• We’ve seen public interest in wines jump when they're featured in a television series or a movie, but a wineglass? A simply designed, hand-blown Slovakian red wine goblet from Crate & Barrel has become the focus of a buying spree thanks to its regular appearances on ABC's Scandal. The character Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) is known for her habit of ending a stressful day—and she has an abundance of stress in the form of her dysfunctional relationships (married boyfriend, secret-agent father, terrorist mother), never mind the stresses of her job as a Washington power broker—with a healthy pour of red wine. So much so that the glassware she uses has been on backorder on more than one occasion. Fans either identify with the need for quality stemware when drowning the day's troubles or simply like the look and style of the Camille, as the glass is known. Vicki Lang, director of public relations for Crate & Barrel, told Unfiltered, “The Camille red wineglass has sold out multiple times in the past couple of years, but we continue to work with the manufacturer to keep new inventory flowing back into stock as quickly as possible. To give you an idea of its popularity, sales of this glass quadrupled for the company between September 2012 and May 2013. Then, sales again more than quadrupled in the fall of 2013 and have continued to increase since that time. This past December, our monthly sales for the glass were the highest ever.” Despite working with their supplier, the glass is again on backorder. Fear not Scandal fans: Crate & Barrel is expecting new shipments in April.
Tornado Strikes Hunter Valley Vineyard
• When it comes to wine-country natural disasters, we thought we'd seen it all: earthquakes in Napa, floods and wildfires in Australia, wildfires and drought in California, frost and hailstorms almost everywhere, visits to the vineyard from a menagerie of Mother Nature's pests, even giant falling boulders in Italy. Add tornado to the list. This week in Australia's Hunter Valley, a twister touched down at Keith Tulloch Wines. While small in comparison to the tornadoes that normally make the news in the American Midwest, the power of the funnel cloud was unmistakable, leveling an equipment shed and destroying more than 100 vines during its brief visit to the 120-year-old winery. Keith Tulloch marketing manager Alisdair Tulloch, speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, said that cellar staff were first alerted to the danger when they were pelted with fruit—on the second floor of the winery. "They looked up and they saw a spiral vortex, which then started to touch down into the vineyard on the other side of the winery," Tulloch said. "That became pretty urgent at that point." While some Sémillon dating back to the 1960s was lost, everyone was thankful that their losses were solely of the financial variety. As a bonus, they had just finished harvesting this year’s fruit, so there will be no impact on the 2015 vintage.
Nicolas Joly Withdraws from InterLoire Trade Organization
• The Coulée de Serrant vineyard, at just 17 acres, is perhaps the most famed in the Loire, as it has been for some 900 years. It is also Nicolas Joly's playground, and if the maverick winemaker doesn't like the Loire wine trade's rules, well, he can take his ball and go home. And so he did this week, announcing the withdrawal of his Coulée de Serrant—a subappellation of Savennieres and a monopole owned entirely by Joly—from the InterLoire trade organization. In a statement with his lawyer, Eric Morain, Joly announced he'd just make his own appellation club (InterJoly? Membership: 1) to promote his wines, but he didn't stop there. The fervently biodynamic vigneron objected that InterLoire did not adequately step up against (non-organic) wines "without roots, without history." He railed against herbicides, cultivated yeasts and technologies like centrifuges that "flatter the consumer who does not have the right to be informed on a label against all these additions." The statement sniffed that one simply could not put "technological wines and wines with authentic flavors in one basket." Strong words, but Joly is on the defense, having been ordered by a court to fork over about $6,600 to InterLoire for not paying his "voluntary required dues" to the agency. He's appealing the decision, and the statement praises Morain—the same lawyer who took on the labeling case against fellow Loire mischief-maker Olivier Cousin—for defending terroir "against industrialization of taste and deception of consumers." Joly's not the first one on the outs with InterLoire, however: The appellations of Bourgueil and Montlouis previously left the organization.
Jackson Family Buys Captûre Wines
• Jackson Family Wines made a big splash when it purchased Pinot Noir specialist Siduri in January. More quietly, Jackson Family has also acquired Sonoma-based Cabernet Sauvignon producer Captûre Wines. The sale included the brand and inventory but not the organically farmed estate, Tin Cross Vineyards, on Pine Mountain. A Jackson Family spokesperson told Unfiltered, “Captûre will continue on as a small-production, high quality–focused brand, with the focus continuing to be around Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.” Moving forward, the company plans to produce the wines using grapes from its recently planted vineyards in the Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak appellation.
Michael Foster and his family founded Captûre in 2008 when they bought a vineyard on the slopes of Pine Mountain, high above the Alexander Valley. They hired winemaking couple May-Britt and Denis Malbec to make the wines and develop the vineyards. The winery produced red and white Bordeaux-style blends and Chardonnay from its estate vineyard and sites in Sonoma and Lake County. The Malbecs left the winery in 2013, but Denis believes the sale will help bring attention to the Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak appellation. “Jackson is really going to put it on the map.”