Daily Wine News: Pale Pink Rosés

“Will the identity of rosé itself have to change for it to be more environmentally friendly and more responsive to consumer demands for less intervention in winemaking?” In the Drop, Aaron Ayscough tells the “cold hard facts” about pale pink rosés and the vast amount of energy they require to make.

Washington added two new AVAs, White Bluffs and the Burn of Columbia Valley, bringing the state’s total to 18 AVAs. Sean P. Sullivan considers what that means for Washington wine in Wine Enthusiast.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Rebecca Holland explores the ancient grape varieties making a comeback in Lebanon.

In VinePair, Sophia Bennett takes a look at LGBTQIA+ issues in wine and how the industry can solve them.

Food & Wine announces their inaugural Game Changers list of people and companies changing the way we eat and drink in 2021. On that list is Miguel A. Torres, who’s rallying the industry to fight climate change.

In Vinous, Neal Martin offers notes on Symington’s 2019 Vintage Ports.

In the World of Fine Wine, Jamie Goode explains what’s changed in the third edition of his book, Wine Science.

Daily Wine News: The End of Auction Napa Valley

(Source: Napa Valley Vintners)

“Auction Napa Valley, the notoriously extravagant charity wine auction that began in 1981 and has hosted guests like Oprah Winfrey and Gavin Newsom, will not return, its organizers announced Tuesday morning,” reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “In its place, the Napa Valley Vintners association is launching a new program called Collective Napa Valley, which will raise funds for charitable causes in a series of year-round events, starting in 2022.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Aleks Zecevic looks at how Blaufränkisch has made a global comeback. “Vintners in the historic regions of Burgenland in Austria and Württemberg in Germany are refocusing on Blaufränkisch, while producers in cooler New World regions like the Adelaide Hills, New York State, and New Jersey are discovering how well the grape performs in their vineyards as well. “

In Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz reports on a new lawsuit that has emerged over who owns the trademark to produce “Cult” wines—or whether it can be trademarked at all.

Club Oenologique takes a look at the new documentary Blind Ambition, which introduces the first Zimbabwean sommelier tasting team to enter “the Olympics of the wine world”.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence looks at Cava’s struggle to remain relevant. “Like other sparkling wine styles, Cava has seen revenues decline as a result of the pandemic. But that’s the least of it; a critical mass of quality-focused producers left the DO (appellation) in 2019. Forging a new identity under the name “Corpinnat”, the group is not currently minded to reconsider.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Stacy Briscoe explains the difference between mountain and valley wines.

In Decanter, Sting and his wife Trudie Styler reveal the wines that have played a major part in their life and influenced the winemaking at their Tuscan estate, Il Palagio.

Daily Wine News: Silly Yet Serious

Yetti and the Kokonut wines from Australia. (Photo source: Vine Street Imports)

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy looks at wines with “silly” and “funny” names. “My rule of thumb has long been that if a wine has to use a funny name to get you to grab it, the liquid inside the bottle probably doesn’t have much to say for itself…They’re part of a new wave of wines with tongue-in-cheek names that range from silly to punny to in-your-face sexist. But the point isn’t to cover up for weakness in the wine. Edgy winemakers are using the names to signal how different their wines are from traditional estates’ conventional vino.”

On his blog, Alder Yarrow shares what this year’s Premier Napa Valley event was like. “Much to everyone’s surprise and pleasure, it turned out that many people didn’t actually need to taste the wines in advance in order to snap up the 149 lots on offer. The hybrid online-in-person auction brought in $2.7 million dollars, certainly less than the $3.9 million raised just before the pandemic hit, but with 60 to 70 fewer auction lots and the other extenuating circumstances, it’s hard not to look at this as something of a triumph.”

On WineBusiness.com, Erin Kirschenmann explores what information consumers want to see on a wine label versus what professionals need.

In the Drop, Sarah May Grunwald looks at how a new generation of Italian winemakers is discovering the benefits of chestnut wood barrels.

Jamie Rubin explains why you should be aging you rosé in VinePair.

