Posts Tagged ‘Winemaking’

We can only wish ...

We can only wish …

 

Let me be clear. I don’t make wine. I have never made wine. Everything I may know about making wine comes first from books and secondly from correlating what winemakers say about making wine with how their wines taste.

Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of “learning”, and I can now say with full conviction that there is no one way to make wine.

I have heard all the theories, listened as winemakers proclaimed everything from biodynamics to barrel aging, from high acid to high approachability as the only answers, the “right” answers.

I have had to hold my tongue with some difficulty as winemaker after winemaker disparaged their peers whose wines I have praised in print. “Added a little water”? “Added acid”? “Used more than 25% new oak”? All verboten.
Read on …

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.
Read on …

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.

Read on …

The science of winemaking.

 

From refining a style to rescuing a difficult vintage, how outsiders can help a winery

 

WHEN MICHEL ROLLAND was named the winemaking consultant to France’s Château Figeac two months ago, a great protest was registered in certain wine-drinking circles. The St. Émilion grand cru would be ruined; the wine would be “Rolland-ized,” opined drinkers posting on a popular discussion board. One reader even declared that the move was “a disaster for all fans of Figeac.” The impassioned discussion ran to seven pages and lasted two weeks. Who would guess that a winemaking consultant—even the world’s most famous one—had the power to provoke such an outpouring of passion, not to mention a purported ability to destroy a Bordeaux estate?

Winemaking consultants range from professionals who might offer a word of advice on the final blend to those who are involved in every phase of the winemaking—from the vineyard to the bottling line. While consultants have been employed for decades, the profession has lately been the subject of much debate: Do consultants actually help elevate the wines of an individual estate, or do they simply stamp out the same wine over and over again? For example, to members of that particular discussion board, a “Michel Rolland wine” was shorthand for an “overripe, over-extracted, high-alcohol” product. But was that fair? I contacted some prominent winemaking consultants—starting with Mr. Rolland—to hear what they had to say.

 

Read on …

The popular, Guy Fieri.

The popular, Guy Fieri.

 

Guy Fieri, a celebrity chef known for his rowdy personality, spiky hair and love of roadside diners, is adding an unexpected venture to his mix: winemaking.

The star of the Food Network series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” has bought a five-acre vineyard of pinot noir grapes in the Russian River Valley appellation and submitted an application to open a wine tasting room on Willowside Road.

“Ever since I moved to Sonoma County and saw all this incredible environment of wine, from the agricultural side of it to the business side of it, to the community involvement side of it … I’ve just been in awe,” Fieri said Friday. “So my wife and I were talking about it, and saying, ‘Can we do that some day?’”

Fieri bought the property last year. In his first vintage, 2012, he sold his grapes to Jackson Family Wines for its La Crema brand and to Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg, which both have had long-term contracts to purchase grapes from the vineyard.

He has initiated organic farming methods on the vineyard and is… read on

Jarno Trulli, in the cellar.

Jarno Trulli, in the cellar.

Top Athletes Who Turned Their Favorite Drink Into a Business Venture

For the majority of sportsmen, operating in a field where peak physical fitness and razor-sharp reactions are a necessity, wine appreciation isn’t perhaps the most obvious of recreational pursuits. In today’s professional era, most athletes are more likely to endure an ice-bath and energy drink than enjoy a well-deserved glass of red or a chilled Chablis.

But there are some sports that, for the spectators and former players at least, lend themselves to wine appreciation. Take the game of cricket. As well as being a leisurely contest—Test matches take place over five days, with breaks for lunch and tea written into the laws—it is also played in some of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. In South Africa, Newlands Cricket Ground is a short drive from the Western Cape vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. New Zealand’s McLean Park is in the heart of Hawke’s Bay, home to some scintillating red wines.

While there are plenty of celebrities who endorse brands, there is also a number of sportsmen who have genuinely caught the wine bug, whether it was a memorable first glass while on tour, over a meal with their future wife or long after they’d retired from the locker room. For a few, like Formula One driver Jarno Trulli, that off-duty love of wine has matured into a post-retirement business.
Read on …

Kangaroo Crossing

The Australian wine industry is awash with change and we have identified the key alterations taking place Downunder.
From new style whites to single block reds, winemakers and brand owners are displaying a restless urge to experiment, embracing new practices in the vineyard and cellar.

As for plantings, there’s a surprisingly broad array of grapes going into the ground (particularly from the Mediterranean) as producers search for the best match between variety and climate, along with soil type.

Meanwhile, it’s clear Australia is embracing its cooler-climate regions, creating lighter wines, and working harder to express specific sites.

Improved viticultural practices in particular are key to Australia’s vinous evolution, with more suitable clones, older vines and better soil management all making their mark.

Helping capture changes in the vineyard are earlier harvest times, gentler fermentation practices and reduced new oak use, and overall, as Mark Lloyd from McLaren Vale’s Coriole told db, “Today the Australian wine industry is in a sweet spot.”
Read on …

woman_power

The final instalment of our top 50 most powerful women in wine reveals those ranked from 10 to 1.
This is it. Having ranked numbers 50-11, we bring you our top 10 most powerful women in wine at the forefront of both wine trends and consumer opinion forming.

Designed to draw the trade’s attention to the increasingly important role played by women in the wine industry, the final ten on our list, based in the UK, US, France and China, are at the top of their game.
Read on to see who took the top spot?…

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Which game-changing women hold the most power in the wine world today?
The fact that there are enough powerful women working in wine to warrant a top 50 is a sign of how far the industry has come in a short space of time.

Since Sarah Morphew Stephen became the first female Master of Wine in 1970, the pace of change has been rapid. Entrants on our list range from 33 to 80 years old, spread evenly between the Old and New World, proving equal opportunities aren’t the sole preserve of the more forward-thinking regions like California.

Our top 50 have been ranked according to the extent they are shaping what’s in our glass, from the winemakers making it, to the savvy… read on

Also Read:

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Which game-changing women hold the most power in the wine world today?
The fact that there are enough powerful women working in wine to warrant a top 50 is a sign of how far the industry has come in a short space of time.

Since Sarah Morphew Stephen became the first female Master of Wine in 1970, the pace of change has been rapid. Entrants on our list range from 33 to 80 years old, spread evenly between the Old and New World, proving equal opportunities aren’t the sole preserve of the more forward-thinking regions like California.

Our top 50 have been ranked according to the extent they are shaping what’s in our glass, from the winemakers making it, to the savvy… read on

Also Read: