Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Sunday, December 18, 2011


wine news

More wine drinkers now say they're OK with screwcaps on their wine bottles instead of cork.  That's the message from a recent study conducted by Wine Intelligence and included in its 2011 Closures Report.

The report says overall acceptance of screwtop closures for wine bottles among American wine drinkers has hit a new high of 70%, up from 59% in 2008.  Women and younger consumers - between the ages of 18 and 34 - are most likely to accept a bottle with a screwcap while men and consumers between the ages of 45 and 54 still like to pull the cork rather than twist off the cap.

People still seem to prefer cork closures overall - either natural or synthetic.  Natural cork is still the most-preferred closure for wine bottles among those surveyed.  Similar results were found among wine consumers in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Richard Halstead - COO of Wine Intelligence and the author of the report - says, "It's clear that the screwcap still has some way to go to win over the mainstream wine drinkers in America, but it looks like the process is starting.”

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Donald Trump

Virginia's Kluge Winery has come under new management.  Businessman Donald Trump and his son Eric now head the respected estate winery after Donald snapped it up after it went bankrupt.  In a report from a television station in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dannika Lewis says Eric - Trump The Younger - will be the president of the winery.  The facility will operate under the new name of Trump Vineyard Estates.

The father-son team plans to bring the winery back from bankruptcy by utilizing 100% Virginia grapes and a staff which will retain many of the people who know the estate vineyard best, including former owner Patricia Kluge.  The winery's website now sports a big picture of Eric, out in the vineyard.  Presumably, his office will have a nice view of that vineyard.

The Trumps plan to put Virginia wine on the national map through nationwide distribution.  If they use Trump's chain of hotels for this purpose, they could be on the right path.  There is some speculation as to whether or not the winery can attain that high profile using only Virginia grapes, but time will tell.

Trump's involvement with the winery will no doubt bring more recognition to Virginia wine, and many are hoping his success will lift the wine industry statewide.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011


Wine News

Half the people in the United Kingdom believe water is added to grapes in order to make wine.  That's one of the shockers in a bit of research detailed in an article in the Off Licence News website.

The report goes on to state that two thirds of the UK don't know that Chablis is made from Chardonnay grapes and over half think the fruit used as descriptors of the flavor on wine labels is actually in the wine.

The research further shows that 71% of the people polled wish they knew more about wine.   At least they seem to know where they stand.

Wine is not an easy subject to master - in fact, one could spend a lifetime trying and never reach that mountaintop.  That's no reason not to do a little homework and make yourself more knowledgeable about wine.  Just because you don't know everything, it doesn't mean you have to know nothing.

It doesn't take too much effort to get an understanding of wine which will at least let you navigate the wine aisle where you shop with more confidence.  Read a few wine magazines or blogs.  Do an internet search when things arise that you don't understand.  It's usually very simply explained.  And don't hesitate to ask for help from a wine retailer, especially in a store that specializes in wine.  These folks are more than happy to help answer questions you may have about wine and wine terminology.  Sure, they'd like to sell you something - but they'd also like you to come back as a return customer.  Sending you home with a wine you don't want does not serve their best interest.

Feel free to click around right here, and on the Now And Zin website, to explore wine.  You might end up able to tell your Chablis from your Chardonnay.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011


Wine News

Always on the lookout for another reason to enjoy a glass of wine, I see that the field of research has offered us another reason to pour.

Wine Spectator reported on a Spanish study which is looking into the possibility that compounds found in wine may help reduce UV damage to our skin from over-exposure to the sun.  Such a discovery could mean a lessened risk of sunburn and aging skin, not to mention skin cancer.

The study does not offer any idea of just how much wine might need to be be consumed to provide a dosage adequate for skin protection.  External application won't work, according to a German study cited in the same article, so don't bother pouring wine over your body before a trip to the beach.  Anyway, external application of wine is often the result of too much internal application.