In Wine Enthusiast, Sarah E. Daniels pens an essay about how a certain wine got her through a challenging move during the pandemic.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, reviews Ben Little’s book about one of Italy’s forgotten grape varieties: Pignolo: Cultivating the Invisible.

Daily Wine News: Wine & Weed Together

In Wine Enthusiast, Jackie Bryant reports on how California winemakers are collaborating with weed growers on new cannabis appellation systems. “Until recently, it’s been mostly cannabis enthusiasts dealing in hearsay as to what factors make the best product. But thanks to an intrepid group of growers and an unlikely ally, California’s wine industry, a process to identify quality cannabis according to where it’s grown is finally being formalized. “

Millennial winemaker Maya Dalla Valle, now at the helm of her family’s luxury vineyard, has an enviable but difficult job: proving that $425 Cabernet has a place for a new generation. Esther Mobley profiles her in the San Francisco Chronicle. “In contrast with winemakers at some other exclusive estates, who closely guard their trade secrets, Maya has developed a reputation within her community for openness… She muses freely about what the future might hold. Despite the fact that Dalla Valle has never made white wines, Maya wants to plant Carricante at the property, an obscure white grape variety from Sicily.”

“All those boomers with their cork collections, their inane Right Bank vs. Left Bank arguments that never end, their endless talk of the weather during harvest in 1959… It’s so exclusionary. What about us people that just like normal wines that taste of clean fruit?” Olivier Styles believes it’s time to stop cellaring wine in Wine-Searcher.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow reports on the growing trend of kosher winemaking in Napa. (subscription req.)

The time to stock up on wine may be now as rising prices and lower inventory are looming in the months to come, says Dave McIntyre in the Washington Post.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning looks at a new style of retsina that’s revitalizing an old Green tradition.

On his blog, Alfonso Cevola shares his predictions for the future of wine wholesale distribution.

Daily Wine News: Text Your Somm

In PUNCH, Emily Wilson considers the role of texting as part of the pandemic wine retail experience. “The ability to text a sommelier as you would your friends lessens the anxiety that often comes with buying wine… While wine shops have opened back up and restaurants can host diners at full capacity, the potential for texting as a permanent feature of the wine retail experience remains.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov reports on the companies experimenting with reusable wine bottles and flexitanks. “These reusable bottles are just tiny steps toward confronting a huge problem of waste and energy consumption… What’s clear is the current system of shipping heavy, throwaway bottles around the globe is unsustainable, as simple and familiar as it might be. Change may seem difficult and inconvenient, but it’s necessary and in the long run easier to accept than an overheated planet.”

Wine Country is experiencing a rise in tourism, but that doesn’t mean it will translate to lasting wine sales, sales Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Will the lower grape prices ultimately translate to lower wine prices for the consumer? They may not: High-end Napa estates have historically been reluctant to drop their wine prices, ever. I want to know what will happen if these disconnects continue: if the behind-the-scenes agricultural equation shifts for wineries, but prices for customers keep rising; if the slowing pace of premiumization eventually throws a wrench in the ever-more-expensive cost of visiting a region like Napa Valley. “

In Wine Enthusiast, Matt Kettmann explores the new generation of winemakers reviving Los Angeles’ wine history.

Speaking of Wine Enthusiast, the company named new presidents, Erika and Jacqueline Strum.

In Club Oenologique, Adam Lechmere on why Etna seems to be having a moment. “The secret of Etna is no more complicated than this: it produces wines of elegance and simplicity with fine acidity, fresh fruit and soft tannins – in short, wines that are perfectly attuned to modern tastes. And then there’s something magical, even primal, about the great volcano. There are few wine regions which inspire more devotion.”

In Vinous, Eric Guido explores the diversity of Sicilian wines.

Daily Wine News: Lighten Up

Uploaded to flickr by Bayhaus.

Heavy bottles are out, says Wine Enthusiast’s Virginie Boone, who looks at how some wineries are trying to lessen their carbon footprint by using lighter wine bottles.

