Wine News You Can Use

Food & Drink

A roundup of wine news, that this month includes orange trends, better bottles, wine digs and spills, and lots of ways to sip through the eclipse.

PROVENCE GETS [MORE] STAR POWER. George and Amal Clooney will join the ranks of super-rich superstars making wine in southern France, joining the likes of Brad Pitt (who released wine under the Miraval label with former wife Angelina Jolie), filmmaker George Lucas at Château Margüi, NBA stars Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony (respectively, Chateau La Mascaronne and The Seventh Estate), and John Malkovich at Les Quelles de la Coste. The Clooneys bought the Provence estate Domaine du Canadel in 2021, and will release two wines under the Coteaux Varois en Provence Appellation d’Origine Contrôllée (AOC). The estates red and white grapes were previously sold to a cooperative and Wine Spectator reports the Clooneys will start from scratch with new branding for their upcoming rose and white bottlings.

TRENDS LOOKOUT. Each year the wine trade heads to Dusseldorf, Germany for ProWein, one of Europe’s largest wine fairs, where old standbys, current upstarts and new trends are on display. This year, Drinks Business, the UK trade publication reports on low-cal/low-al beverages were trending high, as were orange-hued drinks such as Mionetto Aperitivo and a spritz product by the Cava brand, Hola; and Glitter Spritz Aperitivo, from the Flaschenpost Gin brand.

Lightweight bottles are getting attention and gaining approval—a big move toward sustainability, as it’s reported that the bottle weight comprises at least 56% of the carbon footprint of wine, with glass contributing 85% of that (more info here from the Spanish GrupoARCE).

DB reports Albariño is trending (again!) With its spiritual home in Spain’s Rías Baixas, where 90% of vineyards are planted to the variety, new styles are emerging, such as aged Albariño. But the wine’s rise in popularity is also sparked by its success in other wine regions, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. Well, hola (again) and ole!

SABOTAGE IN THE CELLAR. The latest act of violence against wine involved the loss of more than 6,600 cases of wine, as it was intentionally spilled from three tanks in the cellars of Cepa 21, an iconic winery in Spain’s Ribera del Duero region. The loss is valued at $2.7 million. You can see the chilling video of the vandal here.

ELSEWHERE, ‘DIGGING’ WINE. Archaeologists in France’s Rhône Valley discovered the remains of an ancient winery near the town of Laveyron. While researchers are still studying the site, reports estimate the winery could date back to the first century A.D. Conducted by Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Preventives, the dig dug up fragments of terracotta that would have been used to store wine in amphorae, and evidence of wood casks. The site is in a region known for ancient winemaking culture, notably by the Allobroges, a Gallic group, loving between the Rhône river and the Alps during the Iron Age and the Roman period. Images of the dig, here, at myscience.org

ECLIPSE SIPS. Numerous wineries are planning are planning special events around the upcoming total eclipse of the sun on April 8. In Hye, Texas, the Ron Yates Winery, saying they are in the “direct path of totality,” will host a day-long party of music, food games and wine. Solar Eclipse Party Farmhouse Vineyards in Texas will offer “The Observer,” a limited-edition GSM blend made with grapes harvested during the last total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Only 16 cases were produced and you have to be on site with a VIP ticket to sip. The Tiny Vineyards Wine Company in Sonoma made 78 cases of “Eclipse Malbec” to commemorate the event. You can order online, first-come, first served ($40 SRP). IN New York’s Finger Lakes, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail has created “Sips to the Eclipse,” an assembly of 10 wineries hosting events over the weekend preceding the eclipse. Likewise, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has organized events on the 7th and 8th.

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