Scientists think the Spanish study may be useful to researchers, but they point out that the skin can also benefit from other foods.  Tea, coffee and tomatoes may also help save your skin on a sunny day.  They advise, though, that it's still a good idea to rely on sunscreen for UV protection.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011


Wine News

Will future space travelers leave the Tang behind and opt for a pouch or two of red wine?  A study by scientists at the University of Strasbourg in France, reported by MSNBC, suggests that red wine may be beneficial to people who find themselves in prolonged periods of weightlessness.

Resveratrol - the ingredient in red wine which has been tabbed with many other beneficial attributes - now appears to combat side effects of being in space.  Bone density loss and insulin resistance are cited as problems apparently averted by the ingestion of resveratrol.

The researchers say spacemen aren't the only ones who can benefit from these findings.  People stuck here on earth who are sedentary due to disease, injury or just a desk job, might find red wine to be helpful.

Before you chuck your gym membership for a wine club, consider that the report states there is no reason to believe drinking wine is a substitute for good, old-fashioned exercise.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011


Wine News

The wine drinking scientists are at it again.  More correctly, it's the wine drinking scientists and their resveratrol-taking lab rats that are causing a clamor. Wine Spectator reported on this recently.

Red wine has been mentioned before as possibly reducing the risks associated with diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.  Now, cellular biologists from LSU and the University of Nebraska Medical Center say they have found that red wine may help reverse mental deterioration suffered by people with diabetes.

The compound resveratrol - plentiful in red wine - is said to have restored brain function in diabetic rats.  It could be, say the labcoats, that resveratrol - acting as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant - increased blood circulation in the brain and lowered the risk of losing mental acuity.

The scientists speculate that the resveratrol relaxes the arteries in the brain, normalizing oxygen levels.  They further conclude that the compound can slightly decrease blood glucose concentration.  Resveratrol also appears to lessen the stress that can lead to strokes in diabetics.

How much resveratrol a human would have to ingest daily to get these results was not included in the report.  If more than a glass or two of red wine per day is required, there could be other debilitating factors that come into play.  As always, the researchers say more study is needed before recommending wine - or at least the resveratrol found in wine - as a prescription for diabetics.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011


Where Does This Burgundy Come From?

A Chicago writer, Michael Austin, has endeavoured to make wine designations a little easier to understand.  In the Chicago Sun-Times, he breaks it down this way: European wines are named for the places where they originate, while elsewhere the wine is usually named for the grape from which it's made.

For example, the French wine called Bordeaux is wine made in a place called Bordeaux.  It can be red, white, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Sauvignon Blanc, but it's all Bordeaux.  It's the same in Burgundy.  That's a place in France, and that's where Burgundy comes from, not California, as Gallo, Rossi and other producers have insisted with their so-called "California Burgundy" wines.

Champagne is also a specific place in France.  Sparkling wine from California is not Champagne, since it's not made there.  Even bubblies from other parts of France are called by a different name, cremant.  This is probably the most abused wine designation, as many American producers insist on calling their sparkling wines "Champagne."  The region of Champagne takes steps to try and educate the public on the distinction, in an effort to preserve their brand.

In Italy, a Barolo is made from Nebbiolo grapes, but it's made in the town of Barolo.  Chianti comes from Chianti.  It would be named after the Sangiovese grape elsewhere.  Spanish Rioja wine is made from Tempranillo and Garnacha, mainly.  Rioja, though, is the specific place where the wine is made.

Austin goes on to describe several other designations and what they mean.  The article is a good starting point for anyone just getting into the wine world who feels a bit confused by labels on European wines.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011


Wine News

A study shows that French wine consumption has dropped over the course of two generations by three billion bottles per year.  The study - spotlighted in The Telegraph - has some people concerned that the entire culture of wine in France may be on its way out.

Younger generations seem to be less likely to enjoy wine with a meal, and more inclined to drink wine for pleasure on a night out.

