Happy Weekend. Please enjoy your weekly round-up of booze-news. Cheers.
Wine Enthusiast: What Does ‘Midpalate’ Mean in Wine?
“There are three main stages in [wine] tasting: the attack, or ‘approach,’ the midpalate and the finish,” says Janet Kampen, lead instructional designer at Napa Valley Wine Academy.
The midpalate follows the initial burst of flavor and texture when you first draw wine into your mouth. “Some tasters limit their definition to just flavors, but a more holistic approach also considers mouthfeel and the perception of other structural components,” says Kampen. READ MORE…
Fire Watch: Caldor Fire Blazes Through El Dorado Wine Country
The Caldor Fire has torched 114,166 acres of El Dorado County. As of this writing the fire is only 9 percent contained, has destroyed 615 structures and damaged 29. No wineries have reported any damages or immediate threat of damage by fire.
The foreboding sense of deja vu is understandably hanging over the California wine industry as the 2021 harvest season commences. El Dorado County wineries, thankfully, remain untouched, although several areas have been evacuated or are on evacuation warning in order to keep roads clear for first responders.
Sam Patterson, owner of Shadow Ranch Winery, in the County’s Fair Play AVA and interim president of the El Dorado Winery Association, points out that most of the County’s wineries are located at high enough elevations to remain out of the fire’s current path. Additionally, wineries west of Fairplay Road—like Skinner Vineyards, Gwinllan Estate Winery, TooGood Estate Winery, and Shadow Ranch Winery—are expected to remain out of danger. As long as the fire continues its current trajectory. READ MORE…
Wine Spectator: Wildfires Burn Wineries and Vineyards in Provence
A devastating wildfire has swept through parts of the Var region in Provence, leaving winegrowers reeling from the loss of buildings, equipment and grapes just days before the 2021 harvest. “It’s been annus horribilis for French winegrowers. We’ve had frost, we’ve had hail and now wildfires,” Eric Pastorino, president of the regional trade group Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), told Wine Spectator.
The extent of the damage is not yet known, and the fire continues to burn in some areas, though the spread has been halted. Only a few winegrowers have been able to return. Authorities estimate more than 19,800 acres have burned so far, including vineyards, towns and 17,500 acres of protected forest in the Plaine des Maures Nature Reserve. Two people are confirmed dead. At the most critical stage, 1,200 firefighters were battling the blaze. Thousands of people were evacuated from homes, hotels and campsites.
The global impact on the Côtes de Provence appellation, renowned for its rosé wines, should be limited. The region contains 49,400 acres of vines. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Advisor: The Hock Bottle and Fighting a Wine Stereotype
For many consumers, even seasoned oenophiles, selecting a wine isn’t a straight-forward choice. “I like red, ergo, this will do,” said no one in any wine store, ever. It has become a complex process used as shorthand—by the buyers themselves and their community of fellow imbibers—to signify their lifestyle, economic status, even ideology and politics.
Even under normal circumstances, purchasing wine can be stressful. It’s so hard to know what’s inside.
“I’ve been making and drinking wine for quite a while now, so I should be comfortable purchasing wine,” says George Hodson, president and co-owner of Flying Fox Vineyard & Winery in Afton, Virginia. “But when I’m choosing between bottles of Grüner Veltliner and Pinot Gris, even I’m thinking to myself the entire time, ‘please don’t be sweet.’ It’s often difficult to tell just by looking at the bottle.” READ MORE…
The Drinks Business: AI that can ‘taste wine’ helping detect smoke taint in wineries affected by Cali fires
A Californian firm that taught a computer ‘how to taste wine’ is being used by winemakers to detecting smoke taint in grapes affected by the Californian wildfires.
Tastry, which was set up by 29-year old entrepreneur Katerina Axelsson in 2016, uses chemistry and AI technology to decode the flavour of products as well as the palate matrix of consumers, which provide the tools to track and predict consumer preferences for products even before they hit the shelves.
The company is now working with wineries affected by California’s wildfires, to test for smoke-taint. The team have repurposed part of their laboratory to provide testing for smoke taint indicators in order to identify viable blending options that might mask unwanted smoky flavours. READ MORE…
VinePair: For These Oregon Winemakers, Smoke Taint Had a Silver Lining — Pink Wine
Winemakers are a resilient bunch. They must be, of course, given that their main ingredient is subject to unpredictable weather patterns and environmental conditions that impact all agricultural products.
Oregon winemakers are used to dealing with these challenges, wet years especially, and have found ways to minimize the effects of mold and rot. But last year, amid a global pandemic, Oregon was hit with wildfires. It was not the first time Oregon winemakers had to deal with mitigating wildfire smoke damage, which also affected the 2017 and 2018 vintages. But it was one of the first times the state’s winemakers had faced active fires in winemaking regions within southern Oregon and the state’s largest wine-producing region, the Willamette Valley.
For Oregon producers such as Jackalope Wine Cellars, Day Wines, and Helioterra Wines, wildfires brought a new issue to the region that impacted much of the 2020 vintage: smoke taint, or grapes affected by exposure to wildfire smoke. But smoke damage isn’t something winemakers can rinse off of the fruit. Instead, it forced winemakers to develop new plans for the vintage — and resulted in a lot more rosé. READ MORE…
The Conversation: Will the world ever accept non-alcoholic wine?
Many people have responded to the uncertainty, boredom and anxiety of the pandemic by drinking more.
In a recent study of 11 major OECD countries, 36% of people said they increased their alcohol consumption during lockdown. Women, parents of young children and those on high incomes saw their alcohol consumption increase the most.
The OECD suggests a range of solutions to this concerning rise, including “limiting the promotion of alcohol among young audiences”, “strengthening police controls to prevent road accidents due to alcohol” and “setting pricing policies to limit the financial accessibility of alcohol” to prevent excessive alcohol consumption.
