Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Fri, 22 May 2015 06:13:47 -0400 Fri, 22 May 2015 06:13:47 -0400 Snooth Ladies First: Why Women are Taking Charge in Winemaking and Marketing James Duren <p><div><br /> Women are dictating the way wine is made and marketed.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Frances Robinson, a reporter for the New Statesman, wrote an article this past Monday titled, &ldquo;Why women are becoming the key ingredient in making and marketing wine&rdquo;, in which she spoke with industry experts about the influence women have on the wine world.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;OF the U.K&rsquo;s regular wine drinkers, 55 per cent are women, according to research by Wine Intelligence,&rdquo; Robinson said. &ldquo;Making wines that appeal to women is changing the way the industry thinks, from marketing campaigns to all-female tasting sessions.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To get a more comprehensive view of the issues, Robinson spoke with Lynne Whitaker, managing director at Winebrand, a consultancy firm for wine companies.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whitaker said while women&rsquo;s palates aren&rsquo;t any different than men&rsquo;s, the female segment of the market has its own unique fads.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I would say there isn&rsquo;t specifically a female palate, but there are specific trends,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Most women we speak to prefer white or ros&eacute;, and upfront, juicy wines.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When it comes to French wines, Robinson wrote, choosing the right wine is difficult for women &ndash; and most consumers &ndash; because the wines are labelled according to region and not variety. That hasn&rsquo;t stopped famed wine region Burgundy from hosting a yearly competition called &ldquo;Feminalise&rdquo;, at which more than 650 women gathered this year at a conference center in Beaune to try 3,700 wines.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Each wine is tasted by three different women, seated apart from each other, and competition is intense for the gold, silver, bronze and pearl medals,&rdquo; Robinson said.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The event&rsquo;s founder, Didier Martin, said he wanted to do the competition many years ago, but the female role in the wine world wasn&rsquo;t as prevalent as it is now.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I wanted to create the competition 20 years ago and it was too complicated, but now there are many more women in the industry, working as oenologists, in commercial roles, as winemakers,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Medal winners at the competition leverage the recognition for their marketing, a point not lost on Martin.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;When working in sales for a major wine producer, he noticed that, eight times out of ten, if a couple came in and the woman liked the wine, the man would buy it,&rdquo; Robinson noted.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> More than just marketing, the popularity of Feminalise points to the larger truth: women are now an integral part of the wine world.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;When I started the competition, some people said it would never work &ndash; well now it&rsquo;s &lsquo;not working&rsquo; with 700 women,&rdquo; Martin said. &ldquo;What we want is for men to buy the wine that women have given medals to, because they know it&rsquo;s good.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6456 Looking for a Story: The Significance of a Wine Labels James Duren <p>Wine labels are more than fancy pictures.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earlier this week Australian Broadcasting Corporation&rsquo;s Melanie Pearce talked with Simon Forsyth, a marketer and designer, about what makes wine labels so influential in consumer&rsquo;s purchases.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;&lsquo;Going on a journey&rsquo; is a buzz concept in today&rsquo;s culture and it&rsquo;s no different with wine, where customers want to engage with the story, colour and life behind what&rsquo;s in their glass,&rdquo; Pearce wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Forsyth runs a wine bar and cellar door, and has a &ldquo;background in marketing and having worked to change the image of several well-known international food brands, he believes the colour, life and story of the wine as portrayed in the label is key.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Forsyth elaborated.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;People love the experience, they love the journey, they love stories,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They want to hear the story, want to hear about the winemaker and that makes people want to drink the wine.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Though quality is an important factor, the taste of a wine and its depth will never make it to the consumer&rsquo;s palate if they aren&rsquo;t enticed to buy it.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a big, big market out there; winemaking and marketing your wine is very, very tough,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about cutting through and getting your wine out. You&rsquo;ve basically got a three-second window anytime anyone walks down a supermarket or a store.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> To illustrate his point, Forsyth talked to Pearce about one particular high-quality wine that was having a problem catching consumers&rsquo; attention.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It had won awards &ndash; silver, golds &ndash; but people just don&rsquo;t get attracted to the brand itself,&rdquo; Forsyth said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Forsyth talked with the winemaker about the wine&rsquo;s story and found out that the winemaker&rsquo;s great-grandfather ran away to the circus.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The great-grandfather&rsquo;s daughter was known as the world&rsquo;s greatest bareback rider, so much so that her image has been emblazoned on Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Bros. circus posters.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Mr. Forsyth loves telling customers the story when they ask what&rsquo;s behind the label and he says sales have increased since the re-branding,&rdquo; Pearce wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> She then pointed to the labeling efforts of Australia&rsquo;s Orange wine district. Forsyth said the region, which is also where his wine store is located, has found a good mix of quality and marketing.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;No doubt in the last five to 10 years the wines are consistently excellent,&rdquo; Forsyth said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re winning awards and what&rsquo;s really helping with that is that they&rsquo;ve really got their head around their labelling, their brand position and where it&rsquo;s going to.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6455 There is Value in White Burgundy John Downes <p><div><br /> Sorry to be morbid, but what&rsquo;s your &lsquo;death bed&rsquo; wine; the last glass you&rsquo;ll taste in this life? Mine&rsquo;s Puligny-Montrachet, the famous but expensive white Burgundian. The big price tag is no hassle if it&rsquo;s your final pleasure but on a Wednesday evening? Yep, that may be a problem! &ldquo;But is it possible to buy good value White Burgundy?&rdquo;, a friend asked me recently. He was surprised when I answered &ldquo;yes&rdquo;.</div><br /> <br /> Before we dig out the good value bottles, for comparison it&rsquo;s worth taking a quick look at Burgundy&rsquo;s amazing whites, the wines that hail from the world famous vineyards of Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet, in the illustrious Cotes de Beaune, (hills of Beaune).