Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 10/18/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

Women and the wine industry. What “IT IS NOT OK”. Spilling it out
It’s not ok.

The Year that Changed the Wine World
Atkin on 71 and 82.

Wineries and Chefs Gear Up Charity Efforts for California Wildfire Relief
Good roundup of efforts.

A Looming Menace for Restaurants: Winter Is Coming
And the Night King hates takeout.

On Wine Bitch
Anne Burchett responds to the UK controversy.

The New Vocabulary of Wine
Whatever you say.

Are wine writers redundant?
We’ve got a couple of years before AIs like this one take over.

NOAA: Dry, warm winter could bring drought to California, Southwest in 2021
La Niña is coming, and boy is she pissed.

How the James Beard Foundation Failed the Most Prestigious Restaurant Awards in the Country
A stinging indictment.

Wine Enthusiast’s 21st Annual Wine Star Award Nominees
Speaking of awards.

Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain, ravaged by Glass Fire, says it will rise from the ashes
But the road is still closed.

Washington, local winemakers hopeful grape crops remain undamaged by wildfire smoke
Not just California concerned.

This Remote Corner of Argentina Is Home to High-altitude Vineyards and One of the Most Far-flung Museums in the World
Get thee to Salta.

Italian Police Smash Fake Wine Ring
Hope your Sassicaia ain’t fake.

Napa’s Nights of Fire on the Mountain
Blake Gray lets Stu Smith tell his own tale.

A wine-tasting postponed 2,000 years
The idea of tasting the past is quite compelling.

Berkeley wineries rally during uncertain times
Like everywhere. Scrappy succeeds.

Does naming a thing help you understand it?
Fascinating article. Aroma memory may not require language.

How this year’s historic wildfires are affecting California’s Wine Country
Mostly a profile of Jordan.

Many California wineries will make no wine this year because of wildfire smoke
Excellent reporting, as usual, from Esther Mobley.

A guide to the best British wines
Jancis on what’s good.

How The Digital World Is Transforming Fine Wine In 2020
Nothing revelatory here, but a good reminder.

Diving into the Shark Tank Wine Case
Blake Gray loves to dive with sharks.

The wine bar story I’ve waited seven months to write
A pop-up wine bar flourishes.

Napa’s Fire Response Overwhelmed and Underfunded
An in-depth article.

Behind The Scenes And Underneath The Screwcaps: Tumultuous Times In The Wine Aisle (Part One)
Cathy Huyghe on the market

Turbulent Conditions Shift The Global Flow, And The Price, Of Wine (Part Two)
Cathy’s article continued.

Taras Ochota remembered
A lovely remembrance of a man lost far too young.

Lulu Peyraud, a French Wine Matriarch, Dies at 102
NY Times Obit.

Lulu Peyraud, 1917–2020
Another remembrance and tribute.

In Trying Times, 20 Wines Under $20 That Revive and Restore
Eric Asimov’s bargain hunting.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 10/18/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 10/11/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

OPEN: SVB Annual State of the Industry Survey
If you’re in the industry, please contribute to this valuable source of insight.

Pandemic Planning — Wineries Cut Costs, Some Change Benefits
What wineries have been doing. Lots.

Amber Gardner on how (not) to nurture women in wine…
Another excellent view into fundamental issues in the  industry.

The value of familiarity in wine
Robert Joseph likes to counter prevailing wisdom.

Napa County faces big cleanup job following Hennessey and Glass fires
Remnants of more than 1000 structures to haul away.

Dino Illuminati: A Remarkable 90 Years in the History of Italian Wine
A remembrance.

Private fire crews in California’s wine country raise concerns over equity and safety
Hard to prevent people trying to save their properties.

Napa, Sonoma wineries damaged in Glass Fire plan path forward
Lots of insurance calls.

A smaller harvest spells trouble for Napa Valley’s agricultural workforce
The ripple effects of fires.

No room to breathe: How an antiquated tax system is killing Ontario’s wineries
Not just an American that’s screwed up in this department.

Bandol Pioneer Lucie Peyraud of Domaine Tempier Dies
One heck of a life. One heck of a woman.

Wine’s Covid Winners and Losers
What’s happened to prices.

2020 has been a turbulent year, but it just might be a special vintage for L.I. winemakers
A good year, it sounds like.

Napa firefighter recounts saving Upvalley winery from fast-moving fire
One of thousands of such heroic moments.

