Happy weekend, all. Happy Three-Day Weekend, in fact. There’s been so much going on in the news lately, it was almost hard for me to keep up this week. But I’ve done it, and hopefully I can help you catch up on anything you may have missed.
Of course, with selfish self-promotion, I’d like to point to my article speaking to vintners from Napa’s Spring Mountain AVA who are still cleaning up after the 2020 fire events that nearly destroyed the mountain top region. I report this, with respect to those who are currently battling the Caldor Fire and am happy to say, at least thus far, it seems El Dorado and Amador vintners remain optimistic. (Though the resulting smoke from these fires seem to be affecting our Canadian neighbors to the north.) Here’s how to help Caldor fire victims.
For a bit of dual fun-education, check out my Wine Basics feature for Wine Enthusiast answering the question: What does ‘Reductive’ Mean in Wine? And if you didn’t see my Wine Basics feature last week defining ‘mid-palate,’ take a read, and then check out this ‘critique’ of my article from Edible Arts’ Dwight Burrow.
Wine Industry folks: Ticket registration has opened for the second largest wine industry event in the US—WinExpo—and yours truly is moderating a panel discussion on regenerative agriculture. Sign up, join me, let’s learn how to save the earth one vineyard at a time.
What else? Well, it looks like the future of the US wine industry just may be based on *gasp* hybrid grapes. And, opinion time, what do ya’ll think about ‘hot climate’ wine regions? Oh, and if you like shopping at those small, independent wine shops, here’s an inside look at just how hard it is for producers to assert themselves onto those shelves.
I also have to include a few blog call outs:
With the abortion ban in Texas, my gal Amber asks the hard question—how is the wine industry going to respond?
James Suckling posted about the Top 10 wine instagram accounts the same week Wine Market Council released their data answering the question, “Does Social Media Impact Wine Choices.” Interesting juxtaposition.
And no worries, my fellow wine students, Jancis Robinson has no intention of retiring any time soon.
But wait! There’s more!!! If all that’s not enough booze news for you scroll through, there’s so much more that’s been reported this week. Did I miss anything? Let me know. Thanks for popping by. Cheers!
Wine Enthusiast: Spring Mountain’s Wineries Re-Open, But Struggles Continue
“If it wasn’t for Ron, there would be no Spring Mountain Vineyards,” says Dermot Whelon, vice president of sales and marketing for Spring Mountain Vineyard.
He refers to Vineyard Manager Ron Rosenbrand. As fire trucks drove past, and the flames of last fall’s Glass Fire threatened the estate’s perimeter, Rosenbrand stayed behind, defending his business and home.
Of the estate’s planted acreage, 96,000 vines, or 28%, burned. Sixteen buildings, including Rosenbrand’s house, collapsed. Winery and vineyard equipment was destroyed, along with cherished keepsakes.
“It could have been a lot worse,” says Rosenbrand. Bravery, a bit of luck and a personal call to a friend who is a fire chief helped to save Spring Mountain Vineyard’s winery and hospitality space.
It’s taken nearly a year for the mountain-top wineries to welcome visitors again. “Most damage to our property is out of view of what the public can see,” says Whelan. “We’re able to continue as normal now, but the view of the vineyards has definitely changed.”
And cleanup is far from over. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Advisor: Fire Watch—Caldor Fire Burns Big Doubling in Size
It was a pretty harrowing day, according to Miraflores general manager Ashlee Cuneo: “The fire got extremely close to the winery. CalFire was there protecting the vineyards. They had earlier bulldozed a perimeter around the property, which helped immensely.” She continues, “We lost two small outbuildings and a tiny amount of Zinfandel and Syrah. The two residences and the winery production building were not touched.”
Miralfores hasn’t begun harvesting but custom crush has started for several local clients. ”Luckily the winery was able to get passes for production and vineyard staff to get back in and check on fermentations and get Brix readings,” comments Cuneo. READ MORE…
Maple Ridge News: Wildfire smoke threatens B.C. wine crops
Smoke taint could impact B.C. winegrower’s bottom lines
California’s devastating 2020 wildfire season cost its wine industry an estimated $601 million.
