Crops, Blogs and Politics


1. European Wine Bloggers Conference Underway.

Another good sign for the vibrancy of the wine blogosphere. In Spain they are investigating what it means to be a wine blogger, how to be a wine blogger, where the medium is going and where it will end up. You can follow the conference via video and a comments section. This kind of conference is a first. The second conference of its type will happen on October 24-26 in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA.

2. Pennsylvania Wine Shipping
All signs seem to point to Pennsylvania not passing direct shipping legislation. The proposed new law would have out of state wineries (not retailers) taking orders and sending the wine to state stores where it would be picked up for a fee. Many employees of the state stores, the distributors and consumers don’t like the legislation for very different reasons. It’s a good sign that consumers and many wineries have come out against this rigged system that really only helps consumers in a nominal way. Pennsylvania will have to address their shipping issue at some point. But it doesn’t look like it will happen with the current legislation.

3. Tennessee Takes Up Direct Shipping—Again
Tennessee is set to take up again the issue of selling wine in grocery stores as well as over the Internet. TN is one of those state where consumers must go to a liquor store to get wine rather than the grocery store, where they also happen to pick up their foods. It’s also a state where it’s a felony, like rape, to ship a bottle of wine directly to a consumer. The bill that got tabled in committee earlier this year is a good one. It allows consumers to buy wine and have it shipped directly to them from in-state wineries, in-state retailers, out-of-state wineries and out-of-state retailers.

4. CA Harvest Ready to Ramp Up
The CA harvest is nearly ready to go into full swing. Numerous wineries I’ve spoken to say they will likely begin picking grapes seriously next week. Sauvignon Blanc is almost perfectly ready in the warmer areas of the North Coast of California. Chardonnay will likely be coming in to. We are told the crop will be slightly smaller than average generally, very much smaller than normal in some varieties, and probably heavier than normal for a few varieties. Massive, record breaking heat has hit the North Coast over the past couple of days. This isn’t want the grape growers really want.

9 Responses

  1. Busby SEO Challenge - August 29, 2008

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  2. Dylan - August 29, 2008

    I’ve been out during the day and plan to catch up with the events of the conference on I’m excited for what came up.
    I’m surprised by point number three. It’s nice that they’re considering direct shipping and grocery stores, I’m just surprised these aren’t already options.
    One of the things I appreciate about the grocery stores around here is that I can pick up my wine while keeping dinner in mind. What I’m cooking that night is sometimes spontaneous–based on items which happen to be on sale. It’s a shame they don’t have that opportunity to make pairings more easily. Food and wine just go hand in hand.
    They mention in the article the issue of increased DUI and teen drinking, but I don’t see how that’s any different from selling at a liquor store. They just ID at the register. They worry about it diminishing beer sales in grocery stores, but I think there’s room for both. They assume loyal beer drinkers will all of a sudden convert to wine drinkers because it’s in front of them.
    The only plausible negative is how the competition would effect mom and pop shops selling liqour. It’s a tough situation in that respect. I’d imagine what it comes down to is the relationships those shops are based on, but ultimately they lose worst in the situation.

  3. Morton Leslie - August 29, 2008

    I am wondering what data indicates we are having massive record breaking heat in the North Coast? August has been the same as last year for the most part. The SANTA ROSA, CA [STS] (38.27 -122.42) shows no days so far in August a record. Here in the Napa Valley it has been hot, but no records. Forecast is for cooling tommorrow with high 28 degrees under the 1998 record of 105.
    So far this year it is warm because June was unusually warm, July and August have been average. The warm June (as warm as July) probably contributed to the shatter we see in Merlot. April frosts will have a significant impact in pockets, even on hillsides that are usually frost free. Drought will also tend to reduce the crop expected this year.

  4. Tom Wark - August 29, 2008

    I’m looking for a reduction in the heat. It was 109 here today and 114 yesterday. Glen Ellen is a special case though because of where its situated in the valley.

  5. Morton Leslie - August 29, 2008

    Wow. You must be in a pocket. Napa Airport shows 100& 93, Sonoma Co.Airport shows 103& 96, and Napa Hospital shows 102& 96. The cool must be on the way, Calistoga dropped from 96 to 87 between 4 and 5 PM.

  6. Tom Wark - August 29, 2008

    Glen Ellen Sits in the warmest part of the Valley. It’s also colder here than other parts and we get less rain. It’s the narrowest part of the Valley with Mountains close in on either side.

  7. el jefe - August 30, 2008

    The Foothills are cooler than Napa? Go figure.

  8. Gretchen Roberts - August 30, 2008

    I am SO glad to hear Tennessee is taking up the bill again. The ridiculous wine laws are the only thing I truly hate about living in this state. Don’t get me started, because I’m not one to preach to the choir, but come on: a little progressiveness would go a long way for this state.
    Of course it probably won’t pass, so I’ll try not to get my hopes up for now. I hope Obama is serious about campaign finance reform, and that it trickles down to the state level, and that legislators won’t be paid off by special interest companies posing as concerned mothers.

  9. Ryan - September 2, 2008

    Thanks for the mention of the EWBC. If you want to see what happened over the next week we’ll be posting all the talks and interviews with all the attendees both on our website and at
    Hope I can find a way to make it to the WBC, so I can share what happened! Cheers,

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