For Northern Rhône Reds, It’s Not the Age but the Emotions
Eric writes a love letter to Syrah.

2019 – Germany’s breakthrough vintage?
But will people start drinking Riesling?

A Vintage Lost?
It appears, mostly.

The Gender Pay Gap: How The Wine Industry Stacks Up
Mixed results.

Napa Valley assesses a fire season that could forever alter its tourism economy
Tough times ahead.

Napa wineries dub a ‘true hero’ of Glass Fire: a winemaker on a stunt motorcycle
An amazing, heart-warming story.

The hundred halters
Jamie Good on the 100 point scale.

Twenty Years that Transformed the Argentine Wine Industry
An extremely informative article.

Low Yields, Smoke Concerns Seen Balancing Pinot Noir Supply
Hard to call it a blessing in disguise. But still.

Glass Fire Being Called Worst In Napa History, With Hundreds of Homes and at Least 20 Wineries Damaged or Destroyed
But it could have been much worse.

Santa Cruz Mountains Winemakers Grapple with Aftermath of Fire
An in-depth article on the region.

Wine Pros Aim to Effect Change Through Vines 4 Votes
Buy wine for good.

A Champion of Burgundy’s Underdog
Robert Camuto talks with Jean-Marc Vincent about Santenay.

Winery Visitation Down 48 Percent in Four Key Regions in August  – Community Benchmark
No surprise. We gotta get it back up.

Family, Friends Save St. Helena Winery From Glass Fire
Dangerous, but ultimately successful action.

The Winemakers Behind England’s Sparkling Future
Anne Krebiehl profiles a few.

Here Are 12 Covid-era Wine Consumer Trends
None surprising, most depressing.

Wine Distributor Jailed for Fraud After Using Reality TV to Lure Investors
Shark Tank can’t smell a rat.

After back-to-back wildfires, some Napa winemakers won’t make a 2020 vintage
Many will not.

Is Napa’s wine-based economy too one-sided? Some argue for diversification
But only economic diversity is being discussed.

Why you should buy South African wine
Jancis makes the case.

Just when we need a drink, the U.S. wine industry faces an existential threat
A good rundown, with excellent photos.

8 Best Wines Made by Sommeliers
A collection of some excellent labels.

Immigrant Workers Make ‘Wine Country’ Possible. Now Many Have Evacuated.
Give this one a listen.

Wine Country Starts Picking Up the Pieces
Just in time for the next red flag warning

What It’s Like to Be a Black Man Working in the Wine Industry
Invisible, for starters.

UK Wine Industry Steps into the Unknown
And so it begins

How Winemakers Craft Clean Natural Wines
Interestingly many of these techniques are looked at as “interventions”

Up in smoke
This is a remarkable article with incredible visual data. Must read.

An Estimated 80% of Napa’s Cabernet May Be Lost to Fire and Smoke
Elin McCoy gets estimates from winemakers

Wildfires Destroy Homes and Iconic Wineries in Northern California Wine Country
In which I and my sister have a brief cameo.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 10/11/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 10/4/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

Grape and Bulk Market Activity Increases as Wineries Seek Ways to Supplement a Smaller, Smoke Plagued Vintage
Not a surprise.

Early Burgundy Vintage Confounds Expectations
Early but not hot.

Disruption of lives from the coronavirus disrupts Napa Valley agriculture
Hard times for hard workers.

Wineries burn, but places endure: After Cain is destroyed, new reasons for hope
Esther talks with Chris Howell.

Beaujolais Reports ‘Vintage of Extremes’
Drought, heat and more.

The Joys of Serendipity
We should all be so lucky.

Battling Wildfires and the Pandemic, Some U.S. Winemakers Forgo the 2020 Vintage
A club with a swelling list of members.

Fires Leave Napa Harvest on a Knife Edge
A sharp, bloody knife, as the case may be.

Colorado Wine Country’s 2020 harvest rises above the tenor of our times
Good news despite long odds.

The many faces of the wine consumer
Look into their eyes.

Bats Are the Newest Key to Producing a Fine Bottle of Bordeaux
Bats rock.

Oregon Wine Pioneer Susan Sokol Blosser on ’The Apocalypse,’ Rage Baking — And Optimism
Fun chat with Susan.

Smoke Taint Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions
Read this and then tell me you’re not glad you don’t grow grapes.

