Uncorkings for 5/10/10

Top industry stories of the week.

At the annual James Beard Awards, John and Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards, in Napa, Calif., won the outstanding wine and spirits professional award. Jean Georges, where Bernard Sun is wine director, won the outstanding wine service award. In addition, winemaker Randall Grahm took home a book award for “Been Doon So Long.”

The Fair Trade Spirits Company announced the U.S. debut of FAIR.Vodka, the first vodka made from Quinoa and the first vodka made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients. The company also said that its FAIR. Goji liqueur, made from goji berries, will be available June 1.

Things are looking up for the wine industry in 2010-2011, according to Silicon Valley Bank's annual State of the Wine Industry report. They are forecasting "improving conditions in the fine wine business" and believe the "trading down trend will end this year."  Read the industry report here.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that many eco-sensitive wineries and restaurants are serving wine directly from kegs, eschewing bottles altogether. 

Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk inked a partnership with California-based Virgin America airline. He will become the wine consultant for all Virgin America flights, and his Wine Library TV service will become part of the on-board entertainment system.

According to The Wall Street Journal, over the past 10 years, plastic corks have taken a nestimated 20% of the bottle stopper market, and screw caps took another 11% of the market, raising concerns for natural cork producers.

Sounds like a great book plot to us:  A French blackmailer attempted to extort one million euros from the estate of Romanée-Conti, the world's most expensive wine, by threatening to poison the vines.
The California Association of Winegrape Growers appointed John Aguirre as its new president, effective June 1. Aguirre joins CAWG after an 11-year stint as the Executive Director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries.

More move news:  Goose Ridge Vineyard named Kendall Mix as head winemaker, overseeing wine production for the Goose Ridge, StoneCap and Sol Duc brands;  Ondine Chattan was promoted to head winemaker at Geyser Peak Winery, part of Ascentia Wine Estates; Flowers Vineyard & Winery appointed Jason Jardine as president; Diageo appointed Lynn Walding as executive director of control states, effective immediately.



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