Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Fri, 29 May 2015 03:12:22 -0400 Fri, 29 May 2015 03:12:22 -0400 Snooth The Texas Wine Scene is Booming Christy Canterbury MW <p><div><br /> As the former National Wine Director for Smith &amp; Wollensky Restaurant Group, I love the line, &ldquo;A slab and a Cab, please.&rdquo; As a native Texan, I never would have thought Texan Cabernet would join cattle as one of the state&rsquo;s most prosperous crops. But it has, and I am thrilled to see Texan wine thrive. Surprised to hear that the Lone Star State makes wine? I bet you&rsquo;ll be even more surprised to learn that Texas began making wine 100 years before California.</div><br /> <br /> A state with such a long wine-growing history has seen its ups and downs. Like today, frost and water shortages have always posed threats to the wines. Humans wreaked havoc on vineyards, too. The Comanche and Apache Indians, Santa Anna (the &ldquo;Napoleon of the West&rdquo; and the President of Mexico when Texas declared independence in 1836) and the troops of the American Civil War inflicted both damage and neglect. Then came the Volstead Act. Prohibition was so devastating to Texas that it wasn&rsquo;t until 1976 that the state&rsquo;s first winery was created. It wasn&rsquo;t until the 1990s that the number of Texas wineries at last exceeded its pre-Prohibition number.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It turns out that Austin, the state&rsquo;s capital, most likely touted Texas as a good place to grow grapes in order to entice European settlers. The state&rsquo;s founding fathers, Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston were wine lovers. (Ship manifests say they strongly preferred French wines.) And it looks like that early propaganda may have been right. Today, Texas Hill Country, to the west of Austin, is one of the state&rsquo;s two major wine regions. In fact, Texas Hill Country is the second largest AVA in the USA! Though it covers 15,000 square miles, less than 4,000 acres are planted. It&rsquo;s hot, humid and parched there, and grape growing is tough. The terroir is often compared to that of Bandol.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Grape vines generally prefer the industry&rsquo;s other key region: the Texas High Plains in the Panhandle. Less than 1,000 acres are planted there, but they are arguably the state&rsquo;s best vineyards, thanks in part to elevation. The town of Lubbock sits at 3,265 feet. Mendoza, Argentina sits at only 2,448. The soils resemble Coonawarra&rsquo;s (Australia) iron oxide-rich terra rossa clays. There&rsquo;s also wine being made in Texoma (near the Oklahoma border in the east), Escondido Valley (south of the High Plains and west of Hill Country) and the Texas Davis Mountains (southwest of Escondido). Technically, the Mesilla Valley includes Texan dirt, but it is generally considered a New Mexico AVA.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While Texas is the fifth largest wine-producer in the Union, it can&rsquo;t yet keep up with demand. As such, some wineries (to the marked irritation of others) bring in grapes and juice from other places. These wines are labeled &ldquo;For Sale in Texas Only&rdquo;. If you see such bottles, know that you won&rsquo;t have a pure expression of Texas terroir. Make sure your bottle is marked simply &ldquo;Texas&rdquo; for the real deal. While there&rsquo;s Cabernet aplenty, along with your typical Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, the state&rsquo;s most dynamic and delicious wines are often made from lesser-known varieties. Tempranillo, Rh&ocirc;ne varieties, Tannat, Touriga Nacional, Vermentino, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier are all excellent bets. And, it&rsquo;s worth going out of your way to find the hybrid Blanc du Bois, which is made in styles varying as widely as crisp and fresh to oxidative and orange to sweet or fortified. Try any of these Texas beauties and you&rsquo;ll see the determination of these dedicated growers and winemakers to make great wine. The tagline &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t Mess with Texas&rdquo; holds strong!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Addendum: Our thoughts are with the people of Texas during this period of extreme weather. Cheers to a swift and easy recovery.</em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 28 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6464 Great White North: Gray Report Names Top 10 Northern Canadian Quaffers James Duren <p>Imbibe, aye!<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earlier this month, award-winning wine blog The Gray Report released its list of the 10 best wines from northern Canada, all of which, according to the post, are available to residents of the United States.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The best Canadian wines can definitely compete on the world stage,&rdquo; the post said. &ldquo;That said, unless you&rsquo;re reading this in Calgary, you&rsquo;ll probably never see them.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Report&rsquo;s list is based on the experience of writer W. Blake Gray, who was selected as a judge in the Northern Lands wine competition this past month in Edmonton.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;There were enough entries &ndash; 823 red wines, 733 whites, 27 other &ndash; that each flight was judged by more than one panel on more than one day,&rdquo; Gray wrote. &ldquo;Every judge left Edmonton having tasted all the top awards winners, giving us all a survey of what&rsquo;s going on up there in the Great White North.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gray then offered his general observations of the wines he tasted at the competition. Surprisingly, he said the country&rsquo;s Syrah was killing it.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Syrah is the best red varietal being made in Canada right now,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Not only did a Syrah deservedly win overall Best Red Wine; its runner-up could probably have won as well.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gray noted that Canada&rsquo;s white wines are limited to Rieslings; he chose a Pinot Gris for first place and a Chardonnay for second place.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Furthermore, he said, oenophiles can find great bargains within the Canadian wine world.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Top Canadian wines are good values,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;Of the 20 wines I rated 90 points and higher, four were under $20, only three were over $33, and none cost more than $40. And that&rsquo;s Canadian money.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gray then proceeded to reveal his list, which included seven reds &ndash; three Syrahs, a Cab Franc, two Merlots and a Pinot Noir &ndash; and three whites: a pair of Pinot Gris offerings and a Chardonnay.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lake Breeze Vineyards&rsquo; Okanagan Valley Pinot Gris 2014 was Gray&rsquo;s choice for the top white wine of the competition.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Delicate and floral on the palate,&rdquo; Gray noted. &ldquo;I voted for this nicely balanced wine as Best White, and I&rsquo;m not normally a big Pinot Gris advocate.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Road 13 Vineyards Jackpot Okanagan Valley Syrah took the title of Best Red. The wine confounded Gray.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We tasted this a few times and I wavered between loving it, merely liking it, and really loving it,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;The aroma is alluring: peppery, earthy, with dark plum and hints of wildflowers, probably from the 2% Viognier.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 28 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6482 South African Craft Wine Movement More Talk Than Taste? James Duren <p>The craft-made bandwagon in South Africa has plenty of room.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The country&rsquo;s wine industry has taken advantage of the extra seats, hopping on with all it&rsquo;s might and promoting the supposed artisan nature of its products. Business Day Live reporter Michael Fridjhon isn&rsquo;t buying it, though.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The wine industry has not been able to resist the easy money of the &lsquo;craft&rsquo; party,&rdquo; Fridjhon wrote this past week.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fridjhon went on to lay out a brief examination of the craft wine industry &ndash; wines with a limited production run and often a quaint origin story -- &nbsp;beginning with his observations of a recent craft Pinot Noir he tasted.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;True, the label paper had been imported from Italy. The labels had been produced on an old letterpress printer, after which the paper had been hand-cut and applied by hand,&rdquo; Fridjhon wrote. &ldquo;My problem was that I had come to taste wine &ndash; not sneak a peek at the Gutenberg bible.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Part of the success of the craft wine movement is its marketing.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Savvy producers may sometimes act rustic,&rdquo; the story said, &ldquo;but it seems they think like Louis Vuitton&rsquo;s marketing department.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Not every craft vino is a bust, though. Fridjhon lauded a 6,000-bottle run of Mvemve Raats De Compostella, which costs between $80 and $90 per bottle.