Just Saying!!!

Here are a few of my views on recent trends.

I am not a big fan of bottle caps on wine bottles. I have no problem with screw tops or wine in cans but when I see a wine bottle with a cap on top I think back to my childhood and remember bottles of my favorite “Pop” Regent Cherry soda. In Western Pennsylvania carbonated soft drinks, like Coke and Pepsi, were and still are to a certain extent referred to as “Pop”. Maybe it was a shortening of soda pop that led to this regional slang.

Rosé has been riding a steadily ascending arc of popularity over the past several years. I have heard reports that Rosé sales hit their crescendo in the Summer of 2017 and have consolidated over the last 18 months. Although Rosé is thought of as just a summer wine by many it is a category that has proven itself and is here to stay. Traditionally Rosé sales peak during the warm months but year round sales are starting to rise as people realize that this wine pairs well with food in any season.

Orange wine is a curiosity to me because I like to try new things. It has received plenty of attention but I don’t know where it fits into the big picture when it comes to wine in general. We will have to wait and see if it will be taking a place in your wine collection or in the closet next to your Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch Dolls.

My prediction for Chinese wine is that it is too early to tell if all the money China has invested in its domestic wine industry will pay off. There is certainly enough demand for better wine in China now that its middle class is expanding exponentially. In time I believe China will become a major player in the world wine market simply because it has a diverse collection of growing regions, climates, terroirs and affordable labor that can be developed. Will their wines taste like traditional European or New World wines? No, they will taste like those traditional wines made from grapes grown in Chinese soils and expressing a terroir unique to China.

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to sweet wine, French-American hybrid wine and Vitis vinifera wine. Every winemaker that I have visited in Western Pennsylvania is always eager to have me taste their dry wines but are quick to admit that it is the sweet wines that “Keep the lights on”. While it is true the sweeter wines make up the largest segment of wines sold in local wineries it is also true that interest in dry wine is increasing as tastes evolve and wine drinkers look for something new. I have always said that a “Good” wine is one you enjoy drinking. My theory is that many of the people who start going to wineries with friends will enjoy the easy to drink sweet wines and will be content with these wines. Some will become curious and explore the French-American hybrid wines, of which there are many and can be found in both dry and sweet styles. The wines made from French-American hybrid grapes can provide a bridge from sweet wines to Vitis vinifera wines. It is easier for a wine drinker to transition from the sweeter offerings to the drier Vitis vinifera wines by learning to appreciate the differences in wine grapes and the different styles that they can be made into by experiencing these approachable hybrid wines.

I believe wine is at it’s best when enjoyed while making lasting memories with friends and family. If you are doing it right you will always remember the good times and the people but you probably won’t recall what wine you were drinking.  Just Saying!

 

 

China Star Rising

Chateau Changyu, Beiyujia Vineyards, Shandong, China

Chateau Changyu, Beiyujia Vineyards, Shandong, China

I read an article recently about how China has now surpassed France for the amount of land dedicated to wine-making vineyards. China now boasts 1.9 million acres of vineyards, passing France for second place and behind the number one grower, Spain. China remains the 7th largest producer of grapes due to production inefficiencies. The increase in vineyards is in direct response to the need for more wine grapes to satisfy the explosive rise in demand for wine in China. China has experienced a cultural evolution toward drinking wine over the past 15 years that is directly tied to the increase in disposable income. Red wine is preferred by the majority of Chinese wine drinkers so it is no surprise that Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape variety in the country.

China is a huge country with many sub-climates and even more micro-climates, not to mention the countless soil types and varying terrain. I believe when you have that many variables combined with an ancient culture that thrives on challenges and ingenuity the only logical outcome from Chinese wine makers will be superior and creative wines. The wine business in China will continue to focus on products and production to satisfy domestic demand. But as we have seen the Chinese do in so many other arenas, they will be constantly comparing their wine to the best in the world to judge their progress and making changes to excel.