If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 1/24/2020

Remembering Michel Lafarge: Volnay winemaker Michel Lafarge has died at the age of 91. He was known for his humility and wisdom along with his winemaking skill. Lafarge joined his father at the family-owned domaine in the late 1940s. He was one of the first small-scale producers to bottle his wines for export. [Decanter]

Smith-Haut-Lafitte owners invest in Napa: Flora Springs Winery in Napa Valley has been sold to the owners of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Florence and Daniel Cathiard. They plan to rename it Cathiard Family Estate. The deal includes the estate and 58 vineyard acres but not the Flora Springs brand or its Napa sources. [North Bay Business Journal]

Tariff fallout: This week, the 100% tariff on French wine related to the digital tax dispute was tabled for the rest of the year. Yet the 100% tariffs on all European wine remain a threat, and the fallout from the existing 25% tariffs has been dramatic. The US Census Bureau reported that from October to November, the value of Spanish wine imports declined by nearly 17%, German by 40%, and French by 60%. [Meininger’s]

Russian River wine spill: A storage tank at Rodney Strong Vineyards spilled into the Russian River on Wednesday, risking damage to water quality as well as fish and other wildlife. Inspectors are surveying the environmental impact. Winery officials state that over half of the wine was recovered, indicating that the effects might not be as severe as initially feared. [The Press Democrat]

Anticipating Prosecco rosé: Prosecco rosé is set to arrive on the market on New Year’s Day 2021. The appellation rules, still awaiting approval, state that it will be a blend of Glera with 10 to 15% Pinot Noir (also allowed for Prosecco), all wines will be vintage-dated and labeled Prosecco DOC, and the wine will be vinified in vat for 60 days, twice that of Prosecco. [Wine Spectator]

Noisy restaurants: Restaurant critic Pete Wells makes a case for noisy restaurants, noting, “Restaurants are loud because we’re loud.” The situation is different for those with hearing loss or impairment, of course, and quiet oases have a place, too. But the restaurant is one of the few places left where technology—headphones, the replacement of phone calls by text and office conversation by Slack, etc.—hasn’t made us quieter. [NYT]

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on this new Bordeaux investment in Napa Valley?

How have you experienced the impacts of the 25% tariffs? What are you hearing from industry colleagues, and what are you observing in your market?

What do you think of Prosecco rosé? How do you think your guests might respond to the category?

What's your take on noisy restaurants—are you for or against? How does your workplace think about or manage noise levels?

What else have you been reading this week?