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure I&rsquo;m not alone in querying the relationship between rarity, price and quality, and arguably if the wines sell they must be &lsquo;worth&rsquo; whatever is being asked for them,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;(The Mvemve) is well made, polished and beautifully presented. Enough people clearly think that the quality justifies the price tag.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Consumers must be able to differentiate between the value of limited-run wines and the taste of those wines.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going to pay more than $15 a bottle, it shouldn&#39;t be because of a producer&rsquo;s carefully crafted sense of shortage,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;Real value (if there&rsquo;s such a thing) resides in the overall appeal of the wine and perhaps in the difficulty of obtaining comparable drinking pleasure from any other wine-producing region.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fridjhon concluded his story with a stern message &ndash; use your money for a good Burgundy or New Zealand wine instead of an overpriced South African craft wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> On the other hand, he said, South Africa&rsquo;s ultra-premiumwines are some of the best wines in the world.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;You can also get more enjoyment for $12 from Cape Cabernet, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc than $12 will buy you in France, the US, Australia or Chile,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;So when it comes to craft, the Roman adage, caveat sucker, applies.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 28 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6479 Seco in the South: Mexican Vineyards Suffer From Drought, Too James Duren <p>While California&#39;s vineyards and associations have done well to discuss and promote solutions to combat the state&rsquo;s mega-drought, winemakers in Mexico have suffered in silence.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earlier this week San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Michele Parente explored the effects of the drought in Mexico, speaking with winemakers across in and around the Guadalupe Valley.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;This past five years have left Baja&rsquo;s Valle de Guadalupe high and dry,&rdquo; Parente said. &ldquo;High, in that it&rsquo;s become one of the hottest wine regions in the world, with jet-setting tourists and travel writers fueling an explosive growth in upscale wineries, trendy restaurants and boutique hotels.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Parente went on to describe how dry the region has been.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Dry, in that the semiarid Valle has fallen well below its already paltry 8 to 10 inches annual average rainfall since 2010,&rdquo; the article said. &ldquo;Last year saw less than 3 inches of rain; even the desert that is Las Vegas gets an average of 4.2 inches a year.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The drought &ndash; la falta de agua, Parente noted &ndash; has caused winemakers to try various farming methods to combat the absence of rain.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fernando P&eacute;rez Castro, owner of Hacienda La Lomita and Finca La Carrodilla, said part of the problem is the land&rsquo;s ability to support non-native plants.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Vines are not endemic to this area and they ask for more water than the Valle de Guadalupe can give,&rdquo; he said in the story. &ldquo;It is our reality and our biggest challenge and the knowledge of that helps us, it makes us more resilient.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Winemakers know the stakes, however, and are using their ingenuity to survive.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s up to us to be creative, to be proactive, to take a sustainable approach to using water,&rdquo; P&eacute;rez Castro said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s not the right approach, that&rsquo;s the only approach.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Phil Gregory, a British expat who owns a winery, hotel and restaurant in the area, said experimentation is the key to surviving &ndash; the techniques used to blend grapes &ldquo;would make a French vigneron sniff with disdain,&rdquo; the article said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We have to start choosing what plants to grow; grenache, cinsault, mourvedre,&rdquo; Gregory told Parente. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s hot as hell there, you know in that region. And cabernet is likely to be the first to go. That one, it needs rain.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Farmers, Parente said, are ditching dry farming &ndash; rain is virtually non-existent &ndash; for various alternative techniques.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Growers are shifting their irrigation networks from wasteful sprinklers to drip or subsurface systems,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re cutting away grape clusters to decrease need for water, which has both the benefit of improving the grape quality and lowering production and possibly profits.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Von Gomez</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 28 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6481 Golden Anniversary: Pinot Noir Celebrates 50th Year in Oregon James Duren <p>Oregon&rsquo;s wine families scoured the state fifty years ago looking for the perfect Pinot Noir site. They found it in the Willamette Valley, The Oregonian reporter Molly Harbarger said in an atricle this week. Fifty years later, the Pinot market is booming.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The founding families of Oregon Pinot Noir scoured the Pacific Northwest to find the perfect place for vines that need long, cool, consistent summers,&rdquo; Harbarger wrote. &ldquo;They settled in the Willamette Valley, and their hunch was right.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The decision to make a home in the Willamette is one which affected not just the region&rsquo;s vino reputation, but that of the entire state.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Oregon burst onto the world&rsquo;s wine scene in the decades that followed &ndash; becoming as closely identified with pinot noir as the grapes original home territory in the Burgundy region of France,&rdquo; the story said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While the growth has been amazing, winemakers in the region fear that rising global temperatures are putting Pinot in jeopardy.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;&ldquo;As Oregon toasts the 50th anniversary of the first pinot noir grapes to be planted in the Willamette Valley, though, the state&rsquo;s fast-growing wine industry is facing the possibility that there might not be a 100th,&rdquo; she wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Harbarger talked with Maria Ponzi, whose family was one of the Willamette originals in the 1960&rsquo;s.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Just within 40 years, we&rsquo;ve seen dramatic change. The challenges she has are very different challenges he had,&rdquo; Ponzi said of her sister, who became head winemaker in 1993, taking over for her father.</div><br /> <br /> The climate-change claxons sounding around the wine world isn&rsquo;t an overestimation of the dangers, especially for Oregon&#39;s Pinot producers.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Climate matters to a grape, because it determines how long the fruit can stay on the vine as sugar, color and acidity levels fluctuate and mature,&rdquo; Harbarger wrote. &ldquo;If a grape ripens too quickly and has to be picked early, it might not have all the qualities winemakers &ndash; and wine drinkers &ndash; prefer.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As average temperatures rise, Oregon winemakers are starting to invest in warm-weather grapes like Syrah.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;As those areas grow, pinot noir risks losing its place as the wine grape synonymous with Oregon,&rdquo; Harbarger wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Greg Jones, a professor at Southern Oregon University, said while warmer temperatures have proven profitable for other varietals, the future of &nbsp;Pinot Noir remains uncertain.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;If what we know about pinot noir is correct, it really can&rsquo;t perform to the same quality standards in wine quality and wine production we know it to perform today,&rdquo; Jones told Harbarger. &ldquo;In the short term, a warming climate has already benefited the Oregon wine industry tremendously, but if it keeps going, where do you draw the line?&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Jim Fischer</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 28 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6480 Scientists to Elderly Women: Easy on the Wine James Duren <p>How much wine is too much wine for women of a certain age?&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to United Kingdom-based newspaper The Daily Mail, a new study says women in their 70&rsquo;s and later could experience heart problems they regularly drink wine in any amount.