Hey peoples. Been keeping rather busy, but I’ve got your boozy-newsy round up for the week. Local story to look at is Sonoma’s continuing discussion on weed cultivation. One of the biggest pieces to engage my social media following—examining the definition of “balance” in terms of wine.
And I have to ask—has anyone been able to watch this movie? Because for the life of me I cannot find out where/how to watch.
Fun Stacy fact: if I’m not drinking wine, I’m probably drinking vodka. So this story about the ‘supersticious’ nature of the martini olive struck my fancy.
Alright, that’s all from me. Enjoy!
Wine Industry Advisor: Sonoma County Discusses Cannabis Regulations
Sonoma County has been actively addressing the cannabis business since the legalization of recreational use. The County’s Board of Supervisors are constantly working on both permitting and environmental regulations.
Recently, the Board approved funding for a new Sonoma County Cannabis program, with a timeline through 2024, called “Public Visioning and Idea Generation.” These visioning sessions, which began last week, were held twice a day for four days and provided an open forum for community members to discuss four major topics: siting and land use; safety; water resources; and visual resources.
The Board’s draft ordinance is due by January 2022, after which they’ll allow for more public comment. The planned wrap-up and Board hearing is tentatively scheduled for summer 2024. Although the Permit Sonoma office and those working on the ordinance indicate this is a rushed schedule, there is a grace period of three years to learn and comment on the process—the public is highly encouraged to get involved. READ MORE…
Sonoma Index Tribune: Sonoma County air quality set to drop as more smoke from Northern California wildfires approaches
A wind shift is expected to push more wildfire smoke from Northern California into Sonoma County on Wednesday, adding to the layer of haze blanketing the sky, air quality officials said.
The forecast has prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue an air quality advisory for the region on Wednesday, said spokesman Aaron Richardson.
With offshore winds set to blow smoke over the Bay Area, air quality is expected to drop to moderate levels and is not expected to exceed federal health standards.
“There’s a whole slew of fires up north, even up in Oregon and Washington, and there’s just smoke swirling all around,“ Richardson said.
Smoke reaching the Bay Area is primarily coming from the McFarland fire in Shasta County, the Monument fire in Trinity County, the Caldor fire in El Dorado County, the River Complex in Siskiyou County and the Dixie fire in Butte, Plumas, Tehama and Lassen counties, according to the air quality district. The Dixie fire is more than a month old, has burned more than 600,000 acres and is currently the nation’s largest wildfire. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: Do Wine Tasting Competitions Matter? These Winners Say Yes.
When Tinashe Nyamudoka and fellow Zimbabwean sommeliers Joseph Dhafana, Marlvin Gwese and Pardon Taguzu arrived at Burgundy’s Château de Gilly for the 2017 World Wine Tasting Championships (WWTC), they sensed surprise in the air.
“Everyone there had this look of, ‘Zimbabwe doesn’t make wine. How did you guys end up here?’ ” says Nyamudoka.
They were the first Zimbabwean and first all-Black team to compete in the event that Nyamudoka calls “the Olympics of blind tasting,” organized by La Revue du Vin de France, a century-old French wine publication.
Their experience is chronicled in the documentary, Blind Ambition, which won the Audience Prize at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The documentary was made knowing how Euro-centric and overwhelmingly white that the wine establishment can be, says its director, Warwick Ross, also a winemaker.
While their stories differ, Nyamudoka, Dhafana, Gwese and Taguzu all fled their economically troubled homeland for South Africa, where they became wine connoisseurs at four of the country’s top restaurants. Their paths to WWTC sheds light on the inequities of certain industry events, and demonstrate how the wine business can become more inclusive. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Advisor: Redefining Balanced Wine
Talking about “balanced wine” used to be perfectly acceptable—until about ten years ago, when the term suddenly became politicized. People started taking sides, and (at some point) the notion became that wines over 14% alcohol, or grapes picked slightly “overripe,” are somehow inferior or less “balanced” than wines picked at a lower Brix, and finished closer to 12 or 13% ABV.
