20121007

This site on hiatus.

20120825

VT winery tops cold climate competition

In the mood for a top-flight cold climate wine?

New York, Michigan and Washington State usually are looked to for such things, but wineries in Vermont are beginning to get some recognition.

Shelburne Vineyard won "best of show" honors for its 2010 Marquette Reserve Red in the International Cold Climate Wine Competition just concluded in Minnesota. That comes right on the heels of the same winery's Duet Ice Wine being named "best of class" in the Indiana International Wine Competition.

Shelburne Vineyard is located at 6308 Shelburne Road (Route 7) about seven miles south of Burlington. The tasting room is open every day year-round. Phone: (802) 985-8222. 

This year's Minnesota competition included more than 325 wines from commercial wineries in 12 states and Canada. Awards were based on blind tastings by 21 judges.  You can get the full list of results online.

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20120707

Push resumes for KY election-day alcohol sales

From NKY.com

FRANKFORT, KY -- A proposed law would allow Kentuckians to buy alcohol on election day for the first time since at least the 1930s.

State Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, next week will discuss before lawmakers in Frankfort a bill he’s tried to get passed in some form or another for four years to make alcohol sales legal on election day.

Kentucky is one of only two states that still bans alcohol on election days, with South Carolina being the other, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). The laws trace back to the early 20th Century when saloons also served as polling places. ...

The state doesn’t need to worry as much about people buying votes with liquor but does need to worry about the loss of both tax revenue for the state and business revenue for restaurants and liquor stores, said Simpson. "Most jurisdictions have done away with this prohibition. We need every dollar in taxes we can generate and permit businesses to work.”

The Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control does spot checks on the primary and general election days to ensure businesses are compliant, said spokesman Nathan Jones. The state law bans alcohol sales on the days of the primary and general elections when the polls are open. It also requires businesses to keep alcohol under lock and key. ...

Simpson will speak before the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations on Friday, July 13 ... . The bill has died in committee each of the previous four sessions.

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20120702

Wine-in-markets advances in Oklahoma

TULKA, OK -- The path has been cleared for one step toward allowing some grocery stores to sell wine.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that an initiative petition seeking a vote on a proposal to permit such commerce can proceed.

What is known as State Question 763 would, if passed, allow counties with a population of at least 50,000 to ask voters for approval of wine sales in grocery stores and warehouse clubs with at least 25,000 square feet of floor space.

The court ruled that the petition seeking such a vote does meet legal requirements to advance. If  supporters collect 155,000 signatures the measure will be placed on the November 6 ballot. If they do not, the next opportunity would be 2014.

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20120627

World-record tasting attempt in Finger Lakes

GENEVA, NY – The 2nd annual Finger Lakes Music & Wine Festival will have a twist this year: Sample for a Cause.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, August 18, in this Seneca Lake city, will be the setting for what organizers hope will go in the record books as the largest wine tasting event in the world.

The current world record for such an event is 5,095 participants who visited the Plaza de Toros in Arando de Duero, Spain, on September 15, 2006.

With more than 100 wineries, the Finger Lakes region will be able to offer many different wines to festival visitors. And, $2 from every wine tasting ticket sold will go directly to Geneva’s Happiness House to help fund local programs.

If you’d like to get a group together to join the record attempt, here are the details. Wine tasting hours: 3 to 8 p.m., admission to the attempt; 7 to 8 p.m., call-up to all participants.


  • Participants are to gather in the designated, fenced-in tasting area to count toward the world record attempt A digital counter above the gate will display the number of patrons in the t area at any given time. 


  • During the attempt period all entries and exits by patrons are automatically recorded by an electronic counting system. Specific focus will be placed on the 7 to 8 p.m. period, unless the record is broken before that specific time. 


  • An official adjudicator will be present and witness the attempt. If the record is broken, the adjudicator will publicly announce the success of the attempt and hand a plaque to the mayor of Geneva on the main festival stage. 


Wine tasting tickets are $15 per person, 21 and over only. They may be purchased online or at the festival gates on the day of the event. No admission to those under 21. Tickets can be purchased online or at the festival gates on the days of the festival. Full details are available online.

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Trumps to ex-winery owner: You're fired

Eric F. Trump
Donald Trump has really completed his takeover of the Kluge Estate Winery.

After purchasing the Charlottesville, VA, winery and renaming it -- what else? Trump Winery -- the mogul has fired its founder and former owner, Patricia Kluge.

 Kluge founded the winery after divorcing her husband, businessman John Kluge, and receiving a $100 million divorce settlement.

Despite all that money, she quickly ran into financial problems and declared bankruptcy in 2011. Shortly afterward, Kluge sold the winery to Trump for $6.2 million.

Trump kept Kluge on to help run the winery while he put his own team in place. His son Eric F. Trump now runs the complex, and he and Papa Trump told Kluge her services no longer were needed.

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20120618

Brooklyn wineries offering orange wines

BROOKLYN, NY -- Someone once said Americans will drink or eat anything if it's colored orange. At least two New York wineries are hoping that's true.

Both the Brooklyn Winery and Brooklyn Oenology have produced unusual wines from oranges.

A 2010 Brooklyn Winery Finger Lakes Orange Chardonnay is being offered for $22 for a 375ml "half bottle," or $15 by the glass at its 213 North Eighth Street location (between Driggs Avenue and Roebling Street).

A 2010 Brooklyn Oenology Orange Pinot Gris is being offered at $25 for a 750ml bottle, or $11 by the glass at its 209 Wythe Avenue (at North Third Street) location.

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20120609

Drinking scene rejiggered in Kansas

TOPEKA, KS -- The Jayhawk State's drinking scene is in the midst of major changes.

Under a bill signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback, changes effective July 1 include:

• Liquor stores will be allowed to offer free wine, beer and liquor tastings as of Sunday, July 1.

• Dinner railway cars can obtain a liquor license. State Rep. TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, said the measure was aimed at luring a Nebraska dinner train business to operate between Baldwin City and Ottawa.

• Drinking establishments may offer "happy hour” specials. Previously, could offer special drink prices, but those charges had to last all day.

• Micro-distilleries will be allowed to to sell and serve their products on their premises.

Another provision of the law, that went into effect on May 31, allows visitors at wine tasting festivals to taste samples and buy bottles of those same wines at the event. Previously, wine tasting visitors had to go to the individual wineries to purchase those same wines.

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Shipwrecked Champagne brings hearty bids

A Veuve Clicquot
Champagne is at its best well-chilled, but this is ridiculous.

Eleven bottles of Champagne that had sat on the bottom of the frigid Baltic Sea for 170 years sold at auction Friday for a total of more than $156,000 in Mariehamn, capital of the autonomous Finnish region of Aaland.

