Posts Filed Under wine news
Last week, Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine ran a featured story titled “CORK Through the Media’s Eyes: Have wine writers put a cork in their criticism of bark stoppers?” written by WineCurmudgeon.com’s Jeff Siegel.
The story (in which I’m briefly quoted) asks whether or not the natural cork stopper industry has reached the point in which cork taint is largely a thing of the past. I provide the role of “contrarian opinion” in that I still see the rate of cork taint as an issue with which the cork industry needs to more effectively deal.
I’ve got nothing against natural cork closures, mind you. In fact, I suppose that I prefer them in a nostalgic, “Django Reinhardt playing softly in the background while I retire into my brushed-canvas sage Pottery Barn love seat” kind of way. I have grown totally convinced that screwcap enclosures are totally sound for long-term storage of fine wines, and I sure as sh*t don’t like synthetic corks and wouldn’t trust them to keep a wine long-term any further than I could comfortably spit a rat (don’t visualize that if you can help it – nasty).
I think for me this is a problem of “once bitten, twice shy” in that I’ve encountered what I consider far too much cork taint-affected wines – while the percentage is tiny, it’s still too high; certainly higher than what we’d consider acceptable in other food-related products.
I’d love to hear your take on this – is cork taint going the way of the dinosaur? Or is it alive and (un)well in your cellar?
It’s often been cited that all 50 U.S. states make wine in some capacity (though not all make their wine from grapes). But outside of CA, WA, OR, and NY, only a handful of the remaining 46 states have any real public eye affixed on them in terms of seeking out quality wine. VA, PA, and TX are among the ‘second tier’, but few are running out to scoop up FL wines just yet.
Same with AZ. However, a couple of prominent AZ folk have been out to change the world’s view of the Arizona wine scene.
On February 19th, another wine film hits the big screen: Blood Into Wine, directed by Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke, chronicles the efforts of Tool front man (and Caduceus Cellars owner) Maynard James Keenan and Page Springs Cellars owner Eric Glomski to bring recognition to the budding AZ wine industry.
According to www.azstronghold.com, the joint venture of Keenan and Glomski, their mission is “to put Arizona on the fine wine map.” It looks like they’re bringing out the full PR machine to help them, and the movie will feature guests such as hotter-than-the-AZ-desert-itself Milla Jovovich. Wine Specatator’s James Suckling also makes an appearance (but I don’t think he’s hot).
Will Blood Into Wine do for the AZ wine scene what Sideways did for CA Pinot Noir? I suppose we’ll find out in February, but I wouldn’t go out and liquidate the 401k and bet it all on AZ wine industry stock just yet. Keenan has star power and street cred, and Jovovich has powers of extreme hotness, but it’s unlikely that Blood Into Wine will see distribution that is closer to the levels of Merlove and Mondovino than Sideways or Bottle Shock. But it just may leapfrog the publicity factor of AZ a few years when it comes to fine wine recognition, or at least brand recognition for Keenan and Glomski’s wineries.
Got an opinion on AZ wine, wine movies, Tool, Suckling, or the hotness of Milla Jovovich? Shout it out in the comments!
Here’s an interesting bit of wine news – it’s not everyday that you hear about a veritable Apocalypse Now of tens of thousands and thousands of bottles of wine, let alone have that wine related to movie icons, providing an opportunity to utilize puns related to kick-ass cinema in a wine context.
This week, Law.com and Courthouse News Service reported the news that Napa Valley producer Coppola (owned of course by famed producer and director Francis Ford Coppola) is suing cork and bottle manufacturer Vinocor USA, alleging that Vinocor is responsible for ruining 55,000 cases of the Coppola wines.
Yes, 55,000 cases (nearly 700K bottles of wine). That’s a lot of vinegar!
Apparently Coppola’s company Francis Ford Coppola Presents paid Vinocor nearly $700K to produce some funky-looking bottles with over-sized screwcap enclosures to help promote their “Encyclopedia” line of wines. But it looks likenot all went to plan, as Coppola is claiming the substandard quality of the Vinocor products resulted in the oxidation of all 55,000 cases bottled of Encyclopedia.
That’s certainly the largest amount of wine I’ve ever heard of being ruined by a screwcap enclosure. The allegation is not against screwcaps in general, of course – it’s that the Vinocor screwcaps were allegedly flawed, having issues with their threading and didn’t create a proper seal to protect the wine.
Will this lawsuit cause a setback in the adoption of screwcaps?
I doubt it – certainly some top-notch wines are well bought into the stelvin enclosures, including New Zealand’s Kim Crawford and California’s Bonny Doon. Properly-made screwcaps seem more than capable of properly aging a wine, at least when it comes to medium-term storage. Whether they will help a wine last 20+ years is more debatable question, but theoretically there’s no reason why they couldn’t.
Got a stance on screwcaps, wine-related lawsuits, or Coppola movie quotes? Shout `em out in the comments!
I recently received a press release from the Wine School of Philadelphia, with whom I’ve been discussing taking part in their Sommelier Smackdown event series (basically, in a Smackdown event the Wine School staff take on local wine personalities and wine pros in a contest to match up wines with dinner recipes, and usually much merriment / fun / smack-talk ensues).
So far, we haven’t been able to nail down a mutually available date, and both the Wine School of Phila. and I had been lax in following up to make it happen. Their recent press release helped to clear things up, though – turns out that the reason things have been delayed (and I am not making this up) is that they’ve been issued a cease and desist order on the Sommelier Smackdown event series – from World Wrestling Entertainment!
Vince McMahon Issues Smackdown Against Wine School
Philadelphia, PA. Vince McMahon is taking on his oddest foe to date: a sommelier wine tasting. The World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., has issued a cease and desist against The Wine School of Philadelphia and its popular “Sommelier Smackdown” series of wine classes.
In a letter to the school’s owner, the WWE’s lawyers are threatened legal action if the school does not stop hosting the series of wine tastings. “I feel kind of special,” says Keith Wallace, “I am being picked on by Vince McMahon. I better start working out.”
The Sommelier Smackdown is a series of food and wine pairing events that take place in Philadelphia. The event pits a sommelier against a member of The Wine School team, and the audience gets to vote for the winner.
Mr. Wallace says he will not stop running the classes, at least for now. “They don’t have a leg to stand on. I am not going to bow down to a bully,” he says. “They claim that they own the term “smackdown” but they don’t.”
In response to the WWE threat, Wallace is calling out Mr. McMahon and the wrestler Chris Jerico to a wine-tasting double-team cage match.
Keith Wallace is the Founder and Director of The Wine School of Philadelphia. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Beast, and is currently working on his first book for Running Press.
Oh, sure, use the old “I can’t go head-to-head with you today, I’m in legal action with the WWE” excuse. Cowards!
But seriously, I imagine that you are having the same reaction that I did – as in, WTF?!?!?!
Let’s just get one thing clearer than a Loire Muscadet Sevre et Maine right now: I am NOT getting into a throw-down, folding-chair-throwing cage match with anybody over wine pairings…especially Robert Parker, because that guy is big…