Hello all and happy first weekend of March! I can’t believe how fast this year is already flying by. One personal project I want to highlight this week is a podcast that was recently released in conjunction with the Green Wine Future Conference coming up this May. I’ll be moderating the session on Regenerative Agriculture. In the meantime, the conference is publishing a series of podcasts that correlate to session topics. Listen in to my piece on Regenerative Viticulture as I interview Jason Haas of Tablas Creek and Richard Leask of Leask Agriculture on the topic.
I’ve one more piece of exciting news that I will be sharing with you all later this week. So stay tuned on that front.
In the meantime, I’ve go loads of news listed for you this week, including how the food and drinks industry is supporting Ukraine, discovering wine in the ‘metaverse,’ and a couple of very well written opinion pieces as well. So enjoy. Talk soon!
Green Wine Future: What is Regenerative Agriculture?
Green Wine Future Podcast: a series of discussions & interviews spotlighting critical issues w/in the wine industry. Listen as I speak to Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard and Richard Leask of Leask Agriculture about Regenerative Viticulture and why this is form of farming is the way to ensure a successful wine future. LISTEN HERE…
Vox: What the Russian invasion of Ukraine could mean for global hunger
Extended conflict in Ukraine could raise food prices around the world — and hit the already hungry hardest.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has destabilized European security and the global energy market — and now food could be next.
Dozens of countries across the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa that already suffer from food insecurity rely on Russia’s and Ukraine’s bountiful supplies of wheat, corn, and vegetable oil, and experts say the conflict could send food prices rising and increase global hunger.
“It’s yet one more instance of conflict surfacing in the world at a time when the world just can’t sustain it,” said Steve Taravella, senior spokesperson at the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations. “Hunger rates are rising significantly globally, and one of the largest drivers of hunger is manmade conflict.” READ MORE…
Eater: What the Hospitality Industry Is Doing to Help Ukraine
World Central Kitchen, Bakers Against Racism, and restaurants and bars are raising funds and showing solidarity with Ukraine
Within hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, restaurants and relief organizations across the globe had already sprung into action. In a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, these businesses and nonprofits have been working around the clock to raise money and feed those who have been impacted by the violence.
Shortly after the invasion began, it became immediately clear that a humanitarian crisis was imminent. According to the United Nations, more than 660,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes in search of safety as war rages in their country. Countless others have stayed in Ukraine, vowing to defend their homes against the occupation. “You will see our faces,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, directing his words at Putin. “Not our backs.”
Much of the world has thrown their support behind Zelenskyy and Ukraine. From José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, which was on the ground in Poland within hours of the invasion, to global fundraising network Bakers Against Racism, here’s a look at what the U.S. hospitality industry is doing to support — and feed — people in Ukraine during this crisis. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: ‘We Are the Land, and the Land Is Us’: Indigenous Māori Winemakers are Guardians of New Zealand Terroir
Māori people have lived in New Zealand—or Aotearoa, as it’s known in the te reo language—for nearly 1,000 years, long before the nation was colonized by the British in the early 19th century. The history of the Māori people’s relationship with their colonizers is one that echoes other nations around the globe: that of devastating disease, broken contracts, loss of land and systematic cultural oppression.
Thanks to land returns and resources, the Māori way of life is gradually returning to the country, in part stemming from the mid-20th century activism that led to the 1975 Waitangi Tribunal, which legally addressed historic injustices in the form of reparations. Today, approximately 16% of the population identifies as Māori, and Te Ao Māori, or the Māori worldview, permeates New Zealand culture. Its significance in the wine scene is particularly relevant, where concepts like tūrangawaewae (a place to stand) mirrors the French concept of terroir. READ MORE…
Napa Valley Register: Napa Green redevelops vineyard certification, hopes to set new sustainable standards
It is out with the old and in with the new for Napa Green, which is now the first winegrowing certification program in the world to redevelop and overhaul their sustainability standards.
