Can we make wine on Mars? Some scientists think there are good reasons for trying, so I’ve come up with some ideas to help them along.Read More
A centenary celebration for a whisky that is much younger than its bottle indicates - and that’s not a bad thing. Here’s a story of a surprising discovery - a fresh bit of the distant past for whisky lovers.Read More
This has been a heartbreaking season - in the Southeastern US where I live, four hurricanes in less than six weeks have caused widespread damage along the Gulf Coast, South Florida and Puerto Rico. And now, California's top wine regions are on fire.
California is often the victim of forest fires when dry weather and high winds dramatically increase the risk of conflagration. This year's fires are particularly difficult because they are destroying not only wilderness areas but heavily populated areas as well. The news changes by the hour but as I write this on Tuesday afternoon, 15 people are reported dead and more than 150 are missing in the fires that have destroyed more than 1500 structures, and more than 25000 acres (10,000 hectares). A Wednesday update puts the number of dead at 21, the number of structures (homes and businesses) destroyed at more than 2,000 and the number of affected acres at 125,000 (50,000 hectares).
We know for sure that two wineries have been completely destroyed - Signorello Estate and Paradise Ridge Winery. Because so many people were forced to evacuate, often with only half an hour's notice, and because the fires are still burning, blocking many parts of Napa and Sonoma counties, there hasn't been a full assessment yet of the damage. We'll have bad news trickling in for days I expect.
To give you an idea of what is happening, here are two photos: on the top is the Jackson Family's Mount Veeder Vineyard a couple of weeks ago, and below that, how it looked last night.
As the news is breaking quickly in California, here are two recent reports that I recommend checking out:
I've spoken with many friends in the area; my friends are safe, but not a one of them has been untouched by the fires and many of them have close colleagues and acquaintances who have lost their homes in the blazes. It will be a long time recuperating from this disaster I'm afraid.
Does vintage really matter in an age when technology helps winemakers produce good wine every year? It does when the winemaker gets no grapes, and that may be the result for many after a week of devastating frost in Europe.Read More
A news report from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) says worldwide wine production is down significantly in 2016. But just because it was a bad year for production doesn't mean it was a bad year for everyone, nor was it necessarily a bad year for quality.Read More
Champagne is definitely a wine of celebration, but it becomes something else for those who celebrate too hard, as a group of cricket fans in England just found out. Their club ordered them to stop firing Champagne corks at the players on the pitch...Read More