On April 1, California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the state’s first-ever water use restrictions in response to the severe drought in the West. According to The Telegraph, the state’s 38 million residents and businesses must immediately cut water consumption by 25 percent. “We’re in a historic drought, and that demands unprecedented action,” said Brown. Measures include replacing 50 million square feet of lawn across the state with “drought-tolerant landscaping.” Campuses, golf courses and cemeteries are required to cut all but necessary water use. The agriculture industry, which accounts for approximately 80% of the state’s water usage, is exempt from reduction goals.
At-home mixologists, rejoice! SodaStream is releasing a new model of its patented carbonation system. Debuting at Milan’s Salone del Mobile designer trade show, the SodaStream MIX can “carbonate any and all liquids, from pure fruit juices to alcoholic beverages,” according to a press release. Unlike the original SodaStream appliance, which discouraged users from creating sparkling wines and cocktails, the MIX is designed to do just that. Its state-of-the-art features include a smartphone-enabled app, Bluetooth connectivity and a color display intended for users to experiment with new cocktails and flavors.
In anticipation of the Season 5 premiere of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones this Sunday, 2 Towns Ciderhouse is releasing a limited-release cider, “Throne of Thorns.” Infused with Oregon-sourced blackberries and raspberries, the brew is also fermented with Vinho Verde wine yeast and is 6% abv. Less than 1,200 cases of Throne of Thorns were bottled for distribution.
Last week, European editor Roger Voss reported from the anticipated Bordeaux En Primeur barrel-tasting event, assessing the quality of the storied region’s 2014 vintage. Read his reports and ratings, and follow him on Twitter for his minute-by-minute updates. >>>
In the Trade
On March 31, Nielsen and The Wine Market Council, an independent, nonprofit trade association, presented their 10th annual report on U.S. wine, beer and spirits trends. While the report found that the meteoric growth of wine consumption in America may be coming to an end, the future is still bright for individual wine categories, beer and spirits. Read the full report here >>>
According to The Wall Street Journal, American drinkers are turning away from Scotch, favoring American Bourbon and whiskies instead. Citing British government statistics released on April 1, global Scotch exports fell 7% last year and U.S. sales dipped 9%. Meanwhile, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. reported sales of Bourbon and whiskey increased 7.4%.
Beringer, owned by Treasury Wine Estates, unveiled its new taste station that allows consumers to sample wine without taking a sip. Launching in Kroger stores in 20 states, the shelf-mounted station offers customers non-alcoholic “flavor strips” of Chardonnay, White Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. If successful, the initiative will be implemented in more retail locations.
On the Scene
Wine Enthusiast honored the best and brightest in the wine, spirits and beer industries on March 30 at its annual Wine Star Awards. Read the full report here, and see what the winners, our editors and attendees had to say by following the hashtag on Twitter >>>
Associate Editor Christina Pellegrini had the envious task of reporting at a tasting dinner with chef Erik Blauberg at New York City’s Stanton Street Kitchen, indulging in saffron, truffles and Champagne.