Tennis Ace Novak Djokovic Has Purchased Vineyard Land; Bacon Vodka Brings the Police; Trefethen’s New Visitor Center is Now Open

Novak Djokovic

In the midst of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, 29-year-old Novak Djokovic has purchased vineyard land in his native Serbia. Located near the village of Šumadija, the heart of the country’s wine region, the land was listed as a vineyard over 50 years ago but is currently abandoned woodland that will require a period of regeneration. Vladimir Stojić of the Šumadija Winemakers Association, says grapevines will likely be planted in the spring. Hopefully this new project will provide a happy distraction for Djokovic, after suffering a stunning loss to Sam Querrey and exiting the tournament this weekend.

Is That Bacon Vodka? You’re Under Arrest!

The manager of The Pump Bar in Oklahoma City was arrested after Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission inspectors found bottles of alcohol were being emptied, infused with ingredients including bacon, jalapeños and garlic, then rebottled. Oklahoma City Police Department Master Sergeant Gary Knight said, “You simply cannot do that. Regardless of what you’re putting in it, even if it’s just water.”

Bar owner Ian McDermid said, “You should see the look on people’s faces when you say my manager went to county lockup for three days because we put strips of bacon inside a bottle of vodka.”

Just Open:  Trefethen’s New Visitor Center

Once the home of founders Katie and Gene Trefethen, “Villa Trefethen” is now hosting visitors. The 1922 Napa Valley home is a classic example of California’s Arts and Crafts movement. Repairs and restoration are still taking place on the historic winery building, which was damaged in a 2014 earthquake.

Ridge Vineyards Founder Paul Draper Retires

Ridge Vineyards winemaker and CEO Paul Draper, who turned 80 this year, has announced his retirement. A team of Ridge executives who have been in charge of day-to-day operations for the past decade— Mark Vernon, Eric Baugher, John Olney and David Gates—will take the reins. Draper notes “the wines of the last 10 years are theirs, not mine, so you already know the quality and style of the vintages to come.”

“I have had a great life pursuing my craft,” says Draper. “Although I am retiring, I will continue in my role as Chairman of the Board. In this capacity I can fully support this long planned transition.”

Passages:  Robert Hartwell (1928-2016)

Hartwell Estate Vineyards is mourning the loss of winery founder and proprietor, Bob Hartwell. Established in 1986, Hartwell Estate Vineyards garnered critical acclaim and a loyal following by producing exceptional small production Bordeaux varietal wines from its Stags Leap District estate. Mr. Hartwell passed peacefully in his sleep on June 22.

Meanwhile, In the Trade

France’s Weather Woes Continue As Hail Devastates Beaujolais

Local officials have called for parts of Beaujolais to be declared a disaster zone after fierce hail storms severely damaged vineyards in the area. Just one month after a previous hail storm, the region was hit again on the evening of June 24. Mélina Condy, from regional wine body Inter-Beaujolais, reported that 3,000 hectares or 20 percent of the region’s vineyards were damaged. The commune of Fleurie is believed to have suffered the most. “70 to 80 percent of the vineyards are totally destroyed by the hail,” said Frédéric Miguet, mayor of Fleurie.

Tough Times Ahead For Craft Beer?

Sales of craft brews have long been a bright, but may be on the wane. Craft beer sales are up only 6 percent this year, a far cry from 19 percent of just two years ago. “The consensus is that craft beer has slowed down significantly this year,” says Trevor Stirling of Bernstein Research. One potential explanation? The fragmentation of the craft beer market.

On The Scene and In The Press

Celebrating America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants

Listen to what makes a restaurant one of the best when it comes to wine.

From the Observer: “It seems that the vino and restaurant world is ushering in a new era, one that no longer sneers at rosé or shames food photography, and welcomes accessibility in its approach to wine.”

In Condé Nast Traveler: ““[T]he very notion of luxury is undergoing a redefinition, by which attention to detail and stuffiness are permanently severed.”

Published on July 5, 2016
Topics: Wine News + Trends