The organization’s new model — called the Napa Green Vineyard program — officially replaced the Napa Green Land program on Jan. 1, and the 42 members transitioning will have a year to adapt to the new regulations.
According to Napa Green’s Executive Director Anna Brittain, these 42 participants represent about 5,200 vineyard acres in the Napa Valley area. READ MORE…
The Guardian: Wine crime is soaring but a new generation of tech savvy detectives is on the case
Down in the cool, dark cellar of Berry Bros & Rudd in St James’s, central London, Philip Moulin arranges some of the world’s most valuable wines on a table. This building has been the wine merchant’s HQ since the company was founded in 1698, and we are in the Holy of Holies, a cellar accessible via fingerprint scanner and several locked gates, where the “directors’ stock” is stored. On one rack lie dusty magnums of Mouton Rothschild 1982, on another a pyramid of golden Château d’Yquem Sauternes. The liquid in this room is worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not more. Or at least is, if it is what it claims to be. READ MORE…
Reuters: British men charged in New York with wine fraud
Two British men have been charged by federal prosecutors in New York with defrauding people into investing nearly $100 million in loans supposedly backed by an inventory of expensive wine that did not actually exist.
According to a grand jury indictment announced on Tuesday, Stephen Burton and James Wellesley induced people to invest in loans supposedly brokered by their company Bordeaux Cellars and collateralized by wine they stored for wealthy collectors. READ MORE…
Wine Analytics: Wine Tasting in the Metaverse
Some wine producers have become adept at leading online tastings and giving people virtual tours of their vineyards and cellars, because it helps consumers connect with a wine. It could be a useful skill if technology stays on its current path. Tommy Nordam Jensen, CEO of WiV, explains how its company is developing a presence in the metaverse.
The pandemic has been terrible for wine producers. Tourist sales, another major proportion of many vineyards’ balance sheets, have also evaporated in the face of social distancing, lockdowns and border closures. It’s quite possible that we are going to have to adapt to a new normal or even get used to a repetitive yo-yoing in and out of lockdowns if the virus continues to wreak its havoc.
In the face of the challenges, some vineyards and wine merchants have become adept at offering an online experience to potential customers, leading virtual tastings and tours of cellars and vineyards. The pandemic might become the catalyst of a long-term change in the way that we interact.
Whichever way the next few years go, there’s a good chance that the online experience gained in 2020 will stand proactive wine specialists in good stead. It could be that online interaction will become a permanent and important fixture of running a successful wine business. This will create a new challenge: how to adapt to an increasingly technological sales process without losing focus on the need to create fine wine. READ MORE…
Alcohol Professor: What Does Future Look Like for NFTs and Wine?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) mean different things to different people, and that’s part of their inherent buzz-worthiness. Essentially, NFTs are designed to be fraud-proof digital certificates of ownership and authenticity, held on the block chain.
But in practice, they can be attached to anything from the esoteric and abstract (digital perfume, or a symphony of farts, for example) to the serious and tangible (a Beeple artwork sold for $69.3 million, or a house that sold for $653,000).
The first NFT emerged in 2014, but the market wasn’t mainstreamed until 2020-21, and about 70% of Americans still don’t really understand what an NFT is. But the $22 billion NFT market has drawn increased interest from the world of wine, largely for two reasons: 1) it appeals to the type of consumer (younger, more affluent than average) it is often accused of failing to adequately engage and 2) it ensures proof of authenticity. READ MORE…
Nation’s Restaurant News: Why every restaurant operator should care about NFTs and the metaverse right now
The future of NFTs, crypto and the metaverse as explained by trademark attorney, Michael Kondoudis
You’ve seen the digital art renderings of monkeys selling for thousands or even millions of dollars. You might have heard about McDonald’s and Panera, among other major hospitality and retail brands, filing for trademarks within the metaverse. And recently, NFT-based restaurant experiences have been creeping into the industry lexicon, from NFT food halls and exclusive membership-only restaurants to one brand, Chick’nCone allowing investors to use NFTs to buy share in brand franchise fees and royalties.
