Remembering Ulises Valdez: Beloved Sonoma vintner Ulises Valdez has died at age 49. He came to California from Michoacán, Mexico, to work vineyards when he was 16. A natural farmer, he became a co-owner of a vineyard management company in the 1980s, buying out his partner in 2003. Along with managing about 1,000 acres under Valdez & Sons Vineyard Management, he has made wine under the Valdez Family label since 2004. [The Press Democrat]
Science on drinking: Popular Science considers how studies went from calling wine healthy to warning—sometimes with overblown language—that even moderate drinking is unhealthy. Two systemic errors were long affecting alcohol studies: comparing non-drinkers to moderate drinkers (confounding) and selection bias. [Popular Science]
Strides against fake wine: China is Bordeaux’s biggest export market, but in recent years, counterfeiting has been widespread and often blatant. Yet the situation is improving. In the past year, CIVB won two cases protecting appellations—the first criminal convictions for any collective trademark-rights violation in China—and Bordeaux wine officials were a strong presence at the spring Chengdu Wine and Food Fair. [Wine Spectator]
Fashionable grapes: Jancis Robinson discusses the ongoing trend toward local, obscure grapes and growers’ interest in regaining the viticultural heritage of their regions. She notes that her 2012 book Wine Grapes listed 1,368 varieties being commercially produced; the number would be at least 1,450 today. [JancisRobinson.com]
New Coravin considerations: The new Coravin Model Eleven costs $1,000, a staggering leap from the previous model’s price tag of $200. It’s significantly more intuitive, with electronic and automatic functions, and maintains the original design premise. Wired offers its review of the new version. [Wired]
Champagne in space: Mumm Champagne, with designer Octave de Gaulle, has released a Champagne bottle that can be used in space. The Champagne is stored in the upper portion of the bottle, and it’s released by a valve using the wine’s carbonation. It comes out as form, which becomes liquid once sipped. [Grub Street]
Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week
Prospective WA AVAs: The TTB has accepted five petitions for new AVAs in Washington State. The proposed regions will now go through an approval process that usually takes one or two years. The new AVAs would be Candy Mountain, Goose Gap, Royal Slope, The Burn of the Columbia, and White Bluffs. [SevenFifty Daily]
What do you think?
Have your guests mentioned the new studies about the risks of drinking?
What's your favorite obscure grape?
Have you used the new Coravin? If so, what did you think?
Have you explored any of the new Washington AVAs—either the regions or the wines? What did you think?
What else have you been reading this week?
Concerning the proposed Washington AVAs (excluding maybe Royal Slope, which has a previous track record), I suggest you read Greg Harrington's response to this post several years ago. It could pretty much be cut and pasted for these new ones.