Inside Wine - February 14th, 2020 |

Inside Wine (Feb 14th, 2020)

Top Valentine's wines / Tariffs hurting US business / Serbia invests in wine /

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Today should be the day we find out if there will be additional tariffs placed on wines from the EU, and what those tariffs will be. I've read in various places the decisions on those tariffs could be announced at about 5 pm ET today. Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to send out an ancillary newsletter this evening if an announcement is made. But, Monday, I'll round up anything important on the issue. 

Fingers crossed,


1. Wine tariffs hurt American businesses, Wine Enthusiast reports. In this piece, the impacts of the 25 percent tariffs placed on certain wines from the EU are discussed ahead of today's probable announcement of any changes to the current wine tariffs, which will cover whether they will be maintained, reduced, or hit with taxes, or all three. Last November, imports of EU wine in the US decreased while imports of EU wine in China rose by 35 percent. Harry Root, president of Grassroots Wine, says this is a "direct transfer of the European-American wine trade going straight to our trade adversary and building a new commerce platform for them." Some small wine businesses have already had to lay off employees, and two wine businesses (unnamed in the article) have closed due to the tariffs. If the tariffs are raised to 100 percent on EU wines, the belief is these layoffs and closures will multiply, and other businesses that deal with wine – such as restaurants – could also be negatively affected. -- WINE ENTHUSIAST

2. Serbia will invest 300 million euros ($325 million) in its wine industry over the next decade. Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic announced the country would adopt a strategy for the development of the wine industry. Currently, Serbian wine has exports that grow 20 percent annually. The government is offering incentives for new vineyards, compensation for laboratory costs, and subsidies for buying equipment and machinery to help bolster the industry. -- SEENEWS

3. Google used its data to reveal the type of wine that will be opened most in each state for Valentine's Day. Nationally, seven varieties will get the most love tonight – merlot, pinot grigio, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, syrah and chardonnay. Merlot comes out on top in the most states; sixteen favor the wine on Valentine's Day. Interestingly, the West Coast states will all be opening red wines the most, and the East Coast states will all be opening white wines the most - and none of the coastal states have merlot as a top choice. (My state, New Jersey, is apparently fond of pinot grigio on Valentine's Day. Personally, I have L’Effet Papillon Côtes du Roussillon Rouge, a grenache/syrah blend that's one of the best bargains in wine I know of, waiting for me this evening.) -- CBS BALTIMORE

4. While many major wine-producing regions saw sales decrease or remain flat last year, Oregon's wine sales grew. Sales outside of the Oregon winery tasting rooms increased by more than 12 percent in both volume and value. However, those in the industry know that this success may not be long-lived. At the 2020 Oregon Wine Symposium in Portland, attendees were reminded that wine is less popular among millennials than the older generation. Oregon wine is not attracting millennials, and wineries in the state cannot count on those in their 20s and 30s moving to wine as they mature. Although things are going well for the state's wine industry right now, it needs to plan for change right now. -- CAPITALPRESS

5. In Austria, an almost 10-foot tall bottle of wine nearly erupted in a restaurant. The bottle held 12,590 liters of Burgenland winery Keringer in Mönchhof's 2015 100 Days, a zweigelt. It weighed 2.6 tons and was valued at $111,000. The bottle started leaking - possibly due to a power malfunction that turned off the cooling system inside the glass chamber it was housed in - and it wasn't clear where the leak originated. Firefighters came to the rescue, pumping the remaining wine out of the bottle using a food-safe hose, and saved 1,360 liters of the wine. The wine was tested, deemed safe, and put in 750 ml bottles. It will now be sold by the glass. -- WINE SPECTATOR

6. Wineries would benefit from embracing digital fluency. That was part of the message Enolytics co-founder Cathy Huyghe brought to attendees - including me- during a panel at Wine Paris earlier this week. Saying that French wineries often lag behind other counties' in getting detailed information online, she recommended French wineries - and all wineries - get themselves listed on the Global Wine Database as a means to start increasing digital fluency. -- ENOLYTICS 

7. The "Vintage Pursuits: Cultivating a Virginia Wine Industry" exhibit at the Loudoun Museum in Virginia opens today. The exhibit details 400 plus years of winemaking in the region - both its struggles when colonists failed time and time again to make wine and its more recent successes. Admission to the museum is free, but a donation is suggested. -- LOUDOUN TIMES

8. Pernod Ricard has downgraded its earnings predictions for the fiscal year 2020 from 5.7 percent to 2.4 percent​​t​​ due to coronavirus. Because the virus has caused closures in China and outlets are not expected to open until March in some regions and June in Hubei province, the company that owns brands such as Jacob's Creek and Campo Viejo will lose significant sales in China. -- THE DRINKS BUSINESS

9. While natural wine is common in restaurants and wine shops, natural wine bars are not as standard. In Eater, Meghan McCarron laments the lack of the type of wine bars that are ubiquitous in Paris - casual ones where you can sit at a small table and split a bottle of wine and a small snack. In the US, these types of establishments are few and far between. But maybe, she says, the US has their kind of casual, loose drinking space equivalent to Paris' small wine bars - craft breweries. -- EATER

10. For your weekend viewing, check out The Rise of Women and Sustainability in the Wine Industry on YouTube. The video features a recent panel in NYC that discussed women in wine and their role in sustainability - covering topics like natural wine, organic and biodynamic production, and social responsibility. The panelists are Jenny Lefcourt; Co-owner of Jenny & Francois Importing, Mika Bulmash, Founder of Wine for the World, Frances Gonzalez, Owner of Vegan Wines, and Alexis Percival, Sommelier, and Partner in Ruffian Wine Bar and Kindred. The panel is moderated by Blaine Ashley, Founder of New York Champagne Week & The FIZZ is Female. -- YOUTUBE

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 and follow her on Instagram at @rshreeves.

Edited by Sheena Vasani, staff writer at Inside.

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