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Other people’s Top Wine Stories of 2010 – not mine


I don’t have the attention span to write a “Top Stories of the Year” story, but I like reading them from other people. My publisher, Adam Strum, does this every year. Here’s his “Top 10 Wine Stories of 2010,” from the Dec. 15 Wine Enthusiast, and it’s a pretty good one from somebody who actually has a worldwide perspective.

More locally, I asked my Facebook readers, many of whom are in the industry, the question, “What are the biggest California wine stories of the year?” and, as usual, they weren’t shy about replying. Here are a couple of the more interesting comments. If I have a reply to the comment, I’ll put it in italics. I’m also naming the senders (I warned them in advance I would), although in some cases, I really have no idea who they are. Such is the nature of Facebook friends!

— The discount flash sale that is changing how consumers are purchasing and wineries are selling and connecting with consumers. (Eric Bolen) I think Eric is referring in general to lower prices, but in particular this makes me think of how certain top end [i.e. expensive] wineries, unable to sell all their wine, are selling it to third parties/negociants, who then re-label them. Consumers will never know where the wines came from, because of confidentiality agreements. There are some stunning Napa Cabernets I’ve had lately for $20-$25 that I would swear are as good as $80 stuff.

— The rise of natural wine and the associated movement. (Beau Carufel) Snore…

— The lack of coverage by big wine media towards HR 5034. (Michael Fraschilla) He may be right; I haven’t really studied this. Tom Wark is certainly doing yeoman’s work in bringing this to people’s attention at Fermentation.

— The irony of the emergence of Grenache in comparison to the lack of luster for Syrah. (Marshall Tilden) Disagree! First of all, there is no “emergence of Grenache” with respect to Syrah or anything else. Not that I can see, anyhow.

— The end of the blog, Steve, as even the young embrace FB. People seem to want their news short and sweet. Also, bloggers don’t get the respect published writers enjoy, understandably! (Kathy Marcks Hardesty). Kathy’s a dear friend, but her report of the demise of wine blogs is exaggerated. My numbers keep going up and up. And there’s no conflict between blogs and Facebook. They’re for different things. I do both.

— Norcal’s weird vintage. Scorched fruit. What survived and what flourished? (Joe Herrig) Adam Strum commented on this too. It was a weird vintage, and not just in NoCal. By the way, Joe Roberts nominated the weird weather too.

— “James Suckling creates new James Suckling website about James Suckling, with wine scores by James Suckling.” (David Honig) No comment. Actually, David’s comment was considerably longer than the snippet I published here. I omitted the more libelous parts.

— How about naming the wine writers that didn’t write a book in 2010? There should be 1-2? (Melanie Bianco Ofenloch) I can name two: Joe Roberts and me! Oh, and Harry Waugh, No, wait, he’s dead.

— Either the purchase of Justin by Fiji Water -or- The loss of Cosentino Winery. (Brad Roen) Both big stories, but not THE biggest of 2010.

— Foley buys Sonoma. (Chris Donatiello) Mr. Donatiello is the proprietor of C. Donatiello, an excellent Russian River Valley winery.

— Foley buys California. (Lori Narlock) Ms. Narlock is media relations manager at Wilson Daniels Ltd.

— Washington outscores, out-values, out-points California! (Paul Gregutt) Mr. Gregutt, my esteemed colleague, is the Pacific Northwest editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and is entirely without bias when it comes to Washington State wines. Not!

— The emergence of the Heimoff Blog as the soul & conscience of the wine industry. (Jim Caudill) I don’t make this stuff up, kids. Mr. Caudill is PR director at Hess Collection.

  1. Joanna Breslin says:

    Perhaps the “discount flash sale” refers to the online offerings of one or two wines at a time, changing them daily, for big discounts “until they’re gone”. I think part of the premise is also less exposure of the wine in question as being heavily discounted. (Re-labeling would provide better protection here, but what about the corks?)

  2. HR 5034 and the effect of the economy on states considering privatizing liquor sales.

  3. CA Winediva says:

    I’m a huge fan of the re-label. I’ve found some really interesting wines this year with terrible labels. Like, “who thouht that one up?” But when you read the AVA’s, and the ABV, year etc. It makes you think, this has possilities. Then you pull the cork, see the name, and sometimes the phone number, and go “WOW”. Then we go back and buy a case or more.

  4. This round up (great one, btw) got me thinking…

    Is 2010 the strangest wine year since the phylloxera outbreak?

    I think it’s a serious contender!

  5. Dude, there are oldtimers who say it’s not that weird. I’ve lived here 30 years and it’s the weirdest I’ve seen, with the cold being the most noteworthy thing. Keep in mind, I’ve been writing since 2005 that our summer weather has been getting cooler and cooler. The heat spikes in 2010 were pretty severe, especially after so many growers tore open their canopies. But I don’t think the heat spikes were any worse than the usual late August-early Sept. stuff.

  6. Libelous? Well okay, but just a little, and all in good fun. I think I libeled myself the most.

    I’m very interested in reading the story you announced for tomorrow.

  7. Dear David, you will tomorrow. I didn’t mean “libelous” in the sense that anyone would come after you, any more than they come after me for some things I say. I just wanted to avoid certain, let us say, personality conflicts!

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