It’s time for our annual “spring cleaning” of news, notes, quotes and other miscellany unearthed after a thorough desk cleaning…
• The Michigan Winegrape Commission has announced an alliance with three Detroit-area carmakers that should result in a more consistent style of Riesling wines produced in the region. “It’s well known that certain Rieslings have a noticeable note of petroleum in their aroma spectrum,” said MWC Executive Director Ima W. Ino. “If we could capture that characteristic in all Michigan Rieslings, we could promote it and help build Riesling’s reputation in our state. That’s why we’re working with automakers — who knows more about petroleum-based products than they do?” The petrol quality in Riesling is known as “goût de pétrole” in France, but both Renault and Peugeot declined to cooperate with the MWC.
• Wine lovers will now be able to produce their own wines at home thanks to “FreshSteam” technology. Grape juice, freshly crushed and then flash frozen — with or without stems — will be available in special pouches in the frozen food sections of supermarkets. A consumer can then place a pouch in a microwave oven for fermentation into wine in a matter of minutes. Special package labeling will encourage people to “ferment, cool and serve.”
• Reacting to the announcement that Starbucks would begin selling wine at thousands of its stores over the next few years, wine giant Vinous Maximus has entered the coffee business. “Vinous Maximus owns and operates 27 wineries in California, Oregon and Washington,” a company spokesperson said, “and it’s our intention to install coffee bars in all 27 of our tasting rooms by year’s end.” The spokesperson added that along with coffee drinks, the tasting rooms will sell an array of pastries and other baked goods, none of which pair well with the wines produced at the estates. “If Starbucks can get into the wine business, we can get into the coffee business,” the spokesperson said.
• The Alliance of French Vintners has announced that the 2014 harvest, which will take place from August through October, is destined to be “the vintage of the century” in terms of wine quality. If the AFV is correct, it will be the 14th “vintage of the century” declared in France in the new millennium. Only the year 2000 did not receive that designation because French vintners could not agree whether it was part of the 20th or 21st century.
P.S.: Please note that this column was posted on April 1.