They had been part of the cargo of a schooner that sunk in 1842 between Finland and Sweden. By chance, the wine was perfectly "stored" horizontally.

Divers exploring the shipwreck found 162 bottles, 79 of them drinkable. Four were Veuve Clicquot. The highest-priced bottle fetched a winning bid of $18,721.50.

A single bottle of Veuve Clicquot from the same shipwreck was auctioned last year for $37,400. Profits from the auction will go to a variety of charitable causes.

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Canada to allow inter-province wine transport

From the Edmonton Journal

Raise a glass, wine lovers. Canadians will soon be allowed to transport wines across provincial borders after MPs from all parties voted late Wednesday to support a private member's bill that will free our grapes.

Bill C-311 from British Columbia Tory MP Dan Albas proposes ending a decades-old prohibition on inter-provincial wine shipments. The bill, which passed by a vote of 287-0 during third reading in the House of Commons, would also allow Canadians to shop for wines online and ship them across borders.

"The wine industry has had this thorn in their side for 84 years. It's time to free the grapes," Albas told reporters Wednesday on Parliament Hill before the vote.

Under the circa-1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, it is illegal to transport wines across provincial lines. The offence is punishable by a $200 fine or even jail time.  

[Go here for the full story.]

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20120517

Idaho's largest winery has new owner

Idaho's largest winery has a new owner.

The Ste. Chapelle Winery, located in the Snake River Valley, has been purchased by Precept Wine. The Seattle, WA, company is the largest privately held, and second largest overall, wine company in the Northwest.

The seller was Ascentia Wine Estates of Healdsburg CA. Precept already owned the Sawtooth Estate Winery, also located in the Snake River Valley AVA.

Andrew Browne, founder and CEO of the nine-year-old Precept Wine, said, "This is a reunion of sorts for me, having worked with the winery when it was part of Corus Brands."

Ste. Chapelle Winery is best known for its Riesling, Soft Red, Soft White and Huckleberry wines. It produces approximately 130,000 cases of wine annually and distributes nationally.

Ste. Chapelle, the largest winery in Idaho, was founded in 1976. It was purchased by Constellation Brands in 2001, then by Ascentia in 2008.

"We are thrilled with Precept's purchase of Ste. Chapelle," said Moya Shatz Dolsby, Idaho Wine Commission executive director. "It shows well for the state of Idaho that a large company from Washington state has not only one but two Idaho wineries, and I look forward to furthering the commission's relationship with Precept Wine."

Precept's portfolio includes Waterbrook, Canoe Ridge, Sagelands, HOUSE Wine, Willow Crest, and Apex Cellars in Washington state; Primarius in Oregon, and Shingleback and Red Knot from the McLaren Vale in Australia.

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Baccarat trying new-design wine glasses

After years of judging in wine competitions that use different types of glasses, I can attest to the fact that the glass sometimes makes or hurts the wine.

While it's no sin to drink coffee from a paper cup or a soft drink from a plastic one, sipping wine from cheap glass is the antithesis of pleasure. Fine glass increases the pleasure on several levels -- visual, temperature, mouth feel.

Riedel, for example, of Austria has emerged as the go-to glassware for such events and, for those who can afford them, for home entertaining use as well.

Now, however, another globally-known luxury crystal glassware manufacturer -- the French company Baccarat -- has begun marketing a new line of wine glasses with a broad base resembling the "tastevin," a saucer-like cup used by winemakers and sommeliers to taste wines.

The glasses also have sloping sides and a very narrow narrow lip Baccarat says prevents the alcohol from overpowering other aromas.

"The main subject in the final stretch should no longer be the alcohol anymore, but the aromas and the bouquet the fine wines have to offer," Bruno Quenioux, technical adviser of the Chateau Baccarat collection of professional wine glasses, told the Reuters news service.

In the aroma "you can see the smokiness, some flowers, definitely the glass leads you to have the mineral side of the wine," he said. " ... When you go back to the regular glass, you have rusticity. You have something not so subtle."

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Nova Scotia entry takes Finger Lakes gold

Among the many places that do not come quickly to mind when talking about quality wines, Nova Scotia is right up there on my list.

That's why it caught my eye when an entry from the Canadian province took home a gold medal from the recent Finger Lakes International Wine Competition held in Rochester, NY.

It also was interesting to note that among its zillion columnists -- including yours truly on several topics, Examiner.com has a writer who specializes in coverage of the Nova Scotia wine scene.

Here's a link to Veronica Leonard's report on the gold medal victory of Jost Vineyards and the good showing of several other Nova Scotia wineries.

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20120412

NY roadside wine sales bill stuck in Assembly


ALBANY, NY -- The New York State Assembly is in the spotlight for supporters of a bill that would allow wines produced by farms, wineries or micro-wineries to be sold at roadside farm markets.

The Senate already has passed S.4242-A, but that was back on February 13. The same day it was delivered to the Assembly and 11 days later it was referred to its Committee on Economic Development as A9387-2011. And, there it sits nearly two months later.

In a joint statement, State Sen. William J. Larkin Jr. (R-C, 39th District), and Mike Oates, President and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., said passage of the bill would mean "more local products will be available to shoppers in the area, opening up a new avenue of business for companies that are an integral part of a proud tradition of excellence right here in the Hudson Valley.

"In addition to the many wineries and vineyards in our region, the bill has the full support of the Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Alliance, a group that promotes and represents the wide range of organizations in the food and beverage industry that call our area home. Leading the way in this sector is the winemaking industry, which traces its roots in this region back hundreds of years."

If the bill passes the Assembly and is signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, it would allow the sale of specific wine products at roadside farm markets, as long as the stand is within 20 miles of where the wine is produced.

The stands would be under the supervision of the State Liquor Authority They would be allowed to sell wines from a maximum of two wineries each. Only wines by the bottle would be allowed for sale, and no tastings could be conducted.

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20120409

Winery sale reneging costs $4 million

From the Lubbock, TX, Avalanche-Journal

Albuquerque, NM, winery owner Laurent L. Gruet must pay $4 million for failing to follow through on his bid to buy Cap*rock Wine Co. nearly two years ago, a bankruptcy judge in Lubbock has ruled.

Judge Robert L. Jones ruled Gruet, who bid $6.5 million for the then-bankrupt winery in July 2010, breached the contract by not completing the purchase.

At the same time, Jones dismissed fraud claims raised in the suit by trustee Max Tarbox, ruling while Gruet "made a false promise" to buy the winery, his efforts to close on the purchase proved there was no intention to commit fraud. ...

(The judge) awarded the bankruptcy estate $3.9 million in damages plus attorney’s fees and costs of more than $425,467.