“US and EU negotiators in Brussels and Washington are putting the four-month moratorium on taxes introduced on both sides of the Atlantic in retaliation for the civil aviation dispute (and subsidies to aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing) to good use. As the deadline approaches, confidential technical discussions continue, with 11 July marking the end of the suspension of 25% customs duties on still wines and certain spirits,” reports Vitisphere.

California’s Grand Cru vineyards are emerging, reports Kathleen Willcox in Wine-Searcher. “While California is unlikely to ever formally recognize these rock star vineyards, that doesn’t mean we can’t. We also wanted to understand just what makes these places so distinctly phenomenal, and if and how much the growers and winemakers work together to determine what happens in the vineyard.”

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray looks at how a new generation of Pinotage—once derided as smelling of burnt rubber—is finding favor with wine lovers.

On his blog, Alfonso Cevola talks to Italian wine expert Ian D’Agata, who declares his disdain for natural wines. “I will try any and all wines, so my cellar is a real mixed bag. But I guess people would be surprised if they ever were to see a “natural” wine that stinks, because I literally hate them, and view them as an absolute plague born out of ignorance.”

A coalition of winemakers—the Malibu Coast Vintners and Grape Growers Alliance Inc. and John Gooden, the president of Montage Vineyards—is suing Los Angeles County and its Board of Supervisors over a ban on new vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Tablas Creek shares how Covid-19 changed their tasting room model for good.

Are Napa Valley grape prices sustainable? Cyril Penn looks into their pricing on WineBusiness.com.

How much do we currently know about the relationship between grape and wine phenolics and cell water? One study delves into it.

Daily Wine News: Post-Natural Wine

Are we entering the post-natural wine era? Jamie Goode offers his opinion in VinePair. “So as these methods become more widespread, where does natural wine finish and conventional wine start? These days, it’s hard to tell…The result of all these changes is the blurring of lines between authentic, terroir-driven wine-growing and “natural” winemaking. And if the natural wine movement’s true purpose was to make the industry reconsider its position on issues ranging from farming to the need for additions and interventions in the winery, then its job is done.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Betsy Andrews highlights the new generation of Mexican-American winemakers. “For decades, the American wine industry has been powered by their people’s labor…Yet, the number of winemakers of Mexican heritage is few…They share a commitment to their identity, and to the hard work, community, and aspirational history that has driven the success of the generations before them.”

Wine subscription club Winc has acquired Natural Merchants, which up to now has supplied wine to restaurants and retailers like Whole Foods. Arianne Cohen shares more details in Fast Company.

A winery in Lake County is suing a grape growing company for allegedly selling them smoke-tainted grapes, according to the North Bay Business Journal. Langtry Farms claims that grapes delivered to them by Santa Rosa-based Torick Farms (a company run by a former top executive with Jackson Family Wines) harvested during last year’s wildfires ruined a number of tanks of wine.

In Modern Farmer, Dan Nosowitz reports that Texas wine grape growers are suing Bayer-Monsanto over dicamba drift damage. Some growers report the pesticide has caused losses of up to 95 percent.

On his blog, Jamie Goode calls Montebaco “one of the most exciting producers in Ribera del Duero.”

In TRINK Magazine, Steven Sidore considers the winners and losers of the revised German wine law. “The 2021 wine law framers soon found, in classic German fashion, that one pyramid simply wasn’t enough.”

Daily Wine News: Bulk Wine

In VinePair, Stephanie Cain delves into the role that bulk wine plays in the industry, and the stereotypes surrounding it. “When we set out to report this story, we quickly found that wine industry professionals, from sommeliers to company spokespeople, didn’t want to talk about bulk wine. Companies balked at the suggestion they may use bulk wine in their subscription service offerings or canned wine. One even went so far as to tell me they import only 20-liter kegs of their natural wine from France. To be considered bulk, they said, it would need to be a 60-liter keg. A master sommelier replied that they only work in “quality wine,” implying that bulk wine couldn’t possibly be quality.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov says Chianti Classico will be his wine for the summer. “I find a lightness, purity and eloquence to the wines that in my mind sets them apart from other sangiovese wines.”

