Hello my people and happy weekend. PSA announcement for those living in the US States that participate—Spring Forward this weekend!

Speaking of Spring Forward. I’m ready to tell you all about my own forward and upward springing. As of this last Monday, March 7, I am officially immersed in my new full-time position as the Senior Editor of print for Wine Enthusiast magazine. Woohoo.

I still have this week’s wine-newsy round-up. And it is a doozy. I mean, there’s loads going on—between Women’s History Month, the drinks industry’s wonderful support of Ukraine, new AVAs, and wine industry data analytics through to some more light-hearted entertaining pieces, including an exposé on Mo’s “Tavernas,” wine-related binge-watching, and even good old classic wine recommendations. I suggest pouring yourself a Briscoe-sized glass, squashing into a big comfy chair, and scrolling at your leisure.

SlainteSaluteSaludCin-cin! and Cheers!!!



Wine Enthusiast: The Underground Spaces Where Drinking While Female Was a Radical Act

Bars, saloons and taverns hold a mirror to society. As cultures and economies evolve, so do the ways their people do or don’t drink alcohol, especially in public.

This is particularly evident for women and other marginalized communities. Leaf through historical texts and you’ll see a singular theme: public drinking spaces are always patriarchal, whether they are policed by individual families, the state, religious groups or some combination thereof.

Of course, history books rarely tell the whole story, and would-be drinkers often find ways to sidestep restrictions. Underground bars and secret spaces, like the ladies’ drinking rooms, snugs, speakeasies and tavern offshoots, have also welcomed women over the years. In doing so, they reveal a lot about both their patrons and their so-called polite societies. READ MORE

The Drinks Business: Meet the woman putting New Zealand’s newest GI on the map

Too often when we talk about New World wine pioneers we think of the intrepid folk who shipped European grape varieties over to the other side of the globe in the 18th century, or the likes of the late, revered Steven Spurrier, who changed the fate of California wine dramatically during the 1976 ‘Judgement of Paris’ blind tasting.

However, our great wine pioneers aren’t only consigned to the history books. They’re busy channelling that same fearless spirit in vineyards and cellars around the world, even as you read this. Perhaps none more so than Rosie Menzies, winemaker at Carrick Winery in New Zealand. READ MORE

Club Oenologique: Life Lessons with winemaker Zelma Long

Zelma Long is one of the world’s most experienced winemakers. Born in Oregon in 1945, she worked at the top level in California before founding the Stellenbosch winery Vilafonté in 1997.

In the early 1970s Long was enrolled in the school of oenology and viticulture at UC Davis when she was headhunted by Mike Grgich, who was then head of winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery. By 1973 she was Mondavi’s head oenologist; she moved to Simi in the Alexander Valley in 1979, becoming head winemaker and then CEO, a position she held until 1996.

Her list of awards – including James Beard Wine Professional of the Year – is impressive; her impact on the wine industry, particularly in the US, where she founded  the American Vineyard Foundation, and the American Viticulture and Enology Research Network, more so. In the course of her career she has consulted in countries and regions as diverse as Israel, Germany, the Rhône valley, the Pacific Northwest and South Africa. READ MORE

Eater: Why Bootleg Moe’s Taverns Are All Over Latin America

Homer Simpson drinks here. So do countless “Simpsons” fans across Latin America.

On the outskirts of Cuenca, Ecuador, bar hoppers might accidentally wander from the Andes right into Los Simpson. On one side of the road, Springfield is spelled out, Hollywood sign-style, above illustrations of Chief Wiggum arresting Bart, Kearney, and Dolph for vandalism. Across the way, the facade of Springfield Elementary School towers over two squat buildings (the full extent of this tiny DIY TV town): “Krosty Burger” and La Taberna de Mou. In the latter, fans are greeted at the bar by a life-size Moe Szyslak cutout, who extends the phone Bart often prank calls in the series. There’s a to-scale Love Tester machine, themed art covering the walls, and barrels of Duff beer, which is also available by can or on tap.