The Australian Wine Research Institute estimates that 2009’s Black Saturday fires in Victoria, Australia resulted in $299 million in lost wine revenues.
B.C. winegrowers also battle with smoke taint but it was a travel warning to the Okanagan that recently has hurt the industry. First the COVID outbreak, then a series of wildfires, each forcing cancellations to the region’s wineries. READ MORE…
NBC Bay Area: Napa Winemakers Using Sunscreen to Deal With Climate Change
As winemakers in the Bay Area’s famous wine region grapple with the many challenges imposed by the changing climate, at least one winery is turning to an unusual strategy for dealing with rising temperatures: sunscreen.
Not for the winemakers. For their grapes.
Ray Hannigan of Green and Red Vineyards in St. Helena said earlier this summer the winery began spraying a natural clay solution onto the leaves of the vineyard’s prized zinfandel grapes.
“It’s just like a sunscreen on a human,” Hannigan said surrounded by vines laden with swollen purple grapes, beneath leaves smattered with the chalky white substance. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: What Does ‘Reductive’ Mean in Wine?
“Reductive winemaking can create interesting and quality wines,” says Casey Di Cesare, winemaker at Scheid Family Wines. However, there’s a marked difference between “reductive winemaking” and “reduction” in wine.
Reduction generally means aromas created or held in the absence of oxygen. “It refers to the presence of a group of compounds that are quite smelly and contain sulfur,” says Jamie Goode, wine writer, lecturer, wine judge and book author. “These compounds are produced by yeast during fermentation, especially when yeast don’t have enough nutrients or are stressed.”
Common aromas associated with reduction are cooked or rotten eggs, onions or garlic, sweet corn and rubber. “There’s a whole range of them,” says Goode. READ MORE…
Wine Spectator: Paso Robles’ Justin Vineyards and Winery Buys Napa’s Lewis Cellars
Paso Robles-based Justin Vineyards and Winery is acquiring Napa’s Lewis Cellars, Wine Spectator has learned. The price was not disclosed. The deal includes the brand, winery and inventory. Justin, owned by the Resnick family’s Wonderful Company, a large farming firm that owns brands like Fiji Water and Pom Wonderful, will provide a marketing and sales arm to the brand, while co-founder Randy Lewis and president Dennis Bell will remain at the helm of operations, along with winemaker James McCeney.
“Randy and I have been seeking a compatible partner to maintain the quality and consistency of our wines while taking Lewis Cellars to the next level,” Bell told Wine Spectator. “We’ve found that partner with Justin.” READ MORE…
Barrons Online: The Staglin Family’s Push to Broaden Awareness of Mental Illness
Less than a decade after venture capital investor Garen Staglin and his wife, Shari, purchased the Rutherford Bench estate that would become Staglin Family Vineyard in Napa Valley, the couple learned the power of connecting wine with philanthropy.
This was 1995, just a few years after the Staglins’ son, Brandon, suffered a psychotic episode while the couple was away in Europe. Through their “connections and resources” the Staglins were able to find a doctor who diagnosed their son with schizophrenia.
As shocking as it was, the diagnosis defined the problem, and offered a path to a course of care for their son—which was a relief, says Staglin, 76. Through medication and support, Brandon was able to return to Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, after a semester off and graduate on time with honors and degrees in engineering sciences and anthropology.
Through this experience, the Staglins realized they had two choices: to either run away from a problem, or run toward it. “We chose the latter,” he says. READ MORE…
Eater: We’re Getting Rid of Starred Restaurant Reviews at Eater
It’s not yet clear what type of reboot the restaurant industry will get as it slowly returns to normal — especially after a pandemic that brought to light many of its inequities — but we’re hitting the reset button on this aspect of food criticism
One morning about 10 years ago, an old flame sent me off to work with a small container of turkey chili. I microwaved it for lunch, ate it rapidly, and praised the chef in a glowing Facebook post. She seemed quite pleased, but went on to ask, in the comments section, how many stars I would give it. After careful consideration, I decided to award two stars, and left the well-deserved rating in the semi-public thread.