This is in spite of the fact that the vast majority of mainstream American varietal wines (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) are now produced at over 14% alcohol. The choice which wines consumers drink is purely aesthetic; and aesthetically, most Americans prefer full-bodied, richly fruited wines. If they preferred light, lean and tart wines, then most wines would be made like that.
Wine consumers make choices the same way they choose to listen to Justin Bieber rather than Beethoven, or read Harry Potters instead of Ulysses. In matters of taste—it’s all good. READ MORE…
Wine Spectator: Raspberry Dismay: Prince’s Estate Petitions for End to Ohio Winery’s Purple Rain Cuvée
Reps for the late Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s estate have asked the U.S. Patent Office to revoke the trademark for L’uva Bella Winery’s Purple Rain wines
Cultural icon and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Prince taught us what it sounds like when doves cry, but why do doves cry? Legal problems, possibly, and the makers of Ohio’s Purple Rain wines might just have one: Earlier this month, representatives of the late Prince’s estate filed a petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to revoke the winery’s trademark for “Purple Rain” wine.
The wine brand in question, M&M Wine Cellar, maker of L’uva Bella wines, has been using the name Purple Rain since 2015, for a red made from Concord grapes, a white made from Niagara grapes and a rosé (Concord, Niagara and Catawba blend). “M&M Wine Cellar has had a validly registered trademark for Purple Rain with respect to our Concord wine for years,” an M&M Wine Cellar representative told Wine Spectator via email. Per the records of the USPTO, M&M Wine Cellar received its registered Purple Rain trademark for grape wine in December 2019.
Of course, “Purple Rain” is also the name of Prince’s 1984 Oscar-winning rock musical film and the accompanying Grammy-winning soundtrack and Billboard No. 1 single. READ MORE…
VinePair: The Winemaking Technique Cult Brewers Use to Make More Complex Fruit Beers
Winemakers and lovers of young, fresh reds have long known about the potential of carbonic maceration, a technique used to capture the fresh and fruity aromas and flavors of wine grapes. Often used in the production of Beaujolais and now widely employed throughout the wine world, this method involves placing whole fruits into a stainless steel tank to begin fermentation inside the fruits themselves, producing a small amount of alcohol before pressing the grapes and allowing a more conventional fermentation to kick off.
On a molecular level, this relatively short step (about a week or so) emphasizes easy drinkability and minimizes tannins and bitterness. It is most often used in red wines, as well as specialty coffee production. For winemakers, it’s a way to make a product ready for consumption, rather than one requiring long-term-aging. READ MORE…
Wine Spectator: The Man Waking Up Burgundy’s Elite
Count Louis-Michel Liger-Belair could have become a dusty portrait of an Old World wine estate owner.
In fact, he’s anything but.
He lives with his wife and three children in Château Vosne-Romanée, which is decorated with oil paintings of his ancestors and overlooks the historic Burgundy village of Vosne-Romanée, along with some of the world’s most prized Pinot Noir vineyards and neighbors such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
His Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair makes tiny releases of 15 cuvées from different climats, including two from exclusive Pinot Noir monopoles in Vosne-Romanée—about 300 cases each from La Romanée and Clos du Château—as well as the Clos des Grandes Vignes monopole in neighboring Nuits-St.-Georges, planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. His wines are so rare he turns away new customers.
But at 47, Liger-Belair isn’t resting on his double-hyphenated name or his laurels. He represents a kind of restless dynamism in this sleepy, elite viticultural neighborhood. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: Climate Change, Fermented Blueberries and Wine’s Existential Quandary
In 2020, winemakers in Oregon, California and Washington were pummeled by deadly wildfires that tore through vineyards and destroyed neighborhoods.
These fires also impacted grape ripening, due to the thick smoke and clouds that blacked out the sun, and some fruit was affected by guaiacol, a smoke taint compound that brings out an ashy, smoky flavor during fermentation. Winemakers attempt#ed to press these grapes quickly to avoid skin contact, where much of the smoky flavor is believed to be held.
