Time for my weekly newsy catch-up. Hopefully you all are staying safe and smart out there. If you’re in wine country, you’ll be forced to be: The Press Democrat reports that Sonoma will soon join its fellow North Bay county neighbors and start implementing fines for those not adhering to COVID-courtesy rules. This includes folks not wearing masks as well as businesses not enforcing the proper protocol for employees and consumers. If you are a California tasting room and are not sure just what rules apply to you, the California Wine Institute has put together a list of tasting room re-opening resources just for you. And if any of this gets you down, check out this photo reel of 150 years of Sonoma picnics.
On the other side of the country, Wine Spectator reports on how New York tasting rooms are coping with their new re-opening rules and regulations dictated by Governor Cuomo. Meanwhile in Ohio, wineries have actually seen a boost in business. But, sadly, an Ohio winery event has been linked to a virus outbreak.
Oh, and you know what else has seen a boom in the age of corona? Weed.
Over in the blogosphere, check out Jason Haas’s letter opposing the looming wine tariffs. In that same post is a link where you can send in your oppositional vote as well. And, once again, it looks like there are a few posts that seem to be “speaking to each other:” Eric Asimov talks about his connection to nature and the outside world being the “greatest thing my job has ever given me.” (Personal note: As a wine journalist myself, I agree and relate to 100% to this piece.) Tim Atkins’ Margaret Rand talks about experiencing wine from an artistic point of view. And, meanwhile, Tim Gaiser gives us tips on logical, deductive wine tasting. Which point of view do you most relate to?
There’s loads more to read. So, scroll through, have some fun.
That’s all from me for now. Have a wonderful weekend.
Press Democrat: Sonoma County supervisors express support for tougher coronavirus-related public health enforcement
Sonoma County supervisors on Thursday signaled support for stiff fines and a marketing campaign to help induce residents to comply with public health rules top county health leaders say are key to curbing rampant spread of the coronavirus.
The proposed approach, which won’t be finalized until Board of Supervisors vote on a tougher enforcement measure Aug. 6, comes amid a resurging pandemic across the Bay Area. New infections, hospitalizations and deaths are all at a high mark. READ MORE…
Wine Institute: Tasting Room Re-Opening Resources
Governor Gavin Newsom announced on June 5 that California winery tasting rooms may reopen where permitted by counties. Wine Institute has compiled these resources and documents for the reopening phase. Please refer to your specific county in the list for current reopening status. READ MORE…
Press Democrat: 150 years of picnics in Sonoma County
Historic photos show generations of locals have loved eating outdoors. VIEW HERE…
Wine Spectator: New York Wineries Adjust to Governor’s New Pandemic Hospitality Rules
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, New York wineries are working to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new regulations on serving alcohol in bars, restaurants and tasting rooms
As COVID-19 cases spike throughout the country, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued new regulations for the state’s hospitality industry, including winery tasting rooms. Late last week, the governor’s office announced that licensed venues will only be allowed to serve guests alcohol if they also order and eat food. Guests at the bar must now be seated and socially distanced or separated by barriers. READ MORE…
The New York Times: You Know What Else Has Sold Well During the Pandemic? Weed Edibles
Pandemic anxiety and mounting concerns about vaping have helped shift sales of cannabis products.
WBNS: Ohio wineries see a boost during pandemic
As more people search for socially-distant activities, wineries see more visitors
The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses across the country, as owners struggled with shutdowns. But for some businesses, the pandemic led to an uptick in visitors – and that includes wineries.
Donniella Winchell is the Executive Director for Ohio Wines. “We have grapes growing on rolling hills, so that makes for those natural breezes,” said Winchell. “And secondary, wineries are really pretty. They’re a really relaxing, beautiful place to visit.” READ MORE…
Fulton County Expositor: COVID-19 cases linked to winery event in Ohio
The Henry County Health Department announced they have identified several cases linked to a “Name That Tune” event at Leisure Time Winery in Napoleon on July 11. The health department is working with the winery regarding the event and related cases.
The Henry County Health Department is requesting those that attended call their local health department. READ MORE…
Decanter: How do organics and biodynamics affect a vineyard’s carbon footprint?
Winemakers from Burgundy, Austria, Portugal and California debated the complex issues around sustainable, organic and biodynamic viticulture at a recent climate talk hosted by the Porto Protocol Foundation.
An online debate around the carbon footprint of organic and biodynamic viticulture, as well as sustainable vineyard methods in a broader sense, was hosted in May by the Porto Protocol Foundation – a non-profit organisation committed to mitigating the effects of climate change.
The recent debate, which was part of a series of online Climate Talks, was hosted by David Guimaraens, head winemaker and technical director of Taylor’s Port owner The Fladgate Partnership. The panel included: Diana Snowden Seysses, of Domaine Dujac in Burgundy and Snowden Vineyards in California; Austrian Fred Loimer, winemaker and founding member of biodynamic certifying body Respekt; and Stan Zervas, vice president of viticulture at Silverado Farming Company in Napa Valley. READ MORE…
Decanter: Porto to open €105m ‘World of Wine’ attraction
A large visitor attraction and cultural centre in Porto named ‘World of Wine’ (WOW) has been preparing to open its doors this summer, after more than five years of planning.
From a 3,000m2 chocolate factory available for birthday party hire to a Portuguese ‘wine experience’ and a 9,000-year history of drinking vessels, Porto’s ‘World of Wine’ is nearly ready to open after €105m of investment.
