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Updated: 1 day 11 hours ago

The Supreme Court Must Rule on Wine Retailer Shipping

October 12, 2018 - 8:59am

Since 2005 when the U.S Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of New York and Michigan’s discriminatory and protectionist bans on wine shipments from out-of-state wineries in Granholm v Heald, a certain legal and regulatory confusion ensued. The upcoming Supreme Court case being dubbed “Granholm II” is going to resolve that confusion. The new Supreme Court Case, Byrd v. Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, will do this by clarifying exactly what is “unquestionably legitimate” when it comes to the three-tier system....

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Wine As History, Not Just Industry

October 11, 2018 - 6:30am

It’s by far the best wine story of the day. Christie’s, in advance of an important December auction, describes the discovery and character of a historic cache of old Madeira found in New Jersey’s Liberty Hall Museum at Keen University back in 2016. Three cases of 1796 bottles and 40 demijohns from 1822 were uncovered during a restoration of the Museum’s old wine cellar. Apparently, it was known that old wines were buried in the cellar, but no one knew...

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Phil Mickelson Pops a Cork in Wine Country

October 9, 2018 - 8:53am

In an impressive defense of his title, professional cork popper Phil Mickelson bested other competitors for a second year in a row at the anticipated 3rd Annual Korbel Spray-Off Challenge in Napa, California last week. Mickelson’s bested all comers with a remarkable 77-foot cork pop, earning him first place and the $5,000 top prize. Using his patented left-handed thumbing technique to deliver the “launch”, Mickelson sent the Korbel cork into the sky at an impressive arch. Ending earlier speculation, Mickelson appeared...

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Sonoma State Wine MBA Students Get it Done

October 8, 2018 - 4:08pm

If you are ever inclined to ask, “just what the hell are they teaching those kids in college these days,” I’d point you to a recent story for Wine Industry Advisor written by Madeleine Rose that examines the results of a Wine MBA class project at Sonoma State University. Though the survey is very small in sample size, the students at Sonoma State have uncovered some interesting hints at how the generations approach to wine is both similar and different. And...

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Wondering About Wine Bloggers and the Wine Bloggers Conference

October 3, 2018 - 9:35am

On the eve of the 11th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, I wonder.. -If I’ll discover any alternative to using social media and email to drive readers to a blog that is both effective not a time suck? -If we will ever see a wine blogger commit to posting multiple original, compelling articles a day (5?) in an attempt to rise quickly to the top of the pack? It’s something I know will work, yet perhaps no one...

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The Intersection of Wine and the #MeToo Movement

October 2, 2018 - 11:13am

After receiving two tweets accusing it of fostering fear among women due to a message on one of its wines, a British Columbia winery has pulled the offending wine from the shelves that had the following message on its label: “BOYS WILL BE BOYS”. This story intrigued me in part for what the winery in question, Church and State Winery, chose to pull from the market and what it chose to leave in the marketplace. Church and State has a...

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I Took Legal Advice From Wine Wholesalers and Only Got This Tee Shirt

October 1, 2018 - 12:06pm

In the wake of the Supreme Court agreeing on Thursday to hear a case of great importance to wine retailer shipping, the very next day the state of Michigan receive the kind of news regarding its wine shipping laws that it has had to confront a number of times before. On Friday, a Michigan Federal District Court ruled its wine retailer shipping law to be unconstitutional and enjoined the state from enforcing its ban on out-of-state wine retailer shipments. This...

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Ten Ways Wine Can Combat the Threat of Cannabis

September 27, 2018 - 9:30am

Here are five paragraphs from a news story concerning cannabis and wine with which members of the wine industry ought to be very concerned: Jena, a 27-year-old business operations employee based in Chicago, has consumed alcohol socially for nearly a decade. In recent months, however, she decided it was not worth the calories or hangovers. She switched to cannabis products, and now she smokes marijuana once or twice a week and eats gummy candies with cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a...

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Willamette Valley Conjunctive Label Law Is a Mistake

September 18, 2018 - 10:02am

According to a recent story by the Portland Oregonian’s wine writer Michael Alberty, winemakers and winergrowers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, home to some of the best Pinot Noir produced anywhere in the world, are likely to support a bill that would require Conjunctive Labelling to support the larger Willamette Valley AVA. I think this is a mistake. Conjunctive Labelling Laws require that a winery place the name of a larger recognized winegrowing region on their label even when the grapes...

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A Corrupt Scheme At The Middle of the American Wine Industry

September 17, 2018 - 10:42am

In a recent interview with Liza Zimmerman at Wine Searcher, Rob Tobiassen, former Chief Attorney for the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, explains the benefits of the Three Tier System of Alcohol distribution. However, in the wide-ranging interview, Rob fails to point out one very important thing: the three-tier system of alcohol regulation is an extraordinarily archaic system of market regulation that has fallen under the control of a cabal of state-mandated and state-protected middlemen whose only interest is their...

