Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Mon, 04 May 2015 18:53:21 -0400 Mon, 04 May 2015 18:53:21 -0400 Snooth Sokolin, He of the Broken Margaux, Dies at 85 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=""><strong>jon jordan</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6394 Forbes Launches Series of Wine Tips For Business Executives 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=""><strong>hans peter meyer</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6396 Europeans Love Their Low Cal Wine, Americans Say “No Thank You” 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=""><strong>Didriks</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6395 NY Times’ Asimov Lauds Growth of Muscadet Wines, Open Discussion 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=""><strong>collectmoments</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6393 All Hail the United Kingdom of Wine! Sales Up 177% 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=";oe=55999A89"><strong>Court Garden Wine Facebook Page</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6387 Wine Comedian's Snicker-Inducing Tasting Notes Featured on HuffPo 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=""><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? 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=""><strong>TESFox</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6388 NYT Reviews Documentary About Italian Wine Industry 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=""><strong>picdrops</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6390 Business Insider: Iowa Loves White Wine, Texans Prefer French 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=""><strong>Angelo Amboldi</strong></a>, <a href=""><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 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=""><strong>Megan Cole</strong></a>, <a href=""><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 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=""><strong>xxxx</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6382 South African Chard Takes Crown of World’s Best at French Competition 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=""><strong>Jenny Downing</strong></a>, <a href=""><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 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=""><strong>Don Graham</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6381 Wine Blogger Says U.S. Eateries Can Learn From Japan’s Wine Lists 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=""><strong>halfrain</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6379 Canadian Invasion! Hockey Honchos Buy, Develop Washington Land 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=""><strong>Bureau of Land Management</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6378 OIV Boss Gives State of Global Wine Industry Speech James Duren <p>Earlier this week the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) Director General Jean-Marie Aurand gave his wine industry version of the State of The Union speech, summarizing the numbers from 2014 and giving a brief overview of 2015&rsquo;s early &nbsp;harvest numbers.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to a press release from the OIV released yesterday from Paris, 2014 saw a slight increase in area under vine, wine production leveled off after prolific 2013 and global wine consumption took a small hit.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In terms of wine production, the press release said the French and the Germans celebrated banner years.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In Europe, France and Germany recorded huge increases of 11%,&rdquo; the press release said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Meanwhile, perennial wine superpower Italy saw a drop, along with Romania and Spain. The release noted Italy&rsquo;s production fell 17%, Romania&rsquo;s production fell 20% and Spain&rsquo;s production fell 9% in comparison to 2013&rsquo;s numbers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> New World wine producers fared well, the release said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Outside Europe, the United States (22.3 mhl) and South Africa (11.3 mhl) maintained good levels of production,&rdquo; Aurand pointed out in his presentation. &ldquo;Production stabilises in Argentina (15.1 mhl) and saw a slight decrease in Australia (12 mhl). New Zealand&rsquo;s record production (3.2 mhl) should also be highlighted.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Among New World producers, Chile suffered significantly, seeing a 10.3% drop from 2013 numbers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The press release also noted that China saw a 5% drop in production.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> World wine consumption also dropped, the release said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;(The) 2014 world wine consumption is estimated at 240 mhl, a decrease of 2.4 mhl compared with 2013,&rdquo; the release said. &ldquo;The traditional consumer countries resumed their downward trend (or stagnation), to the advantage of new consumer countries both in Europe and in the rest of the world.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While both consumption numbers and production numbers dropped in 2014, the OIV reported that numbers were up for international wine trade.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In 2014, the world wine trade increased by 2.6% compared with 2013 in terms of volume, but stayed at the same value,&rdquo; the release said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The OIV also noted sparkling wine exports were up by 1% and that there were increases in the export of bulk wines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The OIV press release concluded with early harvest numbers form the Southern Hemisphere.