Posts Tagged ‘Just’

Russian girl stomping grapes during Russian wine harvest.

 

Cheap sweet whites dominate the home market but a handful of ambitious Russian wine producers are raising the standards.
For most westerners, the whole concept of “Russian wine” sounds a bit like an oxymoron. And if you ever sip wine at a Russian party, the chances are you won’t like it much. Or at least you will find it perplexing.

That’s because four-fifths of wines sold in Russia are poor quality semi-sweet varieties, and involve the use of concentrate.

The reasons for this date back to Soviet times, when Russians’ taste for semi-sweet and sparkling wines was formed. Many Russians today consider dry wines too sour. It was Joseph Stalin, an ethnic Georgian, who did most to foster this tradition.

It may be hard to believe but, according to the International Wine Office, the Soviet Union ranked fifth in the world in terms of area under vines and seventh in terms of wine output by the end of the Fifties.
The young Soviet winemaking industry found enthusiastic support from Stalin and from Anastas Mikoyan, his Armenian minister for food production. Both Georgia and Armenia, in the fertile, Mediterranean-like climate of the South Caucasus, have a rich tradition of winemaking that predates even the ancient wine culture of Greece.

Wine was drunk in Russia only by the aristocracy before the 1917 Revolution. But all this changed under Stalin, who believed wine had to be affordable for every Soviet citizen.
Scientists managed to produce frost-resistant, high-yielding varieties of grape. But the quality suffered: wines made from such grapes were barely palatable because of their high acidity and lack of taste. To remedy this flaw, grape sugar and often ethyl alcohol were added to the wines – practices that are still widely used in the Russian wine industry to this day.

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Women and Wine.

Women and Wine.

 

 

Wine Enthusiast profiles six women in the industry who prove that the grape game isn’t just for the boys.
Women’s History Month may be coming to a close, but these women are worth honoring all year round. Wine Enthusiast tapped these superstars of the wine industry to find out what inspired them to pursue their path.

The Grower: Karen Cakebread, Ziata Wines, Napa Valley, California
After spearheading the marketing division at Cakebread Cellars for 18 years (her former spouse is Steve Cakebread), Karen decided to create her own brand, Ziata, named after her mother, in 2008. Her interests include travel and hiking (she trekked Mt. Kilimanjaro)—and viticulture. She has a particular interest in growing Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, and does it well.

Ah-Ha Wine Moment:

“Working crush in Napa Valley for the first time…one of my jobs was to collect grape samples for the winemaker. As I was walking the vineyards early in the morning, it was so peaceful and the landscape was so stunning…It also connected me to nature as it relates to agriculture. I’ve always been an outdoor gal so the wine business felt as comfortable as my old, worn-in jeans.”

Standout Moment:

“Planting my first vineyard and harvesting the first crop of fruit, which I helped pick. My second moment is the creation of my own brand, Ziata. I’m involved in every step of the process, from vineyard to bottle. It doesn’t get any more exciting than to watch people enjoy something you’ve made from the heart.”

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Wine is just so High School!

Wine is just so High School!

 

The social structure of the wine world plays out like a class reunion

The wine world reminds me of high school sometimes. The cast of characters and social structure is really not all that different. Just consider:

The Know-It-Alls:

They were the first to raise their hands in class. Their knowledge of wine is impressive but they see it as a competitive sport, so it’s not always fun to be around them, unless you’re also a Know-It-All.

 

The Chest Thumpers:

Here we find the braggers and the jocks. Everything about wine to them is bigger than life. “Ooo! Ooo! Look what I’m drinking!” They often complain they’re on too many mailing lists, and of course their wine cellars are amply stocked with magnums and imperials.
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