Charles Krug Winery Hosts Basecamp for PG&E to Assist Firefight
One of many good deeds this past week.

North Bay wildfires cloud wine grape harvest as total losses could approach $500 million
That estimate seems low to me.

Time to Kill Gender Stereotypes in Wine
You don’t need your wine to be ‘feminine’ you need it to be good.

Glass Fire has now damaged 17 Napa Valley wineries as world-famous region remains under grave threat
Esther’s update on Sunday.

Glass Fire Continues as California Wildfires Burn Over 4 Million Acres
NPR weighs in.

Glass Fire fans uncertainty around Napa’s ongoing harvest
No fans of this fire.

Napa’s Winemakers Discover Scorched Vines and Close Calls
Too many for comfort.

Lambrusco: Your Fresh Fall Wine
Lana Bortolot pens a primer.

Is It Time to Redefine ‘Sommelier’?
Anytime is a good time for that.

Slow Wine, Explained
Well, not entirely.

The Zimbabwean Somm Reimagining South Africa’s Wine Industry
An inspiring profile.

California Fires Take a Deep Toll on Wine Country
Eric Asimov on the fires.

We’ll Make It Even Better: A Q&A with Meadowood Co-Owner Bill Harlan
Bill, as usual, thinks 20 years ahead.

Can California’s wine country survive the climate crisis?
Not if it burns to the ground.

Why is One of Champagnes Biggest Groups Breaking Up?
Deep look into the business of bubbles.

Anson: Living through wartime Bordeaux
An excerpt from Anson’s book.

Penfolds: the best winery in Australia or a Louis Vuitton wannabe?
Everyone is a brand these days.

A running list of Napa Valley wineries that have been damaged or destroyed in the 2020 Glass Fire
The list continues to grow.

How Microagressions in a Sonoma Winery Made a Black Winemaker Question Her Profession
This is what structural / systemic racism looks like – insidious, tiny little things that add up to an atmosphere of “you don’t belong here.”

Meadowood Resort, Newton Vineyard, Burgess Cellars Among Napa Wildfire’s Many Victims
Spectator rounds up status as of Tues, 9/29.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 10/4/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 9/20/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

The Birth of ‘Wine Country’ Is a Story of Bugs, Taxes and War
A brief history of California wine.

Meet the maker: the Portuguese vintners taking natural wine back to its roots
NatGeo does wine.

‘I Have To Work’: Agricultural Workers In The West Harvest Crops Through Fire Smoke
When that’s the only way to put food on the table, you work.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Orange Wine—But Were Too Afraid to Ask
The Robb Report skims the surface, but does get some ket things right.

Smoke, wildfires challenge West Coast wine industry
Stories from Oregon.

Napa Winemakers Are Pledging Over $1 Million to Make the Wine Industry More Inclusive
Excellent news.

Uncertainty Reigns in Spain’s Strange Vintage
Rough times.

Canada’s Napa Valley Seeks Elusive Audience: Canadian Wine Drinkers
Not just America that has f*cked up wine shipping laws.

Sicilian Wine Pioneer Diego Planeta Dies
He helped put Sicily back on the map.

Harvest Finally Brings Good News for Champagne
Quality looks very high.

Smoke and Mirrors: Fixing a Fiery Vintage
Blake Gray learns some of the options.

Recalling Justice Ginsburg as a Champion of the Wine Industry
Tom Wark reminds us she was on our side for wine, too.

Mozel Watson: Harlem’s wine god
Great story!

The seemingly impossible: an artisanal bottle of California wine for $10
It’s hard to imagine they can keep this up.

Wine Sales Up, Winery Profits Down
A new survey shows a double-edged sword.

Champagne Growers Help Cultivate The Grape Varieties Of The Future
Climate change requires change.

Around the World, the 2020 Wine Harvest May Be Most Troubled Ever
Elin McCoy goes ‘round the world for a harvest rundown.

After hazy weeks, threat of smoke taint lingers over Napa Valley grape crop
There will be more stories like this coming out soon.

Iron Age wine press yields clues to Phoenician building techniques
Excellent winemaking process.

The Vanishing Point
A lovely piece of writing.

The grands crus of Bordeaux in the summer of ’69
A wonderful reverie.

Women, Wine and the Uncomfortable Conversation We Need To Have
A worthy long read.

Fires Leave 2020 Vintage in the Balance
A rundown of the troubles.

