If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 11/1/2019

Kincade Fire update: Late this week, firefighters began making improved progress in containing the Kincade Fire, which has blazed through over 76,000 acres in Sonoma County. Many evacuated residents have returned home, and PG&E has begun restoring service. Soda Rock Winery was one of the casualties of the fire, burning to the ground on Sunday. See also the coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle. [Wine Spectator, SF Chronicle]

Sotheby private label: Sotheby’s, known for selling rare wine, has launched its own private label collection, called Own Label Collection, featuring 12 wines from classic regions. Sotheby’s produced a private label Champagne in 2012, which is one of the dozen wines. [Food & Wine]

Harvest decrease: Global wine production fell by 10% in 2019, decreasing from 294 million hectoliters in 2018 to 263 this year, says the International Organization of Vine and Wine. France and Italy saw a drop of 15%, and Spain 24%. Weather was the primary culprit, and it should be noted that last year was a bumper crop for many. [Decanter]

Douro harvest report: Winemaker Charles Symington reports on the 2019 harvest in the Douro. Finding seasonal workers—necessary in a region with 42,000 hectares of mountain vineyards—has become a significant challenge. Yields were close to average after very small harvests in 2017 and 2018, and quality is promising. [JancisRobinson.com]

New ag bill: The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan House bill, seeks to improve the H-2A program, provide earned legalization for agricultural workers, and establish a mandatory e-verify program to address enforcement. The United Farm Workers Union and many others across the agriculture sector have expressed support. [FarmProgress]

Great bar teams: As the cocktail industry has grown and staffing challenges have increased all across the hospitality sector, bars have discovered successful strategies for building dedicated teams. Their tips include hiring personality over expertise, establishing expectations for hospitality, accommodating different learning styles, and treating staff as professionals. [SevenFifty Daily]

What do you think?

Share your reports on the fires in Sonoma County.

What else have you heard about the 2019 harvest worldwide, and specifically how it compares to recent years?

What do you think of the outlined provisions of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act?

What strategies do you have for building a great team at your bar or restaurant?

What else have you been reading this week?