Monday, January 29, 2007

Global Warming - Let's Just Call It Climate Change

Had a question from Paul at Inertia asking what sessions at the Unified W & G symposium I thought were best.
First I have to fully disclose that I did not attend all the sessions as I was in transit for day 1 ( Sorry, Paul) and running around Wednesday and Thursday trying to cram in as much as I could.
Second, some sessions I skipped simply because they were fairly narrow in scope. They were Californiacentric. Winery folk from outside California have to realize and accept - this is the Golden State's big show. There is an effort to cast the net of appeal wider but you still have to translate some of the data into something you can use in the jurisdiction where you make your wine.
I found the State of the Industry general session to very informative. The speakers were from diverse wine industry sectors and it was stimulating to hear their varied opinions. I'll be posting about this soon.
My favourites were the two sessions dealing with global warming. One of the take home messages was: Yes, the globe is warming and No, that doesn't mean it's going to get hot everywhere all the time.
What is does mean is that there will be some fairly rapid changes. Some places will become wetter. Some places may see wider shifts in seasonal temperature means.
Models presented by the expert speakers showed varying results but, for the most part, consistent outcomes. With a focus on western North America, for example, it would appear that an enormous section of the California's central valley will undergo "desertification" making it too hot over too long a time for all but the toughest grape varieties. Time frame? Could be as short as 30 years.
Washington State seemed to benefit most from the climate change (and BC even though the study quit at the 49th parallel). But that would hinge on other factors like pests and water.
That's right: bugs and rain.
Too much of the former and not enough of the latter.
It may get warmer and there may be more growing days but it won't be worth a thing if new pests, encouraged by the climate change, are invading new vineyards/ territory. Same goes for water. Should the climate change create extended drought conditions, access to irrigation will be essential in some areas already stressed for water supplies.
So climate change is not an 'end-of-the-world' scenario. But it will require sharp adaptive skills and canny investment practices.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Unified Wine & Grape Big Success

Just back from the big show in Sacramento. Great speakers and educational value in all the sessions and a vast array of equipment and services from hundreds of suppliers at the trade show.
Also had a great time at Mason as a guest of Nadalie barrels. Sorry about the blurry photo.
Didn't want to use a flash. Too tacky.
Should have braced the camera.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Enroute to Sacramento

In the beautiful Portland airport enjoying a local brew before heading out on my last leg.
Fantastic views of Mt. St. Helens (y'know, that one that blew up in the 80's?) on the way from Seattle.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Flattery Will Get You Noticed.

I can't read them all.
As Tom over at Fermentation had documented, there's probably over 400 wine related bloggers out there. You might want to double that number if you count the ones that are wine and something (like food or tractors or beer or pelicans).
I try to scan as much as I can, use Sharpreader and have my favourites but I get behind.
That's why I missed this one:
Matt's stuff over at Wine Detective
He had some nice things to say about the wines I make for Township 7.
He hasn't posted for awhile. Maybe we can prod him for something fresh.
If anybody runs into anything about the following items, send me a link. Thanks ahead of time.
Township 7
Stone Mountain (BC)
Hijas Bonitas
Steep Creek
Dunham & Froese

Local Wine Events on Wine & Vine

Way down at the bottom of this page is a widget for LocalWineEvents . This is the spot for finding out what is going on in the wine world no matter where you are. It's a great spot to browse. Not only can you find out what is happening in your area, you can check out what is being planned for other locales and "borrow" some ideas.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Stag's Hollow Needs A Hand - Two Would Be Nice.

Stag's Hollow Winery is looking for a warm form to take on the job of either wine maker or assistant wine maker (depending on experience).
The first class, family-run winery is located in Okanagan Falls and has just moved into a brand new production facility (winery).
Pass this on to any cellar rats you know.

Global Warming & Wine

A quick and scary take on global warming and the effect on the wine world from the lads and lasses at Decanter. It's a little alarmist and fails to mention a couple things:

  • global warming doesn't mean it gets warm everywhere simultaneously; someplaces, for example, may experience wetter weather and cooler winters.

  • while the climate will change, not all changes are detrimental.

I don't support manipulating the global climate willy-nilly through atmospheric abuse. But we've fugged it so we better deal with it.

I'm attending a couple yakfests at Unified next week on this subject so I should have some bits to relate in future posts.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Glad to Meetcha!

