Left Hanging: Grape Growers Feel the Crush of the Economy

Vinted on August 18, 2009 binned in Uncategorized

At first glance, saying that grape growers – being one link the overall supply chain that provides wine to consumers – would feel the pressure of the economic downturn and its negative impact on wine sales would seem like a no-brainer.

“Well… duh!” you’re probably thinking, “If the economy sucks, and fewer people buy wine, wouldn’t suppliers naturally suffer in terms of selling less of their product to wineries?

Sounds reasonable, my astute friend.  You’re one of those people that paid attention in Economics class.  I can tell.

But apparently that view is missing some of the complexity of the situation, at least according to recent stories in two major wine publications.

In July, Wines & Vines featured a cover story called Growers’ Reality Check, which detailed the outcomes of a June Vineyard Economics Seminar held in Napa.  The picture was, in a word, glum.

Of the surveyed attendees, a meager 44% predicted an upswing in wine sales – down from 78% one year ago.

Last week, Wine Spectator’s Tim Fish (who has yet to publicly attack me so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt!) reported on a glut in the wine grape-growing market in California.

The big swing was due, of course, to the economic downturn, which has seen consumers shift their wine buying patterns away form the $20 and up range and towards value wine brand territory.

Wait a minute,” you’re probably saying, “if consumers are still buying wine, doesn’t it mean that grape growers can still sell, maybe just at lower prices?”. 

Not quite, my economically-astute friend… not quite…

 

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Minority Report: Ethnic Diversity & Small-Production Meet Up in Napa Cab

Vinted on August 17, 2009 binned in California wine, commentary, winemaking

At a new, small California winery, an ethnically diverse pair are making low production Cabernet Sauvignon. Very, very good Cabernet, that is.

For those of you who are playing along at home, I’m going to introduce this article with a bit of background, because it’s several months in the making.  Also, if I don’t start out with some preliminaries, it’s going to confuse the hell out of me.

Also, since we’re going to end up connecting Oaxaca (that’s in Mexico), Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Opus One, Mario Bazán Cellars, and ethnic diversity, we need to make sure we’re all on the same page before we start.

Bear with me, you’re probably smarter than I am, ok?  Here’s the recap:

Right… that’s Twitter, TasteLive, Napa Valley SB, Opus One, the Wine Bloggers Conference, Toquade, ethnic diversity in winemaking, and my coverage of small-production wines.  Crystal clear, right?

Anyway… at that same dinner with Michael, I was introduced to another (very) small-production wine.  A red this time, from a winery owned by a Mexican-born immigrant who employs a young African-American female winemaker.

In other words, I’d hit the serendipity synchronicity jackpot.  Which means that this is the one chance I may have to piss off everybody in a single post… I cannot screw this up!

[ Editor’s note: for those who are humorless, the preceding statement is a joke; in fact, those who are humorless are probably reading the wrong blog and should leave immediately for the sake of preserving their own sanity. ]

Background setup complete – now, let’s get talking about the wine…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2009-08-15

Vinted on August 15, 2009 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 90 Max Ferd. Richter Helenenkloster Riesling Spatlese (Mosel): Neon lemon vibrant color. Slight TCA, but the acidity is just screaming good. #
  • 02 Trefethen Library Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Big, bold, but supremely focused. Ass-kicking black cherries dominate. #
  • 06 Inniskillin VIdal Gold Icewine (Niagara): Color, acidity, sugar, citrus, honeysuckle – it's all amped up to the extreme in this offering. #
  • 08 Black Box Chardonnay (Monterey): Yes, it's from a box, but if you're buying Yellowtail Chard instead of this easy-drinker, you're insane. #
  • 05 Innocent Bystander Bleeding Heart (Australia): Drinkable but somewhat dysfunctional Sangiovese/Merlot blend. Hints of pepper add interest #
  • 07 m2 Soucie Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi): Dried black fruit, chocolate, & cola. Like James Bown's papa, this wine don't take no mess! #
  • 08 St. Supery Dollarhide Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): Not subtle but certainly complex w/ passion fruit, citrus & grass. Great job on this #

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August Edition of Chester County Cuisine & Nightlife Hits the Stands

Vinted on August 14, 2009 binned in about 1winedude blog, Penns Woods, pennsylvania, wine publications

A very quick blurb to let you know that the latest edition of Chester County Cuisine & Nightlife has hit the stands.  This month’s issue (August 2009) includes a piece that I wrote in late 2008 on Penns Woods winemaker Gino Razzi.

CCC, masterminded by WCDish.com co-founder and irrepressible Philly-area foodie Mary Bingham, continues to improve with every issue and seems like it’s really starting to hit its stride.  And best of all, it’s FREE.

So if you happen to find yourself in visiting, living in, or mysteriously waking up somewhere in Chester County, PA, be sure to grab yourself a copy or two, or hit the PDF after the jump for a tree-friendly version!

Cheers!
(images: dailylocal.com)

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