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Women appear more susceptible than men to the cardiotoxic effects of alcohol, which might potentially contribute to a higher risk of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, for any given level of alcohol intake,&rdquo; said Dr. Scott Solomon, one of Brigham and Women&rsquo;s Hospital doctors who worked on the project.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cardiomyopathy, the story said, is a condition that &ldquo;causes the heart muscle to become larger, thicker, more rigid, or to be replaced by scar tissue.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The results are interesting in light of the flood of evidence over the past few years about the health benefits of drinking wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Many of those studies, The Daily Mail said, took place with middle-aged adults.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Previous research has consistently found benefits for heart health from consuming low to moderate amounts of alcohol,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;But these studies have tended to involve middle-aged adults, with few investigating whether alcohol has a more potent effect on the elderly.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The study noted that men can drink two drinks per day (28 grams of alcohol) before their heart health starts to change.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Heavy drinkers who are male, the study said, are more susceptible to heart disease.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Men who were heavy drinkers &ndash; classified as those who consumed more than 14 alcoholic beverages a week &ndash; were more likely to have an enlarged wall of the main pumping chamber in the heart,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;But the women had small reductions in heart function even if they were classed only as moderate drinkers, on one drink a day.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Researchers say elderly drinkers should be wise about their alcohol intake.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In spite of potential benefits of low alcohol intake, our findings highlight the possible hazards to cardiac structure and function by increased amounts of alcohol consumption in the elderly, particularly among women,&rdquo; said Alexander Goncalves, lead researcher on the study. &ldquo;This reinforces the US recommendations stating that those who drink should do so with moderation.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Jackie Ballard, boss of U.K.-based awareness group Alcohol Concern, offered similar advice to readers.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;As we get older, our body changes the way it processes alcohol,&rdquo; Ballard said. &ldquo;For older people it takes longer for the body to break down the alcohol, meaning it can cause even more damage.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6477 Toowoomba Test: Queensland Wine Contest Starts This Weekend James Duren <p>The Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland (RASQ) will celebrate 16 years of its yearly wine contest when it kicks off the RASQ Wine Show and Mediterranean Challenge this Saturday and Sunday at the Clive Berghofer Events Centre in Toowoomba.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Chronicle&rsquo;s (Australia) Meghan Harris previewed the wine show yesterday, interviewing an RASQ representative to find out what visitors can expect at the two-day event.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> RASQ CEO Damon Phillips said the 2015 wine show and Mediterranean challenge will center on wines from the Mediterranean region.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We focus on Mediterranean variety wines and this year are picking up a number of interesting and unique styles from South Australia and Victoria,&rdquo; Phillips said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The wines won&rsquo;t be for the banal palate, he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really just a great opportunity for people to try some new and unique wines,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If you&#39;re someone who plays it safe and always drinks the same thing, then this weekend is your chance to try a different variety of wines.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Over the course of the two-day show, judges will taste and evaluate wines and then award bronze, silver and gold recognition for their top choices.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The event will be public-friendly. On Sunday, judges will present their awards for the wine show&rsquo;s best wines and attendees will be able to participate in a public tasting, which, according to RASQ promotional material, will be &ldquo;an ideal opportunity to get a group of friends together and with you own souvenir glass included in the price you will enjoy a range of award-winning wines.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Entrance fee for the public tasting is $15.<br /><br /> <div><br /> The tasting takes place at noon, while an awards presentation lunch will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The lunch will include two courses, cheese, a tasting of some of the competition&rsquo;s award-winning wines and &ldquo;a tutorial on the judging process from Chief Judge Tony Harper.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Reservations for the presentation lunch, which costs $50, must be completed by the end of today.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Phillips said he&rsquo;s proud of the event&rsquo;s longevity and that the wine show is the first big wine gala on the Toowoomba calendar.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We have been running the show for 16 years now and we are the first wine show on the calendar,&rdquo; he told Harris.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The 2014 competition featured 15 categories of wines. Shiraz, arguably the strongest varietal in Australia, underwent stringent judging.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Of the 60 Shiraz entries in the 2014 contest, only three won gold medals.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6474 Label Me Handsome: Bottle Art Plays Big Role in Sales Numbers James Duren <p>In the wine world, consumers judge the books by their cover.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Friday, The Wall Street Journal reporter Lettie Teague dove into the world of wine labelling, talking with designers and experts about the visual coaxing which takes place when the average consumers walks into their local supermarket.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Ask someone the kind of wine he prefers and he may or may not be able to describe it; ask someone what kind of wine label he (or she) likes and you&rsquo;re guaranteed to get a reply,&rdquo; Teague wrote. &ldquo;From occasional imbibers to serious oenophiles, just &nbsp;about every wine drinker I know cares about labels.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s more than just the visual hankerings of the hoi polloi, though. According to Teague, it&rsquo;s a matter of life and death for marketing bosses.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;A wine label with wide appeal is a winery&rsquo;s single greatest sales tool,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It can make a good wine more desirable and a bad wine more salable.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> California-based wine entrepreneur and M.D./Ph.D. Corey Miller runs a company which connects &ldquo;top American design talent with first-winemakers from the West Coast.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Art, he said, can never be underestimated in the wine world.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We think there is a lot of power in these artists and designers,&rdquo; Miller told Teague. &ldquo;They have tens of thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> In general, Teague said, wines over $50 tend to downplay more playful designs in favor of something more worthy of the price tag.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One exception, Teague pointed out, is a bottle of Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend which employs a vibrant, Warhol-esque label featuring gold, pink, and light blue hues with the saying, &ldquo;Rain or shine I&rsquo;m on your side.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The secret behind a good label, design sage Bob Johnson told Teague, is a combination of several different factors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Producing a great label isn&rsquo;t just a matter of terrific design but the right typeface, paper quality and even label color,&rdquo; Teague wrote. &ldquo;For example, Mr. Johnson thinks blue can be problematic because &lsquo;blue isn&rsquo;t a color found in food.&rsquo;&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Interestingly, Teague said, simple bottle designs are the way to go on the high and low end of the price spectrum.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Cheap wines often do better with simple, even banal, labels because their buyers are mostly focused on price,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The same is true at the opposite end of the scale: A simple design is best suited to an expensive wine, too, though the quality of the other elements, such as paper and printing, needs to be appreciably higher than with cheap wines.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In the end, Teague concluded, labels may win the first sale but quality will win the second.