Fine Wine


It looks like the younger generation is developing a taste for fine wine.

According to new research from the Wine Market Council millennials drank 42% of all wine sold in the U.S. last year. That is higher than any other generation. The report found that the group, defined as people between the ages of 21 and 38 averaged two cases of wine per person. And with 79 million Americans landing in that age range, that's more than 150 million cases of wine.  read more »

The Wine Industry


Every business has its obstacles; especially when you're dealing with Mother Nature.

Since 1977 Robert Foley has been making wine in California’s Napa valley. Now he is the vintner for a number of small wineries while also producing his own blends.

“It is a tough business, truth be spoken if you want to make a small fortune start with a large fortune.

This year winemakers in California are facing an extra challenge because of the long term drought. But so far Foley says the fruit being harvested looks promising mainly because they knew what to expect. Then the recent earthquake in Napa delivered another setback with damage to vineyards and wineries. But no matter how tough the business might get, wine makers know the customers will always be there.  read more »

Fake Wine


Wine consumption is on the rise; but some bottles might leave you with a bad taste.

The New York Times reports that a series of recent scandals is turning the spotlight on the problem of fake wines. In December a federal jury found one man guilty of selling millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit wine. One Atlanta wine collector is suing the London based Antique Wine Company for $25 million. He claims that 14 bottles he just bought from them were worthless. Unfortunately he had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cheap grape juice.

Experts say as wine has become more expensive; more people have taken interest in copying it. So they’re brewing up their own batch, bottling it and slapping a label on there from a high end vineyard or company.  read more »

A Starring Role

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One Hollywood actress is trying out a new role, as businesswoman.

Drew Barrymore is a familiar face on the big screen. Now she's bringing her star power to another industry; wine. I recently sat down with Drew at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival to discuss "Barrymore;" her personal Pinot Grigio white wine.

She says it's more than just a label with a celebrity name.

"I have a hand in everything I do; I don't do it well otherwise. So for better or for worse if you don't like things about the wine, I'm somewhat to blame for it."

To produce her wine, Barrymore teamed up with the Decordi family. People she says understand what goes into a successful product.  read more »

The Master Sommelier


Can’t decide on a wine; turn to your master sommelier.

Not everyone in the industry makes and distributes wine. There are also those that know the right grape and the right flavor to best compliment your meal. Sabato Sagaria is one such person. He is the master sommelier at the Little Nell in Aspen; one of the toughest tables to land in Colorado. He says the process to achieve the position that few people hold included tests on fermentation and wine regions, dealing with difficult tables and of course…

“It takes a lot of drinking.”

Sagaria says his restaurant offers wine that ranges from $25 a bottle to $20,000. But when the recession hit he says people were drinking from the cheaper end of the menu.  read more »

Food and Wine

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Sometimes the food and wine industry isn’t just about taste.

Mark Stanich is the Chief Marketing Officer and President of Digital Media at American Express Publishing. At a recent food and wine festival I talked to him about changes in the industry; an important topic to the company which publishes Food and Wine magazine. Stanich says over the past few years people began focusing more on the food and less on the wine; but now that’s changing and the industry is realizing they go hand in hand.

“A great meal being not just the food a great meal is really the experience and part of that experience is what you’re drinking with the food.”  read more »

A Smooth Recession


Sometimes a crash is not the same as a crush.

I recently spent time in the Chianti wine region of Tuscany. There I spoke with Nicolo Incisa; president of Sassicaia winery. In Italy; as in most countries, the down economy has hit business and industries hard. And while tourism to his country is down Incisa says his business is up.

“I think that during crisis this one, the people are more careful what they buy. They go for quality they don’t risk buying wine they don’t know.”

Incisa says his wine has developed a good reputation and people know what they are getting when they buy it. He says for this reason his business has grown for the past four years.

“Demand is growing which is a little surprising but we are very pleased.”  read more »

Beauty and the Beast


The beauty of Italy is breathtaking. But a beast is devouring this country's spirit.

Today much of the Italian culture finds its outlet in the thousands of wineries that dot the landscape. Some of the world’s great wines are produced here; Borolo, Brunello, Chianti. And Sassacaica; wine from a family that raised horses for a living and made the drink for themselves.

After so many rave reviews they decided to take it public, now connoisseurs call it extraordinary. Their success is a testament to capitalism and private enterprise.

But now it seems Italy has lost its way. Debate rages between the socialist models where government takes care of workers from cradle to grave; and the conservative model, where private enterprise runs the economy.  read more »

Wine Tainted Beef

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A good wine can enhance a meal; unless it’s already included.

According to two Frenchmen premium, high quality beef comes from cows that indulge in an after dinner drink. And they should know; the wine maker and cattle farmer serve their cows two bottles of wine a day.

Last year wine maker Jean Charles Tastavy decided to conduct an experiment to determine if happy cows really did produce better meat. So he teamed up with a local farmer and began serving three cows water mixed with pressed grapes. The cows enjoyed it so much that they were soon served real, locally produced wine.  read more »

An Alcoholic Loan


Need a little collateral; look to your liquid assets.

In order to help those in need of a loan some U.S. pawnbrokers are now accepting fine wine to secure re-payment. And business is good. Pawnbrokers say despite their last resort reputation more people are coming to them because they can get a same day loan; instead of waiting weeks or months with a bank.

One pawn shop above a bank in Beverly Hills says its clients include hedge fund managers, bankers, doctors and Oscar winning actors. It says these people; although wealthy sometimes need a boost of fast cash for their latest business venture. An online pawn broker in New York says it regularly accepts wine as collateral from the upper class yet rarely sells it.  read more »