economic issues

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News & Features  :  News

China Cuts Back on Big-Buck Bordeaux

A government campaign against lavish spending has led wine drinkers to spend less

Posted: April 12, 2013  By Suzanne Mustacich

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Will You Pay More for Wine in 2013?

Grapes are becoming more expensive, and wineries are feeling the pinch

Posted: February 7, 2013  By Mitch Frank

At the end of 2008, my California colleague Tim Fish and I made a bet. So far, neither of us has won. Tim was working with me on a cover story on how the wine industry was confronting the darkest days of the Great Recession, when average Americans were watching the value of their biggest assets—their homes—evaporate.

Despite their woes, consumers never abandoned wine. Since the early 1990s, wine has become an increasing presence in Americans' lives, and they were not willing to suddenly part with what they saw as a pretty affordable luxury. But they did cut back on what they were willing to spend—a $9 bottle became very attractive, and a special-occasion wine meant $25 instead of $40. Wineries responded. They did not cut prices too obviously, but they made less of their more expensive wines (like Russian River single-vineyard Pinot Noir) and shifted that juice into more affordable wines (cheaper Sonoma County Pinot).

Are you coming for the game? Good. (If not, pay attention, because you should visit soon.) It's not hyperbole to say that New Orleans is one of the greatest cities on the planet in which to celebrate. If you enjoy good food, wine, beer, cocktails and music, it is hard to go wrong. Here are some tips for making the best of a trip down here. This isn't a comprehensive list of the best places to eat and drink. It's a handy cheat sheet for anyone coming to watch the 49ers and the Ravens, or just coming to enjoy our insanity.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

An Australian Turnaround?

Signs point to renewed interest as Wine Australia touts diversity

Posted: January 17, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

It looked as if it were just going to be another trade tasting, a collection of importers sampling familiar wines to the trade. Wine Australia, which promotes Aussie wines around the world, expected about 150 sommeliers, retailers and wine media to the event in San Francisco Monday. More than 351 accepted the invitation.

The buzz there was palpable. Imagine, San Francisco sommeliers, notorious for seeking the most obscure wines they could find, excitedly sipping Margaret River Chardonnays, Hunter Valley Sémillons, even a Mornington Peninsula Dolcetto. And yes, Barossa Valley Shiraz. In recent years, as Australia's fortunes took a hit, one could hear crickets chirping at this annual event. Not this time.

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

The Stars Tweet Moët at the Golden Globes

Plus, could Yellow Tail go belly up? Long Island's Wölffer Estate keeps it in the family, an Illinois sparkler for a FLOTUS toast, and an Oregon Pinot supports the Napa LGBTQ Project

Posted: January 17, 2013  

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

How do wineries arrive at their price points?

Posted: January 2, 2013  

Dec. 15, 2012 Issue  :  News

Amazon to Try Wine, Again

Posted: December 15, 2012  By Tim Fish, Augustus Weed

News & Features  :  News

Will New Jersey Have Wine This Holiday Season?

One of the state's biggest wine-and-spirits distributors was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy; Fedway and its importer partners are scrambling to keep wines in stores

Posted: November 26, 2012  By Ben O'Donnell

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

When a new wine is released, how long does it take to make it to retail wine stores?

Posted: November 21, 2012  

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Will Amazon Change The Way We Buy Wine?

The web retail giant's plans for wine are modest—for now

Posted: October 11, 2012  By Mitch Frank

When I heard the news that Amazon executives were meeting with wineries, hoping to launch Amazon.com Wine Marketplace before year's end, I was reminded of the play Waiting For Godot. In Samuel Beckett's work, two characters spend two acts waiting in vain for Godot, whom we never meet. There's a sense that everything will change once Godot shows up. For a dozen years now, the wine industry has been waiting for Bezos—Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, who has made unsuccessful stabs at selling wine twice before.

Amazon loves efficiency, and the wine business, where each state is like a separate country with different laws, is not efficient. But either Bezos is a wine lover or he sees great potential in it, because Amazon is back. If it succeeds in launching Wine Marketplace, the question is: Will this truly be a game changer for the wine business or just an absurdist drama?

News & Features  :  News

Amazon to Try Wine, Again

Web retail giant meeting with wineries, planning new “wine marketplace”

Posted: September 28, 2012  By Tim Fish

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

What factors go into making one wine more expensive than another?

Posted: August 31, 2012  

News & Features  :  News

New Crushpad Owners Ask Customers to Pay More

After DIY winery's assets are sold, buyers say retrieving stranded wine will require additional fees

Posted: August 10, 2012  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  News

Crushpad's Assets Go on the Auction Block

A company spokesman says hundreds of customers at custom-crush winery could lose their wines

Posted: August 6, 2012  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  News

Santa Barbara's Alma Rosa Winery Files for Bankruptcy

At 72, Pinot Noir pioneer Richard Sanford finds himself fighting again to save the family farm

Posted: August 1, 2012  By Matt Kettmann

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

California Wine Does the Country Good

In this election year, the economy is a hot topic. And on that subject, the California wine industry gives us all something to take pride in

Posted: July 23, 2012  By James Laube

With all the recent political crossfiring, finger pointing and rhetoric about jobs created, lost and outsourced, etc., the health of the California wine industry is an increasingly bright spot in the U.S. economy.

News & Features  :  News

Is Crushpad Facing Insolvency?

Sonoma-based custom crush winery asks shareholders for more money; 'I just don't know if they're going to make it,' said one investor

Posted: June 21, 2012  By Augustus Weed, Mitch Frank

June 15, 2012 Issue  :  News

America’s Thirst for French Wines

Posted: June 15, 2012  By Suzanne Mustacich

May 31, 2012 Issue  :  News

Is California Facing a Grape Shortage?

Posted: May 31, 2012  By Augustus Weed

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Don't Worry About Rising Prices in California

In the long term, new vineyard plantings will shore up supply; in the short term, value abounds outside the Golden State

Posted: April 26, 2012  By James Laube

There's talk of a pending grape shortage in the Golden State, and with it, the prospect of rising prices. Don't be concerned unless you exclusively buy California wines.

If California wine prices continue to rise—and that doesn't seem to be a widespread phenomenon—they will do so because of heightened demand. Typically that means brand by brand. As it is, California has long lagged the broader wine market when it comes to value anyway. People looking to get the most from their wine dollars shop across borders and oceans.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

No Futures in Latour's Future

Bordeaux first-growth Château Latour won't sell futures after 2011, but the rest of Bordeaux is unlikely to follow

Posted: April 18, 2012  By James Laube

For the longest time, Bordeaux has been the envy of most vintners everywhere.

Its wines have history, tradition and prestige and are often in great demand. The top classified-growths produce thousands of cases that command top-rung prices. Most of the elite wines are sold before they're even bottled. As a business model, it has few peers.

Yet apparently it's not perfect. Last week, Château Latour announced it would abandon the long-time tradition of selling wine futures, a move that sent shock waves through the Bordelais wine trade, primarily because of Latour's status.

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