A Vodka That Really Puts You into a Fog; Hangover Curing Ice Cream; and Water(melon)ing Down Your Beer

Also, soaring Napa real estate, a purchase in the Santa Lucia Highlands, and In Pursuit of Balance bows out. This week in your world of wine.

Vodka can be made from almost anything, but this is a first:  a limited-edition vodka made from San Francisco fog. Distiller Caley Shoemaker of Hanger 1, makers of Fog Point vodka, says this spirit embodies Bay Area preferences for sustainability and local production. A non-profit called FogQuest, which collects water from fog to help remote communities, set up fog catchers that collected enough water to make 2,400 bottles. Shoemaker partnered with Bonny Doon to distill her fog vodka from grape wine—specifically Bonny Doon’s 2012 Le Cigar Blanc. Fog Point will retail for $125.

Wristband Measures Alcohol Levels From Sweat; Ice Cream Hangover Cure Launches In South Korea

BACtrack, a San Francisco company that makes breathalyzers for a variety of military, law enforcement and consumer clients, is introducing a wristband called Skyn that can measure blood alcohol content from your sweat. The device then sends blood alcohol results to your iPhone via a free BACtrack app. A limited quantity of Skyn prototypes will be released later this year. For a demo and purchase details, visit here.

Ignore the high reading on your Skyn? Grab a Korean Gyeondyo-bar (translation: “Hang in there”), the first ice cream bar that promises to cure your hangover. Hangover cures are big in South Korea, ranging from pills and beverages to skin-softening cosmetics. The Gyeondyo-bar is a grapefruit-flavored dessert that contains oriental raisin tree fruit juice, a traditional hangover remedy that dates back to the 1600s.

Summer 2016 Beer Trend Alert—Watermelon!

In the beer world, the fruited IPA trend continues to rage on, with new options appearing seemingly every week, ranging from blood orange, grapefruit and pineapple to virtually every citrus variety imaginable. But this summer’s prevailing fruit fling in the craft beer community is watermelon-flavored beers.

Early on came Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment Brewery, an American wheat beer brewed with fresh watermelons.  New Belgium Brewing Company has also jumped in with a watermelon-and-lime beer called Heavy Melon, a light, juicy pale ale.

Thomas Hooker Watermelon AleThomas Hooker Brewing Company has also released its own straightforward Watermelon Ale, which finds good company in Ballast Point’s Watermelon Dorado Double IPA, a Watermelon Gose from Terrapin Beer Company, Seedspitter from Parallel 49 and Shipyard Brewing Company’s Melonhead. Prepare a mixed case in advance for National Watermelon Day on August 3rd!

Meanwhile, In the Trade

That Napa Vineyard Isn’t Getting Any Cheaper

The Napa Valley Register reports that record prices continue to roll in for Napa vineyard land. 2015 was a banner year, as the price of a prime acre of Napa Valley land rose almost 15%. A choice valley floor parcel will now cost about $310,000 an acre, up significantly from $270,000 in 2014.

David Ashcraft, a broker with Vintroux real estate, says that Napa County averages are just an indicator of vineyard values. “Actual sales can go even higher,” Ashcraft continues. “There is super-high demand for high-end premium Cabernet acreage.”

Another factor leading to ever-higher prices: Napa’s valley floor and hillsides are effectively planted out, with little additional land available to develop and extensive governmental regulations further limiting vineyard development. Best time to buy? About 30 years ago.

Delicato Family Vineyards Purchases Historic Santa Lucia Highlands Vineyard

Delicato Family Vineyards has acquired the historic Santa Lucia Highlands vineyard known to locals as River Road Vineyard. It was originally planted in 1972 by the late Jerry McFarland. “Opportunities like this don’t come along often and our family is honored to carry on Jerry McFarland’s legacy within the Monterey winegrowing community,” said Jay Indelicato, chief operating officer, Delicato Family Vineyards.

“River Road Vineyard is the crown jewel of the Santa Lucia Highlands and a special place for our family” said Stephanie McFarland. “We wanted it to be in the right hands.” River Road Vineyard is located at the northern end of Santa Lucia Highlands, classified as cold Region I. It borders Sleepy Hollow Vineyard to the north and west, which McFarland also originally planted the same year as River Road. The purchase was a private transaction between the two families.

In Pursuit of Balance Bows Out

In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB) co-founders Jasmine Hirsch and Rajat Parr have announced that their organization will close operations at year’s end. “We created IPOB to change the dialogue around the meaning and importance of balance in California wine,” says Hirsch. “We’re gratified by the response of wine producers, the wine trade, and wine lovers who have accompanied us on our endeavor to affect the dialogue surrounding California wine.”

IPOB was formed in 2011 by Parr, proprietor of Sandhi Wines and Domaine de la Côte in Santa Barbara County, and Hirsch, the general manager of Hirsch Vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. The organization will conclude with a final IPOB tasting in San Francisco in early November.

Jasper Morris MW Will Be Christie’s Senior Consultant At Hospices de Beaune

Burgundy expert Jasper Morris MW has been named as a Senior Consultant for Christie’s at this year’s Hospices de Beaune wine auction. Morris earned his MW in 1985, and serves as burgundy director for Berry Bros & Rudd. In a press release the auction house stated that “Jasper’s role will be to work alongside the Christie’s team during wine tastings and international events, promoting the wines of the Hospices de Beaune as well as developing global interest in the annual auction.”

California’s Prop 65 Warnings For BPA Exposure

Several of California’s food and alcoholic beverage trade groups are offering their members a free Proposition 65 warning sign for BPA. It comes with a stern notice to post the sign immediately at cash registers. Signs were required to be posted by May 11th as protection from the threat of privately-filed Prop 65 violation lawsuits. Officially titled the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, Prop 65 prohibits a company from knowingly exposing any individual to a listed chemical without first providing a “clear and reasonable warning” to such individual. Some wine packaging may fall under its guidelines.

On The Scene

Here are some upcoming wine events that are likely to sell out in advance, so move fast!

Napa Valley Wine Auction. Wine’s Glitziest Weekend. June 2–5

June 25  North Fork Crush Wine & Artisanal Food Festival. Taste over 100 wines, sample artisanal foods. June 25

Published on May 31, 2016
Topics: Wine News, Wine Trends, Wine Trends + News
About the Author
Paul Gregutt
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from Oregon and Canada.

Paul Gregutt is a Contributing Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel, and reviews the wines of Oregon and Canada. The author of the critically-acclaimed Washington Wines & Wineries—The Essential Guide, he consulted on the Pacific Northwest entries in current versions of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine.

Email: paulgwine@me.com.




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