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Wine Retailers Are Out Numbered At The Table

June 15, 2018 - 10:57am

Every state in America has some sort of Commission, Agency, Department or Board that oversees the state’s alcohol production, distribution and sales. What’s notable about this is that alcohol is the most highly regulated industry in America. As a result, the commissioners, agents, department heads and board members almost never garner an “attaboy” from either those they regulate or those that watch them regulate. The primary problem these regulators face is they are tasked with overseeing what is in most...

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The True Significance of Robert Parker, Jr.

June 14, 2018 - 10:26am

The fact that one has a vested interested in an issue in no way diminishes the power of their argument concerning that issue. I wanted to get that fact out of the way as I address one of the most interesting articles of 2018: Lisa Perrotti-Brown’s “The Big Parkerization Lie”. Ms. Perrotti-Brown is a longtime associate of Robert Parker, editor-in-chief of The Wine Advocate and a part owner of this publication at which she has penned a stout pushback against...

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The Primary Source of Oregon Wine History

June 7, 2018 - 9:39am

When I got a Bachelor’s degree in History at Humboldt State University in the late 1980s it was fun work. But at the undergraduate level, you just don’t do much real history. You learn about history and in some cases take a shot at doing history. The Master’s Degree at San Francisco State University was different. This is when you start examining and using primary source documents: diaries, photos, government documents, memoirs, etc. One doesn’t DO history with anything but...

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Leaving Wine Country and the High Cost of Success

June 5, 2018 - 10:45am

Wow…talk about being a victim of success: “Forty-six percent of Bay Area residents surveyed said they are likely to move out of the region in the next few years — up from 40 percent last year and 34 percent in 2016, according to a poll released Sunday by business-backed public policy advocacy group the Bay Area Council. The numbers show a disturbing trend in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets: Workers desperate for a better quality of life...

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An Environmentalist Explains Why Measure C is Bad for Napa Valley

June 4, 2018 - 11:59am

I don’t usually publish articles by others here at Fermentation. However, given the election tomorrow and given the importance of explaining exactly why Measure C needs to be defeated and given the authority of Susan Boswell‘s voice, this commentary from the Napa Valley vintner needs to be heard: _______________________________________________ An Environmentalist Voting No on Measure C Why? Through my involvement as a former chair and currently a member of the Watershed Information and Conservation Council, a member of the board...

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The Underpriced Wines of Napa Valley

June 4, 2018 - 9:19am

Many in the wine industry believe that Napa Valley’s price/quality ratio is out of whack; that Napa Valley wines are overpriced. It is possible that these folks are all wrong? Or at least partially wrong? Is it possible that Napa Valley wine is under priced or a value? This is the contention of John Conover, partner of the Plumpjack Group, which owns the Napa Valley estates Plumpjack, Cade and Odette. In an interview with Daniel Marsteller of Shanken News Daily...

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Myth Busting—Napa Wine Is All About Small, Not Corporate

June 1, 2018 - 1:44pm

Let’s get to the heart of the biggest lie told about Napa Valley and its wine industry: It is controlled and made up of a collection of corporate owned and multi-national conglomerates. This is the big lie told by Napa haters and in particular by Mike Hackett and Jim Wilson, the authors of Measure C, which will be voted on June 5th and, if passed, end vineyard development on any land located on the hills of Napa Valley. Hackett and...

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Great Event To Explore How Wine Plans to Help Weed Take Its Marketshare

May 31, 2018 - 10:22am

The Second Annual Weed and Wine Symposium is only two months away. If it is anything like the inaugural event, it should be fascinating. The tagline for the coming Symposium is: “Exploring the Opportunities & Issues that the Legalization of Cannabis Presents to the California Wine Industry”. I should go on the record that I believe the opportunities are few and the main issue is, how can the wine industry minimize the negative impact that cannabis legalization will have on...

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Martians Among Us, Napa Valley’s Measure C and Sharp Objects

May 31, 2018 - 6:15am

I’ll be voting NO on Measure C here in Napa County. I’ll be voting NO on Measure C for the same reason I will not endorse the creation of a bureaucracy to round-up and imprison Martians who abduct human beings for testing: I see no evidence behind the claims these Martians are creating any problem at all. However, if you need other reasons to vote NO on Measure C, here you go: •The claim vineyards have threatened Napa’s water supply...

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The Slow Adoption of Technology in Wine is Political

May 30, 2018 - 2:09pm

A great amount of words have been composed trying to explain why the wine industry has a seeming aversion to implementing new digital technologies. Notables of great talent and energy have worked and are working to cajole the wine trade into embracing the digital tools available for better meeting consumer wine demand as well as matching consumer desires to products. Yet, the single greatest deterrent to the wine industry becoming a full-fledged adopter of new economy tools isn’t a luddite’s aversion...

