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Inside Wine (Mar 18th, 2019)

1. Franciacorta approved the use of the grape Erbamat in production as a possible way to combat climate change. The varietal, which is low alcohol and neutral in aromas, ripens a month later than Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; with its high acid profile, it could be a useful blending grape. 70 percent of the vineyards in the region are certified organic and the new president of the consortium, Silvano Brescianini, is committed to reducing CO2 output. — THE DRINKS BUSINESS

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2. Food and Wine released their inaugural list of great restaurants to work for. The industry is a notoriously tough one; it has a 72.5% turnover rate and a history of bad behavior — much of which was brought to light during the #MeToo movement. However, several owners, such as Ashley Christensen of AC restaurants in North Carolina and Jason Vincent at Giant in Chicago, strive to offer fair wages, benefits, and an overall enjoyable work atmosphere. — FOOD AND WINE

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3. E & J Gallo is purportedly in talks with Constellation to buy many of the latter’s budget brands. Constellation announced last year that they were seeking buyers for Arbor Mist, Clos du Bois, and others in the under-$11 category in an effort to focus on premium brands. The package was initially valued at $3 billion, but early reports say it may be closer to $2 billion. — SHANKEN NEWS DAILY

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4. The U.S. and China are leading the trend of premium wine consumption. Following the ideology of “drink less but better,” the $10 to $20 range is expected to grow 15 percent over five years, largely led by the two aforementioned nations. Currently, the U.S. is the leading global wine consumer and France is second, but China is expected to overtake the European country in the very near future. — HARPERS

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5. Washington State’s harvest increased 14 percent from last year, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading the charge. According to Steve Warner, President of Washington State Wine, Cab’s production has doubled in 6 years, and accounted for 29 percent of 2018’s crop. — WINE BUSINESS

6. Is crop thinning vital in Italian vineyards? Wine Enthusiast explores if this decades-old practice is still relevant in today’s climate. — WINE ENTHUSIAST

7. An anonymous seller is putting his collection of fine wine — valued at $26 million — on the auction block in Hong Kong. In an email interview, the seller said it’s his way of “tidying up” (I wonder, in Marie Kondo fashion, if these wines did not spark joy?). — SCMP

8. Aurelian Lefort is one of a handful of Champagne producers following a natural winemaking philosophy. Because of this practice, however, he must label his wines Vin de France. — SPRUDGE

9. 19 Crimes, the hit wine line with augmented-reality labels, just launched a line of beer. — WINE ENTHUSIAST

10. A winemaker in Umbria heeded Pope Francis I’s call for a natural wine. Gilbert Santucci at the Agricultural Institute of Todi, Umbria, crafted a Grechetto to specifications, but also sells it to the public under the Bottega Montecristo label. — WINE SPECTATOR

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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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