&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> If anybody tells you that they&rsquo;re an expert on Burgundy&rsquo;s Cote D&rsquo;Or, (the &lsquo;golden slopes&rsquo; of the Cotes de Beaune and Cotes de Nuits vineyards), don&rsquo;t believe them. I know but a handful for this thin strip of some of the world&rsquo;s most expensive real estate holds mysteries that pass mere mortal&rsquo;s understanding. Its myriad villages, Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards set your head spinning. The crazy thing is, a Grand Cru vineyard and a &lsquo;village&rsquo; vineyard can be only metres apart - one produces a $155 bottle, the other a $30 bottle! And, yes, you can taste the difference; terroir has a lot to answer for. The crazy thing is that the monks in the 14th century knew the best plots way back then&hellip;incredible!<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Driving south from Beaune, the quiet village of Meursault soon greets you with its attractive square and 15th century church tower. The vineyards, located around the village on the limestone escarpment have their principal Premier Cru parcels on the beneficial south easterly slopes. The wines ooze subtle yet rich, crisp lemon, honey aromas and flavours and a balanced toasty sheen, the result of cool, slow maturation in French oak barrels.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Just along the road from Meursault, you come to the hallowed ground of Puligny-Montrachet, vineyard plots globally accepted to be some of the world&rsquo;s finest. The vineyards lie on the gentle slopes above the sleepy village.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It may share a name with its neighbour but Chassagne-Montrachet should not be confused even though it too produces some of the world&rsquo;s finest whites. If you win the lottery you can celebrate with the Grand Cru&rsquo;s of Batard-Montrachet and Le Montrachet, the magical postage stamp plots that straddle both Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A couple of years ago, tasting these fabulous white Burgundies in Joseph Drouhin&rsquo;s ancient cellars deep under the cobbled streets of Beaune, I was in heaven&hellip;without taking to my deathbed! The group of bankers I was accompanying are still talking about it in Moscow, Geneva, Paris and London.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So, thanks to these amazing wines the mere mention of white Burgundy brings a big fat French price tag to mind. To chop the price the first thing you need to do is slide down to the lesser known vineyards south of Beaune. Pulling a bottle from the Chalonnais, (around the town of Chalon), and the Maconnais, (surprise, surprise, around Macon) regions off the shelf you&rsquo;ll find yourself in the smiley $20-30 price bracket. In case you&rsquo;re wondering, like the rest of Burgundy the white grape is still Chardonnay.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Look out for the villages of Montagny, Rully, Mercurey and Givry in the Chalonnais and what I call the &lsquo;Pouilly&rsquo; villages in the Maconnais. The apple citrus aromas and flavours, with a touch of honey topped with a light toasty finish will bring a smile to your face and, you don&rsquo;t have to take out a second mortgage! &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The most famous &lsquo;Pouilly&rsquo; village is Fuisse but just up the road, nestling amongst the rolling limestone-rich vineyards, the neighbouring picturesque villages of Vire, Clesse, Vinzelles and Loche are all well worth checking out. Just for the record, Vinzelles and Loche are allowed to put &#39;Pouilly&#39; in front of their name on the label whilst Vire and Clesse come together as Vire-Clesse having once paraded individually as Macon-Vire and Macon-Clesse.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whilst we&#39;re talking about this neck of the Burgundian woods, don&#39;t forget Saint-Veran from the commune of Saint-Verand for value; Saint-Veran 2013, carries a reasonable $20 tag in my local wine shop. And of course, just up the road, the village vineyards of Lugny produce the popular wines of Macon-Lugny.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As you can see, the wines of the Chalonnais and Maconnais will save you a packet on a famed Cote de Beaune vin blanc. Okay, they may not have the ummph or complexity of these &nbsp;great wines but they rarely let your taste buds down. &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> If you&#39;re still feeling flush in these challenging, cash-strapped times, splash out on a bottle of Meursault, &nbsp;Chassagne-Montrachet or Puligny-Montachet, and compare it to one of the Southern Belles; you may be surprised. Drinking white Burgundy with friends and saving a few pounds, dollars or euros at the same time, not a bad way of spending a Wednesday evening!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 325 Masters of Wine in the world and is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out his new website at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.</em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6444 Looking Ahead: L.A. Mag Features “Futuristic” Wine List James Duren <p>While the wine lists of today are California- and Europe-heavy, the wine lists of tomorrow may not follow the same tune.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wines from around the world &ndash; and from places you might have never heard of &ndash; may very well be the quaffers you&rsquo;ll find on your neighborhood gnosh spot&rsquo;s wine list in five years, according to a recent story by Jonathan Cristaldi in L.A. Magazine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The paradigm is shifting in the wine world. The old guard who&#39;ve long influenced our drinking habits (and resisted change in the industry) is giving way to a modern movement &ndash; a new wave of outspoken personalities &hellip; who champion iconoclastic winemakers, emerging regions, and novel approaches,&rdquo; Cristaldi wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The heart of the new age in wine is a combination of the emergence of wine regions previously unknown, the consumer&rsquo;s desire for a wine paired with a good story about its origins and the increasing number of outspoken sommeliers promoting their particular tastes and opinions.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo; New styles of traditional varietal wines are becoming the norm,&rdquo; Cristaldi wrote. &ldquo;Grapes like Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner, Riesling and Albari&ntilde;o are stealing the spotlight, and radical new techniques &ndash; from anforaged, skin-fermented whites to wines aged in concrete eggs &ndash; make for compelling (and sellable) narratives.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Cristaldi then pointed out the influence of &ldquo;social sommeliers&rdquo;, those wine experts who are outspoken about their opinions.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The rise of the social sommelier has helped to catapult an esoteric range of natural, organic and biodynamic wines from boutique producers in the U.S. and smaller countries, including Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and even Lebanon,&rdquo; he wrote, &ldquo;while also ushering in a young, rebellious set of winemakers from countries like Italy and France.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cristaldi then proceeded to list eight wines which could be staples in the wine lists of the future. Though his story played up the diversity of the new school of wines from Eastern Europe, his wine list was a seemingly pedestrian collection of wines from Spain, Italy and the United States &ndash; hardly the underdogs in the wine world.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Among the recommendations were a Txakolina from Spain&rsquo;s Basque Country, a Ros&eacute; from Santa Barbara, and a white wine from Italy with a German name (Weeissburgunder). He also included a Finger Lakes quaffer in the list.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Of the Txakolina, L.A. beverage director Jason Eisner said, &ldquo;At (my restaurant) I carry this wine, which is a mouth full to pronounce, but totally worth every sip.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6457 British Couple Focus on One Wine at a Time James Duren <p>They are the vagabonds of the winemaking world.