Hello and happy weekend and wine-news-round-up day. Lots of great stuff to scroll through this week. A personal highlight of mine is this podcast I conducted in honor of Women’s Wine Month, interviewing Dr. Lucia Gilbert, professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and author of Women Winemakers: Personal Odysseys. I’m so happy I got to connect with her and learn from her research and expertise. If you haven’t yet, take a listen directly on the Wine Enthusiast website or wherever you download your podcasts.

I’m also happy to say that I’ve taken the next steps to becoming an instructor at my WSET alma mater, Napa Valley Wine Academy. While I so love teaching for Odyssey Wine Academy in Healdsburg, it’s truly a pleasure to give back to the school that gave so much to me. So, stay tuned for upcoming classes—in-person and virtual.

This weekend I’m attending my first wine club pick-up party at Smith Story Wine Cellars, also located at Bacchus Landing in Healdsburg (just across from the Odyssey Wine Academy). I’m so stoked: I’ve known Ali for so long and for some reason just never joined her club. Truth be told, I don’t belong to a lot of wine clubs. But the ones I do are very purposefully selected—typically small-batch, female-owned businesses making innovative wines that just don’t compare to those I’ve found elsewhere.

That’s all from me (for now). Hope everyone has a lovely lovely weekend.


Wine Enthusiast (Podcast): Female Winemakers’ Shared Experiences

In this episode, the last in our three-part series in honor of Women’s History Month, we take a look at the varied yet related experiences of female winemakers.

There are many remarkable female winemakers throughout the wine world that blazed new paths to the benefit of generations to come. As the industry evolves, we assess the similar issues several of them faced, versus what points of differentiation may have affected their vision or outcome.

Senior Editor Stacy Briscoe speaks with Dr. Lucia Albino Gilbert, coauthor of the book Women Winemakers: Personal Odysseys, about the journeys of many of these women, and how they largely demonstrate a commonality of purpose and direction despite occurring in different times and cultures. READ MORE AND LISTEN HERE…

New York Times: When ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am’ Miss the Mark: Restaurants Rethink Gender’s Role in Service

A dinner out can be discomforting for nonbinary and transgender people. But efforts are afoot to change that.

As Anaelia Ovalle stood outside a restaurant here deciding whether to go in, the host extended a friendly greeting: “Hello, sir.” But the phrase didn’t feel all that welcoming to Ovalle, 27, who identifies as nonbinary and uses the pronouns “they” and “them.”

Ovalle has an androgynous appearance. And as they asked for a menu, they could see the wheels turning in the host’s head, registering the pitch of their voice and noticing details like their eyeliner and painted nails. The host quickly retreated, calling them “ma’am.” READ MORE

Wine Enthusiast: Wineries Across the Country That Support People With Disabilities

Wineries, by nature, have always been places of connection, places where people gather to share a bottle of wine or a wine-centered experience. It’s only natural that many wineries have become partners in supporting positive community change. From offering wine baskets at nonprofit silent auctions to holding tasting events with proceeds going to charity, many wineries have demonstrated their willingness to give back to their local communities.

But these three wineries have committed to supporting individuals with disabilities through full-time employment, donations and more. READ MORE

L.A. Taco: Eagle Rock’s Queer, Female-Owned Natural Wine Shop Stocks Indigenous and Black-Owned Brands to Offset Gentrification Impact

“What kind of Vinovore are you?”

The huge picture board with illustrations of animals holding wine glasses in their teeth looks like a wine lover’s version of a Lunar New Year calendar. There’s the Green Snake, “curious and breezy” who might like a bright, herbaceous wine. Or the Orange Tiger, a flamboyant and alluring type who prefers an “obscure chillable red.”

Vinovore specializes in natural wine, beer, sake, and food items produced by women or women-owned companies in the U. S. and internationally.

Owners Coly Den Haan and Angelica Luna wanted a clever way to help shoppers find the wines they were looking for, so they came up with the animal chart—with “vinovore” playing on words like “carnivore” and “herbivore.” READ MORE

Press Democrat: Anti-gay protesters met by counterprotesters in Guerneville

After a three week hiatus, Guerneville Plaza was again the site of anti-gay protesters whom some locals say are simply hatemongers.

