What's in the News?
I’m not feeling well, and I’m a little annoyed because somebody destroyed the heel of one of my favorite boots. So instead of a tasting, let’s check out some wine news.
Consumer thirst for premium wine continued growing in the US in 2022, but data suggests total wine consumption ‘saw a second year of negative growth’, said Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) Wine Division’s latest ‘state of the industry’ report.
Sales revenue at premium wineries in SVB’s database increased by an average 9.7% in the first nine months of 2022, and this momentum was not expected to have weakened in the final quarter of the year, the report said.
It also cited Sipsource data showing demand for wines above $15-a-bottle was rising.
By contrast, SVB said there is declining demand for wines below $15. This constitutes the majority of the market, and consequently the US wine industry ‘experienced negative volume growth’ in the first nine months of 2022.
SVB reiterated previous remarks about younger generations not drinking wine like the ‘baby boomer’ generation, and it again warned that was one of several challenges faced by the wine world.
Seems from this study that people are buying fewer bottles, but what they do buy is more expensive. But as we know, you can still have some nice wines around $15 or less.
Apparently not everyone is buying their high end wines. Also from Decanter: Thieves steal hundreds of fine wines in Austria and Norway:
Thieves continued to target some of the world’s most sought-after fine wines at the end of last year, with Austria’s Kracher Fine Wine and Norway’s Park 29 restaurant among the latest businesses to fall victim.
Around 600 or 700 bottles of top-end wines were stolen at the end of November from Kracher Fine Wine, the merchant business that sits alongside highly regarded Kracher winery….
…In Norway, thieves recently stole around 264 bottles from Park 29 restaurant in Oslo. Those taken included top Burgundy, such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines, plus Barolo and Côte-Rôtie, said Park 29’s co-owner, Fridtjof Bade….
One recent theft in Spain — involving well over 100 bottles of high-quality vino — marked quite a hefty loss for one Michelin-starred establishment. Coque, a Madrid-based restaurant with an extensive underground wine cellar, reported the burglary earlier this week.
A rare selection of 132 bottles were taken from the restaurant’s total inventory of 3,000 bottles, according to El País….
…The restaurant holds two Michelin stars and is noted to have a “particularly interesting wine list” by the organization. Only the most prestigious bottles were stolen during the heist, prompting speculation that this was an extremely calculated theft. Individuals responsible for the crime have not yet been identified.
Well, someone’s doing their homework on high-end wines for sure.
And finally, as grim as the California storms have been, there is a tiny bit of upside. From the BBC’s Kayla Epstein, via Yahoo News: The California storms were great for wine:
For several days, Jason Haas and his employees at the Tablas Creek Vineyard couldn't reach their vines.
The January storms that pummelled California washed out the roads and burst river banks, making even the simplest commute treacherous. Their tasting room closed for four days.
But even so, he was thrilled.
The atmospheric rivers that swept through California for two weeks caused an estimated $30bn (£24bn) in damage. Up and down the state, the torrents collapsed hillsides, uprooted trees, and washed out highways. At least 20 people died, and millions were under flood warnings.
But the rain also provided a desperately needed gift to California's famed wineries, which have endured three years of drought, extreme wildfires, and the spiralling doom loop of climate change. The rains have replenished the groundwater and refilled reservoirs, giving winemakers hope for a productive growing season…
…As of 19 January, only 46% of California was experiencing "severe drought," compared to 80% of the state covered by severe drought last month, according to the US Drought Monitor.
Last month, 35% of the state experienced "extreme drought" - an inadequate water supply for agriculture - but as of this week, the percentage of the state dealing with those conditions plummeted to less than 1%…
There’s still a lot that could go wrong in the coming year: more drought, too much rain especially closer to harvest season, more wildfires. But a nice soaking while the vines are dormant at least sets things up for more success.
Hope to be back on next week, feeling better, body and sole. (Sorry, sorry, I’ll see myself out.)