Category Archives: wine media

WHAT MILLENNIALS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WINE

Millennials (LINK) are in the process of redefining the wine industry, just as the Baby Boomer (LINK) generation has done over the past 40 years or so. But this post is less about large-scale trends than about individual decisions based on some experience and knowledge.

The wine world contains a vast number of possible wines to drink, from many countries and many more wine regions. There are hundreds of varietals and tens of thousands of wine labels. These numbers are steadily increasing, along with total wine consumption (LINK). No one is going to know them all.

“Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

Few young wine drinkers have had any instruction or experience as they have come of age to drink wine. Most will grab something cheap off of the shelf in the grocery store and look for sweetness and fruit in the flavor. This is understandable when you combine a desire to spend as little as possible with an untrained palate.

But now you are in your twenties (or thirties), and it’s time to craft your drinking patterns and preferences (if you drink at all, that is, and I assume that if you are reading this, you do).

In other words, it’s time to evolve.

“A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books”

~ Louis Pasteur

Here are my recommendations for Millennials or anyone new to wine:

UP YOUR GAME: Get some knowledge about what you are consuming. If you eat organic food and drink cheap wine, the additives (LINK) in the wine will likely more than offset the benefits of the organic food. Find good value wines that are organic or biodynamic which you like and support them.

DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS: Connect with the employees at your local wine shop and let them know your preferences and budget. They will be able to direct you to what you want. Note – most supermarkets will not have knowledgeable staff in the wine department (there are exceptions to this).

EXPLORE: Try different varietals, different regions, different winemakers. Branch out a bit and see if there are more areas of the wine world that appeal to you. You can also include wine exploring in your travel. There are wonderful wine regions all over the world that you can visit and expand your experience with wine.

GO DEEP: Settled on a varietal or a region? Study it, explore the wines offered, and learn as much as you can.

ENJOY: The number one rule of wine appreciation is to enjoy what you drink. Find your own sweet spot (or spots) and make a nice glass or two of wine a part of a very good day.

Wine enjoyment should be just that – enjoyable. Whether it is researching what to purchase, purchasing, tasting, drinking, or pairing, it should first be something to enjoy. If you aim for that, you will not go far wrong.

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans”

~ Ernest Hemingway

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

JIM LOCKARD ON WINE FEATURED IN THE WINE STALKER’S LATEST POST

This blog has been pretty quiet since returning from Oregon last week. But that is about to change – next week will see several posts including our full product line tasting of Chile’s Los Vascos wines, the recounting of a tasting of Paso Robles’ LXV wines and a new boutique local wine tour business serving California’s Central Coast AVAs, and Dorianne and I will be heading up to Santa Ynez and Santa Rita Hills AVAs this coming week for a bit of a tour.

In the meantime, The Wine Stalker (LINK) has included us in a really great article about wine bloggers who live a distance from wine regions.

(LINK TO ARTICLE) 

Winestalker

Here is a quote from that post:

The Rest Of Us: Wine Blogging Outside Of Wine Country ~ The Wine Stalker – A blog for WINE GEEKS & WINE LOVERS (LINK):

“How is your travel availability to actually go to wine regions or blogger conferences?
Again, my wife and I travel nearly full time, 1/2 in the US and 1/2 in Europe. I lead wine tours in France (http://deluxewinetours.com/), so I get to meet a lot of French winemakers. We also spend a lot of time in Spain. This year we will also travel in the Ukraine and Poland, so I am looking forward to seeing what’s happening there.”

So thanks to The Wine Stalker for including us in the blog.

And, since you are here already, time is running out to register for our amazing October 2016 Tour of northern Provence and the southern Côtes du Rhône where we will enjoy some of the finest wines in France. 

Image 4 - Provence

We will spend seven nights in France, based in Villeneuve-les-Avignon on the banks of the Rhône River in a 5 star hotel, exploring the hidden secrets of several wine regions that meet here – The Côtes du Rhône, Languedoc-Roussillon, and the Luberon.

Hotel

Hôtel Le Prieuré

This intimate, small group tour (only eight spots available) features lodging in fine hotels, meals in chateaus, visits to the legendary vineyards, and tastings of some of the great wines of France. All the while, you will learn more about wine in the vineyard and at the chateau.

Here is the (LINK TO THE WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER) 

THE NEW “WINE DEMOCRACY” WHERE EVERY OPINION IS EQUALLY VALID. THOUGHTS?

In Matt Kramer’s column on WineSpectator.com, posted on Nov 3rd (LINK TO POST), he speaks of a growing phenomenon that he labels “Wine Democracy,” or the emergence of a more egalitarian approach to wine criticism as a whole.

Where in the past, only those with access to some “journalistic real estate in a newspaper or magazine” had a voice in the wine world – the rest of us were more passive consumers of the opinions of these few critics and taste makers. Now, via social media and the blogosphere, everyone can be a critic. And while there are certainly tiers of influence, the audience for wine opinion is doubtlessly more varied and diverse than it used to be; and that audience contains many who also feel free to give opinion (like yours truly).

But there is more to this phenomenon than technological innovation. There is also a cultural evolution process that is unfolding, and egalitarianism is part of where many people are finding themselves in terms of values. The old ways of looking to “experts” to define opinion and then following that opinion without much questioning, is fading fast. Now, a values system variously labeled “postmodernism,” Cultural Creative,” and Green (in Spiral Dynamics) has emerged and is becoming more and more prevalent.

spiral-dynamics Levels 2

Some of the key values of this level of cultural development are:

  • a high value for egalitarianism – anti-hierarchical.
  • all voices must be heard on any issue before a decision is made.
  • all (or almost all) opinions have equal validity.
  • feelings are more important than outcome – it is important that everyone feel good about what is decided.

