Snooth - Articles http://www.snooth.com/articles/?of=rss Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Wed, 06 May 2015 01:55:08 -0400 Wed, 06 May 2015 01:55:08 -0400 http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification Snooth webmaster@snooth.com Hints of Salt on the High Seas: 6 Cruises For Your Vino Vice http://www.snooth.com/articles/hints-of-salt-on-the-high-seas-6-cruises-for-your-vino-vice/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Yesterday online magazine Paste tempted the travel bug of wine lovers by publishing a list of six cruises best-suited for oenophiles.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Nothing beats a spine-tingling European sunset over the ocean, right? Pair a bottle for the finest wine you&rsquo;ve ever tasted, and we&rsquo;d call that a first-rate way to spend a vacation,&rdquo; contributor Gabbi Markle wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The list began with a river cruise which floats along two of Europe&rsquo;s most famous rivers: the Rhine and Mosel, both of which cut through well-known wine regions. The cruise, operated by Grand Circle Cruise Line, passes through Mosel&rsquo;s Bernkastel, where cruisers can &ldquo;enjoy various excursions to (the town&rsquo;s) finest winery.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Farther down the list Markle highlighted a SeaDream Yacht Club cruise from Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Venice, where cruisers can enjoy oysters and wine in the Croatian coastal region of &nbsp;Peljesac, arguably the country&rsquo;s most formidable wine-growing area and part of a group of Eastern European winemakers slowly emerging in the international scene.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Markle then recommended a Celebrity Cruises Seattle-to-Alaska trip which includes a welcoming wine reception.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;During the week, you&rsquo;ll be privy to two one-hour wine tasting seminars, a four-course wine pairing luncheon and personal seminars with Wilhelm Family Vineyard&rsquo;s (Az.) Karyl and Kevin Wilhelm.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A recommendation for a September cruise with Oceania Cruises from Amsterdam to Barcelona was next on the list.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;This Oceania cruise introduces you to a new culture of vineyards &hellip; Cruise along the Mediterranean Sea and visit &hellip; villages in France, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom &ndash; all while sipping on some of the finest wines Europe can offer.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The cruise&rsquo;s ports of call offer the oenophile and interesting mix of storied greatness and recent recognition: you&rsquo;ll hop off in the indomitable Bordeaux as well as the port-heavy newcomer of Oporto, Portugal.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Markle concluded her list with another Oceania Cruise, which takes oenophiles from Rome to Greece and Egypt before returning to the Italian capital.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the Paste story, vino lovers will get their fill at one of the itinerary&rsquo;s special evening meals.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The trip includes a decadent winemaker&rsquo;s dinner featuring vintage magnums and large format bottles in a specialty restaurant on board,&rdquo; Markle wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The list also included a second trip to Mosel, where Avalon Waterways cruisers get tours of cellars in the famed Riesling region.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/chriscruises/"><strong>ChrisCruises</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 05 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6404 Two Nevada Counties May See Wineries in Near Future http://www.snooth.com/articles/two-nevada-counties-may-see-wineries-in-near-future/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>For as glitzy and edgy as Las Vegas&rsquo; opulence is, oenophiles have to wonder why the state still prohibits commercial wineries in Clark County.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The same can be said of Washoe County, home of Vegas cousin Reno.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The state&rsquo;s two most-populated counties are part of bill written by Assembly member Pat Hickey which would allow the opening of commercial wineries in the two counties.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;(Assembly Bill 4) passed the Nevada Assembly unanimously with an amendment that limits production in certain cases,&rdquo; wrote Ashley Cullins, a reporter for Nevada NBC-affiliate KRNV.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Grant Cramer, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said winemakers would hit the jackpot with the proposed bill.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We want to be able to go commercial so that we can sell things and break even; that is, so we can sustain the program,&rdquo; Cramer told Cullins.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cramer went on to say the proposed bill would benefit more than just residents of Clark and Washoe counties.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s going to be great opportunity for Nevada to develop and expand the economy, the lifestyle, the culture,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Not everyone believes the bill is all aces, though. Nevada Wine Coalition president Dennis Eckmeyer told Cullins some winemakers and distributors said the bill is a hand they&rsquo;d like to fold.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;He said they worried big California wineries would open bottling facilities here and Nevada wineries would suffer,&rdquo; Cullins wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;Las Vegas Review-Journal&rsquo;s Sandra Chereb wrote about the bill in March as Assembly lawmakers discussed it before passing it.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> The &ldquo;big, bad California&rdquo; argument is legitimate, she wrote, because Nevada&rsquo;s wine industry has limped into the national game with only four wineries, the smallest total in the 50 states.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Winemaker Bill Loken told Chereb &ldquo;he feared the bill as written would have unintended consequences and could allow the promotion of California wines and undermine decades of investment (in Nevada wines).&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Loken said the Nevada wine industry was in &ldquo;the infant stage&rdquo; and that winemakers &ldquo;desire a growing wine industry that will become less reliant on out-of-state grape importation while encouraging alternate, lower water use crops.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To curb fears of Nevada wineries going bust, lawmakers added the following provision in the bill, Eckmeyer told Cullins &ldquo;We will be limited to a thousand cases of production, which can be produced by grapes from out of the state, and if you want to produce more than 1,000 cases, you have to incorporate 25 percent Nevada-grown grapes.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Cullins, the bill will move on to the Nevada Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy committee. A hearing date has yet to be scheduled, she said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/"><strong>Steven Depolo</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 05 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6403 University of Missouri Extension Hires Viticulture Expert http://www.snooth.com/articles/university-of-missouri-extension-hires-viticulture-expert/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>&ldquo;Good wines start in the vineyards.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That&rsquo;s the opinion of Dean Volenberg, the new viticulture and winery operations specialist at the University of Missouri Extension, a position which also includes working as a professor in the university&rsquo;s Grape and Wine Institute.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to a University of Missouri press release, the Volenberg hire means good things for the state&rsquo;s wine industry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;He will work with Missouri&rsquo;s 132 wineries and 150 grape growers,&rdquo; the release said. &ldquo;He will help growers expand their operations and elevate the quality of their grapes.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Volenberg told the university that &ldquo;he hopes his work translates into enhancing Missouri grape and wine industries, ultimately resulting in new varietal and premium native Missouri wines for consumers and visitors.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Easier said than done, the university&rsquo;s press release noted. Missouri&rsquo;s climate presents challenges for grape growers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The team is determined to solve some of the evolving complexities of growing grapes and producing premium wines in a difficult continental climate,&rdquo; Volenberg said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The university noted that Volenberg was a fitting choice for the state&rsquo;s fickle weather patterns because he&rsquo;s done previous studies on &ldquo;cold-hardiness, quality and managing insects and diseases.