How Will Weeks of Wildfire Smoke on the West Coast Impact the 2020 Vintage?
Badly, is the answer.

California farmworkers say they didn’t get masks during wildfires
Awfulness.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 9/20/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 9/13/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

California wine grape growers face unknown impact of smoke taint
Give it 30 days.

Winemakers Still Fighting the Clone Wars
Geek territory to be sure.

Border Grape: How Grenache Links Catalonia and Roussillon
Lauren Mowery draws the lines across the mountains.

Jancis Robinson on the evolution of wine varieties
Changing times, changing flavors.

After 43 Years, the Wine Sentinel of the River Café Stands Down
Eric Asimov writes a fine appreciation.

Anson: The Indian entrepreneur behind new Bordeaux wine Solicantus
Jane Anson on immigrant success.

Wine’s diversity issue starts with the way we talk about the taste of wine
Hmm. Not sure I agree Esther. Why is Petrichor ok, but Brioche not?

A lightning fire, a thunderous path
This is the fire that burned down 33% of Napa County last month. 

A Great White Barolo-Land?
Sounds tasty.

Wine’s New Alcohol Balancing Act
James Lawrence teeters on the scales.

Turning the Tables on Allen Meadows
An interview with Allen.

Why This Former LVMH Executive Left The Corporate World To Make Wine In Burgundy
Same reason many wealthy execs buy a vineyard.

California’s wildfire smoke plumes are unlike anything previously seen
The science of fire-weather interaction.

Wine Country Grape Growers Fear Significant Damage From Wildfire Smoke
It’s coming.

Despite Unprecedented Fires Oregon Wineries Are On Track For An Epic 2020 Vintage
Lots of the same language as being used in California. I hope things are better in Oregon than they are in Sonoma.

Will wildfire smoke damage the 2020 Willamette Valley wine harvest?
It sounds increasingly like it will.

Inside a Human Rights Lawyer’s Quest to Become the First Black Master of Wine; “This is Really About the Journey”
Angela Scott is on her way.

Wine Auctions Pivot—Quite Profitably—to the Virtual World
When people are buying more…

California Heatwave Leaves Grape Growers Sweating
But smoke in the atmosphere is cooling things down.

How Pouilly-Fuissé got Premier Cru recognition
By making good juice.

Trump visa restrictions add obstacle to California winery harvest season: no international interns
Though some wineries won’t be needing them thanks to smoke taint.

Wine solves a problem for Hollywood
Gimmick gets people drinking.

The Dirty Business of ‘Clean’ Wine
As we all know.

Reports of Champagne’s demise greatly exaggerated
The story is rarely simple.

The Grape Varieties That Have Increased and Declined the Most Since 2000
Who will shed a tear for Mazuelo? 

A Scientific Case for ‘Fingerprinting’ Terroir in a California AVA
Academic to be sure, but interesting to geeks.

Do California Grapes Have Smoke Taint from Wildfires? Finding Out Isn’t So Easy
California is a big place. Lots of grapes have it and lots of grapes don’t.

California families and succession
Jancis on intergenerational wine transfer.

Life Lessons with Hugh Johnson OBE
Not many lessons there, but some cute facts.

The Good Old Days
A review of Oz Clarke’s new tome.

The spirit of port
What’s in there besides wine.

Simon J Woolf: What the hell is typicity?
Doesn’t matter, as long as we don’t let government decide.

Tuscan Wine Marks Pilgrims’ Progress
Blake takes time out from fire coverage to tell a cool Tuscan story.

As the Climate Changes, California Winemakers Seek Cooler Sites for Cabernet Sauvignon
Russian River Cabernet is coming.

Citizens group begins deep dive in Napa Valley groundwater issues
An issue you’re going to be hearing a lot more about.

Washington winemakers hoping impact of wildfires on grapes remains minimal
Hope is all we have left it seems.

A Just Recovery for Sonoma Vineyard Workers?
A rundown of the issues.

Once more, how not to report a wine and health story
Listen to The Curmudgeon.

What’s the problem with celebrity wines?
There isn’t one, unless they’re lying.

What is lightstrike in wine and why is everyone talking about it?
You’ve probably tasted it and not known it.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 9/13/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/30/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

Sonoma County Winegrowers Offer First-Hand Perspective on Impact of Latest Fire
The official line.

The History of Wine’s Changing Flavors
Yes wine tasted different back then. Likely worse.

