Thursday, August 1, 2019

France and Spain moving quickly now to modern grape varieties, to minimize poisonous spraying

THIS is great news. We continue to see reason take hold over senseless attachment to the old ways. Lives of vineyard workers are at stake, not to mention the lives of billions of beneficial worms and microbes in the soil, which inorganic sprays have been killing for decades now.

When France allows modern grapes (after a century of senselessly prohibiting them), you know the tide is turning. Read my book! Modern Grapes for the Pacific Northwest (on Amazon).


Friday, July 19, 2019

Morning Musings

1. Jane's taking vacay today. On the ridiculous side, we're going to get a dewormer for the dog, and on the sublime side we're going kayaking on the lower Lewis River during the slack neap tide. In between, there will be the last labeling of the 2018 Syrah-Malbec blend that is going to be great.

A neap tide occurs when the moon is about half full; that means it's at right angles to the earth-sun line, and the sun and moon are NOT working together to maximize the tides. So the difference between high tide and low is less, in neap tides, and therefore there is less flow from high to low tide. The perfect time to kayak a river. And the slack tide is the period before and after high or low tide, when the water is not flowing much. (Yes, even when a tidally-influenced river is flowing downstream, it will flow upstream during high tide.)

2. Coffee! My nose, tongue, and I have traveled CoffeeWorld together, and I keep returning to the beans from Guatemala. Sure, there is excellent coffee from Mexico and Peru (my other two faves), but for me Guatemala has the perfect combination of chocolate, nuttiness, and smoothness. If you get the best quality, there's no weediness/herbal notes either. Highly recommended. Try Trailhead, or Luckman's in Woodland. I found to be low-priced but fairly low quality-quite weedy.

3. Story recommendation: Check out "Gondoliers" by Karen Russell, published in her book of short stories "Orange World." I love the setting (post-climate change southern Florida, which is now underwater), and the setup (four sisters operate gondolas, ferrying survivors around the various wrecked underwater buildings), though the ending is a bit ambiguous and weak for my taste.

4. Wines: I hope you are all drinking a lot of rose wines now. Tis the season!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Epona Wine joins the Porto Protocol

Epona Wine is committed to organic and other sustainable practices in bringing both classical and modern grape variety wines to discerning consumers. It recently joined the important Porto Protocol, an international effort led by famed Port producers in Portugal, committed to addressing climate change through such steps as installing solar power, conserving water, insulating winery buildings, planting trees for shade and carbon capture, sourcing fruit locally instead of bringing it in from far away, and other similar means..

"The Porto Protocol initiative was started by Taylor Fladgate, a major Port house in Portugal,” explained Kenton Erwin, Epona's CEO. “It is being joined by numerous worldwide wineries and vineyards, and even heavy industry, with the shared goal to find and implement new ways to fight climate change."

"Grapes and wine are one of only a few branded fruits--where fruit is converted into a finished, branded product, such as Epona wines. Because of this branding, the wine industry has a special connection to its consumers, which puts us winery and vineyard owners in a unique position to address climate change with individual consumers. We can be important leaders in fighting climate change. And there is an economic upside to it: There is a large and growing market for Green products.”

For more information about Epona, go to

Read more about Porto Protocol here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Epona stemless wine glasses for sale! Check this out:

Wine friends, I bought 144 wine glasses and had them monogrammed with Epona's name and logo. 15 oz stemless glasses. $5 each.

I bought 144, in order to get the volume discount price of $4 each, and I used 72 of them at the recent Farm Party. Trying to sell the other 72 of them. I'm marking them up just $1 each.

Dishwasher safe. I chose this size and shape because I like this one. A stemless glass is a bit trendy now, and it's less likely to tip over, making it good for outdoor use (and indoor use).

Please contact me at , to get yours! And THANK YOU for helping me with some indirect marketing.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Sobering thoughts (pardon the pun) on Millenials' wine consumption

There are reasons to think that wine consumption will slowly decline in the US, according to this article by Rob McMillan.

Crushing student loans are keeping Millennials from owning homes at the same rate as Boomers when they were that age. This means that Millennials don't/won't have as many wine cellars to fill as Boomers do. And, because premium hard liquor is a bit cheaper than premium wine, thrifty Millennials tend to drink the hard stuff instead. And the anti-alcohol movement is momentarily succeeding in vilifying all alcohol, using bad science to dispute the long-proved notion that moderate wine consumption has health benefits.

All this, coupled with the aging of the Boomers, will tend to reduce wine consumption in the US. Wineries need to be careful about expanding, and lower-cost premium wines may win out over wines that are clearly-overpriced.  Epona (both the winery and the virtual wine shop) focuses on making/finding good wines at lower prices, and so we hope we're well-positioned for these trends. Three Epona wines just won Double Gold, Silver, and Silver at the state's-best Seattle Wine Awards. And of course we're one of the most-sustainable "Green" wineries in the country, with modern grape varieties that are grown organically and never need spray or netting, that don't see fruit having to be trucked over the mountains, to get wine to consumers. And we are 100% powered by solar energy. You just cant get more "Green" than that!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

A sad day-Robert Parker retires

Read about it here.

Parker was any lawyer's success story-he had a passion for wine and used it to "escape" the stressful, and often-unrewarding legal profession. He popularized the 100 point rating scale, and the concept that critics must be neutral and honest.  He was one of my idols in wine reviewing. I came to understand later (perhaps as his own taste preferences changed) that his high rankings didn't correlate well to wines I liked, but that is not a knock on him--we all must use our own perceptions to honestly state what we think. Everyone's palate and preferences are different.

Kudos to Robert Parker!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Wine from LaCresent, an obscure modern grape variety, wins overall top prize at major wine competition!

Read about it here.

I love this David-vs-Goliath story! A white wine from a modern grape almost nobody has heard of, beats the best vinifera wines from around the country. Even better, the winning winery is a tiny place that doesn't have a tasting room.

Epona Winery doesn't have a tasting room either. The government makes it almost impossible to have one--they can require traffic studies, and parking lot watershed studies, and they say you can't use well water to wash the wine glasses (which requires you to install a super-expensive water treatment facility), and the list of such rules goes on and on. The result is that it costs a fortune to open a tasting room. And your reward is to have limos full of drunk people come in to continue their party, while not buying much. And it increases your risk of a customer driving drunk, then blaming you for their own misconduct.

Anyway, a huge achievement for a small winery, using an obscure modern grape variety. Congratulations!

France and Spain moving quickly now to modern grape varieties, to minimize poisonous spraying

THIS is great news. We continue to see reason take hold over senseless attachment to the old ways. Lives of vineyard workers are at stake, ...