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The viticulture expert plans to create a monthly newsletter for grape growers which focuses on integrated pest management.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Volenberg is joining UM&rsquo;s team after spending eight years at the University of Wisconsin Extension, where he &ldquo;conducted three cultivar grape trials, helped develop culinary tours and promoted agritourism.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Volenberg&rsquo;s hire coincides with several other hires that have brought the university&rsquo;s Grape and Wine Institute to full strength after enduring a few understaffed years.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the university&rsquo;s release, the extension runs research vineyards in Columbia, Mount Vernon and New Franklin.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Much of the institute&rsquo;s funding comes from the Missouri Wine and Grape Board,&rdquo; the release said, &ldquo;which directs funds from a statewide tax on wine sales for research, education and marketing.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the Grape and Wine Institute&rsquo;s website, the team of viticulturists will be hosting two big events in the next two months: the 2015 Grape &amp; Wine Research Symposium this Friday and the 2015 Missouri Grape Growers Association Viticulture Field Day &amp; Annual Meeting on June 9 at Les Bourgeois Vineyards.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The department scored a significant victory this past March when the American Society for Enology and Viticulture awarded the institute&rsquo;s Misha Kwasniewski with is 2015 Best Paper Award.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The assistant research professor&rsquo;s paper was titled, &ldquo;Persistence of Elemental Sulfur Spray Residue on Grapes during Ripening and Vinification.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/15274_10152610458098649_8627242942823321547_n.jpg?oh=b23fc77878c2dc0b2e6c4ef89755b6a7&amp;oe=55E153C8&amp;__gda__=1441125459_9c1b1110681d0c035aa5b02a41dc76cd"><strong>University of Missouri Grape &amp; WIne Institute Facebook Page</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 05 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6401 Considering the Wines of Serbia http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-of-serbia/?viewall=1 Christy Canterbury MW <p><div><br /> I first encountered Serbian wines two years ago at the Balkans International Wine Competition. My discovery was about more than some new, exciting wines; it was also about a renaissance of vineyards, varieties and heritage. Over the last fifteen years, as Serbia began gathering its wits after Yugoslavia&rsquo;s crack-up, winemakers have been ratcheting up wine quality. They have invested in their vineyards and their wineries. It&rsquo;s enough activity for the wine world to start paying attention.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Some Serbian winemakers started from absolute scratch, their holdings having been destroyed or too intensely scarred by war or neglect. Their dedication to their livelihood is indefatigable. This rallying spirit provoked Serbia&rsquo;s Agriculture Ministry to begin revamping winemaking requirements and regional classifications. This is merited and needed. The wine laws were last revised in the 1970s, well before the fall of communism. That era prized quantity over quality and pumped wine out of enormous cooperatives in the name of the greater good.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Serbia lies at the heart of the former Yugoslavia. According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, it produced &ldquo;one-third of all ex-Yugoslavian wine&rdquo; as of 2002. And, the former Yugoslavia was an important producer in its communist hey-day of the 1970s. It ranked among the world&rsquo;s top ten producing countries.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This may come as a surprise if you&rsquo;re not familiar with this part of the world. Serbia has produced wine for well over a thousand years. In some Eastern Block countries, the legacy of winemaking even stretches back several thousand years. Today Serbia has about 70,000 hectares (172,975 acres) of vines. Private enterprises and small family operations have a serious presence. They cater to thirsty locals and export less 10% of their production. Most of those exports remain in the Balkans for now, but ambitious producers are making efforts to reach the world stage.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Most of Serbia&rsquo;s vineyards sit snuggled into different valleys within a 250-mile radius of the capital of Belgrade. White varieties make up two-thirds of the vineyards and red, obviously, represent the remainder. The strong diversity in Serbian plantings includes the &uuml;ber-international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. However, I am most intrigued by the local ones. There are also great blends that combine both camps. Though more white is planted than red, Serbian winemaking talent shines brightest in reds.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Prokupac</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> The king of Serbian reds is undeniably Prokupac. It is grown everywhere here and has been for a long time - since the Middle Ages. Big on color, spice and acidity, it is bottled solo as well as in international blends.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Tamjanika</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Like Prokupac, Tamjanika is long-established. A member of the Muscat family, it may have migrated here from southern France. Fragrant and spicy, it stands head-and-shoulders above the more widely planted Smederevka.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Smederevka&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Smederevka&rsquo;s name comes from the town of Smederevo, located south of Belgrade. It&rsquo;s neutral in character with pronounced alcohol and acidity, so it is often blended with other varieties possessing greater charm.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Here are my suggestions for Serbian wines that may be available in your area.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Cheers! Or as they say in Serbia, Ziveli!&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/aleksandrovic-pinot-noir-trijumf-2011/">Aleksandrovic 2011 Pinot Noir Trijumf</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/aleksandrovic-trijumf-gold-2012/">Aleksandrovic 2012 Trijumf Gold</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/vino-budimir-1878-svb-rosa-2007/">Vino Budimir 1878 2007 Svb Rosa</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/vino-budimir-1878-riesling-margus-margi-2009/">Vino Budimir 1878 2009 Riesling Margus Margi</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/vino-budimir-1878-tamjanika-zupska-2011/">Vino Budimir 1878 2011 Tamjanika Zupska</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://Milijan Jelic 2011 Pocerina Morava">Milijan Jelic 2011 Pocerina Morava&nbsp;</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/matalj-vinarija-sovinjon-beli-terasa-2012/">Matalj Vinarija 2012 Sovinjon Beli Terasa</a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 05 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6391 Labor Bosses Keeping Tabs on Tasmania Wineries http://www.snooth.com/articles/labor-bosses-keeping-tabs-on-tasmania-wineries/?viewall=1 James Duren <p><div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The truth is about to come out.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Representatives from Australia&rsquo;s Fair Work Ombudsman, the federal division which oversees labor in Australia and Tasmania, is heading to Tasmania&rsquo;s tight-knit network of wineries to make sure the estates are complying with labor rules. The spot-inspections will be randomly chosen and will take place in Tasmania&#39;s Tamar Valley and Coal River wine regions.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell says improving awareness of workplace laws is the main reason for the visits, but any non-compliance issues will need to be addressed,&rdquo; wrote Jasmine O&rsquo;Donoghue, a reporter for Australia&rsquo;s Food Magazine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The inspectors will do the double-duty of speaking with both employers and employees to get an accurate sense of whether or not wineries are abiding by labor regulations.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The Agency&rsquo;s Regional Services Team will conduct site visits to up to 15 randomly-selected vineyards as part of its three-year Harvest Trail project,&rsquo; O&rsquo;Donoghue wrote. &ldquo;(They&rsquo;ll) speak to growers and labour-hire contractors about their obligations under federal workplace laws and encourage any employees with concerns to come forward.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Campbell told Food Magazine said the visits will also include a check of each winery&rsquo;s labor records.