U.S. Harvest Ramping Up: Reports are coming in from various corners of the U.S. wine industry regarding this year’s harvest. This Napa Valley update shows that expectations are high due to the “exceptional” summer weather. In Washington state, all signs point to a record harvest due to “near-perfect” temperatures, according to the Tri-City Herald.
Record Auction in Sonoma Mirrors Harvest Hopes: Separately, Sonoma’s annual harvest auction raised a record bounty amid high hopes for this year’s crop (A Dry Creek Zinfandel vine pictured at right), according to a Santa Rosa Press Democrat report. A quote from the article indicates the hope for the harvest: "This year has been consistently warm, and the vines set a heavier crop," said Greg Morthole, winemaker for Rodney Strong Wine Estates. "I'm expecting a bountiful crop of a much-better-than-average vintage."
Casino Executive Dabbles in Burgundy: A Macau gambling executive named Louis Ng recently dipped into the French wine business by purchasing Château de Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy for $10 million. Many wondered what the plan for the winery might be – Answers can be found in this Wine Spectator report.
New Developments in Napa: Three recent articles highlight some changes at some Napa wineries. For example, Constellation Brands is altering the Robert Mondavi Private Selection brand in several ways, Buena Vista winery is focusing on its history amid renewal, and several Napa real estate purchases are heralding increasing interest in high-end vineyards.
Washington Wine Sales Dissection: Initial returns from Washington state’s efforts to privatize liquor sales have left many folks scratching their head. As this blog post suggests from The Wine Economist, “the combination of higher taxes and fees plus distributor mark-ups have pushed the price of spirits higher on average (for now at least) than under the state store system.” It’s a terrific read, analyzing the changes in retail approaches in the state post-privatization.