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The Daily Wine Blog
Updated: 17 hours 1 min ago

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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The End of Wine Is Not Near…However…

January 2, 2018 - 8:56pm

There is a certain giddiness on display among those folks who are celebrating the legalization of recreational cannabis. It’s not the same kind of giddiness you see in old photographs of those celebrating the demise of alcohol prohibition. Its has more the feel of a victory dance. But it’s different in other ways. No one alive today lived in a society where cannabis was legal to use or abuse. Those who smoked it did it under the cover of surretitiousness....

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The 10 Most Read Stories of 2017 At The Daily Wine Blog

December 29, 2017 - 10:35am

It turns out that 2017 marked the highest readership this blog has received since 2011, an achievement I didn’t expect when the year began. Having done nothing different this year than in past years, I can only attribute the increase in, and consistency of, readership to a great desire among members of the wine trade for opinion and analysis about the state of the trade. That’s what I’m telling myself. Below are the ten most-read stories here at Fermentation for...

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Amazon Nixes Wine.Woot — CaseMates Rises From Its Ashes

December 28, 2017 - 2:47pm

On October 23 of this year, I wrote that wine.woot, the remarkably vigorous winery-direct retail outlet, would be forced to shut down, seeing as it was purchased by Amazon. Wine.woot would suffer the same fate as the AmazonWine marketplace that was forced to close after Amazon purchased hundreds of retail wine licenses with its acquisition of Whole Foods. And state laws don’t allow retailers of wine to take anything of value from producers of wine, which is what both AmazonWine and...

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Embrace the Wine Critic — They Matter

December 28, 2017 - 10:05am

The Wine Critic matters…as much as ever. It’s worth pointing out that the wine critic is not, as too many suggest, some self-interested hanger-on simply pushing subjective opinions any one of us could offer. Rather, the dedicated wine critic is a passionate student of wine who has devoted a healthy part of their lives to understanding wine, celebrating wine and prodding those who produce wine. It’s true that the wine critic can grow cynical and even stiff from their constant...

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Can It Get Uglier in 2018 for One of America’s Largest Wine Companies?

December 27, 2017 - 10:43am

“The multitude of violations found during the course of these investigations is truly staggering” This is the description of the corruption exhibited by Southern-Glazer’s, uncovered by the New York State Liquor Authority and that led it to issue a $3.5 million fine on the largest wine wholesalers in the United States. Incidentally, this fine levied upon Southern-Glazers for violating a host of NY laws comes in the wake of Southern-Glazer’s being fined $5 million earlier in 2017 by the state...

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Is Now The Best Time for Tax Reductions for Napa Wineries?

December 20, 2017 - 12:46pm

So, I’ve been taken to task by a friend who has followed this blog for some time as well as my social media posts. I’m reproducing his letter here because he is correct—I’ve not spoken up one way or another about the tax break for wineries that was folded into the federal Tax Reform measure, which I do oppose. The writer is referring to this. Dear Tom, I’ve corresponded with you before on other issues. I wanted to reach out...

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My Top Ten Wine Dreams for 2018

December 20, 2017 - 8:20am

The year 2012 was fascinating. A number of issues came to the fore and had an important impact on the wine industry. Looking forward to 2018 I have a few hopes and wishes for developments in the Amerian wine industry. All of the following, if they came to fruition, would be very good for the wine industry, for wine drinkers and for me. What about you? 1 – More Cabernet Franc produced in the style of Washington’s Owen Roe 2...

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It’s Not Really Wine—It’s a Cannabis Drink

December 19, 2017 - 2:35pm

The recent news is of a cannabis-infused, hangover-free wine. Someone should say it. It’s not really wine if it doesn’t have alcohol. Isn’t it just grape juice with cannabis? Of course, it’s hangover-free—as long as we are defining “hangover” as something one gets upon drinking a certain amount of alcohol. I guess you could also say it is typhoid-free as well a cereal-free. In any case, this is the beginning of a long string of cannabis-infused products set to be marketed...

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Top Five Wine Trends to Watch in 2018

December 13, 2017 - 9:38am

These aren’t so much “predictions” as they are observations of movements I expect to see extended in 2018. Well, there are some predictions in here. All of these developments and trends would have an important impact on the wine industry as well as the wine consumer. The Continuation of Wholesaler Consolidation The past two years have seen a huge consolidation in the middle tier with the largest American wine wholesalers combining. I thoroughly expect this trend to continue in 2018....

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Judge Roy Moore’s Disturbing Relationship With Wine

December 11, 2017 - 9:35am

Regular readers of FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog know that I rarely weigh in on politics outside those that play themselves out in the wine industry. However, I feel compelled to weigh in now, if only because I have fresh information about an upcoming election. I have it on eyewitness authority that in 2001 Judge Roy Moore, candidate for an Alabama Senate seat, happily and enthusiastically opened and drank a 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon. Not only that, my source tells me...