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This Daily Source for Wine Biz Info Is a Must Read

May 22, 2018 - 1:46pm

The trade publication is and always has been a vital tool for the wine and alcohol industries. They have been with us since there was an alcohol industry in the United States. The most venerable of these kinds of media is, of course, Wines & Vines, which has been publishing since 1919 and is still a remarkable and important resource for every sector of the wine industry. In this article, however, I want to focus on another trade publication that...

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How to Embrace Wine Ratings and Calm Your Nerves Too

May 16, 2018 - 9:34am

It always makes me very happy when I can help someone overcome their fears, anxieties or concerns. So, I’m happy today since I’m able to aid Ms. Katie Finn, who is upset about wine scores and ratings (and apparently by Robert Parker, Jr. too: “Every time someone tells me that wine XYZ got 98 points, or that Chateau Crème de la Crème got a disappointing 87, I start twitching, and my insides get hot. There are so many things about...

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Is the Migration Out of CA to Oregon Good or Bad For Wine Sales?

May 14, 2018 - 2:31pm

For quite some time, California has lived with a negative migration issue. That is, more people are moving out of California than are moving in. I wonder what this means for wine sales in the Golden State. Between 2007 and 2016, a net 1,000,000 more people have moved out of California than have moved in. The primary reason is the ongoing housing crisis. There is simply a deficit of housing in California and this is causing housing prices to rise...

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A Tale of Gangsters Taking Over Wine Regulation

May 9, 2018 - 9:05am

Given the recent events in New Hampshire in which the Liquor Commission has begun to block wine shipments to the state’s consumers, it is becoming abundantly clear that the Liquor Commission there can’t be trusted to fairly administer its regulatory responsibilities concerning the direct shipment of wine. Furthermore, it’s clear now that the responsibility for overseeing the direct shipment of wine must be taken out of the hands of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. When a state entity is responsible...

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The Last Word On The Fate of Napa Valley Agriculture and Politics

May 3, 2018 - 9:59am

While I can’t speak for other industries, I can say that when controversy reigns over an issue within the wine industry, it is rare that partisans on either side of the issue make a comprehensive case for their position. You can’t say that anymore about the battle over Napa Valley’s Measure C, an initiative on the June ballot that pits Nimbys, opportunists, and fact-deficient moralists on one side against rational, liberty-loving, pro-agriculture partisans on the other in a battle to...

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The Best Thing To Happen To Napa Wine Country In Ages

May 1, 2018 - 10:20am

There are so many good reasons to base your Napa Valley visit in the City of Napa. But now there is one more: Professional Baseball. Yes, professional baseball. And it’s awesome. Beginning on May 31 the Napa Silverados will embark upon their first season as a member of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. It’s an independent league, with teams in the surrounding area unassociated with Major League teams. The Silverados will be playing teams from Martinez, Pittsburg, San...

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Simple and Useful Rules for Wine Media Events

April 30, 2018 - 10:36am

There is a good, general rule in wine media relations: Try not to send generic press releases or story pitches to those members of the media who are highly unlikely to have any interest in them. It’s a good rule because when your Virginia winery sends a press release to San Francisco Chronicle Wine, Beer and Spirits Write Esther Mobley about your inclusion in Food & Wine Magazine’s  “Top Ten Best Wineries To Visit in Virginia” story, you are likely...

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Pairing Cannabis With Food like Wine With Food is a Ploy

April 23, 2018 - 9:18am

How many different wines can you enjoy with a meal and how many sips of wine can you combine with a meal before you are uselessly drunk? Everyone’s body chemistry and everyone’s tolerance for alcohol is different. For myself, I can probably enjoy upwards of 30 or 40 sips of wine with a meal before questioning my reason for being at the table and before the ability to appreciate the pairing of wine and food goes by the wayside. Now,...

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Chaos and Crooks in Napa Wine Country

April 20, 2018 - 1:42pm

Crooks and chaos have come to the Napa Valley via an important political campaign. When your political opponents start vandalizing and stealing to make their point, you can rest assured that they’ve run out of anything sensible to say in support of their position. And this is exactly what has begun to happen in Napa Valley as supporters of Measure C turn to thieving and vandalism in lieu of issuing facts and debate. Proponents of Measure C, the land grabbing initiative...

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The Wine Police Don’t Have Enough Work To Do

April 16, 2018 - 1:53pm

It’s 8:00am in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Like any good winery owner there, you are up, poised and set to receive Internet orders for your wine. Right then, an order from Flagstaff, Arizona comes in. They want Chardonnay; your award-winning Chardonnay. Your online system gratefully accepts the order, runs the credit card, accepts payment and BOOM…By 8:03 you are flush with your first sale of the day. You’ve also broken the law. This, according to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who...

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