Q&A with Tim Hanni, Master of Wine

Tim Hanni is one of the first two Americans to earn the title Master of Wine and currently sits on the Executive Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. He is a faculty member of the Wine Business Institute currently teaching the Sonoma State University Wine Business Certificate Series. Hanni is a widely recognized leader in developing wine marketing and education programs and is involved in sensory and behavioral research projects focused on fostering a better understanding of consumer wine preferences. His techniques for creating easy to use wine lists, including the invention of the Progressive Wine List format, and retail wine programs are combined with tried and tested culinary philosophies on “balancing” food and wine flavors and are employed by thousands of restaurants and hotel outlets around the world. His work in the sensory and culinary fields led to the development of Napa Seasoning Company’s unique new product: Vignon, the first Flavor Balancing Seasoning formulated to make food delicious while eliminating unpleasant wine and food interactions.

Baseball and Wine: Arizona Diamondbacks

What's an appropriate wine to serve at an Arizona Diamondbacks themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Diamondbacks fan? The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the two youngest teams in Major League Baseball. The Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays (originally the Devil Rays) played their first seasons in 1998, the Diamondbacks in the National League West and the Rays in the American League East. The Diamondbacks played that year in Phoenix's Bank One Ballpark, as they do today; the stadium was renamed Chase Field in 2005. Chase Field features a retractable roof and an air conditioning system; used in tandem, these two features protect Diamondbacks spectators from the extreme heat of Arizona's desert climate. Interestingly, Chase Field also has a swimming pool, which can be rented, although it doesn't come cheap. Occasionally, a home run ball will splash into the pool.

Dry Creek Zinfandel: Foods to Pair with, and Meals that Call for, Dry Creek Zinfandel

Zinfandel—the grape Americans call their own. The story of Zinfandel mirrors the multicultural heritage of our country and the struggle of immigrants to make it in a new land. From white to red and sweet to dry, this is a grape that has been reinvented to suit the changing tastes of wine consumers across the country. Originally from Croatia, the grape showed up in the US with Italian immigrants in the 1800s (who called it, as it is still known today in Italy, Primitivo). More than a century later it was nearly extinct with vines ripped up in favor of international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. But the huge popularity of white Zin in the 1980s and 1990s saved the grape from obscurity and nowadays the finest expression of Zinfandel comes not from Croatia or Italy but from California where it is produced as a dry red wine that can be light bodied and chockfull of ripe fruit or rich and inky with high alcohol and port-like characteristics.

Q&A with Ben Howkins, Founding Partner for Royal Tokaji Wines, Hungary

In 1993, as communism in Hungary was stamped out, Ben Howkins joined acclaimed wine writer Hugh Johnson and winemaker Peter Vinding-Diers to co-found the Royal Tokaji Wine Co., the first foreign firm to invest in the Hungarian wine region of Tokaj. Tokaji Aszu wines are Europe’s original sweet white wines, immortalized by Pope Pius IV, King Louis XIV, Catherine the Great, Voltaire, President Thomas Jefferson, Eugenie Napoleon and Queen Victoria. Tokaji is the wine region and Tokaj is the town. Aszu refers to the unique style of wine produced in this classified wine region. Royal Tokaji is the leading independent producer of these wines.

Sonoma State University's Dr. Robert Eyler Discusses the Economics of the Wine Industry

Dr. Robert Eyler is Professor and the Frank Howard Allen Research Scholar of Economics at Sonoma State University (SSU) and the Director of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis at Sonoma State University, as well as Director of SSU’s Executive MBA program. Dr. Eyler specializes in research on macroeconomic and monetary policies, and is finalizing a textbook on monetary and banking topics. His academic work has focused on the economics of the wine industry, monetary policy and theory, derivative markets, and international finance. He heads up the SSU EMBA Program, one of the only kind in the U.S.

Q&A with Allen Meadows of Burghound.com

Allen Meadows, author of Burghound.com, a highly respected and critically acclaimed quarterly publication that reaches subscribers in more than 60 countries and nearly all 50 states. Burghound.com was the first of its kind to offer specialized, exhaustive coverage of a specific wine region and grape, he and pioneered the on-line format. There are reviews of the wines of Burgundy and U.S. Pinot Noir, as well as coverage of Champagne. Subscribers have access to a fully searchable database of nearly 60,000 of Meadows’ tasting notes with recommended drinking windows for present day vintages all the way back to 1845. Meadows spends four months every year in Burgundy and visits more than 300 domaines during that time. He is also the author of “The Pearl of the Côte – The Great Wines of Vosne-Romanée.”

Baseball and Wine: Seattle Mariners

What's an appropriate wine to serve at a Seattle Mariners themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Mariners fan? The Seattle Mariners first took the field in 1977, after the city's former baseball team, the Pilots, moved to Milwaukee. The Mariners are owned by Nintendo of America and have the unfortunate distinction of never having played in a World Series. Nevertheless, Mariners fans proudly stand by their team; fan loyalty is one of the team's greatest assets.

Q&A with Jean-Charles Boisset, of Boisset Family Estates

Founded in 1980, Boisset Family Estates is a family-owned producer and importer of fine wines with its roots in Burgundy, France. Boisset’s collection of more than twenty historical and unique wineries boast leading positions in the world’s pre-eminent terroirs, including Burgundy, Beaujolais, the Rhône Valley, the South of France, Canada, and California’s Russian River Valley and Napa Valley. Jean-Charles Boisset, President of Boisset Family Estates, has implemented sustainable, organic, and biodynamic farming practices at the family’s vineyards, while simultaneously introducing alternative packaging innovations that reduce a wine’s environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Baseball and Wine: Miami Marlins

What's an appropriate wine to serve at a Miami Marlins themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Marlins fan? In preparation for the 2012 baseball season, the Miami Marlins adopted a new name, designed new uniforms and moved to a brand-new stadium, Marlins Park. Marlins Park will offer a state-of-the-art retractable roof, a wide array of food concessions and a newly-energized team ready to play ball in sunny Florida.

Q&A with Bruce Nicholson, Senior Winemaker at Inniskillin

Bruce Nicholson became the senior winemaker at Inniskillin Winery in Canada in 2007 where he continually crafts some of the most sought after and highly awarded ice wines in the world. Inniskillin was named by Drinks International as one of the Top Fifty Most Admired Wine Brands in the World, and one of the Top Ten Most Admired Wine Brands in North America. Though they produce still and sparkling wine, it is Icewine that is their flagship product.