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Australian Wine Blogs

30 October 2020

Australian Wine Blogs
  • 4 fun wine cocktails for Spring
    30 October 2020

    It’s so nice that as it warms up it seems Australia is starting to open up! We have been so lucky here in Brisbane, but the other states of Australia are now opening again and we can start to catch up with friends and family. It’s so exciting because this is the best time of year, in my opinion, to be enjoying a drink with friends! And what better way to up our game with some fun cocktails? So I thought to celebrate, I would share four fun wine cocktails for Spring!

    Now I love a good glass of wine as much as the next person, but sometimes I want something super refreshing and fun. Whether you agree with putting wine in a cocktail or not, you can’t argue with the refreshing taste of a chilled cocktail. I love how refreshing wine cocktails are, and they can also be really affordable to make! They definitely make a catch up with friends next level special.

    So let’s dive into these four fun wine cocktails for Spring!

    Aperol Spritz

    via Giphy

    Aperol Spritz is my go-to wine cocktail for Spring, and you can see why. It is pretty with its bright orange colour, it’s super refreshing and absolutely delicious! The Italians have the right idea with this one. Not only is it really tasty, but it is also very simple to make. It’s perfect for enjoying as the weather heats up.

    What I’ll never understand is that you can pay so much for an Aperol Spritz when you’re out at a bar. This cocktail is actually super simple and very affordable to make! It’s really not worth spending $16-$18 out – try and make one at home instead! You’ll be blown away by how easy it is.

    So how do you make an Aperol Spritz? You’ll need:

    • Prosecco (you really don’t need to splurge on this – you can get a decent Prosecco for under $10)
    • Aperol (you’ll need half a shot to a shot, depending on how strong you want it)
    • Soda water
    • Ice cubes
    • A slice of orange

    All you have to do is fill a big glass with ice cubes, pour over the Aperol, prosecco and soda water, and garnish with a slice of orange. How much prosecco you want in the glass is entirely up to you – you can make it weak or strong! That’s what I love so much about this cocktail.

    Lemon Spritz

    It wouldn’t be a list of fun wine cocktails for Spring without one of my personal favourites: lemon spritz. I found this refreshing spritz when we were in Italy staying in the Cinque Terra. It was as popular as Aperol Spritz there and so delicious that I think it would be rude not to share.

    This cocktail is really easy to make and is basically the same as the Aperol Spritz. However, instead of Aperol, you use limoncello. Instead of an orange drink, you’ll get a bright yellow one. It’s perfect for those who prefer lemony flavours over orange, and is great for changing it up if you’ve been drinking a lot of Aperol Spritz!


    Frosé definitely had a moment a year or two ago, and you can see why. It’s the ultimate refreshing drink, offering everything you love about rosé in a frozen drink. It makes it perfect as a wine cocktail for Spring. This is the perfect accompaniment to a catch up with friends – just pull together a jug and enjoy!

    Although it seems like it might be a bit complicated, Frosé is actually quite easy to make. The wine won’t freeze completely because of the alcohol content, so what you get is sort of a delicious wine slushie. One thing to note: make sure you use a full-bodied and flavoured wine for this so that the flavours really shine through (like a Pinot Noir or Merlot). Look at the alcohol content to help you decide, and make sure you aren’t splurging on a pricey bottle!

    If you want to give Frosé a go, check out this recipe. All you need is sugar, lemon juice and strawberries along with a whole bottle of wine. Just keep in mind you’ll need to prep this cocktail about 6 hours ahead of time!


    via Giphy

    Another deliciously refreshing drink is Sangria. If you haven’t tried Sangria before (what are you doing?), it is a refreshing chilled wine cocktail from Spain. It is perfect for enjoying with friends as you can make a nice big batch of it and share it around.

    The great thing about Sangria is it is something you can change up based on what you have on hand. Depending on what fruit you have you can add whatever you want, and you can also adjust the flavours with different add-ins to the wine (such as brandy, lemonade or orange juice). You can even make red wine or white wine sangria depending on what you prefer!

    Some of my favourite recipes:

    In summary – four fun wine cocktails for Spring

    I hope these four fun wine cocktails for Spring have inspired you for the next time you want a refreshing drink. As much as I love a good glass of wine, it’s good fun making up these wine cocktails for something different. You can also get away with using very affordable wine in them as you’ll be pimping them up. This makes them quite affordable to make if you’re catching up with a few friends!

    What’s your favourite wine cocktail?

    The post 4 fun wine cocktails for Spring appeared first on The Cheeky Vino wine blog.

  • Currency Creek Wines
    30 October 2020
    A little known wine region but there are some interesting wines here
  • Currency Creek Wine Region
    30 October 2020
    Alternative varieties and wineries in this little known South Australian wine region
  • Review: Jules Taylor Chardonnay 2019
    30 October 2020

    I had an (email) chat with Jules just the other week talking about vintage, Marlborough and what’s selling. She was wonderfully honest and forthcoming with responses, which is sometimes the exception with winemakers. Give me less bullshit and more real responses world. Be more like Jules.


    The post Review: Jules Taylor Chardonnay 2019 appeared first on Australian Wine Review.

  • La Petite Mort Chardonnay 2017
    30 October 2020

    Detail and texture sum up La Petite Mort wines best. Wonderfully well considered wines they are. This Chardonnay is a treasure.

    The fruit was sourced from just over the Queensland border from the New England region. Barrel fermented with judicious use of oak, this is a clever Chardonnay hands down. The aim was to emulate those Chardonnays of southern Burgundy - tick that box and then some.

    A stunning and captivating weight the highlight. With a dancy presence, it waltzes through the mouth with graceful ease. Licks of lemons, barbecued nectarine, vanilla cream and almonds all mingle beautifully with one another. Delicate roasted cashews to close with a captivating and well handled acidity. Oh my, this is something.

    Drink to six years+


    Region: New England
    RRP: $35
    Source: Cellar Door

    Winery Website

    Subscribe to Qwine here

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  • La Petite Mort Marsanne 2017
    30 October 2020

    Marsanne has always been a well crafted by winemaker Glen Robert. This release is no different.

    Made from Granite Belt fruit, it is barrel fermented which imparts lovely characteristics. Scents of honeyed tones, honey suckle and mock orange lead to a generous and lip smacking mouthfeel. Lovely textural feels scream for food. Lashings of lemon butter with a fine rub of almond meal for good measure. Wonderful width the hallmark with a long and satisfying finish. Great stuff.

    Drink to five years.


    Region: Granite Belt
    RRP: $35
    Source: Cellar Door

    Winery Website

    Subscribe to Qwine here

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  • Review: Levantine Hill Chardonnay 2017
    29 October 2020

    Always sexy oak on these Levantine wines. Another fine release is this Levantine Hill Chardonnay 2017 is too, lightly mealy with lemon butter, a coiffed palate of perfectly even fruit and some late nougat richness to compete with the acidity. Maybe a fraction too linear to be truly inspiring, but masterfully made and entirely delicious.


    The post Review: Levantine Hill Chardonnay 2017 appeared first on Australian Wine Review.

  • Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay
    29 October 2020
    Wine details
    • Wine: Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay
    • Variety: Chardonnay
    • Price: $80
    • Find it:Online
    • Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria
    • Body: Medium
    • Acidity: Medium
    • Taste: Balanced, rich, creamy, crisp
    • Flavours: Nectarine, vanilla, citrus, toasted hazelnut
    Food pairing
    • Creamy pasta dishes
    • Salmon
    • Shellfish
    • Risotto

    The Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay is truly a special experience, and a wine I’m going to remember drinking and enjoying for a long time. Perfect for a special occasion, this wine is rich, opulent and fresh all in one. 

    This weekend I enjoyed something seriously special. It was a wine that stopped my partner and me in our tracks because it was so good. It takes a lot to stop us from sipping, but we couldn’t stop talking about how good it was as we enjoyed a glass before dinner. So I thought it was definitely one I should share with you all.

    I tend to post about wines that are great everyday drinking wines because this is what most of us drink. As much as I’d love to be drinking expensive wine all day every day, it’s just not in my budget sadly. But sometimes a wine comes along that is a little more expensive but well worth the extra cost. The Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay is one of these wines that is so delicious I can understand the higher price point. It’s also was one of the wines to win the Decanter World Wine Award for ‘Best in Show’ 2020 – so you know you are in for a treat with this one!

    About Soumah of the Yarra Valley

    Soumah of the Yarra Valley is a winery we visited late last year on our trip to the Yarra Valley. If you get a chance to visit them now that Melbourne is opening up (big yay!), definitely add them to your list. Their cellar door is beautiful, has a great restaurant, and their range of wines has something for everyone and every price point.

    Soumah of the Yarra Valley has a great range of varieties they offer. They have the classics – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Viognier, but also focus on styles from Northern Italy such as Barbera, Brachetto, Nebbiolo and Pinot Grigio. This is what I love about their wines – you can try something you wouldn’t normally find in the Yarra Valley as commonly.