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Monday, Master of Wine Tim Atkins featured a story on his blog about a U.K. couple who make one wine every year, with the location and the variety changing each time they start anew with their winemaking.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;One wine, in one place, for one year only,&rdquo; writer Matt Walls asid. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard enough making wine in the same place each year, so as winemaking philosophies it doesn&rsquo;t get much more ambitious. But since graduating three years ago with degrees in winemaking, Nick Jones and Leah de Felice Renton have stuck to it.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Called the &ldquo;Momentary Destination Project&rdquo;, the duo provides detailed information on their website about every wine they make.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Producing wines with big consumer followings clearly isn&rsquo;t their number one concern, but unusual bottle shapes and distinctive handmade labels and strong branding all help the wines to stand out,&rdquo; Walls wrote. &ldquo;They also detail all the ingredients and equipment they use for each wine on the website, which gives you a unique insight into the winemaking process and the decisions they took along the way.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Living the life of a one-off winemaker can be thrilling &ndash; the pair put out a strong 100% Syrah from France recently &ndash; as well as a bit scary.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The couple&rsquo;s only Riesling project to date took place in the Mosel, where they took on the pale German goddess armed with enthusiasm and quick-thinking.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To kick off their harvest, they invited friends to a party in the tasting room of the winery they were renting to make their wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The tasting room &hellip; had some unusual decorations; a human skull and two leg bones over the door,&rdquo; the article said. &ldquo;They were ploughed up by the owner&rsquo;s grandfather in the 1970&rsquo;s, who previously kept (the bones) on his bedside table as good luck charms.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The couple has plans to head to Spain&rsquo;s Priorat and Slovenia this year.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Walls concluded the article with a brief commentary on the importance of the Momentary Destination Project.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;There is a certain satisfaction in following the wines of an old, established estate. You look back down the years and sense the lineage, the experience amassed through generations, the gradual honing of a style,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Above all, you know what to expect. Clearly this isn&rsquo;t something you enjoy when following WMD: rather than looking back, this is a young winemaking outfit that is always looking forward.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong></strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6458 Grape Harvests Coming Early in Oz as Temps Rise James Duren <p>Global warming&rsquo;s effect on grape growing is producing measurable results in the land Down Under.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Thursday the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that early harvests have taken place in Australia since the 1980&rsquo;s, according to the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI).&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Researchers from the AWRI are warning grape growers they must adapt to warmer and drier conditions leading to earlier harvests,&rdquo; reporter Emma Brown wrote. &ldquo;The institute reported wine grape harvests had on average come eight days earlier every decade since the 1980s due to warmer weather.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Brown spoke with AWRI viticultural scientist Dr. Paul Petrie to get an expert&rsquo;s view on the problem.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Petrie said there were things growers could do now to delay harvest and make sure grapes were not being picked in hot weather,&rdquo; Brown wrote. &ldquo;He said changing vine orientation, moving from north to south facing east to west, early pruning, using grape sunscreens or changing irrigation levels before heatwaves could help farmers.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Petrie said the grape growing community is well aware of the temperature problem, partly because heatwave prediction methods have improved over the past decade and because they&rsquo;re acutely interested in anything which can influence the outcome of the winemaking process.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The wine industry is very aware of the potential impact of warmer temperatures because we&rsquo;re so attuned to the impact of environment on our grape quality and on our wine quality,&rdquo; Petrie told Brown. &ldquo;The good news is there is still a lot of capacity for our growers to adapt and those innovations are going to continue to occur &hellip; there&rsquo;s no reason to expect we won&rsquo;t be able to keep growing grapes in these regions in the future.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Petrie then talked with Brown about specific heat-resisting technologies being used in the Australian wine industry.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sunscreen was at the top of his list.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;There are a couple of different products that are available as sunscreens &hellip; they effectively work like a whitewash, like a white paint that you would put over the canopy that would reflect the sun,&rdquo; Petrie said. &ldquo;The mechanism of their effectiveness has been quite well demonstrated and they&rsquo;ve been used on things like apples overseas to prevent sunburn, so there&rsquo;s potential for them to work in vineyards.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Petrie then suggested delaying fruit maturity, although some of these methods have yet to be tried in warmer regions.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One technique &ndash; delayed pruning &ndash; has been used successfully in one of Australia&rsquo;s premier winemaking regions.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Certainly in the Barossa delaying pruning until the shoots on the developing vines are four to five centimetres long can delay harvest by up to two weeks,&rdquo; Petrie said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 20 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6450 Four Things You Have To Do at London Wine Week James Duren <p><br /> Bottle after bottle of reds, whites, pinks and sparklers have emerged from London&rsquo;s shelves for the city&rsquo;s ever-popular wine week<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> With a seemingly endless list of events starting Monday and ending Sunday, seminars and tastings highlighting the international event, online publication Now. Here. This. &nbsp;offered attendees a list of five suggestions of interesting events.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;You may still be getting over your weekend hangover, but our advice is to bosh a Berocca, line your stomach and get back out there to take advantage of some awesome vino-centric happenings,&rdquo; the story said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This Friday oenophiles may enjoy a pairing of Vermouth and petanque from Hackney wine seller L&rsquo;Entrepot.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;L&rsquo;Entrepot in Hackney will be turning the French vibe up to 11 toward the end of the week, with aperitifs from Regal Rogue vermouth and the opportunity to pretend you&rsquo;re a Parisian nobleman by playing a bit of petanque,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;Never played petanque? It&rsquo;s a bit like boules. Never played boules? Just grab a drink and wing it.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For those who prefer rhythm and blues in place of lawn games, Wine Week will concluded at Mission in Bethnal green with a barbecue and a line-up of DJ&rsquo;s.