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If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 9.1.2017

Restaurants respond in Houston: In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Houston’s restaurant industry is feeding victims and relief workers, preparing over 10,000 meals per day for shelters in the city and beyond, reports Eater Houston. They are working out of their own restaurants and other available kitchens, using social media to find those in need. See also this earlier report from Eater and coverage from Wine Spectator. [Eater]

France’s wine trade wars: The NYT offers a comprehensive report on the ongoing conflict in Southern France over the country’s imports of inexpensive Spanish wine. French vignerons rail against EU rules and labeling standards, angry that Spanish imports don’t meet the French standards they must abide by. There have been dozens of attacks in the last year. [NYT]

Paris thieves utilize the catacombs: Thieves used the Paris catacombs to break into a private cellar in the 6th arrondissement, where they stole about 300 bottles, a value of 250,000 Euro. The catacombs run for over 150 miles, with a tourists’ entrance in the 14th arrondissement. [The Drinks Business]

Oldest evidence of Italian wine: Researchers working in Sicily have identified chemical traces of wine dating to the fourth millennium BC. This is, by far, the most ancient evidence of wine found in Italy—earlier discoveries of vines dated winemaking to 1,100 to 1,300 BC. [Decanter]

The state of reservations: OpenTable was founded in 1998, the first company to tackle restaurant reservations. It long dominated the field, but today, there are many viable competitors, and two-thirds of reservations are still made by phone. Further, while these technologies have helped consumers, restaurants haven’t seen the same benefits. [NYT]

Opinions on wine preservers: MS  of Corkbuzz,  of Wine Folly, André Hueston Mack of Maison Noir Wines,  of the SF Wine School, and our own  weigh in on their favorite wine stoppers and preservation techniques. [Washington Post]

Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week: Navigating France’s difficult recent vintages

considers the potential effects of the small harvests projected for the 2017 harvest, and experienced in recent years, throughout much of France. Despite volume issues, the quality of the 2016 wines, especially the red varieties, looks promising. Many regions have depleted stock, while some, like the Languedoc, don’t project serious shortages. [SevenFifty Daily]

What do you think?

Houston somms, let us know what else is happening in your community, or share links to let us know how we can best help. (Note: Here's a list from the NYT of ways to give/help.)

What else have you heard recently about the conflict in Southern France? What does the ongoing nature of these issues reflect? There's no end in sight yet—what should happen next?

Which reservation system does your restaurant use, and which do you prefer? Have you ever experienced a switch from one system to another? How could these apps and new technologies better serve restaurants?

What's your take on wine stoppers and other preservation systems?

Have you heard any other news out of France?

What else have you been reading this week?

  • I agree with Geoff that almost all wine preservation systems don't do anything. Vacu vins are completely useless, i threw out mine about 7 years ago. Putting an open bottle in the fridge seems to work fine for white wine (unsurprisingly), but for reds, the aromatics usually never seem to bounce back from the temp change. I sometimes try decanting half a btl into a half btl, but even then you are subjecting the wine to a lot of aeration, so it rarely works. The only system out there that i am sold on is the coravin, but it costs more than i want to spend. If i open a btl good enough to coravin, it will most likely be consumed anyway! However, a coravin seems to be an awesome tool for restaurants.