Some self-described members of the “Pizza Box Brigade,” gathered Wednesday to counter protest.

Holding handmade signs painted on pizza boxes, the counter-protesters said the demonstrators are spreading the kind of message that’s not welcome in their famously queer-friendly town.

Suzy Kuhr, owner of Smart Pizza, located on the plaza, was among those on Wednesday holding up a sign reading: “Jesus loves me and my girlfriend.” READ MORE

Club Oenologique: These photographs offer a surprising snapshot of the world of wine

From the faces behind the bottles to striking vineyard views, the shortlist for the Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year 2022 shows wine photography at its finest.

This year’s shortlisted images for The Wine Photographer of the Year showcase winemaking regions all over the world, but from new and occasionally surprising perspectives. Take a murmuration of starlings in the sky up above the vines in the Napa Valley, or an Australian winemaker casting a net across his plantings and somehow transforming the terrain into a snowy-looking vista.

Last year’s winner, Oscar Oliveras, has submitted new entries this year capturing frosty Burgundian vines as well as a history-steeped cellar. The shortlist also features an entry from Club Oenologique contributor Patrick Desgraupes, while there’s a visible rise in shortlisted footage documenting English winemaking, with the likes of photographers Mick Rock and Chris Elfes capturing unique scenes from rural English vineyardsREAD MORE AND VIEW PHOTOS HERE

Modesto Bee: Why Modesto wants to trade Beard Brook Park for land Gallo owns along the Tuolumne

Modesto is working on a land swap with the world’s biggest winery for a riverwalk along the Tuolumne for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and nature lovers. The city wants to trade its 12-acre Beard Brook — which sits along Dry Creek and south of Yosemite Boulevard, between the E.&J. Gallo Winery and Stanislaus Food Products — for a 12-acre, half-mile strip of open land Gallo owns along the Tuolumne River between Dry Creek and Santa Cruz Avenue. READ MORE

Wine-Searcher: Antitrust Suit Leaves Big Distributors Sweating

The two dominant wine and spirits distributors in the US are likely “sweating bullets” today, as a result of a groundbreaking antitrust lawsuit filed this week by one of the country’s most powerful law firms.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Illinois, lays out a case that Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) conspired to eliminate a new company called Provi that had managed to build a peripheral business organizing B-to-B wine and spirits orders.

“It’s a game-changer,” beverage alcohol attorney John Hinman told Wine-Searcher. “The reason it will be taken seriously is twofold. One, the facts are gripping, with respect to an agreement to boycott a competitor. Two, the law firm that filed this complaint is probably the biggest and most respected antitrust law firm in the country. It’s a really well-written complaint by some very sophisticated lawyers. If I’m [RNDC general counsel] Alan Rosenberg at this time, I’m sweating bullets.” READ MORE

SevenFifty Daily: Using Alternative Yeasts to Replace Sulfites in Wines

It’s easy to understand why sulfite additions are such a basic tool of winemaking. Sulfur dioxide (SO2, also commonly referred to as sulfites) is an effective antibacterial and antioxidant agent in wine, and sulfur-based products are also effective against fungal diseases and other pests in the vineyard.

However, using sulfites is far from neutral: they have wide-ranging effects on the chemistry of wine. Just to name a few issues, they can cause potential reductive issues and affect fruity aromatics, they can cause color bleaching, and they’re also irritating for workers who deal with fairly high amounts during winemaking operations. Also, beyond the often-exaggerated concerns about headaches and other issues for wine drinkers, the trend towards natural wine has given them a bad rap.

“There is a false sense of security with SO2. Not [every bacterium and fungus] is beaten back,” adds Jeremy Leffert, the director of winemaking for Tooth and Nail Winery in Paso Robles, California. All of this has made him particularly enthusiastic for a different approach called bioprotection. READ MORE

Farmer’s Weekly: SA wine exports to African countries on the rise

Wine producers looking to expand their export footprint over the next three years should look at countries elsewhere in Africa, where tourism is booming. This was according to Hein Koegelenberg, CEO of La Motte Wine Estate and Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards.