I'll be pouring some Township 7 wine in Penticton on February 3. Try to drop by! I'm bringing a bottle or two of our 2006 Viognier (still unfiltered and in the tank) and maybe something else from the harvest. Plus I'll be tipping the 2004 Merlot for something red. Hit the button ....

Allright!, the button only works if you are Google calendar person. Just found out. How annoying.
The tasting is 1 -3 at the Wine Information Centre at Railway and Ekhardt.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The American Wine Blog Awards

Take a moment from your busy schedule watching "Fame" reruns and assembling your toe lint collection to head over to Wark's
American Wine Blog Awards
and nominate me. Nominations close Thursday so don't delay!
I'd do it for you!
I think the single subject category is the one.
If you do this I promise not to start posting stories about the cute things my dog does around the winery.

Did I say THANKS?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Eggert/Fairview Cult Update

Good read about Fairview Cellars from the talented John Schreiner. He interviews Bill Eggert on the current status of his 2,000 case winery and vineyard. Fairview always sells out and for good reason, Bill makes excellent wine. Closest thing around here to "cult following" . . .

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Dan, originally uploaded by ramblinwinegirl.

Ever wonder what aspiring wine makers do during their spare time?

Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

Starting on the 23rd of the month, the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium convenes in Sacramento.

Great sessions for wine people of every stripe.

An all encompassing trade show.

I've mentioned this before but it demands repeating.

See you there.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Another Vineyard Deep Freeze On The Way

The weather for the Okanagan Valley is forecast to head to the land of big chill. For the second time this season overnight temperatures are to plunge to double negatives, perhaps as cold as -25 C in some areas. This is a looking like a more traditional Okanagan winter - not like the balmy ones we've had over the last few years. Much of the valley still has some snow pack from previous storms (that will help insulate the vines) but the harsh temperatures are going to test the vinifera varietals - especially the young vines.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards

Against some pretty stiff competition, Township 7 picked up a nice accolade from Vancouver Magazine in their 3rd annual wine awards. The 2004 Reserve Chardonnay is in the 'rich white' category.
Township 7 Chardonnay Reserve 2004, B.C. $24.90 +34579 Unbelievably complex wine for the price. Bravo.

Sounds just about right to me.

BC Wine Trends - Consumer Perspective

Christina Burridge, writing in Vancouver Magazine, takes a look at the trends in BC wine consumption. It's mostly good news from my standpoint.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Could It Happen Here?

Tom is writing about and tracking developments in the wine world in Virginia. Why should you care?
What could a minor wine region's problems have to do with the enjoyment of BC wines?


First of all, Virginia is a lot like BC when it comes to wine. Huge growth over a short period of time, scads of tourists enjoying the vino vibe and lots of small, local wine makers with steady in-state fans.

The fracas in Virginia is about the rights to sell and distribute wine.
Unfortunately for the Virginia wine makers, it is now illegal to sell their wine directly to restaurants and retailers. They must use a wholesaler or distributor. There is a mark-up involved. Profits are being eroded and it looks like some wineries will have to close.

Here in BC, a winery can sell directly to restaurants. They still have to hand over a lot of coin to the government monopoly, but not as much as they would if they sold exclusively through the government stores.

In Virginia, a federal ruling said that forcing out of state wineries to use distributors while allowing state wineries to hand sell was unconstitutional. The solution? Either everybody uses distributors or nobody has to (unless they want to). At the urging (lobbying) of the distributors, the state legislators passed a law making winery to retailer direct sales illegal. So everybody has to use the three tier system (manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer).

I'm no expert, but the idea of paying another hand to do the job you were already doing sounds a little suspect.

It could happen here. The government already takes a big piece of the pie, but they want more. The opportunity to opt out of the BC Liquor Distribution system has been a natural for many small, family wineries. They don't need to have their wines scattered across the province being sold by less than enthusiastic employees. Sure, the BCLD branch had made some enlightening moves over the past decade (emphasis on wine knowledge, employee training, special promotion programs), but their prime mandate is the dispensing and metering of alcohol, a substance controlled by the government.

Given the chance, who would you want to sell your product? A passionate believer in your wine or a uniformed clerk who may or may not know a thing about the bottle in front of them?

It could happen here. A quick bit of legislation in Victoria and boom! All wines sold through Big Momma. Then they'd have their hands on all those wonderful medal winners that are garnering international acclaim.

At least until the wine maker says, "Frig it" and moves on to something that doesn't suck the life out his bank account.