Archive for the ‘Wineries’ Category

 

Two bottles of Champagne seized by the Nazis during World War II then ‘liberated’ by an RAF serviceman are to go under the hammer this month.

According to Hansons Auctioneers, both bottles – Château de Mareuilsay Montebello 1937 and Monopole Red Top by Heidsieck from an unknown date – are unopened and in good condition.

Each bear a red stamp in German and French that reads: “Sales in the free market are prohibited”, and “Reserved for German army not for resale or purchase.”

They were discovered by a British member of the RAF who was serving in France following D-Day in 1944.
Detail from the Heidsieck Monopole label
He left the bottles to his daughter, who sold them to the unnamed vendor a decade ago.

While Hitler was teetotal, chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering, filled vast cellars with stolen bottles of Champagne following the invasion of France.
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The drinks business has compiled a list of the current top 10 Champagne brands by global volume sales.

While there are few dramatic changes to this year’s rankings – the slide by Piper Heidsieck was widely forecasted as a result of the brand’s recent repositioning – what does stand out is the decline in sales seen by so many of these major players in the Champagne category.

For many consumers, especially in more traditional markets, Champagne stands firm as the ultimate celebratory drink. However, this slide in sales appears to be the result of two aligning forces: ongoing economic difficulties in some of the category’s biggest markets and the growing competition Champagne faces from an increasingly ambitious sparkling wine market.

Read on to find out which brands are dominating today’s Champagne market.

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Jameson Canyon Ranch - Reata Winery

Jameson Canyon Ranch – Reata Winery

 

A winery worker suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning at a warehouse on Kirkland Ranch Road in south Napa County after the bolt of a 7,500-gallon steel tank filled with red wine failed, according to CalFire/Napa County Fire.

An employee was injured at about 1:25 p.m. at Jameson Canyon Ranch/Reata Winery when the lower door of the steel tank burst open after the bolt ruptured, causing the wine to spill, according to CalFire/Napa County Fire.

 

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With the relatively large 2012 crop came the expectation that the 2013 grape market would be less active than last year. That has proven to be somewhat true, but only in the realm of “hyper” activity that leads to rapidly increasing prices.

Grapes are being traded, at least to the extent they are even available, since most of them are tied up under multi-year contracts. However, there is no “reckless competition” for grapes experienced last year. Pricing seems to be at or slightly above last year’s levels.

Depending on the variety, the coastal market is arguably more robust than last year at this point. With much less spot market fruit available, buyer interest is high. Reds in particular have brought great interest in 2013; Cabernet Sauvignon specifically.

Coastal areas outside of the most premium growing regions seem to be bringing the most interest for all varieties. This is due to buyers wanting to purchase great quality coastal fruit that allows them to average down the grape cost of their higher end programs. With that being said, there is much less hyper-activity around Napa Valley Cabernet and Sonoma County Pinot Noir. There is still strong demand, but buyers seem to be more interested in averaging down the cost of their high-end programs rather than fervently competing for additional high-end fruit at historically high prices.

 

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Kate Hudson, not just an actress...

Kate Hudson, not just an actress…

 

Actress Kate Hudson and her rock star fiancé Matt Bellamy of Muse have become the latest in a steady stream of celebrities to enter the wine business.

According to Life & Style magazine, the couple were so pleased with their 2010 HudsonBellamy rosé that they now plan to start selling it into bars and restaurants.

The pair are reported to have offered friends and family the chance to buy cases before it goes on sale to the public, describing the wine as “crisp, bright and perfect for upcoming summer.”

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Selling commodities is difficult because people buy on emotion, or instinct if you will. Want and desire are powerful emotions that can stimulate the release of endorphins. It’s why some people are shop-a-holics. It feels good to buy. But it’s not that easy to get emotionally worked up about borax, chlorine, and salt. As an economic good, a commodity has no real differentiation, so small price differences in competing products can make huge differences in total sales.

Think about how you won’t buy gasoline at one gas station because it’s four cents cheaper around the corner. That’s a commodity. Ever buy a piece of art that way? Of course not because art’s value is in the eye of the beholder, is easily differentiated, and consequently will have wide price ranges. When art is sold, it’s sold on the artist’s reputation or the emotion the piece evokes for someone. Marketers work overtime to take commodity-like goods and then pretend they aren’t commodities by creating and building an emotional appeal around the brand.

 Take the above deodorant commercial. Did you hear mention of the product characteristics as a differentiator? Nowhere does this commercial say Old Spice is made with orange, lemon, clary sage, heliotrope, pimento berry and musk, even though those were the original Old Spice ingredients. The creative team instead focused on delivering an emotional image; something with a human connection that ties back to the product.
 
In this case in a humorous way, they are talking about sex-appeal and are really targeting women who are by far the larger purchasers of family groceries still. The subliminal note is if you get Old Spice for your husband, he will look like this …….. or maybe the message is he will ride a horse? I don’t know but I am wearing Old Spice and on a horse right now. Look at me….

 

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Bruno Boidron – Editions Féret

Bruno Boidron – Editions Féret

 

Editions Féret, founded 200 years ago, foreshadowed the 1855 classification and set the standard for wine guides

On a sunny morning in September 1897, Edouard Féret sat on a horse, watching the harvest in Bordeaux’s Médoc region. Women and children cut the grape clusters, carefully discarding rotten fruit before depositing the ripe grapes in a basket, a work for which, Féret noted, they were paid half the daily wage of 1.50 francs that the men earned. As he visited each property, he took out a well-worn book, thickened by the addition of alternating blank pages, and carefully documented changes that had occurred since 1893, when the book had been published. It was the sixth edition of Bordeaux et Ses Environs et Ses Vins, Classé par Ordre de Merite, or Bordeaux and Its Region and Its Wines, Ranked in Order of Merit, and Féret was taking notes for the upcoming seventh edition.

Time has shortened the title to Bordeaux et Ses Vins, but Bordeaux wine aficionados know it simply as Le Féret. It may be the most influential book on wine ever published—it certainly has been the most influential in Bordeaux, where the original 1850 edition provided the blueprint for the 1855 classification of Médoc and Sauternes châteaus still in use today. The 18 editions of the book have also provided unparalleled historic snapshots of Bordeaux and its wine industry.

What started as a slim 84-page travel guide for 19th century gentlemen burgeoned into a 2,296-page bible for Bordeaux merchants, brokers, history buffs and wine geeks. It is the oldest book in France updated continuously by the same editor and publisher. Editions Féret celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2013, and the publishing house is celebrating by preparing the Bordeaux guide’s 19th edition, which will be released in French, English and Mandarin and in e-book format.

“It’s really the reference for courtiers when they start in the business, and I’ve bought every edition,” said Xavier Coumau, president of the courtiers’ syndicate. “Of course today we have the Internet, but Le Féret remains very useful. It has information about the château, the owners, technical information about the vineyard and wine, how they sell their wine. And it’s really interesting to see how the vineyard surface area changes over time.”

Edouard Féret published 200 books in his 40-year career, but Bordeaux and Its Wines would define his work. He had a passion for wine, a zest for detail, and a skill for dogged, accurate reporting. The 1898 edition captured Bordeaux at the cusp of modernity, and each successive edition is considered required reading
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Chateau Hansen's vineyards near the Gobi desert.

Chateau Hansen’s vineyards near the Gobi desert.

Chinese winery Chateau Hansen, based on the edge of the Gobi Desert, is set to sell a new icon wine for €500 a bottle in its home market.

 

Hansen, based in Wuhai, Inner Mongolia, is poised to release the new wine, a single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon called Red Camel, this summer.

Up to 10,000 bottles of Red Camel will be produced, sourced from a single parcel of vines in organic vineyards in the neighbouring region of Ningxia.

The grapes are harvested in two waves: the first batch, making up about two-thirds of the blend, when the grapes reach about 12% alcohol; and the second very late, when the vines are bare and the grapes are beginning to shrivel.

 
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Yes, it’s true. Two of China’s wines have won silver in this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, Jing Daily reports.

The wines are the Great Wall Terrior 2006 from Shandong and Domaine Helan Mountain Special Reserve Chardonnay 2011 from Ningxia.

A total of 20 wines from China were recognized this year by Decanter out of a total 49 entries.

In 2011, Helan Qing Xue’s Jia Bei Lan Cabernet Dry Red 2009 received the top prize from Decanter, drawing much skepticism and controversy.

While China does not have a great reputation for its wine (real or otherwise), there are domestic vineyards producing quality wines.

 

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London’s wine merchants were delighted on Thursday morning to get a preview of Dom Perignon 2004 – as one said, ‘Finally, something we can sell’ after the lacklustre Bordeaux en primeur campaign.

 
Indeed, Gareth Birchley of Bordeaux Index told Decanter.com they sold 3000 six-bottle cases within the first few hours of the morning – a repeat of their instant sell-out of the Dom Perignon Rosé 2002, which was released in January.
‘We’ve sold three times our original allocation. That’s £1m worth since nine o’clock this morning.’

Buyers were ‘predominantly from the UK,’ Birchley said. ‘It’s by far our biggest market for prestige Champagne.’ He added that they were expecting such a demand.

Vincent Chaperon, Dom Perignon’s chief oenologist and second in command to chef de cave Richard Geoffroy, was in London this morning for a ‘soft launch’ of the 2004 vintage to wine merchants.
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