Thursday, February 28, 2013

I wrote this:

Wines, much like people, are continuing expressions of the climate in which they were raised.

[photo credit: 123RF ]

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

We're Number One!

The U.S., that is.

And I'm not talking about our public debt.

We're #1 in wine consumption. Other countries drink more wine per capita, but we drink the most by total volume consumed. Americans consumer 13% of global wine consumption now. Foreign wines make up 35% of all sales here.

Read the article here.

[photo credit: ]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why are some winegrapes blue, yet the wines are purple or red?

I couldn't have answered this for you, but Mr. Alex Fullerton, a winemaker and friend, came to the rescue. I quote him:

Anthocyanins (the main pigment in red wine, red cabbage, blueberries, and many other things) are responsible for both the blue color in the grapes' skins and the purple color of the wine. Anthocyanins have a double bond that is formed at one of two different locations of the molecule depending on which location is more favorable, resulting in the molecule having two very different shapes it can take. In high pH it is more favorable for most of the molecules to twist one way resulting in blue hues, while in low pH it is more favorable for most of the molecules to twist the other way resulting in red/pink hues. The skins on the Monastrell grapes are very alkaline resulting in the blue color while the wine is more acidic (but not extremely acidic, maybe around pH 3.8) causing a purple color (roughly half of the pigment is blue and the other half is red, red + blue = purple). A very acidic Burgundy on the other hand with pH under 3.5 will appear very red.

And, from Wiki:

Anthocyanins (from the Greek words for "flower" and "blue") can appear red, purple, or blue, depending upon the pH. In flowers and fruits, anthocyanins make the color red, blue, or purple, in order to attract pollinating insects (in the case of flowers) or predators (in the case of fruits, which need predators to eat and then disperse the seeds in the fruit).

There is nothing cooler than science.

[Photo attribution:]

Monday, February 11, 2013

Washington wine vs California wine

Summarizing from a very interesting article:

California grows about TWENTY TIMES more tons of grapes than Washington. (And yet, WA is #2 behind CA! so no other state comes even as pathetically un-close as does WA to CA.) But Washington's harvested grape prices are more than California's. That is because CA makes so much cheap (jug) wine. When we compare just Napa or Sonoma to WA, it's very interesting:  The tonnage for all of WA is about the same as for either Napa or Sonoma. But the price per harvested ton in WA is only 28% (!) of the price in Napa! This is because of Napa's stratospheric land prices, and its premium prices for top brand names.

Given all the great scores for so many WA wines, you can see why I believe that WA is making great quality wines for the cost. For the most part, CA just can't compete on QPR (quality price ratio). Many of your wine dollars need to be going towards Washington wines!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Washington Grapes

For the first time, in 2012 Washington State saw more red grapes picked than white.

The big four Washington wine grapes are:
  1. Chardonnay (36,900 tons)
  2. Riesling (36,700 tons)
  3. Cabernet Sauvignon (35,900 tons)
  4. Merlot (34,600 tons)
Nothing else comes close to those in WA, although there are enough other reds grown there (Syrah, Malbec, Cab Franc, etc.) that overall the reds edged out the whites for the first time.

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