    Soumah of the Yarra Valley focuses on producing single-vineyard wines with quality over quantity as a core value. Their wines are elegant and made with a passion that truly shines through the end result.

    Why I loved the Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay

    The Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay is from the Soumah Equilibrio range which promotes the very best barrels, clonal mixes and new oak integration of each vintage. These wines are all about harmony and balance. This is why you know you are in for a treat with these wines, and this Chardonnay is no different!

    This wine seriously over delivered on the idea of the Equilibrio range and was a wine that I will remember drinking for a long time. It is rich and elegant but balanced. If you’ve been following on, my partner loves an oaked Chardonnay. I prefer mine oaked but balanced with acidity and freshness, and this wine was right up my alley. But it was so good it even won my partner over!

    Flavour-wise, you will get the creaminess from the new oak used in the Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay. The wine is rich and opulent, full of flavour and elegant all at once. Flavours I found were vanilla and toasted hazelnut, as well as some citrus and nectarine. The wine was creamy in the mouth but balanced out by a nice hit of acidity at the end to give it overall freshness. Each sip gave more and more flavour and complexity so it was truly an amazing wine drinking experience!

    What to enjoy it with

    The Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay is definitely a wine for a special occasion. I mean if you want to enjoy it on a weeknight you’ll still have a good time, but it is the sort of wine I recommend holding on to for something special. It would also make a great gift for the Chardonnay lover in your life! You could also cellar this for a few years to continue developing the flavours.

    If you are looking at pairing this with food, you can pair it with those classic Chardonnay dishes. Think rich and creamy pasta or risotto. Otherwise, fish or shellfish with a butter sauce would be a great pairing. Personally, we didn’t end up having this with dinner and instead enjoyed it with some rich cheese and that was delicious too!

    Summary of the Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay

    The Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay is truly a special experience, and a wine I’m going to remember drinking and enjoying for a long time. It was rich, creamy and full of flavour, but so perfectly balanced. Each sip offered something different and this wine was definitely one I didn’t want to finish off! Although it isn’t the cheapest wine on the market, it is a great wine to elevate your next special occasion.

    Find this wine and the rest of the Soumah range at their website.

    Note: I was sent this wine as a sample. I was under no obligation to post about it.

    The post Soumah 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay appeared first on The Cheeky Vino wine blog.

  • Review: Castle Rock Riesling 2019
    29 October 2020

    Porongurup is a beautiful place to grow grapes. The whole area feels special, with an x-factor aura that feels still untapped – and the Diletti’s at Castle Rock are right up at the pointy end.


    The post Review: Castle Rock Riesling 2019 appeared first on Australian Wine Review.

  • Willow Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019
    28 October 2020

    Superb Pinot. Dancy and pretty - just magic.

    On the lighter side of medium bodied, delicate red fruits cruise through the mouth. Precisely placed spice just purrs and tickles the palate. Big love for the star anise pleasure factor which flanks mandarin peel and tangelo. Strawberry and red cherry fruit continues to pull at the heart strings before super fine tannins waltz with those deft spices hanging much longer than expected. Superb Pinot Noir.

    Drink to eight years+


    Region: Mornington Peninsula
    RRP: $45
    Source: Sample

    Winery Website

    Subscribe to Qwine here

    Follow me: Twitter and Instagram 

Wine Investment Blogs

30 October 2020

Wine Investment Blogs
  • Halloween Horrors 2020: A Rampant killer virus & US Election give markets the jitters
    30 October 2020

    This week has seen more significant falls in global financial markets as Covid cases surge across continents and the UK recorded equivalent ‘Death numbers’ to May 2020 on the 27th October. These are scary times.

    Major US indices fell over 3.4% in one day, the FTSE100 hit a six-month low, and has now lost around 25% of its overall value in 2020 to date. Germany’s DAX dropped 4.2% in the week and France’s CAC index declined over 3.4% in a single day too. Angela Merkel has opted for a ‘soft lockdown’ in Germany and France’s Macron has instigated a hard impact nationwide lockdown and is now dealing with a series of terrorist-related macabre killings – it certainly feels like a ghastly Halloween – without the treats!

    Brexit, a skeleton in the cupboard, is not getting any headlines at the minute despite a Halloween deadline to get a deal done, but that could be giving us the heebie-jeebies soon. Glaringly, the ghoul in the shadows is the outcome of next week’s US elections and what impact that may have. Whilst polls suggest the Democrats look like winning, the 2016 indictors had Hillary in the White House – nothing’s predictable at the minute!!

    Well, apart from fine wine, as is it continues to maintain a stable growth performance when all around it feels like anything but. Our recent blog reported on Warren Buffet’s endorsement of fine wine as a profitable haven for capital in uncertain times and compared fine wine’s positive growth this year compared to financial markets – specifically the Liv-ex 100’s 2.6% growth to FTSE 100’s -21.6% loss to the end of September in 2020 and which wines have delivered double digit growth and are key opportunities to add value to a portfolio.

    The world of wine follows its annual path despite the pandemic, huge human loss and volatile markets wiping billions from share portfolios and pension schemes. The seasons came and went, the sun shone, rain fell, grapes grew on the vines and now the 2020 harvest has pretty much reached its conclusion. Harvesters had to abide to novel Covid requirements to keep them safe and new teams were trained as old hands could not be there. This vintage will be unforgettable for many reasons and early whispers from our friends in St Emilion “we are very happy with the 2020 vintage that promises to be great!” So no Halloween Horrors there!

    For more information about protecting your wealth from volatile markets with fine contact a member of our investment team today on +44 (0) 203 384 2262 or click here download our wine investment guide.

    The post Halloween Horrors 2020: A Rampant killer virus & US Election give markets the jitters appeared first on Vin-X.

  • Seven of the world’s biggest wine disasters
    29 October 2020
  • The underappreciated elegance of Lafite Rothschild
    27 October 2020
  • Wine 2020: A Guide for the Overwhelmed
    27 October 2020

    I’ve been thinking about what the global wine industry will look like when 2020 finally draws to a close and I’m feeling overwhelmed. So many challenges. So much to digest. Maybe you feel overwhelmed, too?

    I did an internet search for “Tips for the Overwhelmed” and, well, it only made things worse. So many tips for so many problems. One website had 44 ideas for what do to when you are feeling overwhelmed. Too much!

    Here’s what has provoked these thoughts. Rabobank’s Stephen Rannekleiv and I will be having a conversation about the state of the wine business on November 4 in the first of a series of webinars on challenges and opportunities for wine. The webinars are meant to develop ideas that will be discussed at WineFuture 2021, an important global wine industry virtual conference set for February 23-25, 2021. (Use the links to learn more about the developing webinar schedule and the upcoming conference.)

    Pre-Existing Conditions

    My go-to coping mechanism has always been to break down problems into component parts, which can be somewhat easier to deal with, and then try to put them back together again. This is the break-down column where I’ll look at the challenges the wine industry faces. Next week’s Wine Economist will try to put things back together. As always, use the comments section below to suggest things I’ve left out or got wrong.

    As we entered 2020, global wine confronted a number of serious challenges including …


    Stagnant Long-Term Wine Demand.  As I noted in 2019 (in a column titled Global Wine’s Lost Decade) the relatively strong growth in global wine demand of earlier years peaked in around 2007-8 and has been relatively stagnant since then. (See OIV data above.) There are a varieties of demographic and economic theories for this condition, but the important fact is that no important wine region (with the possible exception of New Zealand) can be confident today that rising demand will smoothly absorb increased production.

    In a way, the positive-sum game of the past has been replaced by a zero-sum situation depending on how the market is defined. That’s a big change.

    The American wine industry entered 2020 will a lot of wine in the tanks and stagnant overall wine demand. Although wine sales revenues were increasing modestly due to premiumization, the volume of sales, especially at lower price points, has falling. Younger generations of consumers were not picking up the slack as baby boomers reduced consumption.  Hard seltzers and similar products accounted for most of the growth in beverage alcohol sales.

    Climate Change Challenges. The supply side of the global wine industry is increasingly affected by climate change, both the global warming that we normally think of when “climate change” is mentioned and also the increased instability of weather that accompanies it. The 2017 global wine grape harvest was the lowest in a generation due to unfavorable weather conditions in key regions, for example. The 2018 harvest, however, was abundant.  Meanwhile global temperature records continue to be set year after year.

    The bottom line is a boom-bust pattern due to climate change within a general environment of excess supply and rapidly evolving growing conditions.

    2020 Perfect Storm

    The events of 2020 (so far) have added additional challenges and headwinds. Chief among the events are …

    The Coronavirus Pandemic  and Channel Shifts. The public health impact of the coronavirus pandemic is the most important thing, of course, but the closures and lockdowns designed to reduce contagion disrupted wine sales channels dramatically, too. There was a major shift in where people were located, with work-from-home replacing on-site work for many. Home was also the default location for those who lost jobs due to closures, suffered reduced employment hours, or simply needed to be at home to tend to family members including children engaged in remote learning.

