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Inside Wine (Mar 12th, 2019)

1. The University of Adelaide, in conjunction with the Australian Wine Research Institute, received a $60,000 grant to further studies around smoke taint. The money is earmarked to study low-intensity stubble fires in particular, a practice often used to clean out weeds and snails from the vineyards. While the process has become less common, it’s an important piece in gaining insight into the overall issue of smoke taint. — MIRAGE NEWS

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2. Healdsburg’s Gracianna Winery is assessing damage after the floods. Water nearly reached the top of their 12-foot high ceilings in the tasting room, according to owners Lisa and Trini Amador III. They were able to remove some of their 50,000-bottle inventory from the cellar, but insurance will not cover commercial losses. They hope to repair in time for an April 1 opening. — PRESS DEMOCRAT

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3. Famed luxury house Cartier will put its private wine collection up for auction on March 20th. Previously only shared with guests’ in the company’s Paris-based boardroom, their stock includes 2,000 bottles of Bordeaux and Burgundy, with vintages as old as 1914. Proceeds from the sale, which is expected to bring in $327,000, will go to the Cartier Philanthropy Foundation. — BARRON’S

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4. Aldi’s wine buyer Mike James identified various sale opportunities in the retail sector. Organic, biodynamic, and vegan wines are potential growth categories as people are starting to look for new and interesting options. While alternative packaging, such as cans and boxed wines, are also catching people’s eyes, e-commerce is becoming a profitable revenue stream. On a related note, Aldi’s proprietary wines have received much attention for garnering high scores from critics. — THE DRINKS BUSINESS

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5. Mexican wine brand Bichi is capturing drinkers attention with its unusual cuvées. Produced following a natural winemaking philosophy — yep, there's a pet-nat in the lineup — and the red blend “No Sapiens” sources grapes from Valle de Gaudalupe but the varieties are unknown. — DALLAS NEWS

6. Some California wineries are offering a more democratic loyalty program as an alternative to their wine clubs. Customers will receive points on purchases, which can be redeemed on experiences, tastings, and events. — CONDE NAST TRAVELER

7. Truett-Hurst, Inc, will delist from Nasdaq and stop trading shares. The wine company, which now counts Truett-Hurst Winery and VML in its portfolio, faced many challenges and changes in the five years it was publicly traded. — PRESS DEMOCRAT

8. For Burgundy lovers with small budgets, Wine Enthusiast’s Roger Voss recommends looking to the Côte d’Or for delicious values wines. Mercurey and Givry produce bright-fruited Pinot Noir, where whites from Montagny are ripe yet crisp. — WINE ENTHUSIAST

9. Given the popularity of canned wine, Sterling Vineyards is experimenting with putting wine in aluminum bottles. Citing convenience and “societal forces of moderation,” the winery is starting with two-serving containers. — NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL

10. Sevenfifty Daily explores two “underdog” grapes being grown on the west coast and explains why they’re worthy of attention. French native Gamay is finding a home in Oregon, while Valdiguié — a variety with roots in the Languedoc — stands up to California’s heat. — SEVENFIFTY DAILY

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Inside Wine is written and curated by Shana Clarke. Shana is a freelance journalist and regularly contributes to a variety of consumer and trade publications, including Wine Enthusiast, Playboy, HuffPost, USA Today’s Eat Sip Trip, and SevenFifty Daily, among others. Follow her on Instagram at @ShanaSpeaksWine and see more of her work on www.shanaspeakswine.com.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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