Hello my people. This will be the last post for a few weeks, as I’ll be traveling off and on the first two weeks of August. First stop, Paso Robles for our annual media conference; then, Healdsburg to help out with the Murphy Goode Really Goode Job scholarship program where I’ll get to help select the next interns for 2023. In the middle of all that I’ll also be speaking at this year’s Wine Writer’s Symposium about “The Art of the Interview.”
And, another professional announcement: As of this week, I’ve been honored to add California Wine Reviewer to my role as Senior Editor for Wine Enthusiast. This will encompass Lodi, Mendocino County, Lake County, Central Valley, Sierra Foothills, as well as California appellated wines. My colleague Jim Gordon will step into reviewing wines from Napa and Sonoma; Matt Kettman continues to tackle the Central Coast and Southern California wine scenes.
Oh and my birthday is on Tuesday.
That’s all. Cheers!
From a few projects I’m involved in…
Wine Enthusiast Companies Announces New Tasters for Italy, Reassigns Iconic California Beats, and Begins Reviewing Hard Seltzers & Ready-to-Drink Beverages
Wine Enthusiast Companies, composed of Wine Enthusiast Media and Wine Enthusiast Commerce, announced today new members to the department that tastes more than 25,000 wines annually and provides reputable reviews for readers across the globe. The additions and region assignments round out the restructure of the tasting team announced last month including:
- Jim Gordon is now Senior Editor, Tasting and will review wines from Napa and Sonoma.
- Stacy Briscoe will review wines from Lodi, Mendocino County, Lake County, Central Valley, Sierra Foothills and other California.
- Danielle Callegari joins the tasting team as one of two new tasters for Italy and will review wines from Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia, Abruzzo, Campania, Sardinia, Lazio, Basilicata, Calabria, and Molise.
- Jeff Porter joins the tasting team as the second new taster for Italy and will review wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Northeast Italy, Lombardy, Northwest Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Marche, and Umbria.
- Jacy Topps is adding Languedoc-Roussillon to her beat and will now review wines from Vin de France and Languedoc-Roussillon.
- Layla Schlack will review wines from Alsace.
Murphy-Goode, the Sonoma County winery that launched its second “A Really Goode Job” nationwide job search in April 2022, is pleased to announce the 12 finalists that will continue on their journey to land “A Really Goode Job.” As announced in May, Murphy-Goode will hire two candidates to live out their ultimate dream job in the wine industry. The job includes a $10,000 per month salary, rent-free vineyard-front living in Healdsburg, California for one year, a year’s supply of Murphy-Goode wine, and immersive on-the-job training across all facets of the wine business. As part of the interview process, Murphy-Goode will also welcome two prominent wine industry professionals as guest interviewers: Julia Coney, wine educator and Founder of Black Wine Professionals and Stacy Briscoe, Senior Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. READ MORE…
The theme of 2022’s virtual Wine Writers’ Symposium is The Changing Landscape of Wine Media. Over the course of three half days of keynotes, panels, and roundtables, we will explore topics essential to today’s wine writer.
Creative versus technical writing will be considered, as will the fine art of separating the story from the subject. Practical skills such as conducting interviews and interpreting data will be discussed. And an overview of the increasingly complex publishing landscape will be presented. Furthermore, as classic full-time wine writing jobs are harder to come by than ever, monetization and ethics will be major subjects. Take a look here at the full schedule and speaker biographies.
The program is geared toward the writer who has already demonstrated a degree of professional commitment to writing about wine. As such, we encourage anyone who has been previously published, even if on their own blog, to register. A file or link to written work published in the last 36 months is required. Please refer to our FAQs for any additional questions pertaining to this year’s application process. Registration will be open through July 31st, and all requests will be verified for authenticity. LEARN MORE…
Press Democrat: Grape harvest kicks off with early pick in Sonoma County
Under a light marine layer, the wine grape harvest kicked off in Sonoma County early Friday morning in the Russian River Valley with a season that has started earlier than expected and should yield a smaller crop.
Work crews were out at 5 a.m. at a vineyard at the Martin Ray Vineyards and Winery east of Forestville to pick an anticipated 10 tons of pinot noir grapes that will go into sparkling wine for the winery.
“This is the earliest we have ever done it,” said Jim Pratt, owner of Cornerstone Certified Vineyard who was managing the crew. READ MORE…
Sonoma Index Tribune: Vintage Festival plans unveiled for 2022
In its first year under the leadership of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festivals is getting a bit of a makeover. While the parade and Sunday celebration have been nixed, attendees can look forward to the newly hatched Sonoma Valley Legends Dinner and Grand Tasting event.
