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Wine News

Bordeaux harvest is finished this week and high alcohols are a concern.

Sunshine is usually considered a good thing but in 2018 too much sunshine and not enough water may result in wines with alcohols at 14% or higher!
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Sunshine is usually considered a good thing but in 2018, too much sunshine and not enough water may result in wines with alcohol levels at 14% or higher!

The Bordeaux harvest finished this week and the talk is of high alcohol wines. The lack of rain in the summer meant that concentration was very high, with Merlot based varieties achieving 15.5% abv. Expect the top estates to increase the amount of Cabernet in their first label blends to keep alcohols lower, with their second wines perhaps having higher alcohol. And with such high alcohols there is also concern over the amount of volatile acidity in the wines.

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Low and No Alcohol wines and drinks are the number 1 trend for 2019

Multinational drinks company Diageo this week predicted that low and no alcohol alternatives would continue to grow, attracting younger consumers.
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Multinational drinks company Diageo this week predicted that low and no alcohol drinks would continue to grow amongst younger consumers.

Diageo, one of the UK's largest drinks companies, claimed that 46% of people under the age of 35 are likely to order a Mocktail (non-alcoholic cocktail) versus just 16% of over 35’s.

Tesco, which recently launched 5 wines at 0.5% abv, claims it has added 50% more shelf space for low and no-alcohol drinks.

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Apprentice star selling ice wine, but has it been sweetened by Lord Sugar?

Jackie Fast, currently competing on BBC’s Apprentice, has launched a Canadian Ice Wine this week in London.
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Jackie Fast, currently competing on BBC’s Apprentice, has launched a Canadian Ice Wine this week in London.

The Wine & Spirits Show on the 12th and 13th October was the first opportunity to try Rebel Pi, an Ice wine made from Roussanne grapes from a single vineyard in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

Jackie was reported in The Drinks Business as saying “Following the sale of my last business, I wanted to take everything I learnt and apply it to a completely new industry. Wine has always been a passion and the fact that the drinks industry is incredibly competitive is what made my foray with this business that much more attractive. I am delighted to launch REBEL Pi with the aim to disrupt the wine industry, much like I did with the sponsorship industry.”

The price for REBEL Pi, is a disrupting £139 a bottle.

The Apprentice was recorded earlier in the year, so Jackie does of course know who won. The question is, could her Ice Wine have been sweetened by a little Sugar investment?

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Napa Winery cancels Oregon contracts over smoke taint

Oregon wines from the Rogue Valley have been refused by a Californian grower over smoke taint concerns.
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15 Oregon wines from the Rouge Valley have had their contracts nulled by a Californian grower Copper Cane Wines & Provisions over smoke taint concerns. The 2,000 tonnes of fruit could now potentially be left on the vines.

Smoke taint is a serious concern as the grapes absorb the tainted flavour which can express themselves in the wine. John Pratt, president of the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association, told Capital Press: “I think most everybody was stunned. It was devastating. Everybody feels very strongly that it’s just a bogus smokescreen, scapegoat reason for rejecting the fruit.”

He said that while there had been wildfires near some vineyards, the levels of guiacol and methylguiacol – the compounds released by burning wood which cause smoke taint – were well below levels that might cause concern.

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Naked Wines pulls out of Australian Northern Territory due to minimum pricing

Australia’s Northern Territory has instigated a minimum pricing on alcohol, with Naked Wines claiming it is too difficult to calculate the new minimum prices and says it will pull out of the region.
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Australia’s Northern Territory has joined Canada, Scotland and Wales by setting up a minimum price for all alcoholic beverages. Naked Wines, the online retailer who supplies wines in the UK to Scotland and Wales, claims that in Australia it is too difficult to calculate the correct price to sell the wine.

Naked Wines wine director Mark Pollard told ABC Radio, Darwin 'the difficult thing for us is that every wine has a different alcohol level, so you have to have a calculation on every single wine to generate a price at what you should sell at. Obviously that’s a big impost for us, so we couldn’t justify spending the money.'

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Court of Master Sommeliers rocked by scandal in their American Exams

The American chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers has annulled its recent exams and revoked the title of Master Sommelier to 23 people who sat the September exam in St Louis.
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The Court of Master Sommeliers America has annulled its recent tasting exam held in St Louis in September. 23 students who passed the notoriously difficult exam have had the results annulled after the examination proctor released information about the wines to students.

After a review of the information the directors of the court voted unanimously to invalidate the exam and start legal proceedings against the examination proctor, who is reported to be in the process of being stripped of his own title as a Master Somm.

The Court of Master Sommeliers was set up in the UK with the first exams in 1969. The Court is designed to provide a top-quality qualification for those involved in the service of wine and wine & food pairing.

Studying for and passing the exam was the basis of the movie Somm, currently available on Netflix and Amazon.

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