Covering 55,000m2 of regenerated wine cellars, it aims to be a major visitor attraction and cultural centre for the Portuguese city, alongside the area’s famous Port houses. READ MORE…
Nielsen (via Wine Industry Advisor): Online Sales Continue to Play a Role in Off-Premise Growth for Alcohol
The year-over-year growth rate for total off-premise alcohol dollar sales within Nielsen measured channels increased to +17.3% (+14.1% compared to the prior week). That’s up from a growth rate of +11.8% for the prior week. Spirits continue to lead growth, up 25.5%. Wine grew 16.6% in dollar sales. Beer/FMB/cider lagged significantly, at +14.1%. Core beer excluding FMB/seltzer/cider was +7.6%. READ MORE…
North Bay Business Journal: How wine business law is shifting amid coronavirus pandemic allowances for virtual tastings, direct sales
Even 15 years after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision started opening up the country to direct-to-consumer shipments from wineries, the law is still evolving on direct sales. And the need for wineries to be able to legally sell wine more freely amid coronavirus-related shutdowns of tasting rooms and restaurants is even more paramount.
The Business Journal asked wine law experts in the region about these trends. READ MORE…
Blogs Worth a Read
Taken from the list of Blogs I follow regularly, here are just a few posts from this past week I think are worth a read. Shoot me a note if you have suggestions of blogs to follow or want your blog included on that list.
Jancis Robinson: Ntsiki Biyela – taking charge
As South Africa’s first Black woman winemaker, my experiences have been challenging and often overwhelming. However, they have also driven my determination to succeed. In 1999 I won a scholarship to Stellenbosch University and moved from my home in Kwa-Zulu Natal to study. My fellow students asked me why I would come to an Afrikaans university if I didn’t even speak the language. This was a fact. I couldn’t understand or speak Afrikaans, but I never considered that a barrier to learning. And it wasn’t just their question that was intimidating but the way it was asked. It was made very clear to me, not in words but in the way people behaved towards me, that I didn’t belong. READ MORE…
Jancis Robinson: Three outstanding South African Chenin Blancs
Many wine regions around the world face hardships. Earlier this year, devastating Australian bushfires mobilised us to put our pounds where our palate is. Since then, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the wine industry worldwide, but none has suffered more than South Africa, which is currently enduring a second blanket ban on all sales of alcoholic drink across the country. READ MORE…
Tablas Creek Blog: No, 100% tariffs on European wines won’t be good for California wineries
I submitted comments to the Office of the US Trade Representative, in opposition to the threatened 100% tariffs on European wines that could be imposed as soon as February of 2020. While I believe in an open market and am (like most of the people I know who work for domestic wineries) a lover of wines from around the world, it wasn’t for that point. I am convinced that these tariffs would have severely disruptive effects on the whole system that has been legislated to provide a pathway between wine producers, like us, and the consumers who eventually want to buy the wines. READ MORE…
Exploring Wine with Tim Fish: Ravenswood in Limbo
Founding winemaker Joel Peterson talks about the Zinfandel cult favorite’s uncertain future
Wine labels come and go. Some have a long lifespan; others quickly disappear. It’s something you get used to after a few years in the business. But it’s disturbing to see a once-proud wine brand stuck in limbo.
That’s exactly what’s happening to Ravenswood. It’s not even clear whether the winery made wine in 2019, and harvest 2020 is fast approaching. That’s not something that is going unnoticed by California Zinfandel’s small but dedicated cadre of fans. READ MORE…
Fermentation: Rocket Science and the Restaurant Wine Sales Crisis
I’ll say it one more time: California, Oregon, and Washington wineries, and wineries in every other state need to start lobbying now to cut out the middleman and seek new laws that allow unfettered sales direct to retailers, and those restaurants that survive. READ MORE…
The Pour: From Good Wine, a Direct Path to the Wonders of Nature
For this city dweller, wine provided the opening to a greater understanding of food and agriculture, and their precarious balance.
Last year a friend asked me a question I had never considered before: Over the many years I had been writing about wine, what was the greatest thing this job had given me?
I answered almost reflexively. As a New Yorker who has spent most of my life living in Manhattan, wine had provided me a connection to nature that I most likely would never have experienced otherwise. READ MORE…
Tim Atkin: Looking at wine like an artist
Seeing and describing are two different things. Describing 27 shades of black would be tricky. If one described them in terms of other things, the room in which I am sitting would have the black of piano keys, the blacks of a cast-iron fireplace and all the shades of soot in the chimney, the blacks of the marble surround, mottled and both matt and shiny, the industrial blacks of a loudspeaker and wires, the black of old marks on a wooden floor, the faded black in a kilim, the various blacks of book jackets, the blacks of peat smouldering in the fireplace. Can I find words to describe them all? No. But I can see them.
Describing the flavours of wine brings us up against the same problem. READ MORE…
Tim Gaiser: Using a Decision Matrix in Tasting
In deductive tasting, the sensory evaluation sequence when one gathers as information about a wine’s appearance, aroma, and palate is only part of the equation. What’s equally important, arguably even more important, is to be able to put all the information together in a meaningful way to come up with a logical conclusion. To point, many times I’ve sat across a table from a student listening to them describe a wine in detail only to, in the words of the all-knowing Bugs Bunny, take a left turn at Albuquerque with a conclusion that makes absolutely no sense. It’s as if the student either didn’t listen to themself while describing the wine or they couldn’t connect the dots and come up with a grape and region that matches the information found in the glass. READ MORE…
wine-searcher: The Simple Truth about Complexity in Wine
Complexity means a lot more than simply stacking up the flavors and hoping for the best.
It’s one of the remarks you can make about a wine that the winemaker will never dispute: “lovely complexity”, you can say, and the maker will nod enthusiastically, visibly impressed by your taste and discernment.
If you remark on the beauty and intelligence of their child/dog you will get the same reaction. But what is complexity in wine? And where does it come from? READ MORE…
BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!
**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**