Alright cool kids, here’s what’s going on. The Napa Valley Register reports that Napa has shutdown indoor dining and entertainment. According to the Press Democrat, Sonoma will probably (and in my opinion hopefully) soon follow suit. The number of COVID cases in both counties are rising. The number of people who seem to care are not—check out the below pieces from wine-searcher and HuffPost on how that’s affecting our hospitality workers. (Spoiler: not well.)
But if you want some “good” COVID-related news, read Decanter’s article detailing how the UK chancellor is putting schemes in place to help the hospitality industry; Wine Spectator takes a look at the successes of the Spanish wine industry.
For those in California prepping for harvest, the Wine Institute has established a “COVID-19 Harvest Protocols Workbook,” aimed to help you with those efforts. Stay safe out there.
Don’t forget to scroll down to the Blogs. There’s a lot of good stuff up this week. I’m calling out Amber LeBeau again for her well-written piece on creating a more racially inclusive wine industry.
Another interesting anecdote: Tim Atkin’s author Andy Neather and Vinous author Neal Martin seem to be talking to each other this week. The topic: climate change—and how it’s positively affecting the English wine industry.
Oh, also, take a look at the curious (and potentially delocious?) Shiraz-Pinot Noir blends (I know!) discussed by Young Gun of Wines.
There’s loads more so, scroll through, read some educational pieces, but please do check out some of the fun bits as well.
Wine Enthusiast: Crushed by Covid: The Pandemic Challenges Custom Crush Facilities
Husband and wife Eric Story and Allison Smith Story had to abandon their most prized possession for three achingly long months this year. The co-founders of Smith Story Wine Cellars make wines in a custom crush facility where doors have been shuttered due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. From March to June 2020, Smith Story Wine Cellars wine was under lock and key at Sonoma’s Grand Cru Custom Crush. READ MORE…
A new wave of coronavirus-related restrictions on indoor businesses could arrive Monday, Sonoma County health officials acknowledge, as the region edges closer to inclusion on a state watchlist of counties with elevated hospitalizations and growing caseloads. READ MORE…
Napa Valley Register: Napa to again shut down dine-in restaurants, bars, indoor tasting rooms as coronavirus cases rise
Dine-in eateries, indoor tasting rooms, movie theaters, museums, card rooms and indoor entertainment venues will have to remain closed at least through July 30.
Also required to close: brewpubs, breweries, pubs and bars, for both indoor and outdoor service. Restaurants and other businesses would be allowed to maintain outdoor operations.
A spike in Covid infections – and poor visitor behavior – means an end to indoor wine tasting.
Napa County has shut down indoor tasting rooms and restaurants again, after a spike in cases of Covid-19. Outdoor wine tasting is still allowed.
Sonoma County is expected to follow suit next week, but that has not happened yet. Both counties have been relatively lucky so far with Covid-19, but numbers of positive tests and sick people are rising, particularly among farmworkers. READ MORE…
Napa Valley Register: Clusters of COVID-19 cases arise among North Bay farmworkers, who remain vulnerable
Many of the individuals working in vineyards are young men who have come to the North Bay alone to send money home to their families – part of a mobile workforce like the one Peri described. COVID-19 typically spreads through these groups, which Matyas described as “a relatively insular community,” not because of vineyard work, but due to their living and transportation arrangements. READ MORE…
HuffPost: Yes, You Can Dine At Reopened Restaurants. But Is It Ethical?
For restaurant workers, choosing between financial ruin and a risky work environment is no choice at all.
Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are yearning for the experience of eating in restaurants once again. Some have determined it’s worth it. But like so many decisions now, dining out has impacts that go well beyond individual risk-tolerance, because it also endangers servers and other staff. READ MORE…
Wine Institute: COVID-19 Harvest Protocols Workbook for California Vineyards and Wineries
Wine Institute, California Association of Winegrape Growers and California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance have developed a COVID-19 Harvest Protocols Workbook that was released during a July 7 webinar featuring health and safety experts Collin Cook of Fisher & Phillips LLP and David Sarvadi and Manesh Rath of Keller & Heckman LLP.
Wineries are advised to consult with their legal counsel prior to the use of information from the harvest webinar available for download and viewing below.
Download Harvest Webinar Materials
VinePair: A Reckoning on Race at the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas
With high-profile resignations and leadership fumbles igniting a debate about the organization’s very need to exist, it’s do-or-die time for CMSA. As sommelier Tahiirah Habibi, founder of HUE Society, a hub for BIPOC wine pros, puts it: “You are either anti-racist or you support racism. You’re fixing it, or you are going to get caught on the not-OK side.” As a newly appointed diversity committee begins its work amid tumult, the Court of Master Sommeliers is scrambling to wake and do right. READ MORE…
Wine Spectator: As Spain Reopens, Its Wineries Forge Ahead
The pandemic hit the nation hard, and vintners know reopening will be slow. They’re trying new solutions
Spain without good restaurants and bars was once unimaginable. But for several months, that was the reality as the nation locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic, upending life and taking away close to two-thirds of wine sales by value for domestic wineries.
