Posts Tagged ‘and’

 

Wineries are coming out loud and proud in their support of gay marriage. They’re putting it right on the label.

“Little by little, we’re breaking down the barrier,” says Gary Saperstein of Out in the Vineyard, an events and tour company based in Sonoma wine country that caters to gay travelers.

One of the barrier breakers is Same Sex Meritage, a red blend that sends its message on the bottle and at the cash register: One dollar for every bottle sold is donated to the advocacy group Freedom to Marry.

“It’s the right thing to do,” says Matt Gold, who is based in Chicago and teamed with Josh Stein of Stein Family Wines in California to make the wine, which launched last December. Meritage is a brand name that refers to a Bordeaux-style blend. And, of course, it sounds a lot like marriage.

Gold and Stein see their business partnership as a way to make wine and make a statement. “Everyone should have the right to marry. Everyone should have the same rights as anyone else,” says Gold.

Same Sex Meritage isn’t the only wine reaching out to the LGBT community.

Egalite, a bubbly from the Burgundy region of France, was launched earlier this year with the name French for equality reflecting the wine’s origins as a Burgundy cremant (sparkling wine) and its support for the gay community. Each quarter, a portion of profits is donated to a LGBT nonprofit organization chosen by fans of the wine on Facebook; $15,000 has been donated since the wine’s January launch.

 

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Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza, Argentina

Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza, Argentina

A first look at vintage quality in South America, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Ready to taste the first wines of 2013? While vines are just flowering in Europe and North America, the Southern Hemisphere has picked, crushed and fermented this year’s crop. Argentina and Chile experienced a cool growing season, which left vintners waiting for grapes to fully ripen. That wasn’t a problem for big reds like Argentina’s Malbecs and Chile’s Cabernet Sauvignon, but it could be trouble for Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

Here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming vintage. Check out Wednesday’s report on Australia and New Zealand and come back Friday for details on South Africa.

Argentina
The good news: A long, cool growing season produced what many winemakers are calling fresh wines

The bad news: Up and down temperatures tested winemakers’ patience and required long hang times for grapes to reach full maturation

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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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A big drug firm seems less interested in resveratrol-related research; grapes offer heart benefits

A new study provides good news for breast cancer survivors—there is no need to give up wine drinking in moderation. According to a study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, drinking before and after breast cancer diagnosis does not impact survival from the disease. In fact, a modest survival benefit was found in women who were moderate drinkers before and after diagnosis due to a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a major cause of mortality among breast cancer survivors.

Previous research has linked alcohol consumption to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, though the nature of the link and exact risk of consumption patterns is unclear. For this study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, about 5,000 participants with breast cancer were questioned about alcohol consumption habits.

The researchers found that the amount and type of alcohol a woman reported consuming in the years before her diagnosis was not associated with her likelihood from dying from breast cancer. They also discovered that women who consumed three to six drinks per week in the years before their cancer diagnosis were 15 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than non-drinkers. Moderate wine drinkers showed an even lower risk, the study states.

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a.k.a Wine and Cola...

a.k.a Wine and Cola…

 

Some might consider the kalimotxo (pronounced cal-ee-MO-cho) a guilty pleasure; I’ve received more than a few skeptical glances when I’ve ordered it at bars in New York.

 

But I don’t feel an iota of contrition when I drink this Basque-country classic. It couldn’t be easier: equal parts red wine (some say the cheaper the better, but that’s up to you) and cola. I like a squeeze of lemon juice for a little brightness, and maybe a slice of lemon or orange to dress it up. But purists might consider even those modest additions a little fussy. The overall effect is surprisingly sangria-esque, minus all that fruit-chopping and waiting, and wonderfully refreshing.

 

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Global farmer-assistance program extends help to grapegrowers in Argentina, Chile and South Africa

When a small grapegrower in Argentina’s Luján de Cuyo district needed a kidney operation, his fellow farmers dipped into a shared fund to help pay for it. When another grower’s donkey died, the fund was tapped to buy him a new one. These 19 farmers, some of whom own as little as 3 acres, also invested in their vineyards, replaced roofs on their homes and provided supplies for the local school.

At a time when so many of their fellow small growers in Mendoza have been squeezed out, how did the landowners and vineyard workers, part of a group called Viña de la Solidaridad, manage all that? Viña de la Solidaridad had earned an extra $40,000 for these projects by participating in a fair-trade program, intended to fight poverty in developing nations, keep families on small farms and empower workers. Working with Bodega Furlotti, the growers earn a premium above-market price by supplying grapes for fair-trade wine lines, including Neu Direction Malbec, which was picked up by retail giant Sam’s Club.

“There was a real need from these communities for additional revenue to help improve their situation,” said Dave Leenay, executive vice president for sales for Prestige Wine Group, the U.S. importer instrumental in developing Neu Direction, along with Wandering Grape Merlot-Malbec, carried by Target. “And there was a need from the big corporations to talk about their commitment to helping be more sustainable and improving people’s lives.”

