Skip to content


Red Wine Consumption Continues To Grow, And Health Is A Good Reason Why

wine-consumptionUndoubtedly one of the biggest factors in the growth of red wine consumption in the US has been the favorable press received regarding the product’s health benefits. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” has been replaced by a glass of red wine–certainly for an aging American population looking for the reported cardiovascular benefits derived from moderate consumption. That led to 29.9 percent volume growth and 42.8 percent dollar growth (using constant value) between 1997 and 2001.

“In 1991, US news agencies reported on how the French manage to enjoy a high-fat diet while remaining less susceptible to coronary heart disease than Americans,” says the report. “The so-called ‘French Paradox’ led to the discovery of the antioxidant effect of fermented grapes, especially red varieties. This, combined with alcohol, was found to be a good antidote to arteriosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) by increasing the level of HDL (i.e., ‘good cholesterol’) and reducing the level of LDL (‘bad cholesterol’). Still …

Posted in Uncategorized.

British Wines? Really?

nwwHAVE you ever considered growing grapevines on your land, with a view to turning them into wine?

Ten years ago, you could rightly have laughed at such a suggestion. However, the UK wine industry is no longer associated with elderberries, bell jars and terrible plonk. And an increasing number of farmers believe grapevines could prove a profitable crop in the long-term.

UK wines have drawn increasingly good reviews in recent years. They have triumphed in blind taste tests on the continent and were deemed good enough to serve at Buckingham Palace during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Last August, The Independent even ranked an English white among the top ten in the world for under pound sterling10 – it came from New Wave Wines (NWW), by far the biggest winery in the UK, which produces over 400,000 bottles/year.

NWW was formed in 2000 with the merger of three vineyards – Tenterden and Lamberhurst in Kent and Carr Taylor in East Sussex. …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Be Smart: Selecting Wines Can Be Easier Than You Think

smart-wineIt’s only fermented grape juice but wine really seems to have taken on a kind of mythic status–glorified on one hand and feared (in case you pick the wrong vintage) on the other. And nowhere is this strange dichotomy between reverence and fear more evident than in posh restaurants around the world. That captain of industry may be a bull in the boardroom, but when he has to choose a wine from a huge list riddled with unpronounceable names, you can almost see the sweat trickling underneath his shirt collar.

To make matters worse, we’ve all heard horror stories about sneering sommeliers who make wine choosing as excruciatingly embarrassing as possible for hapless diners. But is the masochistic sommelier any more than an urban myth? The truth is, sommeliers weren’t put on this planet to terrorise. If you know how to get the best out of a sommelier–and if you follow the rules below–there’s no reason to suffer from listophobia …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Private Label Wines Strike A Tone In The Market

label-wineWhen supermarket sales are parsed out, we find that in 18 months, $826 million in new Private Label (PL) wine dollars were rung up at supermarket checkout counters, second only to the gain made by the hottest beverage of them all–bottled water–which raked in $973 million in added sales during the same period.

The PL wine dollars are even more impressive when compared to the bottled water figures when you consider that only 33 states allow wine to be sold in supermarkets. No such impediment exists for bottled water. Total supermarket wine sales were $3.6 billion last year, an impressive enough figure to keep majors like Albertson’s, Kroger and Safeway interested in the PL segment since it’s growing so vigorously.

Shelf Talk

Americans consume far less wine than Europeans–approximately 8 liters per year versus 60 liters in France and Italy–but a third of US households do purchase wine, and — their increasing affinity for the grape (per-caps do keep going …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Organic Wines Are Golden

organic-winesIn 1996, CCVT received a grant from the State Department of Pesticide Regulation to develop what has since become the “positive points system” (PPS) for wine grape agriculture. PPS is a measurement tool that allows growers to measure the environmental impact/sustainability of their farming methods and produce a point score. Hence, growers can use PPS to chart their progress.

And they do. PPS has become a successful and increasingly popular tool. In fact, about 11,000 acres in the tri-county region currently use the system.

CCVT leadership has also helped spur the recent development of the “Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices” ( A joint project of the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, the 490-page “Code” serves as a guide for developing best management practices, the goal being to promote social responsibility and environmental stewardship while profitably improving the quality of the fruit.

It’s important to remember that the CCVT mission statement indicates that farming methods …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Shipping Wine State-To-State: Isn’t It About Time??

shipping-wineA lot of people are not happy with this state of affairs, and they’ve been going to court to break down those barriers. People like the Coalition for Free Trade (CFT), the Wine Institute (San Francisco) and Free The Grapes!, an advocacy group based in Napa, CA, made up of 300,000 consumers plus various organizations, including CFT and the Wine Institute.