But what exactly is the metaverse? And are NFTs just a fad, or should restaurant operators invest in it as the “next big thing” for the industry? READ MORE…
Eater: Welcome to the NFT Restaurant Boom
Chefs like Tom Colicchio are minting NFT pizzas, recipes, and even limited-edition gin bottles. But is the rest of the food world along for the ride?
Just weeks before Christmas, with the restaurant industry reeling again from the omicron variant, chef Tom Colicchio was tweeting about penetrating the metaverse. In a series of tweets, he announced CHFTY Pizzas, a new NFT (non-fungible token) venture with Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn. The company’s website promises that owners of the NFTs — a “minting,” or release, of 8,888 unique pizza designs onto secure digital tokens — will enjoy “one-of-a-kind physical and virtual experiences” and “future integration into the expanding metaverse.” Colicchio’s pies are still in the virtual oven, but according to CHFTY’s Discord channel, a pre-sale will be offered to its “Slicelist” members on March 23 and to the public shortly thereafter with an initial supply of 2,777 NFTs priced at .07 ethereum each (at publication time, the equivalent of around $200). On paper, the total proceeds from these sales would surpass a half million dollars, which, any way you slice it, is a lot of extra cheese. READ MORE…
Pix: High On the Hog’s Stephen Satterfield’s Life-Changing Wines
For Stephen Satterfield, eating and drinking are equally important experiences. In the same way that he will check out a food menu before deciding on a restaurant, he will hover over the wine list before making a reservation. To Satterfield, the two go hand-in-hand.
Though food has superseded wine when it comes to his career, the grape still holds weight in his heart. “As a lover of eating and drinking, wine is still my greatest love in life,” Satterfield says. READ MORE…
Wine Spectator: No, Your Wine Is Not Packed with Sugar
A U.K. anti-alcohol group cries out that wine is full of sugar and calories, but their findings are full of something else
People started sending me the headlines a few weeks ago. “Just two glasses of wine could exceed whole’s day sugar intake.” “Two glasses of wine have more calories than a burger.” One compared wine to donuts. Local TV stations were reporting on a new study out of the U.K. that had found wine was packed with sugar.
I was intrigued. Was my Cabernet sweeter than candy? Are there actual cupcakes in Cupcake?
Seriously though, my first thought was, Wait, which wines?
The study in question was a report from the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), which describes itself as “an alliance of more than 60 non-governmental organizations which work together to promote evidence-based policies to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.” For this project, they commissioned a laboratory to analyze the sugar and calorie content of 30 wines from several top brands in the U.K., based on grocery data. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: Austria Introduces New Qualifications for Still and Sparkling Wine
Earlier this month, Austrian wine made its fifth amendment in the last five years. The Wagram region became the country’s 17th Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC), a legal designation of quality and typicity for a geographic area. In addition, Sekt wines made with a protected designation of origin will take on the name Sekt Austria (PDO).
The Wagram recognition comes after seven years of exhaustive discussions. On February 2, the Austrian Minister of Agriculture, Sustainability and Tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, signed the decree declaring that all wines labeled Wagram DAC must be dry by law, and white wines cannot be dominated by the influence of oak or any wood. The rules will start to apply with the 2021 vintage. 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: Kiev for wine lovers
Ukraine is just taking baby steps towards regaining its place on Europe’s wine map, and I am completely aware that if anyone has Kyiv (Kiev) on top of their list of vacation destinations, it is not for a wine tour, but likely because HBO have done a good job increasing interest in Chernobyl.
But whatever the reason you might be visiting Kyiv, if you happen to be a keen wine lover, your vinous experience won’t necessarily be dull, at least not for a few days and if you’d care to follow this guide. READ MORE…
Grape Collective: Why Some White Wines Age So Beautifully
We had an interesting journey recently that took us back in time and to a future, we hope, when there are more ageable white wines on shelves.