Here is a link to some information about this phenomenon (LINK). You can see some of these values expressed in the column, but like most people, Kramer is apparently unaware of the cultural evolutionary models (as most people are), so instead of seeing a naturally unfolding way of being human, he sees people being different and, for the most part, wrong.

A quote from Mr. Kramer:  “These determined detectors of snobbery and elitism are like old-fashioned anti-communists: they’re sure that subversive snobs and elitists are lurking everywhere.

“In today’s wine democracy, equality of opportunity (to express oneself) too often is steamrollered into a much more simplistic ‘equality.’ All wines are equally good because all opinions are equally valid. Any deviation from that is seen as, well, you know.” 

What Mr. Kramer is describing is something that is not going away. In fact, it will grow as more and more people evolve culturally toward this level of being. In the meanwhile, get used to people turning away from the few “experts” and finding ways to not only form their own opinions, but to express them as well. Not all of these opinions will be of equal value, as the post by Mr. Kramer points out, but the days of a wide audience of consumers following a few select wine critics are over.

It’s the times; they’re a changin’.  As always, your comments are welcome.

Wine - Redness

POURING PENFOLD’S GRANGE DOWN THE SINK? ONE WINE RETAILER DID

As some of you know, my primary bucket list wine is Penfold’s Grange – the classic great Shiraz from Australia. One of these days, I will get a well-aged bottle and enjoy one of those legendary wine experiences, hopefully with a good friend.

Note to self – probably NOT the 2011 vintage!

Apparently, the latest vintage of the wine is not up to normal standards. In fact, one Perth, Australia wine merchant poured two bottles down to sink to show his distaste for the current vintage (and to get a bit of publicity), according to an online article in the Australian Financial Review.

A sad state of affairs. I just want to let the good people at Penfold’s know that I am available to give a second opinion on the 2011 vintage of their Grange.

I live to serve.

You can read the story for yourself at the link.  (LINK TO ARTICLE)

Wine - Penfolds Grange Poured Out

FIVE GOOD REASONS TO BUY WHEN YOU VISIT THE WINERY – FROM LAZENNE.COM

Our friends at Lazenne.com (LINK), makers of wine luggage and wine travel accessories, have posted an excellent article giving five reasons to purchase wine at the winery. Here is a quote from the article by Chrissie McClatchie for Lazenne:

“In France alone there are over 300 AOC’s (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, or Controlled Designation of Origin), some counting just one or two producers (Palette in Provence) to hundreds (the simple Bordeaux AOC). Considering the scope, it’s easy to imagine how many of these wines don’t leave their region of origin. I lead wine tours through the Bellet AOC in the hills of Nice, one of France’s oldest and smallest appellations, boasting only eleven vineyards. With such a small production, the wineries can little keep up with the local demand, let alone consider opening up export markets. For most people, therefore, purchasing direct is the only access they have to wines which are simply not available in their home country.” – (LINK TO FULL ARTICLE)

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Tasting Room at Chateau Manissy in Tavel, France

I would add that many of the same reasons hold true when you are visiting domestic wineries – good values, wines that are not otherwise available due to limited production, and knowing the provenance are also reasons to buy at the winery in California, New York, or Virginia.

2015-02-07 12.46.55
Tasting at LaFond Winery in the Santa Rita Hills of California.

Dorianne and I will be visiting California’s Central Coast twice in the next two months, and Napa-Sonoma-Mendocino areas early in the new year. We are looking forward to tasting and buying some amazing wines.

Jim at Broc Winery
Me Tasting at Broc Winery in Berkeley, California.

Copyright 2015 by Jim Lockard

THIS JUST IN: ITALY MOVES AHEAD OF FRANCE AS LARGEST WINE PRODUCER

As reported on Euronews.com (LINK), and International Business Times (LINK)Italy is now the largest wine producer in the world, surpassing France.

From IBT: Italy’s projected wine production is up 13% on the previous year and 5% on the average for the past five years, for a total output of 48.8 million hectolitres (1,289,159,610. gallons [US, liquid]), figures submitted by member states to the EU Commission in mid-September show.

Lack of rain and a heatwave have instead caused a 1% contraction of French production, which relegated the country at the second place with 46.4 million hectolitres (1,225,758,317 gallons [US, liquid]). The world-famous regions of Beaujolais and Bourgogne were among the worst affected and wine lovers with a taste for local bottles could face a price rise in the coming months, according to Les Eechos newspaper.

Italy and France have long been the sole duellists for the title of world top wine producer, both in terms of quantity and quality. However, 2015 has arguably been a particularly favourable year for the Italians after Ferrari (Trentodoc) won the prestigious sparkling wine producer of the year award.”

Spain is in third place with 36.6 million hectolitres ( 966,869,707 gallons [US, liquid]).

SPANISH WINES HAVE A MARKETING PROBLEM

Here is an excellent article from Fortune.com on issues with marketing the wines of Spain. I have always said that Spanish Wines are the best value in the world today. We recently spent six weeks in Spain and had amazing wines from a variety of regions at very reasonable prices.

Here is a quote from the article:

“The Spanish wine industry’s exporting issues, which have long been a source of concern, have come to the fore in recent years. Spanish wine exports have tripled since 1995, And last year, exports grew 22.4% to 2.3 billion liters, according to the Spanish Observatory of Wine Markets (OEMV), helping the country pass Italy as the world’s biggest wine exporter by volume.

“The problem is that exports have been dominated by low-price/low-profit bulk wine, which accounted for 55% of Spain’s export volume last year.

“Spain’s biggest market in 2014 was France, which bought 518 million liters of Spanish wine—for only €0.47 per liter (about $0.53). Much of that bulk wine shipped to France was then bottled, marked up, and resold as a French product.”

(LINK TO FULL ARTICLE)

Here are a few photos I took in Spain.

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