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Friday, April 28, 2017

Serving Wine in California

California is fairly liberal when it comes to alcohol laws, but being booze it still has its quirky moments.

For instance, you can buy alcohol at your local grocery store beginning at 6 am every morning. Yes, even Sunday. As a bit of trivia the Sonoma town plaza is the only public gathering place of its kind in the state that allows open containers. You don't need a license to serve in a hot air balloon or limousine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wine Marketing - The Ignored Generation

Gen-X: Stuck in the middle.

Yep, when it comes to marketing, wine included, it appears you can't talk enough about the Millennials and their influence. This is also the relatively poorest generation as they are still young, early in their careers, buying they first house, etc. So, yes, they buy lots of electronics and certain clothing, but what about luxury goods like wine?

Monday, April 24, 2017

The REAL Benefit of Red Wine

Various studies over the years have hinted at red wine's health benefits ranging from curing cancer to lowering cholesterol to helping keep your memory sharp in old age. Well, that's great and all, but most people probably don't reach for a bottle of wine thinking of these things. 

Now there is a meaningful reason that will get people to drink more red wine. Something everybody is concerned about.  

Red wine boosts your sex drive

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Winery Goes to Pot

  The well-known Fetzer Vineyards of Redwood Valley in Mendocino County has changed hands. The Fetzer family actually sold their namesake property 25 years ago. The current foreign owners sold to a San Francisco investor-funded business speculating on rapid growth. Instead of processing grapes it'll be processing the other local cash crop, marijuana. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Material Other Than Grapes in Your Wine

There are been various scares about weird stuff in your wine from birds to arsenic. As per usual when the Internet gets hold of a great headline it can't let go and by the time a story has been shared a few hundred times it becomes The Truth.

Article from the San Francisco Chronicle on trying to dispel some of the wild stories.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Traditions Die Hard in the Wine Industry

Many industries are tied to traditions, not just wine. Perhaps living near where so much technology innovation takes place it's sometimes difficult to understand why so many of these things persist. Wine making has actually progressed significantly in the past 50 years. The packaging of wine hasn't.

Friday, April 14, 2017

That's a Lot of Wine!

In 2016 Americans drank 4.24 billion bottles of wine. That's 13.3 bottles for every man, woman, and child. I'm assuming some of those folks, especially the children, don't drink wine. That makes us #1 in total wine consumption, but not per capita.

I hope you did your part!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

19th Century Sonoma County Restaurants

Here's something different to do when visiting: Check out an old, historic eatery while in the area. Sonoma County has a few that have been operating since the 19th century.

Monday, April 10, 2017

It's just planting grapes, then pick 'em and add yeast, right?

 You think growing wine grapes and making wine is pretty simple and still like it was hundreds of years ago? I mean, you stick some vines in the ground, they grow grapes over the summer, you pick the grapes, squeeze them a bit, add yeast, and voila it's world-class wine!

There are already satellite imagery and drones used in vineyards, but it gets more technical. Following are a few excerpts from the recent Sonoma Vintage Report Conference.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Premium Wine vs Value Wine

  In the last five years the California wine grape market has increased a half-billion dollars to three billion total. There are two distinct wine grower groups. You could call them the haves and the have nots.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Important Brews to the Craft Beer Scene

In the U.S. craft beer sales by volume went from 5.7% of the beer market in 2011 to 12.3% in 2016 -- five short years later. In dollars craft beer is now 22% of the market.

It all started in Sonoma County with the first microbrewery in the country, New Albion Brewery (see previous post on Sonoma County's beer history).

Some of the most important beers have come from the Bay Area, including Sonoma County.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Big Wine

Big Wine controls what wines you drink. This is especially true if you're buying off the retail shelf. Big Wine is comprised of 30 wine companies that control 90% of the U.S. market. The three largest control more than half.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Innovation in Oaky, Buttery Chardonnay

Lots of people like this style of Chardonnay. Those sweet oak and buttery popcorn flavors are a favorite. Some have mocked this wine and call it Cougar Juice.

Well, there's been a new innovation that will make Chard an even better deal at the local store. Since it's oak and butter (from something called malolactic fermentation) they want that's what they'll get without the cost of purchasing expensive Chardonnay grapes.

Rahmbower Winery has figured you can just use tap water, or in their case, Napa River water, aged in new oak barrels, then add that butter flavor and voila -- it's the dream beverage -- cheap and no nasty hangover! You're still getting those flavors you want. Said the winemaker, "We decided to go with unfiltered Napa River water to give the product a minerality component. I hope the ladies don't mind."