    Eating and drinking are now more home-based, too. Bars and restaurants were ordered to close of, if allowed to remain open, experienced vastly lower customer counts.  These factors resulted in a dramatic channel shift for wine sales, with on-premise replaced by booming off-premise sales. Overall wine consumption decreased little if at all, depending on locality, but the composition of demand changed, especially favoring high volume brands. Wineries that depended disproportionately on cellar door and on-premise sales were forced to pivot quickly to direct-to-consumer sales and other channels.

    The Recession and Economic Policies.  Fear of contagion plus the policies necessary to safeguard public health created a global recession. Heroic economic stimulus in many regions lessened the short term impact of the initial economic crisis, but it is unclear that stimulus can be sustained as the health crisis continues.

    There has been much discussion of the “shape” of the recession, with optimists anticipating a short V-shaped downturn and pessimists fearing a long Japanese-style L shape. At this point the two shapes that seem most relevant are W — initial decline and recovery followed by a second wave decline — and K — quick recovery in some sectors such as finance but continued decline in others, increasing economic inequality.

    Needless to say, wine demand is conditioned by who has lost or gained income, how much, and how they see the future.

    Wild Cards

    Every important wine region has wild cards that make the situation more complex. Chile faces social unrest, for example, and Argentina must deal with financial risks as it walks the tightrope between international debt default and domestic financial crisis. Australia has entered its first recession in a generation and finds relations with China, a key market, under unwelcome pressure.

    Europe and the UK seem locked in a Brexit death spiral, with wine caught in the middle. Wine is also in the crossfire in the EU-US trade war tit-for-tat, with US tariffs in retaliation for Airbus subsidies now followed by EU tariffs in retaliation for Boeing subsidies.

    Wild cards abound in the US starting with wildfires in wine country and ending with the election, which has drawn every topic into the culture wars. What a mess! The wildfires, which seem to grow more destructive every  year in terms of direct impacts on vineyards and cellars, smoke taint issues for grapes and wine, and impact on wine tourism operations.

    Winegrowers in the US are also anxious to know how the Constellation-Gallo deal, which should close in November, will work out. The deal is finishing in a wine market environment that looks very different from the one when it was first struck.

    Add all these factors together and, well, it is no wonder that  you feel overwhelmed.  Pretty much no matter where you are in the world of wine or what position you have in the supply chain, you confront change and challenges on multiple fronts.  Tune in next week when I will begin a short series of columns that try to sort out what the future might hold.

  • Warning scam cloned site: Fidelity International
    23 October 2020
    Scam Alert


    Yesterday I received the email below from someone (JR) who had been emailed by 'Linda Parker' (almost certainly not her real name), an 'administrator' in the supposed 'Financial Investigations Unit, FILS Administration & Investigations' of 'Fidelity International'.

    'May or may not interest you

    This is an email I received - I called them and they say they are the financial investigation arm of Fidelity International investigating losses by their clients into fraudulent wine transactions. I do hold wine and they were able to cite details of some transactions I did contemplate 8 or 9 years ago. I was fairly guarded with them but they did come across as slightly unprofessional and potentially fraudulent. They did enquire about how I might intend to sell my holdings which raised alarm bells. When I look at the domain name they are using, it is newly registered (7 October) through Wix which doesn’t seem something a multinational like Fidelity would do.

    I suspect these guys have got hold of some data relating to genuine wine investors/portfolios and are now contacting those investors with scare stories and then are offering to market/buy their wine.  There is a chance I am wrong and this is genuine but seems unlikely to me.

    Good website by the way.


    Email from Linda Parker: 

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Linda Parkinson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
    Date: 21 October 2020 at **:**:04 BST

                                           PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
                            Do not circulate information contained in this email.
                       This email contains information Solely for the named persons and no other.


    Ref:  CW-341-POL

    We are currently upholding a financial investigation of a highly sensitive nature, we are not investigating yourself but we hold information that we would like to discuss with you at your earliest convenience.

    Due to the nature of our enquiries we do apologize for being quite limited in this email.

    Yours Sincerely

    Linda Parker.


    Phone: +44 203 740 4635
    Financial Investigations Unit.
    FILS Administration & Investigations


    JR was right to be suspicious. Linda Parker and the Financial Investigations Unit,
    FILS Administration & Investigations is a scam – pretending to be part of Fidelity International. Checking on the phone number given by Linda Parker using the Who called me site shows that the number is rated as 'dangerous'. 

    I suspect that this scam is a combination of advanced fee fraud and making JR's wine disappear through a putative wine deal that would rapidly go sour once any wine had been transferred to the fraudsters. 

    As JR found out their website was only registered on 7th October 2020:  


     Following JR notifying WIX, the web hosting company, the site has disappeared: 



    Fidelity appears to have been a target of scamsters for a while – not just wine but also cash ISAs offering an attractive rate of return. See warning from FCA in 2019:


    Warning by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) on 23rd July 2019.

      Details of clone site 23.7.2019:

    Back in July 2019 the scam contact was an 'Edward Harley'. 

    Details of the real Fidelity Group (authorised by the FCA):  


    Tips from Fidelity on avoiding scams. Their telephone numbers are: 017323-61144 or 0333-3003350.   




  • Fine wine news roundup: 17-23 October
    23 October 2020
  • Warren Buffet endorses fine wine as a Profitable Safe Haven
    22 October 2020

    FORBES MAGAZINE, October 2020: “If you had invested $100 in the fine wine market in 1952, your investment would now be worth $420,000. On the other hand, $100 invested in the stock market would now be worth a modest $100,000. Recent research shows that, thanks to this impressive track record, the majority of financial advisors would support investing in fine wine as a way to diversify certain client portfolios.”

    Vin-X View:

    It’s not new news that fine wine has a demonstrable track record of delivering long-term stable growth and protecting capital during periods of economic stress and recession. 2020 has illustrated this asset performance with absolute clarity during a global pandemic. And it’s not just those that work in the industry that see the value of diversifying an investment portfolio with fine wine, two key investor publications have commented this week, with Forbes observing:

    “…many of the biggest names in investment are turning to a little-known alternative investment with huge potential. Endorsed even by Warren Buffett himself, wine offers a safe yet profitable haven for your capital, with very low correlation to the stock market.” Forbes Magazine, 20 October 2020.

    Collecting fine wine can be highly rewarding, tax efficient and can diversify, de-risk and strengthen overall portfolio performance delivering strong long-term growth that is proven to outperform other assets, and notably protect your hard-earned cash in troubled times.

    Fine wine v FTSE100 to five years during Covid:
    Index YTD % 1 year % 5 years %
    Liv-ex fine wine 100 2.6% -0.3 28.5
    Liv-ex fine wine 500 2.5% 0.3 31.6
    Liv-ex fine wine 1000 1.0 -2.6 42.3
    FTSE 100 -21.6 -20.2 -2.5

    Source: 30th September 2020

    Knight Frank Wealth Report 2020 update in October 2020 observes:

    “We’re seeing a broadening of interest in the fine wine secondary market which is lending support to prices’ …. ‘We believe this is more about the broadening global interest in collectible wines and the beginnings of more efficient secondary market sales channels, that make it easier to reach a wider audience of buyers.” Knight Frank Wealth Report 2020 Update – October 2020.

    Independent investment professionals and publications echo our own observations that an increasing number of investors are seeking the solidity of fine wines’ steadfast returns and low risk against the backdrop of unprecedented economic uncertainty, extreme volatility in financial markets and the UK’s worst recession on record. Recognition of fine wine as an investable asset benefiting from improved transparency and liquidity in the market, coupled with an advantageous tax treatment on profits, is attracting global investors. In our recent blog on fine wine performance we looked at key issues:

    Investors are weighing up:
    • Equities have had a rollercoaster year and will continue to be vulnerable to market volatility
    • Saving vehicles could deliver negative returns as the low interest rates environment combined with a likely increasing inflation eats away at value.
    • Commencement of more stringent, localised lockdown measures across the UK – uncertain economic impact and for how long?
    • Brexit negotiations going to the wire
    Diversify to de-risk, protect capital and achieve growth
    • Fine wine remains stable during unprecedented economic distress and financial market volatility
    • Tangible asset with inherent value
    • Current Liv-ex 100 trend – stable 2.6% growth YTD
    • Individual fine wines delivering double digit growth
    • EXAMPLE: Sassicaia 2007 delivered 18.1% growth in September 2020
    • Historic long-term growth (plus five years) consistently outperforms FTSE and other assets

    Investors should take advice from their financial advisors and look at the value of diversifying funds across assets such as fine wine that can strengthen and de-risk a portfolio in the current environment.

    If Warren Buffet is a happy wine investor, it is certainly worth understanding how you can benefit – contact us now on 0203 384 2262 for more information and download our Guide to Investing in Fine Wine.

    The post Warren Buffet endorses fine wine as a Profitable Safe Haven appeared first on Vin-X.

