Dogs Sniff Out Vineyard Diseases; Wine Before Bed; Musical Beers & More News

Dog in vineyard

Winery dogs don’t just look great in calendars, they also have the potential to sniff out trouble. In Australia, a researcher at the University of Melbourne, Sonja Needs, started training dogs, beginning with her German Shepherd, Luther, and Border Terrier, Keely, to smell potential problems in vineyards and wineries. In The Weekly Times, Needs says, “Dogs have a greater sensitivity to volatile molecules than most mobile gas chromatography detectors, and they can sort and discriminate scents where machines have difficulty.”

So what does Needs have Keely looking for? Brettanomyces, a yeast that can produce undesirable flavors in wine (though some don’t mind a little “Brett” in their wine), in the winery. She hopes the next step is to train Keely to detect phylloxera, an insect that can devastate grapevines.

Pass on that last glass of wine?

Is your nightcap a good or bad idea? Will it help you have a good nights’ rest?

Timothy Roehrs, director of research at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center of Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, tells The Huffington Post, “Initially you might feel sleepy and fall asleep easily, but you end up awakening more often in the middle of the night and the alcohol has a disruptive effect on sleep.” The good news? “Usually it takes more than one drink to have any disruptive effects on sleep,” says Roehrs.

Wine made from grapes and…marijuana?

In the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Comiskey has the story on Canna Vine. It’s a “high-end marijuana product” made by wrapping cured marijuana (about a pound) in cheesecloth and adding it to a barrel of pressed grape juice to ferment, then rest, for over a year. As far as availability, Comiskey says, “California remains the only state in the country where such a product is commercially available, though only with a medical marijuana card.”

Spandau Bal-IPA

I know this much is true: Tony Hadley, lead singer of Spandau Ballet, not only has an IPA called “Moonstone,” but even poured it for thirsty patrons of numerous historic London pubs. Details in The Drinks Business.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House learns the dangers of gambling

Many were surprised by the University of Michigan football team’s 78-point rout of Rutgers this weekend, but perhaps none moreso than a local Ruth’s Chris in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The steak house had floated a promotion before the game offering a 1% discount for every point Michican won the game by, not expecting their gamble would earn customers a 78% discount on their total check. The restaurant chain has since walked back on their offer, capping all discounts at a 50% maximum. Thankfully for them the reduced offer still hasn’t stopped this particular Ruth’s Chris from being booked solid throughout the entire week, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In the Trade

Cruising Your Way to a Glass of Fine Wine

Is it only the large wineries that have a chance to put their products in front of over 25 million cruise ship passengers this year? Not necessarily, according to the The Napa Valley Register. Bob Binder, President and CEO of Oceania Cruises, says, “As we are a food and wine focused cruise line, we are constantly seeking to uncover some hidden gems to share with our guests.” As cruise companies continue to look for new ways to put a premium on the travel experiences they offer, expect to see more limited edition bottlings from smaller producers like Duckhorn, Barrett & Barrett and Fantesca Estate. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to set sail on a wine voyage from intimate to grand, we’ve got a guide.

Wine Cruises That Will Float Your Boat

Jackson Family Wines Buys WillaKenzie Estate

“Welcoming WillaKenzie to our family not only adds to our luxury Pinot Noir vineyard holdings and winemaking capabilities, but also introduces highly-regarded Pinot Gris to our Willamette Valley portfolio,” says Jackson Family Wines President Hugh Reimers. More in Oregon Live.

Record-Setting Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

The yearly wine auction held by South Africa’s Cape Winemakers Guild “rewrote the record books” this year with sales of 13.8 million rand (approximately one million US dollars), nearly two million more than the previous record. To peruse some of the top-rated red and white wines from the auction, and learn more about the auction and guild, see Stars of the 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction.

Out and About

Italian Editor Kerin O’Keefe recently dined with Fabio Picchi, chef of Cibrèo, and cover star of our April 2016 issue.

Red Burgundy was on the menu for Senior Digital Editor Jameson Fink.

Spanish and South American Editor Michael Schachner and Executive Editor Susan Kostrzewa explain “Why Spain is Hot” at Spain’s Great Match in New York City.

Digital Managing Editor Marina Vataj engages in spirited interviews in New York’s Union Square Park.

Published on October 10, 2016
Topics: Wine News + Trends