Posts Filed Under wine news
As if I wasn’t behind enough on my ramblings here on 1WD (I’ve still got several Sicily updates to share with you, after all!), I’m going to put myself even further behind! Overachiever here!
Here’s the skinny: it’s going to be light on the feature content here on 1WD (though I expect to keep up, for the most part, on the weekly mini-reviews), probably throughout February.
The reason is that I’m smack-dab in the middle of a book contract, and the pace is Ludicrous Speed through at least the first week of March. Ostensibly, this is actually good news. I’m not sure how much I’m at legal liberty to divulge with respect to the book, so I’m uncharacteristically erring on the side of caution.
What I can tell you is that it’s a wine book, and it’s targeted mostly at the beginner end fo the wine drinking spectrum, which is exactly the kind of wine book that I’ve kept asking over the years, as each one was released, if the world needed yet another beginner-oriented wine book. But the publishers have done their homework, and see a market need for the particular type of book in which I now find myself enthralled; and we both saw a fit in terms of voice and style.
So… I’m excited, and am now frantically typing my little wine-stained fingers off, and hope to share more details with all of you in the (very) near future (and get back to writing my usual freakish features and market screeds on these virtual pages).
Hopefully your holiday spirits, dear readers, will be in full swing this week and thus you’ll indulge me a bit of (non-partisan) political commentary.
During the most recent 2019 debate of Democratic party Presidential contenders, a rather sizeable hullabaloo was generated when, during the course of the proceedings, it was mentioned that Mayor Pete Buttigieg had held a rather expensive fundraiser at the Napa Valley wine cave of Craig and Kathryn Hall.
Reaction to the lavish location of the fundraiser has not been short on criticism. And the fundraiser deserves to be criticized; just not for its location.
The issue here is not that the fundraiser was held in a lavish wine cave with ultra-expensive vino on the menu; I mean, what the hell are we supposed to go to Napa for, after all? Luxurious environs, lavish meals, and super-premium wines are the entire f*cking point of Napa Valley’s lucrative tourism industry.
The trouble is much larger and far more important; we have a terrible history with big donor contributions in the USA’s current political system. The wine cave hatred is just another example of deflection, and piling on the lazy perception in the mainstream press of fine wine wine as douchebaggy.
Remove the locale from the scenario, and you see the real problem. Political candidates need lots of money to run in elections (including in ultra-partisan primaries). To get that money, they turn to big donors, and end up passing laws that allow even more money to be donated to them. The result is that those politicians need our votes not because we are their true constituency, but because they need to get into power via public elections in order to enact the agendas of their true constituents: the big-time donors. A not insignificant portion the political and social woes in the U.S. are directly and indirectly impacted by this scenario. Of course, wealthy individuals have just as much right to vote and choose candidates as anyone, but I think it can be successfully argued that they don’t deserve to have more influence over political agendas simply because they can afford to feed to the current (broken) system.
You want to rant and rave about the unfairness of the current status quo? Hey, I’m all for doing that. Go and do your part to support campaign finance reform. But the wine caves have precious little to do with it; so leave them out of it, because they’re merely a distraction from the bigger picture.
Long-time 1WD reader and tirelessly inquisitive wine guy Bob Henry recently asked for my thoughts on an article published by wine data maven David Morrison, titled The perilous state of the US wine industry?. Go read it; it’s important.
My first thought about said article is that I love said article; it’s well-written, interesting, and cites actual numbers to back up the conclusions therein. My second thought is basically “Oh, holy sh*tballs!“
The crux of the article’s matter is that the U.S. wine market is potentially in for some very hard times, primarily due to unsustainable trends. Among Morrison’s conclusions, after adjusting wine sales data for inflation:
“If the US population is continuing to grow, then sales of all goods can be expected to grow with it — and the population has been growing at c. 0.65% per year for the past 5 years. The wine industry is currently not keeping pace with the population.”
“…there have been times when the increase in total wine value did not keep pace with inflation.”
“…a healthy industry needs an increase in the actual number of consumers through time; and the current wine industry in the USA does not seem to have this.”
If these dire conclusions about the wine business sound familiar, it’s probably because some of us [raises hand] have been sounding similar warnings for literally almost an entire decade…
Read the rest of this stuff »
By now, you will almost certainly have heard about the wildfires (once again) impacting Northern California. There are a few things to keep in mind regarding how these fires impact California wine country:
Not all of CA wine country is ablaze. Yes, the impacts are horrifically devastating to many, and the situation is extremely fluid and, buy the time this publishes, undoubtedly will have changed again (hopefully, for the better).
If you are relatively local, you can open your home to evacuees impacted by the fires. If you’re not local, you can of course donate some cash to any of the various relief funds that are actively dealing with the disaster.
Most importantly (in my view), as a wine lover, you should continue to drink and buy wines from the impacted areas (primarily Sonoma County). Not just now, but long after the smoke from these horrendous fires has cleared (and before you ask… harvest is almost totally completed in the impacted areas, so there’s little chance of smoke taint from the current fires making its way into anything that will be bottled with a 2019 vintage on the label). That might be the best way to ensure a speedy recovery for the wine brands that get hit the hardest by the current blazes.
Cheers – and get buying!