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;You can get stuck into a selection of rare tipples, all served from 1.5 litre magnums,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;Snapping a picture with a gigantic bottle either side of your head is definitely a good idea.&rdquo;</div><br /> </p> Wed, 20 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6453 Pint-Sized Archaeologists in Israel Unearth 1,400-Year-Old Wine Press James Duren <p>It was the stuff of a young archaeologist&#39;s dreams.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This week several Israeli news outlets reported that young boy and his pals excavated a nearly 1,500-year-old wine press in Jerusalem.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The find was initially dug up by the boys, aged around 13 years old, who described themselves as archaeology buffs,&rdquo; a story by i24 News said. &ldquo;After an alert citizen jogging in the area noticed the ancient stone structure, she notified the Israeli Archaeological Institute (IAI), who sent inspectors over to examine the site.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> News outlet Haaretz said that the inspectors were impressed with the boys&rsquo; work.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The inspectors who rushed over agreed that somebody seemed to have been excavating methodically, and with care,&rdquo; Haaretz reported.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> However, the story said, the experts didn&rsquo;t know who was doing the work until a young boy who was gazing at the site told them the truth.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Before we could even ask what he was doing there, the boy ran up and openly and proudly told us that he and his friends were archaeology buffs and had done this excavation,&rdquo; IAI archaeologist Amit Ram told Haaretz.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the i24 News story, the wine press measured five meters by five meters and was &ldquo;carved into the soft stone of the Jerusalem hills in (the) Neve Yaakov neighborhood.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The IAA experts said the wine press dates back between 1,400 and 1,500 years.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> According to the story, what the boys did would usually be considered illegal.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Unauthorized digs such as the one carried out by the boys are against the law in Israel, since excavations that are not handled by professionals can unwittingly lead to the destruction of precious historic information,&rdquo; the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Though the boys&rsquo; secret dig was against the law, Ram told Haaretz this case is a little different than the usual illegal dig.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He said that he saw a little bit of himself in the boy&rsquo;s curiosity for history and &nbsp;archaeology.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;On the one hand, it&rsquo;s a crime,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;on the other hand I realized it was done in innocence, and I was touched to the core by the boy&rsquo;s story &ndash; which reminded me of my boyhood, at age 12 or 13.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rather than condemn what the boys did, Ram said he and his colleagues encouraged the youngsters to use their skills and interest for the community.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We suggested that the boy and their friends channel their energies to works for the community,&rdquo; Ram said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 20 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6452 Party Favors: Wine Show Offers Fun Facts About French Wine History James Duren <p>It never hurts to throw around a few facts about French wine at the next &nbsp;cocktail party.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past week, New York-based wine show Vine Talk posted a story with a series of interesting facts about the French wine industry, an arsenal of information you can use at your next dinner party.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The facts on the list ranged from France&rsquo;s Roman history to the growing prowess of the Languedoc-Roussillon region.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> First on the list of facts from Vine Talk was the sterling statistic from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine which revealed that, in 2014, France was the top wine producer in the world, churning out 46.7 million hectares of vines and 6.2 billion 750 ml bottles of wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Moving more than 1400 years into the past, the Vine Talk pointed out that &ldquo;wine has been produced in France since about 600 BC when Greeks from Phocaea founded Massallia ... and introduced winemaking.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The French winemaking industry continued to grow under Roman reign. Once the empire fell, &ldquo;monks played a key role in maintaining vineyards and preserving winemaking knowledge.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Gamay grape also made the list. Gamay&rsquo;s rocky relationship with Bordeaux can be attributed to Philip the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy in the late 14th century.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Philip &hellip; banned Gamay from being planted in Burgundy,&rdquo; the story said, &ldquo;and ordered existing Gamay vineyards to be torn out so that the grape would not compete with the &lsquo;more elegant&rsquo; Pinot Noir.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The list went on to highlight Alsace, the southeastern region in France colored with influences from German winemaking traditions.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It is the only region in France to predominantly name its wines according to grape variety, and it is known for producing aromatic white wines such as Riesling and Gew&uuml;rztraminer,&rdquo; the story said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The list also discussed France&rsquo;s 19th-century phylloxera outbreak, the tiny fly which brought European vineyards to ruin.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;By 1873, the situation was so dire that the French government offered a monetary reward to anybody who could find a way to end the blight,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;The wine industry was saved when French vines were grafted onto American vine rootstock, which is immune to the parasite.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The last fact on the list highlighted the history of the Champagne industry, which didn&rsquo;t emerge until the 19th century.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Prior to the 19th century, most of the wine produced by the region was still, and the majority of it was red,&rdquo; the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 20 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6451 Kiwi Organization Launches 2015 Young Viticulturist Contest James Duren <p>New Zealand Wine, in partnership with Bayer, has begun its search for the 2015 Young Viticulturist of the Year.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The 2015 contest marks the 10th year the event has taken place, according to the competition&rsquo;s website.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Since the inception, this competition has attracted a high caliber of entrants from throughout the country and is now recognized within the industry as being a leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to aspire and achieve,&rdquo; the site said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to New Zealand Wine, competitions will take place on a regional level. Participating regions are Central Otago, Hawke&rsquo;s Bay, Marlborough,and Martinborough; all regional competitions will take place in July.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Winners from the regional round will then compete at the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference in August. Contestants will compete in a series of events, including a quiz and presenting a speech about a particular aspect of viticulture.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Winning the Young Viticulturist of the Year award is part of a larger network of agricultural-based awards.