The compliment was not received as well as I’d hoped. “Why only two?” she asked, a question that, as best as I can recall, prompted me to expound upon the standard four-star restaurant review system employed by the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, and, at the time, yours truly. I tend to hover around one star for a good restaurant with a hit-or-miss menu, two stars for an all-around high-performing restaurant, and three stars for a more select group of ambitious, best-in-class venues. Most critics, myself included, rarely use four stars or zero stars more than once a year. And so if I’m giving a really good brasserie, pizzeria, or Cuban spot two stars — places staffed by folks who’ve dedicated their lives to cooking for others — such a designation would be a heck of a win for a spicy homemade stew, I assumed.
I’ve meditated upon that embarrassing interaction over the years, and while there’s obviously something to unpack about my interpersonal skills of yesteryear, the larger lesson is that even when a critic capably wields the primary weapon in their arsenal — words — the starred rating at the end of a review can still cause more confusion and disappointment than clarity. So I’m happy to say we’re getting rid of stars at Eater. READ MORE…
Press Democrat: Illicit marijuana growing operation disbanded in Sonoma Coast State Park
Two suspects were arrested after authorities discovered an illegal marijuana growing operation in Sonoma Coast State Park earlier this month.
The plot, which included about 1,500 plants, was found Aug. 17 with about 1,000 pounds of trash, the California Department of Parks and Recreation announced Monday afternoon.
Supervising Sonoma Coast Ranger Damien Jones said the operation was in a remote area near Coleman Valley Road, between Highway 1 and Occidental.
“They were trespassing across private property to reach it in an area where there are really no trails or roads,” he said of the suspects, who were identified as Genaro Vargas-Vicente, 45, and Ramiro Nieto-Sebastian, 25.
They face charges that include illegal cannabis cultivation, water diversion and possession of a loaded gun. The pair were booked into the Sonoma County Jail on Aug. 17.
Neither man was listed in jail records Monday and it was unclear if either had an attorney. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Advisor: Smaller Producers Need Independent Retailers—Now More Than Ever
Distributors, brokers, and buyers discuss the importance of connecting with niche-focused wine shops
“You’re the only one who can tell your story,” says a long-time broker and winery sales executive.
“You’re the only one who can tell your story,” says a Manhattan wine shop operator.
“You’re the only one who can tell your story,” says a top Spanish wine importer.
That all three—from different parts of the wine business in different parts of the country—agree on the same principle speaks volumes about how smaller producers can get their products into independent wine shops. Which, given the way the wine business works these days, is more important than ever.
All the old, pre-pandemic obstacles are still here: too many SKUs, too few wholesalers, and increasing consolidation in the second and third tiers. Throw in the collapse of the on-premise business during the pandemic (and its agonizingly slow recovery), and smaller producers need independent retailers more than ever. READ MORE…
Blogs Worth a Read
Taken from the list of Blogs and other media outlets 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 independent media to follow or want your outlet included on that list.
SpitBucket: Should the Wine Industry Boycott Texas?
How should the wine industry respond to Texas’s new abortion ban?
Should consumers and buyers avoid purchasing Texas wine? Should tourists thinking about visiting cross it off their list? (Considering the state’s COVID situation that might be wise for a multitude of reasons.)
What about the wineries across the globe, from California to Australia and Europe, long attracted to Texas’s sizable and growing market of wine drinkers? Should they tell their wholesalers or importers to stop knocking on the door of Texas’s numerous steakhouses?
How about the sommeliers and other industry wonks who descend every year (pandemic permitting) to the TEXSOM conference and wine awards? With the next conference coming up soon in November, their various social media channels have so far been quiet about the storm brewing in their backyard.
And for those of us in the wine media, there could be a lot of personal dilemmas if next year’s Wine Media Conference, ran by Zephyr Conferences, ends up being in Texas Hill Country. Same with the upcoming Slow Wine tour.
What should the wine industry do? More importantly, what are you going to do?
