Wine News

May 31, 2011

Wine Growers Worried About Erratic Spring Weather in California


The Sacramento Bee has an interesting article about how wine grape growers in the Sacramento region, along with those tending other perishable crops like cherries and strawberries, are struggling through a series of fluke frosts and hailstorms. YIKES! Given all the bad weather the US is seeing, we're hoping the fruit crops aren't the next victims. They say the cool, wet spring - for the second year in a row - has delayed growth, increased the threat of some diseases and snarled the harvest, as well as crushing, packing and shipping schedules.

We'll keep our fingers crossed and see what happens to the wines and fruit later this year.

Blogpire Productions at Permalink social bookmarking

August 23, 2010

Clos Du Val Winery Declares Its Vindependence


I know you're wondering why I'm posting about a piece that was so obviously crafted in July, so I will tell you. For the past 6 weeks I have been up to my eyeballs in moving boxes. Packing them, hauling them and most importantly, unpacking them. I've been a little distracted by all that cardboard and as a result my inbox has been filling up with tasty little tidbits that I've recently been trying to catch up on.

This one strikes my fancy because I just love the message... and the discount is a pretty good incentive too.

When, in the course of events, it becomes necessary to stand up for what you believe in, to bravely swim against the tide, to do what you think is right even if it is contrary to the opinions of others, to not allow yourself to be swayed, bullied or bargained with.
At Clos Du Val, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that our commitment to such principles is at the very foundation of all we do and all we have done since our founding in 1972. That to manipulate these principles in a manner inconsistent with our dedication to balance, elegance and grace would demonstrate a lack of respect for each other, our vineyards and our consumers.
We, therefore, as a winery and as individuals, and in recognition of these principles set forth by our founders nearly four decades ago, on this day in July in the year 2010, declare our independence which, in the spirit of individualism, shall forever more be deemed 'Vindependence.'
To the spirited individuals who share these principles, we ask you to join our revolution and declare your own Vindependence today and, in doing so, you will receive access to exclusive content and giveaways, as well as 15% off any on-line or tasting room purchase through 2010.

I can't honestly remember the last time I had a Clos du Val wine, so I'll have to do my due diligence and get back to you on that one. I do remember the price point being just over our Cheap Fun limit (in the low 20s?) so perhaps I'll save them for a Swanky Wine Friday... nothing wrong with a little budget-friendly swank, right?

Sign the Declaration of Vindependence

Check out Clos du Val Wines

p.s. I signed the declaration just prior to posting this and I already received a discount code to use for the remainder of the year.

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

June 23, 2010

Taste Live with Fresh & Easy Tonight!

tasting pour.jpg
Normally I'd break up my Fresh&Easy coverage, but as I was perusing their blog for wine recommendations (taking advantage of the big sale this week) I came across an invite to participate in a Twitter tasting. It is tonight so if you're interested, RSVP ASAP. Here are the basics:

To join
1. Sign up at Taste Live using Twitter, Facebook or creating a new account on the top right corner
2. RSVP here
3. Pick up the wines below at your local Fresh & Easy store
4. Log in to Taste Live on June 23rd starting at 7:00PM (PST) - Hashtag: #FreshEasyWines

The wines in question are all Fresh & Easy exclusives:
Napa Family Vineyards Chardonnay - Under $12
The Vine Yard Late Harvest Riesling - Under $8
Re del Castello Chianti Classico - Under $10

Check out full details of the tasting on the Fresh & Easy blog.

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

April 26, 2010

RIP Thomas Angrove, Father of Franzia


Here at CFW, we'd like to pay a belated tribute to wine packaging visionary, Thomas Angrove who passed away at the end of March. Click on the link below to check out the full piece and an oddly entertaining video on Asylum:

Box Wine Inventor Dies, ATI Wants You to Celebrate His Boozy Creation
By Ryan McKee

The inventor of boxed wine, Australian genius Thomas Angove, passed away last week at 92 years old. Asylum would like to honor his contribution to our reckless abandon (aka "Slap the Bag") by proposing a National Box Wine Day, which will be held, well, today.

So wherever you are right now -- whether it be work, school or watching the baby -- walk outside and buy a box of wine. Immediately chug one-third (equal to one standard bottle), then let another third pour out on the ground for Angove. Finally share the rest with the winos slowly surrounding you. Don't feel trashy or ashamed. Drinking box wine is not nearly as low-class as some would have you believe.


Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

June 7, 2008

Eco-Friendly Wine Packaging - French Rabbit Tetra Paks

For most people these days, Earth Day isn't just a once a year event. Even folks in the wine industry are becoming more eco-conscious in a number of ways. For wine producers, eco friendly packaging can mean cheaper to produce and cheaper to ship. For us, it means more wine for less money and ultimately less waste.

10.jpgMaking French Rabbit's New Eco-Smart Wine Bottle
How Boisset Family Estates, the third-largest French winery, launched an eco-smart alternative to the wine bottle that's remaking the industry. by Alissa Walker

U.S. wine consumption topped 300 million cases in 2007, an all-time high. The largest growth is among 21-to-31-year-olds and in $12 to $15 bottles. In fact, 70% of all wine is drunk on the day it's purchased. Boisset Family Estates sought to capitalize on this casual wine trend with French Rabbit, and for marketing and environmental reasons, "we wanted to break the tradition of presenting wine in a glass bottle," says Jean Charles Boisset, president.

