News & Views from the World of Wine

NEWS: In yet another sign of increasing demand for quality wine grapes, Gallo Vineyards has quietly purchased approximately 377 acres of vineyard land in Monterey County for a record $18 million, according to public records.

SOURCE: Wine Business

VIEWS: Industry observers tell Wine Lines that the move is likely more about the emerging Chinese market—which has the potential to be beyond huge—than the recovering American economy. If the Chinese wine market were to explode, as many feel it inevitably will, only a handful of wine companies presently are large enough to take full advantage of the new-found demand. One of them is Gallo, and with the Monterey County vineyard acquisition, it just became even better positioned.

NEWS: The federal government spent an extra $10 million to relocate the tracks of the famed Napa Valley Wine Train tourist attraction because it didn’t seek competitive bids, according to lawsuit testimony. Two fired executives who worked on the $79.2 million flood control project in downtown Napa testified that taxpayers had paid a hefty premium for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to forgo competitive bidding.

SOURCE: The Bay Citizen

VIEWS: You may recall that back in 2009, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) included the wine train project on his list of the 100 most wasteful stimulus projects in the nation. Officials claim that the entire effort was fast-tracked (pun intended) in order to speed completion of Napa’s flood control project. When it comes to government over-spending, $10 million may seem like a drop in the bucket, but in tough economic times, every $10 million counts.

P.S.: You can read more about the Napa Valley Wine Train, and other wine trains, in the just-out issue of The Grapevine, the official publication of the wine clubs of Vinesse.

Posted in The Wine Business
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