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We can tell a lot about an employer&rsquo;s level of compliance by talking to them and their workers, but we&rsquo;ll look at their records if we need to get a clearer picture,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This is a really important issue. In the absence of a written piece rate agreement, workers are required to be paid hourly rates.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> According to the Ombudsman&rsquo;s website, a piece-rate agreement is a pay structure based on how many grapes an employee picks, packs or prunes.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> O&rsquo;Donoghue said the spot checks of vineyards comes in the wake of a national review of its wineries&rsquo; labor practices.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> She said the review started because there were allegations that wineries were exploiting backpackers who joined harvests on working holiday visas.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We are conscious many fruit pickers are young and overseas workers who may be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their entitlements or reluctant to complain,&rdquo; Campbell said. &ldquo;So it&rsquo;s important that we are pro-active about ensuring they are paid correctly.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> O&rsquo;Donoghue noted that the Fair Work Ombudsman will work alongside Wine Tasmania in order to &ldquo;help promote the site visits and compliance with federal workplace laws among its members.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The same spot checks were conducted in Tasmania&rsquo;s blueberry and strawberry farms earlier this year, the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/webefex/"><strong>Jacob Childrey</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 05 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6402 Europeans Love Their Low Cal Wine, Americans Say “No Thank You” http://www.snooth.com/articles/europeans-love-their-low-cal-wine-americans-say-no-thank-you/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The Old World is more willing to jump on the low calorie bandwagon, while New World drinkers in the United States are balking at the emergence of low-cal quaffers, according to an article which appeared in The Wall Street Journal this past Friday.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Americans love wine &ndash; and they are concerned about their weight,&rdquo; reporter Rachel Pannett wrote. &ldquo;But low-calorie wine still faces tough sledding in the U.S., global winemakers say, because it is seen as compromising on an indulgence.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pannett then cited a Wine Intelligence study, which revealed that France is home to some of Europe&rsquo;s most friendly low-cal wine drinkers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The reaction of U.S. consumers is in contrast to Europe, where these wines are taking root,&rdquo; Pannett wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The story said part of the reason why the low-cal wines do well in Europe is because there are &ldquo;favorable tax policies&rdquo; for the waist-slimming quaffers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The French, Pannett said, are leading the way.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;France is among the most promising markets for the wines &hellip; with a 31% increase in buyers of lower-alcohol wine in 2014 compared with a year earlier,&rdquo; she wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> America still has the most low-calorie buyers: 37.8 million, according Pannetts story, to France&rsquo;s 12 million.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Low-calorie wines are not alone in their struggle for popularity in the United States and abroad, the article said. Producers face hurdles encountered by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;The challenge for winemakers is similar to that face by soft-drink makers Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. years ago when they experimented with low-calorie sodas to counter concerns about sugar intake and obesity,&rdquo; the article said. &ldquo;The key was convincing consumers that flavors weren&rsquo;t compromise din reduced-calorie products such as Diet Coke.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Making low-calorie wines puts the product at risk of an altered flavor, Pannett wrote, because winemakers either pull out the alcohol (and part of the flavor) after fermentation, or they pick grapes earlier to curb high sugar levels, therefore reducing the wine&rsquo;s alcohol level.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Also complicating the U.S. low-calorie wine market is the fickle taste of the American wine consumer.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In the U.S., consumer tastes can change very quickly and it&rsquo;s a matter of staying on top of things,&rdquo; one wine exec to the WSJ. &ldquo;Otherwise you end up with stock in warehouses instead of in consumer hands.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pannett went on to point out that Italian Proseccos and German wines are &ldquo;naturally lower in alcohol than their California counterparts because the cold climate limits the sugar in grapes.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/"><strong>Didriks</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6395 Sokolin, He of the Broken Margaux, Dies at 85 http://www.snooth.com/articles/sokolin-he-of-the-broken-margaux-dies-at-85/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>This past week noted wine collector and infamous Chateau Margaux bottle-breaker WIlliam Sokolin passed away. He was 85 years old.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to an obituary in the New York Times yesterday, Sokolin was a &ldquo;wine merchant for more than a half-century&rdquo; whose father &ldquo;opened a liquor store on Madison Avenue after Prohibition.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Before becoming a wine-focused part of the family business, Sokolin played briefly for the for the Brooklyn Dodgers, then ended his playing days to fight for the Army in the Korean war, the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sokolin published two books, the Times article said: &ldquo;Liquid Assets&rdquo; and &ldquo;The Complete Wine Investor&rdquo;.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet it was the wealth of stories written about Sokolis&rsquo; moment of absent-mindedness which launched his name into the public arena.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While at a high-brow Bordeaux dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, Sokolin committed an egregious faux paux.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A story published in People magazine on May 15, 1989, described the scene.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sokolin was enjoying the dinner when he realized the owners of Chateau Margaux were in attendance.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Knowing he had a bottle of 1787 Margeaux in his personal wine collection &ndash; a bottle which he valued at more than $500,000 &ndash; Sokolin left the dinner, hopped in a cab, pulled the wine from his collection, then returned to the party to serve it to his esteemed guests.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He returned to the party with bottle in hand. According to the People story, he wanted to show the bottle to Rusty Staub, a former Major League Baseball player and a restauranter. On his way to Staub&rsquo;s table, the unthinkable happened.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Although Sokolin claims he had &lsquo;great hands&rsquo; as a player, he clumsily bumped the bottle against either arm of a chair or the sharp edge of a serving table as he headed for Staub,&rdquo; People reported. &ldquo;&lsquo;When it happened,&rsquo; he says, &lsquo;I was numb.&rsquo;&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The bottle did not shatter, the story said. However, there were two gaping holes in the bottle. Wine gushed out.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to a New York Times article published on April 26 of that year, Sokolin &ldquo;carried a remnant of the bottle, its face still intact, down a long hallway, leaving behind red-brown splotches that resembled drying blood. Some wine collectors, speechless, stood gazing at the spots as if a homicide had taken place. None had, but the event did have an air of mystery.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to this past week&rsquo;s obituary, Sokolin attempted to auction off the bottle. His attempts were unsuccessful.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Mr. Sokolin&rsquo;s family said he donated the unsold bottle to Save the Children, the international relief organization,&ldquo; the story said. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jontintinjordan/"><strong>jon jordan</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6394 NY Times’ Asimov Lauds Growth of Muscadet Wines, Open Discussion http://www.snooth.com/articles/ny-times-y-asimov-lauds-growth-of-muscadet-wines-open-discussion/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>This past Thursday the New York Times&rsquo; reporter and wine guru Eric Asimov tracked the character and reputation of Muscadet, a wine normally shoved into the dark corners of wine discussion in favor of more respectable tipple.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Asimov&rsquo;s point, however, was that wine opinions should be as diverse as the wines themselves, and that Muscadet is the perfect wine to prove the need of parity in critics&rsquo; and amateurs&rsquo; tasting positions.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t let the wine you loved or hated five years ago hold you in thrall to that opinion forever,&rdquo; Asimov wrote. &ldquo;The best way to approach wine is with insatiable curiosity.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> And the approach to Muscadet, he said, needs to be equally as curious.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Our subject these last few weeks has been Muscadet, a prime example of the power of assumed wisdom, which holds that Muscadet is cheap and innocuous and ought to be consumed young and fresh, preferable with oysters,&rdquo; Asimov wrote. &ldquo;We have seen this again and again, with Beaujolais, Sherry and Champagne, just to name a few.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Part of this resurgence is due to producers who, despite the upturned noses of most of the wine world, dedicated themselves to crafting excellent Muscadets.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;They farmed scrupulously, planting in the best terroirs, and they limited their yields so that the grapes they harvested would have more character and substance,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;They made their wines using what they deemed the best possible methods, and they charged a little more.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Asimov then went on to talk about three Muscadet wines he recommended and how participants of the writer&rsquo;s Wine School responded to the wines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Many &ldquo;students&rdquo; in online wine school discussions praised the Muscadets, saying the wines played limber, drinking well with more than just oysters.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;This wine was fantastic with chicken breast,&rdquo; one participant said. &ldquo;In general, I find that high-acidity whites go fabulously with Korean dishes.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Another participant said the wines elevated his or her meal.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The most prominent characteristic of all three Muscadets was not a flavor or a mouth feel,&rdquo; the student wrote. &ldquo;It was that all three made their disparate accompanying meals into joyous dining experiences.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One father of an infant said his wife compared one of the recommended wines to their little one.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;My wife claimed the purity and innocence of the wine reminds her of our baby,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Asimov encouraged readers to remain fluid in their opinions &ndash; let the wine tell the story, not your previous opinions.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We encourage you equally to fall in love with a wine or hate it, but not to be too stubborn,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t let the wine you loved or hated five years ago hold you in thrall to that opinion forever.&rdquo;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/collectmoments/"><strong>collectmoments</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6393 Forbes Launches Series of Wine Tips For Business Executives http://www.snooth.com/articles/forbes-launches-series-of-wine-tips-for-business-executives/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Even CEO&rsquo;s get jittery about their wine lists.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Friday Forbes contributor Joe Harpaz launched the first part of a series titled &ldquo;The Executive&rsquo;s Guide to Wine&rdquo; in an effort to better prepare and equip business executives to present the right wine for the right time.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It never ceases to amaze me how much stress the wine list can create for many people. It&rsquo;s an interesting phenomenon that incorporates equal parts performance anxiety, budget consciousness and fear of the unknown,&rdquo; Harpaz wrote. &ldquo;And it&rsquo;s rampant in Corporate America, despite the fact that business dinners remain a vital part of day-to-day business development.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Harpaz sought out the help of Master Sommelier Alexander LaPratt to formulate his advice.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;To get things started, I sat down with LaPratt to talk business dinners,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;After a long conversation that covered everything from the basics of food and wine pairings to more nuanced things like situation context and how to order the right wine for a specific group you are entertaining, we had a starting point for an executive&rsquo;s guide to wine.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Harpaz started his list of tips with food pairings. He featured a quote by LaPratt, who took the old stereotypes of wine pairings and launched them out the conference-room window.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;You have a lot of people out there who think that white goes with fish and red goes with steak and that&rsquo;s pretty much it; those are the rules,&rdquo; LaPratt said. &ldquo;But there&rsquo;s so much variation and crossover within those huge categories that they could be missing some really interesting options.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He pointed out certain types of Champagne can work well with beef.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s one of my favorite &lsquo;break the rules&rsquo; pairings,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Harpaz added his thoughts, pointing out that beginners should work from the milk framework, in which light-bodied wines are like skim milk, medium bodies are like whole milk and big-bodied wines are like heavy cream.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Would you order heavy cream as the hors d&rsquo;oeuvres course at 5:15 PM? For that same reason, you probably shouldn&rsquo;t be ordering your favorite Cabernet, which is a full bodied wine that is more complementary to a main course,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;On the other end of the spectrum, something like a Riesling or a Pinot Grigio is a much lighter option. Even lighter reds like a Pinot Noir or a Lambrusco could be perfect for an after-work type of drink or a starter course at dinner.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanspetermeyer/"><strong>hans peter meyer</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6396 All Hail the United Kingdom of Wine! Sales Up 177% http://www.snooth.com/articles/all-hail-the-united-kingdom-of-wine-sales-up-177-percent/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>British supermarket Waitrose broke the news this week that English wines are making a fierce rise in the U.K.&#39;s wine market.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It wasn&#39;t so long ago that anyone who asked for a glass of English wine in a restaurant would have been met with blank looks,&rdquo; Olivia Williamson wrote this week in The Telegraph. &ldquo;But English wine is soaring in popularity, according to Waitrose, which has reported a 177 per cent increase in sales just this week.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Waitrose English and Welsh wine buyer Rebecca Hull, the nifty spike in sales is a microcosm of the hard work of the English wine industry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The success of English wine is a culmination of dedication and effort from some talented winemakers across the country who have gradually built the reputation of our wines from the ground up,&rdquo; Hull told Williamson.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Hull went on to say enthusiasm is building in the wine industry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We make some delicious, award-winning wines in this country and I can confidently say our range is packed full of true UK wine heroes,&rdquo; Hull said. &ldquo;There is a real momentum among the English wine industry right now, as new plantings come on stream and English winemakers perfect their art, so it&#39;s an exciting time to be involved in English wine and we&#39;re truly excited about the future.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Williamson went on to give a primer on English wine, listing three of the country&#39;s well-known vineyards: Denbies and Nyetimber, Chapel Down and Three Choirs.</div><br /> <br /> In the past 10 years, she said, the total vineyard acreage in English rose from 2,000 acres to 4,500 acres.