Boisset chose "Tetra Pak," an aluminum-coated paperboard known for its versatility. (Everything from orange juice to soup is packaged in it.) The recyclable material is superior to glass in protecting wine from oxidation, and its thinner walls let wine chill more quickly.
Early mock-ups played with a variety of off-the-shelf Tetra Pak options, including the Tetra Brik, often used for soy milk, Boisset decided on an "octagonal one-liter" shape, a radical departure from typically dowdy bag-in-box wines. Jean Charles also liked its rounded, ergonomic qualities. "I really liked the way it felt to hold and pour out," he says.

The Tetra Pak French Rabbits arrive at stores in branded, recyclable cardboard boxes that can be used to build "distinctive displays," eliminating the need for additional, bulky point-of-scale elements. This spring, Boisset launched four-packs of "single-serving" French Rabbit to promote the wine as picnic friendly.

Boisset introduced French Rabbit in Canada in 2005 and then the United States in late 2006. It toured the country, holding blind taste tests with wine journalists, who've given the vino high marks. Consumers have too, buying more than 4.5 million French Rabbits in Tetra Pak in North America (the company also sells glass-bottle versions, so as to offer a choice). And the industry has noticed. "Over 70 wineries have launched the Tetra Pak wine since our launch," Jean Charles says.

Check out the full piece in the June 2008 issue of Fast Company

Content and images from

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

May 24, 2008

Name-Your-Price Wine Boosts Loyalty and Sales

Tired of paying too much for mediocre wine? Now one South African producer asks you to pay what you think it is worth. The tactic seems to be working. He is simultaneously strengthening his customer base while boosting sales. Check out this bit from the May 22 SpringWise:

What works for alternative rock music, might also work for wine. You may remember how Radiohead got the world's attention when it let listeners download its album In Rainbows, asking them to pay whatever price they thought the music was worth. Sales of the album reached USD 10 million. Since then others have tried the pay-what-you-like marketing technique, including Paste magazine, which we featured in October.

South African BLANKbottle has gone a step further. The boutique winemaker's founder, Pieter Walser, sent 20 cases of its latest premium white wine Moment of Silence to loyal customers on consignment, asking them to evaluate the wine and then pay him what they thought it was worth. They paid up to ZAR 90 per bottle (USD 11.80 / EUR 7.50), and the average price came to ZAR 50. Since BLANKbottle aims to exceed customers' quality vs. price expectations, the wine went on sale to the public at a price of ZAR 40.

Walser, for his part, got a high return on the wine he risked in the venture. In addition to the publicity he garnered, he determined a new product's price point based on the actual purchasing decisions made by the winery's best customers. Feedback that's likely to be more valuable than the opinions volunteered by focus groups or market research experts. And by involving them in such a fundamental business decision, he no doubt increased brand loyalty among the winery's core customer base. One to try out with your own best customers! (Spotted by: Bruce Gourley)


from Springwise

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

May 13, 2008

The Drops of God piques wine interest and drives sales

dropsofgod.jpgTalk about wine appreciation reaching the masses. In Asia, a new graphic novel is introducing wine knowledge and interest to a whole new fan base. Check out this bit from the May 12 BusinessWeek:

In Asia, Comics Uncork A Wine Boom
A graphic-novel series with an oenophile hero is whetting Asia's appetite for wine. Kami no Shizuku (The Drops of God), a Japanese manga comic written by a brother-sister team under the pen name Tadashi Agi, has sold 1.9 million copies in Japan, and wine distributors are harvesting the benefits. Japanese distributor Mercian even hired the series' illustrator to design a new label for some of its bottles of imported Beaujolais Nouveau. In 2007, Mercian sold 127,000 cases, with the manga-labeled bottles helping to boost sales by 18% from the year prior. Translations of the books are creating wine lovers elsewhere in Asia, too. In Taiwan, sales of Colli di Conegliano Rosso Contrada di Concenigo rose 30% after the wine, produced by Italy's Umberto Cosmo, was mentioned in one volume. And some Koreans use the series as a kind of wine guide. Now a bigger test awaits: In April, the comic books were launched (as Les Gouttes de Dieu) in France.
-Ian Rowley and Hiroko Tashiro in Tokyo

Content and image from Business Week

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

April 16, 2008

A Shot of This, a Vial of That ... Test Tube Wines for Tasting

wineside.jpgLeave it to Springwise to find all of the truly fascinating business ventures in the world of wine. The latest buzz is from a French company called WineSide that has come up with an idea that might incite the next revolution--in wine, that is. They are marketing trial size tubes of wine which, in theory will make choosing just the right bottle a little less scary:

WineSide offers both sweet and classic wines in patented, flat-base glass tubes with screw tops carefully engineered to protect the wines' flavour. The sweet wines--which include Sauternes and Muscat, for example--are available in 6cl tubes, while the Pomerol, Chateau Neuf du Pape and other classic wines can be purchased in 6cl or 10cl sizes. WineSide's collection represents a range of appellations and producers; tubes are available individually or by the box, which can be chosen to provide an introduction to a variety, year or region. Kicking off retail sales, the products are available exclusively at Colette in Paris this month.