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;A great label can probably convince people to buy a bottle once,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;but only a great wine will inspire them to do so over and over again.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6476 Chateau Margaux Exec Gives Insight on Hong Kong, Chinese Wine Scene James Duren <p>Hong Kong has long been on the cutting edge of pricey wine auctions and lofty vino ambitions, while China as a whole has lagged behind.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This month South China Morning Post&rsquo;s Post Magazine featured Chateau Margaux&rsquo;s Thibault Pontallier in a question-and-answer session about the state of the Hong Kong/Chinese wine scene, as well as how the vino arena has transformed itself in recent years.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Five years ago we did big wine dinners with Chinese officials and generals who only wanted to drink Bordeaux wines at banquets with 100 other people,&rdquo; Pontallier said. &ldquo;It was all about face.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Perhaps the biggest change in the Chinese palate has been the country&rsquo;s ability to expand its vision beyond premier regions and enjoy wines in a variety of settings from a variety of countries.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;China has done in five years what America did in 30 in terms of interest in wine,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s normal for any market starting out to only want the best, but now they want to drink every day and try different things, like from Burgundy, Loire and Champagne, and Italian and Spanish wines.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Much has been made of the Chinese government&rsquo;s enforcement of anti-corruption, anti-opulence laws over the past year. Pontallier said the effect on his the winery&rsquo;s has been relatively positive, in that the estate &ndash; and many others, surely &ndash; &nbsp;has tapped into the private sector where doctors, bankers and CEO&rsquo;s are buying premium wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Hong Kong, the epicenter of premium and ultra-premium wine in China, is plugging along as usual, Pontallier said.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Hong Kong is like France but with &nbsp;more money,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never tasted as many good wines a I have here. I&rsquo;m amazed at what people have and what they open.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pontallier then went on to talk about what it was like growing up in a top-notch winery.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I loved playing hide-and-seek in the cellar and I would ask the man who made the barrels to make wooden toys for me, like a sword or a hammer,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;When I was three years old, my father would dip his finger in the wine and let me have a little taste, to see what my reaction was.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wine was, he said, literally in his blood from his childhood.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I started helping to harvest the grapes when I was six years old and did so until I was 25,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;As we got older, we gradually drank a bit more. If you do that, you never feel like you want to be drunk.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6475 Thrones Throwdown: Cali Vineyard Goes To Legal Fistacuffs With HBO Hit James Duren <p>Popular HBO action/drama Game of Thrones has one winery seeing red over Thrones&rsquo; new line of beer titled &ldquo;Three-Eyed Raven.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past week online news outlet Quartz examined the beef between Thrones and Franciscan Vineyards, the California estate which produces Ravenswood. The winery is asking the federal government to issue a &ldquo;nevermore&rdquo; for Thrones use of the raven imagery on the network&rsquo;s Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The winery is arguing that HBO&rsquo;s trademark &lsquo;would effectively infringe&rsquo; upon its own, says Lindsey A. Zahn, an alcohol beverage and food attorney in New York,&rdquo; the article said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Zahn said the winery&rsquo;s opposition most likely won&rsquo;t stand against HBO.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;She called the suit &lsquo;kind of a stretch,&rsquo; adding that the winery filed a &lsquo;very skeletal opposition,&rsquo; without much supporting detail,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;The fraud and &lsquo;no bona fide intent to use&rsquo; arguments are &lsquo;not grounded,&rsquo; she says.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Quartz said Franciscan Vineyards was mum on the issue because they were not able &ldquo;to comment on any litigation.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> However, the publication did provide the petition Franciscan filed against GoT. &nbsp;The petition, among other details, includes the image used for Ravenswood wine: a series of three ravens position in a circle, each with one eye: three eyes, three ravens.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> The heart of the dispute is found in the first series of arguments in the petition. &ldquo;Opposer&rdquo; signifies Franciscan, while &ldquo;Applicant&rdquo; signifies HBO. &ldquo;Marks&rdquo; are logos.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Opposer is now and for many years has been trading as and known by the Opposer&rsquo;s Marks, identifying Opposer as the source of a wide variety of goods, including alcoholic beverages, namely wine, the latter being in part substantially identical and in part closely related Applicant&rsquo;s Goods intended to be offered under its alleged mark THREE-EYED RAVEN,&rdquo; the application said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> With the similarity in logo established in the protest, Franciscan then swung their legal Blackfyre once more, hoping to land a decisive blow to the opponent&rsquo;s armor.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Because Applicant&rsquo;s mark is THREE-EYED RAVEN for alcoholic beverages &hellip; confusion is enhanced where Opposer uses the design mark of Three Black Ravens and word marks RAVENS and/or RAVENSWOOD for wine,&rdquo; the document said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> HBO has yet to respond to the allegations, Quartz said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;(HBO) has 40 days for the filing to do so, &ndash; but if you&rsquo;re looking to try out this controversial brew, act fast: it&rsquo;s a limited edition,&rdquo; the story concluded.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 26 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6471 Georgian Winemakers to Putin: Thanks for the Cold Shoulder, Vlad James Duren <p>History would advise against crossing a powerful Russian politician.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The tiny country of Georgia learned this lesson nearly a decade ago when a spat between then president Mikheil Saakashvili and Russian president Vladimir Putin resulted in a political jab which hurt Georgia in the short-term, but proved to be a significant boost in the long-run.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Through the Soviet period and into the 1990s, Russians filled their glasses with Georgian vino. That changed in 2006 when, tensions flared between &hellip; Putin and &hellip; Saakashvili,&rdquo; The Washington Post reporter Jenny Holm wrote this past week. &ldquo;Russia banned imports of wine and spirits from the country in a thinly veiled move to chastise its government.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Faced with the loss of its top export market &ndash; 80 to 90 percent, Holm said &ndash; Georgia and Moldova, who also faced Putin&rsquo;s wrath, had to refocus their export efforts. They set their sights on the United States and Europe, shunning the superpower which had shunned them.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Makers needed to find new buyers for their products, and fast,&rdquo; Holm said. &ldquo;Europe and the U.S., with their huge wine markets, looked tempting.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The problem? Most people couldn&rsquo;t find Georgia or Moldova on a map, let alone name one of the countries&rsquo; native grapes.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;They had to convince potential buyers &ndash; many of whom could not locate Georgia or Moldova on a map &ndash; that their wines were worth drinking,&rdquo; Holm said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Master of Wine Christy Canterbury pointed out Georgia had a tough task not only because the country was relatively unknown but also because those who knew of it perceived the country to be unable to produce good wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;There is this perception that the wine must be bad and dirty because the country is poor,&rdquo; Canterbury said. &ldquo;But you can also make bad wine in Sonoma. People need to be open to the fact that these countries do produce world-class wines.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Along with misperceptions of the country came mispronunciation problems &ndash; varietals like Rkatsiteli and Feteasca Neagra were, in ease of say, no ros&eacute; or cabernet.