Archive for the ‘Wine Industry’ Category

Wine News…

Monday, June 1st, 2009

French wine is up…or is it down?

It seems that consumption of wine in France has dropped by almost 10%.  While exports of French wine decreased by almost 10% in volume and almost 15% in value.

On the positive side, retail sales of imported ROSE wine was up OVER 40%!  A good sign for France as French rosé makes up over 25% of all rosé.

Back to some more somber news, New Vine Logistics, a CA based company that helps its customers ship wine direct to consumer, has closed its doors. While no official reason was given for the sudden closure, there is speculation that it has to do with expectations the company had and hiring the company did in anticipation of its deal to handle all shipping matters of wine for

I have previously discussed the news (rumors) that Amazon was getting into the online wine sales market.  However, amazon has yet to launch its online wine venture, and many are now wondering how the demise of New Vine Logistics will effect Amazons plans.

Of much more immediate concern is how all those who depend upon New Vine for their shipping needs will be able to deal with this unexpected blow.  I wish all those involved, especially the small family run wineries/operations the best of luck and a speedy recovery.

Happy rosé shipped to your door wine tasting!


ignition interlock device

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

So much to blog, so little time to do the actual blogging.  I guess that is why Twitter has become so damn popular of late.  I attended the Rioja grand tasting on Tuesday and tasted some wonderful TRADITIONAL style Spanish wines.  And Wednesday night, after a prolonged break, our wine group resumed our tour of Burgundy.  It was the grand finale (for now) of reds – Vosne Romanee!  Next up, Chablis.  I will do my best to blog about them sooooon….

But I’m posting tonight simply to share an interesting tidbit I was just made aware of by Megan of Wine & Spirits Daily.  Apparently, an alliance of 11 car companies are asking congress to mandate the installation of ignition interlock devices on all vehicles within 5-10 years.

In case you, like me, had no idea what an ignition interlock device was, here it is as per good old Wikipedia…

An ignition interlock device or breath alcohol ignition interlock device (IID and BIID) is a mechanism, like a breathalyzer, installed to a motor vehicle’s dashboard. Before the vehicle’s motor can be started, the driver first must exhale into the device, if the resultant breath-alcohol concentration analyzed result is greater than the programed blood alcohol concentration — usually 0.02 or 0.04 per cent, the motor will not turn over.

I’m not sure whether to applaud this as it will seemingly prevent reckless selfish drunks from entering our roadways OR freak out that big brother is coming….

Happy stay at home or get a designated driver wine tasting!


“Map-It ™ Because Place Matters”

Monday, May 18th, 2009

“Place Matters”.  This is what is telling us with their latest marketing tool.

Terroir, or the “sense of place” as it is often described, is said to be what distinguishes ordinary, or what I suppose could theoretically be laboratory wines (those manufactured anywhere, and tasting of nowhere), from extraordinary wines; those wines that truly bring you to a specific geographical location through its aromas and flavors.

The idea of terroir-driven wines makes sense to me in that these wines possess a unique quality.   They might possess that unique smell of saltwater from the parallel ocean, or they might possess a flinty aroma from the flint stones scattered throughout their vineyard.  Or, as is the case with some of the better Israeli wines, they might possess an herbaceous or even green olive quality from all the wild sage, rosemary, thyme and olive groves that grow throughout the country and often surround the vineyard itself.

Getting back to the new Map-It feature, I wonder how important it is for people to SEE (on a radar image) the location where the wine was made, or better yet (when available) where the grapes were grown.  If it opens up one’s imagination to a story and helps to paint the picture behind the wine for the wine-curious consumer then I guess it is important.

As is generally the case when it comes to my bizarre mind, this all led me to think about Israeli wine.   In this case as it pertains to Israeli wine in retail stores.   Outside of Israel I would venture to say that NYC has the greatest selection of Israeli wines in the world.  But if you are to enter a retail store seeking an Israeli wine do you know where the clerk would take you?  To the KOSHER section.  WHERE in the world is kosher???

There is a section for France.  Italy.  Spain.  US wines are generally grouped together, yet they usually are separated between states.  German wines.  Australian wines…I can go on and on.  Heck, even organic wines are USUALLY found in a section pertaining to their country of origin (though some stores ALSO have a special organic section).  So why does just about every store in the region with the 2nd largest concentration of Israeli wines group these wines together with other wines from all over the world??

What of those wines made in Israel that do not have kosher certification??

