Crazy Superstitions and Rituals of Winemakers - Part I

It seems most everyone has some kind of superstition: a lucky hat, the old stand-by the rabbit’s foot, a certain ritual before a specific event. We humans are curious creatures of habit and redundancy. Winemakers too have superstitions they employ during harvest to planting to verasion. So who in the U.S. is doing what, and when, and more importantly why? We do not judge, for these intrepid winemakers are doing great work so we can have great juice.

Top 10 California Syrahs - The Wine List - October 2014

Syrah is a grape that most wine merchants will tell you is a difficult sell. It seems it’s always going to be the next big thing, but never is. For consumers, that’s a good thing. A great Syrah usually will cost far less than a comparable quality Cabernet or Pinot Noir. For my money, I tend to buy more Syrah than any other grape. A disclaimer here – I liked it so much, I started to make it. In any event, as the temperatures start to drop, fall is great time for a hearty red with dinner or next to a warming fire. Syrah is a grape that really changes its personality depending on where it is grown. Cooler climate Syrahs can be quite different from warmer climate ones. California has plenty of each. While I love many of the cooler climate Syrahs, most of the ones listed below are warmer climate Syrahs. In my opinion, that is where the very best of Syrahs from California can be found.

THE Fourth of July Wine List - 2014

The celebration for the Fourth of July is one of two holidays in which I advocate limiting ones wine choices to wines of the USA (Thanksgiving being the other). It’s a time to celebrate America. Perhaps that is a bit jingoistic, but there it is. And, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, the wines consumed should offer fireworks! Sometimes that means spending a bit more on the wine, but it’s a time with friends and family and spending a bit more is worth it. With that in mind, here are ten wines that are on my list for this year’s celebrations (it is after all a three day weekend). All of these wines will work on their own, with food hot off the grill or watching fireworks.

Interview with Coravin Founder, Greg Lambrecht

IntoWine recently caught up with the Coravin System's founder, Greg Lambrecht, to discuss what the Coravin can do for you and to get the latest on this wine drinking invention and what affect it will have on the wine industry. What is the inspiration behind the Coravin System? As a medical device inventor with a passion for wine and innovative technology, I came up with the idea of the Coravin out of necessity. My wife Lee became pregnant with our second child and stopped drinking wine with me. I wanted a great glass of wine with dinner, but didn't want to commit to the whole bottle.

Ten California Cabernet Sauvignons for the Money

California Cabernets are some of the best wines in the world. Unfortunately, the pricing on many of them has gotten quite exorbitant. There are a plethora of great wines for $100 or more. Even at the $75 mark, there is no shortage of outstanding wines. So, for purposes of this list, these are my favorite five California Cabernets priced at under $25 per bottle. In addition, I only chose wines that are very consistent from vintage to vintage. Finally, I have avoided rare and hard to find wines for this list.

Top 100 Most Influential U.S. Winemakers

Ah the ubiquitous list. Everywhere you turn these days there is a top 10, the best 50, or some iteration of a who’s who list. So we can’t resist, besides, our Top 100 Most Influential Wine Industry list scored a lot of buzz, created a lot of chatter and even made a few enemies. This list is all about winemakers, those currently making wine here in America – not the great ones who have come before, but folks who make wines you can find now. There are some 7,000 bonded wineries in the U.S., and there’s a lot of forgettable wine being made. And in a world of homogenization of wine styles and a sense that our domestic wine industry is not legitimate without a French or Italian flare, we desire to promote regional flavor profiles of all American wine craftspeople. There are names here you’ll know and recognize, and names you never heard of but everyone on this list is influencing the public, fellow winemakers and the media in large and small ways. Use this list to learn about wines, varieties and regions you may not have considered; comment on it, share it with everyone, but above all continue your joy of being IntoWine.

Q&A with Deborah Bennett, Winemaker from Cerridwen Wines

IntoWine recently caught up with Cerridwen Wines Winemaker, Deborah Bennett to discuss wine and her thoughts on current trends in the wine industry. Q: You originally came to Napa Valley seeking to become a wine writer. Why the change to winemaking? A: The whole thing was really kind of wild. Shortly after I moved to Napa I attended a seminar where the question was asked, "What would you do as a career if you could do anything you wanted?" It came as a complete surprise to me when I answered, "Become a winemaker." I had no idea where that had come from. It wasn't something I'd been considering.

The IntoWine.com 2nd Annual “Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry" – 2013

Our 2013 iteration of this list is intended as a source of education and discussion. The making of this list is never an easy process. Who are the most influential wine people in the United States, and how exactly do you define ‘influential?’ Does influential mean people who move markets, impact consumers, inspire winemakers, form policy, and create debate? Yes. Though some decry the consolidation of the wine industry (and that is an issue worth considering) we are not trying to suggest who is “good” or “bad” within America’s wine industry. We merely define the Top 100 people, from winemakers to law makers, bankers to bloggers, and sommeliers to celebrities who influence wine; how it is made, marketed, perceived, sold, shipped, purchased, shared and consumed. As was true in 2012, we sought help to assemble this list people from a diverse group of people and we are grateful for their input. And we chose to release it today, January 29th, as it was on this day in 1919 when the pathetic policy of Prohibition was ratified; the effects of this lunatic legislation still evident in our country’s inability to ship and sell wine across state lines. We honor winemakers, wine drinkers and wine lovers of every conceivable demographic. Use this list, comment on it, share it with everyone, learn from it, and continue your joy of being IntoWine.

The Three Legged Winemaker - An Interview with Napa Valley Legend Mike Grgich

I recently had the great privilege of spending an afternoon with legendary Napa Valley winemaker Mike Grgich. Over a long lunch and more than a few bottles of his finest wines, we discussed his career and its influence on Napa winemaking as well as his myriad accomplishments, winning both the 1976 Judgment of Paris and the Great Chicago Showdown to name but a few. I had never met Mike in person before and did not know what to expect. What I found was a man with deep pride in his accomplishments but one who is equally grateful to all those who helped and influenced him along the way. I also discovered a man who is the living embodiment of the American dream, having fled communism to find success in Paradise, California. It's safe to say that my long lunch with Mike was the most enjoyable and interesting day of the six years I have spent running IntoWine. I interviewed Mike via email in 2007 . The interview below is round two, where I get to ask my wish list of questions. Thankfully, Mike obliged.

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