Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Could Climate Change help the Global Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raise a Glass of Scottish Wine to Global Climate Changes

By Rudy Ruitenberg Mar 25, 2014 11:00 PM CT

Thanks to climate change, Christopher Trotter will make history later this year by pairing a Scottish white wine with the local spoots.

The razor clams harvested from the nearby shores of the North Sea will go down nicely with the first bottles from Trotter’s vineyard north of Edinburgh. The 2014 vintage will be special for Scotland, where Highlanders have distilled whisky and brewed ale for centuries.

“Scotland has probably been more of a beer-drinking nation than anything else,” said Trotter, a chef and food writer. Wine hasn’t been part of the culture, he said, “until now.”

Chris Trotter, Scottish Chef & Vintner, stands in his vineyard

Christopher Trotter, Scottish Chef, Vintner and food writer, stands in his vineyard in Fife, Scotland
- Source: Christopher Trotter via Bloomberg

Trotter might as well pour a splash on the ground in memory of a vanishing world. Climate change, which scientists say is caused by heat-trapping gas accumulating in the atmosphere, is transforming dinner tables and scrambling traditions in the $270 billion global wine industry. In Europe, warmer seasons are chasing Italian and Spanish vintners up hillsides, making a winner of Germany, encouraging growers in Poland and spreading the cultivation of wine grapes to latitudes friendlier to belly-warming whiskies and ales. And it’s raising the alcohol content, and altering the flavors, of famous wines in France.

Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is a finicky crop. Vineyards flourish where average annual temperatures range from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Too much dry weather, hail or too much rain can downgrade or wreck a vintage.

“Scotland has probably been more of a beer-drinking nation than anything else,” said Trotter, a chef and food writer. Wine hasn’t been part of the culture, he said, “until now.”

Trotter might as well pour a splash on the ground in memory of a vanishing world. Climate change, which scientists say is caused by heat-trapping gas accumulating in the atmosphere, is transforming dinner tables and scrambling traditions in the $270 billion global wine industry. In Europe, warmer seasons are chasing Italian and Spanish vintners up hillsides, making a winner of Germany, encouraging growers in Poland and spreading the cultivation of wine grapes to latitudes friendlier to belly-warming whiskies and ales. And it’s raising the alcohol content, and altering the flavors, of famous wines in France.

Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is a finicky crop. Vineyards flourish where average annual temperatures range from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Too much dry weather, hail or too much rain can downgrade or wreck a vintage.

Fine Wine

“Wine is very responsive to climatic factors,” said Karl Storchmann, a professor of economics at New York University and managing editor of the Journal of Wine Economics. “This is especially true for fine wine, when weather-induced vintage-to-vintage price variations can exceed 1,000 percent.”

Over centuries, growers in the top producing countries — France, Italy and Spain — selected grape varieties that now account for 75 percent of the world’s wine plantings, according to a database prepared by the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Climate change benefits English wine growers now producing high quality sparkling wine

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 29, 2013

British winemakers credit climate change for boom in bubbly sales

By , Published: April 28, 2013

CUCKMERE VALLEY, England — Blessed with soil similar to France’s Champagne region, vineyards in England nevertheless produced decades of low-grade goop that caused nary a Frenchman to tremble. But a Great British fizz boom is underway, with winemakers crediting climate change for the warmer weather that has seemed to improve their bubbly.

Sparkling wine undergoes an early fermentation process at the Ridgeview Wine Estate in East Sussex, England. Warmer summers are producing wines competitive with some from France. - GRAHAM BARCLAY/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Sparkling wine undergoes an early fermentation process at the Ridgeview Wine Estate in East Sussex, England. Warmer summers are producing wines competitive with some from France.
- GRAHAM BARCLAY/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Increasingly hospitable temperatures have helped transplanted champagne grapes such as chardonnay and pinot noir thrive in the microclimates of southern England, touching off a wine rush by investors banking on climate change. Once considered an oxymoron, fine English sparkling wine is now retailing for champagne prices of $45 to $70 a pop. In recent years, dozens of vineyards have Read the rest of this entry »

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Georgia Wine Exportation Increases

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 17, 2013

While this story is about the nation known as Georgia, given the numerous convoluted and antiquated laws governing beverage alcohol in the Southern United States, it could very well be Georgia… Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, or Arkansas.

Something Old, Something New: Georgian Wines Adapt To Changing Market

April 17, 2013

by Glenn Kates

KISISKHEVI, Georgia — Seven years ago, Burkhard Schuchmann, a retired German railroad executive, arrived for the first time in this lush region, where the snow-capped Caucasian mountains cast a long shadow over the grapevines that line the low-lying fields.It was 2006 and Russia had recently imposed a crippling embargo on Georgian wine.Schuchmann decided to open a winery nevertheless.