To date, the country has experienced one of the highest death counts—more than 28,000—from the virus and more than 250,000 confirmed cases. The impact on Spain’s economy, especially the hospitality sector, has been devastating. As the country slowly begins to unwind its months-long lockdown, wineries and grapegrowers across all regions are strategizing both short-term and long-term plans in an effort to keep their businesses alive. READ MORE…
Decanter: UK chancellor offers discounts to restaurant diners
Diners visiting certain venues from Monday to Wednesday in any week of August will get up to £10 per person off their meal, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in a mini-Budget statement yesterday (8 July).
He also said value added tax (VAT) will be cut from 20% to 5% on food and non-alcoholic drinks in restaurants, pubs and cafes from 15 July until 12 January 2021.
The announcement, which also included a new job retention scheme, was broadly welcomed by the trade, although concerns remain. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: Upcoming Tariffs Decision Looms Over Beleaguered Wine Industry
In October 2019, the U.S. government imposed a 25% tariff on still wine, cheese, olives, whiskey and other food and drink imports from the Britain, France, Spain and Germany. Those 25% tariffs are currently under review and could be expanded next month to include more countries or more types of wines, such as sparkling wines or bottles with more than 14% alcohol-by-volume (abv).
It’s a looming threat for wine professionals, many of whom already feel under siege. The existing tariffs and shaky economy endanger the $70 billion U.S. wine industry that includes importers, retailers, and distributors. 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 or want your blog included.
SpitBucket: Wine and Syrup Bottles – It’s time to do more
The wine industry needs more folks like Jonella Orozco and Brooke Lago. We need more people willing to chip away at the barriers which limit access, availability and opportunities for minority-owned wine and spirits brands. Projects like Coney’s BWP help increase visibility and amplifies the voices of Black wine professionals while Wine Unify broadens educational opportunities. But we also need to take this fight to the retail shelves and wine lists of our communities. READ MORE…
Wine Curmudgeon: The Trump zombie wine tariff is lurking over the horizon
Just when it seemed safe to drink European wine without worrying that it could double in price, the Trump zombie wine tariff is lurking over the horizon. READ MORE…
Please the Palate: Changing the Image of Bordeaux
With the desire to revitalize the Bordeaux image, Saskia de Rothschild, the youngest person to run a first-growth Bordeaux estate, is focused on making Bordeaux more approachable and appeal to younger, and new, generations of wine drinkers. Saskia de Rothschild is the daughter of Baron Eric de Rothschild, who began running Lafite in 1974. While he is still involved with the family company, it is now in the hands of his 33-year-old daughter. READ MORE…
Tim Atkin: Côtes de Grantham might cost the earth
As a dramatisation of climate change and crisis, it felt like a moment. I was in the Putney car park of the PR company R&R Teamwork, talking to Oz Clarke about English wine, at the UK trade’s first portfolio tasting since before lockdown. Yet despite the organisers’ efforts to create a safe and socially distanced tasting, the biggest challenge was the blistering heat, over 30 degrees in the shade. Rosamund Barton and her staff lugged boxes of ice around in a desperate attempt to keep the wines cool.
“What’s tasting best?” asked one arrival.
“Whatever’s coldest,” replied Oz. READ MORE…
Vinous: Albion Gets Serious: English Sparkling Wine
Global warming has lessened the risk of successive growing seasons succumbing to frost or being wiped out by rain and rot. The weather remains unpredictable and we still have a marginal climate at the mercy of maritime influences. However, with global warming there are now sufficient warm, dry summers that extend into harvest to give greater assurance that the climate is suited to large-scale viticulture. It does inhibit the expansion of organic viticulture, even if the vineyard that I mentioned earlier near my house is biodynamic. READ MORE…
Science and Wine: Social cues and the online purchase intentions of organic wine
Retailers can enhance organic wine sales by increasing the level of social cues on their websites, for instance, by using chat boxes. Other social cues that might elicit similar effects are customer reviews or human pictures. READ MORE…
Young Gun of Wine: Australia’s Best Pinot Noir & Shiraz Blends
While pinot noir and shiraz are not quite polar opposites, the thought of blending the two varieties together may seem shocking to many. However, in the 40s and 50s, one of Australia’s legendary winemakers made arguably some of our greatest and most enduring wines pairing just those two grapes. Today, there is a renewed interest in the blend, and makers from the staunchly traditional to the restlessly creative are getting on board. READ MORE…
BoozeRules: Hospitality Reopening Roadmap to Success
This post is for you, dear hospitality business owner, who just wants to know how to reopen your restaurant, bar or tasting room, since traveling on the resilience road map can be a bumpy road. Here’s my attempt at a key to the State’s road map. READ MORE…
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