Archive for the ‘Terroir’ Category

Jan 2, 2014

How Sonoma County Wineries Can Skirt the Law

Beginning yesterday, January 1, 2014, any wine released that will identify any American Viticultural Area (AVA) on the label located inside Sonoma County MUST also carry the words “Sonoma County” on the label. I’ve noted in a number of blog posts why this is a very bad idea. This made no difference and the “Conjunctive Labeling Law” for Sonoma County is now in force. Vintners in the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley or Bennett Valley, for example, who see no…

Nov 5, 2013

The Wine Organizing Principle: First Varietal, Then Terroir

If a Sonoma Pinot Noir tastes much more like a Burgundy Pinot Noir than it does a Sonoma County Zinfandel, isn’t this a very strong argument for making varietals the organizing idea behind wine? This is the question that occurred to me when I read Andrew Jefford’s article in Decanter that made the opposite case. Jeffords, who is a very clear-headed, succinct and thoughtful writer, gave us the money quote to his argument early in the article when he wrote…

Sep 4, 2013

The 4 Key Trends in the Wine Industry in the Past 20 Years

This month I will embark on my 24th year working in the wine industry and I’ve begun to start to think, finally, about the industry from the top down. I was speaking with a friend about this perspective and they asked a pretty simple question: “What have been the major themes in the wine industry over the past two decades?” That it’s simple also makes it somewhat difficult to answer. But, by breaking down the industry into its constituent parts,…

Jun 4, 2013

Marketing Confusion: AVAs and the Question of Terroir

Winemaker Matt Dees and his colleagues at Goodland Wines in Santa Barbara, California have chosen to take a remarkable step: They have decided to purposely confuse the wine consumer in order to try to enlighten them. It’s a peculiar approach to education of which I am not completely familiar. Here’s what’s happening: At Goodland Wines, individual bottlings don’t carry the name of the varietal. They only carry the name of the AVA or “appellation” from which the grapes were grown…

Jun 3, 2013

Sta. Rita Hills Wines: A Question of Integrity or Cynicism

There is a proposal sitting on the desk of the Feds that, if approved, would expand the Santa Barbara County-based American Viticultural Area called the Sta. Rita Hills. The expansion proposal has been submitted by a grape grower whose vineyards now lie just outside the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The upshot of that unfortunate placement is that the grower does not get as much money for his grapes than if they were inside the boundary of the Sta. Rita Hills…