A Pre-Spring Cleaning of Wine Notes


In the interest of getting winter over with and hastening the arrival of spring, we offer a “spring cleaning” of news and notes that have been gathering on the desk down in the cellar…

DOWN UNDER DISASTER — We’re still getting a handle on the damage to wineries and vineyards caused by the bush fires in Australia. We do know that more than 1% of the country’s vineyards have been destroyed, while some estates will be limiting their next harvest output due to smoke damage to their vines. Tyrrell’s, for example, estimates its crop loss at 80%. It’s an unprecedented disaster in so many ways, and the Australian wine industry has not been spared.

LOTS OF CRYING OVER SPILLED WINE — Not quite half of the wine in a 90,000-gallon blending tank at Rodney Strong Vineyards in Sonoma County was lost when the tank’s door “popped open for unknown reasons,” Wine Business reported. Much of the spilled wine found its way into a creek on the winery’s property, and the creek then carried some of it into the Russian River. The winery was working with local agencies to minimize environmental damage.

LESS INTIMIDATION — One of the greatest challenges wine marketers have faced for generations is a lack of knowledge among consumers. That leads to intimidation when selecting a bottle, making the whole process anything but fun. No wonder so many people opt for beer. But according to the Global Trends in Wine 2020 report, things are changing. The intimidation factor has been lessened to a large degree thanks to smart phones, where information can be obtained instantly. We’ve always said that every wine has a story, and when someone knows that story, they’re more likely to want to give the wine a try.

WINERY EXPERIENCES — The reasons people go to winery tasting rooms are changing. As Marie-Chantal Dalese, President and CEO of Chateau Chantal on Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula, told Michigan Wine Country, “Over the past five years or so… we’ve seen a shift from people coming to taste wine and buy bottles to take home to people coming and wanting to spend money on glasses of wine and hang out on the patio. They’re looking at us more like an experience rather than a shop.”

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