Despite these efforts, producers still face questions about how to protect their grapes from rising temperatures, intense drought and smoke taint. And so, a growing number of winemakers now turn to fruits other than grapes in hopes of creating more sustainable business model. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Advisor: Mid-Atlantic Winegrowers Battle Spotted Lanternfly Infestation
Making their way through the mid-Atlantic states and beyond, Spotted Lanternflies (SLF) damage about 70 varieties of plants, according to Penn State Extension including grapevines, feeding on the trunks, shoots, and leaves of the vines, gathering sap, removing nutrients, and being true pests.
“It’s not a good experience for a customer to come to the winery and stomp bugs on the ground before they even get through the front door,” says Sam Landis, partner at Vyncrest Vineyards and Winery in Breinigsville, PA. Vynecrest was an early winery affected by the SLF.
“The customers are sympathetic,” says Landis. “They come in and commiserate about the same problems they’re having in their backyard.” Still, it impacts the experience. READ MORE…
Gourmet Traveler Wine: Back to Our Roots
A new phenomenon is taking place in the Australian wine industry, with named vineyards acquiring celebrity status. Who are the people leading the charge from the ground up?
Standing in amongst the gnarled bushvine Grenache of the Wait Vineyard in Blewitt Springs, you can be forgiven for thinking that modern consumer behaviours seem like a long way away. Yet, it’s here in the McLaren Vale hills that the face of Australian wine is quietly evolving.
For decades, the industry has been dominated by the ‘cult of the winemaker’, with growers, vineyards and terroir playing second fiddle to the success of a label (and the name behind it). But now a connection with a vineyard is more relevant than ever – mirroring a focus on provenance and the ‘conscious consumerism’ movement. Vineyards are brands in their own right and attention is falling on those who tend them. READ MORE…
Saveur: Meet Manhattan’s New Guard of Wine Pros
How four friends are redefining their industry’s stuffy reputation through BYOB Champagne lunches at a Chinatown institution.
Peking Duck House on Mott Street in Manhattan is a local institution, and not just for its legendary food—for four wine professionals native to New York City, it’s a place of community in every sense of the word.
“Growing up, the Chinese food spot on my block was the only restaurant that took food stamps,” says Kelvin Uffré, a wine and spirits specialist, educator, and advocate who was raised in the Bronx. “That made such an impact on me—I will never forget the respite that gave my mother from cooking and dealing with three children,” he adds, noting that Chinese restaurants are often integral in materially disadvantaged communities. As he got older, Uffré and his friends ventured into Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, skipping class to explore the area and hit the comic book shops between bites of street wings and noodles. Peking Duck House—opened in 1978 by Shanghai-born chef Wun Yin Wu, who still operates the establishment with the help of his extended family—was one of the many neighborhood gems they discovered along the way, and Uffré has been going back ever since. READ MORE…
VinePair: The History of Martini Olives and a Lasting Superstition
There have been countless iterations of the Martini since the mid-19th century. Though in its early days, the cocktail was much sweeter than what we know today — with syrups and even cherries added to the mix — it wasn’t until decades later that olives became synonymous with Martinis.
As the story goes, New York bartender John O’Connor was playing around with ingredients for a dry Martini one night in 1901. Searching through items around the bar, he added an olive and brine to the drink, creating what we now know as a Dirty Martini. 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.
Dame Wine: Women Making Changes In Their Family Wine Estates In Alsace, France
In a little village within the wine region of Alsace in northeastern France, five three-year-old children gathered together for pre-school among a community of wine grape growers. The children were asked to draw pictures that represented what they wanted to be when they grew up and so four of the kids, all boys, drew tractors and vines as they wanted to be grape growers and winemakers like their fathers but the one little girl didn’t have winemaking parents and so she was curious about these pictures that the boys drew as well as their enthusiastic descriptions of their fathers’ job. “I want to work in the vineyards too!” the girl exclaimed but everyone else was dumbfounded by such a statement from a little girl as it was known during those times that it was the men who worked in the vineyards and winery.