  • How is low and no-alcohol wine made?
    22 October 2020
  • Save the Dates: Wine2Wine 2020, WineFuture 2021, Unified Symposium 2021
    22 October 2020

    The Wine Economist’s World Tour will be back on the (virtual) road in the next few months. Here are preliminary details about upcoming events that might be of interest to readers of this newsletter.

    Wine2Wine 2020

    The 7th edition of Wine2Wine, Focus 2020, will take place November 23-24, 2020. Usually held in beautiful Verona, this year’s program will be virtual. The wine business in the post-COVID-19 era is the over-arching theme.

    Focus 2020 features a quite fantastic group of speakers and topics. The program is wide-ranging and of course economic topics are accorded due attention. I will be talking about the problem of unstable exchange rates in the new normal economic environment, for example, and another session will analyze the prospects of peace in the US-EU trade war, where wine is caught in the crossfire.

    WineFuture 2021

    WineFuture 2021 is an ambitious event designed to help wine industry actors make sense of the perfect storm caused by simultaneous economic recession, COVID-19 pandemic, and global climate crisis. The event is scheduled for February 23-25, 2021.  I’ll be speaking about economic challenges and opportunities. The list of speakers is a who’s who of the wine world, so I’m flattered to be invited to participate.

    Although the official event is a few months away, the important issues that need to be discussed won’t wait, so WineFuture is organizing a pre-conference series of free weekly webinars on key topics. Rabobank’s Stephen Rannekleiv and I will analyze some of the key economic issues in the first webinar on November 4, 2020.

    Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

    The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium is North America’s largest wine industry gathering. Both the conference and trade show, scheduled for January 26-29, will be on-line in 2021. The program, still in development, will be released in a few weeks and I get the impression that it will be even more ambitious than in previous years if that’s possible.

    I will once again be moderating the State of the Industry session and making brief comments about the global wine economy. I wish we could all meet up in person in Sacramento, but that’s not really an option this year. So I look forward to seeing everyone on-line.


    Use the links above to learn more about these events and check back frequently to get updated information.

  • Book Review: Getting to Know Saké
    20 October 2020

    Brian Ashcroft (with tasting notes by Takashi Eguchi), The Japanese Saké Bible (Tuttle Publishing, 2020).

    Saké has always been a mystery to me. I have only been served it a couple of times and never with much in the way of introduction. Lacking background and appreciation, I have generally defaulted to beer on occasions when Saké might have been the more interesting choice.

    Getting to Know You

    I never got over the first hurdle. The upscale supermarket down the street (the one that I wrote about in Wine Wars) displays Saké over in the corner next to the Port, Sherry, Madeira, and Vermouth. This is not necessarily a poor organization, since Sakés are generally fortified, but there is a certain ghetto effect, too.

    I was surprised when I looked closely at the Saké wall and discovered more than two dozen choices, including two craft Saké selections by Momokawa in Oregon. Lots of choices –big bottles and very small ones at all sorts of price points. And while some of the terms on the bottles were familiar enough, the language barrier was impossible to ignore.

    Clearly a resource like The Saké Bible is needed to open the door to understanding and appreciation. The book, colorfully illustrated and written in a casual, engaging way, provides a good introduction for newbies like me without ignoring the interests of  more experienced Saké drinkers.

    Getting to Know All About You

    We begin at the beginning. What is Saké? It isn’t beer even though it is brewed and it isn’t rice wine as is sometimes said. Saké is Saké. It is made with five ingredients, according to Ashcroft, but in ten thousand ways. The ingredients are rice, water, koji, yeast, and soil (so terroir is part of the story for some Saké). Koji is a fungus that breaks down the rice’s starch into sugar during the brewing process.  Each ingredient has many variables and options, adding to the product’s complexity.

    I found something interesting on every page of this book. Some of my favorite parts are the chapters that trace the evolution of the Saké industry from  temple to small breweries to producers with global reach. Craft Saké is a thing now, as you might guess, and so both tradition and innovation are flourishing in Japan and around the world (Saké is brewed in Brooklyn these days — of course!).

    I was also fascinated by the chapter on tasting Saké and pairing it with food as well as the detailed tasting notes for 100 top drawer products. The tasting notes encouraged me to think in terms of wine, which I found comforting. But there were some complications because Saké can be enjoyed at many different temperatures — and getting the chill right can be important.

    One of my favorite tasting notes explained that a particular Saké  displayed a brightness when chilled, but evolved with syrupy apricot sweetness at warm room temperature. Served piping hot it had a mellow silkiness like milk chocolate. But in between room temp and hot was a no fly zone — “rather unpleasant” according to the notes. Interesting.

    Getting to Know What to Say

    The Saké Bible tells you everything you need to know about Saké in theory, but where do you begin in practice? From a practical standpoint, which of the many Sakés on the shelf is best for a newbie consumer? The cheapest? The most expensive? The one with the prettiest bottle or label? (Some of them are very attractive).

    I wrote to author Brian Ashcroft for advice and he told me to begin at the beginning, just as most of us did with wine when we were starting out.

    The drink itself is incredibly approachable and unintimidating. To be honest, start there. Try sake. Drink it. Don’t get bogged down. Find what you like. If you enjoy a specific type or brand, make a note and remember it for next time. But as with wine, always be willing to try more. For any food or drink, your senses are your best guide, and the more experience you have with the drink, the more you’ll appreciate the various brands and styles. The good thing is that there is lots of breathing room in how you enjoy the drink because one of the best things about sake is just how flexible it is–you can drink brews at a variety of temperatures, in different style cups and glasses, and with a range of food. Experiment. Explore. Have fun.

    Have fun! That sounds like good advice. So, armed with The Saké Bible, I returned to my upscale supermarket in search of a particular style of Saké called Ginjo. Ginjo is made with highly polished rice, giving it a more delicate and refined flavor. It is good both at room temperature and chilled. Expect fruity or floral flavors.

    Getting to Like You

    The clerk at my store told me they sold quite a lot of Saké. My choice was a 300 ml bottle of Shirayuki Junmai Ginjyo Saké made by Konishi Brewing Co. in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, which is a historic center of Saké production. Ginjyo is the style, Junmai means that it is made with rice only in the classic tradition.

    Served chilled, the nose was full of melon aromas, with melon and cream on the palate. Creamy texture. I could sense the warmth of alcohol, but no harshness. Surprising and much different from my vague memories of previous Saké experiences.

    I don’t know how far I’ll go in my exploration of Saké.  I feel like I have only scratched the surface of wine and that wine not Saké is likely to be my focus for years to come. But, for me, trying to get up to speed with Saké is important because I think it might help me understand something about the barriers that wine consumers face when they start out.

    Things I’m Learning About You

    Think back to your first experience with wine. Unless you had a patient guide you probably stumbled over hurdles of various sorts and sizes, including vast number of choices, wide range or price points, foreign terminology, government health warnings, and the occasional need for specialized equipment just to open the bottle.

    Everyone is a newbie at some point and maybe the wine industry needs to give a bit more attention to lowering hurdles for the next consumer generation. Jamie Goode recently pointed out that, for most people, the first taste of wine wasn’t a thrilling experience. How can we give newbie consumers the confidence they need to take a second sip?

    Two Buck Chuck worked a miracle drawing a generation of cautious consumers into wine. Now I wonder if they might go for hard seltzer instead, which is far from a gateway to wine.

    Have fun! Are there other things we can learn from the success of Saké and its growing global following? Food (or maybe drink) for thought!


    Getting to know you? Here are the singing Lennon Sisters, just in case you didn’t catch all the musical references above. Enjoy!

Wine Blogs

30 October 2020

Wine Blogs
    30 October 2020
    Rigatoni with Pork Rib Sugo

    The baby back ribs that most people throw on the barbecue make a succulent, rustic pasta sauce. You’ll need a friendly butcher to saw across the ribs for you, but the rest of the method is easy. The sauce (sugo in Italian) reheats well so you can make it a day ahead. Set your formal manners aside here. The best way to enjoy this dish is to nibble the meat off the riblets between bites of pasta. Cutting the meat off would spoil the fun! Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

    Serves 6


    • 2 pounds baby back ribs, in 1 slab
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
    • 1 yellow onion, minced (about 2 cups) 
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced 
    • 1 can (28-oz/800 g) tomatoes, pureed in a blender 
    • ¾ teaspoon ground fennel or finely crumbled dried oregano 
    • 2 sprigs fresh basil 
    • Pinch baking soda, optional 
    • 1 pound (450 g) rigatoni or penne  
    • ½ cup (35 g) freshly grated pecorino romano or Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for topping


    Ask the butcher to saw the slab of ribs lengthwise into 1-inch wide (25-mm) strips. With a chef’s knife, cut between the ribs to make individual riblets. Season all over with salt and pepper. 

    In a large, heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pot, brown the riblets all over, adjusting the heat to prevent burning. Transfer the riblets to a plate as they are browned. 