Edible Arts: The Soul of a Wine Happens at Mid-Palate
Stacy Briscoe’s article in Wine Enthusiast provides an excellent overview of what we mean when we talk about a wine’s midpalate. In doing so she uncovers a dimension of wine too often overlooked—wines’ vitality. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Advisor Opinion Piece: Nothing Wrong with Hot Climate Winegrowing
Some of the best wines of the Old and New World are produced in hot climate regions.
In the U.S., on the other hand, “hot climate” implies wines that are “rough,” “lowdown,” “crude,” or “uncouth.” Hot climate wines are to be avoided, banished from our crystal decanters for lack of grace, restraint, elegance or (horrors) “balance.”
As if any wine intended to be considered seriously must be made from grapes grown in cooler climate regions, like the Pinot noir of Burgundy in France, or maybe Riesling cultivated along Germany’s icy rivers. But the drinking, thinking man (and woman) of today does not live by Pinot noir alone. Certainly, not by Riesling. READ MORE…
Jancis Robinson: All change, no change
As the football transfer window draws to a close, we have a transfer of our own to share with you.
We have some important news, news that we anticipate will affect you hardly at all, but will have considerable bearing on those of us on the JancisRobinson.com team.
We are inordinately proud of how popular and successful our beloved wine website has been to date. Without any marketing effort on our part, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy an increase in membership of our Purple Pages every year without fail so that at the last count we had members in more than 80 countries and a readership that seems generally happy with what we have to offer them. (See this, rather out of date, collection of testimonials, for instance.)
But JancisRobinson.com has now reached a size that is really quite difficult for our small team to manage – especially from the tech and administrative point of view. (Some of you may remember how long it can take to fix little glitches, and the headache-inducing complexities of EU VAT have caused unwanted distractions for Rachel and me, for example.) READ MORE…
BK Wine Magazine: De-alcoholised “wines” will soon be called wines, and have appellations
The EU has long had restrictive regulations regarding de-alcoholising wines. This is about to change. Non-alcoholic (de-alcoholised) “wines” will probably soon be allowed to call themselves wine. And they will be allowed to keep their AOP or their IGP.
This is an EU decision (in other words, a decision by the 27 member countries), although some details remain to be discussed. READ MORE…
The Buyer: Getting to grips with Hárslevelű, Hungary’s ‘other grape’
Hárslevelű belongs to that tongue-twisting pantheon of white Hungarian grape varieties – think also Arany Sarfeher, Cserszegi Fuszeres, Kiralyleanyka Kovidinka and Sargomuskatoly – which like all Hungarian nouns are easy enough to say after a glass or three. But seriously, although there are whole You Tube videos devoted to the pronunciation, once said, you’re away; ‘harsh-level-ooo’ means ‘linden’ or ‘lime leaf’, and is a crossing between Furmint, Hungary’s leading white variety, and the much more obscure Tzimlyanski Belyi (another for the pantheon),
But although it is the second most planted white variety and a key component of the world famous Tokaji Aszu wines, where it was first officially found in 1723, Hárslevelű has long played second fiddle. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Advisor: The Future of Winemaking Is Hybrid
There will always be a place for conventionally produced vitis vinifera. But, in truth, more and more influential producers and consumers are looking for something with a little more soul, and a lot more edge.
Hybrids—especially in the challenging grape-growing zone of the East Coast—have become ascendant for several reasons.
First, more consumers are seeking out unconventional, organically grown wines. IWSR predicts that by 2023, about 976 million bottles of organic wine will be consumed, up 34 percent from 720 million in 2018.
Younger wine lovers are especially keen to find wines produced from sustainably grown grapes, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s most recent Wine Industry Trends and Report, which stated “sustainability, health and environmental issues,” in tandem with concerns over “social justice, equity and diversity,” are driving the purchasing decisions of Millennials and members of Gen Z.
Unfortunately growing classic vitis vinifera in certain East Coast regions is nigh impossible without nuking them with chemicals. READ MORE…
Vinous: From Domesday to Now: Nyetimber
When William the Conqueror defeated the Anglo-Saxons, he must have looked around and wondered what in Christendom he had actually conquered. What was this land? What were its fixtures and fittings, exactly? What was it worth? After all, this island was so muddy and rainy, and the food so feckless and tasteless, that he might have flogged it to another European country that fancied some British real estate. So William ordered his minions to compile a register of land ownership that was completed in 1086 – the famous Domesday Book. Unfortunately, it does not offer information on the quality of local schools, but it does record some 45 vineyards clustered in southeast England, either introduced by Norman oenophiles or owned by the clergy. Viticulture prospered here for a few centuries, until the Brits accepted that the French made far superior wine and let them get on with it. We packed it in and focused on selling wine instead.
