Daily Wine News: Harvest Struggles

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther explores how Bay Area winemakers are feeling the effects of climate change more acutely than ever this harvest season. “The drought has left grapevines parched. Fruit yields are dramatically low. Vines look visibly stressed. In some vineyards, all of the grapes seem to be ripening all at once, presenting winemakers with a logistical impossibility. And the threat of wildfire — which, by this time last year, had ruined grapes up and down the state with pernicious smoke — remains on everyone’s mind.”

Aspiring to be a “nationwide brand,” Aperture Cellars has acquired the 75-acre Farrow Ranch in Alexander Valley, Mobley also reports.

In VinePair, Katie Brown reconsiders Robert Park’s legacy. “Since Parker’s heyday, the way we communicate about, share, and even buy wine has shifted with the times, as social media and heightened globalization increasingly influence the next generation of consumers. Despite this, countless wine shops and even restaurants continue to print Wine Advocate scores on their signs and menus, respectively…”

How do you make a wine for the ages? Sean P. Sullivan investigates in Wine Enthusiast. “Many winemakers strive to create wines that stand the test of time. It’s a difficult endeavor that requires certain conditions in the vineyard and winery, some of which are beyond winemakers’ immediate control.”

Lettie Teague watched a lot of television to report on the best and worst of wine on TV in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription required)

Sam Jones explores wine seltzers in the Napa Valley Register.

In Sauce Magazine, Julie Cohen looks at Missouri’s role in saving the French wine industry from phylloxera.

Daily Wine News: Prosecco Protests

Along the Prosecco Wine Road (Flickr: Lorenzo Benetton alias apolide)

Protesters in Italy are rising up against prosecco wineries, which they say have polluted rivers with pesticides—increased by 36% over the last eight years—and wastewaters, reports Angela Giuffrida in the Guardian. Local cypress trees have also been torn down to make room for more vineyards.

Also in the Guardian, Kate Connolly talks to German winemakers about recovering from the recent devastating floods. “Over the past weeks, the challenge for the vintners has been to ensure that their vines have been kept free of fungal infections, of particular concern due to the high humidity caused by the flood and weeks of torrential rain.”

“After a devastating wildfire swept through the Var region in Provence, vintners have returned to their estates to survey the damage and proceed with the 2021 harvest where possible,” reports Suzanne Mustacich in Wine Spectator. “While the majority of the burned landscape—18,000 acres in total—was forest in the Plaine des Maures nature reserve, local wine officials estimate that over 3,000 vineyard acres were impacted by the fires.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Sean P. Sullivan delves into the art and science behind selecting vineyard sits.

In the Napa Valley Register, Sam Jones considers the role of rootstocks in establishing more resilient vineyards.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers 10 ways to appreciate wine even more than you already do.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old Portland Trail Blazer shooting guard CJ McCollum appears to be the first active NBA player to own his own vineyard, reports Mike Pomranz in Food & Wine.

Daily Wine News: Champagne Drop

(Flickr: ajroder)

Extreme weather has caused a 60 percent drop in Champagne crop for 2021, reports Patrick Schmitt in the Drinks Business. “One would have to go back to 1981 to find a lower yield in the region…”

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow explores how wildfires affected California’s 2020 wine production and what the long-term effects on grower-winery relations are. (subscription req.)

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher look at how Black wine businesses are cultivating their communities.

While the pandemic has decimated commerce globally, it has given a much-needed boost to China’s domestic wine industry, reports Jim Boyce in Wine-Searcher.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School on white blends and announces what’s up next: 2019 Chablis.

In Wine Enthusiast, I track the rise of the Counoise grape outside France.

Amanda Barnes looks at how Argentina’s winemakers are embracing Cabernet Franc in the Drop.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto reports on how Binomio, a wine project started by a pair of friends, joined Italy’s elite.

Daily Wine News: Oregon Wine

Willamette Valley vineyards. (Wikimedia)

The University of Oregon’s Institute for Policy Research and Engagement, estimated the farm gate value of Oregon’s wine grape production fell by $80 million in 2020 — off about 34 percent. Combined with the lighter crop and fears of smoke-affected wines, the 2020 harvest saw a 29% drop in grape production, about 30,000 tons less than 2019.

The European Union has announced that wines produced in the Willamette Valley will receive new protection under its Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) program.