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The Young Viticulturist Final Winner goes on to enter the Grand Final of the Young Hort of the Year,&rdquo; the release said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Viticulturists have won the Young Horticulturist of the Year award in five of the last 10 competitions.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This year&rsquo;s competition will take place under the leadership of newly appointed national coordinator Nicky Grandorge.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Grandorge, according to a press release by an Australian industry news service, is replacing Emma Taylor, former winner of the Young Vit award.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Grandorge brings with her a wealth of experience from many years in the wine industry and plans to grow the competition even further,&rdquo; the release said.</div><br /> <br /> The competition is a great opportunity for participants, she said.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Not only does it further their own careers through extended learning and networking, but strengthens the skills and relationships within the viticultural sector as a whole, offering an even stronger and exciting future for New Zealand winegrowing,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It is a fantastic event to be a part of, with a very passionate team of organisers around the country.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Reflecting on the upcoming final this August, Grandorge said it will be tough for New Zealand&rsquo;s budding viticulturists.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It tests a wide range of skills and knowledge, both practical and theoretical, and culminates in each finalist delivering a speech to hundreds of industry members at the Bragato dinner,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the release, in addition to moving on to the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition, the winner will receive &ldquo;a significant prize package.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6447 Wine is the New Toilet Paper? Nooga Contributor Tackles Costco Strategy James Duren <p>Of the big-box stores which stand like giant ovens offering the latest in the world&rsquo;s fresh-baked consumer goods, Costco is, perhaps, the king of them all.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Tennessee news website Nooga recently featured an article in which contributor Michelle Richards said that, though the popular opinion is that Costco&rsquo;s ham-fisted wholesale tactics aren&rsquo;t suitable for wine&rsquo;s finesse, the mega-retailer is actually a great source for affordable wines of good quality.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The point of wine at Costco is not for it to age over time for wine geeks to find hidden gems. The business model of Costco is about moving serious inventory to make a profit,&rdquo; Richards wrote. &ldquo;But that doesn&rsquo;t mean that the wines are bad at Costco. That is a common misconception.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Richards said the retailer didn&rsquo;t do itself any favors when leading wine buyer Annette Alvarez-Peters told CNN in 2012 that &lsquo;&ldquo;wine is no different than toilet paper.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> However, in the context of the company&rsquo;s wholesale practices, wine is, in a unique way, like the toilet paper, plastic jugs of pretzels and three-packs of your favorite toothpaste for which the behemoth is known.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;As the largest importer of French wine in the world, Costco is about moving product,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;Costco buys wine in bulk in order to pass along savings to their members and still have money in the bank.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Richards spoke with Chattanooga-area wine educator Brian Leutwiler about Costco&rsquo;s wine strategy.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Leutwiler said the retailer is his go-to location for the basics.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;When I go to Costco, I am looking for the basic things such as an inexpensive sparkling wine, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and fruitier red wines,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t go to Costco to find variety or a special wine for a tasting. I look for the broad and the basic.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Richards defended the wholesale specialists, saying the cavernous wine haven is a great place for affordable dinner-party quaffers.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I have found wines at Costco that are delicious and under $25 a bottle,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;These wines are great for everyday house wines or any parties you throw.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Looking for a bottle of premium or ultra-premium wine? Looks elsewhere, she said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;There are a lot of high-end wines at Costco that many people ask me about,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The producers that they are buying from are fantastic &ndash; but I don&rsquo;t know fi they are storing these high-end wines properly.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Richards went on to describe instances in which she bought high-end wines, only to find out they were plagued with bottle shock.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I personally would not take the risk again of buying higher-end wines at Costco,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Again, their business model is about moving inventory.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6446 Virginia Vineyards Rise to Atmospheric Heights in NASA Project James Duren <p>Sometimes all you need is a little perspective.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently completed a winey project in which a satellite took photos of and mapped Virginia&rsquo;s vineyards. The Washington Post reporter Laura Vozzella said the project was (literally) out of this world.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo; Using satellite images, NASA scientists recently mapped vineyards across the Commonwealth to take stock of an enterprise that bedeviled Thomas Jefferson and countless fellow Virginians before finally taking root about 40 years ago,&rdquo; Vozzella wrote. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an extraterrestrial take on terroir, and winemakers and industry groups are poring over it.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Vozzella said the photos are sparking interest among vintners and others because the photos &ldquo;will give them a better feel for where Virginia winemaking is &ndash; and where it should go.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to a story by Hampton Roads&rsquo; (Virginia) News Channel 3, the title of the NASA project is DEVELOP and was conducted in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The results of DEVELOP were &ldquo;presented to the Virginia Wine Board in order to explore the future of viticulture &ndash; the science, production and study of grapes,&rdquo; News Channel 3 said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the Hampton Road&rsquo;s story, Governor Terry McAuliffe played a vital role in the partnership between NASA and the state&rsquo;s wine board, quoting Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;WIth Governor McAuliffe&rsquo;s leadership, the Commonwealth is able to use some of our greatest assets, in both agriculture and the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, to help solve important public policy issues, including some key ones related to future economic development throughout Virginia,&rdquo; Jackson said.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the Washington Post, the project impressed Bill Tonkins, a winemaker from Afton.