The $3.9 million is based on the winery selling for $2.5 million in a second auction a month later, and $100,000 Gruet paid Tarbox to keep the deal open while trying to raise his 10 percent earnest money deposit of $650,000.

[Go here for the full story.]

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Wine-in-markets plan, Oklahoma style

An editorial from The Oklahoman newspaper.

Let's see if we have this straight.

If enough petition signatures are gathered, then Oklahomans could be asked in November to vote on whether to give the state's 15 largest counties the option of selling wine in grocery stores.

Those stores would have to be at least 25,000 square feet, and corporations that obtain licenses for these wine sales couldn't operate more than six locations.

What kind of goofy plan is that?

The group pushing to change Oklahoma’s liquor statutes, Oklahomans for Modern Laws, said at the beginning its goal was to get wine and something other than 3.2-strength beer sold in grocery and convenience stores.

We were among those who liked the idea of letting voters decide if they wanted to update our laws by amending the constitution. But language in a petition submitted this week makes no mention of strong beer, cuts convenience stores out completely and seeks to have the changes pertain only to the 15 counties with at least 50,000 residents.

Why shouldn't folks in the other 62 counties have the opportunity to decide if they want these changes where they live?

If approved, this proposal would benefit big box stores and larger grocery stores. Some convenience store representatives are understandably riled about their industry being carved out. And package store owners aren't thrilled, either, because they wouldn't be given more latitude to sell nonalcoholic items such as snacks.

Brian Howe, director of Oklahomans for Modern Laws, says this was as far as the group felt it could go at this time if it hoped to succeed.

But what are the chances of ever going back for more if this passes? Better to have kept the original goal of wine and strong beer in grocery and convenience stores, and made it county-option like liquor by the drink, which makes no provision for the size of counties, instead of this hodgepodge.

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20120407

New study: Red wine compound blocks fat

We've all heard, by now, of the research that gives strong credence to the idea that a component of the wine may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, thus improving heart health.

Now comes word that another compound has been found in wine that blocks immature fat cells' ability to develop and grow.

I can see the headlines over the next few days. "Too fat? Drink wine." "Wine: The Wonderful Fat Reducing Drink." And so on.

But, bear in mind this is just one such study. It was published this week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, explaining that researchers from Purdue University say they’ve found a compound similar to resveratrol -- the heart healthy compound in red wine, but also have foiund it in grapes, blueberries and passion fruit. It's called piceatannol, which researchers speculate may be helpful in fighting cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

Resveratrol is converted to piceatannol in humans after consumption. Piceatannol also has been found to act as fat blocker.

"Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells," said Kee-Hong Kim, lead researcher. "In the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis."

In other words, the compound blocks the pathways necessary for immature fat cells to mature and grow.

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20120406

Cornell preserving East Coast wine history

A historic poster in the collection.
From the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

ITHACA -- From historical records to bottle labels, an archive at Cornell University is quietly collecting and preserving materials related to the East Coast wine industry.

Established in 1998 as part of the university’s rare book and manuscript collections, the Eastern Wine and Grape Archive contains documents, records, marketing collateral and ephemera from wineries and vineyards dating back to the 19th Century.

Presently, Cornell is the only American university with an ongoing program to document wine production and consumption in the United States.

Finger Lakes materials in the archive include 19th Century documents from Pleasant Valley Wine Co. in Hammondsport, Steuben County. The winery, which remains open and operational, was founded in 1860 and first invested in equipment to produce sparkling wine during the Civil War.

The materials do not circulate and must be viewed in the library’s reading room.

For more information about the archive, go here.

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20120324

Reneau's Dry Riesling a smashing winner

ONTARIO, CA -- A Finger Lakes winery's entry has been "Grand Champion" in the New World International Wine Competition (NWIWC).

Chateau LaFayette Reneau's 2010 Dry Riesling earned the honor after winning "Best New World White Wine," "Best New World Riesling," "Best of Varietal," "Best of Class" and a Double Gold.

Hats off to winemaker Tim Miller and owner Bob Reno for this sweep of categories.

Chateau Frank fared quite well, its 2006 Blanc de Noirs taking "Best New World Sparkling Wine," "Best of Varietal," "Best of Class" and Double Gold en route to topping that category.

Another particularly strong honor was taken by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards' 2010 Chardonnay, rated "Best New World Chardonnay." In a state known for its Chardonnays and nearly all of the judges from California, it was quite a coup for the Finger Lakes winery.

Other strong New York finishes:
  • Dr. Frank 2010 Gruner Veltliner (Best of Class and Gold)
  • Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Vidal Ice Wine (Best of Varietal, Best of Class, Double Gold)
  • Merritt Estate Bella Rosa (Best of Class, Gold)
  • Sparkling Pointe 2006 Blanc de Blancs (Best of Class, Double Gold)
  • Swedish Hill Winery 2010 Vignoles 25th Anniversary Reserve (Best of Varietal, Best of Class, Gold)
  • Riesling Cuvee (Best of Class, Double Gold)
  • Dr. Frank 2010 Pinot Gris (Double Gold)
In addition, Golds went to:
  • Belhurst Estate Winery 2010 Chardonnay
  • Dr. Frank 2011 Dry Riesling
  • Sparkling Pointe Cuvee Carnaval
  • Swedish Hill Winery 2010 Riesling
The complete results for all medals in all categories are available online.

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20120320

Wine-in-markets debate re-heats in New York

I posted a story back in mid-February on another of my blogs (one that covers New York's Capital Region beverage scene) concerning the resurrection of the debate over selling wine in grocery markets, something the state now prohibits. The quick responses, pro and con, from a batch of readers prompted me to re-post the story here to see what a broader cross-section of New York readers think. The original postings are included.

It may have failed in successive budget tries under Governor David Paterson and been ignored by Governor Andrew Cuomo who has been quoted as saying the potential benefits won't outweigh the potential costs, but the idea of allowing food markets to sell wine won't go away.

Rather than pushing Individually for such a change, the New York Wine Industry Association, New York State Wine Grape Growers Association, New York Farm Bureau, Business Council of New York State, Food Industry Alliance of New York State, New York State Restaurant Association and allied businesses are jointly calling on the governor to change his stance.

"New York Farm Bureau has long supported the sale of wine in grocery stores because of the enormous opportunities that it would provide to New York’s wineries and grape growers," said Dean Norton, bureau president.

"Studies have shown that making this common sense modification in state law would create more than 6,000 jobs in wineries and related industries and produce more than $70 million in new sales tax revenue. It’s long past time that we remove this barrier to consumer choice and job creation and become the 36th state to make this important change."

The alliance cites the marked change in the number of businesses allowed to sell wine in 1974 compared to today, as well as the marked increase in the number of wineries in the same period.

