If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 8.11.2017

CA wine country site: The San Francisco Chronicle has launched a new website, The Press, focused on “the best of wine country” in California. With trip suggestions, stories, winery profiles, and more, it has the potential to be a great resource not just for trip planning but also for learning about California’s wine regions. [The Press, SF Chronicle]

Early harvest in Italy: As the Lucifer heatwave hit southern Europe, Franciacorta producers started their harvest on August 3. Typically, they begin harvesting after “Ferragosto,” a national holiday on August 15. Early harvest has been reported in Penedès and parts of France as well. [Decanter]

Napa’s classic harvest: Meanwhile, a more straightforward harvest is underway in Napa Valley: harvest started within a typical timeframe, without significant problems. As for possible issues, Cabernet Sauvignon, which will be picked in mid-September, could be threatened by mildew due to abundant rain this year, and labor is an ongoing challenge. [Wine Searcher]

Combating red blotch: Red blotch has been around since the 1940s, but it didn’t become a major problem until the 2000s and was only identified in 2011. Scientists and viticulturists are still working to understand and combat the virus. Currently, the only known solution is to remove infected vines and replant—obviously a costly endeavor. [SF Chronicle]

Virus in Australia: Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus, or GPGV, common in many wine regions, has been detected in Australia for the first time. The virus is isolated, but its location has not been disclosed. Its effects are not well understood, but symptoms can include delayed bud break, leaf distortion, and decreased yields. [The Drinks Business]

VdF grows in popularity: The Vin de France category, introduced in 2010, is becoming more popular among French producers, whether for flexibility in a vintage plagued by bad weather or for the ability to experiment. Many natural winemakers are taking this path, but it is larger companies bringing in the greatest sales in this category. [SevenFifty Daily]

Fresh perspective on CA: For those of you who speak Spanish, an article by a Mexican wine writer who recently visited California on an educational trip hosted by the California Wine Institute, in partnership with GuildSomm. Expecting to find big, overoaked Cabernet, Borboa was surprised at the diversity and innovation of California wine production today. [El Universal]

What do you think?

Check out The Press and share your thoughts!

What else have you been hearing about this year’s harvest—from growers or in the news?

How have you observed our understanding of red blotch develop? What have you heard from farmers, winemakers, and scientists about this challenge?

Are you seeing, or hearing about, more VdF wines these days? For what reasons do you see winemakers gravitating toward this labeling option?

What else have you been reading this week?

  • In Beaujolais they had - once again - a lot of hail on august the 30th destroying a vast amount of the crop. Same goes for large parts of Austria.

  • Just got back from Tuscany. It was 100+ every day we were there. They haven't had rain since March (we had a 15 second sprinkle on the last evening we were there), and the grapes were already tasting pretty ripe the first week in August. Nobody we talked to was remotely excited about the vintage. The best we could get out of them was, "you never know".