    Pour off and discard any fat in the bottom of the pot. Return the pot to medium-low heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion is soft and golden brown and the meaty residue on the bottom of the pot has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute to release its fragrance.  

    Add the tomato puree, fennel, and basil and bring to a simmer. Return the riblets to the pot along with any juices on the plate. Cover partially and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the riblets are tender and the sauce is thick and tasty, about 1-1/2 hours, adding a splash of water occasionally if the sauce gets too thick. Season with salt and more fennel or oregano if desired. Remove the basil sprigs. If the sauce tastes tart, add a pinch of baking soda and cook for 1 minute. The baking soda will neutralize the acidity and make the sauce taste more mellow. Keep the sauce warm over low heat while you cook the pasta. 

    Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the hot pasta water, then drain the pasta in a sieve. Return the pasta to the hot pot over medium-low heat. Add the sauce and stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove from the heat, add the cheese, and stir to combine, adding reserved pasta water if needed to moisten. Divide among 6 bowls, top each portion with another sprinkle of cheese, then serve.

    Suggested pairings:

    Baily Winery ~ 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon –  This Cabernet offers warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint. 

    Briar Rose Winery ~ 2013 Estate Zinfandel –  A smooth, medium-bodied wine with red fruit characters of blackberry, boysenberry, and black cherry

    Doffo Winery ~ 2017 Zinfandel – This Zinfandel is sure to delight the senses with aromas of plum, raspberry, figs, and cherries. 

    Monte de Oro Winery ~ 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – Offers youthful and pronounced aromas of ripe to jammy red fruits along with vanilla, cocoa powder, baking spices, red bellpepper, dark flowers, and hints of stone and earth.

    The post RIGATONI WITH PORK RIB SUGO first appeared on Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association.

  • What’s Better Than Delicious Wine? Delicious Wine With A Side Of Adorable Wine Country Pets!
    30 October 2020

    Meet Some of Temecula Valley’s Favorite Furry (and Feathery!) Friends

    Let’s face it. We could all use a bit of levity right now. Since everyone loves animals, we decided to shine the spotlight on some of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country’s real celebrities – the furry friends that capture the hearts of our guests with their wet noses, wagging tails, and big hearts. Here are a few of our favorites:

    Wilson Creek Goldens

    Wilson Creek Winery

    Visitors to Wilson Creek Winery may have met the many resident Golden Retrievers, including ten-year-old Tipsy, who loves to chase stray cats and hunt for other winery creatures. While Tipsy considers herself brave, she still heads to the closet to hide behind clothes if the smoke alarm goes off. We don’t blame her – those things are loud! Tipsy grew up around the winery and absolutely loves people. She often comes down to the winery to visit with staff, many of whom she knows have hidden treats. Smart girl.


    Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery

    There are lots of animals to visit over at Palumbo at any given time, from chickens to pigs to dogs. However, the most notorious of the bunch is probably their seven-year-old Australian Red Heeler-Pit Bull mix rescue, Reddog. Anyone who follows the Palumbos on social media will no doubt have seen a picture of Reddog in his favorite state: chasing rabbits. He jumps the fence and catches at least one rabbit a day. Lucky tasters on the patio are occasionally gifted with one of Reddog’s bunny conquests, and the tasting room has, on occasion, been evacuated on account of the gas Reddog gets from eating too many rabbits. When Reddog isn’t chasing poor bunnies, he’s either sleeping or thinking about harvest, his favorite time of year. In fact, every year when harvest is over, he goes into a bit of a depression. Who can blame him? It’s the most exciting time of the year in Wine Country!

    Little Richard

    Let’s not forget about Palumbo’s star rooster, Little Richard. This one-year-old spitfire loves to cock-a-doodle-doo all day long, while walking the winery fence and hitting up the tasting patio to visit with guests. When we asked if he had any weird habits, owner Cindy Palumbo told us, “He is a rooster, so everything he does is pretty weird.” We’ll drink to that.


    Baily Winery

    Fans of Baily Winery will likely have met their resident rodent control officer, Bordeaux. This eight-year-old Tiger Cat loves people, greeting visitors and looking for attention from everyone who comes into the winery. Bordeaux is such a famous fixture at Baily that he was
    featured on the label of their 2017 Sangiovese.


    Peltzer Family Cellars

    If you haven’t yet played a game of soccer, wine glass in hand, with Peltzer’s black and white Border Collie, Duke, you are missing out. This five-year-old pup loves to challenge guests to a match in front of the Crush House. In fact, he is such a natural at footie, that instead of retrieving balls with his mouth during a game of fetch, he rolls them back with his nose, Pelé-style. Duke sits outside of the Crush House all day greeting and visiting with guests, just waiting for someone to challenge him to a Wine Country World Cup.

    Buddy & Bandit

    Oak Mountain Winery

    Brothers Buddy and Bandit are the inseparable sibling duo over at Oak Mountain. These ten-year-old Queensland Heelers also love to chase rabbits (no word on any tummy troubles though) and sniff the grapes to see if they are ripe, no doubt a useful skill at a winery. While they make great watch dogs, they’re not so great with other animals. That doesn’t stop them from hanging out over at the Oak Mountain production facility, keeping everyone company and playing in the water when the team is washing out tanks.


    Akash Winery

    Visitors to Akash love their one-and-a-half-year-old Goldendoodle, Brodi. This big, happy fluffball loves to chase the lizards that sunbathe on warm Southern California days, and is guilty of occasionally breaking guests’ wine glasses with his enormous, constantly wagging tail. Because he spends so much time hanging out with Akash’s Aussie Director of Operations, Sharon Cannon, some say Brodi is starting to bark with an Australian accent.

    The post What’s Better Than Delicious Wine? Delicious Wine With A Side Of Adorable Wine Country Pets! first appeared on Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association.

  • We Asked 12 Brewers: What’s the Best Pumpkin Beer You’ve Ever Had?
    30 October 2020

    OMGourd, it’s that time of year again.

    We’re talking, of course, about pumpkin beer season. Whether you consider the increasing seasonal creep of pumpkin and pumpkin spice products to be a cruel trick or a wonderful treat, with fall in full swing, it’s the perfect time to examine the category of beers that showcases the gourd in all its glory.

    So, what pumpkin beers should you seek out this fall — or winter, or next summer, too? Since there is so much creativity and diversity within the class, we consulted a dozen brewers across the U.S. Some of the brewers below have created what are widely considered to be among the pumpkin beer style’s finest examples, so we trust them to help us find the best to pick from the patch.

    The Best Pumpkin Beers Recommended by Brewers:
    • Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale
    • Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
    • UFO Pumpkin
    • Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale
    • Odyssey Beerwerks Fluffy Pumpkin
    • Flying Dog The Fear
    • Cambridge Brewing Co. The Great Pumpkin Ale
    • Allagash Brewing Company Ghoulschip
    • Bravery Brewing Pumpkin-Apple Pie
    • Griffin Claw Screamin’ Pumpkin
    • Southern Tier Brewing Co. Warlock Imperial Stout
    • Avery Brewing Co. Rumpkin

    Keep reading for details about all the recommended pumpkin beers!

    “Cigar City’s Good Gourd is my autumn-atic choice. Its flavor profile is the epitome of the fall season: pumpkin pie, brown sugar, and cinnamon spice. It’s a great, cozy offering going into the colder months, and the high ABV makes it the perfect sipper by a bonfire. It’s a favorite among all of the brewers here, and was actually the inspiration behind our new pumpkin beer, Big Mother Pumpkin.” —Adrian Hot, Head Innovation Brewer, Blue Point Brewing Co., Patchogue, NY

    “Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin is the OG to me. Big, with caramel and spice flavors. It really set the bar.” —John Trogner, Co-owner and Brewmaster, Troegs Brewing Company, Hershey, Pa.

    “UFO Pumpkin has a hefeweizen base, which isn’t very common. And that’s kind of why I like it. I find a lot of pumpkin beers can be overwhelming with spices, causing them to be astringent. But this is smooth and refreshing, with a great balance of flavor and aroma of pumpkin pie, allowing you to have more than just one. When fall comes around, I always make sure to pick up some.” —Tyler Schaefer, Lead Brewer, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Tampa, Fla.

    “I love Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale, because it‘s a mildly sweet pumpkin beer that isn’t overloaded with spices. There is a nice balance of pumpkin and cinnamon flavor; great fall beer.” —Sarah Kaneshiki, Brewer, Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, Calif.

    “My favorite pumpkin beers are dark, stouts or porters, and Odyssey Beerwerks’ Fluffy Pumpkin, a toasted marshmallow porter, hits all the marks for me. The spices are balanced nicely and the smoothness of the porter brings it all together. The perfect fall campfire beer.” —Josh Grenz, Co-owner and COO, Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project, Loveland, Colo.