They use the 1974 benchmark because that is the year a push began to get then-Governor Hugh Carey to reformulate the state's winery license law to make it easier for farm wineries to operate more profitably. In 1976, he did so.

In 1974 there were 4,500 liquor stores in the state through which the then-existing 19 wineries could sell their farm product to consumers. Now, there are fewer than 2,500 liquor stores through which more than 378 New York wineries can sell their farm product to consumers. Thus, the alliance contends, wineries no longer have enough retail outlets to reach consumers.

Opponents continue to insist that mom and pop liquor stores would be severely harmed if other businesses are allowed to sell New York and other wines.

FIRST COMMENTS FROM READERS (feel free to add your own):


Skipjack: Since our Governor has such a great record for getting things done, its time for him to step up and get the law changed to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores like the vast majority of New Yorkers want.

Bill Dowd: Ed (# 15): Thanks for the two links to help people compare two vastly differing points of view. It is interesting, as you say.

What also is “interesting” is that you complain that the New York Wine Industry Association has only one agenda. The same can be said of the group you appear to support. It has as its sole agenda item blocking sales of wine in supermarkets.

Ed: I find it interesting that someone who is usually as knowledgeable as Dowd would cite the “New York Wine Industry Association.” A simple check of their website (http://nywia.com/web/) reveals that they are a group with 1 agenda item – putting wine in grocery stores. The true New York wine industry is solidly behind New York’s wine stores (for a list of wineries please see http://www.lastmainstreetstore.com/go.cfm?do=Page.Show&pid=4). Interesting.

Ann: It’s ridiculous that this state doesn’t allow the sale of wine in grocery stores. It would help out the local wineries tremendously.

Skipjack: I don’t understand why liquor stores get this kind of protectionism. It’s like telling Price Chopper that they can’t sell flowers because it hurts florists, or they can’t sell artisan bread or cakes because it hurts bakeries. The majority of citizens in NY want the ability to buy wine in grocery stores, but the liquor lobby don’t like it because they fear it will drive prices down (which it may). That’s why this issue has been coming up for the past ten years (at LEAST).

I also disagree that grocery stores will only sell crap wine. I travel to CA frequently and the selection there in grocery stores is BETTER than most liquor stores in NY (and the prices are WAY better). I agree that wine should be sold in grocery stores, but some of the restrictions placed on liquor stores should be lifted. Liquor stores should be able to have more than one location and they should be allowed to buy beer. When shopping for a party, I hate having to get spirits and wine in one store, and then go to a beverage or grocery store for beer. What’s up with that? And why can’t I pick up salt, limes, ice and NA margarita mix at a liquor store?

I also disagree that allowing wine sold in grocery stores will close down mom and pop. Yes, some will close if they can’t offer better service/selection/price than grocery stores. Sometimes a business deserves to fail. Would you frequent a restaurant with high prices and bad food just because they are independently owned? Most people wouldn’t.
I will no doubt continue to spend the bulk of my wine dollars at Empire Wine because of their great selection and prices, but it would be great to pick up a bottle of wine on occasion at BJ’s or Price Chopper. Time for NY to move into the 21st Century.

Rhianna: IF wine is to be allowed in NY grocery and chains are going to move into the state, THEN the state needs to allow *DUAL LICENSING* in independent retail, i.e. off-premise (retail) stores with on-premise authorization. Independent retailers will need the competitive ability to compete with big grocery by allowing to sell wines by-the-glass, i.e. a wine bar with retail store under one roof; a retail store with a wine/beer bar capability.

If insurance is a problem, allow a dual license to include only beer & wine for on-premise consumption if retail is attached (not liquor) – though liquor should still be allowed to be sold in retail side (under same roof). Look to Florida state for guidance. FL allows dual licensing for beer & wine (on and off premise under one roof) for only a few hundred dollars. It is also allowed with the addition of liquor, but liquor add-on license is several hundred thousand dollars and there are only x amount delegated per district.

Lee: The laws in NY are about protecting different lobbying groups and have nothing to do with protecting New Yorkers. It is just another type of “prohibition” based upon who has the money to get their will done in Albany.

Dostoevsky: There are real reasons why states should want to impose limits and controls on the sale of alcoholic beverages. You might not agree with them but you should at least know what they are. Here is an unbiased, third party report that discusses those reasons: “2012 ISSUE BRIEFS FOR STATES – Brief Explanations of Common Alcohol Regulatory Issues Facing State and Local Communities.” It can be downloaded from http://goo.gl/NSNig.

Anthony: Here is the smell test -- None of the proposals that have been offered give the liquor stores the the ability to offset the massive losses with other items. Cheese and crackers are not going to keep these stores in business. If we are going to allow wine to be sold everywhere that beer is sold, then we should allow beer to be sold everywhere wine is sold. But the grocery stores want exclusivity on the Holy Grail of beverages and won’t give that up. Thats why it doesn’t pass the smell test.

MIkeD: I hope NY can learn from Tennessee’s mistakes. All the Associations in the world won’t get it done. The people must be heard, not the heads of industry.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120208/OPINION03/302080099/Grocers-outfoxed-despite-popularity-wine-sales?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Opinion|s

Mike: We all know the supermarkets will only carry Gallo, Yellowtail, Cavit and all the other mass produced wines. So where is the benefit to the New York state wine producers? The only beneficiaries will be large out of state businesses.

fiorot at westchesterwinemakers: Harry makes me laugh. Preserving a business? Protect a business from whom? Me thinks Harry is not a Capitalist who believes in free markets. Maybe we shouldn’t allow French wines in the country since we have California Wine. As consumers and taxpayers we do not have any interest in shielding one set of businesses from others at our expense and with the loss of healthy competition. Monopolistic practices must end. Free the Wine!

Whiner: Sorry, Harry, but your idea is in violation of the US Constitution.

Eric Orange: But as soon as you do that, Harry, it becomes an issue of protectionism and interstate commerce.

mabel: I like Harry’s idea. I hate seeing mom and pop stores (which describes most liquor stores) being bulldozed by big-box stores (which describes most supermarkets), but I think we need to support our state’s amazing wineries as well. And like Sarah, I’d love to be able to pick up a nice table wine when I’m buying my other groceries. :)

Harry Cook: I would support the concept of allowing grocery stores, eyc. to sell only NYS grown and bottled wines. That would tend to preserve the liquor/wine specialty businesses while encouraging the further development of the NY wine industry through expanded retail outlets.

Sarah Hinman Ryan: I lived in Seattle for almost seven years and every supermarket sold wine but there were still liquor stores all over the place. It was really nice to be able to pick up a bottle of something decent while buying the makings of dinner.

