Good morning my friends and happy weekend. Welcome to another episode of wine news. A couple of callouts: Please take a look at SevenFifty Daily’s coverage of how bev-alch industry pros are using their positions to speak out on important political issues. Jancis Robinson has some similar content on her blog. And a bit of a debatable topic from Eater—how are you enjoying the latest season of the Great British Bake-Off?
On a personal note, I FINALLY received my certificate and my pin for passing my WSET Level 3 (with Merit; Theory portion with distinction—yes I’m bragging a bit 🙃). I actually sat the exam last February and received my results in April, but due to all the COVID-crazy it took awhile to get the official documents. As most of you are aware, I’m now in the throws of Diploma studies—sitting my D2 next week (eek!) and have already scheduled my D3 exam dates (yes that’s plural—the test is JUST that long) for 2021.
Alright, that’s enough about me. Scroll through the news, get some independent insight from the Blogs. And, as always, leave a comment, shoot me a note, find me on social media and let me know how YOU’RE doing.
SevenFifty Daily: Drinks Pros Embrace Political Activism
As the presidential election nears, bartenders, winemakers, and hospitality workers use their skills and their platforms to mobilize like never before
On September 30—one day after the first presidential debate—Joanna Carpenter was coaching a dozen restaurant professionals through text banking their networks in battleground states to get out the vote in November. It was the latest in a series of weekly Zoom sessions that she hosts for political action.
A beverage consultant and actress, Carpenter sharpened her political skills last summer, when she organized 100-plus colleagues to call on senators for stimulus money for the pandemic-ravaged restaurant industry.
As the November election loomed closer, her energies and organizational skills turned toward electoral politics. She’s not alone. A growing number of bartenders, sommeliers, and restaurant owners have leveraged their experiences lobbying for pro-industry legislation into electoral political activism. They are leading voter registration efforts, campaigning for progressive candidates, and even running for public office, marking 2020 as the year that the drinks community found its political voice. READ MORE…
Eater: At Final Presidential Debate, President Trump Says NYC Restaurants Are ‘Dying’
Actual New Yorkers argued otherwise
At the third and final presidential debate on Thursday night, the state of the NYC restaurant economy came up as the candidates discussed the economy and business operations during the pandemic. President Donald Trump, who called for a loosening of current restrictions for restaurants — which in New York City, presently includes a 25 percent limit on indoor dining and a maximum capacity of 50 people in indoor spaces in most areas — described New York City as a “ghost town,” and went on to suggest that the city’s restaurants are “dying” due to the current coronavirus restrictions in place. READ MORE…
Global Wine Partners: Will These Latest Fires Affect the Wine M&A Market?
With one Napa client postponing the launch of a marketing effort in order to battle it out with their insurance company and begin fire repairs it’s easy to say that this year’s conflagration in the wine country is going to affect the plans of individual winery owners, but what about the M&A market as a whole? From the outside looking in, the very public story of smoke taint and its affect on wine production in Napa in particular (https://tinyurl.com/y3wrv8r8) – would seem on its face to depress interest in winery acquisitions. But as an insider I can say with some confidence that these events will only have modest effects on the M&A market.
First of all, it’s hard to see how the winery M&A market could get much worse. This statement is somewhat tongue in cheek, but at the same time absolutely true. READ MORE…
Napa Valley Register: Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain, ravaged by Glass Fire, says it will rise from the ashes
More than two weeks after the Glass Fire erupted in the hills of Napa County, the road into Spring Mountain remains closed.
Driving through the outskirts of St. Helena, it’s not immediately obvious why. The tail end of Spring Mountain Road, a windy, rural way home to a roster of well-known Napa Valley wineries, is still green, the surrounding forest still observably lush.
Wind deeper past the blockade, though, and you’d see; each side of the road shows clear signs of having been scorched by fire. What had once been a forest almost tangled in its own wild vibrancy is now deadened, dusted by milky ash, even its tallest redwoods scarred black and brown high into their canopies. READ MORE…
Typically a soothing balm, “Bake Off” has oddly made 2020 more chaotic
There are things you expect to experience when tuning into a new season of The Great British Bake Off (or as it’s known stateside on Netflix, the Great British Baking Show): Judge Prue Leith will wear statement glasses and necklaces, host Noel Fielding will wear statement everything, bakers and viewers alike will overestimate the power of a Paul Hollywood handshake, and there will be lingering shots of babbling brooks and greenery. More than anything, though, you expect that signature Bake Off calm, one found only while watching a group of Brits treating each other nicely as they struggle to make kouign-amann or intricate gingerbread houses inspired by their childhoods. READ MORE…
A young couple who ordered an $18 Pinot Noir at Balthazar in New York found themselves enjoying Mouton Rothschild 1989 listed at $2,000 following a mix-up, according to owner Keith McNally.
