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Weekly Wine Web Wrap-Up: After the Storm Edition

Vinted on February 24, 2008 binned in wine news

Greetings from PA, where we are digging out after a bout of winter weather; not the worst we’ve seen by a long shot, but the first significant winter storm we’ve seen all season – very, very late for these parts. I’m not going to jump the gun and blame global warming just yet… but… you gotta wonder…

Speaking of Global Warming
Wine Spectator reported this week on “The Gore-ical” giving the wine industry props for its efforts to Go Green, thus helping to preserve the environment and stave off some of our contribution to turning the Earth into a hothouse. I recently gave props to Domaine547 for going green, so we’ve got some good examples where this is impacting the thinking all the way through the wine retail chain. But so far, no one has called me the Dude-ical.

I got my first real in-yo-face close up with global warming in Samburu, Kenya a few years ago. One afternoon while staying at the Elephant Watch Camp, we hiked up the river. Literally, up the river – as in, walking up the middle of the river. This was very easy because there was no water from the higher elevations to actually fill the river bed, because the ‘short rains’ never came. The locals explained to me how this was possibly linked to global warming, and as I watched the animals dig like mad to get themselves a drink, I decided that I wanted to punch anyone that told me that global warming was bullsh*t in the face. Not that Dude is an angry person…

Don’t Get Mad, Get Quoted
While we’re doling out props, let’s give some down-home Dude praise to Tom Wark, who was quoted (yet again!) by Business Wire this week in his fight against the monopolist practices in wine distribution. Anyone who thinks that the wine distributors’ claim that they are maintaining their monopoly to keep alcohol out of the mouths of minors is anything more than a greedy witch hunt needs to check out Tom’s blog.


The American alcohol distributors calls for shutting down all direct to consumer wine shipments is a self-serving ruse demonstrated by the fact that if they really cared about minor access to wine, they would call for the shutting down of the channel of sales through which minors are most likely to obtain alcohol: brick and mortar alcohol sales. Rather, we only hear calls to shut down direct shipment of wine, the channel through which distributors dont make money.

Go Tom!

(Even More) Power to the People!
Decanter reported that two self-published works picked up U.K. Andre Simon book prizes. That gives some very serious street cred to the self publishing phenomenon (and maybe even to the Wine 2.0 movement). Oh, yeah – the books were also from U.S. authors (whew-hew!).

She’s So… Heeeeeavy….
Speaking of Decanter, and the U.K., the likes of Jancis Robinson and Oz Clarke railed out against a trend from luxury winemakers to bottle wines in what they (Jancis & Oz, not the winemakers) claim are needlessly heavy bottles. Score another hit for the movement against climate change, since heavier bottles = more energy to ship + higher shipping costs (passed on to you and me who are buying the stuff).

Speaking of Weights…
Those of us who brave the epicurean world to bring you our take on food & wine will undoubtedly want to check out this article from the Times online, which details how critics, chefs, and others in the food industry fight the after-effects of their foodie passions. Considering that wine doesn’t have fat, but does have calories (mostly from its alcohol content), us wine bloggers & wine drinkers should take note. The good news is, we’re not alone! Now, go get on that treadmill.

Ancient Land, New Wines
The Wall Street Journal posted a fascinating piece this week on the quality revolution underway in Israel’s wine industry. Dude had an opportunity to taste some Israeli wine not too long ago during a visit in London, and he was mighty impressed. Watch this space, we could be seeing some exciting stuff as this very old world land makes some new-world styled wines.

A Moment of Silence
This past week we mourned the loss of Jamie Davis, co-founder of Schramsberg Vineyards. Jamie Davis was a pioneer, a bit like the Robert Mondavi of American sparkling wine.

That’s all for now. Until next week’s edition – cheers!

Weekly Wine Web Wrap-up – V-Day Hangover Edition

Vinted on February 16, 2008 binned in wine news


Welcome to the post-Valentine’s Day Hangover edition of the Weekly Wine Web Wrap-up (where Dude highlights some of his favorite wine news items over the past week)!

Is it Getting Hot in Here, or is it Just Me?
You’d have been hard-pressed (ha-ha) to miss stories this week about the impact of global warming on the wine world, such as this nice article from the AFP. According to the report, the French in particular are in big trouble. The article does not state how the U.S. will save France this time around (we can only assume America will want to go for the “Bail France Out Trifecta” having already performed that service when France was threatened by phylloxera, and zee Germans…).

And the Winner Is…
Once again, Gallo is tops in U.S. domestic wine sales, shipping an estimated 66 million cases in America during 2007. That’s about 792 million bottles of wine, or 59.4 billion ml of our favorite beverage. The only comparison to that in the scientific world in terms of concentration is spermatozoa. Yuck. OK, let’s just agree to forget that I said that…

Yeaaaahhhhh
Looks like Tennessee is trying to do things right when it comes to Internet wine sales, according to this little blurb on TriCities.com. The article even cites the benefits that the state can reap by opening up their markets to Internet and mail-order wine sales. When will the other states listen to reason? Tennessee is showin’ you folks how it’s done (with good ol’ Southern hospitality)!

