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Archive for April, 2010


Chateau Lascombes 2004: Trust Betrayed

April 30th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Aging wine is a matter of trust. You take good wine and put it away in the belief that it will get better. You have to trust that your patience and the storage conditions and the wine itself will take something good and change it in a way that justifies the deference of pleasure. I’ve [...]

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Posted in Tasting Notes | Comments (3)


Open Bottle Night: Get Your Bets Down

April 29th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

The theory is, I think, “what the hell.” Westport Whiskey & Wine throws an Open Bottle Night tasting with a few extras as a kind of kick-off to Derby weekend. I was thinking about doing this as if the wines were horses lined up in the starting gate, but that was too cheesy even for [...]

Posted in Events | Comments (0)


Way Down, Down Under

April 29th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

The bad news is that a heat wave in Australia has cut the size of the Australian grape harvest, particularly in regions that produce bulk wines from irrigated vineyards. Total Australian wine grape production is forecast to fall by seven per cent to 1.62 million tonnes in 2009-10, reflecting the heat wave in November 2009 [...]

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Posted in News | Comments (0)


Another Day, Another Data Set: Direct Sales Up 3% in 2009

April 29th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Wine marketing consultants VinterActive have published a report, excerpted here, that says direct-to-consumer wine sales grew about 3% in 2009, clocking-in at a record $3 billion. While many larger established wineries reported declining wine club and tasting room sales in 2009, small and mid-sized wineries aggressively increased their use of social networking, direct marketing and [...]

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Posted in Data | Comments (0)


Getting on the Bandwagon

April 28th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

HR 5034 now has 43 co-sponsors, 29 Democrats and 14 Republicans. No big names yet, but we’ll see. The proposed law has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where — along with 884 other bills — it awaits consideration.

Posted in Regulation | Comments (0)


We Interrupt the Debate Over Direct Wine Sales to Bring You Actual Data

April 28th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Wine Business Monthly’s 2010 Direct to Consumer Survey is out, and it shows a couple of interesting things. Internet and wine club sales — which sit at ground zero in the debate over direct shipping regulations — are both down. That’s not surprising given that Internet sales in particular trend toward higher-priced wines that aren’t [...]

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Robert Parker Cashing-In In Asia

April 28th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

There is a long tradition of American personalities promoting products in Asia that they would never think of endorsing in the United States. It’s all about artistic integrity over here, but over where their friend won’t see the ads it’s all about cashing-in. So it is, apparently, with Robert Parker, whose relationship with wine distributors [...]

Posted in Marketing | Comments (8)


In Which a Print Columnist Proves That Bloggers Aren’t All That Bad

April 27th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Steve Heimoff is occaisionally disdainful of wine bloggers because we lack the measured professionalism and editorial oversight of print writers. As a contrary argument, I give you: Mike Dunne of the Sacramento Bee, who completely and utterly botches his analysis of HR 5034. His assessment? If enacted, HR 5034 could compel states to repeal the [...]

Posted in Regulation | Comments (5)


Where to Drink Wine When You Come to the Kentucky Derby

April 26th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Somewhere out there someone is packing for a trip to the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is, of course, a mint julep event. Locals craft their own mint julep recipes, handing them down over generations. Every restaurant has its own variation on the theme. Churchill Downs, the home of the Derby, is widely acknowledged to have [...]

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Posted in Restaurants & Bars | Comments (2)


Pardon My Cynicism

April 26th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Among other things, this could explain the sudden appearance of HR 5034: The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America spent $240,000 in the first quarter lobbying the federal government on labor issues, food safety and other issues, according to a recent disclosure report. That’s less than the $300,000 the group spent in the year-ago period [...]

Posted in Regulation | Comments (0)