1. Winemakers in Washington State now must follow new wastewater regulations, and many are not happy about it. Wineries of a certain size must obtain a permit, instituted by the Department of Ecology, a group which monitors how wastewater is disposed and managed. However, winemakers say the process is costly and unnecessary as the wine industry doesn’t include dangerous pollutants in its water. Permits cost anywhere from $296 to $33,196, depending on a winery’s output. Originally, wineries were monitored under individual permits but as the state’s winemaking industry grew, officials felt new regulations were needed. — SEATTLE TIMES
2. Concrete eggs are hatching a new legion of followers. Although concrete has been used since Greco-Roman times, modern winemaking favored steel and oak for fermentation and aging. In 2001, winemaker Michel Chapoutier bought a custom-ordered egg, and the manufacturer soon scaled up production in order to offer it to other wineries. Today, it’s become popular for its stable temperatures and micro-oxidation properties. Many winemakers also think its convectional shape allows lees and oxygen to move in a way that produces superior texture and flavor. — WINE-SEARCHER
3. Spirits and wine tie when it comes to U.S. preferences, but wine wins the popularity contest in the U.K. In a survey of 2,000 consumers, 30 percent selected wine as their drink of choice, followed by beer (23 percent) and spirits (20 percent). Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc were cited as favorite white varietals, followed by full-bodied reds like Shiraz and Malbec. Although the U.K. is the top export market for Champagne, Prosecco was cited as the bubbly of choice. — HARPERS
4. Christopher Kostow, the chef behind 3 Michelin-starred Napa favorite Restaurant at Meadowood and The Charter Oak, is bringing a bit of wine country cuisine to China. The $7 million project, which will open in Shenzhen, will be called Ensue, and meld Cali and Chinese flavors. The eatery is being backed by Ricky Li, the 26-year-old son of the owners of the Chinese investment corporation Dingyi Group. Forty chefs were interviewed for the gig. Kostow plans to not only bring his Napa culinary skills to China, but he intends to bring the wines as well (regardless of tariffs). — EATER SAN FRANCISCO
5. I explored why some Australian winemakers are opting to make Syrah and not Shiraz. Although they are the same grape, the difference in name reflects both a difference in terroir and style. Some producers opt to veer away from the lush, full-bodied Shiraz in favor of a leaner, Rhône-style approach to winemaking and use “Syrah” to express their style ideology. It’s also more common to find Syrah in cooler-climate parts of the country, such as the Adelaide Hills and Yarra Valley. However, some winemakers think Shiraz is their legacy name and should embrace it to show how far the style has evolved over the past couple of decades. — FORTUNE
6. Alice Feiring, a natural wine champion and author of the new book “Natural Wine for the People,” explains what natural wine is and if it’s better for you. She outlines the basics (organic grapes, free of pesticides and additives, no fining or filtering, and low-to-no levels of sulfites) and addresses perceptions that the wines are often fizzy or taste like cider. The health question is a little trickier; She treads lightly, noting alcohol is still alcohol, and luckily she dispels the common myth that sulfites cause migraines. — NBC NEWS
7. Speaking of natural wines, meet Jenny Lefcourt, co-founder of Jenny & Francois Selections, one of the leading importers of natural wines. After living in France over 20 years ago, Lefcourt discovered a new breed of winemakers that were unlike anything else she’s ever encountered. Her company started when she would smuggle wines back on an airplane, then go door-to-door selling her findings. Over time, her label has become synonymous with cult natural winemakers and her portfolio is sold all over the country. — BON APPETIT
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.
Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).