Uncorkings 8.30

News and notes from the world of wine.

A sudden heat wave in California is leaving some vineyards with extensive crop loss,  just as the 2010 harvest season kicks off. Damage to Sonoma County’s expected 195,000-ton harvest will become more evident in the coming days as growers survey their vineyards, said Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission.

The Canadian harvest started last week in Ontario’s Niagara region, the earliest commercial picking there in more than 20 years.

Worldwide Champagne sales volumes rose by nearly 40 percent in the first half of 2010, building on growth recorded in the first quarter, according to trade body CIVC, as stronger currencies in the U.S. and UK stimulated consumption in those two key markets.

Research published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine found that attempts to heal heart damage with stem cells were more successful when the cells were in the presence of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine.

Premium wine sales have been badly hit as customers rein in their spending, Diageo reported. Driven by the weakness of higher-priced wines in the U.S., wine sales fell 5 percent, the company said, while its spirits arm reported positive growth.

DAOU Vineyards named Karen Hunt as President, while Aleksandar Kolundzic joined Pillitteri Estates Winery as Winemaster.

Published on August 30, 2010