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  • News

    89 or 90 Points: The Dividing Line Between The Life or Death of a Wine

    by Jameson Fink on 4/23/2014

    What's the toughest choice a wine critic has to make? Steve Heimoff gives a fascinating answer to this question on his blog, revealing, "For those of us who work (or used to work) the 100-point system, the biggest decision in our everyday job is whether to give a wine 89 points or 90 points. That is the dividing line between life and death." Heimoff is referring to how a 90 point score from a major wine publication can make it much more appealing for buyers, while the 89 makes some gun-shy.

    Commenter Tom Merle has some strong feelings about this practice: "...I consider an 89 score to epitomize the absurdity and tragedy of the 100 point system. Not only is it overly precise with a standard deviation of probably 3 points, but it is being awarded by one person. At least on CellarTracker you get several review of previous vintages by Normal Wine Drinkers–all clustering in the mid to high 80s."

    And Bill Hadon retorts that in some major markets, like Chicago and New York, mentioning a Parker score (or likely a score in general) does more to hurt a salesperson's cause than help it.

    The 89/90 sales chasm also goes to show that if you are a winery, salesperson, and/or buyer who relies heavily on scores to sell wine, you can live by the score (90) but also die by it (89).

    Does a wine having an 89 or 90 score make any difference to you? Does any score?

    read more »

  • News

    College Kids Making Wine Healthy Because College

    by Michael Woodsmall on 4/23/2014

    Students at Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism are looking to make our favorite booze healthier by extracting toxins from winemaking process. read more »

  • Wine News

    Wine news April 23, 2014

    by Christopher Barnes on 4/23/2014

    Wine consumption falls in Italy reports Decanter.

    Mike Steinberger in Winesearcher explains why New California is not so new.

    Rosé sales soar in France reports The Drinks Business.  Also in The Drinks Business, the top 10 wine cellars.

    Snooth provides an event calendar for May wine events.

    Wine and Spirits has an interview with Randall Grahm and Ceri Smith on the Chianti renaissance at Tosca.

    Alice Feiring on Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny and Francois.

    Dr. Vino looks into powdered alcohol.

    Tom Wark, proof that the three tier system is whatever distributors want it to be.

    Punch on the feud over Italy's most mysterious wine estate.

    How to make industrial wine taste great, Wired via Punch.

    Washington wineries have fun with recommender app reports the Los Angeles Times.

    read more »

  • News

    A Robot That Pours Sparkling Wine Better Than a Sommelier

    by Jameson Fink on 4/22/2014

    Sommeliers, do you welcome your robot Champange-pouring overlords? It might behoove you to step aside and let the FIZZeye robot take care of the bubbly. The Vineyard of the Future reports on a device engineered to pour the perfect glass of sparkling wine. The post (somewhat blandly) announces, "A robotic bottle pourer has been developed to standardise time and wine volume of pouring into a standardised vessel."

    And while the robot may lack tableside manner, (in fact, all it can to is take up space on your table) FIZZeye has scientific value as far as judging quality in sparkling wine, particularly its "bubble behaviour, appearance (bead) and foam persistence (mousse)." Since the human pourer (aka sommelier) can lack consistency, FIZZeye not only regulates all aspects of liquid delivery but also has a digital camera attached to the pourer. Photos taken are "...evaluated by image analysis algorithms, which convey the information into bubble size and speed, foamability (ability of the wine to produce foam), foam persistence and stability, and collar stability."

    Watch FIZZeye in action.

    read more »

  • News

    Faux, Faux, Faux: The Fakest of Fake Wines Do Not Fake Out Lafite Rothschild

    by Jameson Fink on 4/22/2014

    What a thrill to be able to purchase 12 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild spanning vintages from 1784 to 1906, no? An Atlanta real estate investor, Julian LeCraw Jr., had the pleasure of doing so. But, as Wine Spectator reports, he also had the distinct displeasure of finding out they were fakes.

    After suspicions about the authenticity of the bottles were raised, Le Craw sought the services of Chai Consulting Founder Maureen Downey, who is a wine authentication pro. And Downey, unfortunately, had bad news. "There were questionable corks, capsules and problems with the shape and color of the bottles," her report read. She also believed some of the labels were computer-printed.

    Downey even travelled to Bordeaux with Le Craw's attorney to gather more testimony, visiting Château Lafite Rothschild itself. Director of Domaines for Domaines Barons de Rothschild Charles Chevallier, upon investigating the bottles, deemed them as fakes. And did not say so one time, but three times according to testimony. So they weren't just fake according to Chevallier, but "faux, faux, faux".

    Is it safe to buy historic wine any more? Caveat emptor!



    read more »

  • News

    How to Make a 1,000,000 Gallon Batch of Wine

    by Jameson Fink on 4/22/2014

    Making wine on a small scale is a risky enough venture, but what if you're working with a batch of gargantuan sizes? One mistake doesn't affect hundreds of bottles, but rather millions? Wired, in a story entitled "Juiced: How to Make Mass-Produced Wine Taste Good", has the unsettling details of how wineries with huge volume production can hedge their bets.

    More than 70 additives and treatments are allowed by the US Government to mingle with your wine. Some sound OK. Water? No problem. Sulfur? I'm cool with that. Ammonium salts and liquefied oak "essence"? Uh, you're losing me.

    But wait, there's more: sugar, tartaric acid, powdered tannin, pectic enzymes, gum arabic, velcorin, and mega-purple. And if that's not enough, these techniques may be employed: a spinning cone column, micro-oxygenation, and/or reverse osmosis.

    What additives, if any, are you OK with being added to your wine?

    read more »

  • Wine news

    Wine news April 22, 2014

    by Christopher Barnes on 4/22/2014

    The Wine Enthusiast on the argument over sub-zones in Montalcino.

    Small scale Champagne producers under threat says Union president, reports Decanter.

    Anthony Giglio writing in Details Magazine on 5 reasons Lodi will become the next Napa Valley, via Winebusiness.

    As it is Earth Day today, Snooth explores attitudes to organic wines.

    Sonoma Wine Museum to open in 2015 reports Wines and Vines.

    Vinography on an American perspective on wine in Japan.

    Early tip-off means no wine for Gregg Popovich, reports Dr. Vino.

    Winefolly on how to write wine tasting notes.

    Katie Kelly Bell in Forbes on why Biodynamic Wines are better for you.

    The Wine Economist asks, can Portugal win the wine wars?

    Eric Asimov in the New York Times on A Wine Critic's Realm isn't a Democracy.

    read more »

  • News

    How to Have Better Conversations About Wine in Spanish

    by Jameson Fink on 4/21/2014

    Bud break, lees racking, pumping over. These are common terms in the production of wine from the vineyard to the bottle. But if you're working in the United States and are a native English speaker, how do you translate these terms to your Spanish-speaking colleagues? Josefina Adriance's "Spanish for the Wine Industry" program is celebrating its 10th anniversary of doing so. While there's no shortage of resources for learning Spanish, Adriance explained to the Napa Valley Register that, "Usually the textbooks cover the vocabulary for general students or travelers.”

    As a companion to the course, Adriance created a Spanish-English Dictionary for the Wine Industry. It contains over 7,500 terms, providing Spanish translations for everything from lignification to itemized invoice. (I don't even know what lignification means in English. I am, however aware of the itimized invoice, thank you very much.)

    Oh, and how to say bud break, lees racking, and pumping over in Spanish? Desborre, desliado, and remontar, respectively.

    read more »

  • Entertainment

    Game of Wines: King Joffrey's Death Has Purple Lining

    by Michael Woodsmall on 4/21/2014

    Poor Tyrion. To have his love for wine turn and spoil into sour blackmail. With an imminent trial, he unfortunately isn't enjoying the so-called Purple Wedding as much as us viewers are. But in our enjoyment, we are once again encouraged to appreciate how much these folk love their wine! read more »

  • new

    Super Mario Brothers Theme Played on Wine Glasses is 5 Minutes of Joy

    by Jameson Fink on 4/21/2014

    How can you make your day awesome in less than five minutes? Check out this astonishing rendition of the Super Mario Brothers theme played on wine glasses. Other "instruments" used? All Musician Dan Newbie needs is two pencils and a frying pan. (Not two turntables and a microphone. Take that, Beck.)

    I like to pair Sauvignon Blanc with the underwater level. Refreshing!

    Check out the video.

    read more »

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