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s quite amazing. The technology now can identify a vineyard from many miles above in the air,&rdquo; Tonkins said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Post article went on to detail the benefits of the project &ndash; pretty pictures wasn&rsquo;t the only motivation, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;You could technically know where the vineyard was located because of an address and a Zip code, but you really didn&rsquo;t know where the actual field or vineyard was,&rdquo; Haymore told The Post. &ldquo;We not only know where they are now, so we have a better, more accurate count, but going forward, where these vineyards can go in the future.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Haymore went on to say that the photos and mapping capabilities DEVELOP provided will help vintners &ldquo;to make a determination about where to plant new vineyards.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6448 Smokiness Gone Wrong: Australia Dealing With Smoke Taint James Duren <p>As temperatures rise in Australia, bushfires and controlled burns continue to alter the flavor and quality of the country&rsquo;s popular wines.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Sunday the Australian Broadcasting Corporation explored the increasing instances of smoke taint amid Aussie vines, supporting their story with input by an expert from the Australian Wine Research Institute.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Since 2003 smoke taint in wines has been on the rise and the AWRI says it expects the problem will worsen,&rdquo; reporter Emma Brown said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The effects of smoke taint are apparent to anyone whose quaffed even a drop of affected wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &lsquo;&ldquo;Grapes exposed to smoke from bushfires and controlled burns can leave more than just an ashy taste in the mouth,&rdquo; Brown said, &ldquo;with some smoke compounds causing wine to smell and taste like plastic, band aids or even faecal matter.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to AWRI research Adrian Coulter, smoke taint emerged as a public wine enemy just more than a decade ago.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We really saw it come up as a big problem in 2003, and since then it&rsquo;s been a regular occurrence,&rdquo; Coulter said. &ldquo;Now, pretty much somewhere in Australia, every year, there&rsquo;s somewhere exposed to smoke taint.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Pinning down the presence of the smoky saboteur can take place at several points during the production process, he said.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Mr. Coulter said that sometimes the taint can be detected as the grapes are being picked, or crushed, but sometimes it is not until the end of vintage that the problem can be identified,&rdquo; the article said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The level of taint within the grapes is a simple matter: the more smoke, the more ruination.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s pretty powerful. It&rsquo;s disgusting. Imagine like licking an ashtray, which is what you&rsquo;re dealing with in very bad cases,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;ve only had a little bit of exposure and you might only have a little bit of taint then there are things you can do to minimise it because these things tend to be in the skins.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Red producers tend to be a bit more lucky than those who make their living from white wine, Coulter said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;If there is a little bit in red wines, you might be able to use more toasted oak to kind of mask it, or make it disappear into the complexity of the wine,&rdquo; he pointed out.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the ABC story, 25 vineyards from the region of Adelaide Hills recently tested positive for smoke taint &ldquo;from brushfires earlier this year.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6449 New York Times is Ready for Summer, Rosé James Duren <p>Beat the heat with the pale princess.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That&#39;s the advice of Eric Asimov, the New York Times wine columnist who this past Thursday gave readers a list of must-try Ros&eacute;s as the year&rsquo;s hottest months approach.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The world loves ros&eacute; in the summer. And why not: It&rsquo;s pretty, refreshing and carefree in the best possible way,&rdquo; Asimov wrote. &ldquo;Yet the public&rsquo;s easy embrace of ros&eacute; often means an uncritical acceptance of anything in pink.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Asimov said that, in the sense of levels of quality, Ros&eacute; is no different than any other wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;As with all genres of wine, the mediocre is far more plentiful than the good, which is fine if all you want is something chilled, pink and alcoholic,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;But if you love wine and care about what you drink, you can raise your ros&eacute; game by seeking out wines that are made with integrity and care.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Stepping up your game will cost you, however. A decent bottle of ros&eacute; will set you back between $20 and $45. To Asimov, the few (or many) extra dollars you spend is worth the elevated experience with the pink lady.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;What you get are wines that not only dazzle and refresh, but also welcome contemplation, if you&rsquo;re in the mood,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;You would not want to serve these in plastic cups at a lawn party, but they would be perfect with an outdoor dinner.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As far as which regions in the world produce the best Ros&eacute;, Asimov said it&rsquo;s a coast-to-coast affair in the New World&rsquo;s United States (California and New York), with Old World titans Spain, Italy and France providing the time-honored foundation of the summer-friendly sipper.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Provence, the spiritual home of ros&eacute;, produces not only easygoing summer quaffers, but also more serious ros&eacute;s that can age for quite a few summers,&rdquo; he wrote.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Asimov then went on to list seven wines perfect for the summer season. The offerings ranged in price from $27 to $65.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Though Asimov lauded wines from the New World and from Spain and Italy, his seven suggestions were all wines from Provence: five Bandol Ros&eacute;s, one Cassis Ros&eacute; and one Palette Ros&eacute;.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> At the bottom-end of the price range was the Chateau Ste. Anne Bandol Ros&eacute; 2014 ($27), of which Asimov wrote, &ldquo;The 2014, available in June, is mostly mourvedre, with a bit of cinsault and grenache, and is lovely, with mineral and licorice flavors that linger.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chateau Simone&rsquo;s Palette Ros&eacute; 2013 was on the high-end of the list, with a price tag of $65.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The &lsquo;13 is pure, substantial and deep, with light berry flavors and great finesse,&rdquo; Asimov wrote.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 18 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6443 Once in Decline, Wine Sales Rise in China James Duren <p>What a difference a year makes.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earlier this month, CNN Money&rsquo;s London office reported that, after seeing a 5 percent drop in wine sales in 2013, the Chinese uncorked in 2014 a year in which they saw wine sales grow 4.5 percent.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The Chinese are enjoying a tipple once again after the government&rsquo;s crackdown on extravagance gave high-end wine sales a knock,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;Sales of wine, excluding sparkling, in China rose by 4.5% in 2014, reversing a 5% fall the previous year.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> These statistics came by way of a Euromonitor study, the article said. According to the study, China&rsquo;s imports and domestic wines are cashing in.