Fast-forward a few centuries to 1952, when the first commercial vines were planted in Hampshire, though due to our cool, damp climate, they were selected hybrids such as Seyval Blanc and German crosses such as Müller-Thurgau. Let’s be honest, our acidic green wines did not cause Krug or Taittinger to lose much sleep. Our wines suited our rubbish cuisine.
As any chef will tell you, you need quality ingredients to make a tasty dish, and our ingredients just did not cut it. Enter two Americans, Stuart and Sandy Moss, who saw the parallels between our white chalky soils and Champagne’s white chalky soils and thought: “Hang on a moment… Those Champagnes taste OK. Why don’t we try using the same grape varieties?” So, in 1988, they planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in the lee of the South Downs. Inspired by the locale recorded as Nitimbreha in the Domesday Book, the Mosses named their estate Nyetimber. Guess what happened? The wine tasted delicious. It began winning awards and, would you Adam-and-Eve it, beating Champagne in blind tastings. And they have never looked back, give or take the occasional washed-out season.
Last August, I drove down to Nyetimber’s winery and spent a day with wife and husband Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix, head winemaker and winemaker, respectively. After inspecting their nearby vineyard, we conducted a comprehensive vertical that included current releases and a look back to the wines from the Nineties. READ MORE…
James Suckling: The Wine World’s Instagram Edge—Champagne Houses head Top 10 with Media Heavyweights Close Behind
A social media presence is crucial for anyone in the wine trade, from producers to retailers to consumers, and even (or especially) wine critics. With more quality wine choices than ever, consumers and others are dependent on industry influencers and product review websites to keep up with their latest, and favorite, releases.
Knowing what consumers and others say in their online chatter about wine is obviously an important consideration for producers, especially since Internet sales are taking an increasing share of the market. And knowing how to move the needle in the wine world is a subtle art, often built on decades of real-world experience and, of course, the making or tasting of thousands and thousands of bottles. LVMH Moët Hennessy, for example, pumps out millions of bottles of Champagne each year through its various Champagne houses, which dominate our list of most-followed Instagram accounts in the wine world – Moët & Chandon is No. 1, Dom Perignon is No. 2, Veuve Clicquot is No. 8 and Krug is No. 13. LVMH also owns 50 percent of Armand de Brignac (No. 11). All told, LVMH sold 52.4 million bottles of champagne in 2020, and 64.7 million bottles in 2019.
The beauty of social media is that it requires little expense, and there is no better way to spread your message than via Instagram, which is custom-made for posting pictures of desirable bottles and accessory objects that reflect opinion, personality and lifestyle. As James himself said, “Instagram has given life and energy to my social media presence. I am a former photojournalist and images can be just as powerful and compelling as words – even more so.” (You can sign up to follow James on Instagram here.)
Our list of the top Instagram accounts in the wine world is judged on number of followers, and it also includes a number of big-name industry media, including James, along with some popular influencers. Outside of the Champagne houses, no other wineries are in the top 15 – a subject worthy of further exploration. For now, have a look at the top players…READ MORE…
Wine Market Council: Does Social Media Impact Wine Choice
Although wine influencers on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are becoming increasingly prevalent, regular wine drinkers in markets including the US, China and the UK continue to rely more heavily on friends and family as trusted sources for wine information.
As the world moves online, accelerated in part by the pandemic, are wine consumers increasingly influenced by social media and online sources for their wine choices and recommendations? Recent findings from Wine Intelligence, a division of the IWSR Group, show that the trends are nuanced.
