Happy weekend, all. And for those of you who celebrate—Happy Valentine’s Day weekend-ing. Remember all that stuff I said I’d be busy doing last week? Yes, I’ve been busy doing it all. But I still managed to find some time to put together a few fun wine-newsy items for you. Please enjoy.


Eric Asimov: The Wine Business Sees a Problem—Millennials Aren’t Drinking Enough

As baby boomers retire and buy less wine, producers need new ways to tempt a White Claw generation back from other alcoholic drinks, according to a new report.

The American wine industry believes it has a problem: millennials.

More specifically, it’s the fact that aging baby boomers — currently the prime market for wine — are nearing retirement age, the time of life when consumerism typically declines.

Millennials, the generation that began to come of age after the turn of the century, have given no indication that they are poised to step in. They buy much less wine than boomers, and the wine industry has not done enough to entice them to become regular consumers.

In his annual State of the U.S. Wine Industry report, presented last month, Rob McMillan, an executive vice president of Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, Calif., and a longtime analyst of the American wine market, issued a forceful warning that a day of reckoning was coming.

“In prior reports, we noted that the falling interest in wine among younger consumers, coupled with the encroaching retirement and decreasing wine consumption of baby boomers, poses a primary threat to the business,” Mr. McMillan said. “That issue has yet to be addressed or solved, and the negative consequences are increasingly evident.” READ MORE

Wine Industry Advisor: Evaluating the Wine Industry’s Economic Engine in 2022 and Beyond

The uncertainty of this “bottleneck economy” has led to a change in mindset from “just in time” (buying what you need when you need it) to “just in case” (stockpiling what you may need in case it’s unavailable when you need it).  These squeezed margins can be felt all along the supply chain and have pushed up prices in warehouse space, shipping containers, bulk wine and bottling supplies, among others. It’s even affected the labor pool. READ MORE

Wine Enthusiast: How Italy’s ‘Runaway Duchess’ Changed How We Drink Champagne

Hortense Mancini, Duchesse de Mazarin (1646–1699), was many things in her life. She was a mother, noblewoman, exiled wife and autobiographer. But perhaps one of her greatest legacies is her influence on how we drink and think of Champagne today. READ MORE

Wine-Searcher: Big is Beautiful for California’s 2021 Grape Harvest

California had a 2021 wine grape harvest that was 8.7 percent larger than disaster-plagued 2020, but it was still the second-smallest crop of the last decade.

Also, if you like Sauvignon Blanc from a good region, you might want to hoard it, as it’s the one varietal that might be in short supply, and not just from California: New Zealand and Europe also had smaller crops of it while consumer demand is increasing. READ MORE…

SFGate: ‘The end of an era’: Bay Area urban winery shutters after 14 years in Alameda

Rock Wall Wine Company, an urban winery best known for its zinfandel wines, is slated to close Feb. 27 after 14 years.

Owner and winemaker Shauna Rosenblum shared the news on the business’ website, where she stated that the “rising cost of doing business in the Bay Area” as well as the “lasting financial implications of COVID closures” created a challenging situation and factored in her decision to close for good. Bay Area News Group first reported the closure. READ MORE

Wine-Searcher: US Treasury Pushes Alcohol Reforms

Alcohol regulation in the US and Europe is going in startlingly different directions: the US is worried about lowering prices and increasing access while the EU is mulling ways to do the opposite. This became clear from a 63-page report issued Wednesday by the US Treasury Department.

Last July, President Biden issued an executive order “Promoting Competition in the American Economy”. As part of it he asked Treasury to submit a report on the current state of competition in the alcohol industry. READ MORE

Wine Industry Network: Counterfeiting Is a Lingering Stain on the Wine Industry

Counterfeit wines and spirits cost the global industry $3.18 billion in direct sales, and the impact can be felt at many levels. A European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) report estimates that illicit trade in wine and spirit results in a 7 percent reduction of legitimate products, the loss of over 7,000 jobs across the beverage alcohol industry, and costs the government $2.61 billion in tax revenues.

And yet, this malpractice continues to run rampant in the beverage alcohol sector. 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.

