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Categorized | General

Wine In The News


California Grape Crush Sets New Record

California posted another record winegrape crush in 2013, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service preliminary harvest report. The Golden State crushed 4.23 million tons of winegrapes from the 2013 vintage, up roughly 6% from 2012, which was also a record. Red wine grapes rose 5% to 2.4 million tons, while white wine grapes were up 6% to 1.8 million tons. The average price for red varieties dropped 4% to $842 a ton, while white wine grape prices were down less than 1% to $620 a ton.

Among specific grape varietals, Chardonnay continued to lead the way with a 16% share of the total crush for 2013, with Cabernet Sauvignon second at 11%. Meanwhile, Zinfandel accounted for 10% of the total crush, with Merlot at 7.4%, Pinot Noir at 5.5% and Pinot Gris at 3.8%. The average price of Chardonnay per ton increased by 2%, while Cabernet Sauvignon fell 4%. Prices on Zinfandel (-9%) and Merlot (-6%) also declined.


Rioja Wines Make Inroads With U.S. Consumers

Spanish wines have been enjoying growth in the U.S. market, with bottled shipments up by more than half a million cases over the past two years. Within the 4.6-million-case Spanish category in the U.S., wines from Rioja have been a major contributor to growth. In 2013, Rioja’s shipments to the U.S. jumped 18% to the equivalent of about 1.1 million cases, capping a run in which its U.S. presence has expanded by nearly three-quarters since 2009.

“We’ve identified the U.S. as a key market, and we’ve broken the awareness barrier with U.S. consumers,” says José Luis Lapuente Sánchez, general manager of the Consejo Regulador D.O.C.a. Rioja. “Our aim is to participate along the whole range and concentrate especially in the affordable quality areas, where consumers can buy every day and not just for special occasions.”

Much of the D.O.C.a.’s focus is on educating the market about Rioja’s Reserva and Gran Reserva wines, which already account for about 60% of the category’s U.S. volume. “We’re able to compete very effectively in the $20-$50 range,” Lapuente says. “These wines are unique because they’re ready to drink but can also be kept in the cellar, and because they’re affordable.”


Auction Napa Valley Raises $18.7 Million

Nation’s highest-earning charity wine auction raises a record-breaking sum for a second straight year

The bidding at Auction Napa Valley’s main event on June 7 paused midway so that the more than 1,000 attendees could watch the running of the Belmont Stakes. But while the crowd’s favorite, Triple Crown contender California Chrome, faded on the final stretch, the energy of the bidders did not flag. The auction was a race to the wire—only after the gavel fell on the last of 50 lots, after five hours of live bidding, did it became clear that this year’s event was going to break a record for the second year in a row.

The four days of festivities earned $18.7 million for local health-care and youth organizations, topping last year’s record $16.9 million. The live auction raised nearly $16.6 million, up from last year’s $14.3 million.


In New Jersey, Total Wine Unveils New Store That’s More Than Double The Size Of Former Unit

Total Wine & More is holding a grand re-opening today of its new store in River Edge, New Jersey—a venue that’s more than twice as big as the nearby unit it replaces.

Located less than 20 miles from New York City on Route 4 West, the new 29,000-square-foot store boasts many of the features the retail chain offers in other markets, including a temperature-controlled fine wine cellar, wine tasting bar, education room, walk-in beer cooler and cigar humidor and a “brewery district” section for specialty brews.

The new store features 13 aisles stocked with more than 8,000 wine SKUs, 3,000 distilled spirits SKUs and 2,500 beer SKUs. Total Wine & More’s previous River Edge store was 12,000 square feet in size. The company has three other New Jersey locations—in Union and West Orange near New York City, and in the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill.


Health Watch: A Glass Of Wine Offers More Than Resveratrol

Can wine help you live longer? That’s the question taken up by two scientific studies published this month, with very different results.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that among 783 subjects, resveratrol, wine’s most famous polyphenol, was not associated with longevity. A different investigation, however, shows a strong link between a dietarrow 10x10 Wine In The News rich in polyphenols and increased lifespan.

For the latter paper, researchers at several Spanish institutions and Harvard Universityarrow 10x10 Wine In The News consulted data from the PREDIMED trial, best known as the study that confirmed the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) tracked the diets of 7,447 Spaniards, ages 55 to 80, over several years. It found that those who ate diets rich in olive oil, nuts and red wine had better cardiovascular health than those who consumed a low-fat diet.

In this new study, "we had the ability to go back and say, ‘Hey, what else was in their dietarrow 10x10 Wine In The News?’" said Dr. Eric Rimm, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and an author of the paper.

Rimm and his associates conducted a re-analysis of the PREDIMED data to see what subjects’ polyphenol consumption looked like, and whether that might be connected to longevity. Many of the foods in the Mediterranean diet are high in polyphenols. They hypothesized that "if polyphenol intake does protect against the development of chronic diseases” such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetesarrow 10x10 Wine In The News, “a greater combination of polyphenols would contribute to lower the risk of all-cause mortality and provide a greater life expectancy."

Sure enough, the group that consumed the highest levels of polyphenols was 37 percent less likely to die during the nearly five years of follow-up examinations than the group that consumed the lowest levels. Rimm was able to stratify the data even further, and found that two groups of polyphenols, stilbenes and lignins, were associated in particular with a reduced mortality risk. (Resveratrol is a stilbene.)

So do Rimm’s results contradict those from the Johns Hopkins researchers? Not necessarily. "There’s enough evidence now that resveratrol or resveratrol-like compounds by themselves probably are not associated with longevity," Rimm told Wine Spectator.

But the total effects of a dietarrow 10x10 Wine In The News rich in all kinds of polyphenols, derived from many different food sources—that’s a different story. "Total polyphenol intake: We think there’s something there," he said. "I’m not a big fan of finding one compound, extracting it and putting it in high doses in a pill. Food may enhance the benefits of a stilbene or a lignin."

The physical mechanism by which polyphenols exert their life-expanding power is still unclear. For now, rather than isolating single polyphenols in animal trials, Rimm is more interested in observing the long-term effects of total polyphenol intake in the dietarrow 10x10 Wine In The News of large populations.

"What would happen if we did the same thing [as PREDIMED] in an American population, an Italian population, in the Netherlands, in the U.K.?” Rimm asked. “If we can see that [the benefits of polyphenols are] consistent in these other populations, that will lend a lot of credence to our results here."

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