This isn’t the only boozy tribute to the show in Latin America — not even the only one in Ecuador. READ MORE

CNN: Stoli vodka announces rebrand

The maker of Stolichnaya vodka announced a major rebrand Friday, in direct response to its founder’s “vehement position” against the Putin regime and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The vodka, famously marketed as Russian, will now be sold and marketed simply as Stoli, the company said in a statement.

Stoli Group’s founder, Russian-born billionaire Yuri Shefler, was exiled from that nation in 2000 because of his opposition to Putin. The liquor has long been marketed as Russian vodka, but its production facilities have been in Latvia since that year. Stoli Group is a unit of Luxembourg-based SPI Group.

The company also citedits employees’ desire to take action and to accurately represent the vodka’s Latvian roots.

Earlier this week, Stoli Group announced it would only use Slovakian sources to make sure that none of its ingredients are sourced from Russia. READ MORE

Condé Nast Traveler: From France to Italy, Wines Aged Underwater Are Growing in Popularity

These complex wines are proving to be more than a fad—and cropping up on menus around the world.

A cluster of barnacle-covered wine bottles stands out among an otherwise pristine collection inside the floor-to-ceiling wine fridge at Ceto, the marine-inspired restaurant at new Côte d’Azur hotspot The Maybourne Riviera. Bearing the imprint of the deep sea, these underwater wines tell a story of life at the bottom of the ocean. “People are curious about why the bottles are dirty, or why they are covered in shells,” says Ceto’s Chef Sommelier, Victor Bigot.

But these underwater wines, which have been aged in briny depths, aren’t just here because they fit the motif of a restaurant named after a sea goddess in Greek mythology—one that boasts a menu rich in locally sourced fish from celebrated Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco. Dark, bereft of oxygen, with gentle currents and a consistent temperature of around 55°F, the ocean is the perfect wine cellar, says Bigot. READ MORE

Wine Enthusiast: Why Hybrid Grapes Could Be the Future of Wine

The National Weather Service began recording temperature across the U.S. in 1901. The year 2016 was the warmest, followed by 2020. This past decade was the warmest 10-year span on record.

Vintage write-ups have been filled with notes of extremes in addition to record-breaking heat: drought, humidity, fires. Grape farmers and winemakers across regions are faced with the task of growing quality fruit and making sound wine in unprecedented conditions.

In 2021, all around California, grape farmers prepared for a quick harvest after a year of extreme heat, hoping to pick grapes with adequate acid. Over in the Northeast, a steady rise in temperature has led to humidity and increased disease pressure.

Terroir is tied to more than just soil, flora and fauna. It is the taste of the climatic condition in which the grapes were grown. Fine-tuned palates can detect the nuances among wines grown on the same site in a cool, hot, wet or dry season.

As the climate changes, the fragile nature of Vitis vinifera is highlighted and the boundaries of ideal growing regions are being pushed. Some U.S. growers—and potentially some in the European Union, which recently approved their use—are looking to hybrid grapes and their non-vinifera parents as more stable vehicles not just to translate their terroir, but also to respect the environment. READ MORE

Prestige: The Quiet and Steady Rise of Japanese Sparkling Wine

Ajimu’s sparkling wine, which underwent a second fermentation in the bottle to obtain its bubbles — echoing the champagne-making process — was made with a grape variety that’s familiar in Europe and the US: Chardonnay. The iconic Burgundian grape was planted in Oita Prefecture, in the northeastern corner of Kyushu, one of Japan’s five main islands. Here, the climate is favourable to the vine, which benefits from the sunshine necessary for its growth. Since 2006, the winery — which takes its name from the town where it is located — has been making its wines using only locally harvested grapes. Year after year, Ajimu Winery has expanded its growing area by planting Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Koshu, one of the oldest varieties of grapes grown in Japan. READ MORE…

Harpers: Tempranillo becomes most planted grape in Spain

The Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Fishery and Nutrition has announced that the country’s most popular red grape, Tempranillo, is now also the most planted.