We are often asked when a wine will be at its best, but that question is usually about red wines. There’s an assumption that whites won’t go the distance. In our case, we love white wines with some age. We came to that honestly: Throughout the 1980s, we bought and drank German Rieslings from the 1971, 1975 and 1976 vintages. They were not popular even back then, which meant we could afford them.
Over the years, some of our most remarkable experiences have been with older white wines, not just Riesling but others, such as well-cared-for Muscadet. In 1987, we visited a winery in Napa that was selling a decade-old Gewürztraminer from its library collection. We opened it right there at cellar temperature, shared it with the tasting room staff, and it was delicious. READ MORE…
Science & Wine: The relationship between grape ripening rate and wine quality
Grape growers face the consequences of a changing climate, which impact grape yield and quality in several ways. Of particular interest are increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, elevated temperature, and water stress, environmental parameters primarily involved in the regulation of plant metabolism. Fruit composition at harvest is the primary contributor to wine quality and “uniqueness”, thus there is great benefit for growers in understanding the response of grape composition to different climate scenarios.
The process of sugar accumulation, a key feature of grape ripening, is accompanied by the synthesis of other “specialized” metabolites in the fruit. These compounds are responsible for colour and aroma characteristics, two undisputed determinants of the quality of a wine. READ MORE…
Vinography: Patagonia, Inc. Might Have Champagne Problems
I’ve got Patagonia on my mind. Next week I’m actually headed to Patagonia to go fly fishing. But last week I reviewed the wines that the company Patagonia, Inc. recently released as part of their Patagonia Provisions line of foodstuffs.
I’m, as I said in that article, a big fan of the company, and the wines were a pretty impressive first effort.
But today I learned that Patagonia may soon have more problems than deciding which wine to release next. READ MORE…
Maiah Johnson Dunn: Talking Sustainability with Hunt Country
My pup and I got caught in a snow squall during our morning walk last week. Her senior moments and arthritic elbows make fast escapes a little more difficult these days, so I scooped her up and ran. We strolled along the same route just two days prior, during the beginning of an over 50 degree day in mid-February.
I have to admit that the mid-winter thaw was nice, but these extreme weather events feel a bit unsettling. The idea of climate change and sustainability is more top of mind for me now than ever, especially with my career change. Admittedly, I’m shocked by how pragmatic the climate change conversation is in the wine industry so I decided to ask Suzanne Hunt to explain why. READ MORE…
These are some press releases I received this week that I actually thought were interesting…enjoy!
Southern Argentina Wineries Denounce Attempt at Patagonia Brand Appropriation
For over 50 years, the wine producers of the Patagonian region have developed a characteristic product, which has gained prestige and market both in the country and abroad, through its uninterrupted exports. Likewise, PATAGONIA has been officially recognized as a Geographical Indication since 2002, conferring the region’s producers a right to its exclusive use.
For many years our chamber has been working silently but steadily to prevent private actors from successfully seizing the PATAGONIA brand in different international markets in category 33, corresponding to wine and profit from the prestige and commercial penetration achieved by the wines of this region. This effort has involved the investment of considerable resources destined to file legal actions to protect something that we consider to be the heritage not only of our wineries, but also of Argentina itself and of all Argentines. READ MORE…
Decanter: Russia & Ukraine—A statement from the DWWA
Following the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Decanter World Wine Awards will be cancelling the entries for any Russian wineries which have entered the competition, and their wines will not be judged.
As a gesture of support for our Ukrainian entrants, we will be waiving their fees.
We realise that the world’s winemakers have more that unites than divides them, but we feel we have to make a stand.
All of us at Decanter and the DWWA are hoping and praying for a peaceful resolution to this situation, and we send our very best wishes to all those affected.
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!