Ravenswood closure: The Ravenswood tasting room in Sonoma is closing after nearly 30 years. Ravenswood was among the brands bought from Constellation by Gallo, but Constellation has retained the property and tasting room; only the brand was purchased. Founder Joel Peterson doesn’t know Constellation's plans for the property. [Sonoma Index-Tribune]
Expansion at Inglenook: Inglenook will add 122 stainless steel vats to its cellars, in an effort to give each vineyard parcel its own tank for fermentation. This expansion was part of the plan that winemaker Philippe Bascaules developed when he joined the estate in 2011. [Decanter]
Wine & climate change: Eric Asimov considers how wine growers and producers are reducing their carbon footprint and adjusting processes in the face of climate change. The Porto Protocol is one organization working to push the conversation forward. For consumers, information is hard to attain, but asking questions is a first step. [NYT]
Frost in Europe: After traveling through the Languedoc, the Rhône, Burgundy, Baden, and Alsace, Jancis Robinson comments that recent frost events seems to have been underreported. She wonders if the frosts are the new normal; with milder winters, budbreak comes early, but this puts young vine growth at risk. [JancisRobinson.com]
Wine prescriptions: In ancient times and into the 1900s, “wine treatments” were prescribed for a variety of ailments. The Hôpital civil de Strasbourg, founded in 1119, was a destination for the French. Up to two bottles might be prescribed, and for some ailments, patients were to bathe in wine. The Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg still lies below the hospital. [BBC]
Satire on wine: And just for fun—The Onion takes on wine with an article profiling how “the shittier regions" of America have decided that they might as well give winemaking a try and hope for new tourists. [The Onion]
Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week
Enzymes in winemaking: Commercial enzymes were first used in fruit juice production in the 1950s, then adopted by the wine industry in the 1970s. Today, they are widely used. Enzymes can aid in extraction, enhance aromas, and block malolactic fermentation. Often, they are used to save time or space. [SevenFifty Daily]
What do you think?
What do you think should be most carefully considered in the conversation about wine and climate change?
Have you heard other reports about frost in Europe this spring?
For those with winemaking experience, what more might you add to the conversation on the basics of enological enzymes?
What else have you been reading this week?
In response to "Wine Prescription". This French news report from 1975 recommends drinking 1.5L of beer a day to fight heat waves! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzYGqsxW3qM
From the enzyme article, now I want to look into whether or now using egg whites to fine wine before malo has occurred could impede it. A natural inoculation against malo because of the lysozyme, instead of using SO2? I haven't read of it ever being done that way, but made me wonder...
Maybe Jennifer Angelosante has some insight on this...?
Hi Peter, that's a great question.
Egg white fining is not used to block malolactic fermentation because the lysozyme content of egg whites is relatively low. For fining, additions of 2-8 egg whites per barrel are typical whereas 500 egg whites per barrel would be necessary to deliver enough lysozyme to effectively inhibit lactic acid bacteria.
As a side note, egg white fining removes tannin, so typically it’s used on red wines, not white wines. Almost all red wines go through full malolactic fermentation.
Also, unlike sulfur dioxide, lysozyme does not protect wine from oxidation or other spoilage microorganisms including Brettanomyces and acetic acid bacteria. So, while you get some protection from lysozyme, it’s not a great substitution for so2.
That's a bummer regarding Ravenswood! Me and my family were just there a few weeks ago. They had a great '16 Chard and plenty of great zin (and a decent moscato too!) A family friend has a house just down the street from there. G