After 20 years with Decanter, Jane Anson is leaving to set up her own site, reports Vitisphere (article in French).

Gordon Dutt, father of Arizona wine industry, has died in Tucson at 91.

In Wine Enthusiast, Hannah Selinger on what she discovered about her self by working in wine in restaurants.

Bailey Berg charts the rise of next-generation wine coolers in the Washington Post.

Elsewhere in Post, Jyoti Madhusoodana explores the effects of wildfire on wine’s taste.

Jeff Siegel delves into wine’s gender-split statistics in the Wine Industry Network.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy explores the darker side of rosé.

Daily Wine News: The New Fine Wine

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The past 20 years have brought dramatic and exciting change at the top of the wine world, and assumptions about where—and how—fine wine can be made have been challenged by a new wave of producers. In the World of Fine Wine, Jamie Goode ponders a definition of a culture and style that he and others are calling “the new fine wine.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Icy Liu pays tribute to the life and legacy of Becky Wasserman. “Becky wasn’t just a wine industry legend—she was a model of kindness, perseverance, compassion, and humility…Becky had a knack for picking out growers before they made it “big,” and I often wondered how. I learned that for her, character and integrity were even more important than the wines. If you have good character and integrity, you will have a better chance at making great wine in the future, she thought.”

Roederer has decided to stop making non-vintage Champagne. Instead, it has announced that it will produce multi-vintage wine. In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph considers the pros and cons of making wines that reflect the character of the year, and the lessons Champagne could teach the rest of the wine world.

Timber supply issues are causing headaches for the wine industry, reports Mike Pomranz in Food & Wine.

When should Coravins be used in restaurants? Kelly A. Magyarics explores the issue in Wine Enthusiast.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague surveys readers about their favorite everyday wines to stock at home. (subscription req.)

In Wine Spectator, Jackson Family Wines’ Barbara Banks talks about her early days in wine, the company’s ambitious environmental initiative and a new project in Australia’s Yarra Valley.

It’s time to celebrate America’s native grapes, says Emily Monaco in the Drop.

Daily Wine News: The End of Dirty & Rowdy

“One of California’s most cutting-edge wine brands is dissolving. Napa’s Dirty & Rowdy Wine Co., which has developed a devoted following for its experimental, genre-defying Mourvedres, is shutting down after 11 years,” reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Winemaker Hardy Wallace said that he had ended his partnership with co-founder Matt Richardson as of Wednesday…As his next act, Wallace is partnering with his wife Kate Graham to launch their own wine label, called Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah!”

In Wine Enthusiast, Crystal Hammon explores the business of sweet wines in the Midwest.

In Bon Appétit, Joseph Hernandez explores the transportive quality of island wines.

Jeff Siegel delves into why it costs so much to ship a box of wine in the Drop.

On JancisRobinson.com, Caroline Gilby outlines how important women are in Slovenian wine.

In Grape Collective, Brittney Abell talks to Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards about organic winemaking in Oregon and the future of communication in the wine industry.

Americans have rediscovered their love of Bordeaux, but is the relationship sustainable in the long term? James Lawrence ponders the answer in Wine-Searcher.

Daily Wine News: Native Grapes

(Photo credit: TerraVox)

In Wine Spectator, MaryAnn Worobiec reports on how TerraVox winery in Missouri is cultivating grapes native to North America—a mix of red, white and pink varieties with names including Captivator, Ellen Scott, Muench, Lomanto, Cloeta, Delicatessen, Wine King and Stark Star. (subscription req.)

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Lee C. Iijima reports on how climate change has impacted where grapes are grown in the Southern Rhône. “Throughout the Southern Rhône, a steady annual increase in temperature has expanded the possibilities for viticulture into a diversity of hillside terroirs rimming the valley… As climate change confronts the sustainability of grape growing in the historic flatlands of the Southern Rhône, how much more elevation is left to explore?”

In the Wine Industry Advisor, Paul Vigna highlights Philosophy Winery, Maryland’s first Black-owned winery.

Politics and wine are aligning in Spain as the industry—and the country—struggles to hold together. James Lawrence looks at the parallels in Wine-Searcher.

In the Drop, Tina Caputo explores how oak, clay, concrete and stainless steel impart different flavors and aromas in a wine, and how to tell which fermentation vessel(s) was used the next time you stick your nose in a glass.