“The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is such an important part of Sonoma Valley’s history, and to our community. Sonoma Valley is referred to as the birthplace of California wine, with the first vineyards planted in the mid-1800s. It is an honor to celebrate the hard work, dedication and collaborative spirit of our incredible region and welcoming community through this event,” said Tom Rouse, president of the SVVGA board of directors, in a news release. READ MORE…
New York Time: Dry German Riesling: An Eternal Conundrum
Wine writers can be tireless, or perhaps tiresome, in recommending the virtues of perennially unloved wines.
Loire reds are one example of a category that receives little affection no matter how often writers tout their value, versatility and deliciousness. German rieslings are another.
People fear sweet rieslings, yet it seems to do little good reminding them that most rieslings consumed in Germany are dry, not sweet. (By the way, sweet rieslings, whether modestly so or lusciously honeyed, are thrilling in their knife-edge balance and refreshment.) READ MORE…
Eater: Robot Cat Servers Are Descending on NYC Dim Sum Parlors
This week in unpredictable headlines: Robotic cat servers are descending on dim sum parlors in Brooklyn and Queens. The robots can cost owners as much as a 2022 Kia Forte. In exchange, they perform basic duties, like carting around boba and bamboo steamers of har gow, an unlikely and somewhat dystopian solution to cut down operating costs.
BellaBot, the name of the robot most commonly found in New York City restaurants, is outfitted with plastic cat ears and a dozen animated facial expressions. It comes from maker Pudu Robotics, a company based in Shenzhen, China, that recently made landfall in the United States. After debuting at a tech trade show in Las Vegas in 2020, the robots started popping up at restaurants across the United States last August. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: 5 Family Wineries That Show Mendocino County’s Italian-American Heritage
Winery names like Mondavi, Martini and Sebastiani are household names among wine drinkers. Italian Americans established these wineries in California in the early 20th century and their brands grew big over time. So big, in fact, that they became acquisition targets for the largest wine companies in the country and lost their founding-family connections.
Names like Barra, Graziano and Testa are not nearly as well-known, but these and other Italian-American families in Mendocino County have kept their heritages intact. Third-, fourth- and fifth-generation winemakers continue to farm their vineyards and fill their cellars, making high-quality wines in the warm inland hills and valleys surrounding the city of Ukiah. READ MORE…
Associated Press: ‘Minis’ may return to liquor stores in deeply religious Utah
Miniature bottles of alcohol could return to liquor stores in deeply religious Utah by the fall, after the state agency that oversees alcohol approved a rule change Tuesday.
Members of the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services Commission voted unanimously to allow spirits to be sold in sizes slightly larger than the average shot or glass of wine, Fox 13 reported. The commission plans to open the proposed rule change to public comment and, barring concerns, could institute it by fall.
A decades-long prohibition on miniature alcohol bottles is one of many unique liquor laws in Utah, where a majority of the population are members of the alcohol-eschewing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church officials have said the state’s laws are reasonable and effectively curtail excessive drinking and DUIs while still allowing people to drink responsibly.
As Utah draws an increasing number of tourists and residents who aren’t members of the church, new tensions have arisen over the state’s liquor laws and concerns have grown over whether they entrench the state’s reputation as a religiously conservative place intolerant of those who drink alcohol. READ MORE…
Inside Hook: What You Need to Know About Pechuga, the Mezcal Made With (Yes!) Raw Chicken
If you’re new to mezcal, you’re probably trying to figure out what’s good, what’s bad and what’s authentic. And just when you think you maybe get it, someone says, “Have you tried pechuga?”
And you’re like, hang on, what’s that? And then they tell you it’s mezcal…made from chicken. Suddenly you feel like you’re back at square one. So here’s something to help put you back on track. READ MORE…
Eater: A Mexico City Mayor Tried to Erase Street Food Art. The Community Is Fighting Back.
Since 2004, Tamara De Anda, a Mexican social activist and TV host, has been photographing street art in Mexico City and sharing the images on social media as a sort of exhibition of the silly, profane, and endearing works that color the city. Many of her subjects are rótulos, hand-painted commercial signs that combine vibrant typography and witty illustrations to advertise all types of businesses, concerts, sporting events, and, especially, street food stalls. Rótulos have been a part of the urban landscape since the beginning of the 20th century. Though the art form has been losing ground against vinyl-printed and computer-designed ads for the last 20 years, it has thrived in Cuauhtémoc, a central district of CDMX (encompassing buzzy areas like Centro Histórico, Roma, and Condesa) where the streets are full of vendors proudly displaying rótulos depicting dancing, smiling, and otherwise ecstatic tacos, tortas, jugos, caldo de gallina, birria, guisado, and tamales. 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.
bw166: Mid-Year 2022 Total Beverage Alcohol Report Card
The bw166 TBA Servings Index* stood at 131.95 as of June 30, 2022, up 2.3% versus June 2021 and up 1.9% versus December 2021. Historically there has been minimal volatility in overall trends in The Total Beverage Alcohol market year to year. In 2020 and 2021 the impacts of the Pandemic, shift of volume from On-Premise to Off-Premise and back again, and supply chain issues have created significant volatility in the trends. By comparing the first six months of 2022 versus the first six months of 2019 the market appears to have settled into a new normal.