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20120315

NY wine group opposes warehousing change

Wine America sent this letter to members of the New York State Legislature, expressing opposition to a bill before the Senate that would require wines to be stored in-state for 48 hours before vendors deliver it to New York stores and restaurants. Currently, most of the wine produced from outside the state is warehoused in less-expensive New Jersey space.

WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, on behalf of our member wineries in New York and across the nation, echo the concerns of the New York Farm Bureau and other related groups with respect to the possible adoption of an “at-rest” provision that would require wines to be stored in a New York warehouse for 48 hours before being distributed.

WineAmerica is comprised of approximately 800 winery members in nearly every state. Through our state association partnerships, we represent the vast majority of the nearly 8,000 American wineries at the state, federal and international levels. The mission of WineAmerica is to encourage sound public policy that will allow for the growth of the American wine industry, and to provide wineries market opportunities both domestically and abroad.

The proposed “at rest” provision would add unnecessary delay and complexity to a distribution system that already poses significant hurdles for small production wine brands. By increasing the expense associated with wine delivery, the proposal would result in lost sales and associated reductions in state excise and sales tax revenue in a sector of the New York economy that has shown dynamic growth over the last three decades. See Stonebridge Research, The Economic Impact of Grapes, Grape Juice & Wine on the New York Economy, 2008 (Jan. 2010).

Wineries are often an engine of rural economic development in New York. Anchoring towns throughout Central and Western New York, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and other rural communities, the development of the state’s wine industry is a remarkable success story. As local wineries continue to grow and flourish—improving their reputation throughout the country and around the world—it is incumbent upon the New York legislature to improve distribution efficiency for producers of small production brands. An “at-rest” provision would be a significant step backward, building a barrier to market entry for local and out-of-state wineries with no commensurate benefit to the state.

New York can be a leader whose distribution laws further encourage the development of local wineries and promote the interstate sale of locally produced wine. Improvements could make the distribution system more transparent and easier to navigate, and could serve as a model that other states could follow.

New York should not impose new obstacles to efficient interstate wine sales. An “at-rest” provision would be a major impediment to interstate wine deliveries and would seriously damage the ability of local and out-of-state wineries to reach their customers.

We urge you not to adopt this harmful proposal.

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20120309

Wine collector accused of $1.3M scam

Kurniawan
From ABC News

An Indonesian millionaire who was once known as one of the world's up-and-coming collectors and dealers of rare wines was arrested Thursday and accused of trying to trick other wealthy buyers with more than $1.3 million worth of counterfeit bottles.

Rudy Kurniawan, 35, was arrested in Los Angeles, where he has lived in luxury for years despite a longstanding deportation order, U.S. prosecutors said. He is charged in New York with repeatedly trying to sell sophisticated fakes of vintages that can trade for thousands of dollars per bottle.

The criminal charges follow years of increasing suspicions about Kurniawan among top wine connoisseurs. Some of his wines were pulled from a sale in 2007 after an auction house declared them to be fakes. The billionaire entrepreneur and wine investor William Koch sued Kurniawan in 2009, claiming that several bottles he'd purchased from him were phony.

Federal prosecutors in New York accused Kurniawan of engaging in "multiple fraudulent schemes" related to his wine business, including trying to sell 84 bottles of counterfeit Domaine Ponsot wine at an auction in 2008 and 78 bottles of bogus Burgundy wine from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti at an auction last February.

Prosecutors said Kurniawan also fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in loans to finance his playboy lifestyle.

[Go here for the remainder of the story.]

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20120306

NY seeks changes for 'Farm' brewers, winemakers

ALBANY -- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo may not be the poster boy for grocery stores that would like to be able to sell wine, something he has dismissed out of hand, but he may have won some friends among the state's craft brewers, winemakers and distillers.

Cuomo today proposed legislation that would create a "Farm Brewery" license. It would allow craft brewers who use products grown in the state to operate in a similar fashion to the state's wineries which have flourished under the 1976 Farm Winery Bill, leading to increased demand for locally-grown farm products as well as expanded economic development and tourism.

He also proposed legislation to exempt Farm Wineries and Farm Distilleries from the current costly tax filing requirement.

"These bills provide a boost for breweries, farmers, wineries, and communities across New York State," Cuomo said. "This legislation will give our state's growing craft beer industry the tools needed to create jobs, promote agriculture, and encourage environmentally friendly economic development across New York State."

His bill to promote the economic growth of the craft brewery industry includes:

Increasing Retail Outlets for New York Products: The legislation would allow Farm Breweries to sell New York State-labeled wine at their retail outlets. In addition, Farm Wineries would be permitted to sell New York State-labeled beer for off-premises consumption.

Allowing Farm Breweries to Open Restaurants: The legislation would allow Farm Breweries to obtain licenses to operate restaurants, conference centers, inns, bed and breakfasts or hotels on or adjacent to the farm brewery.

Increasing Tastings: The legislation would allow both Farm Breweries and Farm Wineries to conduct tastings of New York State-produced beer and wine at their premises.

Selling Related Products: The legislation would allow Farm Breweries to sell beer making equipment and supplies, food complementing beer and wine, souvenir items, and additional products similar to those allowed under the Farm Winery statute.

To hold a Farm Brewery license, a producer's beer must be made primarily from locally-grown farm products. Until the end of 2017, at least 20% of the hops and 40% of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in the state. From January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2022, no less than 60% of the hops and 75% of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in the state. After January 1, 2023, no less than 90% of the hops and 90% of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in the state.

The beer manufactured under these guidelines would be designated a "New York State labeled beer." The legislation is modeled after the 1976 "Farm Winery Act," which spurred the growth of wine production in the state, including the creation of 237 farm wineries and tripling the number of wineries, which in total now have hit the 316 mark.

Also today, the governor proposed exemptions for Farm Wineries and Farm Distilleries from a costly and burdensome tax filing requirement. Currently, all beer, wine, and liquor wholesalers in the state are required to report sales made to restaurants, bars, and other retailers. However, because Farm Wineries and Farm Distilleries are small, often family-owned operations, they have struggled to afford the costs of complying with this annual reporting.

According to the Governor's Office, "The burden imposed on them by this filing requirement outweighs the benefit received by the State Tax Department, as purchases from Farm Wineries and Farm Distilleries account for a very small percentage of the state's total beer and wine sales. These businesses are already required by law to maintain sales records which the Tax Department may obtain upon request, making the additional mandatory filing requirement not necessary."

Here is some of the pertinent reactions to the proposals:

• Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president: "We've seen tremendous growth opportunities for our farmers from alcoholic beverage license categories that are specifically linked to locally produced farm goods – from the growth of farm wineries to the relatively recent trend of farm distilleries. This is an opportunity for local farmers to bring New York back to being the premier hops growing state that we once were, creating added value markets and new jobs in our State."

