Being from California, you have no doubt experienced my bias toward California wines. No doubt, I like Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast, Lodi, and Central Valley wines. But you know I have experienced wines in other places, like Mendoza (Argentina), Bordeaux (France), Champagne, Willamette Valley (Oregon), central Washington, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Stellenbosch (South Africa), Chile, among others.
But looking at the totality of wines and vineyards yields a different look at wine. Only 18.3 million acres of vineyards on the globe (for wine and table grapes) according to the new 2019 statistical report just out from the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine). Just 5 countries represent 50% of all the vineyards in the world: Spain with 13% of global vineyards; followed by China (12%), France (11%), Italy (9%), and Turkey (6%). World vineyard acreage has been on a decline since 2003. Where is the U.S.? The U.S. is fourth in the world.
The fun begins
With the recent wild fires here in California, the wine production numbers could be radically altered. This will either change the types of wines we drink, or raise the prices since Orange man imposed tariffs on French wines. My suggestion for you is to stock up now on the wines currently in the store. And you can always buy wine from areas least affected by the fires.
Exactly 4613 wineries (and 5900 growers) are currently operating in California. The state accounts for 43% of all the wineries in the U.S. but 80% of the wine produced. Admittedly, the California wine industry is the most mature in the country—the number of wineries in the state has grown by only 27% since 2015. By comparison, Texas and Michigan, in the Top 10 most wineries per state, have grown their numbers by 84% and 80% respectively. California’s dominance of the U.S. market makes it the fourth largest wine producer in the world.
And: September is California Wine Month, the state’s annual harvest celebration. Each year, wineries, grape growers and regional associations across the state host special events and tastings, and 2020 will be no exception. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s festivities will take the form of virtual wine tastings and tours, live-streamed auctions, digital cooking demonstrations, special wine discounts and the first-ever virtual grape stomp. California Wines has also created a Harvest 2020 Playlist on Spotify to help put wine lovers in a harvest state of mind, wherever they happen to live.
First, some history: Historically, an enoteca was a wine library; a place where bottles of wine were displayed. Today, the word enoteca is also used to indicate a wine bar where a curated collection of wines is available for tasting. The most famous enoteca in Italy is the Enoteca Italiana in Siena which was once a de Medici fortress.
Cooperage is the general term for containers used to store wine. Small barrels, large wooden casks, and stainless steel tanks are the most common kinds of cooperage, but containers made from concrete, fiberglass, and glass are also employed . In California, one of the newest forms of cooperage are concrete eggs which have been used by high end wineries for a decade. How many of you remember the cute place on Union Street, named The Cooperage??
The name Burgundy dates back to the 6th century when a barbaric, wandering Germanic tribe known as Burgondes established a settlement in central France after the fall of the Roman Empire. They called the region Burgundia. However, even before the region was named, grapes grew in Burgundy. The area’s first documented vineyard was planted in the village of Meursault in the first century A.D.
One is the number of drinks that the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends as the maximum daily alcohol consumption for men. The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) is challenging the federal report, as it cuts the prior recommendation of 2 drinks (in place for 30 years) in half. The NAWR believes the report represents an anti-alcohol agenda—not a conclusion based on scientific evidence. Its fear is that once published, these guidelines will lead to restrictive legislation. I guess I failed??
So, please make sure you have either a designated driver or Uber nearby.
And the wazzoo to Champagne, France for dumping their grapes. Poor champagne growers don’t want to make champagne this year since it would lower prices. Seems people are drinking less of their stuff during the pandemic. Here in California, farmers must bring their crops to market, since they have crop loans and other benchmarks for financing. So, cry not for those inglorious and greedy growers in Champagne.