Good morning my friends. If you haven’t heard, the big industry news this week is the Delicato-Francis Ford Coppola ‘merger.’ Curious what everyone is thinking re: implications for the industry, consumer market, etc.
Beyond that amazingness, we’ve got drought issues here in California, New York ending its cocktail-to-go programs, and memes that may cause a disruptive ‘mom-culture.’
Some fun news: wine video games! English wine week! Oh, and I must recommend the piece posted on JancisRobinson.com entitled “MW Tasting Notes Analyzed,” especially if you’re a student of wine.
It’s all here. Scroll through, learn some stuff, and leave a comment if you have one (or several).
Side Note: No posts, news round up or otherwise, next week. Taking a much needed holiday. So cheers, stay healthy, stay happy, and please drink good wine.
Wine Enthusiast: Virtual Viniculture—New Video Games Aim to Diversify and Democratize Wine
The scenario: You’re stuck in a boring office job. Each tedious day is the same as the last. Suddenly, you receive a letter from a distant relative, who bequeaths you his rundown vineyard in Italy. You take the chance and move on a whim, but you know nothing about winemaking or running a winery.
Luckily, a colorful cast of local characters helps you immerse yourself in the world of wine. There’s the chatty neighbor, the curmudgeonly expert who bemoans your inexperience and the handsome hunk who supports you from the start.
Playing in “story mode” as Emma, you’re transported from your gray office to the warm, welcoming and pastel-hued fields of your newly inherited vineyard, set in a region inspired by Piedmont, which is the IRL home of the game’s production studio. READ MORE…
Wine-Searcher: Coppola Made an Offer it Can’t Refuse
The iconic filmmaker has sold his Sonoma winery to a box-wine producer, but will still keep Inglenook.
Francis Ford Coppola winery was sold to Delicato Family Wines on Thursday in a deal that brings together the nation’s hottest box wine producer with Coppola’s Sonoma County portfolio.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was not all cash, as Coppola will get stock in family-owned Delicato and a seat on the board. A well-known wine industry analyst who did not want to be named said this might be because the two sides were far apart on valuing Coppola’s winery, but both wanted to make the deal.
Coppola turned 82 this year; his wife Eleanor is 85. Both of their surviving children work in cinema like their parents once did, and neither was believed to be interested in running what had become a sprawling winery operation.
The deal does not include Inglenook winery and vineyard in Napa; Coppola’s home is on the property. It also does not include Domaine de Broglie winery and vineyard in Oregon, which Coppola bought in 2018. But it does include the other Coppola brands, two wineries in Geyserville in northern Sonoma County, and the 100-acre Archimedes Vineyard parcel in Sonoma’s Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA.
Delicato issued a press release about the deal but a company spokesman said no interviews would be granted until the Federal Trade Commission signs off on it. Delicato was already the nation’s fifth largest winery by production size; the press release says the deal will make Delicato the No. 5 supplier of US wines over $11.
The FTC recently held up a sale of low-end brands from Constellation Brands to E. & J. Gallo Winery for nearly two years, causing turmoil in the grape markets and making some of those brands less valuable. It’s less likely that the FTC will intercede here because Constellation and Gallo were the No. 1 and No. 3 wine companies by size at the time, whereas Delicato and Coppola are No. 5 and No. 17. READ MORE…
Trink: Reconciling the Racism of Rudolf Steiner
Black American woman living in Europe discovers racially motivated teachings at Steinerian Waldorf schools
Austrian-born philosopher and social reformer Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) ushered in a holistic approach to farming that would eventually reach all points of the globe. His research and teachings touched education, the arts, medicine, and — at the end of his life — agriculture. He developed what would come to be known as his biodynamic framework in 1924. It is a practice and philosophy that regards the farm as a self-sustaining system open to the influences of lunar and cosmic cycles. At its core, it respects and honors the individuality of the farm and all its parts, particularly the guiding force of the farmer him or herself.
But the wide range of Steiner’s interests and views complicate his legacy. READ MORE…
Eater: If Restaurants Can Build a Sidewalk Shed, They Can Accommodate Disabled Diners
Restaurants have a storied history of neglecting ADA guidelines. As they reopen post-pandemic, there’s even less excuse for them to do so.
