• His Dream Is Now Ours: Legendary Vineyard Manager Ulises Valdez Sr.'s Children Carry on His Legacy
    by Aaron Romano on September 18, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    In vineyards across Sonoma and at Valdez Family Wines, Valdez Sr.'s widow and four children are continuing his American dream

  • 2019 Bordeaux Futures Face Difficult Present
    by James Molesworth, Suzanne Mustacich on September 18, 2020 at 4:00 am

    A typical Bordeaux futures campaign starts around May and drags slowly through June. But 2020 has hardly been typical, with the global pandemic canceling the influx of wine journalists and buyers into the region to taste the wines before they’re offered for sale, and global markets in economic turmoil, including the highly important U.S. market, which currently has 25% tariffs in place on many French wines. Though the châteaus got a late start on their campaign, they moved quickly, with most major names releasing futures within a few weeks. And they were thoughtful with pricing, dropping them by as much as 30% from last year’s campaign. Château Pontet-Canet lit the fuse, releasing its 2019 futures at 58 euros per bottle, ex-négociant, down 31% on the 2018 opening price of 84 euros. U.S. consumers can expect to see the wine retail at about $80 per bottle. That’s about half the going retail price for the 2016 and 2015 vintages, currently on store shelves and of comparable quality. “Their decrease is the right direction,” said Chris Adams, CEO of New York City’s Sherry-Lehmann, a major retailer that typically takes a strong position on Bordeaux. “But the difficulty is we’re facing a situation where we don’t know what the tariffs will do. That alone would be a huge issue, but now add in COVID and this really difficult economic reality.” The château teams know times are tough, but futures sales are crucial to cover costs, which explains the decision to go to market with reduced prices. “This situation is marked by a huge uncertainty, and there was a kind of a gamble in going on the market,” said Philippe Blanc, managing director of Château Beycheville. “But when we launched the campaign we had good tips that there is a sure interest in the buying of our wine at the price tag we intended to offer.” Merchants report interest in global markets, even in the U.S., though sales were more challenging there. “The futures campaign went reasonably well despite the circumstances,” said Jean-Pierre Rousseau, general manager and co-owner of major négociant Diva. “The countries that bought the most, in order, for us at least: Great Britain, China, Switzerland and the USA. Clearly, the lower prices helped considerably; without [them] the campaign would certainly have been a failure.  Château owners also released fewer futures than usual, holding back more wine to sell later, in what they hope will be better times.

  • Restaurant Award Winners That Have Permanently Closed During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    on September 17, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    A running list of wine-focused dining spots that have been forced to shut for good as the spread of coronavirus continues to impact the economy

  • Does This Glass of Beer Make Me Look Fat?
    by Douglas De Jesus on September 16, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    A new study finds wine drinkers had lower body mass indexes than those who avoid alcohol, as well as beer and liquor drinkers

  • How Will Weeks of Wildfire Smoke on the West Coast Impact the 2020 Vintage?
    by Augustus Weed on September 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Blazes have left smoke hanging over the region for weeks, and some vintners worry it could impact their grapes

  • Destin Charity Wine Auction Goes Virtual for 2020 and Raises $1.35 Million
    by Shawn Zylberberg on September 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Record-breaking lots and a new virtual format highlighted the 15th annual auction, raising funds for 16 children's charities in the Florida Panhandle

  • Harvest During COVID's Second Wave: Spanish Wineries Fight for the 2020 Vintage
    by Gillian Sciaretta on September 14, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    Spain has been hard-hit by coronavirus, but vintners are adapting to rebuild businesses and keep workers safe

  • Heitz Cellar Team Buys Napa's Burgess Cellars
    by Aaron Romano on September 11, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Owner Gaylon Lawrence Jr. and CEO Carlton McCoy Jr. add another slice of Napa history to their portfolio with the old Souverain estate; bringing in winemaker Meghan Zobeck

  • Champagne Grapples with COVID and Slumping Demand
    by Suzanne Mustacich on September 11, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    After sales plummeted with the global economy, Champagne houses and growers negotiated on dramatically cutting production

  • Updated: West Coast Wildfires Threaten Oregon and Washington Wine Harvests
    by Tim Fish on September 11, 2020 at 12:50 am

    Most vineyards and wineries have avoided serious fire and smoke damage so far, but a Rogue Valley winery was lost and danger remains for Willamette valley