Paso Robles tasting room owner threatened with fines, jail time for moving indoors during wildfires
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

A Deep Dive Into the Many, Verifiably False Claims of ‘Clean Wine’ Companies
Felicity Carter breaks it down.

California Wineries Face New Threats With This Summer’s Wildfires
Food and Wine weighs in.

‘Smoke taint’ on grapes may mean almost no wine to make in 2020 for one Sonoma vintner
This is a scared (rather than scary) story. Remember Sonoma is a big place.

Bay Area Wildfires Might Crush 2020’s Wine Crop
I see what you did there with that headline. But no, it won’t.

Lebanese wine is superb. After the Beirut explosion, we should all be buying it
Indeed.

Anson: Nature vs nurture in Bordeaux wine styles
Jane knows of what she speaks.

The 2020 wildfires and California wine: what we know so far
Esther offers more perspective.

Crop Insurance Fears for Smoke-hit Vineyards
Blake Gray reports on the problem.

Angelina Mondavi acquires well-regarded Sojourn Cellars, growing her empire
M&A will continue as wineries suffer. But this is a jewel in the crown.

Storm Damage In Valpolicella: Yet Another Blow For Italy’s Wine Industry
Six million euros of hail damage.

The 2020 wildfires and Bay Area’s food and wine supply: What you need to know
More from the Chronicle.

Harvest in a Time of Flames and Pestilence—Another Challenging California Vintage
Big props for working pestilence into a headline.

Fires in California wine country: Latest as 2020 harvest gets underway
Decanter’s coverage.

The hidden treasure of Languedoc’s wines
Jancis on, among others, Domaine Cebene.

Why We Still Need Classic Barolo
Tom Hyland suggests Single Vineyard isn’t the end all.

Black women in SA wine industry protest against economic exclusion
More of this, please!

Has Covid Affected our Wine Habits?
Wine-Searcher looks at numbers.

Attractions Of Willamette Valley Wines Of Oregon
Tom Mullen.

As The Going Gets Tough In The Wine World, Delia Viader Continues To Move Mountains
And son and daughter.

California winemakers are racing to salvage their grape harvests before wildfires destroy them
Business Insider is slightly alarmist.

The Visionary For Brunello’s Top ‘Grand Cru’ Wine In Tuscany
Catherine Todd profiles Baricci.

Winemakers look to protect grapes against smoke taint during fire season
The scourge of 2020.

WineInk: A California wine legend lends Colorado a hand
The story of Warren Winiarski and his ties to Colorado.

Wildfires again threaten business in California wine country
Coverage from across the country.

Napa locals go ‘cowboy,’ bulldozing firebreaks to save wineries as resources wane
This is a remarkable story.

California’s Wildfires Came at the Worst Time for Wine Industry
As if the pandemic weren’t bad enough.

Vineyard Workers Face Unhealthy Choices
Where’s the hazard pay when you need it?

Crop insurance gets new tools for wine smoke taint
Some positive movement.

Pascaline Lepeltier on Wine, Philosophy And The 1937 d’Yquem That Changed Everything
Cathy Huyghe listens and likes.

Penrose Hill v. Mabray: Did wine journalism win a significant legal victory?
In a word, yes.

Lodi wine grape growers worry about harvest as smoke impacts region
Nail biting time.

Was There Wine in America Before Europeans?
Where’s the little head exploding emoji when you need it?

California Fires Grow to Historic Heights
And widths.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/30/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Two Canned Wines That Are Worth a Damn

Canned wine is having a moment right now. Sales are skyrocketing as people (more younger than older) respond to what is undeniably a great value proposition: smaller quantities, portability, chillability, cute packaging, and the ability to open and drink one without a corkscrew or a glass.

Yet even now, canned wine suffers a bit from the same problem as bag-in-a-box wines: few people are putting decent wines into this format. That’s rapidly changing though, as many traditional wineries are waking up to the potential of this format. I wrote about the rise of canned wines for Jancis Robinson earlier in the year, describing how companies like Free Flow Wines can barely keep up with the demand from new producers and old, all of whom want to put their wines in aluminum.

I haven’t made anything close to a comprehensive tasting survey of wine in cans (as if such a thing were possible given the rate at which new ones are popping up) but I’ve tried a bunch and found most to be lackluster. The most promising variety seem to be the rosés, whose crisp acidity and affinity for fridge temperatures seem to do best in the canned format.