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Fake Wine Reviews: Peer Review Sites vs. Wine Critics

December 8, 2017 - 10:12am

Can the wine and food world trust the conclusions of the crowd? Recently an Italian paper created a TripAdvisor profile for a fake restaurant. Then they went about submitting fake reviews. In no time, the fake restaurant was the highest rated restaurant on TripAdvisor in Italy. When the newspaper finally called TripAdvisor to tell them what they had done and to get a statement, TripAdvisor took down the profile for the restaurant along with the reviews and stated: “As the...

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Great News — The Petaluma Gap Wine Region is Official

December 7, 2017 - 11:24am

The news that the Petaluma Gap region in southern Sonoma County has finally be granted its official American Viticultural Area status is very good news. I’ve been advocating for this region’s inclusion in the official list of AVAs for a very long time: -Here Comes The Petaluma Gap -The Petaluma Gap: Hurry Up Already -The Bleeding Potential of the Petaluma Gap -Wind, Fog, Wine: The Story of “The Gap” -Grapes, Not Wine, Are Impacted By AVAs This new AVA is...

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Top Ten Wine News Stories of 2017

December 5, 2017 - 11:00am

Wine News in 2017 was big and varied. Lots of big changes and big events. Some of it was predictable. Other news, well not so predictable. Here are my Top 10 Wine News Stories of 2017. They are not presented in any order of importance and they tend to focus in part on California’s wine industry. WINE COUNTRY FIRES DEVASTATE The fires scarred everyone in Napa and Sonoma. The land will recover, but the personal, economic, and psychological toll will...

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The Evidence Is Piling Up: Cannabis is Bad For Wine

December 4, 2017 - 9:41am

A new study reported in the Washington Post shows that legal marijuana sales are a key factor in reducing sales of alcohol: “Alcoholic beverage sales fell by 15 percent following the introduction of medical marijuana laws in a number of states.” Down the road, when this phenomenon is confirmed after legalization in enacted in a number of states (particularly California) the questions will be 1) which types of alcohol tend to be most impacted by a switch to cannabis use,...

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13 Years of Learning About Wine Blogging

November 30, 2017 - 9:07am

On this date, 13 years ago, this wine blog was born. That comes out to exactly 3,100 posts, 22,800 comments and more than 2.4 million trapped spam comments. In reviewing what I’ve learned in those 13 years of blogging about the wine business, wine politics, wine culture and wine PR I can list the following with a high degree of confidence: All wine blogging is wine writing, but not all wine writing is wine blogging Write and blog with a...

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The Enemies of Napa Valley Wine Come Out of the Closet

November 29, 2017 - 5:43pm

In an earlier post concerning an effort here in Napa Valley to prevent any more plantings of vineyards anywhere but on the Valley floor, I claimed that the proponents of the Oak Woodlands initiative had a hidden agenda they were not talking about. I was right. In a recent letter to the Napa Valley Register, the author of the Oak Woodland Initiative, Mike Hackett, noted that the Initiative “represents a step in the right direction.” Not the solution to a...

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10 Stunning Shots of Vineyards Stopping Fire in Napa and Sonoma

November 29, 2017 - 11:17am

There has been a great deal of discussion concerning how vineyards in Napa and Sonoma acted as firebreaks during the recent wildfires. But pictures really tell the story. GoogleEarth has updated its satellite imagery, showing Napa and Sonoma County after the fires. As you can see from the ten photos here, the vineyards in these regions absolutely saved lives and property. The full story of how and where vineyard plantings saved the day will likely be told at some point....

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The Thugs of the Wine Industry Respond

November 28, 2017 - 3:20pm

From the Fermentation Mailbag: Dear Asshole: So as to assure you understand my position concerning your rant against wholesalers, let me be perfectly clear: FUCK YOU! Without wholesalers to move goods around the country, wineries and retailers would be screwed. There would be no distribution of wine and wine stores would have nothing to sell. So what’s your point?  The only thugs in the booze business are contemptible idiots like yourself who think they understand things. The Three Tier System...

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The Thugs of the Wine Industry

November 27, 2017 - 10:34am

Distributor consolidation in the wine industry —such as the latest between Republic-National and Breakthru — is beneficial to consumers who like their wine wet and with alcohol. This is the majority of wine made and sold. However, it comes at a price for those consumers who these two distributors care nothing about and generally despises: consumers who want a wine that is interesting, innovative, well-made, authentic or simply really good. But consider this little economic innovation: today two wholesale wine companies...

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