Tablas Creek: Why we believe the time is right for a $95 box of wine

Last summer, I wrote a blog I called A Winery Carbon Footprint Self-Assessment: Why I Can’t Give Us an “A” Despite All Our Progress in which I broke down how we stacked up against the baseline California winery across all the components that make up our carbon footprint, from vineyard to winery to packaging and transport of finished wine. Overall, we look good against the baseline, thanks to the combination of organic farming with minimal outside inputs, solar power, and the lightweight glass that we use for all our bottles. My rough estimate is that we have about 60% of the carbon footprint of the baseline. READ MORE

Wine Economist: Has U.S. Wine Industry Consolidation Gone Too Far?

Is the U.S. wine industry becoming too concentrated, with just a few big firms dominating the marketplace? That, more or less, was one of the questions we were asked at the press conference that followed the annual “State of the Industry” session at last month’s Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, California.  How would you answer this question?

The query was prompted in part by Mario Zepponi’s excellent presentation about merger and acquisition activity in the wine industry in 2021. Mario is principal at Zepponi & Company, a firm that advises winery and vineyard M&A clients and was very busy indeed last year, when a number of large (for the wine industry) deals were concluded. READ MORE

Jamie Goode: New Wave Chile is here, with a little help from South Africa: the wines of Longavi

Inspired by the Swartland Revolution, three men have started a cross cultural company making low intervention wines from old vines on both continents. READ MORE

Deborah Parker Wong: Learning to Perceive

Why winetasters can’t always see the forest for the trees

Professional wine evaluation is a fundamental example of perceptual learning, a process that relies on prior experience to improve our abilities, which results in long-lasting changes to our perceptual

For example, when an expert taster evaluates a wine made from Sémillon, their perceptual state includes not only the wine they are tasting but also previous wines they have tasted and their perceptions of those wines. In short, it involves far more than the immediate impressions the wine delivers to our senses; it is intrinsically bound to our prior experiences. READ MORE

Great British Wine Blog: Burn Valley Vineyard

I well remember the first time I visited North Norfolk. It was in the mid-90s and I strongly recall being struck by the bleak beauty of the place, the huge skies and a breathtaking, vast emptiness. And in those days, the place was pretty empty, especially in winter when I first went. Devoid of visitors, except birdwatchers like me, the door was still open to tourists. Yet few came because there were no ‘bright lights’ (if you discount the spectacular Christmas decorations outside Norfolk residences – the first place I encountered such a phenomenon) nor obvious attractions. READ MORE

The Wine Gourd: Current wine production at the birth-place of wine

The cradle of wine-making is, for the time-being, considered to be within the lands of the current country of Georgia, all of 8,000 years ago. Evidence of wine production has been found in several places in West Asia, including a 4,100 BCE winery site in what is now Armenia, and some 6,000 BCE clay vessels in adjacent Georgia.

The Georgian history is based on the dating of these 8,000 year-old earthenware vessels, called qvevri (or kvevri). The qvevri is Georgia’s best-known wine-making vessel, and it remains an important component of traditional wine-making in Georgia, even today. So, this finding of the remains of grapes and grape seeds in archaeological sites is the oldest evidence we currently have of wine production. READ MORE

bw166: Beer, Spirits, & Wine – Packaged Imports Grow +19% By Value L12M through December 2021, Packaged Exports Grow +10%

Total Beverage Alcohol: Total beverage alcohol imports (including bulk and packaged) grew +17% by value over the last twelve months and grew +10% by value over the last three months. 35% of all imported beverage alcohol by value came from Mexico over the last twelve months. READ MORE


Press Releases

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

US Department of Treasury: Competition in the Markets for Beer, Wine, and Spirits

On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14036, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy.”1 The goal of the Executive Order is to reduce the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition, and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, and small businesses. Those benefits include more choices, better service, and lower prices for consumers through a competitive market, as well as fairer opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to compete. In particular, “[t]o protect the vibrancy of the American markets for beer, wine, and spirits, and to improve market access for smaller, independent, and new operations,” the Order required the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Chair of the FTC, to “submit a report…assess[ing] the current market structure and conditions of competition, including an assessment of any threats to competition and barriers to new entrants, including… READ MORE…

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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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