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Western customers don&rsquo;t know how to say the unfamiliar consonant and vowel clusters that mark native Georgian and Moldovan varietals,&rdquo; Holm said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Despite all this, Georgian and Moldovan winemakers have been able to create good wine recognized by the international community.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Holm said outside help from the European Union and the United States has strengthened the winemaking process as well as the duo&rsquo;s branding and marketing strategies.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;What Georgian and Moldovan winemakers certainly have going for them is a good story. They&rsquo;re underdogs and they know it,&rdquo; Holm wrote. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve overcome an awful lot to get where they are, and that may be just the thing to entice customers in this &lsquo;new old world&rsquo; they&rsquo;ve found themselves increasingly a part of.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Luciana Braz</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 26 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6472 Stealing the Limelight: Bloomberg Explores Recent High-Profile Wine Heists James Duren <p>Claire Suddath&rsquo;s May 22 Bloomberg Business story reads like an-old school crime novel, and rightly so: &ldquo;A Pinot Noir&rdquo;, the story is titled.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Suddath provided the reader with an overview of the most recent rash of wine thievery in which wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux have been the bounty and famous restaurants have been the befuddled.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In the early morning hours last Christmas Day, the wine cellar door at Thomas Keller&rsquo;s French Laundry was pried open with a crow bar &hellip; They &nbsp;knew exactly what they wanted: 76 bottles of wine worth a collective $300,000,&rdquo; the article said. &ldquo;That night, an hour south, someone also tried, for the second night in a row, to break into Prima, a restaurant and wine store in Walnut Creek.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> About a year before, foodie haven Redd was the victim of a smash-and-grab job: thieves shattered a window, walked in with high hopes and walked out with an envious haul.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Michelin-starred The Plumed Horse also lost valuable vintages in a heist.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All famous restaurants, all boasting fantastic wines, all victims of ambitious rogues and all within a few hours&rsquo; drive from each other.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The similarities aren&rsquo;t lost on the Federal Bureau of Investigation.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The agency&rsquo;s San Francisco bureau has been tracking the crimes for similarities. The thefts occur over a holiday, when the targeted restaurant is closed,&rdquo; Suddath wrote. &ldquo;Only certain types of wine are taken &ndash; usually French or Californian, priced at thousands of dollars a bottle.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The thieves &ndash; whether they are a network of bottle-swipers or mutually exclusive cons &ndash; have a preference for Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC).&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;The most commonly stolen wine is DRC. Part of the allure is its scarcity,&rdquo; Suddath said. &ldquo;The French estate makes only a few thousand cases a year and sells them to the U.S. through one importer, Wilson Daniels, which in turn sells only to restaurants and retailers that it considers worthy of the grapes.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The FBI couldn&rsquo;t comment on the cases mentioned in the story, though Suddath was able to explain why catching wine thieves can be difficult.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;A wine theft is notoriously hard to investigate. It&rsquo;s often compared to an art heist, because once a bottle is stolen it usually makes its way through a series of black market dealers before winding up in somebody&rsquo;s private collection, where it remains unseen for years,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But unlike art, if stolen wine does resurface, it&rsquo;s difficult to prove what it is or where it came from.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Despite this murky world and the inherent difficulties of finding stolen wines, all but four of the French Laundry wines were recovered after an unnamed source in North Carolina surrendered the bottles via his or her attorney.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The other robberies remained unsolved.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>paurian</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 26 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6473 Thank You Beery Much: Millennials Shunning Suds for Vino James Duren <p>You know it&rsquo;s bad when Anheuser-Busch, the grandaddy of all beer companies, sounds the alarm.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Morgan Stanley recently released a report detailing the changing preferences of America&rsquo;s newest generation of quaffers, noting how their preference for wine is starting to infringe on long-held beer territory.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Millennials are increasingly moving away from beer in favour of wine and spirits,&rdquo; Business Insider Australia reported this past Thursday. &ldquo;This trend is scaring major companies like Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Heineken.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It gets worse, reporter Ashley Lutz said. Not only are younger drinkers turning their tastes toward Tempranillo and other varietals, their beer palate is is scoffing at watery lagers and calling for craft brews.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In fact, a recent Budweiser study found that 44% of drinkers aged 21 to 27 have never tried the brand,&rdquo; the article said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Budweiser&rsquo;s glory days are long gone, according to the numbers. Lutz noted that Budweiser hit its peak in 1988 when it sold 50 million barrels a year.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;That number has declined to 16 million barrels,&rdquo; Lutz said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Her story featured a graphic from Morgan Stanley, which showed that in 2012 one in three millennials said beer was their favorite alcoholic beverage. In 2015, the number dropped nearly 6 percent to 27.4 percent.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Several factors are involved in the decline in interest, Lutz noted.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Beer can &hellip; be difficult to keep cold, whereas wine and cocktails can be put on ice or drank at room temperature,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A Wall Street Journal also noted that mainstream beer&rsquo;s bland taste is also a negative factor.</div><br /> <br /> Beermakers have countered with several different marketing plans.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lutz focused on Anheuser-Busch&rsquo;s recent efforts to mix the world of beer and cocktails.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In order to attract younger customers, Anheuser-Busch has released spoofs on classic cocktails,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;The Bud Light Mixxtails are canned and bottled versions of classic cocktails like the Hurricane and Long Island Iced Tea.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The brains at Anheuser-Busch also launched a line of Bud Light drinks which taste like margaritas.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Morgan Stanley analysts are concerned that this strategy could backfire an Mixxtail and Rita customers will graduate to actual cocktails instead of buying to classic beers,&rdquo; Lutz wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Budweiser brand said that their cocktail hybrids are quite popular and there&rsquo;s no need to worry about it&rsquo;s drinkers heading for the cocktail bar in place of their canned quaffer.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Anheuser-Busch maintains the canned margaritas are a huge hit &ndash; especially with women,&rdquo; Lutz noted.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 26 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6470 Roll Tide & Wine: ‘Bama Bill Opens Up Winery Sales Reach James Duren <p>If you&rsquo;re an Alabama winery, you&rsquo;ve got to keep your own wine sales in house.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A new wine bill sponsored by Representative Becky Nordgren may change that, according to an article this past Wednesday by The Anniston Star reporter Kirsten Fiscus.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Alabama wineries would be able to sell their wine at local wine festivals if a new bill &hellip; becomes law,&rdquo; Fiscus wrote. &ldquo;As it stands, wineries in Alabama are able to sell their product in their own tasting rooms, but must go through distributors to sell elsewhere.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The current structure of the state&rsquo;s wine laws dictate that if a winery wants to sell its wine in retail stores, it must first &ldquo;sell wholesale to distributors, who then sell the product to retailers, and then to consumers.