Four decades have passed and that little girl, Agathe Bursin, grew into an accomplished winemaker who has some of her vines in the most coveted vineyard in her small village of Westhalten with only around 15 small wine producers that work outside of the large co-op wineries1 that is 12 miles from Colmar – known as the “Little Venice” of France. READ MORE…
Jamie Goode: Don’t be made to feel guilty about drinking wine
The culture I am part of has weird feelings about wine consumption. You could argue that it has an uneasy relationship with drinking. I live in the UK, and we are at a very strange place with respect to our relationship with booze.
On the one hand we have cultural acceptance of inebriation. There’s a culture I’ve witnessed first-hand among young people where drinking is focused on achieving a state of drunkenness. This is not a limited sampling I’m talking about: it is widespread. There is nothing new about this of course: when we were students we used to drink heavily. The depiction of social drinking in films and TV series also seems to accept drunkenness and its aftermath in terms of hangovers as completely socially normal.
Accompanying this, there is a kick back among public health officials. READ MORE…
The Wine Gourd: Where on earth are the organic vineyards?
Like other certified organic agricultural products, organic grapes need to be grown without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers. Last week, I noted that both organic and biodynamic wines are often assessed as tasting better than conventionally made wines. It has also been noted that Organic grape-growing can be more profitable than the conventional products. So, we would expect that there is an increasing number of organic (and biodynamic) vineyards around the world.
But where are they? Are they principally in certain places, or do all wine-making regions have them? READ MORE…
BK Wine Magazine: Champagne harvest yield in 2021 agreed: 10 tons
n July every year, the houses and growers in Champagne agree on the year’s harvest yield. A curious regulation in this region. In 2021, it will be 10,000 kilos per hectare (approx. 64 hl/ha). The harvest is expected to begin in the second week of September.
However, given all the weather problems that have been so far (frost, rain, downy mildew), not all growers will be able to harvest 10,000 kilos.
Perhaps some now regret the low yield limit last year. READ MORE…
BK Wine Magazine: The future of organic wines
Predicting the future of organic wines may seem easy. The number of certified hectares is steadily increasing in Europe. Small wine growers convert, as well as famous Bordeaux chateaux. Consumers increasingly buy organic wines. Bulk prices for organic wine soar. Is there any reason why this should not continue?
There is much to suggest that the organic wine industry will continue to grow.
In 2012, we wrote our book “Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking”. At that time, the organic vineyard surface in Europe was just over 5%. Now, almost ten years later, it is at 13%. Back then, in 2012, many consumers were sceptical of organic wines. A lot has happened since. Organic wines are now a natural feature in wine shops. Those who do not like a wine no longer think that it is because it is organic, which some people actually thought a few years ago. READ MORE…
Young Gun of Wine: Under the Vinfluence
“Instagram doesn’t want pictures of your vines, it wants pictures of your face (read, tits).” That’s how a new breed of online wine influencers, or ‘vinfluencers’, are gaining new followers on social media. The sassy purveyors of this style of wine communication are more than willing to spend big on a bottle that suits their mood – and equally willing to then pose provocatively with their purchase. They are young, fun and attractive, self-styled masters of their own taste and unafraid to share their perfectly curated wine-infograms and observations online, often revealing ullage and cleavage in the same artfully posed shot.
The opening quote comes from vinfluencer @downtoawineart, a.k.a. Lorna Moffatt, a British-born wine educator. Her account is tagged “Helping winos learn more about our favourite drop with tips, advice and f*cking fun classes!” She has approximately 3500 followers, including winemakers from some of Australia’s oldest wineries and a who’s who of Australian wine communicators. From her home in Sydney, she uploads daily content, which usually features her holding a bottle of wine as she chats to the camera. She is blonde and charming and offers practical information about how wine is made, and what food will complement the wine she’s presenting. And she is always well presented, often wearing clothing that reveals more than Jancis Robinson would dream of. READ MORE…
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