Unfortunately, the year-on-year trends versus 2021 need significant analysis to understand the actual market direction. The bw166 data focuses on total tax-paid shipments into the US market as well as other government data to fully analyze the market.
Beer for the first six months of 2022 shows shipments up +1.9% (107.2 Million Barrels). The reality is that the total growth can be attributed to imports from Mexico while the cumulative mix of all other sources and types is flat. Looking at Mexican Beer, Constellation is the key driver of these trends. The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for Mexican Beer from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2022 is 6.0% which is a reasonable trend line adjusting for the disruptions noted above. Consumer spending for Beer Off-Premise in the first half was $38.9 Billion, a 4.4% CAGR from the first half of 2019. Consumer spending for Beer On-Premise in the first half was $30.1 Billion, a 4.5% CAGR from the first half of 2019. READ MORE…
Dame Wine: Wine Producer Who Put Ultra-Premium Rosé On The Map Is Now Taking Another Leap For Terroir Expression
The smell of lavender filled the air while an enchanting scene was created by the purple flower spikes accenting tops of green foliage planted throughout the land. The sun, with its golden beams, gave everything a divine light so the olive and mulberry trees glowed and the landscape was further enhanced by the red clay soil adorned with limestone rocks and broken gravel. As shown in the paintings of the greats like Paul Cézanne, Provence, in southeastern France, was stunningly magnificent and even standing there in person, Marcel Ott still couldn’t believe what he was seeing with his own eyes. The picturesque scene was not only unbelievable for its sheer beauty but the fact that many owners were giving the land away almost for free was even more shocking. It seems impossible today that a piece of this French Mediterranean paradise could have been bought for so little, as it is known so well today with many people desperately wanting to win the lottery so they could have their slice of Provence heaven. READ MORE…
Grape Collective: Charlie Holland of Gusbourne Winery on The Challenges and Rewards of Making Wine in England
“The notion of English sparkling wine surprises many Americans,” says Eric Asimov in The New York Times, “who still hold the notion of Britain as a culinary wasteland, with lukewarm ale the only beverage. Yet London for a generation has been one of the world’s most exciting restaurant cities. And England, now in its third decade as a sparkling wine producer, is demonstrating that its bubbly output can be superb.”
The future of English sparkling wine is indeed looking bright. Due to global temperature increases, England, a country once too cold for grape growing, has evolved into an award-winning wine region, especially known for traditional-method sparkling wine. Most of the country’s vineyards are located in the southern counties of Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, close to the coast, where the climate is warmer and drier than more northerly areas, but cool enough for the grapes to retain ample acidity. READ MORE…
GuildSomm: Tasting with Ray Sholes & Kelli White
In this month’s tasting episode, MS Christopher Tanghe sits down with Ray Sholes of Michael’s Genuine in Miami. Ray shares his approach to blind tasting and how he applies it to his buying habits for the restaurant’s list. Then, GuildSomm Executive Director Jenny Hemmer speaks with GuildSomm alum Kelli White to hear her perspective on the blind tasting skillset. Kelli is the director of education for Meadowood in Napa Valley and the author of Napa Valley, Then & Now, a magnificent tome on all things Napa.
Following each conversation, you’ll hear Ray and Kelli blind taste the same wine. Listen closely and see if you can guess the wine along with them!
Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform, as this helps us connect with and grow our community. Cheers! LISTEN HERE…
Napa Valley Wine Academy: Wine Enthusiast vs Industry Professional – What is Your Path?
It’s not like all wine enthusiasts walk around carrying a two-bottle wine bag and sport ‘I love wine’ t-shirts. Not everyone anyway. And it’s not like all folks in the wine trade wear pins that declare their status in the industry.
Well, some do, but they’ve worked hard on certifications to get that pin, so ‘wear on’. But when it comes to wine, people are often tagged with these two general categories: wine enthusiast and industry professional. Whether you have a passion for wine but do not work in the industry, considered an enthusiast, or are a professional working with wine, wine itself sparks a desire to learn.
Once you start learning about wine, it seems that every fact you discover leads to an exciting new rabbit hole. You are Alice, falling into Greece, Portugal, and Spain—taking journeys all around the world and finding new things at every turn.