Why not create a section for Israeli wines (they should be contained within an Eastern Mediterranean section near wines from Greece, Cyprus & Lebanon) AS WELL AS a kosher section just as is done with organic wines???

Clearly I am a very biased observer here.  But the more I read about how trendy terroir is and how important a “sense of place” is when it comes to wine the more I wonder, why not for Israel????

Happy terroir driven wine tasting!


New Look & …PLASTIC wine bottles??

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

So the look of the site has once again been updated.  I hope you all like it.  The bottle background was actually designed for me by a talented designer based in Israel.  I use it for my business cards.  I use it on my Twitter page.  And I finally figured it was time to update things here.  What do you think?

Onto wine news, I read the other day that Australian wine producer Wolf Blass has begun to bottle (a portion of?) his wines in plastic bottles rather than glass bottles.

Looks ok…

Apparently the intent is to be more “green”, as the plastic (PET – polyethylene tetraphthalate) bottles are 90% lighter, and transporting them will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I like to think of myself as somewhat progressive, and I am all for screwcaps in place of corks.  At least on wines that are not intended for long term cellaring.

And I am also all about reducing greenhouse gas emmissions, saving the environment, all the good stuff.  But PLASTIC WINE BOTTLES????

I suppose I should ponder the concept for a while before I pass judgement.  I just thought the issue was worth bringing up.

Any thoughts?

Happy plastic bottle wine tasting!


Wine Sales are down – Israeli wine too

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Globes, “Israel’s Business Arena” reports that Passover wine sales are expected to drop.

It is reporting on wine sales in Israel, but I have heard that sales here (In NY at least) have been soft so far.  I have heard/seen/read reports that as much as 50% (or more) of annual kosher wine sales occurs in the weeks leading up to Passover.  And with the economic conditions as they are, it appears that wine sales are suffering.

I must confess that the Israeli wines I have been pouring for store owners has been very well received.  But the customers still need to come in and buy the bottles.

So my post today is a plea.  No matter your race, religion, color, etc (ok , age does matter, please be over 21) go out in the next two weeks to your local wine shop and buy a bottle of israeli wine to commemorate Passover (the first Seder is on April 8th).  There is some really good stuff coming out of Israel these days (my Passover recommendations are coming soon), and while it isn’t cheap, the better wines are damn good and actually pretty darned good values.

Happy Passover time Israeli wine tasting!


Who is buying what wine?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Apparently about 58% of us say that we are wine buyers, while only 39% say they never buy a bottle of wine.

This and other REALLY INTERESTING (to me that is) data can be found in a press release here, based on a nationwide Harris Interactive, Inc. poll.

Amongst the most interesting of factoids:

  • More Americans are consuming wines from Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa and less people are drinking French and Italian wines.
  • Nine out of ten American wine buyers and drinkers (90%) drink or buy wine from the United States.
  • Many people who aren’t buying wines from other countries right now are willing to consider wines from these countries.

SUCH AS……. (drumroll please)….

  • Israel – 4% buying/drinking; 24% would consider

Can you imagine if just 4% of the 24% (or about 16%) of those who say they would CONSIDER buying Israeli wine actually knew where to find israeli wines (in the darned kosher section) and DID BUY IT.   According to this poll that would DOUBLE the number of domestic wine drinkers of Israeli wines (if my math is correct).  That is staggering!!!  Any of my regular readers know that I can go on and on about Israeli wines so I’ll cut it short here and get back to the article.

Other interesting data,  from the poll, such as spending habits are as follows;

  • Just over one-quarter of American wine buyers (27%) spent less than $10 on their last bottle
  • Three in ten (30%) spent between $10 and $14
  • Just under one-quarter spent between $15 and $19 on their last bottle
  • one in five (20%) spent over $20
  • over one-third of wine buyers (37%) say they have spent $30 or more on a bottle of wine

Amongst the conclusions of the poll is one, as follows…

“Many wine drinkers, just like they were four years ago, are interested in wines from other countries, but haven’t made the leap into purchasing them yet. These wine producing countries, with a little more marketing, need to let American wine purchasers know they are out there and showcase the types of wines they offer. In these tough times, if they can make a case for being more affordable than wines from other countries, that might also help spur their sales.”



Announcement – NY Wine

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Wine Tasting Guy readers & fellow bloggers-

I’ve been working with Tony Karrer of  Tech Empower for a few months now to create NY WINE.

NY Wine is a content community that tries to collect and organize the best we have from our new york wine/food blogging community. The idea is to be a hub where Tony will pull together content from various members of our world and make it more easily accessible to people who are searching and/or who want to stay up to date, but who don’t use an RSS reader (or want someone to help filter).