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The country imports plenty of wine and is also developing its domestic industry to meet demand,&rdquo; the article said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Over the past 10 years, wine consumption has made a steady rise in the Chinese market. Euromonitor analyst Spiros Malandrakis told CNN Money this increase is due to &ldquo;consumers becoming more educated about wine&rdquo; and asserting that the wine market in China is &ldquo;coming of age.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> China is continuing to expand its reputation as a big-time importer, the story said. According to CNN Money, the Chinese are just a California-crazed as they are France-crazed.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;U.S. wines are making some headway,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;China was the fourth biggest export market for U.S. wines last year &ndash; 90% of which come from California.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Varieties from Italy, Spain and Australia are also becoming popular among the Chinese.</div><br /> <br /> The story then went on to explore the matter of wine production.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> China has more vineyard space than France, but only 5% to 10% of that space is used for wine grapes, the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;France, the world&rsquo;s biggest wine producer, made about four times as much wine as China last year,&rdquo; CNN Money reported.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Though the Chinese are lagging in terms of the ratio of vineyard space-to-wine production, the story said this means winemakers have some room to grow.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Chinese winemakers have plenty of scope to scale up production but they are a long way from challenging the Old World masters,&rdquo; the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Malandrakis said even though the potential is there, future growth will have to work out the problem of quality.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The quality of production is improving massively but it&#39;s&rsquo; light years behind France,&rdquo; he told CNN Money. &ldquo;Exporting is very far fetched.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 18 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6441 The Biodynamic Movement: Vining by the Light of The Moon James Duren <p>Winemakers are buying into the idea of biodynamic winemaking.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past week United Kingdom-based newspaper The Independent examined the emergence of biodynamic winemaking in the global market, offering the reader background about the movement, its tenets and what kind of price tags you can expect.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Wine making is a complicated business. The vagaries of the weather, the impact of pests and diseases, the condition of the soil and the threat of sour grapes have no doubt driven many an ill-fated viticulturalist to drink,&rdquo; reporter Paul Gallagher wrote. &ldquo;And in recent years, things have become even trickier, thanks to the growing popularity of biodynamic wine in a world where organic is old hat.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gallagher then went on to discuss the history of the biodynamic movement, which he said began with a list of nine tenets which Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner created in 1924.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Those tenets, Gallagher pointed out, included extensive use of compost and manure.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;He also advocated sowing seeds two days before a full moon because of the forces of growth that he believed poured down from the heavens,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no record as to whether he&rsquo;d been hitting the house white when he came up with this notion.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gallagher said the number of winemakers converting to biodynamic vitiviniculture is growing every year to meet demand.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;An increasing number of producers and sellers &hellip; are cropping up at home and abroad to satisfy growing demand for what has been described as the wine equivalent of unpasteurised cheese,&rdquo; he said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The governing body of the biodynamic world is Demeter International, &ldquo;named after the Greek goddess of grain and fertility.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> All wineries must meet the organization&rsquo;s standards for biodynamic production before they&rsquo;re allowed to be called &ldquo;biodynamic&rdquo;.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Gallagher, conventional wineries must adhere to the standards for three consecutive years before they gain Demeter&rsquo;s stamp of approval, while organic wineries need only comply one year to win the title.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The entire farm, or vineyard, must be certified, not just a portion of land within the farm,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Demeter inspectors make annual checks to make sure that the makers still qualify and nobody can call their wine biodynamic without their approval.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> U.K. winemaker Nick Wenman is a specialist in biodynamic wines. Gallagher talked with him to gain a U.K. perspective on the primarily Old-World practice.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I like being able to make something that cannot be scientifically explained,&rdquo; Wenman told Gallagher. &ldquo;Biodynamic certification also has the tightest controls so you really have to keep on top or your vineyard, even after you have first reached that level, to maintain the quality.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 18 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6442 French are Balking at Going Bottoms Up, But Why? James Duren <p>&ldquo;Think the French are the world&rsquo;s greatest wine lovers? It turns out that isn&rsquo;t the case anymore,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;Researchers found that drinking habits in European countries are becoming more homogenous: less of a &nbsp;drinking culture where one kind of beverage dominates, and more development of a mixed palate.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The researchers were part of study by the Organisation for Economic cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD studied the drinking habits of Europeans, beginning in 1990 and ending the observations earlier this decade.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the study, France wasn&rsquo;t the only classic wine-drinking country to see a drop in consumption over the past 20 years.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Wine-producing countries like France, Italy, and Greece actually saw per-capita consumption of wine fall by 20 percent or more since 1990,&rdquo; the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wu then offered a French-specific explanation for the decrease in the country&rsquo;s drinking.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Researchers Thierry Lorey and Pascal Poutet compared French drinking habits across different generations in a 2011 paper published in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;They found that generational differences too may be contributing to the drop in wine consumption.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The older generation and the younger generation have different drinking habits, the researchers said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;While the elderly generation (60-70 years old) grew up with wine on the table at every meal, the middle-aged consider wine an occasional indulgence, and the young generation typically only began drinking wine in their twenties,&rdquo; the paper revealed.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lorey and Poutet noted that the newest generation of French quaffers treat wine just like any other product they&rsquo;d buy: they need to be convinced that the tipple &nbsp;is worth their money.