Ever been to a restaurant that shares your name? No? Me either. I was pretty close, though. To celebrate my birthday one year, my mentor and I met up at Penelope, a cafe and wine bar in Manhattan. Despite a slight spelling difference, I was excited to eat there and update my mentor on life’s happenings. That excitement dissipated when I arrived to discover that my comfort food-centric namesake was not wheelchair accessible.
Fortunately, we were quick on our feet (well, she was) and ended up at another restaurant nearby, and a mystery person even paid for our meal. But happy ending aside, we were not able to eat where we originally planned. READ MORE…
Eater: Beware of Brands That Love Queer People’s Dollars More Than Queer People
Your annual reminder that just because a company slaps a rainbow on a product during Pride doesn’t mean it supports the community
During Pride month one year when I was in high school, I got my underage hands on a limited-edition vodka bottle — one of the ones with a rainbow label, its contents mostly gone. Even when the bottle itself was empty, I tucked it away in the back of my closet, and kept it there for years: at the time, my family didn’t know I was gay. But the bottle was a concrete, tangible reminder that there was broad — or broad enough — acceptance of gay culture that when I did eventually come out, I could have the kind of life I dreamed about. That little symbol mattered to me.
Now that I’ve been out for years, and have found the very acceptance and love that I envisioned as a little gayby, mere acknowledgement or limited-time-only support doesn’t feel like enough — for me, or for younger queer people who are still finding their place in the world. Every year in June, my inbox fills up with promotions for things like “Love Wins Gender Freedom LGBT Themed” rainbow cutting boards and “rainbow cocktail” recipes made with checks notes, uh, peanut butter whiskey. These sorts of products, with their vaguely supportive statements and bright rainbow designs signal acceptance, if not active support for queer people. READ MORE…
New York Times: A Wine From Nowhere
A new line from Penfolds features two cuvées that combine wines of two continents. Do they transcend a sense of place, or are they wines of no place?
As strange as it may sound, the most important thing about a wine is not always how it tastes.
Oh, a good wine has to be pleasing. It ought to refresh, invigorate and intrigue. As French winemakers love to say, the best wine is the bottle that’s empty after a meal.
That’s often enough. But the best wines do even more than that. They speak of their place of origin.
Through the medium of fermented grape juice, great wines express their terroir, that mystical French term that encompasses the soils, climate and weather, elevation, angle of inclination and the human activity behind it all. Wines that can do this are said to have a sense of place. READ MORE…
Decanter: Chianti Classico wineries approve new subzones
Chianti Classico’s council said the move was intended to allow village names on bottle labels, and winemakers have also backed plans to tighten rules for top-tier Gran Selezione wines. Michaela Morris reports on the changes and speaks to producers…
As tenacious as the black rooster in the legend of its Gallo Nero logo, Chianti Classico is on the brink of a new milestone. A relentless campaign to hone the region’s unique identity has led to a proposed subdivision into 11 villages.
Now formally designated as Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive (UGA), or ‘Additional Geographical Units’, the following will soon be officially permitted on labels: Castellina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Gaiole, Greve, Lamole, Montefioralle, Panzano, Radda, San Casciano, San Donato in Poggio and Vagliagli.
The assembly of 500 Chianti Classico producers voted 90% in favour of the proposal earlier this week.
‘There was a great spirit of cohesion and collaboration,’ said Giovanni Manetti, president of the Chianti Classico consortium. READ MORE…
Parentology: New Study Asks if ‘Wine Mom Culture’ is Toxic, Putting Women at Risk
You’ve seen the memes and Instagram posts and maybe even laughed at a few of them. They’re part of “Wine Mom Culture” and they often portray mothers dreaming of having a glass of wine, or two after their kids go to bed so they can relax and just cope with the struggles of motherhood. The hashtags range from #WineMom and #MommyJuice to #MommyNeedsaDrinkie and everything in between.
While it may be a joking matter to some, a new study shares concerns that Wine Mom Culture may be toxic. Indeed, there are concerns that it’s setting women up for drinking problems and could be a coping mechanism for much deeper mental health issues. READ MORE…
Eater: New York Abruptly Ends Its Popular Takeout Cocktail Program
The policy, which has allowed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol to-go for the last 15 months, will end after June 24
Takeout cocktails, a lifeline for food businesses across the city and one of the most popular policies to come out of the pandemic, will come to an abrupt end this week. At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York’s state of emergency, which has allowed restaurants and bars to sell alcoholic beverages to-go since March 2020, would be lifted after Thursday, June 24.