Lined up against them are the states that ban direct ship. ping (as the process is called), supported by the Washington, DC-based Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Inc. (WSWA). It backs the states in their rights to regulate the importation and shipment of wine in accordance with the 21st Amendment.

The battle is fierce because, claims the WSWA, the entire three-tiered system of alcoholic distribution in America is at stake: from supplier to wholesaler to retailer.

“It’s a system that has worked for 69 years, ever since the 21st Amendment was passed in 1933,” says Craig Wolf, …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Reviving The French Wine Market Will Take Creativity.

wines-classifiyingWhat has to be done to revive the French presence among wine drinkers, says Vinexpo, are new, breakthrough ideas in wine merchandising. With that in mind, Vinexpo commissioned Sopexa, the international marketing and communications agency with offices in 40 countries, to study the “most interesting merchandising applications in the nine countries that represent two-thirds of total wine consumption in the world”: France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the USA.

Sopexa considered 3,000 wine merchandising programs, of which it selected 300 for further examination. Of these 300, 50 will be presented at Vinexpo 2003 in Bordeaux (June 22-26).

Here are a few of the merchandising programs. See if any fit your retailing operation:

1. Moving even further away from classifying wines by grape or region, New York-based retailer Best Cellars classifies its entire stock by taste and style. Terms like “fizzy,” “fresh,” “juicy,” and identify their wines (there are eight classifications in all), “helping [consumers] choose …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Who’s “Hungary” For Some Good Wine?

white-winesThe time-honored technique was developed in the pre-scientific era of intuition, custom and observation. Tokaji botrytis wine originated in the late Middle Ages, in the first half of the 16th century, when long-matured white wines were at their peak popularity. This preference was especially true in Poland, the chief customer for Tokaji in its early centuries, and sometimes resulted in exaggerated maturation–possibly even to the detriment of distinctiveness. But with the post-Pasteur advent of scientific enology, Hungarian enologists began looking critically at the question of maturation practices and what their predecessors since at least the mid-19th century have dubbed “Tokaji character.

Those who argue today for minimal and/or nonoxidative ageing point out that a “Tokaji character” exists apart from maturation practices. Actually, they do not go far enough along that line of argument, since not even botrytis is necessary to a clear display of terroir in Tokaji wines. In fact, Tokaji’s fame was on the rise for a full century …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Australia’s Growth Continual, Almost Dominant

wineAn aspect of the meshing of Australian and U.S. producers is that the U.S.-based companies may turn increasingly to Australia for wine supply. As Jon Fredrikson, editor of the The Gomberg Fredrikson Report noted in his publication, there were 3.5 million gallons of bulk wine imported in 2002–this despite the California oversupply–with more than half of that from Australia to support brands like Alice White. (Alice White is a Canandaigua brand that is shipped in bulk to California and bottled there.) As it becomes more expensive to plant new vineyards in California, Australian bulk offers an attractive alternative.

Robert Nicholson of International Wine Associates in Healdsburg, Calif., predicts that Australian imports could reach 20 or 25 million cases annually, up from the present 12.4 million cases. Nicholson said that the U.S. is Australia’s second largest market, accounting for 27% of the volume and 34% of the value of all Australian exports. The UK is the top market, with 43% …

Posted in Uncategorized.

Ontario Wines Make The Canadian Region Solid

ontario-wines“This is the start of something wonderful in Prince Edward County,” enthused Linda Franklin, president of the Wine Council of Ontario. “And it is a thrilling time for wine in Ontario. It’s our time. The Ontario industry will double in size in 20 years.”

That’s not an idle boast. According to the Ottawa-based Canadian Vintners Association, the country now has nearly 200 licensed wineries and thousands of hectares of vineyards. That’s a drop in the bucket globally, but domestically it’s an impressive 80-per-cent rise in only five years, and 400-per-cent since 1985. All this despite a marginal climate and the arcane patchwork of federal and provincial alcohol- production and -distribution regulations that suffocate all but the most tenacious wine romantics. It’s still illegal in Canada, for example, to ship wine directly to customers across provincial borders, which stymies new Internet marketers like Ontario-based and the Toronto Star’s new

Canadians make some excellent wines, but they aren’t especially easy …

Posted in Uncategorized.