Best known for coffee, as well as bananas, tea and cocoa, the fair-trade movement is taking hold in the U.S. wine market, with a tiny but growing presence among imports from Argentina, Chile and South Africa. Purchases by large companies such as Whole Foods Market, Wal-Mart and American Airlines have helped give the category momentum.

 

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The middle class knows best ...

The middle class knows best …

 

Middle class professionals who drink at home are the country’s biggest problem drinkers because they think they know better than health experts, new research claims.
The study found widespread evidence that white collar workers consider alcohol – especially wine – an everyday reward for chores such as cooking dinner or putting their children to bed, as well as to combat the stress of office life.

There was also a common perception among the group that they could ignore health warnings and that regularly drinking at home is safe and sensible, even if their intake exceeded recommended guidelines.

The researchers claim the study shows the need for an overhaul of the government’s messages about safe drinking, which currently focus more on the impact of binge drinking and anti-social behaviour.

In fact, the study – in the journal BMC – found that these public health warnings “actively reinforced” the view among the middle classes “that their own drinking was problem-free”, because the campaigns tended to depict problems associated with young people drinking.

The research, by the universities of Newcastle and Sunderland, involved a study among 49 clerical and managerial staff from a range of workplaces, including a council, a tax office and a chemical storage company.
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Clarissa Nagy; winemaker mom

Clarissa Nagy; winemaker mom

 

 

Five Women Simultaneously Raise Babes and Barrels
Making a barrel of fine wine is much like raising good kids. In the beginning, before birth and budbreak, you provide the water and nutrition that the next generation needs. Then you take what nature gives you, be that infants or grapes, and do your best to raise them up right. Plenty can go wrong along the way, but if enough care and time is invested, the end result is usually worth showing off to family and friends.

No surprise, then, that five of the best winemakers on the Central Coast also happen to be mothers. That’s what I learned one day in February, when I joined Clarissa Nagy, Helen Falcone, Tessa Parker, Brooke Carhartt, and Denise Shurtleff for lunch at Riverbench Vineyard & Winery in the Santa Maria Valley. What ensued was a little talk about their kids and a lot of technical talk about whose cooperage they used last year, what types of yeast they’re trying out, and which clones are working best in which vintages. Enjoy these mini-profiles of each woman and some of the wines we tried, just in time for Mother’s Day.

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Music and wine.

Music and wine.

 

 

Stroll through the vineyards at Il Paradiso di Frassina in Montalcino and the sound of Mozart soothes your ears. If you like Beethoven, Bach or Boulez, not to mention Miles Davis, Madonna or Motörhead, you will be disappointed. Musical variety is not the point here. The Sangiovese vines are given a permanent aural diet of Mozart, pumped through 58 strategically sited speakers, and nothing else.

Sound waves have an effect on the way plants, not just vines grow, according to winemaker Federico Ricci. “Low frequencies seem to have the biggest impact, and that means certain types of classical music. We are still experimenting, but Mozart seems to work best.” Even the most ardent lover of Mozart could tire of the great composer’s oeuvre, but not vines, apparently.

If you think this sounds a bit loopy – like Prince Charles talking to his hedgerows – Ricci points out that the Mozart vineyards are stronger are more resistant to disease than those where there is no music playing. Il Paradiso di Frassina picks the former as much as two weeks before the latter. “It gives us more flexibility,” he says, “and means that we can harvest our grapes when they are perfect.”

 

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Fake it like a pro ...

Fake it like a pro …

 

You’re sophisticated enough to know that a proper bottle of vino is the calling card du jour, but a bit of a novice when it comes to picking out something worthy. And should you actually choose something notable, will you be up to the challenge of carrying on an intelligent conversation about it?

We asked Michael Fagan, wine ‘Matchmaker’ with one of the world’s largest wine purchasers, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), for a few tips to help us fake it like a pro.

How to choose a good wine

“We’re easily influenced as consumers by media, fashion, and friends, so when it comes to wine many of us are insecure and don’t know if we can trust our own taste. We don’t know that we know enough about wine to be right. So many consumers will buy a label, what their friends buy, or what they read in an advertisement.

The best way to learn about wine is to taste it. When you’re tasting the wines, don’t worry too much about where it comes from, think about its characteristics and whether you like it or not. The more you familiarize yourself with different wines, the easier it is to understand where your preferences lie.”

Wines are made of fermented grape juice, and each variety of grapes has unique characteristics determined by geographical region, grower, growing conditions and time of picking. Icewine, for example, is extremely sweet because it is picked very late in the season when the grapes are frozen on the vines. The water in the grapes has frozen solid, which allows the grower to squeeze the sweetest, most concentrated liquid from the frozen grapes. Common red wine varieties are Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. White wines include Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Price versus Quality

The price of a wine is determined by the origin of the grapes. Generally speaking, wines labelled as Table wines can be made from grapes grown from anywhere within a large region such as France, whereas the grapes for a more expensive wine, come from a smaller sub region or village, or even one single vineyard. Luxury wines can be upwards of hundreds to thousands of dollars. One of the most expensive wines in the world is the 1787 Chateau Lafitte, valued at $160,000 and comes from the cellar of former US President Thomas Jefferson.

The country of origin can also influence price, Fagan explains.

 

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