Boooooooooo
By contrast, Colorado is getting it way wrong, as liquor stores and grocery stores battle it out to see who will get the Sunday liquor business from the state’s consumers. Can’t we all just get along?

Never Judge An Appellation by its Label
If you think total wine consumption and wine sales are the only titles the U.S. is battling the French and Italians over for the #1 spot, you’ve obviously missed this SanLuisObispo.com article on the debate over proposed changes to their appellations’ wine labels. Because now it appears that CA is trying to catch up France & Italy in the battle of who has the most complex appellation and labeling laws. Drat.

The WORST News EVER!
This story is, like, the worst news EVER! I can’t even finish reading it… Oh the humanity!!! Close your eyes, Marion! Keep your eyes SHUT!!!

Searching for Wine 2.0
Finally, the San Francisco Chronicle has given some nice publicity to Doug Cook’s new wine search engine venture AbleGrape.com. Right On!!!

Cheers!

Wine Makes You Sexier (I’m just sayin’…)

Vinted on February 14, 2008 binned in best of, holidays, wine news, wine tips

(image: www.yandy.com)

And it’s not because the object of your desire becomes more desirable after you’ve put on the “wine goggles.”

According to a survey jointly sponsored by the Australian Wine Council and on-line dating service Match.com, having a healthy knowledge of the world’s most romantic beverage makes you more attractive, with those people preferring Italian wines being viewed as particularly “sexy” and “stylish.”

There’s still plenty of time for you to order up a copy of Vino Italiano and join us for the first Wine Book Club. Just sayin’…

Wine X Magazine (as reported by autumnilia) backs up the “wine = sexier” conclusion in an interview with sexpert Dr. Ruth, who tells us that wine is an essential element of foreplay (she prefers Beaujolais Nouveau, gewurztraminer, and CA white, so those may be some of the sexiest wine choices, seeing as how she’s a sexpert and whatnot- again, just sayin’).

Finally – If you’re totally desperate on this most Hallmark of holidays, Yahoo! Answers has a thread about what wine choices make a drinking partner appear the most attractive. Chianti and Sake got the nods there. Just sayin’.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Weekly Wine Web Wrap-up – In-Flight Dining Edition

Vinted on February 9, 2008 binned in wine news

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Weekly Wine Web Wrap-up, where Dude highlights the wine news stories of the past week (complete with snide Dude commentary, of course!).

Cover Globally, Vinify Locally
The highest profile wine news coverage of the week is likely this article in U.S.A. Today, which details the growing trend of ‘micro-brew’ wineries in urban areas that source their grapes and/or juice from rural vineyards. A handful of these wineries and their winemakers in NY and the midwest are featured by name (thus ensuring that their websites crash and their ISP demand additional hosting charges for their traffic overages).

“Pardon me, old chap, but can I have my $36,000 back?”
The UK Press Association reported this week of a Zafferano restaurant customer (in London) who returned a bottle of the legendary 1961 Ch. Petrus that cost the bargain price of £18,000 (about $36K USD), under the complaint that it might have been a fake. The restaurant told him that the wine was off-tasting anyway – a case of sour grapes, perhaps…?

Whew-yew! Now you can pay even more for Yellowtail!
ABC news in Australia reports the comforting news that the recent oversupply of cheap Aussie wine is on the decline, which should result in a halting and then reversal of the recent declining price trend for those wines locally. Presumably, they’ll be shipping those more expensive bottles of Yellowtail over to the U.S. since we seem to be drinking it up, even though most of them taste like plonk…


When We Got There, There Was No ‘There’ There
Don’t you just hate it when you fly to Bordeaux to visit the Chateau of your favorite French wine only to find when you get there that the place doesn’t exist? Me too. So do the British, as do the Fédération des Grands Vins de Bordeaux, according to this story in the Times Online. Apparently some Bordeaux wineries are selling wines under multiple labels, with specious references to non-existent Chateaus. The crackdown has begun in earnest against this practice – which has been outlawed in France since 1993. So to be fair we should give them about 20 more years to get things under control…?

Poisoning The Youth of Canada?
The St. Catharine Standard ran a story of a movement in Canada to introduce their younger drinking generation to Canadian wine. Youth that was weaned on Canadian wine? Does that include ice wine? Plus they have free health care, almost no crime, and legalized marijuana. Dammit, why couldn’t I have grown up in Canada!!!

“Does That Come in a Double D?”
Uhm… uhhh…, well, you just can’t make this kind of stuff up, can you?

A bra. That holds wine. You know what? Put Chateau Y’quem in anything and I’ll probably drink out of it…

U.S. Kicks Britain’s Butt Again!
And finally, despite the fact that British Airways has the venerable Jancis Robinson picking their wines for them, Fox reported that American Airlines bested the competition for in-flight wine quality in a recent international face-off (wine-off?). While it’s too bad that you may need several stiff drinks at 30,000 feet just to deal with AA’s notoriously poor service, as least those drinks will be the best that an airline can offer!

Cheers!

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