As a blog reader in addition to writer I have put together a preliminary list of blogs I hope to include.  If you are a blogger and want to be included or if you are a reader of a blog you think should be included please do not hesitate to drop me a quick note.

I hope the site will officially launch within the next week or two.

Thanks for your continued support & I hope to continue to provide you with compelling wine writings!


Red Wine & Beef – A Match made in Heaven

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Ahhh…I’m sure I have mentioned it countless times but such a pairing deserves to be fawned over time & time again.  Red wine & steak!

I bring this combo up today as part of a quickie post.  I stumbled upon a cool article “Beer and red wine marinade may cut cancer risk from beef”.  The title pretty much says it all, but in a nutshell, these marinades reduce the level of heterocyclic amines (formed during the frying or grilling of fish and meat – reported to promote carcinogenesis in humans) by up to 88 per cent.

Interestingly enough, the researcher then recruited people to taste beef marinated in wine, steak or not marinated at all.  Um hellooooo….I’m here and available any time you need another “test subject”…

In other news, the tough times we are experiencing is leading people to drink – but they are drinking more early & more cheaply.  People are hitting the bars at happy hour both to imbibe after a tough day and to do it at more reasonable prices.  I mean, can you blame us???!!!  This goes along with what I have heard about people drinking as much as during better times, just with the economy where it is people are drinking more at home than they are out at bars and restaurants.

Sorry for the grim news, but hey, go grab a bottle of fabulous Israeli wine, pop it open, marinate a steak for a few hours, and while you are savoring that bloody rare steak (I hope) try to forget all your troubles…

Happy marinated steak & wine Tasting!


Wine prices dropping???

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Given the economic crisis the world is experiencing,  I have been reading/hearing about the “trading down” phenomenon within the wine world – where people are spending less on the wine they are buying.  What I have not heard is that wine prices are dropping.  While this is simple economics (as demand drops and and supply remains constant price will eventually have to drop as well) it is not something I have seen or anticipated.

Now I must admit that I am not intimately familiar with the prices and market for high end wines, it seems that the high end wine market is experiencing said price decline.

According to article “Not-so-fine Wine” fine wine is suffering from a loss of investor appetite.  In fact, some prices have fallen so steeply that they are now available at nearly half their value from a year ago.

Thought this was interesting and I wanted to share.  Now all us financially challenged people need is for wine prices to drop on sub $100 (or $30 for that matter) bottles.

Happy more affordable wine tasting!


To OAK or NOT to OAK…and wine consumption is UP!

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

As many of you know I’m doing some Israeli wine sales these days.  And in general, I have seen a trend with regards to wines and their aging in oak.  It seems in recent years (maybe even just the last year or so) that the wine “professionals” (insert snobs/purists/aficionados/etc.) are shying away from those wines made with judicious use of oak (aging wine in a high percentage of NEW oak barrels for an extended period).  Almost as if they are seeking out any hint of oak in the wine, these wine “professionals” are stating (right or wrong) that oak seems to mask the fruit elements of wine – often where the oak treatment is done to cover a lack of fruit or a flawed wine in general.

I have participated in a discussion on a wine forum regarding oak usage and just today performed what I felt turned out to be a very interesting experiment.  I took out two Cabernet Sauvignons in a similar price range – one made completely without oak (fermented and aged in stainless steel) and the other aged for 6 months in American oak barrels (not certain of % of new oak – sorry).

I have always been a firm believer that different people have different preferences and everybody is RIGHT.  What is most important is listening to your own palate and being confident enough to proclaim that your palate prefers one style to the other.

Well, the experiment proved just that.  I think I probably had about an even 50-50 split in terms of preference.  Some people preferred the fruity unoaked cab while others preferred the less fruity oaked one.  And you know who was right???….  they ALL WERE RIGHT – CAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEIR PALATES TOLD THEM!  Pretty cool huh?!

On a separate note, we are in a recession folks, and guess what… WINE CONSUMPTION IS UPPPP!!!

Here is a little excerpt from SPECIALTY FOOD NEWS:

“Wine consumption in America continues to increase, according to the U.S. Wine Market Report. While the weak global economy slowed growth considerably, projections are for another all-time high for the 16th consecutive year. The hottest segment of that growth is the 118 brands from smaller producers. They surged more than 8% last year, while the 50 biggest brands gained only 2-tenths of a percent, reported California Farm Bureau.”

Happy un/oaked Wine Tasting!