Burger King Releases "Flame-Grilled" Wine to Pair with Whopper Burgers

Plus the Great American Beer Festival proves the country's craft brewing scene is a force to reckon with, and other news and notes.

Highlights

In the continuing trend of fast food chains elevating their offerings to the improving palates of foodie consumers, Burger King will soon be offering a wine specifically crafted to pair with its ubiquitous Whopper burger. The wine, which has been flame-grilled using Burger King broilers before being aged in wood, is currently only available in Spain, to mark the company’s fourth decade of serving up burgers in the country. Fans of the chain can enter a contest to win the wine, but the question remains: how long before BK serves wine stateside? Chains like Taco Bell are already offering boozy drinks—as evidenced by the company’s first ever Taco Bell Cantina, recently opened in Chicago—so it’s only a matter of time.

For three days last week, Denver was the center of the American beer world, with more than 60,000 attendees descending on the city for the Brewers Association’s annual Great American Beer Festival. With more than 700 brewers competing with some 3,000 pours, the festival was abuzz with beer geeks and suds savants looking to tap into the latest and greatest beer trends. Brewers showed off their top pours, competing for 275 medals. This year, a total of 242 brewers took home the top prizes–many with multiple entries in each category—while organizers clocked in 423 first-time competitors. Large Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year awards went to Los Angeles-based Pabst Brewing Co. and brewer Gregory Deuhs, while Small Brewing Company and Small Brewer of the Year was awarded to Alexandria, Virginia’s Port City Brewing Company and its team. Cult-favorite Firestone Walker Brewing, from Paso Robles, CA, once again took the prize for Mid-Size Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year. The list of all winners can be found here.


Trade News

On September 18, Bill Leigon, president of Napa’s Jamieson Ranch Vineyards announced his purchase of the vineyard from Madison Vineyard Holdings for an undisclosed price. Bill Spear continues to manage all sales and marketing and was announced as the winery’s General Manager and co-partner.The sale includes all existing brands ( Light Horse, JRV Double Lariat, JRV Stagecoach, JRV Silver Spur, Whiplash and Reata Pinot Noir) and inventory. The winery’s 300 acres, with 75 acres under vine, was not included in the sale but Leigon will lease the winery facility.

Four Finger Lakes region wineries are leading the solar movement in the New York region. Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, Hunt Country Vineyards, Wagner Vineyards and the combined O-Neh-Da and Eagle Crest Vineyards are collaborating to install the region’s first large-scale solar power systems that, all together, will add up to nearly half a megawatt of solar; enough energy to power hundreds of homes. Hunt Country Vineyards completed the first installation of 109 kilowatts over the summer, followed by 51KW at Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars; 250KW at Wagner Vineyards and 62KW at O-Neh-Da are in progress. The project will result in the offset of about 460 tons of CO2 emissions each year for the life of the solar systems, the equivalent of planting nearly 200 acres of trees or eliminating about 35 million vehicle miles. The group worked closely with New York Green Bank and received support from NYSERDA’s NY Sun initiative. The project is not only benefiting the environment and the bottom line, it is also supporting local construction firms and electrical contractors with an estimated 5,000 man-hours for the installations, and is using American-made photovoltaic solar panels and ancillary equipment.

On September 23, beer giant Anheuser-Busch announced its acquisition of Los Angeles-based craft brewery Golden Road Brewing. Founded by Meg Gill—a 2014 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 honoree—and Tony Yanow in 2011, Golden Road expects to sell 45,000 barrels of beer this year in more than 4,000 retail locations. “Their focus on giving back to the community and impact on the Los Angeles craft market in four short years makes Golden Road a strong addition to our craft portfolio,” said Andy Goeler, CEO of craft beer at Anheuser-Busch, in a statement. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the sale adds to the $200 million Anheuser-Busch has spent in the last four years acquiring craft breweries, including Goose Island Beer Co. of Chicago; Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue, New York; 10 Barrel Brewing from Bend, Oregon, and Seattle’s Elysian Brewing.

According to the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), Provence’s winemakers are celebrating the region’s outstanding 2015 vintage  rosé, but also noting the potential of the region’s reds. “The current health status of the vineyards is impeccable, thanks to the continuing warm, dry weather and the cleansing effects of the Mistral,” says CIVP President Alan Baccino in a statement. Unlike 2014, which delivered a larger-than-average red yields, the 2015 harvest is relatively back to normal. Coupled with sustained warm, dry weather, which has been good for the phenolic ripening of the region’s Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault, the red vintage holds a lot of potential and promise, says Baccino.


On the Social Scene

Art Director Julia Lea was on the scene of WE’s latest photo shoot and snapped this thirst-inducing money shot of bubbles in coupes. What can be better?

Coupe or flute? As long as there are bubbles I don’t mind! #WEbehindthescenes

A photo posted by Julia Lea (@juliaglea) on


It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it: Digital Editorial Manager Marina Vataj recently attended a crash course tasting of Prunotto Barolo at New York City’s NoMad restaurant.

This is what #MondayAfternoon should always look like! Lucky for @mvataj…it does! ? #regram ?#WEtaste

A photo posted by Wine Enthusiast (@wineenthusiast) on

The Complete Guide to Burgers & Pairings

Published on September 28, 2015
Topics: Bars & Restaurants, Beer, News and Trends
About the Author
Joseph Hernandez

Hernandez is a Chicago-based writer and editor obsessed with wine, food and being an oft-misguided know-it-all. WSET certified, his work has appeared in various print and digital publications, including National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog, Food RepublicModern Luxury's Men's Book and Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog. When he's not drinking Champagne or funky Loire Valley reds, you can find Hernandez documenting his latest meal or day trip on Instagram.




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