But there’s another possible solution: the promotion of wine with a low or even zero alcohol content. This approach is already seeing success with beer and other non-alcoholic beverages, including whisky and gin, particularly among millennials.
Although still marginal, no and low-alcohol (NoLo) beverages currently represent 3% of the global beverage alcohol market in ten headline economies, reaching a global sales values of $4,520 million in 2020. READ MORE…
Randy Caparoso: In Defense of Terroir
Does wine-related terroir exist anymore?
This is a valid question, even if a silly one. Of course, terroir exists. If it doesn’t, entire belief systems built upon the premise that terroir accounts for not just sensory differences but also quality distinctions—such as in Bordeaux’s Grand Crus classification, or Germany’s hierarchy of Qualitätswein—would come crashing down upon us. How embarrassing, at least for us wine traditionalists.
But maybe, as Randy Newman once sang, we’re dead but we just don’t know it. That is to say, our senses have become deadened, that soil can indeed exert both quality and taste differentials—despite the related argument recently aired in certain circles that soil cannot impact “flavor” in wine, at least in terms of direct uptake via vine roots.
Let’s get this straight: No one is saying that rocks or dirt in the ground have a direct influence on flavors ultimately captured in a wine. But we (terroirists, that is) are saying that soil content matters. It’s pretty much established, for instance, that high pH calcareous soils, like what you find in Burgundy or Paso Robles, have an inverse impact on pH in grapes—hence, on resulting wines. Calcareous soils, in other words, tend to produce wines with higher acidity than non-calcareous soils. This is science, not fiction. 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.
Napa Valley Wine Academy: Wine & Literature
I’ve always been drawn to the similarities between literature and wine. I majored in English Language literature at UC Santa Cruz. Interestingly, at the time, I deplored wine. But once I started to appreciate it, explore different expressions and regions, and taking my own tasting notes, I found the book- and word-nerd in me came out.
Drinking wine is like reading a good book. I sip and savor to discover a wine’s story—taste the scenery where the grapes were grown, drown in the dialogue between terroir and grape, befriend the character of the winemaker.
And like the art of creating wines of substance, the art of writing (now my career) is the art of crafting stories (about wine) with substance. READ MORE…
Institute of Masters of Wine: Three new Masters of Wine
The Institute of Masters of Wine is delighted to announce three new Masters of Wine.
The new members of the IMW are of three different nationalities, based in two countries. Congratulations to Claire Blackler MW (UK), Michael Henley MW (New Zealand) and Siobhan Turner MW (UK).
There are now 419 MWs globally – 268 men and 151 women living or working in 31 countries. Since the first exam in 1953, 496 people have become an MW.
Claire, Michael and Siobhan join the 10 new Masters of Wine announced in February to form the 2021 vintage of 13 MWs.
The MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine exam, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards. READ MORE…
The Wine Gourd: The (unknown) vineyard areas of Asia
For climatic reasons, vineyards are almost all between 45° S (southern Chile) to 60° N (central Sweden). Within this range, the distribution of those used for wine-making is further limited by climate. For example, Climate categories in viticulture notes:
The climates of most wine regions are categorised (somewhat loosely based on the Köppen climate classification) as being part of a Mediterranean (for example Tuscany[nb 1]), Maritime (ex: Bordeaux) or Continental climate (ex: Columbia Valley). The majority of the world’s premium wine production takes place in one of these three climate categories, in locations between the 30th parallel and 50th parallel in both the northern and southern hemisphere. While viticulture does exist in some tropical climates, most notably Brazil, the amount of quality wine production in those areas is small.
Wine Economist: Anatomy of Prosecco DOC Boom
The Prosecco boom is impressive, even more so when you consider that global wine consumption has been stagnant during the period shown in the table above. About the only wine market segments that have shown sustained growth have been sparkling wines (especially Prosecco), Rosé wines, and Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Almost all other segments have been relatively flat or down.
The obvious questions to ask are why Prosecco and why now, but the a better question might be what took consumers in the US, UK, and elsewhere so long to embrace Prosecco’s many charms? READ MORE…
Deborah Parker Wong: We’re losing Rotundone’s peppery notes
As the climate strains, wine complexity wanes
Wine professionals use the markers that differentiate grape varieties as
guideposts when assessing quality and style and/or when blind tasting. Wine enthusiasts relish the complexity of their favorite expressions, a factor that contributes significantly to their enjoyment.
Wine is one of the foods richest in volatile aroma compounds, linked to as
many as 1,000 of them. That said, only 80 or so—including the monoterpenols responsible for the floral notes in Muscat (among other varieties) or the thiols that impart passion fruit and grapefruit aromas
to Sauvignon Blanc—have been widely studied. READ MORE…
BottleVin: What is NFC and Why Your Business Depends on It
In 2020, e-commerce went from an emerging business strategy to a business necessity. The pandemic accelerated the growth and revealed the necessity for businesses to build a strong e-commerce platform. Purchases made via smartphones (m-commerce) have exploded, and this movement won’t end with the pandemic. Mobile is the future of everything, and an NFC label will take it to the next level.
- According to IWSR, the global ecommerce market for wine and spirits is expected to see a 42% increase over last year, and mobile has become the preferred way to get online.
- A Statista forecast expects that by 2021, 72.9% of all e-commerce will be m-commerce.
Brands that adapt to these changes in consumer behaviors will pull ahead of their slow-to-change competitors and become industry leaders.
Smart labels are an important part of a successful m-commerce strategy.
Let’s take a look at the following:
- Smart labels
- NFC – the technology that goes into smart labels
- How NFC works
- How NFC can help my business
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