Posts Tagged ‘Making’

 Left to right: Joel Lynam and Bryan Wilmot died after drinking home brew, while Joshua Lynam and Vincent Summers remain in hospital. Photo: Warwick Daily News.


Left to right: Joel Lynam and Bryan Wilmot died after drinking home brew, while Joshua Lynam and Vincent Summers remain in hospital. Photo: Warwick Daily News.

 

Two men have died and two more are critically ill in hospital after drinking a home-distilled spirit in Queensland, Australia.
It is thought the men have methanol poisoning after drinking the Italian grape-based spirit known as grappa.

Australia’s ABC News reported that authorities were called to a property in Ballandean in south-east Queensland, but they were unable to revive a 21-year-old man who died at the scene. They were later called back to the same house and a 30-year-old man was rushed to hospital. He was in a critical condition, but died at Toowoomba hospital.

 

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Photo by Anthony Two Moons.

Photo by Anthony Two Moons.

From Santa Barbara to British Columbia, Native American vineyards are a growing business

When the first wine grapes were planted in California by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s, the Chumash people’s economic empire extended from the Malibu shores through Santa Barbara to the Paso Robles plains. But by the time the modern wine industry emerged on the Central Coast a couple centuries later, the Chumash were struggling, much like many Native American tribes. The few dozen who managed to achieve federal recognition as the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians were left with a little slice of land, where most residents lived below the poverty line.

Fast forward to today, and the Chumash are once again propsering, thanks to a successful casino and resort they built on their Santa Ynez Valley reservation in 2004. Six years later, with hopes of expanding their reservation, the 154-member tribe bought a nearby 1,400-acre property for a reported $40 million from the late actor-turned-vintner Fess Parker. The land came with 256 acres of vines, the Camp Four Vineyard, planted with 19 different grape varieties. While honoring existing contracts for the fruit (one-third of it goes to the Parker family’s brands, while most of the rest is sold to about 70 small producers from all around the state), the Chumash started making their own wine, and released their first vintages of Kitá Wines last month.

While the project is the latest in a small but growing number of Native American tribes entering the wine business—including three in Northern California, one in Arizona, and one in British Columbia—the Chumash are the first to tap one of their own to run the show: Tara Gomez, the 40-year-old daughter of the tribe’s vice chairman, is the first head winemaker of Native American descent on the continent.
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Winemaking is an 8,000-year-old tradition, and the first wines tasted … well, terrible.

 

People added ash, resin and even lead to “enhance” the flavor . Luckily, most wines today are pretty darn tasty on their own, thanks to modern fermentation techniques and innovations in packaging that help your wine stay fresher longer, and you certainly don’t have to worry that a wine-maker used lead to improve his product’s flavor!

We’ve also seen a big shift in where we produce wine. Once considered a hoity-toity European beverage, wine is made and drunk all over the world, and you’re as likely to find a decent glass of red at your neighborhood pizza joint as at a fancy French restaurant.

Winemakers have also gotten more conscious of their environmental impacts. Since a good wine starts with the grape, and good grapes start with good soil, the wine industry has stayed on the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture. Any vintner worth his salt knows that protecting the environment is more than just good for the planet — it’s good for his wines.

With such a long history, there have been lots of innovations through the centuries, from how winemakers grow grapes to how they market those bottles. Let’s look at 10 of them.
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The origin of French wine.

The origin of French wine.

A new study finds evidence that ancient Gauls began wine production in 425 B.C. in the Languedoc

Dom Pérignon, Pétrus, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti—the roots of these iconic wines and all of French wine culture may lie in a simple stone press, according to new scientific research. Uncovered in the Mediterranean town of Lattes, just south of Montpelier, the roughly 2,400-year-old artifact was originally identified by archaeologists as an olive-oil press. But a new round of chemical and archaeological analysis now identifies the press as the earliest evidence of wine production in France.

The analysis, headed by Patrick McGovern, the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and reported in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses an array of evidence to not only hypothesize when the French started making wine, but who originally taught them how to do it.

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French wine industry rooted in Italy!

French wine industry has Italian roots!

The earliest evidence of wine in France suggests that it came from Italy, and that it was mixed with basil, thyme and other herbs, according to new research.

This early wine may have been used as medicine, and likely was imbibed by the wealthy and powerful before eventually becoming a popular beverage enjoyed by the masses, researchers said.

The artefacts found at the French port site of Lattara, near the southern city of Montpellier, suggest that winemaking took root in France as early as 500 BC, as a result of libations and traditions introduced by the ancient Etruscans in what is now Italy.

The analysis in the US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is based on ancient wine containers and a limestone press brought by seafaring Etruscan travellers.

