California Wine Regions Hit With Late Season Frost

Fan LeafFirst it was corn, wheat and malt, then rice and hops, and now after this weeks frost, wine grapes could be added to the list of products directly related to the making of alcohol that have experienced a sudden rise in price. Winespectator reports that some vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Valley’s could have dropped into the high 20 degree Fahrenheit range during this weeks unexpected frost.

“I can’t remember a frost like this since 1972,” said Andy Beckstoffer, who oversees some of the largest vineyards in Northern California. “I don’t know if the damage is all that severe, maybe we’ve lost 10 percent, but we’ll know more later.”

Even that could be a big deal for prices, especially since California wine has been in higher demand over the last few years. It isn’t that wineries haven’t dealt with this kind of thing before, as most are well equipped to combat frosty evenings during bud break in spring. This time however, it was completely unexpected, thanks to warm weather just a few days before and it’s belated timing.

Time will tell what impact this will have on the industry. Australia experienced a similar frost last year about this time, and prices rose a few dollars on wine from large producers like Penfolds, Peter Lehman wines, and Henschke. Boutique wines were forced to raise prices even more.

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Kodak, HP To Fight Counterfeit Wine

Is my Wine fake?In an industry where nothing is sacred and business is booming, counterfeiting has become a huge problem, and that problem is now plaguing the wine industry. It’s the same question that consumers ask themselves when purchasing wine online, at auction, or even at a retailer they aren’t familiar with: Is this wine I’m buying fake?

Both Eastman Kodak and Hewlett Packard are devising plans to help wineries ensure authenticity. Kodak has teamed up with a company to provide a label that can be scanned by a special device that will verify if the bottle is a fake or the real thing. HP has taken a similar approach with a device they call “Memory Spot”. It can easily be affixed to the wine bottle and will contain encoded information that will be hard for counterfeiters to duplicate.

The wineries that have started employing these solutions, including Vineyard 29, Staglin Vineyards, and Colgin, claim that the up front cost is minor when compared with the long term cost of their brands tarnished by fakes. It’s probable more wineries will follow suit, considering the integrity of their name is what’s at stake.

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