• Dennis Rosen, State Liquor Authority chairman: "This legislation will provide a significant benefit to local farmers, by helping to create a sustained demand for their products. Ultimately, by providing incentives for farm breweries to expand, these businesses will become, much like farm wineries, destination locations that will promote economic development and tourism within their communities. This bill will boost agriculture and breweries, as well as create jobs and increased economic development across New York."

• Darrel Aubertine, Department of Agriculture and Markets commissioner: "This bill will exempt Farm Wineries and Farm Distilleries from burdensome tax filing requirements that have hurt small business here in New York. Our Farm wineries and Farm distilleries are small, often family owned operations, and they have struggled to afford the costs of complying with this annual reporting. Governor Cuomo has made opening New York State to business a top priority of his administration, and this bill will help cut burdensome costs that have been imposed on small farm wineries and distilleries. New York's craft brewery and farm winery industry is an important part of our economy, supporting jobs and tourism across the state, and I look forward to working together to make sure this legislation becomes law."

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20120211

Dept. of Competitive Information

Attention non-California winemakers. There's bad news/good news coming from the land of your biggest domestic competitors.

• The bad news (for California): Late freezes and untimely rain negatively impacted California's wine grape harvest just as vintners had predicted. The 2011 harvest was down 7% to 3.3 million tons. When table grapes are included, the overall tonnage of the California fruit still was down, by 3%.

• The good news (for all others): See above.

According to the preliminary harvest report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reduced supply has meant increased prices for California wines in general.

Napa County had the highest prices for grapes with an average $3,400 per ton, an increase if 5% from 2010. Grapes from Sonoma and Marin counties sold at an average of $2,081 a ton, up 3%.

Factoring in all wine grape-growing regions in California, the average price for red wine grapes went up 12% to $702 a ton, while for white it went up 8% to $541.

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20120125

North American winery count: 7,834

SACRAMENTO, CA -- The number of wineries in North America grew to 7,834 in 2011, according to WinesVinesDATA, the research arm of Wines & Vines magazine.

Publisher Chet Klingensmith released the count at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium on Tuesday, the same day the magazine's annual Directory & Buyer's Guide went on sale.

The compilation found 7,345 wineries now operating in the U.S., an increase of 450 wineries, or 6%, from a year ago. Canadian wineries now number 465, up 17%, and Mexico is home to 24 wineries, for a North American total of 7,834.

California continues to count the most wineries in North America, with 196 new wineries, bringing the total to 3,519. California continues to bottle more than 90% of the nation's wine even though fewer than half of North American wineries are in California.

Each state has at least two wineries. The top six states in number of wineries:
  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Oregon
  4. New York
  5. Virginia
  6. Texas
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20120121

Historic wine cooler fetches $782.5K

NEW YORK -- When you think of wine coolers, you probably don't think of America's founding fathers. But, at a Christie's auction Thursday night, someone thought so highly of a particular wine cooler that he submitted a winning bid of $782,500 for it.

The item in question was an actual cooler for wine that belonged first to George Washington, then to Alexander Hamilton. Pre-auction estimates had forecast a winning bid in the $600,000 range. It went on the block as part of Christie's Americana Week sales.

The buyer was Gary Hendershott, a collector and dealer in Little Rock, AR, who specializes in Washington memorabilia. He won the auction by telephone. I dropped out of the bidding a mere $781,000 earlier.

The cooler is a Sheffield-plate bowl that holds four bottles and ice. It was one of four designed by Washington in 1789 when he was sworn into the presidency and moved into his first official residence, on Cherry Street in New York.

When he left office in 1797, he gave one of the coolers to Hamilton, who had been the nation's first Treasury secretary. It had remained in Hamilton's family until the sale.

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20120113

Phony data uncovered in wine-heart study

Dr. Dipak K. Das
One more reason to wonder about the reality of studies involving wine and health.

Dr. Dipak K. Das, director of the cardiovascular research center at the University of Connecticut, apparently repeatedly and regularly used fabricated or false data in articles he wrote about his research on the benefits of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine.

A number of studies have concluded that resveratrol activates proteins called sirtuins that have been shown in studies to have protective cardio benefits.

Following up on what it said was an anonymous tip, UConn officials said they found 145 cases of phony data. The university subsequently notified 11 journals that had published Das's writing, including the Journal of Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

"We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country," Philip Austin, interim vice president for health affairs, said in the statement.

CBS cites the research bibliography site PubMed with saying Das has served as a lead author or co-author on more than 150 articles, including a January 2012 study titled, "Health benefits of wine and alcohol from neuroprotection to heart health," published in Frontiers in Bioscience.

Das' other areas of research besides resveratrol include medicines derived from plants and the molecular structure of plants and herbs and their effect on heart disease, according to the Associated Press.

"I don't expect this news to have a big impact on what we work on," Dr. David Sinclair, a resveratrol researcher at the Harvard Medical School, told CBS News in an e-mail. Sinclair had been featured in the 2009 "60 Minutes" report on such research. Sinclair said his research focuses on sirtuins and aging, while a lot of the published research papers in question focused on heart health.

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20120111

Update: NJ gets a new wine shipment law

Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City, NJ
UPDATE: Governor Chris Christie this week signed the bill into law. Earlier story follows.

TRENTON, NJ -- It now is up to Governor Chris Christie whether the law on direct wine sales in New Jersey changes.

Legislation that would allow residents to directly acquire wine from sellers in other states and allow New Jersey wineries to ship wine to customers today received approval from both houses of the state legislature and went to the governor for review and signature.

If he signs the bill, it would establish a special category of vineyard, also covering out-of-state wineries, for all of those producing less than 250,000 gallons of wine annually. They, for a licensing fee of less than $1,000, could operate up to 18 sales rooms across to sell its own products.

Vineyards could also sell to a retailer, such as a licensed liquor store, or to a wholesaler. The winery also would be permitted to ship up to 12 cases to any customer for personal consumption.

The Assembly passed the bill by a 51-18 vote with four abstentions. The Senate approved it 24-9. Christie has until January 19 to sign it into law. If he does not, what is known as a "pocket veto" occurs, and the bill must begin the legislative process all over again.

The Garden State Wine Growers Association has a place on its website consumers may use to urge Christie to act on the bill.

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20120109

HV wines finally getting more respect

Hudson Valley wineries can be forgiven for often thinking of themselves as the Rodney Dangerfield of New York's producers. But, in the last couple of years the region's offerings have been getting a little more respect.

