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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Wine Stories of 2014

Top wine, and beer, news of the past year from a Sonoma County point-of-view.

Napa Earthquake

The quake struck a few miles south of Napa's wine center, but in the heart of where many store their wine in rented warehouse space. Wine was lost, wineries were damaged, plus many other businesses and homes. The quake struck in late summer just before the grape harvest was about to start so most wineries didn't have much time to reflect on what happened to their community.

Biggest Wine Drinkers

No, it's not France. Not Italy either, but you'd be close. The Vatican is a country--there's some trivia for you. Per the Wine Institute they consume 62 liters per person per year. A lot of that is probably communion wine. Yeah, that's it! The U.S. is only 10.5 liters per person.

Country Consuming the Most Wine

The U.S. passed France for buying the most wine in a year.  The per capita consumption in France is much higher. For several years Europe has been declining in alcohol consumption while wine sales has been on a steady increase in the U.S.

The Drought

Three years of low rainfall in California has put almost the entire state in a severe drought. The winter of 2014-2015 has started off with lots of liquid gold and the long range forecast is for a wet winter. At this time it appears most of coastal California should be okay for the coming year, however the Central Valley, home to lots of food crops and less expensive bulk wine production may still be hurting.

Craft Beer

The craft beer boom is going strong. The amount of craft beer sold is now greater than Budweiser. Lagunitas, once the little brewery from Petaluma, expanded to Chicago to help meet demand in the eastern U.S. At a Napa wine executives' seminar in September a speaker said craft beer was their primary competitor.