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Inside Wine (Dec 2nd, 2019)

1. Moët Hennessy will acquire a stake in Château d’Esclans, the maker of Provence Rosé wines such as Whispering Angel. Moët Hennessy will become the primary stakeholder in the company and work with Château d’Esclans president Sacha Lichine on future developments with the winery. In a statement Lichine said he is "thrilled by the alliance," and with the help of Moët Hennessy's assetsChâteau d’Esclans will "continue to please and delight our clients across the globe with our excellent Rosé de Provence wines." Financial details of the deal have not been divulged. -- DRINKS INSIGHT NETWORK

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2. Perhaps more than any other wine region, Champagne is changing the most rapidly, says wine critic Jancis Robinson. Drinkers are more frequently choosing other sparkling wines such as Prosecco or English Sparkling. Climate change is bringing hotter summers, causing problems for the high acidity levels that Champagne is known for. But not all is bad. There is more organic and biodynamic viticulture happening. Robinson discusses these changes as well as emerging trends such as more single varietal champagnes and a move away from oak. -- JANCIS ROBINSON

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3. Washing with soap and water is not the best way to clean your wine decanter. Wine pros frown upon sudsing up a decanter because dish soap residue and flavors can be left behind. How should you clean your decanter? Five wine industry experts weigh in on their chosen methods including shaking salt and crushed ice in a sturdy decanter or using decanter cleaning beads and very hot water. -- WINE ENTHUSIAST

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4. The wine industry should start thinking differently about social media because of changes in the algorithms of platforms. At the Wine Media Conference held in Australia in October, attendees were told that as Facebook leads a social media shift away from public broadcasting and toward private conversations, the wine industry can't use social media the same way it did five years ago and expect the same results. Key areas that wine writers, wineries or others in the industry should now focus on when using social media include establishing two-way dialogues and creating less, but better, social media content. -- DRINKS TODAY

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5. Wineries in America's Southwest are embracing European varieties. In Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, wineries are putting their own fresh, interesting and distinctive takes on grapes such as aglianico, tempranillo, mourvedre, tannat, and sangiovese. The region is very large, and growing conditions vary greatly, but overall winemakers favor a "low-impact, low intervention approach" in the Southwest, creating fruit- and vineyard-driven wines. -- JAMES SUCKLING

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6. Amazon's new wine brand is now available in Germany. For 19.99 euros, Amazon Prime members in the country can purchase six bottles of wine, one each of the new Compass Road line: pinot grigio, merlot, chardonnay, grenache rosé, dornfelder and riesling. The brand of affordable wines is Amazon's second alcohol brand launch. Last month it released its own spirit, Tovess Gin. -- THE DRINKS BUSINESS

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7. Small production wineries need to pay attention to marketing conditions - such a rising direct to consumer sales - that may cause them problems. Other issues include an oversupply of grapes, boomers aging out of the wine market while younger generations are less brand loyal, and recreational marijuana - while not a problem for wine sales yet - may become competition. -- LIBDIB

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8. An Oxford University study suggests that many wine experts can't tell one wine from another. Researchers dyed a white wine pink by adding red food coloring and gave it to volunteer experienced tasters as well as non-experts. The tasters were given a long list of words to choose from to describe the wine. Many of the experienced tasters chose words that described red or dark fruit flavors for the fake rosé. Researchers said, "This is the largest study of its kind. It demonstrates the role of wine colour in shaping both smell and flavour evaluations." -- NZ HERALD

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9. A recent article that claimed 6 million female wine drinkers are missing from premium wine purchases got dissected by The Wine Gourd blog. The original article bemoaned the fact that fewer women purchase more expensive wines then men and one of the conclusions drawn as to why is that "while women appear to know as much about wine as men, they are significantly less confident in that knowledge." On his blog, David Morrison points out that this conclusion is sexist and does not logically follow the data. A better conclusion would be that women are sensible. -- THE WINE GOURD

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10. While I don't make a big deal about holiday pairings (Drink what you like!), the wine I took to my friends' home for Thanksgiving was pretty darn good with the traditional turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce meal. I went local, choosing a Nouveaux of Chambourcin from William Heritage Winery in Mullica Hill, NJ, as my contribution to the wine on the table. 

Most of us are well familiar with Beaujolais Nouveaux and its third week in November celebratory Beaujolais Nouveaux Day. But, there are many wineries outside of the Beaujolais region that make a wine in a Nouveaux style. I've noticed over the past couple of years - with a definite uptick this year - that many wineries in U.S. wine regions are choosing to make the young, fresh Nouveaux-style wines. As you're out and about at your local wineries this holiday season, ask about Nouveaux wine. They're often inexpensive, and I think these fresh, fruity reds are festive. 

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Robin Shreeves is a wine, beer, spirits and travel writer. She's the wine columnist and restaurant and beverage features writer for the Courier Post newspaper in New Jersey. She holds an Intermediate Sommelier certification from the Wine School of Philadelphia. Her food and drinks writing can be found at Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, Food Network, Spirited magazine, USA Today, Mother Nature Network, Drink Nation, Edible Philly and Edible Jersey. Visit her website wineandwonder.com and follow her on Instagram at @rshreeves

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