Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How do they make Rosé wines?

Gone will be my enthuastic description of rosé winemaking...

I have on more than one occasion been asked. How do they make rosé wines?
- Do they just mix red and white wine?-

I was always quite pleased to point at that NO- it was not so simple as simply blending red and white wines- but rather rosé wines were the result of red grapes macerated for a short time and an initial bleeding of rosé colour juice.

However possibly in the near future, simple blending of red and white wines to make rosé will be allowed in the EU! Taking away from rosé producers the pride they take in their traditional methods of rosé production. All producers across Europe will be allowed to throw together red and white wine and call it rosé.

Before I make any judgements, I would like to taste some of these blended concoctions. However I do think that it would be important to have a way to identify and differentiate between blended red and white grape rosés and those only from red grapes.

Then again there are several ways to make sparkling wine, and there is no required distinction made to let the customer know which method was used. I guess it is the same idea for these new rosés.

Well see how it plays out...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Everything Will Eventually Kill You?

We are continually bombarded with new scientific research that shows a variety of links between our consumption habits and our health.

It seems however in the end that we are lost among continually conflicting scientific evidence. We no longer know who or what to believe.

Just recently a study completed by the British Medical Journal linked wine consumption and breast cancer. In fact the study is summarized in an article on the and has the title "Even moderate drinking affects women's cancer risk".

The title is enough to just get you thinking. But if that's not enough in the introduction of the article there is the statement "the research, carried out among more than a million UK women, says that alcohol accounts for 5,000 cases of breast cancer every year."

5000 cases of breast cancer a year being blamed on alcohol consumption. That's quite a difficult number to swallow. What about all the other factors which can be involved in possible breast cancer risk...

Now what are we supposed to do and decide?

After hearing about all the positive links between moderate red wine consumption and reduced cardiovascular risks, we now have a negative link to cancer. So even though drinking can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, women now will worry that moderate drinking will increase their risk of developing breast cancer.

Is it a toss up now? Which would you rather suffer from?

There are so many other issues too that have their pro's and con's.

-Sun exposure increases your risk of developing skin cancer, but decreases your risk of having deteriorating bones due to osteoporosis.
- Green tea can is full of beneficial antioxidants, but reduces iron absorption.

So what can you do? In the end all of our consumption and behavioural habits are linked to either positive or negative impacts on our future health.

It's a lose/lose situation in the end.

We just need to come to terms with the fact that what should really be important is to follow what we feel makes us happy and content as individuals.

Cause truly in the end happy and content people live longer and healthier lives no doubt about.

We cannot live life to the fullest if the thought that comes in mind, as we are sipping an ever so enjoyable glass of wine or enjoying a rich piece of delicious chocolate cake, is that we are slowly walking ourselves to the grave.

Relax and don't stress about it. People who are less stressed also live longer!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Has your wine budget changed?

So the question it is everywhere, not only in North America but also in Europe and everywhere else. We all want to know how the current economic situation will impact the wine industry. The wine industry production chain is by far not a short one. How will B2B and B2C relationships change and be affected?

As far as my reading has taken me, and my few discussion with others from the field have revealed that in the end those who love wine are not willing to give it up.

So this is a good sign in a certain sense. The common census is that however consumers will be more in tuned to good quality price buys. They are going to be looking for the best the can get. They will want to put a hold on buying those ever so tempting higher priced bottles and will be more appreciative of good, well made wines. As far as I'm concerned, this is a good attitude to adopt. I have too often found myself in a situation where wine snobs have told me, that wine is too cheap to be good. I think it is important to not lose sight of wines which can potentially boast incredible personality even at a lower price range. I do not see what is wrong with being able to appreciate a range of wines which still have a good quality level.

When bombarded with constant publicity for certain wine types, styles or brands, many are influenced and stay within that range of most advertised wines.

Perhaps this more money conscious consumer will be more open to discovering the wonders that lesser known wines can offer.

In any case, keep enjoying your wine, cause its one of life's pleasures which does not need to be sacrificed just yet.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Organic Wine in Europe

A European Project, ORWINE, over the last three years has been evaluating winemaking practices in order to provide the European Commission scientific support for the implementation of EU regulations to control the production of Organic Wine.

Up until now, there are only regulations and guidelines for the production of Organic grapes in the vineyard. Then in the winery, the processing of Organic grapes was more left to the discretion of the winemaker!

Orwine will be holding a meeting on February 6th 2009 in Siena, Italy, to discuss the subject and the results of their research and studies.

I will certainly be curious to see what additives and practices will be allowed or not...


Website: Orwine

Monday, February 2, 2009

Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

Wine Industry Event, January 27-30th.

I had the chance to attend the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium last week in Sacramento, California.

It was a great event which I throughly enjoyed.

I went as a representative of Infowine an online Journal of Viticulture and Enology ( Working for a journal gives you the chance to really meet tons of interesting people from all around the world.

This years event was generally focused on the current world situation and on sustainability efforts which are clearly growing and spreading in the United States. Everyone seems to be talking about going "green".

Having gotten my M.Sc in Viticulture and Enology in Italy, I was surprised that I had up until now heard very little about "green" movements. Indeed in Europe there is not such an organized and cooperative sustainability movement. Many vine and wine producers in Europe often consciously make efforts to run their operations to lower costs and environmental impacts and many practice integrated management systems, however not in the name of sustainability. There is not a common outlook or word used to define has been happening in Europe. Or perhaps I am out of the loop, I am of course generalizing for Europe in general, and do not know the real situation in each individual European country. You have your organic producers, biodynamic producers, those who apply a few environmental friendly tactics and many others, however many follow their own personal ideologies rather than any fixed rules.

It seems that there is already a common view implanted in most vine and wine producers, and that is that everything has an impact, and that if there are methods which can reduce this impact then it is important that at least some be integrated. I think that most people are conscious and prepared to at least make minimal effort.

Indeed it is still important that wine industry professionals be informed and educated about these current discussion. In the end, as for most people the faster and easier it is for them to get information and apply it the better it is. In other words organizations and movements are essential to get people moving. More effort and more input is not appealing to most. Facilitating the task of implementing sustainable practice is necessary to be able to see results.

How do you get people to change? That's easy... Show them how it will benefit them first and then show them the big picture.