In addition to giving consumers a new way to sample and discover wines, WineSide's tube format also promises to give vintners new tryvertising capabilities at relatively low cost. The French company's website is still under construction, but it says it is looking for distributors.


content and images from Springwise

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

February 17, 2008

Bargain Basement buys from Robert Parker

C_Bpostart.jpgI don't often rely on wine critics' lists when I'm in the mood to try new things. I'd rather wing it and have no one but myself to blame for my mistakes. That said, I do enjoy reading a good bit of what Robert Parker writes and in a recent Business Week article he focuses on an assortment of wines from Cartlidge & Browne which are, like a good pair of khakis, always reliable and in-style. It just goes to show, you don't always have to turn to obscure and funky imports to find value. There are some stellar cellar finds right here in the USA, even in California.

Here is the list of wines that Parker reviewed:

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon 85 points
2005 Rabid Red 86 points
2006 Pinot Noir 87 points
2006 Chardonnay 87 points
2006 Sauvingon Blanc Dancing Crow 89 points

For his detailed notes check out our excerpt or the complete article in Business Week.

ArrowContinue reading: "Bargain Basement buys from Robert Parker"

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

September 10, 2007

Wine & Apples for a Good Cause

wine-n-apples.jpgOK, so we're a little more tardy with posting about this than we wanted to be, but better late than never, right? We found out about an opportunity to drink some wine and support a great cause, so we wanted to let our Boston-area readers know about it so they could get in on the fun. The short story is you can go to Nashoba for some wine drinking and apple picking, all to support the On Your Feet Project (learn about 'em) - more details below.

What: A wine tasting at the Nashoba Valley Winery. Your ticket (for $30) includes the wine tasting, a complimentary glass from the winery, a tour, transportation to and from the winery, entrance to the Apple Festival, and breakfast from Starbucks. What a deal! Any apples you pick (and buy) will be at an additional cost.
Buy your tickets by September 26 to get in on the festivities, which are on September 30 - learn more at

Head Wino at Permalink social bookmarking

August 29, 2007

Penfolds Character Videos

We've always liked Penfolds wines - they've always struck us as a high quality entry from Australia, a country that gives us quite a few good wines. The company has started a new venture called Character, which is a series of Web videos, in a talk show format, about wine.

There are Hollywood-type celebs, and wine world celebs, and some interesting chat about the grape. We usually only watch Web videos if someone's falling off something, or if they're about Chocolate Rain or George Washington, but this is something that piqued our interest.

Check out the first two videos at PenfoldsVIP and see below for the info we got from Penfolds.

ArrowContinue reading: "Penfolds Character Videos"

Head Wino at Permalink social bookmarking

August 7, 2007

Global Warming vs Vineyards

We usually have a fairly narrow viewpoint on wines - we only think as far ahead as our next glass. Sometimes we like to think about the future, however, and one item that we consistently come back to is the impact of global warming on our ability to get that next glass. CNN did a nice piece on just that, so we thought we'd share it with you so it can keep you up at nights too. You're welcome.

"What's happening with global warming, and what does it mean to the great vineyards of Napa Valley?" he sets up his topic and jumps in, fueled by his training as an enologist, a specialist in viticulture, or the growing of grapes and making of wine.

"Most of what I hear is that in the next 10, 20, 30 years, maybe, the temperature may go up about a degree. Now, from six miles south of us in Napa to five miles north of us in St. Helena, the difference in temperature can be five degrees.

Find out what this enologist has to say at

Head Wino at Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2007

Clif Bars and Wine

cliff-wines.jpgWe've liked Clif Bars for a while - among the energy bars we've tried, they've got the better flavors and taste the least like chocolate covered poo. Our personal weakness is the peanut butter chocolate chip-type variety, but that's not why you're here, is it?

The same folks who make Clif Bars have entered into the wine world, and have released four different wine varieties:

  • The Climber, 2004 North Coast Red Wine
  • Kit’s killer cab, 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gary’s Improv, 2003 Napa Valley Meritage
  • Syrah, 2004 Napa Valley
We're hoping the wine is as good as the bars, and we're excited to give 'em a try.

Clif Family Winery [via Winehiker]

Head Wino at Permalink social bookmarking

July 25, 2007

The Five Best Wine Blogs


We just found out that Wine & Spirits Magazine has laid out the top five wine blogs to read, and while we didn't make the list (this year anyway) we thought it was interesting enough to share it with our readers. The list was compiled by Tyler Colman of Dr Vino's Wine Blog, and contains some pretty darned interesting sites, though there are a few we read regularly that didn't make the cut (where's Basic Juice?). Anyway, we're still learning here at CFW, and there's a lot we could learn from these folks.

Top 5 Wine Blogs:
Brooklyn Guy's Food and Wine Blog
Good Wine Under $20
Tasting Room
Wine Terroirs

via Good Wine Under $20

Head Wino at Permalink social bookmarking

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