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;While there are red, white and ros&eacute; English offerings, it is the sparkling wine many have been raving about,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;The chalky soil of southern English regions such as Sussex and Kent is similar to that of France&#39;s Champagne region and is perfect for growing vines.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earlier this year, Court Garden winery&#39;s 2010 Blanc de Noirs snagged a gold medal at the 2015 International Wine Challenge.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Williamson also pointed out Winston Estate&#39;s 2011 Ros&eacute; won a gold medal at the Decanter Wine Awards, the Drinks Business Rose Awards and the Sommelier Awards.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The significant increase in English wine purchases is an encouraging sign ahead of English Wine Week, which will take place May 23-31.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Williamson, &ldquo;certain vineyards will be offering tours and tastings to visitors and many retail outlets will be hosting in store activities and special offers.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://scontent-mad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/215991_336875199753858_500533063_n.jpg?oh=1f92050ff961d3dbfe95b0456e12f5a1&amp;oe=55999A89"><strong>Court Garden Wine Facebook Page</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6387 NYT Reviews Documentary About Italian Wine Industry http://www.snooth.com/articles/nyt-reviews-documentary-about-italian-wine-industry/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>One wine-loving filmmaker is doing his part to promote artisanal winemaking.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earlier this week, The New York Times film critic Ben Kenigsberg reviewed &ldquo;Natural Resistance&rdquo;, a film by directors Jonathan Nossiter and Paula Prandini which follows the natural-wine movement in Italy.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Mr. Nossiter&#39;s main point is that traditional farming methods have become revolutionary in a country that, we&#39;re told, has grown progressively less agrarian,&rdquo; Kenigsberg wrote. &ldquo;Mr. Nossiter champions that activism in this mellow, unfocused film.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the description provided on the film&#39;s uniFrance page, the movie shows how natural-wine creators &ldquo;have transformed the concept of wine, along with its market, by producing what&#39;s known as &#39;natural&#39; wine. Their desire for freedom, passing down knowledge, honest traditions and the planet&#39;s &hellip; health has led them to resist.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That resistance, Kenigsberg said, is focused on &ldquo;chemicals in winemaking.&rdquo; The film&#39;s protagonists also &ldquo;complain of standards set by the European Union,&rdquo; he wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Kenigsberg&#39;s review takes a tepid tone, launching subtle salvos without the bite of negative adjectives.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He referenced Nossiter&#39;s previous wine film, Mondovino, a lengthy look at wine&rsquo;s globalization.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Anyone who sat through &#39;Mondovino&#39; &ndash; later cut into a 10-hour series shown at the Museum of Modern Art &ndash; will be familiar with the filmmaker&#39;s personal, rambling style and his habit of fixing his camera on adorable panting dogs,&rdquo; Kenigsberg wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He goes on to highlight Stefano Bellotti, the film&#39;s liveliest character.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Late in the film, he grabs a shovel and compares the soil of a next-door neighbor&#39;s vineyard with that of his own,&rdquo; he said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Hollywood Reporter also reviewed the film when it first opened.</div><br /> <br /> Critic Deborah Young said the film &ldquo;offers a glimmer hope&rdquo; that something good is happening in the wine world.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Nossiter interviews small Italian wine-growers who doggedly refuse to treat their grapes with chemicals and pesticides or alter them in the keg, though paradoxically their natural methods are often at loggerheads with local and European directives.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Young&#39;s review is more generous than Kenigsberg&rsquo;s.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&#39;s a timely topic shot around picnic tables with friends and tramping through vineyards from Tuscany to Piedmont, as thought-provoking as it is informal,&rdquo; she wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Nossiter&#39;s personal website, the film debuted at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;A meditation on rebellion in agriculture and culture, it was first released in Italy and in France and distribution will follow in 2015 in the UK, US and elsewhere,&rdquo; Nossiter&#39;s site said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/picdrop/"><strong>picdrops</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6390 Wine Comedian's Snicker-Inducing Tasting Notes Featured on HuffPo http://www.snooth.com/articles/wine-comedians-snicker-inducing-tasting-notes-featured-on-huffpo/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>These wine descriptions aren&#39;t the usual &ldquo;floral hints and notes of melon.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Huffington Post recently featured the hijinks of comedian Jeff Wysaski, a jokester whose trademark gag is planting jokes in public places. In the case of the HuffPo article, Wysaski planted fake tasting notes at a neighborhood liquor store.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;If you&#39;re trying to find the best wine to go with unemployment, or you&#39;re attempting to reach a level of &#39;suburban mom drunk,&#39; Wysaski has the perfect suggestions for you,&rdquo; reporter Carly Ledbetter wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The article then highlighted an octet of fake wine labels both hilarious and outlandish, with some expressing with precision the oft-veiled sentiments of the average wine drinker.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As alluded to earlier in the article, Wysaski&#39;s description of a gold-and-white labeled California wine reads: &ldquo;Guaranteed to get you &#39;suburban mom drunk&#39;.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The &ldquo;Pairs nicely with&rdquo; section of the notes reads: &ldquo;Nabisco 100-calorie packs, episodes of Desperate Housewives and embarrassing your daughter in front of her friends.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Following the suburban sipper was what can be assumed to be a wine from New Jersey, which the comedian lauded, saying, &ldquo;Probably the only good thing ever to come out of New Jersey.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wysaski removed his tongue from his cheek long enough to offer this &ldquo;Pairs nicely with&rdquo;: &ldquo;red meat and moving to New York.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Garden State prejudices aside, Wysaski took his shots at divorce as he described a French Champagne, saying that &ldquo;the celebration of finally signing those divorce papers will taste all (the) more sweeter with this savory Champagne,&rdquo; adding that the sparkler pairs nicely with &ldquo;&#39;Congratulations&#39; sheet cakes and starting over.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> The cheeky jokester then undertook the age-old racket of teenagers fishing for booze-buyers in the parking lot of liquor stores.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Bought this for some underage teens in the parking lot and they seemed to like it,&rdquo; Wysaski&#39;s custom notes read underneath a bottle of Washington wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Pairs nicely with: making an easy $10,&rdquo; the pairing notes read.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Of one wine Wysaski said, &ldquo;Not sure about the taste, but the broken bottle works great as a weapon for keeping deadly Night Orcs from stealing your gold.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Other wine labels made references to getting tipsy on Chardonnay at work, using Merlot as part of a death ritual and a drunk pet goat with an apparent affinity for 5-star red wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photos from the comedian&#39;s Facebook page reveal a variety of signs, ads and flyers laced with Wysaski sometimes witty, sometimes woeful humor.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/408056/slide_408056_5114074_free.jpg"><strong>Obvious Plant Tumblr Page</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6389 Brain Games: Can Marketing Change The Mind of Cheap-Wine Champions? http://www.snooth.com/articles/brain-games-can-marketing-change-the-mind-of-cheap-wine-champions/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Turns out cheap wines marketed well can literally change your mind.