“To see it from today’s point of view, Georgians can be lucky that the embargo came,” Schuchmann says. “Because then they were forced to [focus on] quality and to think about marketing. There was no need before.”

After mostly “satisfactory” inspections by Russia’s consumer-rights agency in February and March, Georgian wines will soon be sold in Russia again. But Russians, perhaps expecting the sweet, syrupy taste of years past, may be surprised by the changing nature of Georgian vintage.

Georgian makes new wine

Burkhard Schuchmann opened a winery in Georgia because he thought he could compete outside of Russia by modernizing the industry.

In 2005, Georgia exported 80 percent of its wine to Read the rest of this entry »

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Tennessee may modernize antiquated beverage alcohol laws

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tennessee has some very strange and peculiar laws regarding the regulation of beverage alcohol, most of which remain rooted in the Prohibition Era, and in in fear.

And, true to form, it would be no wonder that Baptists – the arch-conservative religious political right wing activists of the right wing party – are directly involved in efforts to keep the state mired in the antiquated bad old days of yore.

Tennessee is unique in the regard that state law forbids sale of wine except in state-licensed liquor stores. To clarify, the state of Tennessee has an unusual combination of laws that forbid sales of wine in any other type store save one that sells liquor. Further, sales are prohibited on Sunday. Beer, however, is able to be sold in grocery stores… but only if the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is under 6%.

Alabama once had a similarly prohibitive content law, along with bottle size restriction – which severely limited the sales of domestic and imported craft/micro brew beers and ales. Alabama no longer has such prohibitive limitations.

And then, if one considers the implications of that law – mandating the sale of wine be exclusively limited to sales in liquor stores – the state actually sanctions the liquor enterprise itself, rather than being a neutral, regulatory body. In Tennessee there are no state-operated liquor stores as there are in Alabama. To have a state-run enterprise is not contradictory to the free market, because the state is a direct competitor in the market, which frequently has the lowest priced products, because taxes are the markup/profit margin for the state. Contrasting that model with the private retailer, the private retailer must make a profit atop the taxes which the state charges (after they purchase from the state at a wholesale cost – the same cost the state sells to the general public), thus increasing the retail price above what the state sells it.

Supporters and opponents of a bill that would let grocery and convenience stores sell wine undertook one final push to sway Tennessee lawmakers Monday ahead of a make-or-break vote in the state legislature.

Liquor store owners, grocery store operators, wine shoppers, a sheriff, an addiction specialist and a minister were among the people allowed to testify at a special hearing held a day before the Senate State & Local Government Committee is to vote on the biggest rewrite of Tennessee’s liquor laws in decades. Members guarded Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama State House Committee OKs Home Brew Bill

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finally!

Little by little, in some regard, Alabama is moving into the 21st century.

House committee approves bill that would legalize home brewing of beer

By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com
February 20, 2013 at 5:35 PM

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee today approved a bill that would allow those 21 and older to make home brewed beer, wine, mead and cider for personal use.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville. (Robin Conn/The Huntsville Times)

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville. (Robin Conn/The Huntsville Times

The bill, by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville, would limit the total production to 15 gallons every three months.

The committee approved the bill after a public hearing, putting it in position for consideration by the House of Representatives.

Several home brewing enthusiasts spoke in favor of the bill.

Jason Sledd of Huntsville told the committee he took up home brewing as a hobby last year.

“At the time, I had no idea what I was doing was illegal in the state of Alabama,” Sledd said.

Sledd said he learned home brewing was illegal after joining a home brewers club.

Rep. Berry Forte, D-Eufaula, said he was opposed to the use of alcohol because of what it had done to some family members. He asked Sledd whether he brewed beer in front of his children.

Sledd said he did, and said he was teaching them the responsible way to use alcohol.

“They will have years of experience of seeing an adult drink alcohol and not being intoxicated,” Sledd said.

Joe Godfrey, executive director of ALCAP, Read the rest of this entry »

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Booze News You Can Use: Cullman, Alabama city officials delighted with alcohol tax revenue

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 5, 2012

For many years, Cullman, Alabama – a tiny town in Central North Alabama, founded by German immigrants in 1873 – had been “dry,” which is to say that there were no legal sales of beverage alcohol in the city.

In fact, the city had been dry for nearly half its existence, having experienced “wet” and dry periods aside even, from national Prohibition.

There had been various referendums in 2004, 2002, 1992, 1990, 1986 and 1984, with the closest vote in 1984, when alcohol sales were voted down by a mere 159 votes.