The latest comes from the fact that, for the first time ever, the influential magazine Wine Enthusiast has coordinated a tasting of some of the Valley's best wines. The wines scored high on the magazine’s 100-point scale, with 20 of them hitting the 84- to 89-point range consistently across six producers. This is the first major tasting of the region by any major news organization.

The Hudson Valley is one of the oldest producing wine regions in the U.S., and New York is the nation's third overall producer of wine. In recent years, new wineries, new money and new people have helped raise the overall level to some degree. As I noticed when I judged in the Hudson Valley Wine Competition back in September, some of the highest level Valley wines can hold their own against the more well-known Finger Lakes and North Fork products, and the mid-range quality wines are growing in number.

“We are thrilled with the results,” said Carlo DeVito, president of the 26-winery Hudson Valley Wine Country trade group and co-owner of the Hudson-Chatham Winery in Columbia County.

“The Hudson Valley is a great example of some of the excellent wines New York State produces. Our passion and commitment to making quality wines has been recognized. We think this highlights what we’ve been doing here. The Hudson Valley is making wines that can compete anywhere.”

Here is a rundown of the scoring, by winery:

TOUSEY WINERY
86, Tousey Winery 2010 Pinot Noir 2010, $20
85, Tousey Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc, $22
84, Tousey 2010 Chardonnay 2010, $16

MILLBROOK VINEYARD & WINERY
89, Millbrook 2010 25th Anniversary Pinot Noir, $18
88, Millbrook 2010 25th Anniversary Chardonnay, $16
87, Millbrook 2007 Proprietor's Special Reserve Cabernet Franc, $29
87, Millbrook 2009 Proprietor's Special Reserve Chardonnay, $20
86, Millbrook 2008 Cabernet Franc, $20

HUDSON-CHATHAM WINERY
87, Hudson-Chatham 2010 Casscles Vineyard Reserve Baco Noir, $20
86, Hudson-Chatham 2010 Cabernet Franc, $17
86, Hudson-Chatham 2010 Old Vines Baco Noir, $22
86, Hudson-Chatham 2008 Empire Reserve Baco Noir, $22
85, Hudson-Chatham 2009 Old Vines Masson Place Vineyard Pulteney Farm Baco Noir, $20
84, Hudson-Chatham 2010 Field Stone Baco Noir, $30

OAK SUMMIT VINEYARD
88, Oak Summit Vineyard Pinot Noir, $35
85, Oak Summit Vineyard Chardonnay Hudson, $28

BROTHERHOOD
85, Brotherhood Pinot Noir, $16
85, Brotherhood Grand Monarque Champagne, $25
84, Brotherhood Blanc de Blancs, $11

WHITECLIFF VINEYARD & WINERY
88, Whitecliff Vineyard 2010 Reserve Chardonnay, $17
87, Whitecliff Vineyard Cabernet Franc, $20
86, Whitecliff Vineyard 2010 Traminette, $16

PALAIA VINEYARDS
84, Palaia Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc, $19

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20120107

SF Chronicle competition results are in

The 2012 competition winners.
CLOVERDALE, CA -- Four days of judging in this Sonoma County town sorted out the top winners in the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition that ended Friday.

Sixty judges evaluated 5,500 wines to come up with more than 80 best of class awards. The competition is billed as North America's largest, and this year's number of entries set a record.

The major category winners:

Sparkling: 2006 Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros ($28).

White: 2010 Dr. Konstantin Frank Reserve Finger Lakes Gewurztraminer ($25).

Pink: 2011 Barnard Griffin Columbia Valley Rosé of Sangiovese ($12).

Red: 2008 McGrail Vineyards & Winery Reserve Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($36).

Dessert: 2010 Castello di Amorosa Anderson Valley Late Harvest Gewurztraminer ($35).

Label: Mutt Lynch Winery 2009 Out of Reach Muttitag.

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20120106

A visual tour of Long Island wine country



Jason R. Rich created this Long Island, NY, montage. He notes, "This presentation was created as I was doing research for The Insider's Guide to Long Island, a full-length travel guide ... published ... by Globe Pequot Press."

Check out Jason's travel blog.

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20120104

2-year-old Pennsylvania winery closing

During the 2010 harvest.
DALLAS, PA -- A tiny northeastern Pennsylvania winery that opened in 2009 is scheduled to close on February 29.

Temporarily, that could be a good thing for consumers because Pavlick Hill Vineyard plans to sell off its existing wine stock at a 30% discount, or 40% off 12-bottle cases.

On their website, owners Denise and Bill Karlotski said, "With sadness, we have decided to end our business. This was a very difficult decision for us to make, but we are very grateful for the experience and the chance to meet so many wonderful people. We feel like we’ve gained this huge extended family, and that makes us happy.

"So, as of now, our wine store will close the end of February. Starting January 7th (we will be closed January 1-6) and continuing through February 29, we will be having a 'going-out-of-business' sale ... "

The Karlotskis used grapes from their one-acre vineyard to create their wines.

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23rd Boston Wine Festival a 45-day event

Chef Bruce
From CBS Boston

BOSTON -- Boston has no shortage of wine events: from free tastings at boutique stores to the appropriately-named Wine Riot to tours and classes, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for something on the less riotous end, the Boston Wine Festival might be for you. In its 23rd year, the festival spans all the way from January 6 to March 30, comprised of 45 wine-related dinners, tastings, and seminars. The price tag for many of the events is steep, but the payoff is high for wine connoisseurs.

The Boston Wine Festival was created by Daniel Bruce, executive chef of the Boston Harbor Hotel (which houses the festival). Over the lifetime of the festival, Bruce has created over 3,000 original dishes to pair with the wines.

The festivities kick off with an opening reception on January 6 which includes tastings of more than 50 wines from featured vineyards as well as tastings of some of Bruce’s creations. At $100, this is the least expensive event in January. On the higher end, the month ends with "Super Tuscans," a $295-per-person four-course dinner paired with Tuscan wines, such as Ornellaia, Brancaia, and Sassicaia. Another January pick is the Battle of the Cabernets (January 12 or 13, $225-per-person): Napa Valley cabernets, food pairings, a blind tasting led by a cabernet expert panel, and a vote for the favorite. Châteauneuf-du-Pape more your style? A seminar and dinner on the January 20 highlights this region; the event is hosted by Ambassador Alain Junguenet and his son, John ($185).

[Go here for the full story and schedule.]

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20111230

Oregon to designate new wine region

Quiet time at the Maragas Winery
CULVER, OR -- The state is on the verge of getting another official wine region.

The Oregon Wine Board will recognize Central Oregon as such, according to the founder of Maragas Winery, the first to make wine solely from grapes grown on the climate-challenged High Desert.