However I’ve come across two wines recently that have significantly upped the game when it comes to wine in a can.

The first is a remarkably decent rendition of Pinot Noir from MAKER wines, a wine label that grew out of a year-end Stanford Business School project by Sarah Hoffman and Kendra Kawala. I actually was a guest speaker in their Business of Wine class when these two ladies were finishing their MBAs, and they cornered me after class to excitedly tell me about their idea, which was basically to go out and find good winemakers that would be willing to collaborate on making great small-batch editions of canned wine.

It’s been pretty cool to see them go from idea to execution, and while their first efforts were just OK, this latest Pinot Noir is very tasty and definitely worth drinking, as it is a collaboration with Lulu Handley. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Lulu is the daughter of Milla Handley, the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir pioneer that we tragically lost to Covid-19 a few weeks ago. Lulu clearly inherited her mother’s touch with Pinot Noir, and the collaboration with MAKER has yielded by far the best canned Pinot Noir I have had the pleasure of tasting.

And now for something completely different.

Most Americans have not had the pleasure of drinking sparkling red wine. Sparkling Shiraz is a sort of underground cult wine in Australia, and Lambrusco has long since dropped off of most Americans’ radar. But sparkling red wine can be wonderfully refreshing, not to mention a tasty thing to drink with dinner.

William Allen, like many of us men, could only avoid listening to the advice of the woman in his life for so long. His partner, Karen Daenen, has been telling him he ought to try making wine in a can for some time. With a day job running consumer research for Jackson Family Wines, her opinions often carry some weight in the Two Shepherds household.

But Allen wasn’t impressed with most canned wines he had tried, and hadn’t come across the right batch of fruit in his portfolio to try it. But then two things happened in rapid succession. He made a new rosé from a batch of Yolo County Cinsault he didn’t love, and Covid-19 exploded on the world.

“Frankly, I was afraid we were going to go out of business,” he says. “So I shut everything down—threw everything into stainless, locked it up tight, and prepared to weather the storm.”

But like many small producers who had fully embraced social media and DTC sales, Two Shepherds saw a significant bump in sales as people stocked up for the lockdown and rallied to support the brands they love. All of a sudden, Allen had some breathing room and more than a little time on his hands.

“So I started experimenting to see what could make this rosé better,” he says. His winery is next door to a cider maker and brewery, so he put on his mask and wandered over to see what carbonation might do to the texture of the wine. It helped. But not enough.

And then, in a flash of insight, he thought to blend in some of the carbonically macerated Carignan that he had sitting in a tank, and the wine came alive.

“Call it a combination of trial and error, luck, and some good winemaking, but it just sang,’ says Allen. The only thing left to do was to figure out what to call it. And since his donkey had just given birth to a new baby girl a few weeks before, he chose little Luna as the namesake for the perfect pandemic wine label if there ever was one: a baby donkey kicking the now-familiar Coronavirus cell model.

Therefore this can of wine can rightfully be described as Kick-Ass Organic Southern-Rhone Party-in-a-Can. It’s delicious, and is not only the best sparkling red wine I’ve ever had from California, it’s the best sparkling red I’ve had that isn’t one of the new-wave Lambruscos that are deservedly turning heads among the wine cognoscenti.

You’ve been warned. Canned wine is now officially a thing, and here are two worth buying by the six pack.

2019 MAKER “Lulu Handley” Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry and cherry fruit. In the mouth, bright raspberry cherry and herb flavors have excellent acidity and a faint tannic backbone, that gives it some nice dimensionality. Brisk and fresh thanks to the low, 13% alcohol. Packaged in six-packs of 250ml cans. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $10. Currently available as part of a mixed six-pack, or individually to members of their Can Club. click to buy

2019 Two Shepherds “Bucking Luna” Sparkling Cinsault, California
Medium garnet in color with mellow, small bubbles that fade quickly, this wine smells of sweet berries and a touch of dried flowers. In the mouth, a very faint mousse delivers crisp flavors of mulberries, cherries, and a touch of dried herbs that all have a wonderful freshness thanks to a very low octane 10.5% alcohol. Excellent acidity plus the bubbles make this a damn refreshing mouthful. Think: the organically-farmed NorCal answer to Lambrusco. Gimme a six-pack of this and a pepperoni pizza and watch out! Contains 25% carbonically macerated Carignan. Packaged in 375ml cans. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $11 per can, $118 per twelve-pack. click to buy

The post Two Canned Wines That Are Worth a Damn appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/16/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

Fire Threatens Napa Vineyards
Unfortunately this is the latest news.