Staff at Balthazar poured the two wines into identical decanters, but the one containing Mouton Rothschild 1989 was accidentally sent to the young couple’s table, said the New York restaurant’s owner, Keith McNally.
Four Wall Street businessmen at another table had ordered the Bordeaux First Growth – the most expensive wine on the restaurant’s list at $2,000 (£1,528) – but were served the $18 Pinot, the restaurant’s cheapest, said McNally on his Instagram account. READ MORE…
While Sauvignon Blanc reigns further north in New Zealand, Pinot Noir is ideally suited to Central Otago. The factors that drive Pinot Noir fans wild are all here. Drive through the valleys, and you’ll find the same orchards — cherries, hazelnuts, apricots — that characterize the best-known Pinot Noir regions of Burgundy and the Willamette Valley.
Then expand out, and consider the area as a whole: It’s one of the southernmost winemaking regions in the world, ringed by jagged peaks, high terraces, and broad hillsides. These attributes are ideal for facilitating the steep diurnal temperature shifts that lead to an ideal balance of ripe flavors and crisp acidity in wine. READ MORE…
Wine Industry Network: Wine of England Launch Their New Website Promoting English Vineyards (press release)
It is impossible to ignore the increasing popularity of wine on English shores, and we’re not talking about consuming it, which Britain has always been a world champion at, but producing it. For this reason, we decided to map all of England’s commercial vineyards and wineries and promote them. READ MORE…
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.
How the American wine industry is gearing up for the US presidential election on November 3.
For the longest time, the American wine industry has managed to maintain an apolitical veneer, steering clear of endorsements or positions on everything partisan…READ MORE…
More than 10,000 bottles of fake Château Haut-Brion have been uncovered by authorities in China’s southern city of Xiamen. Yet, the fraudster is still on the run and punishment was criticized as lenient.
More than 10,000 bottles of fake Château Haut-Brion have been uncovered by authorities in China’s southern city of Xiamen after the Bordeaux first growth’s parent company filed a trademark complaint against a local company.
Xiamen Jimei District Administration for Market Regulation, a local watchdog body, uncovered 1,268 bottles of counterfeit Château Haut-Brion wines in 750ml format, and another massive trove of 9,321 bottles of the same wine in 258 ml bottling, following a trademark infringement complaint lodged by the Pessac-Leognan first growth’s parent company Domaine Clarence Dillon against Xiamen Jin Zun Ye Xuan Trading company (厦门金尊烨轩贸易有限公司).
The raid at Xiamen company’s registered address also led to the discovery of 206 bottles of counterfeit Perrier-Jouët rosé Champagnes.
This could be possibly the largest bust involving a Bordeaux first growth this year in China. Yet, as shocking as the scale of the counterfeit fine wine is, questions were also raised about Xiamen Jimei District Administration. READ MORE…
The wine was launched over a Zoom session with current chef de cave Didier Mariotti, who recently replaced Dominique Demarville. [Mariotti previously worked with Dermarville at GH Mumm, and took over from him there too.] This 2012 was made by Demarville; Mariotti only joined in 2019.
‘When I joined the house it was very important for me to taste some of the vintages, to understand La Grande Dame,’ says Mariotti. ‘The blend has been changing quite a lot.’ Typically, Grande Dame was 65-80% Pinot Noir, and sometimes the proportion in the blend went as low as 50%. ‘There has been a clear move which has been made by Dominique back in 2008, moving to 90% Pinot Noir,’ he says. ‘I’m very happy about this move. It’s important to show the spirit of the house, which is about Pinot Noir expression.’ READ MORE…
In terms of age, Bacchus is still a newborn when compared to the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Riesling. However, one thing is for sure: it’s here to stay.
Thanks to the English climate, Bacchus grapes retain much more acidity than their German counterparts and achieve a style similar to Sauvignon Blanc. Due to different characteristics of the plots where it’s planted around England, it sometimes mimics the style of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France, and to New Zealand styles Sauvignon Blancs too. READ MORE…