A generous bequest from the Judgment of Paris winemakers will help boost the Smithsonian’s popular American Food History Project, reports Dave McIntyre in the Washington Post.

“There’s long been a linguistic dance between guests and wine professionals, with each doing their damndest to figure out exactly what the other is really saying. A big part of a sommelier’s job is to ask the right questions, interpret a guest’s wine knowledge and adapt language accordingly. Most of the time, that means skipping official Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) tasting grid vocabulary in favor of more evocative phrasing.” Caroline Hatchett explores what wine pros’ favorite tasting terms really mean in Wine Enthusiast.

In the Buyer, Tim Atkin declares Argentina 2019 as the best vintage he has ever tasted.

Darling Cellars winery in South Africa was flooded with red wine after a 50,000-liter tank fell, setting off a domino effect, reports Wine Spectator.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds, Eric Guido and Joaquín Hidalgo offer notes on a range of 2021 rosés.

Daily Wine News: Evolving Language

Jancis Robinson considers the evolving language of wine. “Now that at long last the ethnicity of wine consumers, wine students and wine media is widening, with white skin and red trousers becoming slightly less prevalent, the calls for wine writing that is, in the words of the Wine Writers Symposium [program], ‘more creative, accessible, and inclusive’ are increasingly strident.”

It’s best known for producing Pinot Noir, but could the Willamette Valley be the perfect spot for Chardonnay? W. Blake Gray consider’s the AVA’s future as “the new Burgundy” in Wine-Searcher.

In Club Oenologique, Alistair Morrell from Cider is Wine says it’s time that wine lovers took cider more seriously.

Jeni Port explores a new generation of Australian wines in the Drop, the new wine magazine from wine discovery platform Pix.

In Wine Enthusiast, Paul Gregutt looks at the history of Pinot Gris in Oregon.

On his blog, Alfonso Cevola highlights 10 wines that changed how the world sees Italian wine.

Lettie Teague tastes through a number of boxed wines in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

“This moment, right now, is the best time to find a job in the wine industry that I’ve witnessed in more than 30 years,” says Tom Wark, who looks at the number of open service positions on his blog.

Daily Wine News: Beyond Cabernet

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone looks at why Napa winemakers are embracing grapes beyond Cabernet. “For now, in Napa Valley, there’s no doubt that Cab remains king. In 2019, 64.6% of all red grapes harvested were Cabernet Sauvignon… Cab hasn’t always reigned supreme here. In 1966, the year Robert Mondavi built his Oakville winery, there were more acres of Carignan, Gamay, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah than Cabernet. As the reality sets in that the region is getting hotter and drier, increasing the already pressing challenges of water, fire and disease, producers look to diversify once again.”

In Food & Wine, Markham Heid looks at the new generation of Instagram-ready wine labels. “While the popularity of brooding or unorthodox label art shows no signs of abating, there’s a coincident movement toward splashy color and whimsical imagery—something that was more prevalent 20 years ago, but that for a time went out of fashion.”

On JancisRobinson.com, Louise Hurren looks at how the Mexican wine scene is changing in the face of current challenges. (subscription req.)

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan considers the issues involved with nutrition labeling on wine bottles. “Nutrition labeling contains amounts of and calories from fats, carbohydrates, protein, certain vitamins and minerals, and alcohol (at least for foods containing alcohol). This seems pretty straightforward. But in practice, it’s not.”

“Swiss wines remain rare on the international wine scene,” writes Daniel Schönberger, who profiles Markus Ruch in TRINK Magazine. “But a new generation of talent committed to uncompromising work and meaningfully sustainable viticulture is slowly changing this.”

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his notes on 2020 Bordeaux en primeur.

In Grape Collective, Jackson Mattek talks to Apostolos Thymiopoulos about the history of the Thymiopoulos estate and the challenges and gifts of growing Xinomavro in Naoussa.

In the Washington Post, Douglas Heye explores how cooking at home helped him travel to places he couldn’t reach during the pandemic.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Patrick Comiskey and Corey Warren review two new books: Vines & Vision by Everton Kettmann and American Cider by Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo.