Wine: January 2009 Archives

Ten-Buck Chuck?

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yellowtail-shiraz.jpgBy Robert Farmer

I suppose we are now officially in the age of Expectations Adjusted Downward. News from Down Under recently popped up about over-supply of and under-demand for premium wines. Australian wine makers have historically relied upon a consumer base outside their borders. And global demand for higher-end wine has been evaporating faster than a rain puddle in the Outback.

So, as has been the trend globally, Australian producers have had to adjust prices downward, setting a new threshold for so-called premium varietals. Have we entered the era of $10 premium wines? Probably not, but we're getting closer. And in Australia, the problem may have been self-inflicted --at least partially.

Wine Judging Gets Judged - And the Verdict's Not Good

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By Courtney Cochran

This news just in:  judges at the annual California State Fair wine competition are apparently more than a little inconsistent in their evaluations of medal-winning (and non-winning) wines. According to an in-depth report published by the Journal of Wine Economics, fewer than half of 65 judging panels at the fair evaluated over a three year period achieved "anything close to similar results" in their appraisal of wines submitted, and one group even awarded a gold medal to a wine it had previously thrown out of the competition - twice.

World Wine Forecast Fair, In Spite of Economic Heat

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By Courtney Cochran

According to a study just released by The International Wine & Spirit Record, demand for wine is projected to grow roughly 6 percent to 2.8 billion cases between 2008 and 2012, a figure close to in synch with pre-recession trends.  Global production is also predicted to grow over the same period to an estimated 3 billion cases annually, an increase of approximately 3.83 percent over earlier levels.  The findings support a long-held belief that wine is more or less "recession-proof" - meaning that drinkers continue to enjoy the beverage even when spending power is down.

Getting Pinched in Oregon

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By Robert Farmer

If you're like me you're by now a little tired of hearing about how bad things are economically in the world. And if you're like me, you probably help ease the sting of the daily bad news by indulging in good glass of wine or two at day's end - every day's end. But when it happens that the bad economic news is also related to wine, it leaves one not knowing where to turn.

Opening Silver Oak

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silveroak.jpgBy Robert Farmer

Sitting as it was without bothering anybody in my wine cellar, the bottle of 1999 Silver Oak had been resisted long enough. So on Christmas last year, I decided the time was right to open 'er up. Frankly, I have not been the rabid advocate for Silver Oak as are many folks among the legion of fans the winery can proudly claim. I've been impressed, but also under whelmed by some vintages. And while I know the oak notes are the wines' signature, my experience has occasionally been akin to running headlong into an oak barrel.

Recession Ups and Downs Trickle to Wine Country

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By Courtney Cochran

With our nation now fully entrenched in a recession, no one can deny the ripple effects of the economic downturn coursing through our lives and those of friends, colleagues and family.  And, though we'd all like to imagine the wine industry impervious to the nation's economic ills, the fact is that wine country, too, is feeling the effects of the crisis.  Fortunately, it's not all bad news when it comes to financial affairs and wine.  

Luxury Experiences in Santa Barbara: Wine Tasting

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SBwinetasting.jpgSanta Barbara's wine making history, like that of many areas in California, extends back to the days of the Spanish missions - 200 years ago. Today, the region is home to more than 100 wineries and some 24,000 acres of planted vineyards.

Recession Edition: Wines to Brood Over

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By Courtney Cochran

With the Dow marching steadily south, unemployment on the up and deflation dangerously near, it's easy to feel there's little source for cheer these days.  Still, if there's anything a trying economic clime coupled with an already frigid winter welcomes, it's uncorking a wine worth brooding over.  Read on for a list of our top picks for wines with which to weather the current season - whether your portfolio is up, down, or you just can't bear to look.  No matter what, we've got you covered.

Out with the Old, In with the New: Wine Trends of 2009

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By Courtney Cochran

As with every new year, 2009 will bring the birth of new wine trends and the departures of others.  Some we'll be sad to see go (so long, cellaring for sport!), while others we'll barely miss (we're talking about you, overly alcoholic wines).  No matter what, we predict you'll find lots of things to relish about the wine scene in '09, and along with them excuses for uncorking many a new bottle.

OUT: Heavy, Oversized Bottles
Heavy wine bottles will continue to come under fire from climate change-conscious critics in 2009, with good reason.  Developments in '08 such as popular British wine critic Jancis Robinson's "name and shame" campaign - which prompted visitors to her subscription-basis website to list wines made by wineries using heavier-than-usual glass bottles, so others could avoid purchasing them - have already led to several large wineries' decisions to begin "lightweighting" their bottles going forward.  It can't happen soon enough. 

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