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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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Automatic Weapons, Wine and Cannabis

April 16, 2018 - 10:44am

In a recent post about how cannabis sales will hurt wine sales, one commenter noted that at least “there is no three-tier distribution system for weed.” Well, there actually is a three-tier distribution system for cannabis in California, with some small exceptions for the smallest producers. Putting in place a three-tier distribution system (producer to distributor to dispensary) was the price to get law enforcement on board. This, of course, will eventually have to change otherwise the smallest cannabis farmers will...

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More Reasons to Think Cannabis Will Hurt Wine Sales

April 12, 2018 - 1:16pm

It’s going to be fascinating down the road to try to track the correlation between California retail cannabis sales and California retail wine sales. While it’s being reported that retail sales of cannabis have not met expectations for the first two months of legalized recreational cannabis sales in California, we don’t yet have enough data to determine the extent to which legal cannabis will impact wine sales. But they will. RaboBank’s Boucard Nesin has penned a very interesting post that offers three...

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Hypocrisy and Natural Wine

April 12, 2018 - 9:21am

So, Isabelle Legeron wants stricter label requirements for wine and more transparency….except no word of such “transparency” when it comes to the use of the term “Natural”.  For that term on a label or promotional materials, no such label regulations are necessary: Stronger legal framework Careful food sourcing should equal careful drinks sourcing, says Isabelle Legeron. For her it just makes sense. As restaurants, and their customers alike, care even more about what what goes through their kitchen, and ends...

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Donald Trump and the Future of Napa Valley

April 9, 2018 - 10:28am

As the June election cycle grows closer, I am becoming more and more pessimistic about the chances of rational, science-based arguments saving Napa Valley from taking its first step in rolling back agriculture in the industry, rolling back the economic engine of Napa Valley and rolling back jobs in the Valley. This is the ultimate goal of those who are asking Napa County citizens to approve Measure C. If passed, Measure C would forever prohibit any vineyard planting in areas...

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Shocking Report: Booze Wholesaler Representative Misrepresents Facts

March 26, 2018 - 11:42am

I’m always intrigued when I see someone write or say something I know they know is untrue. The game I play is, “Guess the Motive”. I played that game when I saw Jim Purucker’s editorial in Indiana newspapers that argued it is a strict three-tier system of alcohol distribution that prevents tainted alcohol from being distributed and consumed in the U.S. the way it has been reported to be a problem at Mexican resorts: “It leads you to wonder, why...

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Let Your Wine Snobbery Run Free

March 25, 2018 - 8:35pm

There are three common and inaccurate accusations that are too regularly hurled at wine lovers and the wine industry: Wine Snobs Abound Wine is Overpriced Inexpensive Wine Is As Good as Expensive Wine Whenever you hear or see these accusations flung, you can be nearly positive that the person flinging them feels inadequate over their lack of a wine education. They shouldn’t feel inadequate about that lack of wine knowledge any more than they ought to feel inadequate over a...

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If You Get A Chance To Write About Wine, At Least Make An Effort

March 22, 2018 - 1:10pm

It’s a worthwhile story if a little fawning. But this pretty good story about new wine clubs on the scene is ruined out of the gate by its reliance on old tropes, red herrings, stereotypes and downright fables: “Millennials love buying wine so much it’s shifting sales of vino to the internet, as is the natural progression of all things beloved. Millennials “getting into wine” is the antithesis of what was once deemed an elite hobby, much to the chagrin of wine...

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The Four Pillars of Modern Alcohol Regulatory Reform

March 15, 2018 - 11:19am

The modern American alcohol regulatory system was dreamed up and implemented in the early 1930s by a group of men whose most recent experience with alcohol was thirteen years of national Prohibition, violent bootleggers and the pre-Prohibition moral squalor of the “Tavern”. Eighty-five years later the system that was created when school segregation was the law of the land, when child labor was largely unregulated and when there was no constitutional right to a minimum wage. remains mainly unchanged. The...

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Accusations of Bribery and Payoffs in Napa Wine Country

March 13, 2018 - 9:44am

For at least the last two years Americans have implored to become media savvy, to exercise a critical eye when evaluating the news. Among the things this must mean is appreciating the difference between rhetoric and reason; between claims and facts; between libel and reporting. I was reminded of the need to recognized these differences today when perusing the Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative Facebook page. This is the official Facebook page of the “YES ON C”...