In the Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider looks back on 20 years of wines from abstract artist/winemaker Bibi Graetz.

Frank Morgan shares details on Virginia’s newest American Viticultural Area, the state’s eighth: the Virginia Peninsula AVA.

Daily Wine News: Experimentation

Vineyard in Willamette Valley. (Wikimedia)

In VinePair, Rachel Tepper Paley looks at how Willamette Valley wineries are experimenting with lesser-known varieties with promising success. “Pinot Noir is the region’s most famous varietal, and for good reason: The thin-skinned grape thrives in Willamette Valley’s mild year-round climate…But the Willamette Valley is still nascent as wine regions go, only officially established in 1983. A growing chorus of vintners say there’s still much to learn about what grapes might prosper there.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Stacy Briscoe explores Randall Grahm’s quest for a sense of place at Popelouchum estate, where he is dabbling with what he calls “varietal auto-tuning.”

Roederer moves on from non-vintage Champagne, opting for multivintage instead, reports W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher. “The most interesting part, to me, is that Roederer is abandoning the idea of achieving a consistent house style for its entry-level Champagne. Instead, each annual release from the Louis Roederer Collection will be based on mostly wine from a specific vintage, augmented by two different types of reserve wine…”

Jancis Robinson MW OBE has sold her website to Recurrent Media, a venture capital business. In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph looks back on the many years of work that led up to the sale. “Over the last 20 years, that site has become an impressive media platform. She, and a growing number of contributors, have created and are constantly building a publication which, if it were available in print form, would arguably outclass everything else on the market in its combination of breadth and depth.”

Sacramento Magazine provides updates on Wine Country and the Caldor Fire.

Amanda Barnes explores the serious side of Vinho Verde in the Drop.

Daily Wine News: Changing Landscapes

Rising temperatures and the risk of wildfires have led some wineries to grow different types of grapes. And some regions that were long overlooked are now producing notable wines. In the New York Times, Paul Sullivan reports on how climate change is impacting wine.

Also in the New York Times, Eric Asimov pays tribute to Becky Wasserman. “Ms. Wasserman understood Burgundy. She understood wine and she understood people. And she could explain things in a way that was enlightening, offering not just answers but insights.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley is ready to talk about chillable reds. “Since the prime candidates for “chillable red” designation tend to be lighter-bodied, you might assume that fuller-bodied reds aren’t suited to chilling. I’m here to tell you that is false. Big, bold reds — Cabernet Sauvignons, Syrahs, Zinfandels — need to chill too, maybe even more than leaner reds do.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Nils Bernstein looks at Baja’s long winemaking history.

Kathleen Willcox explores the future of hybrid grapes in Wine Industry Advisor.

In the Robb Report, Caroline Hatchett on why the Jura is the next hot region for young collectors.

In Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz reports on how a new French oil company is making their new racing fuel from things “such as wine lees and grape pomace.”

Daily Wine News: Topless Wine

Is it time for wine to go topless? Kathleen Willcox explores the environmental implications of metallic wine capsules in Wine-Searcher.

Paso Robles-based Justin Vineyards and Winery’s owner, the Wonderful Company, is acquiring Napa’s Lewis Cellars, reports Wine Spectator.

“Lewis Cellars, an award-winning producer of high-end wines, will be the first Napa Valley winery under the ownership of the Wonderful Company, joining Justin Vineyards in Paso Robles and Landmark Vineyards in Sonoma,” reports Esther Mobley. “The Lewis Cellars property, on Big Ranch Rd. in Napa, includes a production winery but no estate vineyards.”

Aaron Ayscough explores the art of degassing wine in Wine Enthusiast. “The decision of whether to remove CO2 before bottling, and how much to remove via a process called degassing, is critical to the development of a wine’s final profile. Too much CO2 can prevent a wine from settling properly, resulting in a cloudy appearance.”

Elsewhere in Wine Spectator, Shawn Zylberberg talks to DLynn Proctor about his storied career.

In Beverage Media, Aleks Zecevic explores how Blaufränkisch is making a comeback in its native Austria and beyond.

In Decanter, Argentine winemaker Laura Catena of Bodega Catena Zapata shares her early wine memories and her hopes for the future.