The wine industry is embracing the eco-friendly benefits of wine caves. Wine caves naturally create such a prime environment without the need for complex electrical humidity and temperature control systems. The ability to attract wine enthusiasts to cave-aged wines and to tour wine cellars is a bonus to marketing the modern wine industry.
For centuries, wine has been associated with regions because it is such a distinguishing factor of character and quality. Very few would argue that the location grapes are grown does not make a difference (except maybe Fred Franzia). The issue of labeling wine with a specific region has become a little contentious in California lately, and Calistoga is a major battleground.
According to the Wine Institute, sales of California wine reached another new height in 2007. Fueling this growth is America’s increasing taste for premium wine over the past decade.
Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D – Santa Rosa), chairwoman of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, has introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1964 to facilitate the sale of donated wine at non-profit events. State Senator Pat Wiggins (D – Santa Rosa) co-authored the bill. If AB 1964 passes, non-profits will be able to hold more wine events and bureaucratic red tape will be lessened.
The 1976 Paris Tasting was a defining moment is the history of California Wine Country. The performance of Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Napa Valley Chardonnay and Stags Leap Wine Cellars’ 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon brought California Wine to the world stage.
With California is facing a $14 billion budget deficit, politicians and public policy groups are looking for ways to make up for the shortfall. One proposal is to increase the tax on distilled liquor, beer and wine.
The Marin Institute, an alcohol industry watch-dog, is one of the major proponents of this plan. According to Bruce Livingston, the group’s executive director, “Raising the alcohol tax for the first time in 16 years is a commonsense and fiscally responsible option to help close the budget gap. A simple 25 cents per drink increase would generate almost $3 billion in revenue.”
An illness is infecting Syrah vines through California, causing concern amongst many winemakers. Although no one knows for sure what is causing the ailment, many experts believe it may be what is known as “Syrah Decline” in France. Syrah Decline has been affecting France since the early 1990s, but seems to be even more potent in California.
This development is particularly worrisome given the rising popularity of Syrah amongst California wine producers and consumers. Plantings of the grape have increased by over 2000% over the past decade bringing total acreage to about 19,000.
Open House at Newton Vineyards
On December 1st, Spring Mountain’s Newton Vineyards will be hosting an open house from 1 – 5 pm. They will be pouring large format wines as well as some library selections. In addition to the wine, there will be some gift ideas for the holidays, including packages, accessories and books. The event is free to Newton Vineyard wine club members, and is $20 for everyone else. To RSVP, call 707-204-7622.
According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state’s 2007 grape harvest weighed in at 3.2 million tons, up a bit from 3.1 million tons last year. It is still substantially smaller than 2005, which weighed 3.5 million tons.
Because of inconsistent temperatures and weather patterns, grape picking was sporadic in 2007. Temperatures were warm through August, but September saw some rain, forcing many vineyard owners to delay picking their grapes until things had dried out a bit.
The UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Department received a donation of $12.5 million that will fund projects in dire need of money. This donation came at a very important time in enology and viticulture research, as Australia is spending more than five times than the United States.
The donation was made my one of the Napa Valley’s oldest wine families. The Rossi family has been growing grapes in the Napa Valley since 1905, when Fred and Rachel Rossi purchased St. Helena Ranch. The Rossi’s sold their grapes to some of the most famous producers in the Napa Valley; Robert Mondavi Winery and Krug Winery.