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Thinkin' and Drinkin' (Or Not?)
As I head into another staycation at Wiz Manor
Writing this Friday morning instead of late Thursday night. I had another allergy shot yesterday, and I was asleep on the couch before 10pm. So we’re doing another roundup!
I haven’t really felt the urge to drink much lately. Yay? That was one yummy pinot I opened last week, but it’s stayed sealed up since then.
I’m wondering if I need to scale back the frequency on this blog? Or alternate tasting posts with posts like this where I round up wine news, which I also really enjoy commentating on for you. Please either drop me a line or put something in the comments and let me know what you’d like to see.
I’m taking the last week of August off for another staycation! I have both little to no money and a doggo, so here I am. You can really tell when you’re talking to a homeowner though. When people ask if I’m going away and I say, “No, just putzin’ around the house, taking care of stuff that needs to be done,” the homeowners’ eyes glaze over and they whisper, “That sounds awesome.” Though I am getting more allergy shots next week, so entirely possible I wind up asleep on the couch again.
Great article we should all read: The Future of Wine, According to This Year’s Future 40 Tastemakers over on Wine Enthusiast (emphasis mine):
“TJ Douglas: One of the biggest challenges facing the drinks business is the three-tiered system found in most states. As retailers we can only sell what the distributors choose, which means that many smaller producers sit on the sidelines and can’t find representation. This system has made it harder for women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other under-represented producers to gain a foothold in the industry. It’s also made it harder for consumers to discover lesser-known regions and varietals. Dismantling the three-tiered system would go a long way to re-energizing the industry…
“Alice Achayo: The lexicon of wine, which really comes from the U.K. (WSET), was written in the U.K. And yet it has been the standardized language across the globe, even though it fails to be relevant and relatable to the majority of wine drinkers. In order for the wine language to be more inclusive, it should not be written by one group of people.
“TJ Douglas: I still have yet to meet someone who knows what a gooseberry tastes like, and yet consumers see that word referenced almost every day…”
I’ve been told, though I haven’t confirmed this myself, that every state in the U.S. has at least one working winery. As the Guardian points out, even Arizona has a burgeoning wine country:
“…The Verde Valley is home to dozens of wineries making everything from assyrtiko to malbec, and wine tourism is already generating tens of millions of dollars for the state, according to a 2019 study by the University of Arizona….
“Winemakers argue that the Verde Valley – with its rich limestone soil, high altitudes, large aquifer and temperature shifts – is actually an ideal place to grow European-style wines. They also say that wine is a more water-efficient crop than others being grown here, such as alfalfa and corn….
“…While running out of water is “a very real, stark concern”, wine could be an example of a low-water use crop that fits the dry Arizona climate, said Michael Pierce, viticulture and enology director at Yavapai Community College, home to the state’s only wine program.
“I would argue it’s probably the best crop you could grow [in Arizona],” said Pierce. The land here is rocky, which grapes love, he said. “Wine grapes love those really coarse soils. They don’t like to have wet feet. Meaning you don’t want soggy, clay rich soils that really hold water. So that’s why they do well in arid places [like Arizona]….”
Many vineyards have curtailed irrigating their crops, which forces the vines to dig ever deeper into the soil for nutrition. This typically yields a richer, more complex wine. Also maybe adding drought-resistant vegetation where other crops can’t grow is good for the environment? We’ll have to see.
And speaking of wine regions changing along with the climate, one of the newest regions is…Sweden?
“Scandinavia isn't exactly what connoisseurs would define as prime wine country. But with climate change making for warmer and longer growing seasons, and new varieties of grapes adapted to this landscape, Swedish winemaking is gaining steam….
“Kullabergs Vingård is a vineyard and winery at the vanguard of producers seeking to redefine what Swedish wine can be. Stretching over 14 hectares, most of its vines were planted less than a decade ago. By 2022, the winery had reached an annual output of over 30,000 bottles - mostly whites that can be found in high-end restaurants from Europe to Japan and that have won multiple international prizes….
“Italy, Greece, Spain, all these countries are going to face problems. There's not enough water, and the winters are too warm,” Iban [Tell Sabate says. "With global warming, Sweden’s in a good position and it’s a good wine too."…”
So Italy and France are going to be charred landscapes, while England and Scandinavia become famous. This is the weirdest timeline.
With that, I’m going to go rouse myself into my final working day in August. Hopefully talk to you next week! And do please let me know in the comments what you want to see on this blog. Thanks much.