Koegelenberg said trade in general was under pressure in the US and Europe, due to the constrained global economy along with widespread logistical challenges, with pressure
likely to mount on the back of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and resultant sanctions. READ MORE

Harpers: SA wine grape harvest passes halfway mark; promising wines underway

After a slow start, harvest is well underway as more than half of South Africa’s 2022 wine grape crop has already been taken in at cellars. The crop is still estimated to be smaller than in 2021 but larger than the five-year average.

“Although we started later than normal with the harvest, all 10 wine-producing regions have harvested a significant amount of grapes at this stage, which gives a good indication of volumes being delivered to cellars up to now,” said Conrad Schutte, manager of Vinpro’s viticultural consulting service, which issued the fourth crop estimate with SAWIS (SA Wine Industry Information & Systems). “The grape quality also looks good at this stage, which means we can expect exceptional wines from the 2022 vintage.” READ MORE

Eater: It’s Time to Talk About… Poop-Swoop Foods

The originator of the trend is likely the chocolate hazelnut tart at Wildair, Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra’s groundbreaking small-plates-and-natural-wine destination on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. All of these swirly toasts seem highly indebted to von Hauske Valtierra’s chocolate hazelnut tart, which has been on the Wildair menu in some form since the restaurant opened in 2015. It features a short crust with hazelnut praline (in the early days, sometimes it would be peanuts instead of hazelnuts), and chocolate cremeux. The piping evolved from round… READ MORE

Daily Mail: Aussie winery creates the world’s first PURPLE wine – and it’s better for you than traditional tipples

An Australian winery has developed the world’s first purple wine – and it’s made with natural ingredients that are better for your health.

Produced in Margaret River, Western AustraliaPurple Reign has five varieties of Instagram-worthy wines including a sauvignon blanc, sparkling brut, shiraz, red blend and semi-sweet blend.

Purple Reign’s makers have swapped out synthetic additives used to preserve wine like sulphite for safer and natural ingredients so you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in a glass or three. READ MORE

VinePair: Ask Adam: Should I Ever Order the Cocktail on Tap?

Yes, absolutely yes. I get the desire to want to have all your cocktails made à la minute, but let’s be honest, most of the cocktails at even the best cocktail bars aren’t fully made from scratch; at least a portion of the drink is batched. That’s because when service is hectic, consistency is key. What if, in a rush, your bartender accidentally mismeasures a pour resulting in a very unbalanced cocktail? Batching allows for a great cocktail experience every time and that’s basically all a cocktail on tap is — a large batched cocktail. 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.

Nielsen: Women are driving significant gains in podcast engagement

The pandemic’s role as a digital adoption accelerant for the masses notwithstanding, many consumers were leaning into on-demand options well before media became a homebound necessity during much of 2020. The phenomenal growth in podcast engagement over the past seven or eight years—even throughout much of last year—speaks to how consumers increasingly want two things: something that is both relevant to them and available on their schedules.

In concert with a 40% increase in the U.S. population listening to podcasts over the past three years, advertisers continue to tap into the growing medium to reach engaged listeners. Notably, eMarketer forecasted that podcast ad revenue will exceed $2 billion by 2023: that would mean growth of nearly $1billion in just two years. And amid the 2 million podcast titles featuring 88 million individual episodes, brands should be mindful of a growing core base of listeners: women. READ MORE

Shana Bull: Top California Vineyards On Instagram, By Hashtags  

With more than 35 million Instagram posts tagged with #wine, it can be hard to find the best vineyards or wineries to connect with on Instagram. Thankfully a travel website has done the work for you by putting together a list of the top 10 vineyards to follow on Instagram. Note, this list is different than the one I created called the Top Wineries in California on Instagram (which, I am noticing is a poorly written headline).

This morning I received a Press Release for a recent study by The Thinking Traveller—a travel website specializing in booking villas in Europe—that revealed a list of the 15 most Instagrammable vineyards in the world. They chose the 15 based on the amount of hashtags that were used from guests visiting the winery or vineyards. Normally I don’t open emails like this, but this one made me smile. READ MORE

GuildSomm: An Introduction to Sulfur

The term sulfur is frequently misused in wine vernacular. This miscomprehension colors our understanding of winemaking and leads to confusion for both consumers and members of the trade. Indeed, it may have contributed to the current trend toward eliminating added sulfur in some wines. Therefore, it’s vital that wine professionals have a fundamental understanding of the nature and uses of various sulfur compounds in winemaking. READ MORE

Science & Wine: Riesling or Spätburgunder wine—which one is more sustainable?

