hard for us to get a drink around here, eh?)

It looks like COVID’s latest wine victim is the ancient art of food-treading. Wine Spectator reports that more and more Port producers are turning to mechanical means to make their wines this vintage.

Over in Russia there seems to be something of a wine boom, according to Wine Intelligence’s latest report. The younger generation wants to steer clear of their parents’ and grandparents’ typical imbibes (vodka) and want something “modern” and “lower in alcohol,” which for them means—wine. Which is funny, because my cohort Jim Gordon wrote a short piece for Wine Enthusiast saying that to attract U.S. Millennials, wine producers need to emphasize the health benefits of wine on their labels, calling out organic, biodynamic practices and even providing clear tasting notes. (Seems like we’re going to need bigger labels…) I have thoughts on that. What are yours?

Oh yeah! NOT wine: Sonoma has officially planted its first legal hemp farm. Not something I’m into personally, but kind of interesting how things evolve. Curious if this trend will continue.

Interesting stuff—and there’s tons more. So scroll through, and don’t forget to check out the Blogs for some independent insight.

Stay well, stay healthy. Cheers.


Winemaking Scenarios

This will be the last post in my WSET Exam-Type Questions series. At least as far as my D1 is concerned. By the time you read this, I’ll have already sat the D1 exam—hope I did ok. Stay tuned, though. D2, 3, 4, and 5 are still ahead of me.

For this last piece, I created two separate winemaking scenarios. To be fair, I pulled certain situations—climactic and soil conditions, wine style type, and even North or South Hemisphere—out of a hat in order to formulate these scenarios. (You know, so I wouldn’t cheat and just ask a question about Sonoma’s Los Carneros AVA and look out my window for the answer.) My goal with these scenarios is to walk through as many steps of the viticultural and winemaking process to prove (to myself) I can talk about all the applicable factors.

Here we go.


Welcome to Briscoe Bites! Join 12,000 other subscribers: Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts.

You have successfully subscribed to

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Briscoe Bites will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.