The future of wine: Key themes in wine’s future, says Meininger’s Wine Business International, include climate change, labor and automation, emerging grape varieties and blends, competition from such products as low-alcohol wines and cannabis, and the influence of technology. [Meininger’s Wine Business International]
Update on Southern CA fires: The Thomas Fire is now over 60% contained, and many have been allowed to return home as evacuation orders are lifted. The fire burned over 272,000 acres and destroyed about 1,800 structures. Meanwhile, the Northern California fires are being called the costliest in state history, with about $10 billion in damage. [Washington Post]
SGWS fined: Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits (SGWS) has been fined a record $3.5 million by the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) for “pay to play” business relationships. Investigators found that representatives routinely provided illegal goods to influence purchasing decisions. SGWS cooperated with the investigation and will enter a Corporate Compliance Agreement with the SLA. [The Drinks Business]
American owner of Bordeaux estates dies: Bob Wilmers, owner of Château Haut-Bailly and Château le Pape, died at home in New York State last weekend at age 83. He elevated Château Haut-Bailly into a top Bordeaux estate, partnering with Director Véronique Sanders. [Decanter]
Single-vineyard Champagne: Historically, Champagne was a wine based on the art of blending. While this is still the case for most Champagne, an increasing number of producers—both small and large—are focusing on particular villages, areas, or even vineyards. The wines are not better or worse, says Eric Asimov, but they can be surprising, as consumers know little about what to expect from specific areas of Champagne. [NYT]
Wine resolutions: Wine Spectator asked seven wine professionals about their wine resolutions for 2018. Answers include drinking—not just tasting—more wine, tasting wine from the far reaches of the world, revisiting wines tasted in the past with a fresh perspective, travel, training, study, and more. [Wine Spectator]
Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week
The influence of Larry Stone: Master Sommelier Larry Stone is a beloved figure in the world of wine, well known for his humility, generosity, and hard work. SevenFifty Daily takes a look at the trajectory of his career. Today, Stone directs Lingua Franca, a winemaking project in the Willamette Valley. [SevenFifty Daily]
What do you think?
As you consider the future of the wine industry, what do you see as the key issues and themes?
What else are you hearing from Southern California?
What are your thoughts on the renewed focus on single-village and single-vineyard Champagne? How do customers respond—both to the concept and to the wines? What do you think of the wines?
What are your "wine resolutions" for 2018?
How has Larry Stone influenced you, your career, or your colleagues?
What else have you been reading this week?
Definitely worth mentioning Fred Swan's piece in SevenFifty about irrigation vs. dry farming
It will be interesting to see how the SGWS fine influences similar practices in other states.