Nearly half of California Wine Country businesses closed in the coronavirus pandemic won’t reopen, says Yelp
Ouch.

People Of Color Break Barriers In White-Dominated, ‘Impenetrable’ Alcoholic Beverage Industry
NPR talks race in the booze biz.

Lost in Translation?
Wine Intellectualism at its most dense. You have been warned.

South African Wine’s Political Nightmare
I learned a new word: parlous.

Tuscany’s Wine Harvest At Risk As Seasonal Workers Blocked By Italy’s Black List
We’ll see a lot more articles like this in the next 4 weeks.

Drinking With Food Media’s Flamethrower
Except they don’t tell us really, what she’s drinking.

Women in Senior Positions in the Wine World – A Guest Post by David Morrison (a.k.a. The Wine Gourd)
A statistician looks at representation.

Valentina Passalacqua – an inconvenient truth?
Long read worth the time, here.

Bordeaux Tries Youth Appeal Again
And again, and again.

South Africa Lifts Its Alcohol Ban as Coronavirus Crisis Eases
‘Bout damn time.

How the pandemic is upending business in wine country
Marketwatch on wine.

Napa County’s Cain winery request involves detective work
And heaven forbid we just act rationally.

Tracking down Stalin’s wine cellar
And what did Stalin like? Sweet.

The New Wall of Wine & Why Some Wineries Aren’t Even Making it to the Shelf
Ignore Amber at your peril, wineries.

Pioneering Study ‘Fingerprints’ Russian River Valley Sites
Can you say microwave plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy?

A Call to Action for the Wine Industry: Diversity Organizations Need Your Support
Yes, please.

Proof that old vines add value
If only we knew that 20 years ago.

Wineries worry about impact of water rules
It’s a real issue.

What Does It Mean to Make Wine Right Now?
More than it did.

Laurent Ponsot promises revelations in Kurniawan novel
And it’s fiction because… ?

Can a rosé ever be worth £100+ a bottle?
Not to me. But to some, sure.

China wine imports down by a third
Not good news for many.

Science whiz-turned-winemaker launches award-winning custom crush facility in East Texas
Texas diversity.

Small Wineries With Inventory Problems May Have An Escape Hatch
Not just Cameron Hughes.

Memories of Milla
A wonderful set of remembrances.

If You Want ‘Authentic’ Wine, You Need to Understand Terroir
An excerpt from Jamie’s book.

WWC20 – My 500 Mates, Inner Mongolia
A fascinating read.

Fire season: Napa Valley’s wineries dig their heels into lowering their risk
Even as blazes threaten Napa this evening.

China Hits Australian Wine Imports With Probe as Relations Fray
Accusations of dumping.

Meet Piquette, Natural Wine’s New Favorite Bubbly
Tasty, but it’s not wine.

French wine exports body ‘regrets’ U.S. move to maintain European tariffs
You don’t say.

Dismay in Burgundy and New York as US keeps wine tariffs
Suffering will continue.

Colorado wine seeks to survive 2020
Stay strong!

World War 2 deception: How Monaco’s vast wine collection was hidden from Hitler
Stack up the empties.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/16/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/9/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

The Real Threat to Wine Sales is Being Ignored
Rob McMillan says we all need to tell the government something.

Walla Walla Confronts Phylloxera
The battle continues.

Portugal’s Vintners on the Forefront of Climate Change
Hotter, sooner.

The Judgment of Paris demonstrated nothing, statistically speaking
Except maybe the difference between statistics and news.

Adapting the Winery Experience to Make Guests Feel Safe During COVID-19
Examples of what people are doing.

North Coast 2020 grape harvest kicks off amid coronavirus concerns
The toughest harvest, perhaps?

From an Australian optimist
After the fires.

Carmen Stevens challenges the status quo
Q&A with another super hero.

North Coast wine grape harvest begins, and outlook for smaller crop is welcomed
Because labor will be short.

Lebanon’s deeply troubled wine sector
Drink Lebanese!

Michael Karam: Why Lebanon, its people & its wines deserve our help
Drink More Lebanese!

What Will Our Bars Become?
About cocktails but relevant to wine.

