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A Chardonnay Renaissance?

Once upon a time, chardonnay was a minor grape variety in the United States, even in the vineyards of California. Then, along came the likes of Richard Arrowood, Gary Farrell, Steve Kistler and Chuck Ortman, and chardonnay took off. Comparisons to white Burgundy were inevitable.

Today, it is the most widely planted white-wine grape in ...Read more

4 Sparklers for the Fourth

If you're among those who enjoy a little pop in your July 4th celebration, the sound of a sparkling-wine cork exiting the bottle is probably music to your ears. With so many July 4th firework displays canceled due to the COVID-19 threat, opening a bottle of bubbly could well be the only discernible pop you hear.

With that in mind, I've ...Read more

Wineries to Watch

As I pore over the results of each wine competition I manage (there are four), I make every effort to spot emerging trends, particularly wineries that seem to be on the rise.

The recent 38th annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge did not disappoint, yielding a number of stellar performances by wineries that are either new or ...Read more

Family Wineries Shine In San Diego

The 38th annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge, the third-oldest wine and spirits competition in the United States, staged what amounted to a family affair over Memorial Day Weekend. The biggest winners, including winery of the year, V. Sattui, were three family wineries from California.

Sattui, of course, is a perennial ...Read more

The Amazing V. Sattui

American and foreign wine competitions can be, and often are, unpredictable. It's not unusual for an unknown to show up and claim a top award. But some things never change.

One of those would be the inevitability of V. Sattui Winery, one of the Napa Valley's finest. Sattui has long been a giant on the wine competition circuit, collecting ...Read more

The White Wine Decant

Decant a white wine, you say? The mere suggestion will make jaws drop.

Decanting, after all, is for older red wines and vintage Port, primarily to remove sediment. At least that's the time-honored custom. In reality, all wines -- red and white, even sparkling -- benefit from decanting.

For young red wines, the practice of decanting from the ...Read more

Wine Industry Survey Indicates Resilience

WineAmerica is a trade organization based in Washington, D.C., that lobbies the federal government on behalf of the wine industry. Despite soaring supermarket sales, many wineries have been impacted by the near nationwide shutdown due to COVID-19.

To assess the damage, WineAmerica conducted a survey of member wineries, asking for information ...Read more

Sipping Your Way Through SIP

If you have shelter-in-place restrictions in your state, you are stuck at home and no doubt bored silly. But you enjoy wine, so you're in luck. You have many options for both entertainment and education during this dark period dictated by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

I am bombarded every day with invitations to join virtual wine tastings...Read more

Winery to Watch: Scattered Peaks

Scattered Peaks is the pet project of Derek Benham, an avid surfer ("scattered peaks" is a surfing term that describes sets of waves) and a bit of a daredevil in his private life. When it comes to wine, however, Benham is all business.

His company, Purple Wines, has forged a reputation for solid wines at modest prices with brands such as ...Read more

The Spring Break

While sitting at home awaiting the end of social distancing, it might be difficult to conjure up the image of the sunny days ahead that mark the transition from winter to spring. For the wine enthusiast, this is an important transition from the heavier red and white wines we prefer in cold weather to the lighter wines we associate with ...Read more

Attention Robert Whitley Editors: The Column For Release Tuesday, April 7, Is An Evergreen From 2018 Updated With A New First Graf. Thank You. -- Creators


Bordeaux 2017: The Sweet Spot

BORDEAUX, France -- The 2017 vintage of Bordeaux will be arriving in the U.S. retail wine market this spring. I tasted many of the wines from barrel at the ...Read more


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