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Monday, June 17, 2019

The Other Cabernet

Yeah, you know about Cabernet Sauvignon, but how about Cabernet Franc? Cab Franc is actually a parent of the Cab Sauv grape (the other being Sauvignon Blanc) so they are genetically related.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Wine-Buying Segments

People like to pigeon-hole things to make sense of the world. A wine marketing analysis outfit, Wine Intelligence, has divided the U.S. wine consumers into six groups called general consumer compartments. I know you are as excited as I was to find your group and see what the people trying to sell wine think of you. Yes, these are the actual names they gave to the segments and I assume they did this with a straight face.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Inflation of Wine Prices

Silicon Valley Bank does analysis on the state of the wine industry by polling wineries. That is, their info is based on responses they receive.

This chart shows the average price of a bottle of wine for the past five years from several growing areas. What you'll see is quite an increase in prices in major California wine tourism areas since the end of the recession. I've certainly noticed the increase locally.

Click on the image to enlarge

Monday, June 10, 2019

Red Wines are Aged in Oak Barrels, Right?

Well, nope. Most premium reds, yes. The less expensive stuff, not likely. Oak barrels are expensive--$400 to well over $1,000 each. A standard barrel holds about 24 cases of wine (there are larger barrels holding more). Plus a red wine will usually spend a couple years, plus or minus, in oak barrels. As you can see this would get cost prohibitive for a ten dollar wine. The average value of a wine purchase in the U.S. is a bit over ten bucks.

So the cheaper wines use things like oak chips or oak powder. They are cheaper and they work faster. Oak changes the color, flavor, tannins and texture in a wine. Through technologies and experience these oak barrel substitutes come pretty close to tasting like a wine from a barrel. Since you're already getting cheaper grapes having less expensive oak treatment shouldn't a big deal.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Why Restaurant Wine Lists Stink

First off, not all of them stink, but way too many do. There are some restaurants with great wine lists and some of these I can even afford to dine at occasionally. The vast majority of the family / casual / chain restaurants have wine list that are a steaming pile of suck. Many of the higher-end restaurants don't do much better except that their markup is much higher.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Rainy May in California

While many of us were happy to not be watering our yards and gardens the "February in May" rainstorms played havoc with some of the grape crop. Like any fruit, one of the growing season stages is flowering. This all turns to fruit assuming the weather cooperates. Wind and rain can knock back the tiny flowers.

That all happened through much of May right when some of the grape varieties in some locations in the county were flowering. Seems to be mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are affected. What this means is that the quantity of the fruit will be lower; the quality is not affected. The extent of the damage won't be known until fruit set in a few weeks.

This is what the crop could look like in some vineyards

Friday, May 24, 2019

Your Basic Instincts Made You Buy That Wine

Not just wine, but other products, too. Our basic instincts can be used against us. We all want food, shelter, clothing. We want security. We want sex. Your basic instincts are used to sell you luxury goods, things you don't really need.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New AVAs -- Good or Bad?

An appellation, or American Viticultural Area, is a wine term with a legal basis. An AVA is a federally approved name for a specific wine grape growing area with certain rules around it. American wine labels will have a government region on the label, such as California or Sonoma County, and/or will have an AVA, such as Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley.

Are there too damn many AVAs?

Monday, May 20, 2019

"New" Summer Wines to Look For From California

None of these wines are actually new to California, but might be new to you as all are grown in small quantities and can be difficult to find in your local stores. Try some of these this summer.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Summer 2019 Events in Sonoma County

Following are major wine and non-wine events in Sonoma County for  June through Auguest. Lots of stuff happening and it's going to be a fun summer!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

You Don't Smell the Way Others Smell

No, I don't mean your personal scent. I mean your perception of odors. This means wines may not smell and taste the same to two different people. So when you like a wine someone doesn't or you don't like one they do it doesn't mean you're wrong! It just means you're different. Yes, you can even disagree with the people who taste wine for a living.

Your smell and taste receptors were put there to let you know what's good to eat and what's not. Your smell also alerts you to other potential dangers. Since the days of our ancient ancestors your smell and taste receptors and the part of the brain that interprets them have become more sophisticated. How they interpret is different based on your DNA, possibly your race, age, and sex.

You Don't Smell My World from the NY Times

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Let's Tax Imported Wines to Help Poor Kendall Jackson

Rick Tigner, CEO of Kendall Jackson Family Wineries while speaking at a local business group said the U.S. needs to tax wine imports to level the playing field. I think maybe ol' Ricky (est. salary of $1m/year) wants to screw the American consumer to help K-J sell more wine. I have a better idea. If $500m in annual revenue isn't good enough maybe you should do your job and control your expenses so you can compete!

Help us! from Northbay Business Journal