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This week the American Marketing Association released the results of a study in which researchers discovered that wine drinkers who quaff under the impression the cheap wines they&#39;re consuming are expensive ones actually undergo a biological change.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Research has shown that preconceived beliefs may create a placebo effect so strong that the actual chemistry of the brain changes,&rdquo; a summary statement on website Science Daily said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The research is interesting in that previous studies had shown that consumers experience a higher level of enjoyment when they think the wine their sipping or the food they&#39;re eating is more expensive than it actually is.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;However, almost no research has examined the neural and psychological processes required for such marketing placebo effects to occur,&rdquo; said Hilke Lassmann and Bernd Weber, two researchers on the project.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In other words, scientists knew enjoyment went up in cases where subjects thought they were eating high-priced goods, but they didn&#39;t know if it was a matter of simple trickery or if the chemical processes in the brain changed.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All it took to find out, according to the Science Daily story, was three labels of cheap wine at two price points masquerading as five bottles of fine and not-so-fine wine with fictional price tags of $90, $45, $35, $10 and $5.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Participants showed significant effect of price and taste prejudices, both in how they rated the taste as well as in their measurable brain activity,&rdquo; the article said.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The results of the survey showed chemical changes do take place, but the level to which those changes took place was a matter of the person drinking and not the marketing strategy, the researchers said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The authors were able to further determine that people who were strong reward-seekers or who were low in physical self-awareness were also more susceptible to having their experience shaped by prejudices about the product,&rdquo; the Science Daily story said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The researchers also conducted tests with milkshakes which were supposedly &ldquo;organic&rdquo;, &ldquo;light&rdquo;, and normal.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Understand the underlying mechanisms of this placebo effect provides marketers with powerful tools,&rdquo; Lassmann and Weber said at the conclusion of the Science Daily story. &ldquo;Marketing actions can change the very biological processes underlying a purchasing decision, making the effect very powerful indeed.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/38191914@N00/"><strong>TESFox</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6388 Business Insider: Iowa Loves White Wine, Texans Prefer French http://www.snooth.com/articles/business-insider-iowa-loves-white-wine-texans-prefer-french/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The Frencher, the better, say Texan wine drinkers.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Tuesday, Business Insider reporter April Walloga explored the results of a recent survey in which Americans across the country answered questions about their wine buying habits.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Even occasional wine drinkers have a preference when it comes to red or white wines,&rsquo; Walloga wrote at the beginning of her article. &ldquo;But have you ever wondered how your state&rsquo;s drinking habits stack up to, say, California or New York?&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Walloga then proceeded to provide commentary for a series of maps indicating the preferences for all but a few states in the union.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Walloga&rsquo;s article, the United States&rsquo; biggest white wine fans live in Iowa, where 49 percent of purchases were white wine purchases. Nebraska and Kansas (48 percent) followed behind in a close second, with New York and North Dakota (47 percent) taking the bronze medal.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Michigan was the least friendly toward white wine, with only 37 percent of wine purchasing being the pale stuff.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> On the flip side of the cork, Michigan residents also love their wines. The survey reported that 58 percent of wine purchases were reds, which tied Michigan with Alabama and North Carolina.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pennsylvania took the second spot with 57 percent of wine purchases being red. Massachusetts is also red-friendly at a rate of 56 percent.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Walloga&rsquo;s article also included a map which indicated states whose purchases were comprised of domestic wines as opposed to international quaffers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Iowa, Kansas, New York, and Maine have the highest domestic wine buying power, while Texas has the least,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s interesting that California ranks near the middle &hellip; considering the scope of its wine-making industry.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> She then reveals that Texas is home to the Frenchiest of the country&rsquo;s wine drinkers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Texas has the largest appetite for French wines, and in general the west coast buys a lot more French wines than eastern states like New York and Maine,&rdquo; she wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As for Italian wines, the Roman quaffers have no place in New England nor parts of the Bread Basket, Walloga said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The northeast and midwest have virtually no taste for Italian wines,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;But the southeast&rsquo;s Italian wine-buying habits are on par with the center and west coast states.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Her article also noted that California is the country&rsquo;s top wine-buying state, accounting for more than 15 percent of the study&rsquo;s recorded wine sales.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/angelocesare/"><strong>Angelo Amboldi</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6384 Sparklers Win at South Korea International Expo http://www.snooth.com/articles/sparklers-win-at-south-korea-international-expo/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The bubbly stuff&rsquo;s influence on the world&rsquo;s palates seems to have no end.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Monday Business Korea reported the results of a blind tasting event tailored for members of the hospitality industry at the 13th annual Seoul International Wine and Spirits Expo. The results? Sparklers win.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Even light drinkers give two thumbs up. As sparkling wines are sweet and refreshing with a natural fizz, more and more wine lovers drink them,&rdquo; reporter Cho Jin-young wrote. &ldquo;The fact that a growing number of wine lovers are turning to sparkling wines was proven once again at the 13th Seoul International Wine &amp; Spirits Expo.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A Korean wine distribution company held the tasting, at which Italian wines were a hit.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;When visitors had a sip of the sparkling wines imported from Italy, they were impressed with the taste,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;In, particular the (organizer) announced that it took first place with a high marks in the sparkling wine blind taste test.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Jin-young&rsquo;s story, 50 people participated in the blind tasting.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The group was from &ldquo;diverse occupational clusters, including hotel employees, restaurant managers, wine clubs, students majoring in hotel management, sommeliers, housewives and overseas buyers&rdquo; who &ldquo;selected sparkling wines as the best wines for their excellent taste, flavor and smooth &hellip; feel on the throat when swallowing.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Event organizer Kim Min-jae said Korea&rsquo;s home-grown wine market is increasing and the sparklers could play a role in the expansion.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The domestic wine market is expanding day by day, and an increasing number of people are turning to sparkling wines because they are refreshing &hellip; with a great taste different from conventional white and red wines,&rdquo; Min-jae said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> The article went on to make some questionable claims about sparkling wine, perhaps losing some of its original intent in the translation from Korean to English.