Wine Country Under Siege

Photo: Peter Marks

Photo: Peter Marks

A mandatory evacuation order forced some 5,000 Calistoga residents from their homes last night. For many, the escape from this picturesque northern Napa Valley town meant threading over-burdened cars and trucks through flame-encircled roadways. The few friends and colleagues that I’ve been able to reach say that even though sporadic evacuations are the norm, there’s nothing quite as shocking as a bang on the door and the words, “Get out now!” Take your pets and go.”

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Margrit Mondavi. A Lighthouse for the Arts

Caroline Carter & Margrit MondaviNew Jersey summers are spent ‘down the shore.’ Every year my family heads south to read books on the beach, create music on the deck, and paint. Over the course of our vacation the growing collection of watercolor paintings, almost exclusively seascapes, flowers and lighthouses, compete for a coveted spot on the refrigerator door.

My wife Caroline brings her favorite watercolor books for inspiration and for the last few years that has included Margrit Mondavi’s Sketchbook, Reflections on Wine, Food, Art, Family, Romance, and Life. Caroline owns two copies of Margrit’s autobiography. The first copy, dog-eared, sand filled and paint spattered, comes with us to the beach. The second copy, pristine and autographed, is kept safely tucked away at home and in Caroline’s heart.

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Wine Industry Battles ‘Silent But Deadly’ Gas Emissions

Mucca al pascoloIn the aftermath of Auction Napa Valley’s annual charitable fundraiser it’s clear that those in the wine industry are seriously invested in helping their fellow man. Some in the trade go further than others in their mission to make the world a better place for our children, in their quest to preserve our precious natural resources, or in their resounding commitment to save the world from cow flatulence.

There are many serious threats to the future of mankind and paramount among these are global warming, worldwide pandemic and insipid Pinot Grigio. While the wine industry is powerless in the fight against frightening new diseases and wishy-washy wine, there are some winemakers who are partnering with agricultural concerns to combat global warming.

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The 2015 Wine Blog Award Finalists Have Been Announced.

WBA-Finalist-writing-2015 smallWBA-Finalist-post-2015 small

This morning the Wine Blog Awards announced the 2015 WBA finalists and WineSnark has been nominated for “Best Writing on a Wine Blog”. Shortly after this announcement it was reported that somewhere in Illinois a retired English teacher rolled over in her grave.

WineSnark is also a finalist for the “Best Blog Post of the Year”. For your convenience the nominated article has been reposted below. Who knows, maybe this will lead to a bona fide book deal. One publisher finally offered to publish WineSnark but they would only print one copy because I told them it’s a self-help book.

Le Chanceux’s Tale of Inspiration, Courage & a Little Luck.

At Napa Barrel Care "there were stories of wine coming out of the warehouse into the parking lot."

At Napa Barrel Care “there were stories of wine coming out of the warehouse into the parking lot.”

Sue McNerney was hoping to turn her passion for wine into a profitable business when the Napa earthquake struck on the morning of August 24th. “I was standing in the kitchen when I saw the pictures on my I-pad and I walked over to the door and I said ‘Oh my God. It’s gone. It’s gone!’ ”

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Terroir; From Great Vines Come Great Wines.

Chapter Eleven. Part Three.

“An important part of the pleasure of wine is its reflection of the total environment that produced it. If I find in a wine no hint of where it was grown, no mark of the summer when the fruit ripened, and no indication of the usages common among those who made it, I am frustrated and disappointed. Because that is what good, honest wine should offer. It is not just a commodity subjected to techniques to boost this or that element to meet the current concept of a marketable product.”¹

Gerald Asher, A Vineyard in My Glass

Terroir Puzzle 2 copyThere’s an expression among winemakers that says, “95% of every wine is made in the vineyard.” This simply means that despite the best efforts of man to manipulate wine, its quality ultimately depends on the grapes they start with. Unless of course man takes his 5% and really screws things up, in which case he’ll remind us that 95% of the wine is made in the vineyard. And in case you’re wondering, that’s the vineyard where sour grapes come from.

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