Merry Christmas Everyone!!!


Wine Spectator: Philippe Cambie, Dynamic Winemaking Consultant of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Beyond, Dies at 59

The larger-than-life winemaker was the driving force behind many wineries raising their quality

Philippe Cambie, one of the most influential winemakers in the Southern Rhône Valley, has died Dec. 18, just a month shy of his 60th birthday. Cambie was consulting winemaker for dozens of wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the surrounding appellations of the Southern Rhône and in the Languedoc. He was also owner of his own Southern Rhône wine brand, Les Halos de Jupiter, and co-owner of two brands, the Provençal project Calendal and the California Pinot Noir project Beau Marchais.

Cambie moved to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 1998 to work as a technician at an enology lab and began consulting as a winemaker for friends. He soon became in demand, known for his knowledge in the cellar and the vineyards and for his passionate drive. READ MORE

VineSpring: Turning Holiday Gift Memberships into Loyal Club Members

Club memberships are an exciting gift to give and receive for the holidays. Inviting current members to share the club experience with their friends, families, and colleagues is a great way to leverage the season and grow your membership base. But the real value of these year-end gift memberships is the opportunity to build lasting relationships with new members.

To keep up the momentum and turn gift memberships into long-term fans of your winery, plan a loyalty strategy that will keep new club members interested and engaged long after the holidays. The approach we outline below will help your winery build brand loyalty by leveraging technology and customer data to personalize each interaction with members, making your new club members feel special year-round. READ MORE

Wine Industry Advisor: Wine Competitions—Worth It?

A tasting room lined with award-winning bottles, glittering with bronze, silver, and gold medals is nothing new. But is the time, energy, and money that goes into entering these competitions still worth it? Do these awards still hold the same gravitas as in the past? READ MORE

Napa Valley Register: Pierce’s Disease, Glassy Winged Sharpshooter Board holds annual research symposium focused on protecting California’s vineyards

The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) recently hosted its annual Pierce’s Disease Research Symposium, highlighting the work of countless scientists and industry professionals tackling the threat of Pierce’s Disease (PD) and the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS).

A vector insect for PD, which causes grape leaves and fruit to dry and shrivel up when infected, and GWSS are a major threat to California’s ag industry, but have been largely avoided here in Napa County since the early 2000s thanks to these efforts.

“A lot has happened since we first learned of the Pierce’s Disease and Glassy Winged Sharpshooter nexus back in 1999,” said Craig Hanes, statewide coordinator for the Pierce’s Disease Control Program through the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA).

“But the threat continues as seen by recent infestations in Solano County in the Vacaville area.” READ MORE

Press Democrat: Coroner says medical issue led to Healdsburg winery worker’s death

Complications of alcoholic cirrhosis, an advanced stage of liver disease, led to the death of a Healdsburg winery worker who was found partially submerged in a grape fermentation tank in October, Sonoma County officials say.

Salvador Plaza Centeno, 61, was working at Dry Creek Vineyard on Oct. 12 when he “collapsed while on top of the fermentation tank,” which was in its seventh or eight day of fermentation, according to a Dec. 2 Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office death investigation summary report. READ MORE…

The Intercept: Grape Pickers Crash Lavish Sonoma Winery Banquet, Demanding Better Wildfire Protections

On a cool autumn day last month, farmworkers inserted themselves into the narrative. Tourists were streaming into Simi Winery to immerse themselves in the storied winery’s Harvest Celebration — at $145 for a ticket, a meal, and, of course, wine pairings. As the well-heeled attendees arrived, a group of farmworkers, their families, and supporters picketed, chanting and playing drums.

The price tag for the meal, according to North Bay Jobs With Justice, which helped organize the protest, roughly matches what a farmworker gets paid for collecting 1 ton of grapes. READ MORE

The Shout: Five wine industry predictions for 2022

Wine industry and research specialists Wine Intelligence has made its five predictions for the wine industry’s key trends and themes in 2022.

According to Wine Intelligence the challenges that face the wine industry next year and beyond will be similar to those facing beverage alcohol as a whole and consumer goods generally: keep costs down while persuading consumers to trade up; improving the substance as well as the image of the category in light of increasing demands from governments for a step-change commitment to environmental and social responsibility; and making the product relevant to the next generation of legal drinking age consumers.

In light of these broader themes, here are Wine Intelligence’s five predictions for 2022…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.

Jancis Robinson: Tasting burgundy on wheels

What I am about to write is not about blowing my own trumpet; I am no super-human being or super-amazing wheelchair user. However, back in 2008 when I had my unfortunate meeting with a speeding car I did make a conscious decision: the only way is onwards and you cannot cry about spilled milk. With three young children (Gaspard was only nine months old) I had responsibilities to those other than myself.