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The bill, Fiscus said, would allow wineries to sell their wines in up to three more tasting rooms, and would let them sell their wines to the public at up to five special events during the year.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Wine festivals in other states bring in millions of dollars,&rdquo; Nordgren said. &ldquo;This bill would allow local wineries to participate in those kind of festivals and encourage tourism and bring more money to the state.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While the bill could give the impression that the state is moving toward allowing wineries to sell their wine wherever they want, Fiscus quickly quashed the notion.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Nordgren&rsquo;s bill &hellip; is not intended to be a stepping stone for self-distribution,&rdquo; she wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Nordgren further dampened the mood by expressing her skepticism about the bill&rsquo;s future, though she said it&rsquo;s a step in a positive direction.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;The bill, which Nordgren noted is unlikely to pass in this session of the Legislature, could be &nbsp;a boon to local wineries,&rdquo; Fiscus wrote. &ldquo;She wants to keep the discussion going.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fiscus interviewed Joshua Laminack, a winemaker who said the tasting-room extension wouldn&rsquo;t be much help to him or other winemakers in his position.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Selling to other tasting areas doesn&rsquo;t help me because there are not many in the area,&rdquo; Laminack told Fiscus.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He went on to say he agrees with self-distribution, though it must be noted self-distribution goes beyond the scope of the proposed bill.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Allowing wineries to self-distribute would allow for better control of growth,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It allows the individual wineries to decide where to distribute. That would bridge the gap between the front door and grocery stores.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fiscus also talked with Napa wine retailer boss Tom Wark, who took issue with the Alabama law.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;This bill doesn&rsquo;t make sense,&rdquo; Wark said. &ldquo;If you want to empower the wineries in the state, you need to allow them to choose how they sell.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6467 The Magnificent Seven: Court of Master Sommeliers Crowns Newbies James Duren <p>Seven was the lucky number at the 2015 Court of Master Sommeliers Master Sommelier exam this past week at The Little Nell hotel in Aspen, Co., at which six United States-based &nbsp;sommeliers and one Canada-based sommelier passed the exam.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;On behalf of the entire Court, I would like to congratulate all candidates for reaching the final stage of the examination process, and heartily welcome to our organization those who were successful this week,&rdquo; Court of Master Sommeliers Americas Chairman Andrew McNamara said in a press release from the organization. &ldquo;After years of preparation, these seven candidates have demonstrated their mastery of the highest standards in beverage theory, service and tasting ability.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Boston area was home to two of the 2015 Master Sommelier class: Grill 23 &amp; Bar&rsquo;s Brahm Callahan and Jackson Family Wines&rsquo; Michael Meagher.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Callahan&rsquo;s Facebook page was flooded with congratulatory words after news broke that he passed the exam.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Callahan was complimentary of the staff and service at The Little Nell, the hotel at which the examination was held.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;I will say the staff at the Little Nell were and always are unbelievable, from top to bottom,&rdquo; He said. &ldquo;Perhaps the most stressful situation I have ever been in and they were so hospitable it hurts my head. Every single employee there is proud to be there and do what they do.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> June Rodil, a sommelier with the Austin, Tx.-based Maguire Moorman Hospitality Group, and Montreal&rsquo;s Elyse Lambert (Masino Bould) were only the 22nd and 23rd women to pass the exam.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Well. It&rsquo;s been a few days, and it&rsquo;s still real: I&rsquo;m a Master Sommelier. What a moment. What a lucky life,&rdquo; Rodil said via her Instagram account. &ldquo;This was, by no means, a solo journey. Thank you to all those that supported me along the way! Looking forward to the work and road ahead!&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The post was accompanied by a photo of Rodil and her colleagues, each wearing their Master Sommelier pins and holding a glass of Champagne, with the naked slopes of an Aspen ski run behind them.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The three other victors were William Costello from Las Vegas&rsquo; Mandarin Oriental, Jack Mason from New York&rsquo;s MARTA, and Kevin Reilly from Healdsburg&rsquo;s (Calif.) Cyrus Restaurant.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We look forward to their future contributions to the organization and the beverage industry as a whole,&rdquo; McNamara said in a Court press release. &ldquo;All of the candidates who sat at the Master Sommelier examination showed admirable efforts and professionalism. We continue to applaud their dedication to this extraordinarily challenging process.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=";oe=5609C6C2"><strong>The Little Nell</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6466 Comedian, Captain Kirk: Shatner Hosts Walsh on Brown Bag Wine Tasting Premier James Duren <p>Beam me up, Walshy.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> William Shatner kicked off the second-season premiere of his wine-discussion show Brown Bag Wine Tasting (Ora TV) by sitting down with HBO&rsquo;s Veep star Matt Walsh. The pair began the episode with an improv wine tasting of an imaginary glass.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Matt Walsh sits down with William Shatner to taste some great wine and test out Bill&rsquo;s hypnosis skills,&rdquo; website TV Grapevine reported. &ldquo;The comedian also discussed what it takes for a successful improv routine as they attempt to do one together and find their &lsquo;comedic premise&rsquo; with two empty glasses.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The meat of the episode focused on Walsh&rsquo;s experience with a Los Angeles-area hypnotherapist who tried to help the comedian quit smoking.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The therapy worked for about &ldquo;six to eight months,&rdquo; Walsh said, before he puffed again. He&rsquo;s now chewing nicotine gum.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Shatner then challenged Walsh to taste the brown-bagged wine and describe it in hypnotic terms.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t get tense, because that&rsquo;s the antithesis of improv,&rdquo; Shatner said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Shatner then took the sheathed sipper and poured some into Walsh&rsquo;s glass.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Do you like white,&rdquo; Shatner asked.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Walsh replied, with a laugh.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Too bad,&rdquo; Shatner said enthusiastically.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Walsh then proceeded with his hypnolinguistic judgement of the wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It has a direct, soothing address. It has a calming aftertaste. It&rsquo;s very focused, it&rsquo;s not meandering,&rdquo; he said, drawing a surprised look from Shatner. &ldquo;I feel like it makes me want to change and stop smoking.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Shatner then coaxed walsh into a rating. He used a hypnotic voice to lull Walsh into a number between 85 and 95.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;If you focus on the wine going into your throat; down, down into your throat. Close your eyes and think about the wine, and the aftertaste,&rdquo; Shatner said in a relaxing, calming voice. &ldquo;Think about the deliciousness on your tongue. I want you to rate it from 85 to 95.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He then clapped his hands and yelled, &ldquo;Wake up!&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Ninety-one,&rdquo; Walsh blurted out.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The former Star Trek star then read the tasting notes for the wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Cliff Lede. A Sauvignon Blanc. Napa Valley. Shines brilliantly in the glass, aromas of lemon persimmon and white peaches,&rdquo; Shatner said. &ldquo;Floral notes of orange blossom and honeysuckle, tastes of lemon curd and honey citrus marmalade.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> After hearing the official tasting notes, Walsh stuck with his 91. Shatner gave the wine a 93.