One figure I found hard to believe: only 16.5% of the French population are regular wine drinkers.  The under-30 crowd, according to the researchers, views wine as a “sometimes” treat, not an everyday staple like their elder countrymen.

One researcher stated, “The younger generations may still take pride in French wine but have little awareness of its cultural place in French history.”

The study concludes that the loss of identity of wine as a national tradition is mainly to blame for the sharp decline in France’s wine consumption numbers over the past three generations.  French consumption of wine has dropped to four billion bottles per year.  That’s about 1 bottle per week for each adult.

In southeast Texas - where I grew up - and in southwest Louisiana, this same sort of identity loss has caused some to fear that the Cajun culture may be dying out.  Many of my friends, and others our age, grew up in households where Cajun French was spoken regularly.  With each passing generation, some of that Cajun identity has been lost as the younger folks are “Americanized.”

It’s hard to imagine a world where France isn’t synonymous with wine.  Perhaps the cultural pendulum will soon start swinging the other way, into a rediscovery of wine in the nation for which it may have meant the most.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011


Wine News

Ask most winemakers, and they'll probably tell you there are already plenty of regulations concerning how things can be worded on wine labels.  Some in the wine industry are now telling the federal government just that, as the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has begun to make noise about tightening restrictions on the words that appear on wine labels.

An article from the Los Angeles Times, by Michael Doyle, says many terms that are used on wine labels are not specifically defined, so they actually have no meaning in a legal sense.

The article points out that "estate bottled" is a strictly defined term and wineries must adhere to guidelines in order to use it on the label.  "Estate" by itself is not defined, however, so there are no regulations at all on how that word may be used.

Other terms which have no legal definition - "old vine," "select harvest." "barrel select" and proprietor's blend," for instance - are now being studied for the way they are used in describing wine.

The article states that regulators began asking for input from consumers and the wine industry in 2010 on whether more control should be exerted.  California's Wine Institute has already chimed in that current labeling restrictions are sufficient.  So has the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

The article cites one Oregon winery which might not be opposed to tougher label regulations.  The owners of Stone Hollow Vineyard are quoted that they use the term "estate bottled" on their wine labels and they don't appreciate that other wineries could use the term "estate" as loosely as they wish.

According to the article, the Feds have not said when the next step on a new set of regulations might come.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011


Starbucks Wine

You may have heard that the national coffee chain, Starbucks, is experimenting with the addition of wine and beer to some of its locations.  What does a Starbucks wine list look like?  According to the Washington Wine Report, it looks about like what you'd expect from a broad-based national chain.

There were plenty of people wondering out loud whether Starbucks would roll out wine lists featuring local or regional wines.  In a way, they have.  But don't get too excited.

As I understand it, Seattle was the test market.  I've seen notice of a Portland Starbucks, too, offering wine and beer.

There are seven wines on the lists I saw from both cities, four reds and 3 whites.  The Pacific Northwest is represented by only three wines, and all come from beneath the Chateau Ste. Michelle umbrella.

Erath Pinot Noir, 14 Hands Hot To Trot red blend and Chateau Ste. Michelle's own Riesling qualify as regional wines, but they are from a very large producer and the selections are widely available.

Other choices on the menu include the Alamos Malbec from Argentina, the Canili Pinot Gris from Italy, the Martini California Cabernet and William Hill's Napa Valley Chardonnay.  Decent wines, all, but nothing to make anyone jump and run down to Starbucks to get some before they run out.

I agree with the Washington Wine Report that the Starbucks wine list has a very corporate feel, not at all reflective of regional wines.  Of course, I would have expected about as much.  The company - if they follow through on rolling out the barrels nationwide - will watch the bottom line by purchasing safe wine choices in quantities great enough to afford volume discounts.

It's too bad, though.  When Starbucks introduced their line of coffee drinks, they were giving us something we weren't getting anywhere else.  With their wine list, it appears they are satisfied to give us something we can get everywhere else.

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