robert taylor

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Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

You Can't Buy That From Here

Wineries can ship a bottle of wine to consumers in 39 states and counting. So why are retailer shipping rights going in the opposite direction?

Posted: February 26, 2013  By Robert Taylor

We Americans have access to more wines today than ever before. Your local wholesaler carries a vast array of wines from which your local retailers select their inventory. If you can't find what you want that way, in 39 states and Washington, D.C., you can order a bottle from a winery in another state. Wherever you live, you could likely drink a different bottle of wine every day for the rest of your life. Call me greedy, but I don’t think that’s enough.

Say you're trying to track down a bottle you want from Wine Spectator's annual Top 100 Wines of the Year: 69 percent of the Top 100 wines from 2006 to 2012 were imported.

Your local wholesaler or state liquor authority decides which, if any, of those imported wines are available to you. If they don't offer it, and you live anywhere other than the 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that permit out-of-state retailers to ship directly to consumers, you're out of luck.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

National Fight Over Retailer Wine-Shipping Resurfaces in Nebraska

Are new measures to restrict online wine sales a sign of more struggles to come?

Posted: February 21, 2013  By Robert Taylor

After years of legal struggles culminating in a 2005 Supreme Court decision, wine lovers in 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, can buy directly from out-of-state wineries. The trend seems to be to continue removing restrictions: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are considering bills to become the 40th and 41st states to permit wineries to ship directly to their residents.

But for U.S. retailers, the trend has gone in the opposite direction. Only 14 states currently permit their residents to order wine from out-of-state retailers, down from 18 states in 2005. Now, Nebraska is considering a bill that would hamper retailer shipping, which has been legal there since 1992, and require retailers to have their list of brand offerings pre-approved by the state’s liquor control commission.

Nebraska State Senator Russ Karpisek introduced Legislative Bill 230 in January, which would have limited direct shipping to "manufacturers" (wineries) only. Nebraska's original law—among the earliest measures addressing direct shipping—permitted “persons” licensed to sell alcohol to obtain a shipping license, wording chosen long before online wine retailers became a force in the market.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Direct Effects

A state-mandated study of winery direct shipping in Maryland yielded overwhelmingly positive results for consumers and the government

Posted: January 29, 2013  By Robert Taylor

When Maryland state comptroller Peter Franchot presented a "Study on the Impact of Direct Wine Shipment" to the state's General Assembly this past December, it confirmed everything direct-shipping proponents have been saying since the 1980s: Direct shipping offers consumers greater choice, brings more tax revenue in for the state, and poses no credible risk of increased underage drinking.

News & Features  :  Seasonal

The Crab Bowl: Baltimore and San Francisco Square Off in a Battle of Recipes

For your game-day party, Charm City's blue crab cakes take on Dungeness crab cioppino from the City by the Bay; plus 25 wines for less than $25 to match

Posted: January 25, 2013  By Robert Taylor

News & Features  :  Seasonal

Super Bowl XLVII Extra Fan Fare: Baltimore vs. San Francisco

Baltimore has much more to offer than crab cakes; San Francisco's bounty goes beyond cioppino

Posted: January 24, 2013  By Robert Taylor

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Flip Happens: For Better or Worse, Not All Wines Are Bought to Be Drunk

What do winemakers think when collectors resell their wines for big profits? And how do collectors end up going from mailing list to blacklist?

Posted: January 15, 2013  By Robert Taylor

Wine is a funny commodity. As with fine art, a smart investor with a sharp eye, a secure cellar and a little luck could buy a few cases of wine today that, 20 years from now, might pay for their child's college tuition. (Unlike fine art, wine has to be destroyed to be appreciated.)

But for a select few wineries around the world, their bottles tend to double or triple in value as soon as they leave the cellar door, no investor patience required. That group expands and contracts depending on the latest wine ratings, the economy and vintners' efforts to keep release prices in line with demand without overstepping the bounds of fiscal good taste—bounds that are leapt across with abandon when so-called "flippers" resell their allocations to wealthy wine lovers who are happy to pay through the nose for highly rated hard-to-find wines. Like it or not, flip happens.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Who Gives a Flip? When High-Value Cult Wines Tempt Buyers to Resell for a Profit ...

Wary vintners are increasingly picky about who deserves a spot on the mailing list, and who's just in it for the money

Posted: January 10, 2013  By Robert Taylor

How much would you pay for a bottle of California Sauvignon Blanc?

The only wine from that category to ever earn a classic rating, the 2007 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley (96 points), cost $29, and the current vintage, 2011, is $30. So would you pay more than 8 times that for a bottle of Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley? No? Well what if I told you that you could immediately turn around and re-sell it for 10 times that price? (That's more than $2,500 for a single bottle of Napa Sauvignon Blanc, for those still trying to do the math, at a profit of $2,250 per bottle.)

Some list members sold their wines, and a few months later, there were some angry people who had been kicked off the mailing list.

News & Features  :  News & Features

2012: In Memoriam

Tributes to wine industry leaders who died this year

Posted: December 28, 2012  By Robert Taylor

News & Features  :  News

Giving the Gift of Wine via Facebook

Facebook Gifts enables members of legal age to buy and ship wine to one another

Posted: December 14, 2012  By Robert Taylor

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

The Wine Is Great … but Would You Want to Live There?

Modern winery architecture has been inspired by Hellenic temples and medieval castles, but a new breed takes its cue from the simple, iconic farmhouse

Posted: December 6, 2012  By Robert Taylor

I first met vintner Achille Boroli four years ago in New York, where I was as impressed with photos of his family’s modern winery, designed by his architect brother Guido, as I was his Barolo Villero 2001. The Boroli tasting room and cellar in Castiglione Falletto is a thoroughly modern, three-level barn-inspired facility with sharp lines, shadowbox windows and, most striking, vertical clapboard siding composed of repurposed oak barrel staves that make the winery appear to shimmer and undulate in the Piedmont sun.

Boroli was back in New York this past October, hosting a small dinner to showcase three of his Barolos at Lincoln restaurant, a fitting architectural setting for a winery passionate about design. The restaurant is nestled beneath the Tisch Illumination Lawn, a hyperbolic paraboloid (think saddle-shaped) park framed by glass fins that serves as Lincoln's roof. Lincoln's Brazilian wood plank ceiling mimics the park's contours. Boroli and Lincoln served as reminders that, as with wine, there's more outstanding and accessible architecture today than ever before.

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