With a potential of 202,917 ha, Tempranillo has replaced Airén as Spain’s principal wine grape. Airén, a workhorse white-coloured variety, rarely features on labels and is commonly destined for brandy production. Its 200,084 ha are widely found across central Spain.

The potential figures include both current plantings as well as those that have been applied for and granted.

Tempranillo has long been Spain’s most planted red-skinned variety, and today represents some 42% of the country’s overall red grape plantings and about 21% of the total vineyard area. READ MORE

WineTitles Media: 2022 Tasmanian wine grape harvest gets underway

The island’s wineries and vineyards are abuzz with activity as the 2022 Tasmanian wine grape vintage slowly gets underway across the state.

The first grapes – destined for sparkling wine – are gradually being harvested from the island’s vineyards, and early reports from wine producers in terms of quality are very positive.

Intermittent cool weather and rain events in some areas have slowed the ripening process of grapes, meaning that the season is slightly behind its usual timing.

However, reports from across the state indicate that quality to date is very high. READ MORE

New York Times: How the Coronavirus Steals the Sense of Smell

The virus does not infect nerve cells that detect odors, researchers have found. Instead, it attacks nearby supporting cells.

Few of Covid-19’s peculiarities have piqued as much interest as anosmia, the abrupt loss of smell that has become a well-known hallmark of the disease. Covid patients lose this sense even without a stuffy nose; the loss can make food taste like cardboard and coffee smell noxious, occasionally persisting after other symptoms have resolved.

Scientists are now beginning to unravel the biological mechanisms, which have been something of a mystery: The neurons that detect odors lack the receptors that the coronavirus uses to enter cells, prompting a long debate about whether they can be infected at all.

Insights gleaned from new research could shed new light on how the coronavirus might affect other types of brain cells, leading to conditions like “brain fog,” and possibly help explain the biological mechanisms behind long Covid — symptoms that linger for weeks or months after the initial infection.

The new work, along with earlier studies, settles the debate over whether the coronavirus infects the nerve cells that detect odors: It does not. But the virus does attack other supporting cells that line the nasal cavity, the researchers found. READ MORE

Wine Spectator: How Two Men Allegedly Duped Investors with a Tale of Rare Wines

A federal court indictment says Stephen Burton and James Wellesley offered loans backed by Burgundies and Bordeauxs, but delivered nothing but fraud

The two Englishmen started showing up at investor conferences in 2015, armed with an enticing proposition. Attendees could, via their London-based wine brokerage, Bordeaux Cellars, lend money to wealthy borrowers-in-a-bind who needed fast loans, no questions asked. The lenders would receive interest at the rate of 12 percent, paid quarterly.

Normally, such a high rate of interest meant that the loan would be dicey. Not so, the two men claimed—these loans would be secured with prestigious wines from the borrowers’ cellars, transferred in the lender’s name to climate-controlled, secure warehouses overseen by Bordeaux Cellars. And the loans would be capped at 35 percent of the wines’ market value.

“What happens in case of a default?” asked Stephen Burton, the 57-year-old head of Bordeaux Cellars, at a 2015 conference in Cancun. READ MORE

The Buyer: NFT. WTF? Kevin Shaw on why we should all steer clear of NFTs

According to Fortune magazine every single Bitcoin transaction uses 707 kWh of electricity causing an emission of over 480kg – HALF A TON – of carbon dioxide. Think about that when you use your Bitcoin app to buy a glass of Pinot.

All this carbon comes from the electricity (and fossil fuels) driving hundreds of thousands of processors linked by the internet – the blockchain – to churn through the intentionally convoluted algorithm needed to generate, encrypt and store these imaginary coins. Which aren’t coins at all of course, just long sets of numbers and letters which the algorithm says are worth something to other people in the system. One big Bitcoin firm in Texas apparently has over 60,000 computers whirring away just trying to create more.

