By Salih Kucukaga.
Italian prosecco is in the process of re-branding itself as the "softer, lighter" bubbly, not to mention cheaper. Production has already increased thirty-fold over the past four decades, with plans for greater distribution particularly to emerging wine markets like China, where marketing drives the majority of sales, relegating prosecco to champagne wannabe status.
Hence Italy’s support of reserving the name prosecco for wine produced only within the region, a formerly Slovenian area that’s been growing grapes since the 1500s, to up the exclusivity factor. Oh, and then there was that little Paris Hilton promo. Italian winemakers disparaged the pairing (she was, after all, promoting an Austrian-crafted sparkling wine in a can), but Paris certainly knows a thing or two about aspirational status.
Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts , Napa Valley’s gorgeous shrine to food and wine may be a wonderful place to visit but the Sacramento Bee reveals that it is a bit of a financial albatross.
The 80,000-square-foot center was built with a $20 million gift from the late Robert Mondavi and has relied on a tiny state-owned bank, Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, or I-Bank for short, which gave the center a $77 million bailout. Now the small bank is in deep trouble due to the subprime mortgage crisis and is facing an Aug. 11 deadline to come up with cash to back its guarantees.
According to the Bee, I-Bank authorized the first bond offering for Copia in 1999 for $70 million which backed the construction of the buildings and grounds that include indoor and outdoor kitchens, a demonstration vineyard and organic vegetable gardens, cooking and tasting classrooms and a 240-seat auditorium.
Copia is also home to two restaurants and a large gift shop. But many tourists prefer to spend their time at individual wineries rather than at Copia. Since it opened in 2001 it has lost between $4.2 million and $12 million a year and has $14 million deficit, according to the 2007 annual report. Even though I-Bank knew Copia was in deep trouble, it approved Copia’s financial rescue in April 2007 and authorized the bond refinancing deal three months later through New York-based securities firm JPMorgan.
The Bee also reports that Copia faced scrutiny over how it was using the space and facilities built with its first round of tax-exempt bond money. An IRS agent found that Copia was using far more than the allowable five percent of its space for business activities putting the center’s tax-exempt status in jeopardy.
The article’s commenters have some fascinating ideas for Copia, including turning into a museum to honor the late Robert Mondavi . Others argue that is was flawed from the get-go and an unnecessary expense for a region that already has so many wine and food options.
"Perrier-Jouët, will be launching the first tailor-made champagne in history: a Perrier-Jouët cuvée made by and for you alone. A mere one hundred people around the world will enjoy the exclusive privilege of a champagne experience devoted solely to them, over the course of an exceptional day at Perrier-Jouët’s headquarter’s the Maison Belle Époque, which has never opened its doors to the public.
Guided in person by Hervé Deschamps, the Maison’s 7th Cellar Master in a lineage dating back two centuries, the fortunate few will have the unprecedented opportunity to create their “own” personal cuvée in the privacy of our Épernay".
"Perrier-Jouët By & For is much more than simply a prestige cuvée – it is a uniquely bespoke luxury experience which incorporates:
• The rare honour of creating one’s own champagne: a made-to-measure case of 12 bottles, inspired by the Belle Époque Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2000.
• A priceless behind-the-scenes visit to Épernay, with access to the private house of Perrier-Jouët, the Maison Belle Époque, which features one of the world’s most prestigious collections of Art Nouveau masterpieces.
• A face-to-face consultation with Hervé Deschamps, the House’s Cellar Master, who will guide the personalisation process.
• A dedicated area within the Maison’s historic cellars, where the champagne will age and mature under expert supervision.
• On each bottle, the purchaser’s signature and an authenticating co-signature of Cellar Master Hervé Deschamps."
The bottle was designed by émile Gallé in 1902, who is one of the artists that best represents Art Nouveau era. In 1964, a wine maker was struck by the beautiful anemone painted bottle founded in Perrier-Jouët’s cave, and decided to make special Cuvée suited for. Since then, ‘Belle Epoque’ has been enjoyed in all over the world, such as in Paris, London and New York, for its dominant presence of white Chardonnay grapes that offers elegant taste, and also the glamorous design of the bottle that has been known as ‘Fleur de Champagne’ ".
Three men, a winemaker, a viticulturalist, and a market have collaborated on a new tiny-production artisanal Napa Cabernet. The 2005 Trivium, named for the Latin term for a three-way crossroad, is made up of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Les Ivrettes, a vineyard in which their daughters played while growing up in St. Helena.
