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Halloween Re-post: Return of the Living Red

30 Oct
vineyard zombies?  delicious!

vineyard zombies? delicious!

Mash Design, the marketing brains behind the labels for Mollydooker, Two Hands and Magpie Estate, is back with old friends Redheads Studio for this genius new brand. From the unmarked, wax-dipped bottle to the small envelope of crime files, vineyard zombies and disturbing photos, this packaging is utterly unique. The contents of the bottle (yet to be reviewed) is just as unique, blending the Portuguese variety Touriga Nacional with Cabernet Sauvignon from different regions and different vintages. Download this .pdf file for more. Scroll left-to-right to view all images.

Ret_of_living_red3

The attached package of medical images and eerie photos is more than mildly reminiscent of Pearl Jam's Vitalogy liner notes.

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#VPIWF: The 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival in Tweets

21 Apr

How much has the (Vancouver) wine world really embraced twitter? This post is a bit of an experiment in the matter, and depends wholly on Twitter users for the quality of its content.

I’ve added a new feed (right sidebar) so you can follow along in real-time with all the action of the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival (#VPIWF), courtesy Vancouver’s most hardcore wine-geek tweeps.

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Please note, this post is a WIP: I will compile interesting tweets from various VPIWF events in this post as the festivities continue.

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» Diva(s) at the Met

What happens when a group of women get together? They talk wine, of course! Host Daenna Van Mulligen (aka Wine Diva) will introduce you to an international group of winemakers, proprietors and industry principals, who will share not only the wines they represent, but also the stories of their journey as a woman in the grape trade. After, schmooze and enjoy a selection of small bites prepared to match each wine by Diva at the Met Chef Dino Renaerts. Diva(s) at the Met

TheWineDiva Trying to get to my Divas at the Met event #vpiwf but the 4/20 pot protest has shut down traffic- great- come early. You’ll be stuck too

rtay Heading to the Metropolitan Hotel for Diva(s) at the Met, my first official @PlayhouseWine fest event of what will be a very boozy week.

lfroese Food porn: canapes from Divas at the Met MMMMMMMMM #vpiwf #wine @thewinediva http://tweetphoto.com/19277394

TheWineDiva Divas at the Met 2010 has wrapped. Inspiring women, stories and wine. I am awed-thanks to all you wine divas out there!! #vpiwf

» Canadian Wine Summit as interpreted by @yaffler

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is pleased to announce a very special dialogue about Canadian wine issues as part of the Trade Days Conference.  What is Wine Brand Canada?   Is it Icewine internationally?  How does Cellared in Canada fit in?  How relevant are issues regarding sustainability?

Master Sommelier John Szabo moderates the morning, in-camera Strategy Session (9:30 – 11:30 am) featuring presentations by Mike Weir Wine, Tinhorn Creek, LCBO, Vincor, Brock University, Flat Rock Cellars, Andrew Peller and Mark Anthony Brands. The Canadian Wine Summit

Yaffler Interesting perspectives in this morning’s Canadian Wine Summit. Although As in all things, the big producers dominated proceedings #VPIWF

Yaffler Purpose of this morning’s Canadian Wine Summit: define winebrand Canada. Initial ideas: focus on diversity & sustainability. #VPIWF

Yaffler But before understanding & defining winebrand Canada, should everyone agree on just what it means to be Canadian in a general sense #VPIWF

Yaffler Key Canadian #wine asset is wine tourism. Vital to building the brand & creating emotional ties #VPIWF

Yaffler The big 3 want cooperation in building winebrand Canada. But only on their terms… #VPIWF Continue reading

Fun with FAOSTAT

23 Mar


Recently, I’ve discovered a great new way to waste time on the Internet. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has a Statistics site that allows users to access all sorts of great information on food production, from crops and livestock to food prices and supply.  For fun, I crunched some numbers to look at recent wine production in some important wine-producing countries.  Google Spreadsheets helped with the chart.

I’ve looked at production data before and I’m always a bit shocked that Australia ranks so low. Aussie wines are definitely over-represented on shelves in BC wine stores, relative to that country’s production.  Chile, too, tends to get much more shelf space than higher-producing nations South Africa and Germany.

I find this interesting. You may not.

Drink Wine. Help Haiti.

21 Jan

Live in British Columbia? Love wine? Then listen up:

Everything Wine
will donate $1 from EVERY bottle sold Saturday, Janunary 23 to Red Cross Haiti relief!  Great specials and free tastings all day.  Our target is 5,000 bottles.

Drop by the store at 998 Marine Drive in North Vancouver, BC or buy online for shipping in BC.

Visit Everything Wine on Twitter

Drink wine. Help Haiti. It’s win-win!

Sulfite Truths

30 Nov

I came across an article that does a decent job clearing up the increasingly common consumer confusion around sulfites in wine.  The following article was written by Canadian Master of Wine James Cluer and originally published in BC Liquor Stores’ Fall 2009 Taste magazine.

Unless you suffer from severe athsma or have a rare sensitivity to sulfur, then don’ worry about sulfites. Besides, there are more sulfites in foods like commercially-prepares fruit salad than in wine.  Sulfites only seemed to become an issue when legislation forced producers to state content on the label, at which time a surprising number of consumers suddenly developed a physical reaction to (them).

Sulfur has been used as a preservative in winemaking since antiquity.  Today, in the form of sulfur dioxide, it is used in virtually all wines as a preservative and (in the winery) as a disinfectant.  It can help prevent wines from oxidizing and can kill bacteria and yeast.  The amount used is controlled by law and producers of finer wines strive to limit the addition of sulfur to a minimum.

There are barely any wines produced in the world without adding sulfur.  It is actually impossible to produce a wine entirely free of sulfites because a small amount is a byproduct of fermentation.