Bitcoin is responsible for more carbon emissions than most European countries – a study published in Nature Climate Change found unchecked Bitcoin emissions could raise Earth’s temperature by two degrees – and that particular brand of cryptocurrency is less than half the imaginary coin market. READ MORE

Punch Drink: The Tavern Glass Is a Feeling

When I began the process of opening a wine shop and bar, I knew exactly which wine glass I would use. Short-stemmed with a smaller-than-average bowl, I noted it years ago at Via Carota, Rita Sodi and Jody Williams’ Italian restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village. I hadn’t put too much thought into why I was drawn to it, except that it had all the trappings of a proper long-stemmed glass, but was less fussy and delicate. (I still cry every time I break a Zalto.) It was just a feeling, really. READ MORE

Food & Wine: Forget Cans—Wine Can Now Be Sold in These Full-Size Aluminum Bottles

Think screw caps are controversial? What if the entire bottle was basically a screw cap?

Producing bold reds packed with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Bordeaux is often considered the world’s best wine region. But if you want the world’s most expensive wine, you have to head east in France to Burgundy, home of Romanée-Conti. Overall, Burgundy wines are known for commanding some absurd prices. So here’s an unlikely question: Would you be willing to buy a Burgundy packaged in an entirely aluminum bottle?

CCL Container — which calls itself “the leading North American manufacturer of impact-extruded aluminum packaging for a broad range of consumer products” — recently announced that they’ve added a new Burgundy-shaped aluminum wine bottle to their portfolio. The company says these metal bottles are a “first of their kind” with a 76-centimeter diameter. READ MORE

Westchester & Fairfield County Business Journals: Legal dispute roils wine company leadership

Stamford-headquartered Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (DFSW) andits associated constellation of companies have collected an impressive portfolio of wine and liquor brands over the course of more than 40 years, including the popular Josh Cellars brand of Californian wines, the Yellow Tail label from Australia and several brands of whiskey, vodka and gin.

However, an ongoing lawsuit winding its way through the courts indicates the presence of friction between the company’s president, Tom Steffanci, and the father and son team of William and Peter Deutsch who founded the company. In the latest filings made on Feb. 24, Steffanci complained that the defendants have intentionally avoided handing over critical documents during discovery and argued that if the defendants successfully seal some previously submitted documents that some of his filings should also be sealed. READ MORE

The Drinks Business: Mystery restaurant with 400 wines and no wine list sparks twitter debate

Tom, a restaurateur and restaurant inspector, did not name the restaurant, only fuelling speculation. Fiona Beckett of The Guardian was one figure who inquired as to the identity of the mystery eatery, but Tom replied that he is “sworn to silence”, claiming that his other half had already told him off for the tweet.

Many of the replies were less inquisitive as to where this fabled restaurant might exist, and more cynical concerning its perceived pretention. READ MORE

wine.co.za: Looking to binge-watch a new series? Why not make a meal of local cuisine with I’ll Bring The Wine?

Nederburg proudly presents their brand new web series I’ll Bring The Wine. The host is none other than the acclaimed South African food writer and restaurateur, Karen Dudley, and viewers get to follow her as she visits top South African chefs.

Having recently released the final episode, it’s the kind of binge watch that’ll leave you salivating for more. From the dry plains of the Karoo to the lush, rural foothills of Kwa-Zulu Natal, from chicken feet terrine at a five-star restaurant in Cape Town to slow-cooked tongue in the heart of the Midlands… Eye-watering cinematography meets mouth-watering gastronomy, blended together with nuanced precision.

“Getting to explore our rich, diverse South African culinary heritage whilst witnessing some of our best chefs reimagine traditional dishes has been an absolute privilege,” says Karen. READ MORE

The Press Democrat: Sonoma County lawmaker’s bill aims to honor Native American naming ceremonies

Assemblymember Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, is spearheading a bill that would give California families more time to register the birth of a child, a change that would allow Native Americans who celebrate naming ceremonies to practice the custom without disruption from hospital staff.