Doug Maragas on Thursday told KTVZ.com that he had received confirmation of the news from Charles Humble, marketing and communications director for the Oregon Wine Board.

"It was an incredible Christmas present," Maragas said.

For a decade, Maragas had been working on getting recognition for winemaking and grape-growing in the Central Oregon area.

Soon, when people contact the Oregon Wine Board, the official state representative of the Oregon wine industry, rather than have Maragas Winery listed under the "other" category, it will be listed in its own category. The region will range from Warm Springs to Bend.

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20111228

A Facebook thread on a wine review

I found this fascinating Facebook thread, prompted by a review in the Las Vegas Review-Journal of a $7.99-a-bottle Antinori Santa Cristina Sangiovese-Merlot blend, a hoot. Only the writers' surnames have been deleted.

THE REVIEW

In the glass:
Santa Cristina wine is a deep garnet-red color with a fairly dense core going out into a lightly tinged rim definition with high viscosity.

On the nose: There are indicators that the famous terroir from which this wine's fruit is sourced shines through with powerful forward stewed red fruit dominated by ripe Morello cherries and cooked sloe fruit, with underlying notes of leather, plums, earthy minerals, herbs and dried red flowers.

On the palate: It is a nicely ripe and mature mouthful of wine right off the bat with red cherries, rhubarb compote, pomegranate juice and slightly rustic undertones, but all well-balanced. The midpalate and the supple finish confirm this with soft tannins and a pleasant lingering finish. It is medium-bodied in style and highly drinkable.

THE FACEBOOK THREAD

Mike:
(His "headline") This wine costs eight bucks a bottle. How can it be this complex? What do red flowers taste like?

Mike: On the palate: It is a nicely ripe and mature mouthful of wine right off the bat with red cherries, rhubarb compote, pomegranate juice and slightly rustic undertones, but all well-balanced.

Linda: It's good stuff. My husband and I have been drinking it for years.

Mike: To be honest, I will be drinking a bottle of it in an hour. I like it a lot. But Christ..."slightly rustic undertones."

Mike: I take back the "red flowers" bit. The "red flowers" are on the nose, not on the palate.

Steve: A cheeky little wine but I perceive that you're amused by its presumption.

Mike:  There you go...

Linda: It's a good wine, and very reliable from one bottle to the next, unlike most Chardonnays, which I find can vary a lot in quality.

Mike:  Agree, Linda. And I get grossed out by bad reds...anything white is drinkable if cold enough (except Foxhorn). It's a great red for the money. But where do wine reviewers come up with this bullshit? Who has the taste of "rhubarb compote" so imprinted on their tastebuds that their palate can smoke it out in a glass of wine?

Linda: Oh, the reviews are BS, totally. And there have been studies where people doing wine tastings will claim, if they're given the prices of the various wines, that the more expensive ones taste better even if it's a cheap wine in an expensive bottle. So I always just go with what I like.

Mike: Yup. Oh, BTW, one of my friends is a beverage reviewer. He will no doubt show up here and set me straight bigtime.

Mike: Linda, I must say I agree with the viscosity angle. That's pretty obvious even to this hillbilly

Linda: Few things worse than a watery red, IMO. Another good one if you're looking for recommendations is Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. That's been our go-to red for a couple of years now, again, very reliable from one bottle to the next.

Mike: great...thanks...and a decent Zin for you: Cellar 8

Linda:  Hm. I generally avoid zins because they're too fruity, but this sounds like one I'd like: "At first, the nose didn’t strike me as distinctly zinfandel. It was was mostly smoky and subtle. Given a chance to open up the zin characteristics ...

Mike: yes...not an overpowering zin. The pepper is nice...and you can't beat the farty nose

Bill (the aforementioned "beverage reviewer"): If I'm not mistaken, Farty Nose is a registered trademark.

Charlie: Can't go wrong with a pint of Guinness or a selection from Brown's in Troy.

Mike (a different one): Mike.. chill...when purchasing wine,those of us with a discriminating palate have learned to choose a box whose corners have been glued,not stapled

Christopher: Delicious is my favorite comment. Tastes good works also. Try the Sterling Meritage. Yummy. (Yummy is a good word!)

Lynn: Red flowers taste like.. Perfume.

Dan: I know what red flowers don't taste like...blue flowers.

John: best wine description I've read--noted that the wine tasted of road tar--and that was a good thing.

Mary Ellen: I like white merlot. It tastes like the stuff my Italian grandfather made in the cellar. That's a good thing.

Tim: Whatever happened to my early teenage years: "What's the word?" "Thunderbird!" "What's the price?" "Forty twice." Then my palate developing in early adulthood to the half-gallon bottle of Gallo Burgundy. Not too complex or balanced. But, Lord, what a drunk and a hangover I can still feel all these years later.

Mike (the original one): haha..had that. big thing when i was a kid: Ripple and Boones Farm. You could make ice cream floats with ripple, but they weren't very good

Tim: Oh, yes, Ripple too. Thunderbird was our white wine, Ripple our red. I'm too old for Boones Farm. I'd moved on to Lancers or Mateus.

Mike: the wine jingle i remember clearly from TV, Tim, was for something called Kings wine...had a king of diamonds on the front..."Get Kings wine...you'll be feeling real fine...." Forget all your cares and get...Kings wine." Yeah, i bet.

Dan: Well, I've forgotten all about Kings wine...it must have worked. My favorite out here was Spañada...it only came in gallon jugs.

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20111227

Study: Draw one, mix one for health

We've been trying to keep up with the regular stream of studies suggesting wine has all sorts of magical, mystical medicinal properties that will lead to better health, longer life, etc. Now, brews and spirits are getting some extra support.

A two-decade study published in the January issue of The Journal of Studies On Alcohol and Drugs reports on connections between the moderate consumption of all types of alcohol and increased longevity.

It also supports the findings of prior studies that wine has more beneficial effects than any other alcoholic drinks. However, in a twist that always seems to pop up in any study, researchers said that may because the people who choose wine tend to be more naturally healthy anyway. Go figure.

The study of 802 men and women ages 55 to 65. Of that number, 281 "low wine drinkers" consumed less than one-third of their alcohol intake from wine, 176 "high wine drinkers" consumed two-thirds or more as wine, and 345 abstainers. The drinkers had one to two drinks per day, and researchers followed them for 20 years.

Among the findings: Wine drinkers lived longer than abstainers, and high-wine drinkers lived longer than low-wine drinkers.

Charles Holahan, a psychologist at the University of Texas and lead author of the article, said there may be benefits for older moderate drinkers no matter what kind of alcohol they consume. But, he cautioned, "The study does not encourage initiating wine consumption as a pathway to better health."

Ya gotta love those disclaimers.

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