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6468 Brazilian Cuisine is Begging for Wine Ben Carter <p><div><br /> Wine is not the first pairing that comes to mind when you&rsquo;re talking about Brazilian cuisine. Coffee, fruit drinks, cacha&ccedil;a, and beer are all more traditional and have longer histories with the food. Portugal has a long history of wine production, but the first settlers in the 1500s found the northern regions near the equator too hot and too wet for proper viticulture. Instead, that land was ideal for sugarcane and the rest is history. Even today, the average Brazilian only consumes a third of a liter of wine a year, roughly equivalent to half a standard 750mL bottle.</div><br /> <br /> The modern Brazilian wine industry has its origins in a massive wave of Italian immigration starting at the tail end of the 19th century, when over a million Italians settled in a big wave that later continued with the turbulent European first half of the 20th century. Today over 30 million Brazilians claim some Italian heritage compared to only 60 million Italians back in the old country. A lot of this settlement (along with German immigrants) happened in the cooler, drier, higher altitude regions of the south. A forgiving climate and technical know-how allowed for lots of table grape production with limited, small batch wine processing.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;ve had a couple dozen Brazilian wines (mostly at a Snooth tasting in New York), and the industry is still developing from the introduction of modern technology and wine production from outside investors in the 1970s and 1980s. They&rsquo;re on an interesting path, and it will be great to watch how they grow over the coming decades. Unfortunately, right now there are not a lot of Brazilian wines available in the US market, so I&rsquo;ll be focusing on what I think are good matches for the incredibly delicious food of Brazil.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In addition to having Brazilian food with friends&rsquo; families in high school, I&rsquo;m also lucky to have a Brazilian restaurant near my house where I&rsquo;ve been able to experiment over the past month. The fact that I&rsquo;ve been able to share these with the owner, cooks, and fellow diners (no wine list there yet!) has also been a lot of fun.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The first exposure an American is likely to have with Brazilian food is at a churrascaria, often presented in the form of &ldquo;eat grilled meats until you burst and gently turn over the green card to reveal the red side&rdquo;. Ideally you&rsquo;d have different pairings for the chicken, sausages, beef, lamb, etc., but in a situation like this I prefer something milder than a red and more versatile than a white, which is why a ros&eacute; is the perfect choice.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2014 Il Poggione Brancato Rosato</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Montalcino, Italy</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>100% Sangiovese</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>$18, 12.5% abv.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While a gentle pink wine, there is still a considerable amount of fruit and acidity that indicate this can stand up to a wide range of foods. Light salmon in color, it has gentle aromas of raspberries with a light floral undertone. Cheerful and refreshing, which can be helpful when you&rsquo;re on your third pound of grilled meat and the sweat is beading on your forehead.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Now that we have churrasco out of the way (and I love churrasco), it&rsquo;s time to focus on the more everyday dining options that you&rsquo;ll find, sourced from around a diverse country that occupies a big chunk of South America. And you&rsquo;ve got to start with salgadinhos, the word for &ldquo;little salty snacks&rdquo;. Coxinhas are sort of like the original chicken nugget: a blend of shredded chicken molded into the form of a chicken leg before being battered and fried. I always have to add hot sauce, but two or three of these can make an entire meal.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>NV Le Grand Court&acirc;ge Blanc de Blancs Brut</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>France</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Proprietary blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Ugni Blanc</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>$25, 11.5% abv.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The white sparkler opens up with aromas and flavors of green apples with a little toast. Firm acidity and a crisp finish, which means that this goes along quite well with snacks. Sparkling wine with fried chicken is a guilty pleasure and there&rsquo;s a reason why it works so well: something salty and greasy needs a bottle that is crisp and palate-cleansing. If you have the discipline, try to just have one glass of bubbly and one coxinha before a larger meal.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Past&eacute;is are little flaky pastries filled with lots of different things, and surprisingly seem to have been influenced by Japanese immigration to Brazil in the 20th century. I&rsquo;m particularly fond of the cheesy ones, though cooks get creative and use all sorts of meat, vegetable, and fruit fillings. Lighter and more delicate than something like the Cornish pasty, they remind me a lot of the fried pies of my own Mid-South region, except that savory versions are not common to this area. My suggestion below is for a simple one stuffed with mozzarella.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Riesling Kabinett</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Rheinhessen, Germany</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>100% Riesling</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>$15, 10.5% abv.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gentle quince notes, light pear flavors, medium sweetness and a gentle finish. The sweet elements balance out nicely against the salty and savory, while the lower alcohol is ideal for handheld appetizer that you might be enjoying at a bar. The fruits, while not exotic or tropical, do stand up and pair well with Brazilian cuisine in general. Once again, pairing a German wine with a Brazilian snack made with an Italian cheese is fully in line with the complex influences that make up the wide world of food in Brazil.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I can&rsquo;t go much further without talking about feijoada, the national dish of Brazil made with kidney beans, assorted pig parts, and served over rice. That&rsquo;s a simple way to phrase it, but the best way for me to describe my feijoada obsession is to say this: recently at a restaurant I had a side of black beans, and found them disappointingly bland without the added flavors of pig ears, pig feet, chouri&ccedil;o, lingui&ccedil;a, and other tasty bits. Slow cooked for hours, this is the perfect place where traditional South American cuisine can meet traditional American South cuisine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Avalon &quot;CAB&quot; Cabernet Sauvignon</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>California</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Syrah, 7% Zinfandel and 4% Merlot</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>$12, 13.8% abv.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The wine opens up quickly with rich aromas of plum and strawberry, the latter being a little surprising for the grape blend. On the palate it shows mild tannins, big fruit, and a gentle finish. It&rsquo;s even better the next day after it&rsquo;s had some time to breathe, which works out well for the flavors of feijoada that are so tasty on the second day as the various elements have had a chance to blend and combine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;m sure I&rsquo;ve mentioned it before, but I don&rsquo;t have a sweet tooth. However, I enjoy small, flavorful desserts when they&rsquo;re offered. And if you&rsquo;ve enjoyed chocolate truffles from Godiva or other confectioners, you need to try brigadeiros. They&rsquo;re little dark chocolate truffles made with condensed milk and rolled in crunchy little chocolate sprinkles. They&rsquo;re relatively recent but rich and decadent, so a single one is enough for me. And they are the best pairing for a somewhat obscure style of French dessert wine that is actually not too hard to find.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 M. Chapoutier Banyuls</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Banyuls AOC, France</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>100% Grenache</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>$30/500mL bottle, 16% abv.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> If you&rsquo;ve never had it before, Banyuls is a fortified wine made in a fashion similar to Port but with an aroma and flavor that I&rsquo;ve always associated predominantly with raisins. Intense aromas of stewed fruit, raisins, and black cherry. Dark fruit flavors and sweet but not cloying. The dark chocolate provides a powerful contrast of bitter notes which makes you go back and forth between the dessert and the wine, activating all parts of your palate.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Even if you have trouble pronouncing portugu&ecirc;s, I would highly recommend checking out your local Brazilian restaurant or even trying out some recipes online. And if you do so with a nice bottle of wine, even better.&nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6454 New Aussie University Training Center Gets Inside Mind of British Drinkers James Duren <p>The University of Adelaide recently celebrated the opening of its Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, a resource designed to help winemakers and exporters hone their creations to better suit the tastes of the United Kingdom&rsquo;s oenophiles.