Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wine sales...Wine info.....then and now!

Received an email from one of my wine friends in California with a link to a well done video on the sixties scene. Have a look and be sure to have your sound on. Sums it up quite well. They forgot one important bit of information, though. One of the best vintages in Bordeaux just happens to be 1964 and 1966 was an outstanding Champagne vintage. It got me thinking though. About wine sales then and now, about wine information then and now. Pictured here is Simon Berry, standing
(photograph courtesy

in front of the oldest wine shop in the world.
Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd. dates back to 1698.
Step back in time and read a good summation of the firm's history.
I wonder what it would have been like to buy a good bottle of wine 300 years ago? No internet sales, of course but Berry Bros have kept up with the times and now sell wines world wide through their internet sales. Today internet sales are commonplace. But nothing really replaces buying in person from a reliable shop with knowledgeable staff. They can specialize and have access to some real gems. One interesting wine shop that sells wine on line and has a fine, entertaining and informative blog is Nick's Bordeaux Undiscovered Wine Shop.
The internet has also been a boon for anyone wanting information on wine. As I mentioned in my September 9 blog post, put "wine" into Google and you will be kept busy with 177,000,000
entries. Again Berry Bros has plenty of good information and now that it is easy to post a video on my blog, I have one of their info series in video format here that took a little time to download but is of very high quality. I certainly view many wine sites and blogs and there is a wealth of info out there. But there is something special about a good wine book, a good glass of wine and a comfortable chair to while away a little special time. Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson come to mind immediately.
When I first got seriously interested in wine ( and I don't mean quaffing Mateus in college) there was no internet. Most of my wine information came from books and belonging to several wine societies and organizations. One of my favourite books was, and I still use it as a reference text today, the 1976 edition of Alexis Lichine's New Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits.

Then and now! I wonder what the future will hold for the world of wine. Any thoughts, anyone?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Martha's Vineyard

By now everyone is aware of Marvelous Martha's entry into the world of wine. Might the label look something like the one displayed here?
Its the back label that will be more telling. I would expect aromatic descriptors like "fresh
raspberry and strawberry aromas just like the ones growing in my beautiful backyard" and how about "your palate will be caressed by a lovely silky texture reminiscent of my satiny, velvety
sheets". Only 15,000 cases of Gallo?? wine will be released initially. Smart move Martha. That way if they sell out you can claim it to be a huge success. Wouldn't do if you made 150,000 cases and have a whole lot left unsold. Not good for your image. Here is a tip for you, Martha.
7-Eleven already sells Gallo wines. Why not approach them to sell yours? So how do you trump this marketing move into the American wine scene? You don't, unless of course you are the Donald himself. Watch out Martha and here is a little insider information for you; expect Donald Trump to move in. No love lost between these two. Of course if Donald gets into the game it would need a little primer to stimulate some interest. Expect to see a new version of the "Apprentice" to introduce the public to his foray into wine. The successful "apprentice" would become the project manager for a complete wine package. This would include a Trump Tower hotel, a state of the art winery and a housing development surrounding a vineyard. Move over Martha. In the end, what is all this contributing to the wonderful world of wine? I suspect it is just another contribution to the bottom line of Martha's millions. I think this madness is going too far. I therefor take a moment to salute all the wonderful, dedicated, hard working winemakers from around the world struggling to bring us their finest and equally the knowledgeable wine merchants from the many private wine shops seeking them out. They deserve our support!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

WBW #37: Indigenous Varieties.

My entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday, which this month is hosted by Dr. Vino, came from South Africa. The grape used in making this wine is the Tinta Barocca grape from Portugal where it is one of the five principal grapes used to make port.It is rarely used to produce a red varietal wine. While it is not indigenous to South Africa it is grown there to produce port and is practically considered indigenous. A few wineries will make a red table wine with it as well. I believe that South Africa is the only country in the world where wineries use the Tinta Barocca grape as a dry red wine cultivar.
One of them is the Allesverloren winery in the Swartland region of South Africa. The Swartland area is dotted with green vineyards among rolling golden wheatfields. Allesverloren is the oldest wine estate in the Swartland Wine of Origin district. The history of the estate dates back to 1704 and the first grape harvest was in 1806. The original farm house was destroyed by fire in 1704, hence the name Allesverloren, which translated from South African Dutch means "all is lost".

It was first planted in 1945 as a port making varietal and immediately won many awards. By 1961 it was decided to produce a dry red wine with it as well. The Allesverloren Tinta Barocca spends 18 months in oak barrels. Displaying a ruby red color with a youthful violet in the rim, it offers typical port aromas of lush fruit and vanilla. It is medium to full bodied weighing in with a 14.5% alcohol which gives it some warmth on the mid palate. It has a delightful silky texture and a complex fruity taste leading to a lingering well balanced soft and round finish. A great match for grilled or roasted meats. This is what I call one of my "book" wines, meaning you get a good book, sit in your favorite chair and sip and ponder on what a good wine is all about. It sells for $22.50 Can. here and unfortunately does not appear to be widely available. I have seen it on a few UK sites where it sells for an average of $13 US. Allesverloren may mean "all is lost" but I was happy to find this one.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Golden Age of Wine....!!

We are said to be enjoying the Golden Age of Wine and truly there are some real nuggets out there. I am referring of course to the magnificent selection of wines available to today's consumer. The internet has made information on wine widely available and likewise there are some real nuggets out there. Type "wine" into Google and you will find 177,000,000 entries. Have you got a lifetime or two or three to spend checking all that info out? There are some outstanding websites and blogs out there and I have my own personal favorites. However the ease with which information can be published on the web has led to a landslide of misinformation and next to useless information. Its human nature I guess, to want to be in on the publishing. Have a look at this invitation. Did you know that you could become a sought-after wine expert by sharing your ratings on wine? WineLog was " started because some believe the professional wine rating systems reflect personal preferences and may not give a good overall impression of that wine." Now just re-read that quote. It is saying that professional wine ratings are subjective but apparently when you write your own evaluation that won't be subjective. What a load of nonsense! Or how about throwing a little sales pitch into the mix? What a sublime idea. No experience necessary! As I said in my previous August 19th post , "perhaps we are spending too much time analyzing and not enough time just appreciating "the fruit of the vine". Congratulations to all the great wine bloggers out there who do such an outstanding job keeping us well informed!!