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Early estimates of wine production in the southern hemisphere lead us to anticipate a slight reduction in 2014 of around 3% compared with 2014, placing it within the range of 53 to 57 mhl,&rdquo; the release said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=";oe=55D97394"><strong>OIV Facebook Page</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6371 Top Ten Spring Wines Under $25 <p><div><br /> How brutal was winter? Just forget it. Forget how cold it was, forget how much snow you had. Let your mouth tell you as your brain convinces you to push past cases of luscious and full-bodied red wines that are aching for you. I&rsquo;m reaching past them, into the remnants of mixed cases for the delightful wines of summer. Patio wines, front stoop wines, sushi and Thai takeout, pasta and fish wines. BBQ wines. Wines for warm weather. Which is your pleasure? Here is a list of wines you don&rsquo;t want to miss, all under $25 per bottle. Here we go!</div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /> <a href=""><strong>Anne Amie Vinyards 2014 Cuv&eacute;e A Amrita</strong></a>, Carlton, OR. $15 per bottle, 13.2% ABV.<br /> <div><br /> Winemaker Thomas Houseman&rsquo;s tribute to vinho verde, this is an under-the-radar Willamette Valley delight! A six-wine blend with (grapes listed from most-to-least) Pinot Blanc, M&uuml;ller-Thurgau, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, Gew&uuml;rztraminer) from four vineyards in the Willamette AVA, this wine shows delightful aromatics of wildflowers, lavender, and honeysuckle along with a pale gold hue. In the mouth, it awakens the palate with an unusual approach of fresh berries, pear, pineapple, starfruit, apricot and quince. Far more fun than my usually desired Bordeaux blends, and unequalled in essence. &lsquo;Amrita&rsquo; means ambrosia- as in the nectar of the gods. I think they got this name right. Have a friend that loves white wine? This is the perfect gift bottle.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Eyrie Vineyards 2013 Pinot Blanc</strong></a>, Dundee Hills, OR $21/Bottle, 12.5% ABV.</div><br /> <div><br /> If you think this wine resembles Alsace, you&rsquo;re right. Aromatic flowers and fruit on the nose while the palate coasts along showing delicate expressions of apricot, passion fruit and young golden delicious apples. With a delightfully long finish that gently reveals the minerals of the Willamette Valley, you might forget where you are while drinking this but you won&rsquo;t forget to come back for more.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir, 2013</strong></a>. Southern CA. $22 per bottle, 13.8% ABV.</div><br /> <div><br /> Rich garnet, with the hue and scent of dried cranberries was my first impression. A mixture of boysenberry, cherry cola, mature red plum and soft leather followed, with a sense of creaminess and luxurious texture passing the mid and top palate. Notes of potting soil, vanilla spiced toast, and clay were exhibited on the expansive finish. This blend of pinot from Monterey, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties may be the best that southern Cali has to offer, certainly at this price point.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Brooks 2012 Riesling</strong></a>, Willamette Valley, OR. $20 per bottle, 11.5% ABV.</div><br /> <div><br /> A luscious, dry Riesling with subtle aromas for the refined palate. Apple, pear and gentler lime and kiwi round out to a smooth blend. Austere, singular in precision- a beautiful balance of fruit, acidity and minerality, with the citrus and acidity maintaining throughout the finish.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Clos Du Val 2012 Chardonnay</strong></a>, Napa, CA. $19 per bottle, 14% ABV.</div><br /> <div><br /> This classic never fails to please! Green fruit on the nose with bold citrus in the mouth, and a finish with vanilla and gently toasted oak. The 2011 and 2012 vintages can still be found in stores for $10 below the current 2013 offering, so grab them while you can. Surf&rsquo;s up!&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Red Newt Cellars Circle Riesling</strong></a>, 2012 Finger Lakes, NY. $14 per bottle, 11% ABV.</div><br /> <div><br /> A nose like a fruit bowl with honeysuckle, apricot, and white peach. In the mouth, lemon-lime, orange peel, and green apple with a tinge of residual sugar are focused together with good, crisp acidity making you forget the wine is off-dry. An excellent sense of minerals- limestone, schist, granite, and a touch of salinity on the medium finish, leaves your mouth wanting more. This is a decidedly good example of both Seneca Lake and the entire New York Finger Lakes region at a very reasonable price.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Gazela Vinho Verde</strong></a>, DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal. $6 per bottle, 9% ABV.</div><br /> <div><br /> Greenish yellow tint, with lime and daffodil on the nose. Tart lime, granny smith apple peel, and fleshy white peach undertones round out the palate with tiny bubbles. Delightfully fresh and tasty, and you simply can&rsquo;t beat the price.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Seven White Blend 2014, Airlie Winery</strong></a>, Monmouth, OR. $15 per bottle, 11.9% ABV.</div><br /> <div><br /> I had low expectations but was actually highly impressed tasting winemaker Elizabeth Clark&rsquo;s refined and delightful Seven White Blend! &nbsp;Clark says that keeping a blend consistent from year to year is challenging, and while there will be subtle variances in fruit profile, that the fruit-to-acid ratio is the key and always stays the same- providing the same wine profile wine with faint differences. It works, but don&rsquo;t take my word for it- with such a fun, and lovely wine at a low price per bottle, you won&rsquo;t have enough to compare to next season unless you purchase by the case. &nbsp;A white wine lover&rsquo;s go-to, you should find some before its gone.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Union Wine Company Underwood Ros&eacute;</strong></a>, (No Vintage) Sherwood, OR. $7 per can, $12 per 750ml bottle.