Current state law gives parents up to 10 days after the birth of their child to submit registration information, including the name of the baby, with their local health department. Parents are required to complete the process to obtain an official birth certificate. 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: #BreaktheBias – How IllumiNative Founder Crystal Echo Hawk is fighting erasure of Native Americans in media

Despite a largely untold history of erasure and violence against their community, Native Americans are leading and contributing to our society everyday. The community is also growing. In the last decade, The American Indian and Alaska Native population increased from 5.2 million in 2010 to 9.7 million in 2020. Native people now make up almost 3% of the U.S. population. Yet, representation on television for Natives is still less than 1%, as of our most recent reportingREAD MORE and WATCH INTERVIEW HERE…

Jancis Robinson: Letters from Kyiv

Dear Partners and Friends,

Yesterday the United Nations Security Council took place issuing a resolution to stop the aggression of Russian Federation and demand to withdraw its army from the territory of sovereign Ukraine. 144 countries have voted yes. This is three-quarters of the entire world. Unprecedented! And highly appreciated.

Despite all rules and statements during the UN session, the merciless and inhuman attacks never stopped. READ MORE

BK Wine Magazine: Ukraine—A message from the editor in chief of Drinks+, the leading Ukrainian wine magazine, and The Wine Travel Awards

Olga Pinevich-Todoriuk is the editor-in-chief of Drinks+, the leading Ukrainian wine and spirits magazine. She is also the initiator of the project the International Wine Travel Awards.

Olga and all her collaborators are still in Ukraine, although perhaps no longer in Kyiv. At least, that was the situation the last time I heard from her.

Here’s a message from her about the current situation, about the Drinks+ magazine and about the Wine Tourism Awards. READ MORE

Jancis Robinson: First steps towards the MW

Two weeks ago I attended the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) first in-person seminar in two years, in Seattle, WA. Triple vaccination, a PCR test no more than 48 hours prior to the start of the seminar, daily rapid tests (provided) and N95 masks (provided) were mandatory. I cannot imagine how much extra effort it was for the IMW to arrange this, and I cannot overstate how grateful I am. I will never again take the galvanising effects of being around intelligent, motivated individuals in-person for granted. But let’s start at the beginning…READ MORE

Dame Wine: From Artificial Intelligence To Prison Reform: Tuscan Wine Producer Revolutionizing The World

When it comes to wine from Tuscany, no other family holds more importance than the Frescobaldi family, now in their 30th generation of Frescobaldi Toscana that includes eight estates throughout Tuscany, only placing their wine focus on this much-beloved wine region of Italy. Undoubtedly, the family is still deeply connected to their remarkable history as a 1,000-year-old noble Florentine family as still many in the Frescobaldi family live in their Renaissance-style palazzo (palace) in the center of Florence in Tuscany. And although they are fiercely committed to guarding the land and culture of their home, they have been leading the way in revolutionizing wine communication as well as surprisingly advancing prison reform. READ MORE

Vino Joy News: One in five Bordeaux wines destined to China in 2021

China’s thirst for Bordeaux is back, and the country gulped at least one in every five exported Bordeaux wines last year, according to the latest data released by Bordeaux Wine Council.

For the past 10 years, China has remained as Bordeaux’s number one export destination in both volume and value, but from 2018 onwards due to previous years’ overheated buying and excess stocks, Bordeaux exports dwindled.

China’s ensuing economic slowdown, trade wars with the US and Australia, followed by Covid-19 means that its appetite for classified clarets never fully returned.

In 2021, however, Bordeaux made a full comeback. READ MORE

The Corkscrew Concierge: The Corkscrew Concierge’s Texas Wine Roundup

Hey y’all. In an effort to show more love to the wine peeps in my own backyard, I would like to do a monthly post that covers the happenings in Texas wine. This may also include sharing a wine or two that I really enjoyed. Time is precious and I’m always trying to prioritize, so fingers crossed I can keep this up. I’m always struck by people I meet from my own state who have no clue about the state of the Texas wine industry or think it still looks like it did 20 years ago. So here’s a little of what’s happening now in Texas wine. READ MORE

The Wine Economist: Wine Book Review—Rethinking Wine Market Perspectives

What would you think if you stumbled upon a tasting note for a familiar wine that was written by someone from a very different culture, using different terms and concepts, and set in a different frame of reference? Think of an extreme version of the Chinese wine tasting notes described in a 2013  Wall Street Journal article.