Wine Marketing Win: Puntiapart

2 Oct

long jump wine

http://lavinyeta.es/puntiapart_en.html
http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2009/09/studio-spotlight-elhombredelalata.html

puntiapart2

Paul Hobbs: Argentine Pioneer

18 Sep
vineyards of vina cobos, mendoza

Vineyards of Viña Cobos, Mendoza

As a winemaker, Paul Hobbs is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards and for his innovation and pioneering spirit in working with new and historical sites and regions. His success has inspired a wealth of nicknames among the press, from quiet trendsetter to prospector to truffle-hunting dog. Hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, he went on to become winemaker for Opus One and Simi wineries.

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Recently, Paul is known for his namesake winery in Napa Valley, which has received high accolades (including multiple 100-point scores from Robert Parker) for its Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. What is less well known is that Hobbs is a pioneer in fine wine production in Argentina, having started there in 1988 with Decanter Magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 2009, Nicolas Catena. Señor Catena gives Hobbs much credit for the success of Catena-Zapata’s Chardonnay program. He has since extended his consulting efforts both in Argentina and Chile, consulting with various producers, including La Pampa winery Bodega Del Desierto. But the pinnacle of Hobbs’ work is Mendoza winery Viña Cobos, which began in 1998 and moved into its own winery facility in 2007.

Viña Cobos has expanded its lineup to include the Felino range of varietal wines: Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2007 vintage saw the entire Felino range score 90 points or better by Winedesierto Advocate reviewer Jay Miller.

Bodega del Desierto is the first winery in the Argentine province of La Pampa, a new viticultural region on the western border of the desert route to Patagonia, 700km south of Mendoza. The premium 25/5 varietal range posses Hobbs’ signature rich concentration and drinkability and have been included in”Smart Buy!” and “Top Value” lists by Wine Spectator magazine.

felino cabernetViña Cobos Felino Chardonnay 2008
Classic Argentine Chard, with pronounced oak, but well-balanced by tropical fruit and decent acidity.  90 points, Wine Advocate (August, 2009) $21.99, Everything Wine

Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Good concentration for the price, with solid cassis fruit, dark berry and sweet vanilla.  91 points, Wine Advocate (December, 2008) $21.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5  Chardonnay 2007Bodegas_del_Desierto_25-5_Chardonnay
Top-notch Chardonnay by Mr. Hobbs, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel, great fruit concentration and enough acidity for food pairing. $27.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Another good example of the fruit-forward Paul Hobbs style.  Concentrated blackberry and sweet cassis fruit.  Good tannic structure and oak influence. $27.99, Everything Wine

sources:
http://www.bodegadeldesierto.com/

http://www.vinacobos.com/
http://www.paulhobbs.com/
http://www.erobertparker.com/
http://www.winetastetv.com/

It’s Twasting Time

9 Jun

twitter_logo_headerTwitter has defined the future of the tasting note. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle introduces the new phenomenon of Twasting.

“Twitter’s virtue is brevity,” writes Jon Bonné, “forget pain grillé and 92 points”.

Indeed, to post tasting notes on Twitter, one must be as crisp as the NZSB being reviewed.

“Do we really need to know that last night’s Cabernet had notes of blackberry, cassis and tobacco? Aside from being obvious – the curse of old-fashioned tasting notes – it’s merely a litany of the senses. No qualifications, and therefore no closer to truth. The glory of 140 is in shoving you, hard, toward that truth.”

Read the entire article.

Check out my twasting notes by following me on Twitter @joecorkscrew.

Everything Wine blog

7 Jun

EWblogEverything Wine, BC’s biggest wine store, has launched a new wine blog featuring contributions from a variety of wine geeks including Tasting Room Confidential blogger Mari Kane and yours truly.  Along with a seachable inventory database and online purchasing (launching soon), the blog is a great addition to the increasingly-useful website.  I’m very pleased to be a part of it and I encourage you to bookmark the blog or better yet, subscribe to the feed. Watch for my first post early next week. I’ll have a teaser link from this site.

Fred Franzia: Champion of Cheap

15 May
Fred "Two Buck Chuck" Franzia, admiring his work.

Fred "Two Buck Chuck" Franzia, admiring his work.

Fred Franzia, the owner of Charles “Two Buck Chuck” Shaw just sold his 400 millionth bottle of wine. Mr. Franzia and his “super-value” wine segment is outlined in this great article, courtesy The New Yorker:

Fred Franzia owns forty thousand acres of vineyards, more than anyone in the country; crushes three hundred and fifty thousand tons of grapes a year; and his company, Bronco, has annual revenue of more than five hundred million dollars. Recently, Franzia celebrated the sale of the four-hundred-millionth bottle of Charles Shaw, known as Two Buck Chuck, which is sold for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s.

Franzia’s objective is to sell as much wine as possible—he sells twenty million cases a year now, making Bronco the fourth-largest winery in the U.S., and would like to reach a hundred million. He believes that no bottle of wine should cost more than ten dollars. Franzia is sixty-five and twice divorced. He is both a major seller and a major buyer on the bulk market. He owns several wineries, including one in Sonoma, and he acts as a custom winemaker for wineries without his capacity. In 2000, he opened a ninety-two-thousand-square-foot bottling plant near the Napa airport.

Talking about his wine, Franzia can sound like an old-fashioned Democratic populist, though personally he’s more of a Darwinian capitalist. With Two Buck Chuck, Franzia invented a category, now a significant segment of the marketplace, which is known as “super-value” wine. His idea was to make cheap wine that yuppies would feel comfortable drinking.

how did he do it? read more at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_goodyear

see also: Two Buck Chuck founder defends cheap wine at examiner.com

and: His Two Bucks Worth from The New York Times

and: Charles Shaw Wine on Wikipedia

Yes, it's really $2

Yes, it's really $2