Archive for the ‘Topical’ Category

Geography Lesson On Our Labels

The other day our friend and client Marcel showed up with labels for his 2012 Rosé of Pinot Noir, which Kyle and I helped him apply by hand to all 64 cases he made from extra juice recovered from the fruit off our Haynes selection block at the Estate vineyard (it’s delicious wine, by the […]

Oh, The Stories Wine Writers Write

I’ve noticed a “thing” trending recently — a bunch of stories in wine-related media (and showing up on my various social media timelines) featuring young couples launching new wine brands, often making wines from non-mainstream varieties. “Young couple starts winery” is not a particularly original storyline, but the thing about the couples featured in these […]

Are Winemakers “Bad” Tasters?

“The Tasting Panel” magazine is one of those small wine publications that boosts its circulation by sending free copies to wineries and other trade outlets. Otherwise I would have missed this gem of a column by editor-in-chief Anthony Dias Blue: Why Are Most Winemakers Terrible Tasters? Some years ago, I called out a certain large […]

I “Must” Do WHAT?

This past Thursday, W. Blake Gray put up an interview with Clark Smith he titled “Winemakers Must Come Clean”. Maybe it’s because I’m running on little sleep and a lot of stress, but this just rubbed me the wrong way. There’s are many things I HAVE to do over the next couple of months (and […]

Clone vs. Site: Which Is More Important?

Yesterday my friend Daniel Dycus recounted a conversation he had the other day with a certified sommelier. Daniel told this fellow he thought grape clone was at least as important as site in determining the characteristics of a wine. The somm told Daniel that he would “sound like an idiot if he said that to […]

“Industry” Guests

Taking a quick break from harvest (HARVEST!!!) to get a little rant off my chest. Dear “Industry”: Please don’t come into my tasting room, flash some sort of business card, announce that you are “in the industry” and demand a free tasting for you and your friends. Not gonna happen. We don’t give free tastings […]

Practical Advice On Managing Wine Alcohol Levels

The other day I came across this fact sheet: “Reducing Alcohol Levels In Wine” published by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). Directed at the professional winegrower, this is the best agenda-free piece on wine alcohol levels I have read, period. It’s worth the interested reader’s time. All of my own efforts to manage alcohol […]

Low-Alcohol Trend? Think Again

A couple weeks ago Joe Roberts (1WineDude) queried on Twitter “Curious: I keep hearing about a low alcohol wine trend in the US, but does any consumer data exist to back it up?” Tyler Thomas (winemaker for Donelan Wines) replied on Twitter with a link to a page of statistics compiled by Wine Institute and […]

Winemakers Will Come To You

At the end of May, the organizers of Hospice du Rhône announced the end of the big annual event in Paso Robles. Predictably, the announcement prompted expressions of sadness and angst over the cancellation of what was a long-running, successful and popular international celebration of wines made from Rhône varieties. In reading through these reactions, […]

Praise The Thoughtful Wine List

Today I feel like writing about semantics, because the words we use matter (“natural” wine, anyone?). A month ago Jon Bonné put up a piece on “The Bay Area’s incredible shrinking wine lists” where he commented: Years ago, restaurants like Square One and Zuni Cafe pioneered that balance of fancy and fun. Later came Nopa, […]