If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 10/11/2019

Pending tariffs: Eric Asimov reports on the coming 25% tariffs on select European goods, noting the particular impact on the rare importer focused exclusively on regions where alcohol levels happen to stay low. Oddly, the 14% cutoff for table wine is an old standard; since 2018, 16% marked the end of table wine and the beginning of dessert. It’s unclear why the tariffs use the old standard. [NYT]

Power outages in CA: Exactly two years after devastating wine country wildfires, the same hot and dry weather was expected for Northern California this past week. PG&E responded by shutting off power to large swaths of the region. Many wineries are relying on generators, while other shut down tasting rooms or other operations. [Wine Spectator]

Huneeus sentenced: Agustin F. Huneeus, former CEO of Huneeus Vintners in Napa, has been sentenced to five months in prison in the wake of the college admissions scandal. His sentencing also includes a $100,000 fine, 500 hours of community service, and two years of supervised release—one of the tougher penalties in the scandal. [Decanter]

2019 vintage: Jancis Robinson surveys harvest across the Northern Hemisphere. Across most of Europe, the vintage is marked by a hot and dry summer. Spain experienced a particularly brutal series of extremes, including heat, rain, fires, and floods. Yet quality across regions looks promising. [JancisRobinson.com]

Speeding up yeast evolution: A group of researchers in Europe is speeding up the evolution of yeast in an effort to develop new or better flavors for beer and wine. As an alternative to genetic modification, the researchers are recreating the conditions for natural selection by putting yeasts under heat stress, which will lead to mutations. [Phys.org]

Evaluating bar service: Bartenders weighed in on the meaning of great bar service today. Pretentiousness and a focus on the mixologist are out, while warm hospitality is in—once again. The emphasis on technique that dominated in recent years has been joined by an increasing value of connection and empathy. [PUNCH]

Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week

The legacy of MS Fred Dame: SevenFifty Daily profiles the career and impact of Fred Dame, a Master Sommelier (and GuildSomm’s board chair) who needs no introduction in this industry. It explores not just his legacy with the CMS, career as a sommelier, and passion for mentorship but also his time in sales and distribution before that was a common MS path. [SevenFifty Daily]

What do you think?

If you work for an importer, how are you responding to the tariffs?

What else are you hearing from California wineries? How would you evaluate the impacts of the power shutoffs?

What do you think of the effort to speed up yeast evolution as an alternative to genetic modification?

What would you add to the conversation about great bar service?

What else have you been reading this week?