Norton Safeweb

Friday, January 30, 2015

This Week's Wine News

Here's what's happening this week in the world of wine -- with a California focus. There's a lot going on!

Sonoma County wines will be the official wines of the 2016 Super Bowl next year at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. During the week long fan fest leading up to the game Sonoma County vintners will have a wine lounge to pour and promote their products. Article

The number of North American wineries grew at a 7% pace in 2014, a faster rate than in 2013. Almost 600 wineries were added for a total of nearly 9,000. Almost half are in California, but 13 states and two provinces have over 100 wineries. Article

One of the panel discussions at the annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento was on how to reduce the alcohol content in wine. Some winemakers are seeing backlash to the 15% plus wines they are producing. A decade or two ago the push was on to make big, lush wines. Now there are voices saying less is better. Article

Another panel at the Wine & Grape Symposium echoes a fear we've been hearing more of lately -- that the craft beer and cider market are taking sales from wine. The inexpensive wine market declined last year and some blame this on sales of beer and cider, but I expect it's actually because of an improving economy as premium wine sales are up while the lower end is down. So rather than buyers of $7 wine moving to $7 beers, they are moving to more expensive wines. Article

The drop in sales of inexpensive California wines, the ones that generally come from the Central Valley, are causing some growers to rip out their vines and plant other crops, such as almonds.The issue for these new almond farmers will be water. Article

Who's hot and who's not. Sonoma County has the highest increase in vineyard prices in the world. It means the area is recognized for its grape quality. It may higher wine prices in the future. Article 

Another study on alcohol consumption says if middle-aged folks drink too much a day it increases their risk of stroke. Article

The big news locally, is the highly-respected Pinot Noir maker, Adam Lee, sold his Siduri Winery to Kendall-Jackson. He will stay on as winemaker for a few years. His reasons make sense saying he's become more of a business owner and marketing person rather than a wine maker. The sale will allow him to focus on making wine and let K-J take care of selling it. Of course, the undisclosed pile of money he's received from K-J doesn't hurt. Kendall-Jackson has been buying up Pinot properties of late. Article