    “If I’m going to have a pumpkin beer I gravitate towards versions whose base beers are porters or stouts. Flying Dog from Frederick, Md. makes a great dark pumpkin beer, called The Fear. It comes in at 9 percent ABV, so this is really a sipping beer that I would want to enjoy as a dessert instead of with dinner. We used to make a pumpkin beer every year that was a riff on our Ponch’s Porter recipe, called Ponch’s Patch. We decided to discontinue it in 2017, but who knows, maybe it will be back one day!” —Julie Verratti, Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Denizens Brewing Co., Silver Spring, Md.

    “After brewing in New England for several years, there is no escaping pumpkin beer. Every year more ridiculous beer comes out, so who cares about a pumpkin anymore? If I’m drinking it, it’s going to be Will Meyer’s [The Great Pumpkin Ale] at Cambridge Brewing Company. He has been hand-chopping pumpkins and making it the same wonderful way since I was in diapers. I’m actually craving some now. Will, mail me some!” —Kelly McKnight, Pilot Brewer, New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colo.

    “Allagash has a way of elevating the bar on lots of different beer styles, and the brewery’s annual Halloween-released Ghoulschip is no different. Using pumpkin in the mash as well as molasses in the boil lends to subtlety in the flavor instead of the common in-your-face artificial flavor in pumpkin beers. Ghoulschip is also partially coolshiped, aged in oak, and then blended in a gueuze-like fashion. It’s acidic, funky, and complex, with a backdrop of those fall flavors we love on a cool autumn day. Such a balanced, inventive, and nuanced take on this style, and that’s why I love it.” —Parker Hall, Lead Brewer, Orono Brewing Company, Orono, Me.

    “Bravery, a smaller brewery in Lancaster, Calif., makes a pumpkin beer with Belgian dubbel as the base, which I love. The dubbel style gives Pumpkin-Apple Pie more depth and allows its spices — cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg — to really shine through. It’s also the only pumpkin beer I’ve had with apple cider in it.” —Adrianna Hodapp, Brewer, Three Weavers Brewing Company, Inglewood, Calif.

    “It’s a shame so many pumpkin beers are spiced to death. Alone, pumpkin gives a great mouthfeel with a subtle flavor. But every pumpkin beer seems to be overly spiced. So, I don’t go out of my way to drink one, nor do I ever order one. It’s not about being anti-hype; I truly hate the spice. But there are a few pumpkin beers that come to mind without that overly spiced flavor, one being Screamin’ Pumpkin from Griffin Claw. I went and bought some recently just to refresh my palate, and what I said still applies: It’s not overly spiced, [and] has a nice mouthfeel. It almost drinks like an Oktoberfest, but with a heavier body. [It] has that mineral-y taste that goes along with it. The spice is in balance, and the mouthfeel is spot on.” —Rob Qualls, Head Brewer, City Built Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, Mich.

    “Warlock [Imperial Stout] from Southern Tier is rich, balanced, and packed with flavor. Its sweet undertone sets it apart, with its slight caramel character to add an unexpected candy-like note, along with the pumpkin. And, it’s as dark as a porter, so the roasted malt flavors seem to complement the pumpkin spices. It also has significant body, making it creamier and fuller than most others I’ve had.“ —Fred Karm, Founder and Brewmaster, Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, Akron, Ohio

    “As preparation for our Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, I personally check each of our 80-plus beers before we open, and each year I look forward to Avery’s Rumpkin as a special treat. Big, strong, malty, and incredibly smooth for a 16.3 percent ABV pumpkin beer, the burnt sugar and rum, from barrel aging, are beautifully balanced by the pumpkin and spice aromas. Outside of that, I was able to have a pumpkin beer in Austria that was such a clean, simple, and perfect beer with only accents of pumpkin, and no spice. Nestled inconspicuously along the route from Salzburg to Budejovice is a small brewery steeped in German brewing skill — it is just over the Bavarian border — but not bound by tradition. The Brauerei Hofstetten produces an incredible organic pumpkin lager, Bio Kürbisbier. Technical precision and care showcase the peppery smoothness of several local pumpkin varieties in this bright and perfect bock. A perfect encapsulation of drinking in cooler climes.” —Josh Waldman, Head Brewer, Elysian Brewing Company, Seattle, Wash.

    The article We Asked 12 Brewers: What’s the Best Pumpkin Beer You’ve Ever Had? appeared first on VinePair.

  • Emeril Lagasse's Carnivale du Vin Raises $1 Million for Charity
    30 October 2020

    The Emeril Lagasse Foundation's Carnivale du Vin Reimagined brought in big numbers, despite a difficult year for charity wine auctions. The 16th annual auction went virtual for the first time, and was live streamed via YouTube on Oct. 17. With over 300 supporters from around the country tuning in, and chef Emeril Lagasse and Foundation president Brian Kish hosting, the event was able to raise $1.04 million for children's charities. This year, a portion of the proceeds also went to wildfire relief efforts in Napa Valley.

    "Carnivale du Vin was established as a way to celebrate incredible food, wine, fun and friendships, all in support of our mission to inspire, mentor and enable young people," said Lagasse, in a statement. "Even though we were not able to come together in person this year, my wife Alden and I are so grateful for all the donors, sponsors and supporters who joined our virtual event and helped make it a success."

    The Carnivale weekend typically kicks off with Boudin, Bourbon and Beer, a night of great food from dozens of leading chefs, plus rare whiskeys. With large events on hold and the restaurant industry struggling, the Foundation asked supporters to donate instead to its new Hospitality Industry Relief Fund, launched in September, which benefits restaurant employees across the Gulf Coast by covering shelter, food, medical and utility bills. The program was established with a $125,000 contribution from the Foundation. A fundraising campaign has raised an additional $50,000 since then.

    Live auction attendees who purchased tickets in advance were treated to a "party package" that shipped prior to the event and included wines from Arista, Ramey Wine Cellars and more.

    The live auction raised $382,000. Top wine lots from the event included a bottle of Mouton-Rothschild 1945, donated by chef and restaurateur Rick Moonen and his wife, Roni, which sold for $40,000. "Come Back to Napa Valley," the highest-selling lot of the night, included vineyard tours with sommeliers and winemakers in the heart of Yountville, along with a wine dinner prepared by celebrity chef Aarón Sanchéz. The donors doubled the lot, and two bidders paid $50,000 each for a total of $100,000.

    Foundation president Brian Kish, left, and Emeril couldn't greet auctiongoers in person, but they held a lively event online. (Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse Foundation)

    Another top lot was "Emeril's Coastal Dinner with Danica Patrick," a multi-course dinner at Emeril's Coastal Italian, in Miramar Beach, Fla., with the retired racing champion and vintner.. Nine bidders each paid $3,000 for the opportunity, for a total of $27,000.

    Although there were fewer live lots than last year's Carnivale du Vin, the number of wine lots was the same and proved crucial to the event's success, according to Lagasse's team. Even though travel lots are expected to be less popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, Carnivale du Vin decided to offer opportunities for bidders to support Napa and Sonoma in person.

    "Like many other events throughout the country, we had to create new strategies to bring the magic of Carnivale du Vin to our guests at home," said Kish. "All those who support our foundation and annual signature fundraising events are helping to create brighter futures for our youth, and we are continuously thankful for the support and all who make our efforts possible."

  • Report—Cannabis Impacting Wine and Alcohol Sales
    30 October 2020

    Over the past week or so, Wine-Searcher’s W. Blake Gray has done a fantastic job of covering how Napa Valley’s powers that be are reacting to the cannabis marketplace. A little over a week ago Gray reported how Napa Valley is helping the California cannabis industry create its own AVA or appellation system for cannabis, while at the same time working to prevent a “Napa Valley” cannabis AVA. More recently, Gray covered the disagreement inside the Napa Valley wine industry...

    The post Report—Cannabis Impacting Wine and Alcohol Sales appeared first on Fermentation.

  • Crush On This Episode 15: Greek Wine
    30 October 2020

    Journey to Greece in the latest episode of Crush On This! Cindy, Christine and Allison share three fascinating wines from this ancient winemaking country boasting rich tradition, history, culture, food… and sweeping, sun-drenched views. It’s all Greek to us! Yamas!

    Allison – Elinos 2007 Xinomavro, Naoussa, Greece ($35 US)

    Cindy – S Kouras Saint George 2017 Agiorgitiko, Nemea ($16 US)

    Christine – Gaia Monograph 2018 Assyrtiko, Peloponnisos (21.99 CAD)

    What is your favorite Greek wine? Share it with us in a comment!

  • Smoked Pork Chops – Reverse Seared
    30 October 2020

    These Reverse Sear Smoked Pork Chops are smoked first for that awesome flavor, and then finished hot and fast medium rare for a perfectly cooked pork chop.

    These ain’t your mama’s pork chops!

    Sometimes when I hear people turn their noses at the idea of pork chops, I can’t help but ask them why they dislike such an amazing cut of meat. Without fail, I hear the classic story of growing up with overcooked pork chops. (SHHHH DON’T TELL MY MOM!) So when that happens, I try to turn on my charm and convince them to rethink the classic pork chop oven bake, and try it out on a grill or smoker.