</div><br /> <div><br /> Talk about alternate enclosure? The Union Wine Company is selling what I thought initially to be a sales gimmick, but what has turned out to be a game changer. Ros&eacute; in a can! Yes, 375 ml cans (about 12.7ounces) are popping up everywhere that glass isn&lsquo;t allowed: boats, beaches, golf courses, poolside- you name it! Featuring the summery flavors of strawberry, watermelon and ripe yellow peach, this pale pink wine is making quite a splash in places that glass is frowned upon. Along with their other canned wines, Ryan Harm&rsquo;s Union Wine Company is trailblazing with some tasty products.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Saving the best for last, so where is the sparkling? What is a list of summer fun without sparkling? Choose your favorite poison: &nbsp;Champagne, Cr&eacute;mant, Cava, Prosecco. Get your bubbles on! But I&rsquo;m going to suggest you try something outside your comfort range. For the summer heat and the grill this summer, instead of breaking out that big bold red, try a big bubbly red! Go Lambrusco!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Cavicchiloi Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Robanera</strong></a>, Modena, Italy. $17 per bottle, 9.5% ABV. Powerful red fruit, effervescent and refreshingly dry. Perfect to complement full flavors such as grilled meats or spicy sauces.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &Agrave; votre sant&eacute;!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Jim vanBergen is a spirited neighborhood sommelier, wine blogger, and an established oenophile with a small cult following. Read his blog JvBUnCorked at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>. On Twitter: <a href=""><strong>@jvbuncorked</strong></a></em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6365 Winemakers Use Technology To Photograph Wine’s “Soul” James Duren <p>Some cultures believe a photograph steals your soul. For a group of vintners in California, photos reveal &ndash; not steal &ndash; the soul of their wines.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to a an article earlier this month in the Pacific Coast Business Times, winemakers are using new technology to measure the compounds which make up the &ldquo;soul&rdquo; of wines, resulting in a data-driven &ldquo;photograph&rdquo; of their vino.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;They can run a test in less than 15 minutes that tells them the levels of phenols related to color, mouthfeel and structure,&rdquo; reporter Tom Bronzini wrote. &ldquo;The test also reveals a property known as bound color.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Paso Robles winemaker Kevin Sass said this special color is what winemakers consider wine&rsquo;s soul.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;That bound color has been seen in the phenolic world as the soul of wine,&rdquo; Sass said. &ldquo;So the more you have of that the bigger the wine feels on your palate, the sweeter (in texture) it feels, the richer it feels and probably most importantly, it&rsquo;s shown that the wine ultimately lasts longer by have that level higher.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the Business Times, the photographing device in question is a syllable-heavy &ldquo;spectrophotometer&rdquo;, which uses ultraviolet light to analyze&rdquo; the wine. The test takes less than 15 minutes. Results are uploaded to a cloud system and are available within 1 minute of the test&rsquo;s completion.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> The spectrophotometer isn&rsquo;t just about the glamour shots, though. Winemakers are using it to gauge other important data.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Winemakers are using the device to analyze &ldquo;phenolic levels in robust red wines like cabernet sauvignon and syrah to help them make more reliable decisions on when to separate the juice from skins and stems, and how to behind to achieve consistent structure in successive vintages,&rdquo; the article said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The two factors &ndash; bound color and phenolic level &ndash; aren&rsquo;t mutually exclusive, though. Bronzini said bound color is produced during fermentation and, working in concert with tannins, can determine whether a wine will get &ldquo;reserve&rdquo; status.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Free anthocyanins, related to color, bind with tannins in a one-to-one ratio to form &hellip; bond color,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;Along with flavor profiles, a high level of bound color in a red wine will make it a candidate for reserve status if the color and tannins are nicely balanced.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Bronzini&rsquo;s article, the testing is done before wine goes into oak.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It helps winemakers consistently achieve profiles they want for their tiers of wines,&rdquo; he said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>photoskate</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6375 Association Leader Talks South African Wine With Financial Site James Duren <p>This past Friday Rico Basson, head of South African wine association VinPro, talked with reporter Andries van Zyl about the state or the South African industry.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Parts of the interview focused on VinPro, but there were several sections in the question-and-answer session which provided the average wine drinker some valuable insight into the South African wine world.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Basson told van Zyl one of the most important factors in South Africa&rsquo;s wine industry is the matter of quality.