Does the learning journey differ for enthusiasts versus professionals? Yes, and no.
For industry professionals, in particular, being able to discuss and taste wine in a professional setting generally leads to formal education, which certifies knowledge and tasting skills. These certifications are then added to business cards and resumes to provide a competitive edge in the marketplace. READ MORE…
Science & Wine: Breadstick fortification with red grape pomace: effect on nutritional, technological and sensory properties
In recent years, ready-to-eat foods have grown popular among consumers as a result of their convenience of consumption, ease of preparation and storage. Unfortunately, these foods are often rich in fats and sugars. Otherwise, an increasing segment of consumers considers mainly the nutritional and health aspect during their food expenditure (1). In this context, bakery products, widely consumed worldwide, could represent great potential as carriers of functional ingredients (2, 3) that improve the wholesome global characteristic of these foodstuffs.
Food waste is deemed as a possible source of bioactive molecules with beneficial properties. The FAO estimated that, every year, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted, such that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aimed to reduce food loss by promoting a sustainable lifestyle (4) United Nations Member States set the target of dropping food waste by adopting specific measures to reduce food loss throughout the production chain (5). An alternative purpose of food by-products is their incorporation in different food matrices, thus becoming functional food ingredients and a source of bioactive compounds (6, 7). READ MORE…
Trink Magazine: Varietal Psychology
There’s no end to writings about how wine affects people. It begets relaxation and well-being, of course, but also stimulating discussion. The right bottle can be just the spark needed to light up a dull evening. But can certain wines channel our moods and perceptions in different ways?
This question was often posed by Wolf-Dietrich Salwey, a vintner who passed away in a car accident in 2011. Known for his unconventional character, Salwey routinely invited neighbors, colleagues, and friends to his estate in Oberrotweil in the Kaiserstuhl to explore the influence of specific grape varieties on his circle within a delineated set of conditions. The group typically included Freiburg-based architect and urban planner Professor Horst Linde as well as an employee of the Freiburg Agency for Catastrophe Planning, known to friends simply as “Catastrophe Dieter.” READ MORE…
wine.co.za: The quantum mechanics of carbonics
First, the subatomic details. The magic happens inside the berry.
Although often seen as a modern affect, whole cluster winemaking is actually anachronistic. Old-timey producers long used to foot-stomp whole bunches in concrete tanks before the invention of destemming machines.
‘Whole-cluster’ is being used here as the catchall term for a range of techniques that includes whole bunch, whole berry, carbonic maceration (partial and whole) and crushed clusters. The definition also makes room for stems added into wine must in a bid for palate detail as well as freshness.These methods are generally used for red winemaking, though there are white wine exceptions. Or, for traditional method sparkling wine whereby whole bunches are gently pressed to release the first allotment of pure, free-run juice.
For carbonic maceration whole clusters are placed under a blanket of CO2 in a sealed tank for a period of time. Partial or semi-carbonic maceration generally occurs in an unsealed tank with a combination of whole and broken berries and pump overs.
Whole-cluster characteristics are red-fruited in spectrum and can range from crunchy, bright fruit to the more candied bubblegum flavours that are achieved through carbonic maceration. When stems are included (either on the bunch, or added back) they can impart spices such as juniper, rosewood, incense as well as textural, grippy qualities to the palate. READ MORE…
The Wine Gourd: The biggest difference of European vineyards from those elsewhere
In places like North and South America, Africa or Australia, people have a vision of farms that spread to the horizon, measured in thousands of acres/hectares. Even vineyards are measured in tens or hundreds of acres/hectares, depending on where they are, so that we see images of rolling hillsides covered in vines. However, the history of Europe is based on a very different concept of land-holding — the endless vistas of grapevines might look the same, but they have many, many different owners. This makes a difference.
Historically, Europe has had three classes of land-users. At the so-called top have been the nobility, who owned lots of land but hired people to look after it for them — they had no role in the actual running of their farms. Next down the hierarchy have been the landed gentry. They lived in fancy large houses, and still hired workers to look after things, but they did also involve themselves in the running of their farms (that provided their wealth). Down at the very bottom of the heap were tenant farmers, who worked the land themselves, by hand, but did not actually own it — they had to give part of the produce to the landowner, as rent. READ MORE…
Wine Folly: 10 Wine Tips That’ll Make You Sound Like A Badass
These wine tips cover some of the stranger bits of language and etiquette used by wine connoisseurs.
Come to think of it, the world of wine is full of weird quirks.
For example, have you ever watched a bunch of elegant wine drinkers spit out hundreds of dollars worth of wine? (This is very common at professional tastings!)
So, here are 10 wine tips that’ll help you fake it ’til you make it. READ MORE…
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!