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The Future of Wine

September 15, 2018 - 9:17am

There is a somewhat obscure field called “Future Studies” by some, “Futurology” by others. It’s not science fiction. The Wikipedia entry on the issue describes Futurology this way: “the study of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. In general, it can be considered as a branch of the social sciences and parallel to the field of history. Futures studies seeks to understand what is likely to continue and what could plausibly change. Part of the discipline thus...

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Why I’m Attending the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference

September 10, 2018 - 2:01pm

In October, the 11th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference will be held in Walla Walla, Washington. I didn’t attend the two most recent conferences after having attended the previous eight. I’m going to Walla Walla for a couple important reasons: 1) I want to investigate the state of wine blogging by observing and interacting with a highly motivated contingent of bloggers and 2) I want to network with and get to know those bloggers to whom I’ll be pitching stories. Plus,...

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Two Important Announcements in Wine Education

September 6, 2018 - 6:21pm

Here’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along too often: “Discovering and nurturing the next generation of outstanding young wine writers has been one of my longstanding personal goals for Vinous. As part of our mission, Vinous established the Young Wine Writers Fellowship in 2014, shortly after we launched. I am thrilled to announce that the Fellowship is back in 2018″ The Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship provides the fellow with a $3,000 stipend to be used for travel to and research...

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A Wine Rating is an Adjective, Not a Calculation

September 5, 2018 - 10:17am

There has of late been good writing and thinking about writing and thinking about wine. At Meg Maker’s Terroir Review I recently read Fredric Koeppel’s “How To Write About Wine; Or, Why Bother To Write About Wine At All”. In the thoughtful article, Frederic concludes that: “What matters, then, isn’t the theoretical skill and experience that would allow a taster to identify from a glass of wine a particular slope in the Sonoma Coast region or a hillside in Brunello di...

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The Blog on Liquor Laws and Politics You Need to Read

September 4, 2018 - 1:26pm

In the past, I had the opportunity to draw attention to new wine-related blogs that held great potential. I haven’t done much of this lately for reasons that at this time don’t warrant discussion. However, there is a brand new blog I do want to draw attention to because it should hold considerable interest to those interested in the legal side of the wine industry. The new blog is called Irish Liquor Lawyer and is the product of Sean O’Leary...

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On Boycotts, Wine and the World

August 27, 2018 - 10:49am

In a continuation of his provocative “August Essays”, influential writer Andrew Jefford makes the case that wine drinkers have a moral and ethical responsibility to choose their drinks with an eye toward responding the “extraordinary times unfolding around us”. Jefford argues that our purchasing choices ought to be guided by the way in which a producer or country is responding to or playing a role in a “world in which unilateralism, threats, posturing, bullying and sanctions are superseding multilateralism and consensus.” In...

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Crime and Punishment in the Wine Industry

August 24, 2018 - 9:28am

In its fierce “determination to put an end to anti-competitive practices that hurt law-abiding businesses and prevent consumers from enjoying a wide selection of products” the TTB announced that it had levied punishment upon Napa Valley’s Modus Operandi Cellars. The crime? “Consignment sales of wine to wholesalers who were not obligated to pay for the wine until after it had been sold to retailers.” The Punishment: “A one day (emphasis added) suspension of its basic permit.” I’m not suggesting that Modus...

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Wine Writers and the Question of Jello vs. Pudding

August 20, 2018 - 4:16pm

Designing the recent survey I conducted that will result in the fourth American Wine Writer Survey Report since 1994, a question arose that needed to be answered: Is there any value in asking wine writers whether their work appears in print, digital or both? I had to consider the question for a full 60 seconds. As those 60 seconds passed I pondered whether there was a more useless question I could put to the wine writers that would respond to...

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Wine Journalists Get Their Due

August 16, 2018 - 3:57pm

By Alan Goldfarb At a wine tasting many years ago, a man walked up to wine journalist Bob Thompson and stuck a glass in his face and exclaimed, “Do you like this?” Thompson, the wine columnist for the Hearst San Francisco Examiner at the time, went to the paper’s editor the next morning, and quit. The man with the glass, Thompson said, “Wanted me to tell him if he liked the wine. I wanted to be the guy who showed...

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Andrew Jefford and the Contamination of Wine

August 14, 2018 - 9:44am

Andrew Jefford certainly ranks as one of the most thoughtful people to ever write about wine. If you need proof of this, simply read the transcript of the speech he gave to the conference of Wine Communicators of Australia in 2012: “Wine and Astonishment”. It’s a profound piece I’ve gone back to read over and over simply for its beauty, insight and humility. It’s because of the soundness and creativity I have long enjoyed in Jefford’s thinking that I was a...

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