The Death of Yeast Adds to Chardonnay and Sparkling Wines

Alcohol has been celebrated with awe for millennia. This mysterious transfiguration of sugar has inspired lore and legend, even religion, until the 19th century when Louis Pasteur proved that yeast is the mechanism at play. We now understand, in winemaking, a variety of yeast strains carry out the primary conversion of grape sugar into alcohol. Only a few wines, however, utilize the yeast post-fermentation to […]

Three Lodi Wineries Offering Authenticity and Intrigue

The Lodi region of California has grown wine grapes for over a century. This history has both burnished and oxidized its reputation. Lodi has some name recognition, but for a specific niche: high octane zinfandel and bulk filler for the kings, queens, and princes to the west, nearer the cool coast. Both because of and […]

Honest Wine without Waving “Natural Wine” Banner

Most grocery stores, chain liquor stores, and national restaurants sell wines made by the millions of cases—wines made with a recipe, a process more akin to making soda than wine. In contrast, “natural” winemakers have staked their claim as the antithesis to corporate plonk. While “natural wine” is a loose stylistic description, it is generally […]

Minnesota in the Willamette: Minnesotans Staking Claim in Oregon’s Famed Pinot Noir Region

Pinot noir that seduces with satin-and-lace elegance. Riesling worthy of her exalted status as Queen of the White Wines. Chardonnay that walks a tightrope with both energy and grace. These are the kinds of wines coming out of arguably the most exciting wine region in the United States today—Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Over the years, several […]

9 Winter Wines for the Holiday Season

Cool Canadian winds have whisked in the holiday season, and with this churn comes a shift in wines to the more savory and layered. Many choose to jump directly into the depths-of-winter wines, like cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel. Instead, try something more transitional this month—wine that honors the elements, pairs with a variety of foods, and piques […]

First-Rate Second Wines

Caymus, Grgich Hills, Haut-Brion. These wineries, and others of their ilk, have worked tirelessly to build brand awareness. They start by crafting memorable and compelling wines, as all great wineries must. Then they travel, in the flesh and digitally, telling their story from hilltops and dales. With this work they build recognition, and garner top-tier […]

People’s Wine

Real wine is hard to find. The charade that populates most store shelves is a group of elixirs, created to poke and tickle the right taste buds. Made in the vein of Pepsi or Fritos, these commodity wines typically showcase excessive fruit, residual sugar, and serious chugability. These are circus wines with circus labels, and […]

Cold Climate Grapes Take Root in Waconia

As a thunderstorm rolls across the prairie, Ben Banks rests a finished bottle flat and deftly hand-labels his new vintage release. Disturbing the zen of the moment, he looks up to give me a warm handshake. Banks leads the winemaking at Sovereign Estate, his family’s winery established in 2008 on the north shore of Lake […]

A Note on Jancis Robinson’s Craft Wine Concerns

Jancis Robinson recently wrote an article defending winemaking as an innately “craft” process*, and displayed deep concern over beer and spirits capturing the hearts and taste buds of the younger generations of craft beverage consumers. Robinson clearly feels threatened by the upswing in craft beer and spirits. The threat may be real, but the source […]

Is Vivino a Dependable Source?

I have recently witnessed an industry wine buyer for a Minnesota retail account, and a multitude of wine consumers using Vivino to make wine buying decisions. For full disclosure, I am a “Featured User,” a designation given by Vivino to highlight a user as worthy of extra attention. Most Featured Users are wine writers or […]

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