Château Haut-Bailly Goes to the Moon; What Wines Are Trending Among Millennials, Plus More Wine and Spirits News

News from your world of wine.
Photo courtesy Bordeaux’s Museum of Decorative Arts and Design Facebook

Château Haut-Bailly has its sights set on being the first Bordeaux to be enjoyed in space. Poured from a circular wine bottle designed for use in zero gravity, it carries a specially made Haut-Bailly label. The bottle connects to a drinking utensil that resembles a conductor’s baton with a circular grip attached. It’s currently on display at Bordeaux’s Museum of Decorative Arts and Design.

Meanwhile, back on Earth…

Research released last week from the Wine Market Council claims that rosé is the fastest growing premium wine category in the U.S, The group says that sales of rosé over $11 is up 60% year over year, with millennials contributing significantly to the spike. Rosé sales now match all U.S. sales for South African wines. Not surprisingly, Pinot Noir remains the most expensive varietal wine. But look what’s in second place—Sauvignon Blanc. It’s propelled New Zealand wines ahead of France as the fourth-largest wine exporter to the U.S. by total dollar sales.

For Peat’s Sake! Laphroaig Goes Ballistic

Laphroaig distilleryIf you like your single malts peaty, check out this new entry from Islay’s Laphroaig, released last Friday. Already known for its intensely peaty, salty and medicinal flavors, the distillery’s latest, Lore, takes it up a notch. Aged in a complex mix of first-fill Bourbon barrels, quarter casks and oloroso Sherry hogsheads, it’s “the richest of the rich,” says manager John Campbell.

California Dreaming…

Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trips series puts the spotlight on the Sierra Foothills wine region, which includes Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne and Yuba counties. This is Gold Rush country, famed today for robust Zinfandel and Syrah. Check its Web site for videos, articles and an interactive map to search wineries by amenities like tours, gardens, picnic areas and more.

Meanwhile, In the Trade

Wine Educator and Author Patrick Fegan Passes Away

Known primarily for both his ubiquitous presence in the Chicago wine world and his approachable teaching style, Patrick Fegan died Thursday at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. He was 68. Fegan started the Chicago Wine School in the mid-1970s. In 2008, he was awarded the European Wine Council’s distinguished “Wine Educator of the Year” award, and taught more 22,000 students over 40 years of teaching. Also popular on the lecture circuit and known for his mischievous, down-to-earth personality where it came to all-things wine, Fegan’s life and career left an indelible mark on the industry and exemplified his motto, “Education without Intimidation.”

Read the full obituary here, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Campari Buys Grand Marnier for $760 Million

Grand MarnierOn March 15, Bloomberg reported that Italian distiller Davide Campari-Milano has agreed to buy Grand Marnier Group in a deal worth almost $760 million.

Grand Marnier produces cognac, Armagnac and wines. It gets more than half of its sales income from the U.S., where young drinkers are returning to the classic cocktails once enjoyed by their grandparents.

Robert Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Davide Campari-Milano, compared the purchase to its acquisition of Wild Turkey in 2009. At the time, Wild Turkey sales were “as flat as a pancake,” he said, and have soared since joining the portfolio.

Also Flat: the European Grapevine Moth

Good news—the European Grapevine moth problem in Napa County and throughout California may be over. The nasty insect, first discovered in Napa in 2009, is near extinction in the state. Trapping, quarantines and other treatments to block and eliminate the moths began in 2010 and the population began a steep decline. No moths have been found since 2013.

More Good News For Napa

On March 14, the Napa Valley Vintners trade association announced that it has donated nearly $6 million of proceeds from Auction Napa Valley to 17 nonprofits that provide community health services. These organizations specialize in physical and mental health, family support services and senior support services. To date, the Napa Valley Vintners has given more than $150 million to Napa County nonprofits through its auction.

On The Scene

Here are some upcoming wine trade events that are likely to sell out in advance, so move fast!

A Sparkling Wine Symposium will be held on April 14 at Ponzi Vineyards. Registration is open through April 1. Cost is $200. Click here to register.

The Virginia Wine Summit (April 5) is an all-day conference for wine and restaurant industry workers. It features panels and Q&As with wine experts from around the world. Topics include The Art of Whites, Meet Virginia Reds and an exploration of Virginia terroir.

The second-annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction is scheduled for April 29. Seventy-five unique wine lots will be sold to the highest bidder at the one-day auction. The lots represent 16 Sonoma County appellations, and were cultivated in Sonoma County’s most respected vineyards.

Published on March 21, 2016
Topics: Wine Trends + News
About the Author
Paul Gregutt
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from Oregon and Canada.

Paul Gregutt is a Contributing Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel, and reviews the wines of Oregon and Canada. The author of the critically-acclaimed Washington Wines & Wineries—The Essential Guide, he consulted on the Pacific Northwest entries in current versions of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine.


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