Wednesday, October 27, 2004

One sip at a time

Wine TastingWhere training your palate for wine tasting is concerned, it is better to take it slowly and in a certain order.

Article from Staten Island Advance, "Tips on learning the progression of wine tasting", is a good introduction to advancing your knowledge of wines, and how and when to drink them.

Let me know if you like the suggested progression of wine tastings.

Time pressure's on...

I have been caught in non-bloggy activities today.

As I will be gone for the next few days for the Wine Librarians meeting in Pomona, I feel like I should at least post the links that might be interesting to check.

Here they are:

-- Grape growers seek study of late harvests (
-- Chardonnay is so passe; sip a sampling of viognier (
-- Grant to help wine industry (

Monday, October 25, 2004

Enough wine for all your friends

Wine glass logo


If you get the wine mentioned in the article, How much for King Kong of wine (Chicago Sun-Times), you'll have no trouble offering wine to all your friends, at Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's.... Really! You really can't go wrong when you have 12,000 glasses of wine.

I am in a New York state of mind..

"A small, but growing, number of vintners in Niagara County have begun Manhattan skylineto tap into New York State's $40 million wine industry, the third-largest in the United States."

With that kind of growth, it is no wonder that

"U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a member of the Congressional Wine Caucus, is pressing to have the Niagara Escarpment designated as an American Viticulture Area, which would provide a marketing boost for area wineries." (Wineries producing growth, excitement -- Buffalo News)

And, if you want to check out the wines in the region, here's a list of Web guides to New York's Finger Lakes wine district (

Friday, October 22, 2004

Old wine books provide nice reading

Antique books on winemaking are as much a passion as winemaking itself for Sean Thackrey, who says he was looking for a classical education about wine when he began collecting texts in 1996. (Fun facts from wine history --


There are various places (other than garage sales and Salvation Army stores) where you can get some nice old wine books. According to Sean Thackrey, they are not very hard to get hold of. Thackrey not only collects them, but also translates the foreign language ones and posts them on his site, VERY nice site for people interested in wine-related writings from the past.

If you would like to learn more about old wine books, a nice publication is Wayward Tendrils Quarterly. They do not have a website of their own but if you check the link, you can find out how to subscribe to the newsletter of the Wine Book Collector's Society. Gail Unselman, who is one of the publishers, is a wonderful person who I am sure would love to help.

Heard of Brazilian wine?

Even though Chilean wines are mentioned continuously, it seems like not many people are aware that Brazil also has a wine industry.

An informative article from (don't you just love the name?), South American Wine Guide: Brazil is a good introduction.

Also, check out the previous articles in this series:

South American Wine Guide: Argentina
South American Wine Guide: Chile
South American Wine Guide: Uruguay

To ban, or not to ban

Time to do your homework before the election day that is fast approaching. Voting

One of the issues that is going to come to vote in some parts of California is Measure Q-04, Prohibit Growing Genetically Engineered Organisms in San Luis Obispo County. This is a good time to educate yourself before the decision lands on _your_ doorstep.

Check out League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and to get the views on both sides of the discussion.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Mexican winery dreams

The California wine industry was built on the backbreaking labor of a largely Mexican seasonal work force. But the rise of the fine-wine business created a growing demand for year-round workers with special skills in Napa and other regions. Many former migrant workers settled down in wine country. They sent their children to school and taught them how to tend the vines. Some saved money and bought land, and soon began growing their own grapes.

Article from NYTimes, "Pickers to vintners: A Mexican-American saga" makes interesting reading about how what started as seasonal Mexican labor has developed into the workers becoming wine makers themselves.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Sisterhood of the wine

Woman and wineOne of the fastest growing sections of the wine-drinking population is women. Many of the advertisements nowadays are gearing their advertisements to take advantage of this development. "Not only are women the majority of wine consumers, they are the largest of today's buying power markets."

Marketing wine to women (Wine Business Monthly)


Sipping sisters (New York Daily News)

are two of the many articles that talk about how more and more women are getting involved in the wine business.

Time to think outside the box

Corks are on the way out and screw caps and boxes are in. It is said, "Americans are losing their aversion to wine in a box." (BeverageWorld)
"It moves wine into an everyday beverage and not just a special-occasion beverage," she said. "It (the box) can protect the wine for two or three months as opposed to one or two days. It works well for casual consumption, at picnics, barbecues, sporting events, anywhere where wine wouldn't be taken because of the equipment needed or breakable bottles."

Three Muscateers?

Three Musketeers

From the I-didn't-know-that! department:

Muscat, muscadet, muscadelle. All for one and one for all? Hardly. These are three separate creatures encompassing an enormous variety of red, white, sweet, dry and fizzy wines. Similar names _ along with aliases including muscatel, moscato and muskateller _ make it quite a puzzle sorting out just
who's who.
Read more about it in Scrips Howard News Service, "Our noses make scents of the wine family tree."

Friday, October 15, 2004

My kind of program

Brain HurtA not-to-be-missed TV program, starring John Cleese of Monty Python fame is coming to your screens this week.
"The purpose in doing the program ["John Cleese's Wine for the Confused"] was to simply inform myself better. I realized I would have the wonderful opportunity to talk to sommeliers and the winemakers and discuss wines, and through the process of sipping a wine with them say, 'Now there's a funny taste in there. What is that?' And then they suggest a word and sometimes it means nothing, but sometimes you say, 'Yes! That's exactly the word.'"
To find out when it is on in your area check out the article, John Cleese offers a Python's guide to wine (Miami Herald)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sweet baby steps

Wine bagsNew drinkers who are just being introduced to wines are more likely to prefer sweeter ones. (Sweet is smart for beginners -- Oregon Daily Emerald)

"For a person who is just starting to drink wine, he or she would drink fruitier wines first," Cornucopia Deli wine buyer Louis Rodie said. "Drier wines are an acquired taste; fruitier wines are more user-friendly."

But if they get too sweet, it may be a turn off for some.

"I don't know any guys who like sweet wine," she said. "Guys tend to stay away from the fruity stuff.
If you want to give wine to someone special that keeps on giving, (A rare dessert wine honors St. Nick's spirit of giving --Wine Spectator Online), Dolce may be the one that fits the bill.

Legend has it that in the third century, Bishop Nicholas traveled around, using his inheritance to give gifts to needy families. That prompted the custom of children leaving out stockings or shoes by the fire to receive gifts. St. Nicholas is now often associated with Christmas and is one of the origins of Santa Claus.

In honor of Saint Nicholas, who is the patron saint of children, Dolce will donate $100 to the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation® for every bottle of Dolce Saint Nicholas sold.

See, a good reason to be sweet to someone!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Some white, some red should do the trick

Red and whiteEducate yourself about white (The grape that thinks it's a brand -- The Publican) and red (Unusual reds are hard to pronounce but easy to sip -- Contra Costa Times) wines and experiment with new choices.

For healthy wine drinking, don't brush your teeth!

Neon Teetheeeeeeooooooooooooo..... yecchhhhhh!

A professional dentist suggests that if you don't brush your teeth before drinking (and, a few hours afterwards), the plaque you have on your teeth acts as a protective barrier against the acid of the wine. (Furry teeth can be a wine drinker's friend -- News in Science) Thankfully, also

Chewing sugar-free gum and drinking water helps to stimulate saliva production, as does application of fluoride gel the night before tasting.

What next? Don't shave? Don't wash your face?

Just go and brush your teeth. I don't want to hear that I am going to taste 100 wines today excuse!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Good for the grape, good for the wine, good for the environment

Sustainable agriculture (see: What is Sustainable Agriculture?) is the new buzz word these days.

In essence, sustainability is doing the right thing — managing environmental, human resource and community issues so that the industry survives and prospers far into the future.

There are articles you should not miss like,

Local Wineries More Sensitive to Environment -- Oakland Tribune
Wine Notes: Wine industry makes plans for decades of vintage years -- Modesto Bee

And since sustainability is aimed at assuring that California will have a healthy wine industry for many decades to come, it benefits anyone who wants to continue enjoying the state's signature beverage.

In the meanwhile, some of the grapegrowers want to have their grapes to mature on the vine longer. They think this practice will increase the levels of brix in the grapes resulting in better quality wine. (Growers, winemakers at odds about when to pick up fruit -- Napa News)
But others in the wine industry say that the practice threatens the economic viability of grape growers, by reducing crop levels and adversely affecting the health of grape vines.