Although ultimately my work at a Meursault wine merchant became complicated, it would be very disingenuous to suggest my paraplegia was the only reason for my leaving. READ MORE…

Jancis Robinson: AI and wine

How intelligent is the application of artificial intelligence to our favourite drink?

Few things have more currency in the technology arena of popular culture than artificial intelligence. From where I sit, a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley and fully immersed in that industry’s reality-distortion field, AI is simply the hottest thing going. It’s what venture capitalists want to fund. It’s what start-up entrepreneurs want to build upon. And it’s what everyone wants to believe in. Even the wine industry.

But when it comes to the use of AI for wine, a strange dichotomy seems to exist. Namely that the most valuable uses for this technology will always be far from the public eye, while the most visible ‘applications’ of AI remain little more than glossy veneers of marketing papered over technology of dubious effectiveness.

In short, most, if not all, of the AI-driven tools for wine that consumers can get their hands on are utter crap, and they’re not likely to improve much anytime soon. READ MORE

Maiah Johnson Dunn: Writing the playbook for silver linings

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is for reflection, and this year my biggest learning is that life isn’t always perfect. Often life is about how we bounce back from the moments that take us by surprise.

A Seneca Lake winery has provided a masterclass in bouncing back over the last week. “As you may have heard, we had a fire this evening at Three Brothers Wineries and Estates in our beloved Bagg Dare Wine Company,” the brand shared via social media on Monday, November 6. The fire completely destroyed the tasting room, which was one of four on the property. READ MORE

The Wine Gourd: Why we are never going to know whether wine is good for us, or not

There has been ongoing debate about whether consumption of wine has any health benefits, of any sort (summarized in: Debating the health benefits of wine: an update). This discussion occurs because one group of people says “yes” and the next group says “no”, and the third group says “sometimes”. Given this situation, we can all see that the discussion will likely continue, because it looks like we are just being given a bunch of opinions. This is annoying, because it would be nice to know.

Well, we are being given opinions. Many of these opinions are actually based on real data, in the sense that there is evidence for each opinion; but others are just wishful thinking, presumably based on some bias in the opinion-giver. In the latter group are those who say: “I like wine, therefore it is good for me, in that sense.” This particular opinion is hard to argue against! READ MORE

Deborah Parker Wong: Age drives complexity in sparkling wine

After tasting the Piper-Heidsieck Hors-Série 1971 ($499), a rare, late disgorged Champagne that spent 49 years resting peacefully on its lees, I was inspired to delve deeper into the role yeast autolysis plays in the flavor development of sparkling wine.

The wine, which is the first release of the new Hors-Série range, was made by then-cellarmaster Claude Demiere; an equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that was sourced from 12 different Grand Cru villages and did not undergo malolactic conversion, it is characterized by concentrated aromas and flavors attributed to
the low-yielding vintage. READ MORE

The Gray Report: Cannabis industry update from the Cannabis Business Summit

Cannabis is already a huge business — $23.6 billion in sales in the US in 2021. And there’s room to grow fast because the industry is still not reaching as many female consumers.

This was one of the findings presented at the Cannabis Business Summit in San Francisco last week by Cy Scott, co-founder of Headset. Headset works a bit like Nielsen; it takes data from receipts from cannabis stores in the US and Canada. READ MORE

Science & Wine: Origin of wine lignans

For plants, the interaction with their environment is particularly important due to two reasons. First, plants cannot move and escape the adverse conditions and second, they need to have a large surface to catch as much light and nutrients as possible and therefore, the contact of the plant with the environment is intense. To rise to this challenge, plants synthesize an enormous number of different specialized metabolites, which help them to withstand unfavourable weather conditions, cooperate with their symbionts, or fight their pathogens and competitors. Notably, these metabolites often interact also with the human microbiota (including pathogens) or with components of human metabolism, bringing health benefits to those who consume them. READ MORE

Jamie Goode: The Crouch Valley, Essex: a leading region for English still wines

The Crouch Valley in Essex is turning out to be a hotspot for still English wines. The reason? It is one of the driest and warmest parts of the UK. And coupled with this, its clay-based soils with their high smectite content are better for viticulture than people have previously thought (see the box below). Many famous wineries based in other, somewhat trendier parts of the country buy grapes from Essex, and the regional identity of these grapes is lost. It’s for that reason that Essex isn’t getting the attention it deserves as a viticultural region. READ MORE

GuildSomm: Austria (Webinar)

In this webinar recorded on December 14, 2021, Master Sommelier Christopher Tanghe provides an overview of Austria’s winemaking regions, history, grapes, and more, and leads a brief tasting of a few key wine examples. WATCH HERE

Press Releases

These are some press releases I received this week that I actually thought were interesting…enjoy!



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!

Educational posts are in no way intended as official WSET study materials. I am not an official WSET educator nor do I work for a WSET Approved Program Provider. Study at your own risk. Read the full disclaimer.
**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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