“The emergency is over,” Cuomo said. “It’s a new chapter.”
Cuomo had previously extended the state’s temporary takeout cocktail program by 30 days, set to expire on July 5, but city and state organizations are now interpreting the end of the state of emergency as an early end to liquor to-go for restaurants and bars. Following the announcement, the New York State Liquor Authority tweeted that “…with the ending of our state of emergency and the return to pre-pandemic guidelines, the temporary pandemic-related privileges for to-go and delivery of alcoholic beverages will end after June 24.” A spokesperson for the SLA confirmed to Eater that all alcohol to-go sales, with the exception of beer, are no longer allowed for restaurants and bars after tomorrow. Beer previously could be sold for takeout and delivery prior to the pandemic. READ MORE…
China Macro Economy: China-Australia relations—wine is heading to Taiwan and other ‘non-traditional markets’, but Canberra says exports still way down
Australia’s wine exports to new markets are increasing but nonetheless remain a drop in the ocean compared with the former output to the now-closed Chinese market. And to that end, Canberra is hoping to force a conversation with Beijing about its anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine, having formally lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday.
On Monday, Australian trade minister Dan Tehan said that sales of Australian wine in “non-traditional markets” rose during the first quarter of the year. Exports to the Netherlands, for instance, were up 63 per cent to A$20 million (US$15.1 million) from January to March, while those to South Korea increased 133.6 per cent to A$13.6 million. READ MORE…
Sonoma State University on Tuesday said it is launching an inclusion program as part of its Wine Business Institute to help further diversify a sector that is largely white.
The institute, which is part of the School of Business and Economics, has been able to start its Inclusive Excellence Program thanks to almost $1 million in funding from local wine companies.
“This is a holistic approach,” said Ray Johnson, executive director of the Wine Business Institute. The university has previously worked with the industry to fund scholarships for those from underrepresented backgrounds, but the new effort will also emphasize internships and mentoring programs to help such students be able to reach executive-level careers within the wine industry. READ MORE…
A new initiative to promote the cultivation of ungrafted vines has attracted some big names.
Vineyard heritage could be in for a boost as a star-studded group of growers and winemakers seek Unesco status for wine made from ungrafted vines – despite the ever-present threat of phylloxera.
The arrival of the Phylloxera vastatrix bug into Europe in the 19th Century devastated the world’s great wine regions and has meant that the vast majority of grapevines today are grafted onto resistant rootstocks. However, a group of intrepid winemakers and growers, including big names like Germany’s Egon Müller and Bordeaux’s Loïc Pasquet are determined to restore the flavors of pre-phylloxera wines. READ MORE…
Two more Sonoma County cities have adopted mandatory water conservation measures as municipalities around the region grapple with declining water supplies and several other elected councils, including Santa Rosa’s, prepare to upgrade their own drought restrictions.
City councils in Petaluma and Sonoma this week joined Cloverdale, Healdsburg and Rohnert Park in approving mandatory reductions in water consumption as well as restrictions on how and when certain kinds of household water use will be permitted. READ MORE…
The Sonoma City Council voted unanimously Monday to curb water usage starting next month, escalating water-saving measures amid punishing drought conditions in the Bay Area only expected to worsen in the coming summer months.
The council declared an official water shortage and authorized a 20% reduction in water usage compared to what the city used last year.
Blogs Worth a Read
Taken from the list of Blogs 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 blogs to follow or want your blog included on that list.
Jancis Robinson: MW tasting notes analysed
Matthew Hayes, our man in Burgundy and MW student, takes a second look at Beyond Flavour by Nick Jackson MW
As the Institute of Masters of Wine first-year programme hurtles at quite terrifying speed to a delayed August conclusion, I have become very aware of something that may be quite a phenomenon this year. And not necessarily in a universally good way. It’s the widespread influence of one book.