France’s changing wine industry
Running the numbers.

Battling the Shame of the Rosé
The premise of this article is off.

Beloved Wine Industry Pioneer, Warner Henry, Passes Away at Age 82
Helluva portfolio he built.

Wine Joins the 2020 Debate Over Privilege and Justice
Fascinating story.

California Rolls Out its Toughest Vintage
The COVID vintage.

The Industry Set Itself Up for a ‘Clean Wine’ Reckoning
Erica has some salient points to make.

France Will Spend Nearly $300 Million to Save Its Wine Industry
What are they spending to rescue the restaurant industry?

Sommelier Roundtable: Wine Surprises and Discoveries in Unusual Times
Survey of seven.

Glass Half Empty: Italy, France Seek Premium Wine Output Cut as Virus Hits Sales
The economics of COVID play out.

Bringing the Space Race to the Vineyard
Arguing about data.

This summer, orange (wine) is the new pink
The Japanese are turning orange.

Restaurants in Italy are reopening ancient ‘wine windows’ used during the plague
Not sure whether I want to patronize one, or open one.

Pretty in pink: the rise of rosé
Andrew Jefford on the turnaround.

Lebanon Is Producing Excellent Mountain Wines
Drink Lebanese more!

This Beachy Sliver of Sonoma Is Becoming One of America’s Most Important New Wine Regions
Go West!

These Black-Owned Wine Brands Are Producing Some Stellar Bottles For Summer
A shopping list, of sorts.

Covid Online Wine Boom Fizzles Out
Well, at least as online searches go. Let’s see the sales numbers.

How to repel fruit flies using wine corks
Now that’s a hack I have to try.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/9/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/3/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

Milla Handley, The “Pioneer Queen” Of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir And Handley Cellars Founder, Dies At 68
A very sad loss, far too early. F*ck you, COVID.

As France’s wine industry contracts, an incalculable cultural loss
Robert Joseph tallies the damage.

From Champagne to Japan: Richard Geoffroy releases his first sake
Very interesting career move.

What will the world of luxury look like in the new normal?
Even more exclusive, probably.

As Champagne Sales Plummet, Producers May Throw Away Tons of Unused Grapes
Expect lots of extra aging in the bottle….100m bottles or so.

As Wine Country harvest approaches, farmworkers continue to pay high pandemic price
The wine industry has a front line, too.

South African Wine Businesses Launch DTC Platform
While others turn to bootlegging.

How Our Changing Times Are Changing Wine
Thoughts from a Houston sommelier.

Phylloxera Breakthrough Brings Hope to Vineyards
It’s a start. We’ve got the DNA sequenced now.

What Is a Great Wine? Verdicchio di Matelica Has Some Ideas
Eric Asimov on complexity.

4 Black Sommeliers Share Their Perfect Pour and How the Industry is Changing
More stories of inspiration.

Elin McCoy: Why wine matters
Elin’s last column for Decanter

The Goopification of grapes: why ‘clean wine’ is a scam
Felicity Carter, like me, uses the word scam quite deliberately.

Rediscovering Tuscany’s Forgotten Classic
Those of us who can’t afford as much Brunello as we’d like haven’t forgotten it.

What is Natural Wine?
Jim Clarke’s take on the regulations.

Foley Johnson winery in Napa Valley closes after worker tests positive for coronavirus
Not under control yet.

Wine Knowledge and Culture: Are They Related?
A very interesting article about the correlation between a “culture” of wine and knowing something about it.

France’s 8-Year-Olds Head Off to Wine School
Teaching wine to third graders. Awesome.

Why champagne houses are in a tussle with vineyard owners in northeastern France
Another take on Champagne’s current woes.

Man Sends Empty Bottle of ’Suspicious’ Mouton for Verification
But is he the victim or the future fraudster?

Microbiologists clarify relationship between microbial diversity and soil carbon storage
More evidence for the benefits of living soil health.

Natural wine’s (inevitable, problematic) entry into the ‘wellness’ industry is here
Esther has more to say on Clean Wine.

Champagne losing its fizz as global pandemic clobbers sales
Yet one more take on Champagne’s struggles.

Wine Girl Author Victoria James: 10 Questions on Where We’re Headed
James talks with Dottie and John.

COVID Bringing a Painful Evolution to the Wine Business
Evolution does hurt.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 8/3/20 appeared first on Vinography.