robert taylor

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News & Features  :  Seasonal

One Wining Moment: The 2013 Final Four Taste-Off

Wine Spectator's annual March Madness competition puts wineries from Kansas, Kentucky, New York and Michigan in the spotlight

Posted: April 5, 2013  By Robert Taylor, Ben O'Donnell

March 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

Gifting Wine Via Facebook

Posted: March 31, 2013  By Robert Taylor

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Has Massachusetts Winery Shipping Legislation Finally Reached the Red Zone?

Patriots QB-turned-vintner Drew Bledsoe is under center in the drive to pass House Bill 294

Posted: March 21, 2013  By Robert Taylor

Will this be the year that Massachusetts, the seventh-largest wine-consuming state, finally gets a legitimate winery-to-consumer shipping bill? Hopes are high in the Bay State, despite repeated setbacks: The state's most recent direct-shipping law passed in 2005 and, not long afterward, was ruled unconstitutional. The preceding law had been declared unconstitutional as well.

Rep. Theodore Speliotis has introduced House Bill 294, which would allow local and out-of-state wineries, after applying for a $100 state permit, to ship up to 24 cases of wine a year to Massachusetts residents. Sen. Daniel Wolf has co-sponsored the bill, crafted with the assistance of the Wine Institute, a winery advocacy organization.

And now the bill's proponents have a new secret weapon: former Patriots quarterback-turned-Washington vintner Drew Bledsoe.

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.

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