For everyone who is not a wine student, Nick Jackson MW’s book Beyond Flavour is well worth picking up, not least if you are interested in fine-tuning your tasting ability, developing a new technique and wowing the crowd with your ability to hunt down a wine blind, like forcing a poor fox to go to ground. For everyone who is a student, Nick Jackson’s book appears close to the gospel. However, I am beginning to suspect we students should be aware of what might come out in the wash: that (obvious) over-reliance may bring on the equivalent of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. READ MORE…
Science & Wine: A new drink that reduces brain oxidative stress
Neurodegenerative diseases are age-dependent disorders whose prevalence is rising due to the increasing life span of the world’s population. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with dementia worldwide was 46.8 million in 2015 but is expected to rise to 131.5 million by 2050. Unfortunately, nowadays, all these diseases lack an effective treatment and they represent the fourth cause of global disease burden in developed countries.
Alzheimer’s disease is defined by the progressive loss of short- and long-term memory, which results in an increasing cognitive deficit that leads to impaired activities of daily living (1). Several factors including aging, diabetes mellitus, and oxidative stress, affect the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders. On the other hand, decreased risk of Alzheimer´s disease is related with physically and cognitively stimulating activities and adherence to the Mediterranean diet (2).
In recent years, there has been increasing supporting evidence for an association between lifestyle habits, such as diet and dietary components, and a delay in Alzheimer occurrence. Functional foods, such as mushrooms, and drinks, such as wine, exhibit potent medical properties with anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory attributes. READ MORE…
Great British Wine: Producer Focus—Mereworth
With the vast amount of plantings in England, particularly over the last half a decade, there are, and will continue to be, an ever-increasing array of new winemakers to discover. One such producer is Mereworth, which was founded in 2016 when William Boscawen planted the first vines on the family farm in Kent following a career in finance and marketing. Half a hectare was planted at first, followed by a further 2 hectares in 2017. A winery followed soon after, housed in an old commercial oast house, with winemaker, Scott Gebbie, joining in 2018 in time for Mereworth’s first commercial harvest. I recently caught up with Scott to have a chat about his journey, and to taste through his inaugural sparkling wine releases.
Despite his youthful appearance, Scott has already enjoyed quite a colourful career around the world in wine. Scott’s desire to work and travel first took him to employment in a vineyard in the Algarve. Next up, he arrived at a big winery in New Zealand, discovering the life of a travelling winemaker which led him to travel and work in Italy, Australia, America and France, amongst others. Scott’s time in France and passion for sparkling wine ultimately led him to Champagne, where he wrote his thesis on the impact of New World viticulture and its effect on Champagne. Ultimately, things went full circle, and he arrived back home in Kent, where Scott grew up, to build on his experiences with a producer right at the beginning of their winemaking journey. READM MORE…
Jamie Goode: País, Mission, Criolla Chica: the Beaujolais of the Americas?
Much like the Gamay of Beaujolais, twenty years ago País was seen as fit for only commonplace, lowly table wine. Today a combination of rediscovered low yielding old vines, exquisite wine making and the consumer’s taste for fresh light reds is rewriting the narrative of this ancient grape.
Listán Prieto, Mission, País, Criolla Chica are all names for one grape variety that journeyed to the Americas from Europe with early Christian settlers eager to make Holy wine for the Blessed Sacrament. Lisse Garnett reports. READ MORE…
The Wine Gourd: Is wine for drinking or investing?
In essence, wine is nothing more than flavored alcohol, made from some sort of berry, often grapes. As such, it has various uses, including drinking. The objective of drinking it is not something that I will go into here, but there is a large literature on the subject.
An alternative use involves storing it, so that one can talk about owning it. This sometimes leads to selling it for a profit at some future time, rather than consuming it oneself. This seems to me to be a waste of the wine; but to some other people this is a form of financial investment, just like buying stocks, shares or cryptocurrencies, or apartment buildings and farms for that matter, or even just sticking cash in the bank for a while. READ MORE…
These are some press releases I received this week that I actually thought were interesting…enjoy!
Delicato Family Wines Forges Partnership with Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Two Iconic Families Come Together
Delicato Family Wines and Francis Ford Coppola Winery today announced that they will come together under one roof, strengthening the families’ legacies as it creates the #5 supplier of all wine above $11 in the U.S. market, as well as the #5 supplier by volume across all price segments and become the #3 exporter of C.A. wines.1
Under the terms of the agreement, the Francis Ford Coppola wine portfolio and two facilities anchored in Sonoma County, the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and the Virginia Dare Winery located in Geyserville, including the Archimedes Vineyard, will join Delicato. READ MORE…
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