Les Ivrettes means ‘the little tipsy ones’ in French, a reference to the parties which the young women hosted in the vineyard adjoining their homes. The vineyard is located within the The Lewelling Vineyard, which was established in 1864 by viticulturalist Doug Wight’s great-great-grandfather, pioneer horticulturist John Lewelling.
Doug Wight is the fifth generation of his family to farm grapes in the Napa Valley. Together with esteemed winemaker Jack Stuart and marketer Stuart Harrison, he has created a wine with notes of cherry, cassis and spice and rich blackberry flavors. There were just 318 cases made and it sells for $60 a bottle.
If you own a yacht more than likely you have all the luxuries onboard. Planning to enjoy a glass of exceptional champagne? Plan on not spilling a drop when you add the Bottler to your accessories. The extraordinary hand-manufactured piece designed with cardanic suspension (gimballed) with three concentric rings hold the bottle perpendicularly no matter the motion of the boat.
Made with watch-making precision and available in three different metals (brass, nickel and gold-plated) to suit the interior of any yacht you’d better plan to spend between €5,000 to €10,000 or more for a customized version. Cheers!
While many New World wineries have embraced the screwcap (most New Zealand and Australian wines are screwcap and many U.S. wines are too), the French winemakers have been slow to adopt them. The Telegraph reports that may be about to change. According to one wine expert both Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy and Bordeaux’s Chateau Margaux are thinking of going screwcap.
This is huge news since these are two very recognizable and lauded brands. The director general of Chateau Margaux, Paul Pontallier says they have been doing tests for a few years but are not certain if they will use the screwcaps because their wines are meant to be stored for long periods, there is some debate over whether or not screwcaps are optimal for wines that are best aged.
One of Burgundy’s best-known producers, Jean-Claude Boisset is using them on approximately a third of their wines including the Chambertin grand cru 2005, which sells for almost £100 a bottle. They feel that the screwcap is great for wines that will be aged because they protect the wine from oxidation better than a cork can. The Larouche wine group in Burgundy has also started using screw tops on its highest end wine, the Réserve de l’Obédiance, but still prefers the cork for red wines that will be aged.
The emperor of wine has also weighed in. Wine critic Robert Parker says wines bottled with corks will be in the minority by 2015 and that only wines meant to sit in cellar for decades will be topped by a cork. While the cork will always have romantic appeal, the realities of the wine business and the growing customer acceptance of screwcaps seem to have sealed its fate.
After reading "The Billionaire’s Vinegar" it’s hard not to be skeptical about wine finding stories but this one from the BBC is pretty amazing. An 1893 bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne was found in a sideboard at a Scottish castle.
The BBC News reports the sideboard came from Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull. The owner Chris James found the bottle after getting a locksmith to cut a key to open the piece of furniture. Once opened the sideboard revealed a bottle of brandy, a port decanter, a bottle of claret and the single bottle of 1893 Veuve Clicquot. The drinks are believed to have been locked up since at least 1897.
James contacted Veuve Clicquot, who said the bottle was the oldest in existence. The priceless bottle is now displayed at the company’ s visitors center in Reims, France.
For the last few years wine has been steadily gaining on beer but it looks like that trend has ended. A recent Gallup poll revealed that U.S. adults now prefer beer by a double-digit margin over wine.
As you can see from the chart above, wine briefly surged above beer in 2005 but has since slipped further from favor. Beer still is not as widely preferred today as it was in the early 1990s but wine’s popularity is now at 31% down from a high of 39%.The poll revealed that it’s mostly among Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 that have switched back to referring beer. The drinking preferences of younger adults have remained stable in recent years, with 18- to 29-year-olds still showing a wide preference for beer and drinking liquor more often than wine.
The survey doesn’t ask where the people drink but I suspect the younger drinkers are indulging in their cocktails out in bars more than the more mature drinkers.
Wine remains the preferred beverage of older drinkers. Sixty-two percent of Americans say they drink alcohol and the average drinker reports having consumed 3.8 alcoholic drinks in the past week.
Daily drinking is more common among Americans of higher socioeconomic status: 41% of drinkers with incomes of $75,000 or greater say they have had a drink in the past 24 hours, compared with 36% of middle-income respondents (those with household incomes between $30,000 and $74,999) and just 23% of those residing in lower-income households (with incomes of less than $30,000).
Even in tough times, consumers are still willing to buy premium – provided you get your brands positioning right.
Once you’ve slashed your price it’s virtually impossible to increase the price later.
Don’t leave money on the table, read the article.