In our study, we examined the carbon footprint of the whole life cycle of wine, from cultivation of the grapevines, fertilisation, harvesting and processing the grapes, wine bottling, collection and use by the consumer as well as the bottle disposal.

Figure 3: Flowchart of the carbon footprint study in wine from planting the grapevines in the vineyard to disposal of the wine bottles

Our carbon footprint study was based on the PAS 2050-1 guideline, which was developed for horticultural products and wine, from the British Standards Institute (BSI) in London. A 0.75 L bottle of wine was used as reference from two wineries in the lower Rhine valley of Germany. Data from historical farm records and on-site measurements on the wineries for a white wine (Riesling) and a red wine (Spätburgunder, Pinot Noir) was used and processes converted into CO2-equivalents. READ MORE

Tablas Creek: A Report from the Blending Table—The 2021 Whites May Be Scarce, But They’re Exciting

We’ve spent the last four days around our blending table, working to turn the 36 different lots we made from our white grapes in 2021 into the blends and varietal bottlings we’ll be releasing to you in coming months. With the ongoing challenges of international travel, we again convened without a Perrin in attendance, though Cesar will be visiting for red blending next month and we’ll have a chance to get his thoughts before anything goes into bottle. After four days immersed in these wines, I feel confident that he’ll love what he tastes. And that’s great! After the painfully short 2021 harvest (white grapes down 36.5% overall) we knew our options might be constrained. But the reward in scarce vintages is typically noteworthy intensity. That (spoiler alert) definitely holds true with 2021. READ MORE

VinoJoy News: Chinese Penfolds close to be released?

Speculations are running high inside China that Australia’s most known wine brand Penfolds is a step closer in launching its Chinese Penfolds, reportedly made by blending wines from the country’s premier wine region Ningxia and South Australia.

According to a report by WBO, Penfolds has zeroed in on roughly 10 out of 80 wineries in Ningxia to provide juice for testing before the final blend in what an insider familiar with the project described as in line with Penfolds’ multi-region winemaking philosophy and a stamp for quality assurance. READ MORE

The Wine Gourd: Threats to biodiversity when controlling wildfires

I am just returning from what used to be called The Sunburnt Continent, but is now more likely referred to as The Burning Continent — Australia. The latter epithet comes from the high propensity for producing wildfires — those that consume the surrounding natural environment rather than being restricted solely to human constructions (e.g. building fires). *

When I used to live there (a couple of decades ago), as a scientist I studied the effects of wildfires on the native plants, and especially on the effects of attempts to control or prevent those wildfires. Given the recent concern about wildfires in wine-making regions, especially in France (eg. Vintners despair after French wildfire ravaged grapevines) and the western USA (Wildfires have ravaged Napa Valley: will California’s wine industry survive?), I thought that it might be worthwhile to present a perspective from outside the wine industry. The issue of fire management is far more complex than simply protecting the vineyards and wineries. READ MORE

The Pour: A Farmer’s Dozen From Bordeaux

These 12 wines, made by vignerons and not grand estates, are classically refreshing and altogether inviting.

Sales of Bordeaux in the United States took off last year, rising by 24 percent in volume, according to the Bordeaux Wine Council, a trade group.

The rise spanned all categories of Bordeaux, the group said, from inexpensive, mass-produced wines to the most prestigious bottles. Partly, it said, it was because of the elimination of the 25 percent tariffs on certain wines from the European Union that had been imposed in 2019 by former President Donald J. Trump in a trade dispute. The tariffs were suspended last year by President Biden. READ MORE

Press Releases

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

Napa Valley Wine Academy: Global Wine Academy to Aid Ukraine Fundraiser

Napa Valley Wine Academy (NVWA), a California-based global wine school, is supporting the non-profit Sunflower of Peace Foundation which aids the people of Ukraine, by donating a percentage of online sales made through NapaValleyWineAcademy.com during the week of Saturday, March 26 through Saturday, April 2, 2022. 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!

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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