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As wine consumption levels fall in France and Italy, they are rising in other countries, the article noted.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The (OECD) researchers had a few theories for why love for wine is no longer exclusively a French phenomenon,&rdquo; Wu wrote. &ldquo;Wine is now readily available at social gathering places and venues. Thus, people don&rsquo;t reserve wine for special occasions or particular drinking places anymore, according to the study.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 18 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6440 Vineamorphasis: Wash. Vineyards Might Be Haven For Butterflies James Duren <p>Those emerald blocks of vines are home to more than just your favorite wines.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Monday Tech Times reporter James Maynard ran a story about recent research by insect experts that showed eastern Washington vineyards provide a wonderful home for butterflies.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Conservation of butterflies is becoming an issue because all species are declining. The habitat has been taken away by agriculture,&rdquo; said David James, a representative from the Washington State University Department of Entomology. &ldquo;This is a way of giving back. We&rsquo;re showing that an agricultural industry can live alongside the natural ecology and help preserve and conserve it.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the story, grape growers often plant certain types of shrubs around vineyards because they attract insects which prey on other insects which can damage or destroy grapes, vines or roots.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Turns out these shrubs attract butterflies as well.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Researchers in the study identified an average of 20 butterflies in each enhanced vineyard, representing a total of 29 species,&rdquo; Maynard wrote. &ldquo;This compares to vineyards without the natural pest protection, which had five butterflies in an average field, from nine total species.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Maynard noted that the butterflies are the pacifists of the entomological bunch in the vineyards &ndash; they don&rsquo;t prey on other insects.</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Researchers hope the presence of the insects will be welcomed by winemakers, and it is possible vineyards may take advantage of the finding to attract tourists to their facilities,&rdquo; the article said. &ldquo;The colorful insects are also efficient pollinators for some species of plants, and they play important roles in the ecosystem.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Washington State&rsquo;s James also noted the presence of butterflies could add tourism value to the vineyards.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;To have butterflies flying around could be part of a tourism drive and an attraction for visitors,&rdquo; James said, pointing out the whimsical nature of the insect. &ldquo;In these days of organic production and not wanting pesticides on food, butterflies can be a symbol of that. To show butterflies flying around vineyards has great aesthetic and commercial appeal.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Maynard said that though the study was good news for Washington butterflies, the same results may not be able to be duplicated in other states.</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;This new study may not necessarily apply outside the borders of Washington state,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;Vineyards there are subject to fewer pests, and farmers use fewer chemical pesticides than those in many other locations.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6436 A Virtual Tasting with Fattoria dei Barbi Snooth Editorial <p><div><br /> Twentieth generation heir to Fattoria dei Barbi, Stefano Columbini, sat down with Gregory Dal Piaz to taste through a line-up of the former&rsquo;s elite and accessible Tuscan wines. &nbsp;<em>Fattoria</em> is an Italian word for farm. The word is often used as a winery term. &nbsp;The Italian root of <em>fattoria</em> is the verb <em>fare</em>, which means<em> to make; &nbsp;to fashion; &nbsp;to create</em>. Fattoria dei Barbi has been<em> making, fashioning</em>, and <em>creating</em> unique and spectacular wines for centuries. Click through the slides to watch highlights from the tasting, or <a href="">click here to view the tasting in its entirety</a>.</div><br /> <br /> </p> Fri, 15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6429 Hippies No More: Natural Wine Movement Gaining Momentum James Duren <p>Once thought as the campy plonk to accompany a cultural and literal cloud of peace, love, weed smoke and anti-war sentiments, natural wine is now a legitimate niche force in the wine world.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yesterday, Bloomberg Business reporter Nick Leiber entered the sediment-laden world of natural wines through the person of one Fabio Bartolomei, a winemaker in the foothills outside of Madrid.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Bartolomei and hundreds of other producers of so-called natural wines are now unnerving (or at least annoying) the big commercial players of the industry as restaurateurs, distributors, oenophiles, and an increasing number of ordinary drinkers seek authenticity in their wines,&rdquo; Leiber wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Bartolomei is the founder of Vinos Ambiz, which, according to the Bloomberg story, produces 8,000 to 12,000 bottles of wine per year, featuring varietals like tempranillo, albillo, garnacha and other grapes.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Leiber also spoke with John Wurdeman, co-owner of the country of Georgia&#39;s Pheasant&rsquo;s Tears winery.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Natural wine was considered hippie juice 15 years ago,&rdquo; Wurdeman acknowledged.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Times have changed, though, Leiber pointed out.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The market is &lsquo;growing at incredible speed,&rsquo; (Wurdeman) says, with world-famous restaurants such as Noma in Copenhagen and El Celler de Can Roca in Girona each sticking hundreds of labels,&rdquo; he wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Jenny Lefcourt, co-founder of a New York-based natural-wine distributor, also jumped into the discussion.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just Paris and New York anymore,&rdquo; she said of her company&rsquo;s sales. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re selling across the U.S.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This expansion in sales and in interest is now catching the attention of big producers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The growing popularity of natural wine has stoked tensions within the larger industry,&rdquo; Leiber wrote. &ldquo;Many wine producers take issue with the term, which they say disparages those who don&rsquo;t claim to be natural.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Natural wine aficionada Alice Feiring says the big boys just flat-out don&rsquo;t like the movement.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;They want to destroy it,&rdquo; she told Leiber. &ldquo;Conventional producers are in a scramble because they don&rsquo;t want to lose market share.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Leiber, the title of largest producers of natural wine goes to France, Italy and Spain. Interested parties, however, span the globe.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The Georgian government has invested about $500,000 since it started promoting the country&rsquo;s natural wine in 2012,&rdquo; he wrote, quoting the head of Georgia&rsquo;s National Wine Agency. &ldquo;Demand has been so strong that the country&rsquo;s 30 or so natural wine producers &lsquo;are sold out&rsquo; before the product is bottled.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Isabelle Legeron</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6439