If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 4.13.2018

Napa’s future: As Napa recognizes the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve, the debate over Measure C continues. Esther Mobley discusses the proposal and ongoing tensions around it. In 1968, the Ag Preserve was passed to protect Napa for agriculture—today, does the region need protection from agriculture? [SF Chronicle]

Update from Laurent Ponsot: When Laurent Ponsot left his family estate, Domaine Ponsot, in February 2017, many were shocked. He is finally revealing his plan to make wine under his own label, from both purchased grapes and his own vineyards, aiming to produce terroir-driven yet affordable wines. He will also create a visitor center in the Côte de Nuits. [NYT]

New paper on alcohol’s effects: A new paper published in the Lancet medical journal in the UK states that the risks of drinking beyond 100 grams of alcohol per week may shorten lifespan. The paper looked at data from about 600,000 current drinkers across 83 studies. However, many have already voiced criticism of the findings and the way they’ve been reported. [The Guardian, The Drinks Business]

Craft beer decelerates: More craft breweries closed in 2017 than in any previous year, though production by volume is up slightly. Small craft breweries are competing not just among similar brands in a more saturated environment but also with industrial brewers. Experts think the market isn’t yet at full saturation. [The Washington Post]

Finding middle ground: Wine fights used to be quaint, notes Jon Bonné, but the divide over natural wine is anything but. In many wine bars and conversations, there is no room for the vast middle ground; instead, it feels there is a divide between “natural” and not. If restaurants are to be inclusive, pleasing varied guests, the middle must win out. [PUNCH]

Considering Coopers Hawk: The Wine Economist takes a look at Coopers Hawk, the Illinois-based brand that includes restaurants, retail, production, and the largest direct-to-consumer winery club in the US—with nearly 300,000 members. It represents the potential for focusing on experience, employing creative marketing, and pursuing a broad customer base. [The Wine Economist]

Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week

Multi-hyphenate Daniel Johnnes: SevenFifty Daily profiles Daniel Johnnes, who founded La Paulée in 1992 and juggles organizing festivals along with working as an importer, Dinex Group wine director, and more. Known as loyal and down-to-earth, he has wide respect in the world of wine. [SevenFifty Daily]

What do you think?

Napa folks, what are your thoughts on Measure C and the surrounding controversy?

How do you factor research on wine’s health effects into your overall lifestyle choices?

Do you think craft beer has reached market saturation?

What do you think of Bonné’s reflections on natural wine? What other restaurants, wine bars, and retailers occupy this space?

What aspects of Coopers Hawk do you feel are most important for other companies to recognize and/or incorporate?

How has Daniel Johnnes been an influential figure in your career?

What else have you been reading this week?