Double Cabernet Yields for Better Wine?

Dr. Mark Matthews of UC Davis Viticulture Department proposes that doubling yields from 18 buds per vine to 36 buds per vine doesn’t hurt the quality of the wine and his findings were published recently in American Vineyard Magazine. This study goes against the practice of heavy pruning and thinning which is thought to encourage more intense flavor in each cluster. Matthews assembled a team of trained evaluators and concluded that wine made from higher yield vines had more fruity aromas than those that did not. The test was performed with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes only, and the integrity of the tasters has been raised into question by some Vineyard Consultants. Dr. Matthews proposes winemakers and growers experiment themselves:

Matthews encourages them to do it by isolating portions of their vineyards, pruning part of the test plot so each cordon has three spurs instead of two, and pruning some with the traditional two buds per cordon.

The grapes would need to stay separate and finally be compared blind to assess the result.


Hack Wine Spectator with Google News!

You know both websites, most likely you’ve used both at one time or another. But you got tired of paying for a subscription to Wine Specator online, or maybe you just didn’t want to. Now you are missing all the good stories.

It’s amazing what a little dilligence will do for you. I don’t have a Wine Spectator login, although I probably should, but I run into articles all the time that are restricted from the website. Want to learn how to use Google news to read them? Sure you do, admit it. Here’s how it works.

  1. Go to Google News
  2. Type Wine Spectator into the search field
  3. Scroll down to the first listing that says Wine Spectator (subscription), CA below the Hyperlink
  4. Click the link
  5. Enjoy!

Too easy…, yes it is. Do I feel bad doing this? Not really, this loophole has been there, I just pointed it out to you.

Now where was I, oh yes, Penfolds Goes Into the Future(s)…….

Pocket Size Vintage Chart

Vintage ChartVintage Charts are nice, providing quick reference to quality wine. Although the accuracy of charts is debatable, it holds true that in good growing seasons, the majority of the wines will be good, and the opposite in bad years. The folks over at lifehacker recommend printing and laminating a chart for clean transport at all times. I have a PDA and still haven’t put a chart on it, so maybe this old school method is a good way to go.

Robert Parkers Vintage Chart []


Bronco gets no love from the California Supreme Court

Yesterday a news release to Business Wire confirms that the California Supreme Court denied Bronco’s Appeal to review the decision from an earlier Appeal. Slowly, the steam is running out in Bronco’s battle to use the name Napa on their wine labels where the grapes don’t come from Napa. But it isn’t over yet, as in the next 90 days Bronco can appeal to the United States Supreme Court.


A grape by any other name…

This is a fun article from Suzanne Grumko to The Free Lance Star. Suzanne explores the confusion of multiple names of grape varieties throughout the world. Perhaps you have been confused about a varietal at your local wine shop. Names like Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc, Syrah and Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and Carmenet, Mouvedre and Mataro, are all synonymous, yet cause confusion for the average consumer. Why the different names? Regional and language differences are primarily responsible, but some blame can be put on the marketing department of some large Wineries.


Traditional or Modern – Pole

As the line between Old World Wine and New World Wine continues to become more hazy, Robin Garr over at the Wine Lovers Page proposes that the terminology to describe them change. To describe the style of a wine with the terms traditional or modern makes sense, considering that old world wineries are adapting the new world wine making style, and visa-versa. The question now posed is which do you prefer? Wine critics have played a huge role in molding the type of wine we drink today, in effect blurring the traditional style of Winemaking with modern techniques. So far, according to the poll, people prefer the traditional style, but many like both.

Results of the pole Here.

Read [Wine Lovers Page]

Napa Winemakers Raise 130k to fight Franzia

Last week, The Napa Valley Grapegrowers Association held a fundraiser in Rutherford to raise funds for one purpose: the fight against Bronco Wines and Four Buck Fred in court. As the legal case continues to be dragged out, the winemakers of the valley are coming up with creative ways of raising funds to protect their name from companies like Bronco. As everyone knows, it isn’t cheap to defend yourself in court, and the time that cases are drawn out can be exasperating. Franzia claims he can use the name Napa on a label as long as the wine is made their, not necessarily from Grapes from the region, but an earlier supreme court ruling this year said he couldn’t. Currently the law requires 75% of the fruit to come from the area in order to use the region of origin on the label.


Reality TV Strikes the Wine Country

And not just in another episode of the Bachelor. This time wine is the reality show. Due to begin production in December, the new show, The Wine Makers, will be a six part series and will chronicle 5 competitors as they strive to become a Winemaker. Applications are being taken in essay form and will be reviewed by a panel of Wine Experts. The second stage of screening will be a series of casting calls. Interested? Send Name, Rank and Serial Number to [email protected]

Read [Wine Spectator]

Wine Expression Writing Contest cont’d.

I wanted to clarify a few things.

Length: 100 words is to short, instead let’s make it no more than 1 word document page, anything under is fine.

What should I write about?:
Entice us with descriptive language about a winery you love. Why should we go there? How is the wine? How is it different from other wineries in the area. Be descriptive and draw us into the experience. Feel free to send a picture if you have one, but it isn’t required.

What is the point?:
The goal is to learn about some of your winery experiences. Every likes to be pointed in the right direction when they are tasting in an area perhaps unfamiliar to them, so let’s help each other out.

Feel free to comment on this contest, any questions, concerns, etc.