Uncorkings for 4/26/2010

Top industry stories of the week.

Consumers and distributors continued to heatedly debate a new bill that could impact whether consumers can order wine directly from wineries. Tom Wark, head of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association, described it as “the most onerous consumer wine law since the passage of the 18th Amendment and the onset of Prohibition.”

New research from Johns Hopkins say that resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, may help shield the brain from stroke damage.

Affluent consumers around the world may be worried about the economy, but they are still spending on items they value most: food, wine and dining out, according to a study released by HSBC Global Pulse. However, 95% also said the most important criteria in wine purchases is “value/price.”

Experts noted that wines taking top honors at the Consumer Wine Awards  were technically sweet, with two having more than 3% residual sugar. The results suggest that professional opinions may not always translate into what everyday consumers like to drink.

French spirits maker Remy Cointreau posted a better-than-expected 13% full-year sales rise as growth accelerated in the final quarter, thanks to demand in Asia and recovery in Europe. Remy Martin Cognac, its biggest division, saw sales rise 30%, helped by higher prices and Chinese demand, while liqueur and spirit sales grew 5.4 percent. Meanwhile, Champagne sales fell 23%.

Canadians’ growing taste for red wine is cutting into beer’s traditional market dominance across the country, Statistics Canada reported.

Aperitifs, once found only in Europe, are growing in popularity in the U.S

7-11 will sell a private label beer, called Game Day.

More California vintners are gravitating towards urban crush operations. Says one urban winery owner, “the grapes don’t care where they’re made into wine.”

And for some fun industry gossip, Cristina Mariani-May (pictured here), Co-CEO Banfi Vintners and family proprietor of Tuscany’s Castello Banfi estate, successfully completed the Boston marathon just five months after finishing New York’s. Wine Enthusiast extends their congratulations and admiration.


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