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I think the most important opportunity for the industry lies in the quality of the product, and the quality that is further added to almost every year,&rdquo; he said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That quality can help the country&rsquo;s international standing which, Basson said, has increased as the result of a lot of hard work. However, he said, it&rsquo;s time for the industry to consolidate their overseas position and make a bigger push.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I think the market place is part of the answer,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Specifically new markets like America, the strengthening of the position in Canada, and then of course the cluster of Africa and China.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Free trade agreements &ndash; New World pal Australia has made big strides with this &ndash; would be a big boost for the industry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Basson went on to say his organization is focusing their efforts on developing the talent of participants up and down the wine industry&rsquo;s supply chain.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;An issue we&rsquo;re focusing on at the moment is skills development. I think it stays a challenge,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There are already very good results from farm to management level. We see transformation &hellip; as an opportunity.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Basson said land reform is another important cog in the South African wine industry machine. The difficulty, he said, has been choosing the right model of land reform measures which can benefit the agriculture industry at large and the wine industry chain.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I think we learned from our failures and successes in the past, we have a very good idea of which models not to follow, but we also know there isn&rsquo;t a &lsquo;one size fits all&rsquo; solution,&rdquo; he said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Basson noted that part of the land reform includes the ever important issue of water and land acquisition.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Access to land and water, especially new opportunities, are also very important,&rdquo; Basson said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Van Zyl concluded the interview by asking Basson what the future looks like for South African wines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Wine tourism is a big driving factor for us, and I think there are still many opportunities within that sector for empowerment and on a commercial level as well,&rdquo; Basson said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Henry Scott</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6377 Tasting Revolution: Wash. Politician Pushes For College Wine Bill James Duren <p>Don&rsquo;t be surprised if you see a spike in wine program admissions next year at Washington Universities.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Friday Washington newspaper Kirkland Reporter published a press release from the office of Representative Larry Springer, who is backing House Bill 1004, a bill which will allow college students to participate in alcohol tasting &ldquo;for students at colleges or universities in our state training in specifically related degree programs.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the release, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law. The bill will &ldquo;go into effect 90 days after the conclusion of the legislative session.&rsquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Springer said he championed the bill because it&rsquo;s impossible to know the comprehensive quality of a wine if you can&rsquo;t taste it. Students training to be oenologists, sommeliers and other wine-related fields need to taste their wines, he asserted.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;As a local wine shop owner for almost 30 years, I know that it&rsquo;s impossible to tell if a wine is good or bad without tasting it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;For the future sommeliers, viticulturists and brewers of our state, learning how to properly taste the potential product is essential.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Allowing college students to taste wine, beer and spirits presents the age quandary: What about students who are younger than 21 years old?</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Springer&rsquo;s release said the bill has a provision for drinkers between the ages of 18 and 20.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Prior state law only permitted students over age 21 to taste alcohol in school,&rdquo; the Kirkland Reporter&rsquo;s story said. &ldquo;HB 1004 will permit schools who apply for and successfully obtain a special license from the liquor control board to allow students in sommelier, wine business, enology, and viticulture degree programs 18 &nbsp;years of age and older to taste alcohol.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In addition to being an integral part of wine, beer and spirits training of college students, the bill is a boost for the state&rsquo;s expanding wine industry in general, he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;These expansions have brought hundreds of career openings to our state. We need to make sure that young adults who want to fill these jobs, can,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This bill will allow Washington students to remain competitive in the job market.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Previously, according to 1 2013 article by The Seattle Times, Washington&rsquo;s Senate Bill 5774 allowed only community college students in these programs to taste, but they were required to spit their tipple rather than swallow it.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> At the time of the Times article, Washington&rsquo;s tasting laws lagged behind those of Oregon, Colorado and New York.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>KimManleyOrt</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6372