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On The Other Hand: Wine in 2028

March 13, 2018 - 7:13am

Leave it to Rob McMillan to dig into the big questions: “What Will The Wine Business Look Like in 2028?” It’s an interesting read. In it, Rob is most concerned with how we (the wine trade) will sell wine. His primary observation is this: “I think we are coming to the end of the elevated growth in the tasting room and club models we’ve been managing for the past decade.” In support of this, he provides, among others, these predictions:...

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Wine, Napa, Hyperbole and the Adorable James Conaway

March 7, 2018 - 11:06am

It’s hard to argue with James Conaway, the writer and essayist who recently savaged the culture of Napa Valley and many of its inhabitants in a piece he penned for The Atlantic. It’s hard to do this because I like James so much, respect him tremendously and marvel at his writing skills. But it’s because he does know that I respect him that I’m sure he’ll take the following critique of his hyperbolic, unfair and somewhat sloppy Atlantic article in...

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Liar, Liar Pants On Fire: Napa Valley Wine Edition

March 6, 2018 - 3:22pm

It’s important to give credit where credit is due. And I’m willing to do that. It’s very impressive that it only took 1 week for the proponents of the Napa Oak Woodlands Initiative (Measure C) to begin blatantly lying to the Napa community in their support of the initiative that would ban planting of vineyards anywhere in the hills and mountains surrounding the Valley. In support of the contentious initiative headed to the June Ballot, members of the Watershed and...

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Can Wine Drinkers Rely on Science?

February 21, 2018 - 9:02am

I haven’t investigated the question, but I have to wonder if faith in the ability of science to provide reliable depictions of nature and its workings has fallen among Americans. I’m motivated to investigate this question upon waking up today to read these two stories: Study: Drinking Alcohol More Important Than Exercise to Living Past Ninety. “Analyzing more than 1,600 nonagenarians, the study results showed that people who drank two glasses of beer or wine a day improved their odds...

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Cannabis Cures, Wine Kills…Right?

February 19, 2018 - 10:25am

Here is More wonderful news for cannabis at the expense of wine and other alcohol products: It’s a standard stereotype that individuals who smoke weed are a bit foggy-headed and lacking a couple of brain cells. But a brand new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder discovered that alcohol is far more damaging to your brain than marijuana. In reality, the study — which was revealed in the journal Addiction — means that weed use doesn’t appear...

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Underground Sonoma

February 17, 2018 - 3:28pm

My favorite wine event are small wine event. I don’t mean small venues. I mean a smaller number of wineries; a manageable number of wineries; a number small enough that you can spend time with them all. It’s also a bonus if you are talking about wineries that are small, minimal production, hands-on, newish wineries. That’s why I’m bringing your attention to Sonoma Underground. • Fifteen Wineries • February 24, 2-5pm • At Longboard Vineyards in Headsburg, CA • $49 in...

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Getting Your Wine Product and Service Covered By the Media: Four Words

February 2, 2018 - 7:51am

There are a number of types of compliments that professional publicists appreciate most. Among them is the one I received the other day from a wine writer: “That was just about the best story pitch I’ve received in years.” I showed that one around. There were a few reasons the pitch was good. It had little to do with the story I was pitching nor with the quality of the client. It had to do with the way the story...

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Napa NIMBY Radicals’ Motives Exposed: Roll Back the Napa Wine Industry

February 1, 2018 - 10:32am

If anyone in Napa County had any doubt that the Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodlands Initiative that will be on the June 2018 ballot is meant to penalize and stop the Napa Valley wine industry and not to “protect” water, oak woodlands or anything else, all you need to do is listen to what the initiative’s author had to say at a recent Napa County Board of Supervisors meeting the need for more information about the initiative was discussed....

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Saving Napa from The Knownothings by Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

January 22, 2018 - 11:28am

Getting to the heart of the matter isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. We often talk around the central point or never quite put our finger on what the important question is. So, when you see the point—the real point—illustrated, it is instructive. Stu Smith, owner of Smith-Madrone Winery in Napa, recently got to the heart of the matter of the upcoming Oak Woodlands Agriculture Restriction Initiative that will be on the ballot in Napa County in...

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Napa Valley Vintners Announce Opposition to Flawed Oak Woodland Initiative

January 12, 2018 - 2:48pm

The Napa Valley Vintners recently announced to their membership on Thursday that they will be opposing the upcoming Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative of 2018. This is very good news, very wise and a boost to the opposition to a seriously flawed, unnecessary and punitive undertaking. In addition to announcing to their membership that they will oppose the initiative, the Napa Vintners noted that they “prepared to put resources toward an opposition campaign and formed a task force that...

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