“France’s rise to world prominence in the wine culture has been well documented,” said lead author Patrick McGovern, director of the bimolecular archaeology laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

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Many filtering/fining agents are animal-based, but alternatives exist
 
 
At first glance, wine produced from grapes or other fruit would by definition be vegan. Vegan refers to a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products. But the recent launch of the Vegan Vine Wine Club called that into question.

As it turns out, many wines are not strictly vegan because animal-derived products are used for fining or filtering. Common filter/fining materials including isinglass (fish derived), gelatin, egg whites or milk protein caseins—even if only trace amounts remain in the finished beverage—are “not appropriate for the vegan lifestyle,” according to Gary Smith, principal of Evolotus PR, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based agency that works with many animal-protection organizations and nonprofit groups. “Even a lot of long-time vegans don’t know this,” said Smith, a practicing vegan for many years.

“Each vegan has to deal with the minutia,” Smith continued. “You buy organic veggies, but your cat can’t go vegan: It’s not healthy. Everybody makes their own decisions. It’s impossible to live in the world and not harm animals. You do the best that you can.”

Clos LaChance, the Murphy family’s 60,000-case winery in San Martin, Calif., decided to make it easier for vegan imbibers. After a discussion with a vegan cousin during a family vacation two years ago, Clos LaChance created The Vegan Vine and began to market Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends under the label. With enthusiastic distributors, and the energetic promotion efforts of partner and ambassador John Salley, a former NBA champion, Vegan Vine has already sold through some 5,000 cases.
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How is Red Wine Made?


See how red wine is made with an easy-to-understand infographic. How is red wine made? Harvest grapes, smash them up and watch as yeast transforms the grape’s sugar into alcohol!

THE BASICS
The basic concept behind winemaking is very simple, but the process can vary greatly depending on who makes the wine and what techniques they prefer to use.

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Somewhere in the manicured farmlands of Napa Valley, a 52-year-old winemaker named Abe Schoener stood in a puny and weed-choked tract of land surrounded by 40 gray and contorted barren vines, which he surveyed with paternal satisfaction. “My view when I started leasing this was, It’s 60-year-old-vine sauvignon blanc,” he said, smiling. “How bad could it be?”
No other winemaker had been willing to find out. Though it’s believed that these could be the oldest sauvignon blanc vines in all of California, their average annual yield — about 30 gallons of wine, or 14 cases — is so paltry that investing in this scruffy vineyard, which is owned by the McDowell family, who threaten every year to uproot the vines and replace them with cabernet sauvignon, would hardly seem worth the effort.

Schoener (pronounced shurner) views this matter, and almost everything else, differently. The most frequently used word in his extensive vocabulary is “interesting” — as in, “I find it interesting that I have absolutely no desire to own my own winery” — and his days seem to be consumed by the desire to evade predictability. “No one else would want to work in this vineyard, because it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s perfect for Scholium,” he said, referring to his one-man winery, the Scholium Project.

 

For the past eight years, Scholium has made sauvignon blanc from the McDowell property, though the wine’s label makes no mention of the actual grape, much less the oldness of its vines. Instead, the bottle simply reads, “Glos,” a reference to the name of the street that the vineyard is on, as well as the Greek word “glossa,” which translates to “word” or “language.” (In a previous life, Schoener taught classics at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md.)

 

Standing beside him on the McDowell property were three of his interns, all of whom have pruned and harvested the vines: Alex, a former chef at the French Laundry; Brenna, a comprehensively tattooed wine director; and Courtney, a wine journalist who, when I asked her what the wine from this vineyard tasted like, sternly informed me, “It tastes like Glos.” (Later I paid $45 for a bottle, which is pale and restrained and unlike any other sauvignon blanc I’ve encountered. I guess that means it tastes like Glos.)

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In the last decade, I have discovered that the wines I enjoy the most are often produced by organic and biodynamic wineries. This intrigues me.

I come from an era when a slogan beloved in my high school, was “Better living through chemicals.” By nature, I tend to worry less about motivation and more about outcome. In addition, I spent the last 30 years of my life with a morbid fascination of fraud, particularly wine fraud.

These three factors make me somewhat skeptical about the quasi-religious faith systems many consumers invest in their foods and eating habits. I cannot think of anybody less inclined to chase organic products than myself.

What most consumers don’t realize is how entrenched are the notions of organic viticulture. Some of the largest producers in the world are organic and more are choosing this route every year. Many of them always have been organic. As it happens, the back label of a wine bottle is a lousy place to try to explain this to consumers. Therefore, I am writing a series of columns on the various forms of viticulture and production this takes.
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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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