In China, live stream events featuring wine are becoming increasingly influential. Li Jiaqi, a lifestyle key opinion leader with more than 40M followers on TikTok/Douyin, for example, is reported to have sold 20,000 six-bottle cases of wine produced by Great Wall within 30 seconds during a Chinese New Year-related livestream in 2019. Meanwhile, Viya, a live streamer dubbed the ‘Queen of Taobao’ with more than 17M followers, reportedly sold 30,000 cases of another Great Wall-produced wine within one minute during a sponsored livestreaming session.
Despite the reach of these and other similar influencers, 43% of regular wine drinkers in China surveyed by Wine Intelligence named friends, family and colleagues as their most trusted source of wine information. The second most trusted source of wine information is a wine brand’s website (for 42% of Chinese drinkers), closely followed by online information from a wine blogger and comments on online shopping sites. This compares to 34% mentioning social media as a trusted source of information.
However, the figure rose among Millennials, and it’s this age group (rather than the younger LDA Gen Z consumers) that is leading the charge for online sources of wine information in China. 46% of Millennials (aged 25-29) state they trust online experts and 39% social media – but only 27% of Gen Z (20-24) wine drinkers chose social media as a trusted source. READ MORE…
Lodi Wine: Lodi is about to pick its first Assyrtiko
U.C. Davis Professor Harold Olmo is known to have obtained cuttings of Assyrtiko directly from Greece from a colleague at the University of Athens as long ago as 1948, but the grape has never really caught on in California. The plant material utilized by the Perlegos family for their two blocks of Assyrtiko, adding up to just 1.5 acres, all came from U.C. Davis. About half of the Lodi plantings are on own-rooted vines, and the other half grafted over from what were Merlot vines (originally planted on rootstock). The Perlegos brothers planted two clonal selections of Assyrtiko made available by Davis’ Foundation Plant Services.
The big question, of course, is what kind of white wine a Lodi-grown Assyrtiko will make. First of all, we don’t know exactly how the Perlegos family’s Assyrtiko will turn out. 2021 will be their very first vintage of this varietal white wine. READ MORE…
Vino Joy News: Chinese actress Zhao Wei, owner of Bordeaux estates, cancelled in China
Chinese billionaire actress Zhao Wei appears to have been cancelled in China, prompting wine merchants to remove her Bordeaux wines and her association.
Chinese billionaire actress Zhao Wei appears to have been the latest target of Chinese government censorship after China’s major video platforms removed most of her movies and shows, citing a short notice request from the government.
Zhao, owner of several Bordeaux wineries including Saint Emilion grand cru Château Monlot, was blacklisted after several Chinese video platforms including Tencent video, iQiyi and Youku said they had received the request on a short notice for unspecified reason.
In what appears to be a massive Internet purge of Zhao that came to light on August 26, it even caused confusion among wine merchants selling her Bordeaux wines.
JD.com reportedly pulled out her Château Monlot page but it was later reinstated. However, all mentions of Zhao on the page was removed, reported Chinese wine media WBO.
So far there has been no official reason for her censorship, and Zhao’s whereabouts are still unknown at this stage. READ MORE…
Science & Wine: Is the second-cheapest wine a rip-off?
It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that ordering the second-cheapest wine in a restaurant is a no-no. According to former Wall Street Journal wine columnists John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, “…the cheapest wine on the list is often a fine value, while the second-cheapest wine on the list is almost always the worst value, since people don’t want to appear penurious by ordering the least expensive wine on the list.”. An article in the Daily Telegraph from 2014, “Why you should never order the second-cheapest wine” delivers the same message, as does a column by best-selling behavioural economist Dan Ariely.
Is it true though that the second-cheapest wine really is overpriced? There is reason to doubt. Perhaps diners don’t regard ordering the cheapest wine as uniquely embarrassing. Perhaps the wide circulation of the embarrassment theory makes the second-cheapest wine even less attractive than the cheapest since it is not only believed to be a bad buy, but signals a pitiable effort to appear affluent. Even if diners do behave as naïve behavioural types, restaurateurs may choose not to exploit them, if only because doing so makes the more sophisticated types distrustful of the list. READ MORE…
Great British Wine: English Wine Retailers—Hawkins Bros.