Cullman had also been the butt of national jokes & mockery because it had the only dry Oktoberfest in the United States. That all changed in 2011, and for the 30th celebration of Oktoberfest that year, celebrants were able to legally sell & enjoy the consumption of beer, wine & liquor.

What is particularly fascinating about this entire ordeal – local prohibition in small-town Alabama – is that it is representative of Read the rest of this entry »

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More “Banned in Bama” beverages, aka The Alabama brew hah-hah

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 27, 2012

That title is supposed to cute. So laugh!

Here’s the deal: It seems the brilliant intellectually challenged folk in Montgomery seem to think that the word BASTARD is somehow bad.

Fat Bastard wines -Bottle-Lineup-3a-393

Fat Bastard winesCabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay & Chardonnay-based Blends, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc & Sauvignon Blanc-based Blends

Recall that “bastard” can have several meanings. One, is as it applies to a type of milled file. Two, is as it applies to the child born to an unwed mother. And there certainly seems to be no shortage of those these days. Of course, it’s not the child’s fault, but words describe things, and like it or not, a child of an unwed mother is a bastard.

I guess next up, they’ll have to remove the French Fat Bastard wine, too. It’s been sold in Alabama for quite some time.

Cycles Gladiator wine poster1

Cycles Gladiator wine label, an 1895 poster promoting the Gladiator brand bicycle.

Of course, the astute readers will recall the last international fiasco with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board with the Cycles Gladiator wine.

The Hahn Family Wines company had to create an entirely different label specifically for Cycles Gladiator wine to be sold in the state. The label was an historic poster from 1895 – and that same year printer G. Massias unveiled one of the great Parisian art posters showcasing the stylish Gladiator bicycle.

Naturally, news of the rancorous decision by Alabama’a ABC drove sales for the wine through the roof, at home, and abroad.

However, I sincerely doubt it’s any complex marketing ploy.

Alabama won’t allow Founders Brewing Co.’s award-winning ‘Dirty Bastard’ ale on state shelves

Published: Friday, April 13, 2012, 12:40 PM     Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 8:12 PM

Update: Beverage control board says brewery can appeal

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — As Michigan craft brewers continue to expand their distribution footprint across the country, Founders Brewing Co. is running into some roadblocks in the South.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is refusing to register two of Founders’ beers after the regulatory agency objected to the word ‘bastard’ on the labels.

“It’s one of those silly things,” said Dave Engbers, Founders vice president.

The Alabama board is Read the rest of this entry »

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Things Alabama ain’t got… Mega Millions Lottery

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 30, 2012

Some folks would say “common sense,” and to some extent, that’s probably true.

Well… better make that “to a great extent.”

But, a state lottery is another thing Alabama ain’t got.

And, the Republicans in the legislature in the past administration and the present administration seem to have absolutely no inclination to allow the people the opportunity to vote on it… whether to have state sponsored gammlin’, that is.

Folks’ve tried to get one for education but have failed. And, in a move called “proration,” the governor this year cut all state budgets across the board by 10.6%, excluding education, because Alabama’s state constitution, for better or for worse, forbids going into debt and requires a balanced budget. Bonds are a different matter.

But, one other thing the state’s legislature doesn’t do Read the rest of this entry »

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USDA: Eggs have Less Cholesterol, More Vitamin D than We Thought

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Seems the USDA has “egg on their face.” Maybe it should be in their bellies instead?

First, eggs were bad.

Now, they’re good.

Then coffee was evil.

Now, it’s not.

Next was chocolate.

Too bad… seems now, it’s A-OK!

And for goodness sake! Do NOT under ANY circumstances drink wine, liquor or beer!

But now, it’s okay to have a few drinks.

And heaven help us all… the beef! Where’s the beef!?! You’re surely gonna’ DIE!

Well… maybe not as quickly as we once thought. Beef’s okay.

My friends, beware “Schizophrenic Science”! Particularly dietary-related science!

Remember the “Twinkie Diet“! …Click HERE to read the good news!…

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Tattooed Ladies & Trader Joe’s

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 6, 2009

I just got back from a brief rendezvous with Trader Joe’s. It’s a grocery store chain out of Monrovia, CA. That would be California for those unfamiliar with the Postal Service abbreviations for the 50 states. (I still haven’t figured out why the newspapers continue to abbreviate Alabama “Ala.,” Massachusetts “Mass,” or Vermont “Ver.”)

Anyway, I wanted some sourdough bread, brie and a bottle of wine. Eat and relax, you see. Because by this time, of course, I was already off work and back in Santa Rosa.

Before I arrived home, Read the rest of this entry »

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