    For these smoked pork chops we’re doing the reverse sear method to make sure you get that gorgeous slow smoke infusion, then finish on the grill, or in this case, a hot cast iron pan, for that great sear and char.

    What is a Pork Chop? The Cut

    The pork chop is typically a loin cut of the pig, essentially it is the t-bone steak of pork. You can get them bone in or boneless. I love bone in for flavor and presentation and I like the butcher to cut me a thick piece, like at least 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. You can also use this recipe with any thick cut pork steak.


    It is relatively lean unlike its beef cousin, but you will still want to look for good marbling. Not all pork is created equal, consider the well marbled Kurobuta Pork from Snake River Farms as an example of well marbled and incredibly flavored pork. Or seek out some local pork farmers for the best local pork you can find.


    This is really low maintenance. You may want to trim excess fat on edge of meat if there is any. For the most part, there is very little trimming needed for smoked pork chops.


    Start with a small coating of olive oil, this will help the rub stick to the meat. Then follow with your dry rub. You can always go salt and pepper but we like our ultimate rub recipe for pork. It is what it was made for. It has a little sugar, a little savory, and a little spice.

    Smoked Pork Chops

    We are going to reverse sear to lock in smoke flavor, then finish in a cast iron pan with a butter bath or baste as some call it.

    1. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (F) using fruit wood.
    2. Place seasoned pork chops on the smoker and smoke for 30 – 45 minutes.
    3. Preheat a cast iron pan as the temperature of the pork steaks rise to your desired finishing temperature. (but don’t add the butter yet)
    4. Pull the smoked pork chops when the internal temperature of the steaks are 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a good instant read thermometer like the Thermoworks MK4 Thermapen for the best results.
    5. Place the butter in the preheated cast iron pan and then add Steaks and the herbs. The butter will melt quickly. Spoon the melted butter on the top of the grilled pork chop for 2 minutes.
    6. Flip and repeat spooning the butter over the top of the steak for another 2 minutes.
    7. Pull the steak (the internal temperature will be closer to 135 – 140 degrees F) and let it rest 10 minutes.
    8. Serve and pour the browned butter right over the steaks.
    Pre heat pan, then place the butter in, then the steak.
    When is Pork Done?

    In the past, the USDA guidance was to cook pork to 165 degrees F. This is on the top end of well done and recently the guidance lowered that range to 145 degrees. We like our smoked pork chops cooked to 135 – 140 degrees for medium rare. It is juicy and tender at that range.

    What Wine to Pair with Pork Chops

    Pork works great with so many red wines (Pinot Noir comes to mind). But it also works great with white wines, especially barrel aged white wines like Chardonnay. Not only does the butteriness and creaminess of a barrel aged Chardonnay a fantastic match for the pan sauce we created, but the oak notes are also a nice match for the sweet apple wood we used in smoking the meat.

    Other Grilled Pork Chop Ideas Side Ideas for Smoked Pork Chops

    This recipe was originally published in October of 2017 and updated October 2020 to include more recipe details, sides, and other pork dishes.

    Smoked Pork Chops Recipe with Reverse Sear
    Jazz up boring old pork chops by reverse searing them. Slowly smoke them for an hour then finish over high heat to sear the flavor.
    4.38 from 8 votes
    Print Pin Rate
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Resting Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
    Servings: 2 servings
    Calories: 340kcal
    Cost: $16.00
    • ▢ 2 1 1/2 inch Bone in Pork Chops
    • ▢ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • ▢ 2 tablespoons Ultimate Dry Rub
    • ▢ 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ▢ 4 sprigs fresh thyme
    • ▢ 4 leaves of fresh sage
    • Preheat smoker to 225 degrees (F) using oak or apple wood.
    • Coat pork chops with olive oil and liberally apply the dry rub.
    • Place the pork chop on the smoker and cook until internal temperature is 130 degrees (F) and then remove (about 45 minutes).
    • When your temperature gets close to 130 degrees (F), preheat large cast iron skillet on stove top.
    • Place butter into the preheated skillet, then chop, then herbs.
    • Butter will melt quickly, be sure to quickly start basting the pork chops with the melted butter in the pan. Use a large spoon to do this. Flip after 2 minutes and repeat the basting for 2 more minutes.
    • Remove pork chops from pan and let rest for 10 minutes tented with aluminum foil to let the juices redistribute. The internal temperature of the pork should be about 135 – 140 degrees (F).
    • Cut and serve with your favorite sauce, we used the brown butter sauce from the pan. Just drizzle it right over the chops.
    Tried this recipe? We would love to see!Mention @vindulge or use the hashtag #vindulge!
    Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 900IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg

    For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

    If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes.

    The post Smoked Pork Chops – Reverse Seared appeared first on Vindulge.

  • For the First Time in Decades, Neither Presidential Candidate Drinks Alcohol
    30 October 2020

    It may be hard to believe given all the chaos this election season, but both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are strict teetotalers.

    Both candidates grew up in families touched by alcoholism, with Trump losing his eldest brother in 1981. Similarly, Biden was raised in a family of heavy drinkers, including his uncle “Boo-boo.”

    As a child, Biden lived with Boo-boo, who had a stutter and was present in some of Biden’s most formative years. When asked why he doesn’t drink Biden said, “There are enough alcoholics in my family.”

    According to the New York Times, Trump attributes his teetotalism to watching his brother Fred Trump struggle with alcoholism and later die from it. Gwenda Blair, a Trump biographer, also said the president realized he could get ahead in the real estate world by staying sober and was unnerved by how his casino lured gamblers in with free drinks.

    “As they’re downing scotches, he’s downing Diet Cokes,” Blair said, going on to add, “It’s part of his ultra-competitive profile.”

    Even with two-thirds of Americans consuming alcohol, according to the Times, and the majority of Washingtonians doing the same, Capitol Hill has seen a decline in consumption. Candidates, reporters, and campaign workers are drinking less, and many attribute this to the new non-stop demands of 24-hour campaigns.

    In a city where alcohol has often had a place in decision making, socializing, and dinners held for world leaders, it’s interesting to see this move towards a dry Whitehouse. Some note the cultural shift in Congress as well, where strict partisanship has essentially abolished cross-party socializing.

    With election night approaching, it’s hard to say exactly how much Champagne will be flowing from either party’s headquarters. But we do know what these 10 political pros will be drinking.

    The article For the First Time in Decades, Neither Presidential Candidate Drinks Alcohol appeared first on VinePair.

  • Got Two Bucks? Buy a Home in Sicilian Wine Country
    30 October 2020

    Another day, another dollar. But this time, it could buy you a Sicilian home.

    It’s no secret that small Italian towns have been selling properties for as little as $1 in recent years Now, the Sicilian town of Salemi is hopping on board, according to CNN Travel. A 40-minute drive from the vineyards of Marsala, the town boasts a population of around 10,000 people.

    Most of the villages that filed these initiatives in the past did so because they’d seen their populations halved by young flight and the loss of an aging generation. This often meant towns of only 3,800 or even 115 people trying to lure new, entrepreneurial blood.

    Conversely, Salemi’s depopulation is mostly tied to a 1968 earthquake, which led 4,000 residents to flee the town. Left with dozens of crumbling homes, the town’s mayor Domenico Venuti now hopes to lure in new, business-forward planners who can invest in renovating the homes.

    The town has done its part to expedite the process by upgrading roads, electric grids, and sewerage pipes near the homes. Most of these houses date back to the 1600s and are built with sandstone from nearby caves. Many require significant repairs but Venuti hopes that starting the auction at just over $1 (1 euro to be precise) will lure in the right buyers.

    Applicants must submit a “detailed restyle plan” showing the renovations they hope to complete. They’ll be judged on urban impact and those that can be adapted to include lodging or another type of business will gain priority. On top of the final auction price, buyers must also submit a $3,545 deposit to ensure they complete their promised renovations.

    Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the process will be held online, and unlike similar initiatives in the past, there is no citizenship requirement to apply.

    With another chaotic winter on the horizon, it might be time to settle down in Italy.

    The article Got Two Bucks? Buy a Home in Sicilian Wine Country appeared first on VinePair.

  • Sommelier cheating scandal just part of larger, more devastating problems at Court of Master Sommeliers
    30 October 2020
    New York Times report cites long-time pattern of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault that predates the sommelier cheating scandal

    Someone asked me, after the sommelier cheating scandal broke, if we would ever know exactly what happened. That’s because the Court of Master Sommeliers had done a Nixonian job of stonewalling. It had found a scapegoat and intimidated members, and the Winestream Media was more than happy to accept the court’s version of what had happened.

    So I told them: Not until the New York Times gets into this.

    Well, the Times did. And those of who suspected that the cheating scandal was just one sad and sorry part of something much bigger were correct.

    The Times reported on Thursday that 21 women said “that they have been sexually harassed, manipulated or assaulted by male master sommeliers. They, and other current and former members of the court, say the abuse is a continuing problem of which its leadership has long been aware.“

    In addition, said the story, improper sexual relationships may have been part of the cheating scandal, and that this “dynamic has turned a system that should provide mentorship and equal opportunity to women into a bastion of sexual harassment and coercion.”