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Among the dubious assertions were, &ldquo;Sparkling wines are being introduced as natural wines without synthetic preservatives or sorbic acid &hellip; so there is no ingredient toxic to the system,&rdquo; and, &ldquo;sparkling wines &hellip; have no hangover the next day even with excessive consumption.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The article also noted the tasting organizers recommended &ldquo;sparkling wines with the light brown color of Moscato grapes&rdquo;.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the story, &ldquo;Sparkling wines go well with Tex-Mex, including seafood and pasta, Indian, Thai and Chinese Sichuan Cuisine.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Additionally, sparkling wine &ldquo;is effective in not only preventing aging but also stimulating appetite and metabolism,&rdquo; the article said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/megs_pics/"><strong>Megan Cole</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6383 Investors Gobbling Up Argentina’s Vineyard Parcels http://www.snooth.com/articles/investors-gobbling-up-argentina-ys-vineyard-parcels/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The worlds of wine and money are colliding in Argentina&rsquo;s famed Mendoza region.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past week, Bloomberg News bureau chief Dan Cancel explored the emergence of foreign investment in the region famous for its Malbec. Cancel, a financial writer, dove into the depths of real estate and investment, beginning with the insights of one of the region&rsquo;s winemakers.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;As an autumn chill settles over the country, the harvested vineyards mottling yellow and russet, Jose Manuel Ortega&rsquo;s winery rises amid snow-capped Andean foothills,&rdquo; Cancel wrote. &ldquo;Inside, Ortega is holding forth on why the poetry of a Malbec yields to the prose of healthy profits.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ortega is one of many landowners in Mendoza selling off pieces of their land, Cancel wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While Argentine government-issued bonds and stocks are providing handsome returns, investors are pouring their money into Mendoza as alternative to the grapeless bonds and stocks.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;A secondary market has emerged for plots of Mendoza, world capital for Malbec, whose opaque purple grapes thrive at high altitudes and yield a plummy, inky wine with a smoky finish,&rdquo; Cancel wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the story, Ortega&rsquo;s plots of land are going for $60,000 per acre. The number may sound high, but Cancel said the price tag is cheap compared to what you&rsquo;d pay for a slice of Napa Valley land.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cancel then highlighted an American investor who went to Mendoza&rsquo;s Uco Valley and created the Vines of Mendoza vineyard project, where investors can purchase plots of land and start their own vineyards.</div><br /> <br /> He&rsquo;s invested $60 million in the 1,500 acres he owns, the story said. His land features a &ldquo;luxury resort where rooms go for as much as $2,000 a night.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Cancel, more than 75 percent of Vines of Mendoza&rsquo;s plots have sold. The rush for Argentine land might be good for those selling plots, Cancel said, but it&rsquo;s causing problems in certain areas of the industry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Winemakers have had to contend with import restrictions, workers&rsquo; salary demands of 40 percent annual wage hikes to meet inflation and multiple exchange rates,&rsquo; He said. &ldquo;Oak barrels have been held up at customs.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Despite the downside and the potential risk of investing in Mendoza&rsquo;s wine-friendly earth, real estate investor Bret Rosen told Cancel the investment &ndash; compared to shares or bonds &ndash; is worth it.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;As a foreigner, there&rsquo;s a romantic vision of having a vineyard in Argentina,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And if the project goes sour the land will still have value, which isn&rsquo;t always the case for buying company shares or government bonds.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/187755/cheap-wine-land-is-appealing-to-foreigners"><strong>xxxx</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6382 Wine Blogger Says U.S. Eateries Can Learn From Japan’s Wine Lists http://www.snooth.com/articles/wine-blogger-says-u-s-eateries-can-learn-from-japan-ys-wine-lists/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Who hasn&rsquo;t cracked open a wine list, only to be overwhelmed by a list of wines whose lack of brevity makes them seem like a vino version of the Code of Hammurabi?&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past week, well-known wine blogger W. Blake Gray proposed a novel solution for wine list saturation simplify, Japanese-style. Gray used examples from his own restaurant experiences in Japan to illustrate his point.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Sake could be nearly as complicated to choose from a list as wine,&rdquo; he wrote this past week. &ldquo;But in Japan, it&rsquo;s easier to order than beer.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Blake noticed that most Japanese restaurants had a limited choice of sake&rsquo;s from which to choose &ndash; some restaurants had three or four, an interesting situation considering the nation&rsquo;s love for the drink.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Most restaurants, even fine ones, have only a few sakes on the list,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;We stayed in a terrific gourmet ryokan in Izukogen that had only four sakes, and one was sold out.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In the case of the Izukogen restaurant, there was cheap option, a local option and the expensive option.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We chose the local brew, which is of course what they want; the idea is that it goes with the local ingredients,&rdquo; he wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Even restaurants who specialize in sake &ndash; Tokyo&rsquo;s Teppen, for example &ndash; offer a limited array.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It had three pages of sakes,&rdquo; Blake wrote about the restaurant&#39;s sake list. &ldquo;But two pages listed 3 sakes each with extensive descriptions, and one listed 9 with shorter descriptions.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Blake wondered if this calculated brevity could catch on in the United States. It&rsquo;s possible, he said &ndash; West Coast establishments have for a long time borrowed ideas from Japanese kitchens.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;California restaurants have been taking culinary cues from Japan for years, in ingredients, technique and even actual dishes,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;Twenty years ago it was sushi; now there&rsquo;s a ramen craze. I wonder if there&rsquo;s something U.S. restaurants can learn from their wine lists from Japan&rsquo;s sake choice philosophy.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Blake closed his post with a brief discussion about the implications of shorter wine lists at restaurants in the United States.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He pointed out that the Japanese philosophy emphasizes sake choices made before the restaurant opens. Effort is put into writing helpful descriptions &ldquo;that allow us to learn about our choices without having to ask about every wine on the list.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The advantage? Diners get to focus on what&rsquo;s on their plate, not what&rsquo;s in their glass.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Ordering is faster and less fraught with potential regret, and diners can concentrate on the reason they came: the food,&rdquo; he wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/halfrain/"><strong>halfrain</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6379 South African Chard Takes Crown of World’s Best at French Competition http://www.snooth.com/articles/south-african-chard-takes-crown-of-world-ys-best-at-french-competition/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The Groot Constantia wine estate is a long way from France.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That didn&rsquo;t stop the winery from sending shock waves from Europe to Africa when it was announced the estate&rsquo;s 2013 Chardonnay won the title of world&rsquo;s best Chardonnay at the 22nd annual Chardonnay du Monde competition this past March in Burgundy.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Beating more than 800 other entrants from across the globe to be judged best overall, Groot Constantia&rsquo;s 2013 Chardonnay proudly represented South Africa as one of only two chardonnays from South Africa to feature in the top 56 and to receive a gold medal,&rdquo; a press release from the winery said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Groot boss said the chardonnay has always been an &ldquo;overachiever.