Today is the day to drink those wines

Wine Drinking

Good article, "Can you tell me when a wine reaches its golden age? " --, where the writer is talking about his experiences with various types of wine.

"One of the questions our readers ask most often is: When will a wine be at its peak? In most cases -- maybe nine out of 10 or more -- the answer is simple: today. That's because the vast majority of wines are meant to be drunk right away... "

Monday, October 11, 2004

Become a Lodi convert

California is one big wine producing area. Even though Napa has been the choice for the serious wine drinker for a long time, with new areas producing good wine, it is time to try wines of different regions.

Case in point: Lodi at this point boasts of 175 labels. Vintage Lodi: region boasts for major strides in wine industry -- (from Sacramento Bee) does a good job of describing how far Lodi has come.

Go ahead. Make your day!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Are you free on Saturday?

M&MAn event in our backyard has recently come to my attention (Thanks to Bill Carlton):

October 9th, Saturday, is the date to keep in mind if you are crazy about chocolate. Apparently, “Oakhurst's Wild Wonderful Chocolate Festival” is now going on its sixth year.

With all of their projects Wild Wonderful Women have raised money and contributed to these organizations over the past 6 years: - The Oakhurst Boys and Girls Club - The Children's Museum of the Sierra - Manna House - Laurel House Women & Children's Shelter - Fresno Flats Historical Park - Wild, Wonderful King Vintage Museum - Yosemite High School Girls Basketball - Scholarship Award Yosemite High School. (Chocolate Festival set for October 9th -- Sierra Star)

What's that got to do with wines, I hear you ask. Well... Haven't you heard how chocolate is as good for you just like a glass of Merlot? hmmm....? If you don't believe me, check out the Wine Spectator article, "New studies link wine and health benefits."
In good news for candy lovers, chocolate and wine may share similar health benefits. In a five-year study of 7,841 male Harvard graduates who were 65 and older, chocolate and candy eaters lived almost a year longer than those who abstained.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Miracle drink?

Another thing wine is good for: Alzheimer's.

With each new research publication it is becoming obvious that wine, drunk in reasonable quantities, will keep you young and healthy. Not to mention happy!

If you would like to read the news from Japanese researchers:

Compounds found in wine could inhibit Alzheimer's (from

Here's to good health and happy life!

You, too, can become a master wine taster

Cat and wineMust be the time of the year, or somethin'. A lot of the articles this week seem to be about how to taste wine. I thought I will direct you to a few that are good, entertaining, informational, or all of the above.

From Kansas City Star:

Dick and Jane go to wine school


More wine school

From Contra Costa Times:

1, 2, 3, 4 --Wine tasting doesn't have to be intimidating any more!

It is interesting that "cat pee" is an accepted term for describing wine, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cruise enjoying the C Wines

Crystal Cruiseline

Now that's doing it in style! Crystal Cruise line has come up with its own wine label.
Building on its reputation for excellence and innovation in the culinary arts, luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises has created its own proprietary label called C Wines. Debuting aboard the line's fleet of three award-winning, luxury ships this month, C Wines features six new appellations including three reserve and three premium selections of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot.
From Cruise@ddicts: C Wines Debuts as New Proprietary Label for Crystal Cruises

Monday, October 04, 2004

Let the machines take over

Neat article from Tri-City Herald, "Handling a divine crop," which includes videos that show the grape harvester at work.
"If you look at what the harvester can do in a day, it would take 100 people to do the same work," said Powers, owner of the harvester and Badger Mountain Vineyard and Powers Winery in Kennewick. "Picking by hand? Life's too short."

Check it out!

Wine a little, you'll feel better

With the most recent move, Mondavi seems to be in the process of developing cheaper wines for the masses rather than serving the elite with higher-priced products.

Of course, the idea of making a bundle selling cheap wine isn't new. Last year, Bronco Wine Co.'s Charles Shaw brand drew huge attention with its $1.99 bottle of what became known as "Two Buck Chuck."

"The whole Two Buck Chuck phenomenon showed people that wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good," said Marc Engel, head of the wines practice at BRS Group, a marketing research firm in San Raphael, Calif.

If the business model Mondavi is planning on following (Mondavi sees value in wine for the masses -- Seattle Post-Intelligence) means quality wine at affordable prices, that is good news for the average drinker.