    The piece is well-reported, with almost a dozen women quoted by name and on the record that male sommeliers made sexual advances, often with promises of preferential treatment if the women complied. Twitter screenshots, in fact. In addition, it cites at least one case of disciplinary action taken against male sommeliers for improper sexual behavior that the court didn’t publicly acknowledge at the time.

    So why did it take two years after the cheating scandal for this to come to light? Because those of us who cared didn’t have the resources to report the story. And those of the Winestream Media that had the resources didn’t care enough. And that’s because the wine business and the Winestream Media feed off of each other – samples, trips, and perks – so that each can further its own cause.

    That’s why sommelier Richard Hemming, MW, called it an incestuous relationship during a podcast, and that it’s difficult – if not impossible – for wine writers to be objective. “Why should [consumers] trust us? They shouldn’t, necessarily,” he told me.

    Because for the wine business. making money trumps all – even cheating and sexual harassment. I don’t know why that still surprises me.

    More about the sommelier cheating scandal:
    Winecast 39: Mark Greenblatt and the sommelier cheating scandal
    The sommelier cheating scandal: Once again, wine reminds us it’s big business

wine podcast

30 October 2020

wine podcast
  • Ep115: In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away...or is it
    30 October 2020

    What a crazy year 2020 has been?! So bizarre, in fact, that many of you may have missed the release of the documentary, The Phenomenon, and the long-awaited admission of the government’s cover-up of UFOs. Well, no fear – your DBP girls are here to fill you in! We discuss key aspects of the film, including the veracity of the documented UFO sightings, the declassification of government intelligence, and if our extraterrestrial friends are actually trying to tell us something. Are there hidden messages in their visits to our planet? Perfectly paired with this out-of-this-world episode is the Napa red blend, Galaxy, and trust us when we say you’ll def want to have a drink in hand for this one!

    Listen onApple PodcastsGooglePlay, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and other podcast-listening platforms.

  • Wines To FInd, Ep 40: Wonderment Wines’s Winsome Winemaker Stephanie Cook
    30 October 2020

    Hosts Sandy and Michelle are joined by in-studio guest, owner and winemaker of Wonderment Wines, Stephanie Cook. A fellow South Carolinian who grew up right down the road from Sandy and Michelle’s hometown, Stephanie shares her story that took her around the world as a model, then chef to finally a winemaker who lives in South Carolina while making California wine. A truly unique wine story is shared over Stephanie’s award-winning, highly rated wines. Stephanie shares her thoughts on being a woman in a male dominated industry, as well as stories of her inspiration and mentors that led her to the successful enterprise she owns today, Wonderment Wines.

    We have been listed in the Top 30 wine podcasts!

    Use this link to get $10 off your first purchase at Wine Spies.

    Music from â€œNight In Venice” by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY ( .

  • Wines To Find, Ep 39: Touring Sonoma County with Inman Family Wines
    30 October 2020

    In this episode, hosts Sandy and Michelle share part of their visit to California’s Wine Country. Featuring interviews with The Camelia Inn in Healdsburg, Inman Family Winery and Elegant Wine tours, this episode is a peak into wine tourism and visiting Sonoma. Kathleen Inman shares three of Inman Family Winery’s wines while also sharing her unique story that ultimately led her to become a winemaker and owning a winery in the area in which she grew up. For anyone dreaming of a visit to wine country, this episode is sure to satisfy!

    We have been listed in the Top 30 wine podcasts!

    Use this link to get $10 off your first purchase at Wine Spies.

  • Episode 132: Redmon Wines: Wine Night Stand: Jennifer Gallagher
    30 October 2020

    To follow Redmon Wines on Instagram and Facebook, head over to:

    Redmon Wines Instagram: @redmonwines

    Redmon Wines Facebook: @redmonfacebook

    To learn more about Lisa Redmon's wines, and to sign up to be on Redmon Wines' Wine Club, head over to:

    Redmon Wines Shop: @redmonwinesshop

    Redmon Wines Wine Club: @redmonwineswineclub


    To follow Mr. Wine Guy on Instagram and Facebook, go to: 

    Instagram: @themrwineguy

    Facebook: @themrwineguy


    To connect on LinkedIn, go to:

    Michael Gallagher LinkedIn: @michaelgallagherlinkedin


    To connect with my wife Jennifer Gallagher on Instagram, head over to:

    Instagram: @iamjengallagher


    To purchase our His and Her Bar, head over to:

    To listen to our His & Her Podcast, click HERE

    IG: @hisandherbar

    FB: @hisandherbar

    Youtube: @hisandherbar


    Also, make a statement in your very own Mr. Wine Guy Swag which can be found at:

    Mr. Wine Guy Swag: @mrwineguyswag

  • The Wine Makers – Mike Drash, Stone Tower Winery
    30 October 2020

    To me a Journeyman is someone who has spent their career learning from those around them, expanding their knowledge and then sharing with their peers. If we agree on that then Mike Drash is truly a Journeyman since his first position at DeLoach Winery then on to J winery in the Russian River Valley. Next moving to the Napa Valley working at Far Niente and as Winemaker at Luna Vineyard and his own brand Tallulah. But not until taking a winemaking position in Southern Minnesota that he had to take all that experience and apply it to varieties and grape growing conditions unlike anything he had worked with, another time to learn. 2020 finds Mike taking on another chance to learn as winemaker for Stone Tower Winery in Virginia,  I wonder if Thomas Jefferson would have anything to share with Mike. Hope you enjoy this week’s show, but you can’t listen until you have voted.

    The post The Wine Makers – Mike Drash, Stone Tower Winery appeared first on Radio Misfits.

  • Ep. 428 #everybodyneedsabitofscienza | Emilia Marinig Question
    30 October 2020
    Yooooo did y'all miss me????? I bet y'all did.. I mean, I know that producer J is pretty cool and all but c'mon can we be honest for a sec? Y'all know this periodic Friday gem is a safe space where we can all talk and also gossip a lil... So let's face it: he gets the boring stuff, while I get the all the fun and games and I get to be like HAHAHAHAHAH while he must be more like: the economic growth of Vermentino, is something that has reached its historical peak right when the terroir of Sardinia was still... you get the idea, right? But anyways, Producer J is the best, forreal y'all. Musical Guest: Loyalty Freak check h** out here
  • October 29 2020 - Halloween Special w/Joy Neighbors!
    30 October 2020
    Our good friend, Joy Neighbors, returns to the show for our Halloween Special! Make no bones about it, Joy will be digging up some good spooky winery stories.  A lot has happened in the past few years and she will also update us on everything.  I heard, she worked at a haunted distillery.  I'm sure the spirits were good.  Tune in to this Halloween special!
  • Napa on its ear...listen to Jean-Charles Boisset and his visions.
    29 October 2020

    Just when you thought the Napa Valley was going the way of its French counterparts by steeping itself in the tradition...along comes Jean Charles Boisset. You will be fascinated, intrigued, and dumbfounded.

  • Alex Holman
    29 October 2020

    Episode 117 | Alex Holman, Winemaker at Notre Vue Estate Winery and Vineyards

    Winemaker Alex Holman joins us straight from the vineyard as Harvest is under way at Notre Vue Estate Winery and Vineyards.

    Wine Of the Day: 2019 Norte Vue Chardonnay Musque & 2019 GSM Rosé

    Show Notes

    1:03 Last episode (116) we drank the Notre Vue 2019 GSM Rosé – this wine was the first time Alex made a GSM!

    5:00 Wine of the Day – 2019 Notre Vue Chardonnay Musque—not your typical Chardonnay made from clone 809

    10:48 Notre Vue property has 700 acres! 250 acres under vine, with 16 different varieties and 350 acres dedicated to forever-wild open space. There is plenty of outdoor seating and outstanding views.

    12:46 Family Movie Night at Notre Vue coming up, see website for details.

    13:52 Harvest report- what’s happening now and trying to stay positive with all the challenges of 2020.

    17:58 The work never ends! Bottling has been ongoing and following all the Covid protocols.

    18:45 Winery’s are open! Harvest is a great time to visit. Winery visits are by reservation only, but you can call ahead, spur of the moment, on the same day and go.

    20:29 Notre Vue is open for walking, hiking and biking on the property for Wine Club members. They have a reciprocal pass with neighboring winery’s that allows their wine club members to also enjoy the Notre Vue property. See website for details.


    Notre Vue Winery and Estate

    Wine Road

    Sonoma County Winegrowers --

    Wine Road Podcast Instagram -- @wineroadpodcast


    The Wine Road podcast is mixed and mastered at Threshold Studios Sebastopol, CA.

  • Wine Glassware with Maximilian Riedel
    29 October 2020

    Maximilian Riedel, 11th Generation wine glass maker and CEO of Riedel Wine Glass Company, joins the show to tell us all about why your wine glasses are shaped the way they are!Fascinating Conversation.

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