At first you might just be puzzled and scratch your head (being careful not to spill any wine), but then — if the tasting note is a good one — you’d find yourself thinking, questioning what you thought you knew about the wine, and maybe considering it in a whole new way. That was my experience in reading Wine Markets: Genres & Identities. READ MORE

Press Releases

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

Enolytics: WineDirect and Enolytics Release Ground-Breaking Direct-to-Consumer Impact Report

WineDirect and Enolytics released today their first collaborative report, “2021 Direct-To-Consumer Impact Report: What Wineries Need to Do Now.” Populated by WineDirect’s 200 million ecommerce records and powered by Enolytics’ technology, the report delivers actionable insights that are derived from a scale of data and depth of analysis never before seen in the wine industry.

Top line takeaways include … READ MORE

SLO Coast Wine: San Luis Obispo Coast AVA: What’s in a Name?

This year marks a major milestone in the San Luis Obispo County wine region! It is in this year that the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Coast became an official American Viticulture Area (AVA).

Stretching from the border of Santa Barbara County to the Monterey County Line, this AVA includes all vineyards within this 15-mile swath, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains. This corridor houses 78 vineyards with 3,942 acres planted to vines and while a majority may be Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this cool-climate region also plays host to a diversified lineup of other varieties like Albariño, Riesling, Grenache, Zinfandel, and Syrah. For consumers, this new designation gives their wine a true sense of place and understanding of climate soils, and geographic location. READ MORE

TTB: Expansion of the Clarksburg Viticultural Area

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is expanding the approximately 64,640-acre “Clarksburg” viticultural area by approximately 27,945 acres. The Clarksburg viticultural area is located in Sacramento, Solano, and Yolo Counties, in California, and the expansion area is located in Sacramento and Solano Counties. The established Clarksburg viticultural area and the expansion area are not located within any other established viticultural area. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. This final rule is effective April 8, 2022. READ MORE…

Women of the Vine & Spirit: A Beverage Alcohol Industry-Specific DE&I Study
in Collaboration with Deloitte

Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS), the all-encompassing global membership organization, dedicated to boldly pushing the wine, beer and spirits industry toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive era has announced the first industry-specific DE&I Baseline Report: Women Raising the Bar, in collaboration with Deloitte. The study offers companies in the beverage alcohol industry the opportunity to engage in holistic conversations around DE&I, identifying both leading practices and areas for improvement.

This study provides an industry-specific report to establish a standardized framework from which to measure company performance against DE&I benchmarks going forward. This standardized framework can allow companies to evaluate leading practices and hold themselves accountable for building more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces.

Through Executive Interviews, individual surveys and company-wide questionnaires, Deloitte performed an analysis and identified areas where the beverage alcohol industry is seeing positive change as well as areas to drive improvement. READ FULL REPORT HERE…

Jancis Robinson: 2022 Golden Vines Diversity awards – apply now

Friday 8 April, just four weeks away, is the deadline for this year’s Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, each of which grants scholars £55,000-worth of salary replacement and travel allowance to enable them to pursue either a Master of Wine or Master Sommelier qualification.

The scholarships, open exclusively to people of colour, also include a selection of internships with some of the world’s most prestigious wine and spirit producers. You may remember Erna Blancquaert and Angela Scott (pictured above), winners of last year’s two scholarships. They are busy travelling the world in their pursuit of an M and a W after their distinguished names. READ MORE

bw166: Beer, Spirits, & Wine – Packaged Imports Grow +20% By Value L12M through January 2022; Packaged Exports Grow +13%

Total beverage alcohol imports (including bulk and packaged) grew +18% by value over the last twelve months and grew +10% by value over the last three months. 36% of all imported beverage alcohol by value came from Mexico over the last twelve months. 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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