Good Saturday morning! Here’s your list of the latest wine-related news I’ve been reading this past week. Hope this proves interesting, if not useful. Let me know your thoughts…

From the Press

Wine Enthusiast: Argentine Vintner Dr. Laura Catena Discusses Harvest During a Crisis

Dr. Laura Catena in Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina. / Photo courtesy Catena Zapata

A former emergency room doctor, Dr. Laura Catena worked in medicine for 30 years before becoming managing director of Catena Zapata Winery in Mendoza, Argentina. The oldest family-run winery in Argentina, Catena Zapata was founded in 1902 by Laura’s great-grandfather, Nicola Catena, and revolutionized for the modern era by her father, the legendary Nicolás Catena Zapata. Laura is an innovative winemaker and passionate advocate for the family business, Argentinean wine and quality, site-specific Malbec. She has also authored two books, Vino Argentino: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina (Chronicle Books, 2010) and Gold in the Vineyards  (Catapulta Editores, 2020). Laura spoke with Wine Enthusiast about how both Catena Zapeta and Argentina itself are navigating the novel coronavirus pandemic, and how the industry and entire world can best move forward. READ MORE…

North Bay Business Journal: Northern California wineries innovate to replace virus lockdown’s big hit to main sales channels

By Jeff Quackenbush

Going into the sixth week of the coronavirus lockdown, the concerns of the California wine business near the beginning of this year of a 200,000-ton oversupply of grapes seems like a memory to Dan Zepponi, CEO of Napa Valley’s Cuvaison winery. At that time that equivalent of 15 million 9-liter cases too much of wine for the slowing trajectory of sales growth for the beverage overall in the past two years. By Zepponi’s rough figuring that overhang amounted to an extra bottle and three-quarters per U.S. adult per year. “Talking to most of my friends and colleagues, we’ve already done that, I think we’re eating at the oversupply, and there’s a kink in the supply chain coming from Europe,” he said. READ MORE…

Silver Oak Becomes First Winery to Earn Living Building Challenge Sustainability Certification

Silver Oak’s Alexander Valley winery has been certified a Living Building by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)—the first winery and only the 25th project of any kind in the world to earn the designation. (Courtesy of Silver Oak)

Silver Oak has long made its name on barrel-aged Napa and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. But as the company, founded in 1972, enters its third generation of ownership and operation by the Duncan family, it is now solidifying its reputation as a leader in eco-friendly, sustainable winemaking as well.

After attaining the prestigious LEED Platinum certification for its Napa facility, and then its Alexander Valley one, the company announced (on April 22, Earth Day) that the Sonoma winery has notched another milestone: It has been certified a Living Building by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)—the first winery and only the 25th project of any kind in the world to earn the designation. READ MORE…


Blogs Worth a Read

I have a new page listing the Blogs I follow with regularity. 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.

Dallas Wine Chick: From Prohibition to Pandemic: The Mondavi Family’s History of Reinvention

Mondavi Sisters: Alycia, Giovanna, Angelina and Riana, Photo Courtesy of the Mondavi Sisters

From Prohibition in the 1920’s to the pandemic today, the Mondavi family has proven it can be successful in the face of tragedy.

“Many successful companies today have come out of times of crisis,” Alycia said.  My family’s successful Charles Krug Winery came out of Prohibition.”

The sisters are partners in Dark Matter Wines, where Angelina is currently the winemaker. The winery was launched in 2012 under the mentorship of Marc Mondavi, Winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown with their other two sisters, Riana who is a northern sales manager for C. Mondavi and Family as well as CR Cellars and Purple Heart and Giovanna (Gigi) who lives in Boston and works in the financial field by day.  Alycia is also the CEO and Co-Proprietor of Aloft Wine, a premium Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon distinct from Charles Krug wines. READ MORE…

Nielsen: Six Simple Guidelines for Sustainability in the Context of Today

By Smruti Kulkarni, Director, BASES Design & Machine Learning Solutions

COVID-19 has changed everything, hasn’t it? The way we work, learn, shop, eat—everything’s changed. Think about the behavior changes that have been observed since the outbreak of the virus; many will likely become the new normal post COVID-19—online shopping, better hygiene practices, lesser travel, a renewed cautiousness about health, preference for products with endorsements from authorities, local sourcing etc.

So why should businesses and marketers have sustainability on their agendas? READ MORE…

Nielsen: Sustainable Brands Can Pivot With Purpose to Help Address COVID-19

Research has shown that consumers care about companies who support causes that matter to them. Pre-pandemic, 74% of U.S. Millennials said they are more likely to buy brands supporting social issues they care about. For brands, this makes things simple. Rarely is there one cause that resonates so deeply with so many at once. The brands that pivot with purpose will ensure they not only survive, but build their reputations and grow loyalty over the long-term. READ MORE…

The Wine Economist: Wine Industry Consolidation & the Big “W” Recession Threat

Do you recognize the big W in the photo above? It is the from the classic 1963 Stanley Kramer film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

How are banking cycles related to the wine industry in the current coronavirus crisis? Well there is a joke that the only person crazier than a winery owner is her banker. But no one is laughing at jokes like that these days.

There is a serious connection.  A recent Wine Business Monthly report suggests that the American wine industry looks a lot like the American finance industry and that a coronavirus recession shake-out is likely to lead to a wave of consolidation.

Only 56 out of the more than 10,000 U.S. wineries are really really large, producing more than 500,000 cases per year. These are the JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs of the American wine scene. Another 246 wineries are very large, producing between 50,000 and 500,000 cases annually. Taken together, this small number of wine producers accounts for most of the wine produced and consumed. READ MORE…

Tim Gaiser: The Forgotten Women of California Wine

Josephine Tychson

These women were not especially supportive of the Suffrage movement. That may seem shocking, but it’s important to know that in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Suffrage and Prohibition movements were linked. It’s a complex story and some background is needed to understand how these two very different movements came to be unified. READ MORE…

Jamie Goode: The latest on mouse, the wine taint of our times

Mouse taint (mousiness) is a wine fault that I’d not experienced until a few years ago. Now it seems to be everywhere, but that’s probably because I have a strong interest in natural wine, and it’s the increase in people working without added sulfites that has led to its rise. And also there’s the question of awareness: once you’ve spotted a specific fault, you seem to see it more frequently. READ MORE…

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**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.**

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