We all know how much the UK Wine Industry has grown in the past few years. One sign of that growth has been the explosion in the number of retailers specialising solely in English and Welsh Wine. These businesses are an important but underappreciated part of the industry, advocating for locally made wines, and providing a vital link between winemaker and wine drinker. In this series, I sit down with these retailers to chat about their unique view of the UK Wine Industry.
I recently interviewed James Hawkins, one half of Hawkins Bros, owners of a wine shop based in Milford, Surrey. Along with his brother, Simon, he started the business in 2016 after spending 16 years running pubs in Sussex and Hampshire. As with the other retailers I’ve interviewed in this series, I was interested to find out how they became interested in English Wine: “Back in 2007, I was living in Tillington and my next-door neighbour had planted a few small rows of vines. I thought he was mad, but I watched the vines grow and helped out in the vineyard”, James explains. “He sent his grapes off to Ridgeview to be made into wine and it was incredible.”
“I had tasted Nyetimber before but thought it was some sort of anomaly. For someone to do it next door was a revelation.” Coincidentally, Nyetimber also own a vineyard in Tillington, which has the distinction of producing the fruit for the estate’s only single-vineyard wine. His neighbour, Andy, would go on to plant more vines before selling the vineyard to Roebuck Estates, and almost immediately afterwards planting another vineyard for himself next-door.
Soon after this experience, James took a job working for the Exceptional English Wine Company before teaming up with his brother to found Hawkins Bros. Early on, the brothers realised the importance of having a physical shop: “I understand people’s scepticism about English Wine, so I knew I had to get the people to taste it first”, James explains.
Consumer reluctance over locally made wine has been brought up by all the retailers I’ve spoken to whilst writing this series. As a result, those who work in the industry have to be part-expert, part-salesperson, and part warrior-monk. The Hawkins brothers fit this mould perfectly. READ MORE…
These are some press releases I received this week that I actually thought were interesting…enjoy!
Wine Industry Network: 9th Annual Wine Industry Expo Conference Registration Opens
Wine Industry Network opened registration for the 9th annual North Coast Wine Industry Trade Show & Conference (WIN Expo), scheduled for Thursday, December 2nd, 2021, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Santa Rosa, CA. WIN Expo is both a buying show and educational conference. READ MORE…
Wine Scholar Guild: Wine Scholar Guild Initiates the Architecture of Taste Research Project
he Wine Scholar Guild (WSG) has initiated an ambitious undertaking aimed at developing a new way to assess wine: the Architecture of Taste Research Project (ATRP)
The Architecture of Taste Research Project aspires to find a way to empower the individual to taste and describe wine with an enriched and universal lexicon that not only dives deeper into assessing the qualities of a wine’s building blocks but also into the nature of a wine’s personality and, where relevant, its corresponding terroir signature.
Just as significantly, the research project aims to develop a new set of assessment criteria that uses the body’s own reflexive reactions as a tuning fork to capture a wine’s inherent signal—a message that incorporates not only sensory perceptions but also perceived energy, the emotions it triggers and evocative elements that, once again, might link a wine to “place.” READ MORE…
El Dorado Wine: Several Ways to Donate to the Caldor Fire Fund Help Victims of the Fire in El Dorado County
The Caldor Fire Fund has been established by the El Dorado Community Foundation https://eldoradocf.
In no time this tight knit community of farmers, wineries, artists and merchants have pulled together several ways to raise money to support the fund.
According to Chris Ringnes, PR and Communications Coordinator at the EL Dorado Community Foundation, “To date, the El Dorado Community Foundation has approved and is in the process of distributing $274,800 in direct financial aid to 2,667 people across 916 households impacted by the Caldor Fire. Additionally, the California Fire Foundation has provided an additional $200,000 in gift cards that we are in the process of distributing to these families!” He adds, “…this is only a drop in the bucket compared to the overwhelming need from our impacted communities.” 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!
Stacy: I have to thank you for putting together this weekly headline round up. I have been reading it since its inception and look forward to it every Saturday. I am always learning something. SO Thanks!
Oh thank you so much and thank you for taking the time to say so! Glad I can entertain and educate. Cheers