Somms off the floor: Patrick Cappiello has joined other high-profile sommeliers leaving the floor. He has a new wine label, Monte Rio Cellars, in Sonoma and continues managing Renégat Wines, his importing and distribution company. Eric Asimov traces how a previous generation led the way in establishing the profession as well as exiting to new roles. [NYT]
DTC ruling in Michigan: A federal judge in Michigan has ruled that the state’s prohibition of direct-to-consumer wine shipping from out of state is unconstitutional. The ruling, if it stands, will allow Michigan residents to purchase wine from retailers anywhere in the US. Similar cases have been filed in Illinois and Missouri. [Wine Spectator]
JBF changes: The James Beard Foundation has announced changes to its rules and regulations, intended to make its awards more inclusive. The foundation will require that committee and judge pools expand their diversity, cease adding to its Who’s Who list, and waive some media fees. Yet as an Eater op-ed points out, journalists and food writers beyond first-time entrants must still pay, continuing to leave many out of the conversation. [NYT, Eater]
Oregon grapes rejected: California-based Copper Cane, owned by Joe Wagner, cancelled dozens of contracts with Rogue Valley vineyards just before harvest, citing smoke damage. Many growers disagree with Wagner’s assessment, noting that smoke taint levels were insignificant. [The Oregonian]
Investigation in Bordeaux: Bordeaux estates Château Angélus and Château Trotte Vieille have been placed under formal investigation for collusion. Authorities suspect they may have manipulated the most recent Saint-Émilion classification, in 2012, for their benefit. [Wine Searcher]
Drunk birds: An early frost in Minnesota led to earlier berry ripening, and local birds have been getting drunk on the fruit. This is, in fact, not uncommon, and can be destructive for bird populations. Birds that eat a lot of berries are particularly prone to such “drunkenness,” and it’s more common as birds fatten up before migration. [Washington Post]
Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week
Industry innovators: SevenFifty Daily has announced the first edition of its innovators list, a compilation of industry professionals who are shaping the industry in unique, forward-thinking ways. Along with their list is a set of articles on the efforts by each of the innovators. [SevenFifty Daily]
What do you think?
As you look ahead in your career, do you hope to remain on the floor or move into a new role? What are the career paths that compel you?
What are your thoughts on the landmark ruling in Michigan?
Do you think the changes to the JBF Awards will have the desired impacts? What else do you think might be necessary?
If you're in Oregon or Washington, what are you hearing about smoke taint this season?
Among the list of "innovators," who is doing work that excites you?
What else have you been reading this week?
A little more on the rejected Oregon grapes:
I really appreciate the article about the Rogue Valley grape growers. Not surprising to see more shady business practices from Wagner owned Copper Cane, but still heartbreaking to hear of so many growers left high and dry. If only the general public knew the opportunist greed behind their labels. Having lived through two PNW smoky summers, and knowing the wildfires will be a yearly occurrence, I support grape growers' initiatives to defend their crops and follow through with the insurance claims. Get your money! And dump Copper Cane after you do!
Wow, thank you so much for posting this article. It is 100% clear that Wagner ain't worried about smoke taint. They're trying to kill their own Elouan line because of the legality over their deceptive labels! Leaving dozens of grape growers out millions of dollars based on a non-issue is the most unethical and destructive way of handling the situation. Big kudos to the crew at Willamette Valley Vineyards, King Estate Winery and many other wonderful OR wineries, for being a solid model of goodwill, and good neighbors. Boycott Copper Cane (as if any of us had their wines on our lists anyway)!
Agreed! Definitely glad to see fellow Oregonians stepping up to help neighbors in need. One of the many reasons Oregon holds a piece of my heart is because they are known to stick together.
Cheers to Oregon!