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The wine centre&rsquo;s director, Professor Vladimir Jiranek, said its work would help winemakers manage flavour and alcohol content in ways that met consumer and market demands,&rdquo; wrote Tom Fedorowytsch, a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A temperamental climate, fluctuating tastes and production costs are part of the export equation, Jiranek pointed out.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Australia is an excellent place to grow grapes and make wines, but occasionally we have challenges such as extreme weather,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We also have an issue with the competitiveness of our wines from a production-cost point of view, because consumers are always trying to change what they want to drink and when.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The training centre is working with British retailer Sainsbury&rsquo;s to research consumer preferences and integrate the data into choices made about growing and production styles.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Jiranek said that the partnership with the big retailer has been beneficial because Sainsbury&rsquo;s provides important information about what consumers choose to drink and why.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the article, the center is currently conducting 18 different projects which examine &ldquo;the production cycle of wine, ranging from grapes on the vine to the winery crush and the sales pitch at supermarkets and bottle shops.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A press release from the University of Adelaide noted some specific areas of research, including &ldquo;viticultural practices to optimise yields of flavour-rich grapes that are not necessarily high in sugars; treatments and winemaking practices that will maintain flavour while controlling sugar and alcohol content; and working with producers and retailers to define precisely the type of wines that consumers want.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Jiranek said he believes this cross-discipline approach to winemaking will benefit Australian vintners.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to produce wines that we believe will be superior and then it&rsquo;s important to get consumer perceptions of those, show them to consumer panels, understand what they like, what they don&rsquo;t like, and then look at the marketing of those wines,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The training center is operating with the funding of several major Australian organizations, including the Australian Research Council, the South Australian government, the New South Wales government and Sainsbury&rsquo;s.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We aim to underpin and enable more profitable grape-growing and winemaking while achieving the desired flavour and alcohol balance that consumers want,&rdquo; Jiranek said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6462 Kiwi-Korean Wine Festivals Scheduled for May, June James Duren <p>Wine is the bridge between two countries and a whole lot of water.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Later this month and into June, the new Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea is scheduled to host two wine festivals &ndash; one in Seoul, the largest city in Korea; and one in Busan, Korea&rsquo;s second-largest city.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The Seoul tasting will take place on May 30 at the Waterfall Garden of the Grand Hyatt Seoul, with the second of the wine extravaganza being held at the Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Busan on June 13,&rdquo; Korea Times reporter John Redmond wrote earlier this week.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The two wine events are part of an ongoing series called &ldquo;New Zealand Wine Festival,&rdquo; in its seventh year in Seoul and third year in Busan.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Redmond&rsquo;s story, attendees will have the chance to try more than 75 premium wines from more than 25 estates.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;To complement the New Zealand wines, both hotels will provide guests with a world-class New Zealand-themed culinary experience coupled with the finest service,&rdquo; the story said, &ldquo;including a superb outdoor BBQ-style buffet in Seoul and an exquisite tapas buffet in Busan.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Simon Walsh, chairman of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Seoul, said the events are fun and they give guests an accurate picture of New Zealand&rsquo;s premium industry.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;The New Zealand Wine Festivals are our largest events of the year and offer the local community and our &nbsp;members a great opportunity to sample a vast array of high-quality wines from New Zealand,&rdquo; Wash said. &ldquo;The Seoul and Busan events are fun, exciting and eagerly anticipated, while providing us an excellent occasion to showcase the best of what New Zealand has to offer.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This year&rsquo;s festivals are particularly significant because New Zealand and South Korea recently signed a free-trade agreement (FTA).&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;This is an important year for both the Korean and New Zealand business communities with the signing of the Korea-New Zealand FTA,&rdquo; Walsh said. &ldquo;In particular, once ratified, it will remove the tariff on New Zealand wine.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The two wine festivals will feature door prizes in addition to premium wines, the story said. One of those prizes, Redmond wrote, is a round-trip ticket to Christchurch, New Zealand, courtesy of event sponsor Singapore Airlines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Seoul festival will take place from 4 to 8 p.m., while the festival in Busan will take place from 6 to 10 p.m.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6459 Supervines? Florida Researcher Using Science to Strengthen Grapes James Duren <p><div><br /> Mildew and black rot, your days may be numbered.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Dennis Gray, a developmental biologist from the University of Florida and its Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is using a technique called &ldquo;precision breeding&rdquo; to create vines which are resistant to mildew and fungus.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;According to Gray, precision breeding simply takes one or two desirable traits from one plant and inserts that DNA into another plant to create the new, improved varieties,&rdquo; a Growing Produce article about the research said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gray&rsquo;s research is being implemented in Thompson Seedless, Seyval Blanc and Syrah grapes.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Those are just three of only 35 grape varieties that accounted for 66% of the world grape acreage in 2014,&rdquo; the article said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The main advantage to Gray&rsquo;s method of protecting plants against mildew and fungus is that he uses genetics, not chemicals, as a shield against maladies.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Producers currently rely on frequent use of pesticides and fungicides to control diseases of grapes, particularly in areas of high humidity,&rdquo; the article said. &ldquo;Gray says that precision breeding creates varieties that don&rsquo;t need to be sprayed or sprayed less frequently, thus reducing the amount of pesticides and fungicides needed.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Another advantage? Gray&rsquo;s method may have the potential to save the agriculture industry millions of dollars, particularly because Gray is focusing future efforts on creating a grape resistant to Pierce&rsquo;s Disease, a devastating bacterial disease.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Federal and state governments, mainly in California, have spent more than $50 million in the last 15 years to fight it with little or no success,&rdquo; the article said.</div><br /> <br /> Moving forward, Gray said, he also hopes to change the terminology used for his methodology. While many people would label it &ldquo;genetic modification&rdquo;, Gray believes the term &ldquo;precision breeding&rdquo; is a much more accurate phrase because &ldquo;it is less disruptive than conventional breeding and will finally allow the 35 ancient cultivars grown in most of the world to genetically modified&rdquo;.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gray went on to point out that most of the produce consumers purchase &ndash; organic or not &ndash; is the result of genetic modification.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Without exception, all crops used for food and fiber have been intentionally genetically modified by humankind,&rdquo; Gray said. &ldquo;It is a fact that every fruit, vegetable and grain, including all produce labeled &lsquo;organic,&rsquo; we purchase from the grocery store or farmers&rsquo; market are significantly and purposely genetically modified.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Growing Produce, Gray&rsquo;s research was recently published in the journal, Acta Horticulturae.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6463