2014 California Wine Grape Harvest One of the Best in Recent Years

Plus other news and notes in the world of wine, beer and spirits.

The 2014 California wine grape harvest is looking like one of the most successful in recent years despite earlier predictions of an  eight percent drop in harvest yields from last year, ongoing drought, and the Napa Valley earthquake in late summer. As of August 2014, the harvest is the third-largest by volume on record, forecast at about 3.9 million tons. Though weather conditions were severe at times, an earlier start to the growing season and late heat prolonged ripening for many of the grapes, contributing to what growers believe will be another excellent vintage.

Austria’s growing sparkling wine industry introduced a three-tier quality pyramid on October 22nd—also known as Austrian Sparkling Wine Day– designed to standardize and elevate production standards within the country. The pyramid consists of a base category requiring Austrian grapes and a maturation period of nine months on the lees, a second level that ensures the sparkling wines are produced using traditional bottle fermentation methods and matured for 18 months, and the top tier, which ensures grapes are of single-community origins, matured for 30 months and released on the market no earlier than three years after harvest. The new quality standards come in response to a 30 percent growth in consumption of Austrian sparkling wines in the country overall and over 30 percent of growth in production of sparkling wine since 2008.

The Burgundy School of Business’ School of Wine and Spirits Business reported a 30 percent increase in enrollment after its first year. For its second year of enrollment, the school attracted a more internationally diverse pool of students from 10 different countries. Of the five programs offered by the SWSB, the MS CIVS (Commerce International des Vins et Spiritueux) is current ranked 3rd overall and 1st in France in the “Luxury Management Food and Management” on Best-Masters.com, a website ranking the best Masters and MBA programs worldwide.

His Royal Majesty Juan Carlos of Spain made a rare appearance last week to inaugurate the newly renovated Castillo Ygay of the historic Marqués de Murrieta wineries. One of the highlights of Castillo Ygay’s eight-year restoration project is the museum celebrating the iconic Rioja house, including collections of historic labels, ancient utensils specific to the castle, and barrel cellars. To honor the former King’s presence, the 1938 Castillo Ygay vintage, the King’s birth year, was served for a toast. 

Two Colorado Albertsons supermarkets were bought out of Count Chocula cereal recently, and it’s not for the reason you might think. Fort Collins-based Black Bottle Brewery hoarded the chocolate and marshmallow cereal for the Halloween edition of the brewery’s Cerealiously beer series, which uses the cereal in a dry-hopping method in which the cereal is added to a hop back for flavor. Fans of the beer series can look forward to future Cerealiously outputs like St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Charms and an undisclosed Cap’n Crunch edition.

Published on October 27, 2014



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