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The wine also finished in the top 10 in the 2014 competition.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Groot viticulturist Floricius Beukes said the chardonnay has Mother Nature to thank for its strong performances at competitions.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The summer breezes from the Atlantic Ocean have a big impact on our vineyards, keeping them healthy and retaining the &hellip; fruit character,&rdquo; Beukes said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the competition&rsquo;s website, the Groot chardonnay beat out 12 other wines in the top-10 (there were three ties).</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada and upstart winemaker Hungary each had one wine in the top 10, while France had seven wines in the top group.</div><br /> <br /> Australia&rsquo;s DB Reserve Chardonnay 2013 took second place, while Switzerland&#39;s Chardonnay de Peissy Eleve en fut de Chene 2012 took third. Brazil&rsquo;s Casa Valduga Leopoldina Gran Chardonnay Do Vale Dos Vinhedos 2013 took fourth, while France&rsquo;s Champagne Bertrand-Lapie Millesime Brut 2009 rounded out the top five.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to a competition press release, this is the first time Hungary and Brazil snagged spots on the top-10 list.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The 2015 Top 10 propose the diversity of the expressions of Chardonnay wines through still wines, wines with residual sugars and Sparkling wines,&rdquo; the competition press release said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Each of the wines listed in the top 10 won gold medals. Overall, the competition&#39;s judges handed out 56 gold medals, 196 silver medals and 23 bronze medals.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> France took home the most medals, with 30 golds, 103 silvers and eight bronzes. South African came in second on the overall-medals list with 15: a pair of golds and 13 silvers.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> More than 800 wines from 41 countries were tasted by a panel of 300 &ldquo;international expert judges,&rdquo; the competition&rsquo;s press release said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenny-pics/"><strong>Jenny Downing</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6380 To Dry Farm or Not to Dry Farm? Napa Winemakers Answer http://www.snooth.com/articles/to-dry-farm-or-not-to-dry-farm-napa-winemakers-answer/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>California&rsquo;s brutal drought has led winemakers across the state to consider agricultural methods which decrease water use.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One of those methods is known as &ldquo;dry farming&rdquo;, and this past week The Press Democrat reporter Bill Swindell spoke with several Napa winemakers on both sides of the dry farming debate. Some agree with the practice, he said, and some don&rsquo;t.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;North Coast grape growers have been a popular point of focus as well as contention,&rdquo; Swindell wrote. &ldquo;In fact, an ongoing debate over the centuries-old practice of dry framing highlights the increasing pressure the industry faces.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Dry farming is what it sounds like &ndash; grape growers don&rsquo;t use irrigation for their vines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Proponents of dry farming note that drip irrigations can overly protect the vine from stress needed to produce top-quality wines, delay the development of full flavors until later in the growing season and result in wines with higher alcohol content,&rdquo; he wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Detractors of the method say the practice is fantastic in areas like Napa where the soil holds moisture well,&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;For others, the practice is ideal, but not feasible to be widespread throughout the area&rsquo;s diverse landscape, especially in areas where the soil is sandy and vineyard roots are not deep, such as hillsides,&rdquo; Swindell wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Furthermore, he said, &ldquo;research has shown that dry farming can reduce a crop yield significantly, bringing serious economic consequences.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Iron Horse Ranch Operations Manager Laurence Sterling noted that his would &ldquo;be too stressed&rdquo; to rely on dry farming because the vineyard&rsquo;s earth is sandy and vines only go down five feet.</div><br /> <br /> Other winemakers are looking for hybrid methods of water conservation, Swindell pointed out. Winemaker Mike Benziger has used high-tech monitoring systems to decide when and how much to water his plants.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve devised a weekly irrigation plan,&rdquo; Benziger told Swindell. &ldquo;We were able to look at it drop by drop.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Benziger&rsquo;s winery has been able to cut their water consumption from 90-100 gallons per vine to about 30. He also uses dry farming, the article said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Frog&rsquo;s Leap Winery boss John Williams has been dry farming his vines for more than 30 years.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He didn&rsquo;t say resistance to dry farming was futile, but Swindell did note that Williams compared the pushback to what organic farmers faced a few decades ago.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Williams said he sees resistance to dry farming similar to when organic grape farming came on the scene around 25 years ago,&rdquo; Swindell wrote. &ldquo;He noted that he&rsquo;s received around 26 inches of rain this growing season, twice as much as what he claims he needs.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/23155134@N06/"><strong>Don Graham</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6381 Canadian Invasion! Hockey Honchos Buy, Develop Washington Land http://www.snooth.com/articles/canadian-invasion-hockey-honchos-buy-develop-washington-land/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>A chunk of Washington wine growing land was just too tempting for one well known Canadian family.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Aquilini Investment Group, which bears the name of the family who owns the National Hockey League&rsquo;s Vancouver Canucks, has begun development of 690 acres of land on Red Mountain, a chunk of land included in the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Cab is king so cabernet, merlot, malbec, cab franc and even some syrah and just really high quality clones trying to find the right places for the right varieties and that&rsquo;s really what we&rsquo;re all about,&rdquo; Aquilini President Barry Olivier said in an interview with an Washington NBC affiliate.&ldquo;This was a great opportunity to invest and build something special down here.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the NBC story, the investment plans to build a winery, plant vines, and also dabble in apple orchards, blueberries and cherries.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Then investment group first heard about the chunk of prime grape-growing earth in 2013 when they discovered parcels of land &ndash; 31, to be exact -- were going to be auctioned off that November.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Kris Watkins, the CEO and president of the local tourism board, said he hopes the Canadian investment group will build a tasting room, presumably to bring more visitors to the area.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;The investor has purchased some of the most premiere wine land, grape producing land in the entire state of Washington and for that matter very well known throughout the nation and internationally, so my hopes would be that they would also build a world-class tasting room to accompany their investment,&rdquo; Watkins told the NBC affiliate.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Aquilini Investment Group plans to plant about 1000 acres of grapes, the story said, and anticipate that their first wines will come out in 2018.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fernanda Lopez, a reporter with the NBC affiliate, talked with Olivier on the Red Mountain property, an interview which was featured with the story.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Red Mountain is a gently sloping low-profile &ldquo;mountain&rdquo;. In the video, the viewer can see various types of earthmoving equipment roaming in the background.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Olivier said the first vines should go into the ground this week.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re just pleased to be down here and being part of the Washington wine industry. We want to be in the business of cultivating land and grapes,&rdquo; Olivier said as the earthmovers crawled across the ground behind him, &ldquo;and nurturing those grapes into wine,&rdquo; Olivier said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/"><strong>Bureau of Land Management</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6378