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  Daily News for Monday, December 10th
Robert Parker steps down as Wine Advocate editor-in-chief
... as Robert Parker has announced he has taken on three new Asian investors and is opening up a new office in Singapore, from where the magazine will be run
Parker sells "a substantial interest" in The Wine Advocate and steps down as editor
US critic Robert Parker has stepped down as editor-in-chief of his wine publication The Wine Advocate after selling "a substantial interest" of the company to a group of Singapore-based investors.
The Robert Parker bombshell
Nothing about this deal makes any sense, on its face. The new owners are going to start accepting advertising - something which makes sense financially, since those 50,000 subscribers tend to be extremely well-heeled. But at the same time, they're scrapping the print version of the newsletter, despite the fact that (a) it's profitable, and (b) they would surely be able to charge much higher rates for print ads than for online ads.
Experts Joust Over Wine Closures
While consumers find plenty of room for argument about which wine is No. 1, winemakers and suppliers can be just as combative about which closure is best. As part of its ongoing Wine Flavor 101 series of lectures and seminars, the University of California, Davis, gathered representatives from the cork, synthetic and screwtop camps for a forum held Thursday on campus.
Napa Valley planners approve Trefethen winery project
The Trefethen family has received approval to build a new 30,000 gallon winery near its existing winery on Oak Knoll Avenue. The Napa County Planning Commission approved the winery Wednesday morning. Commissioners Bob Fiddaman, Terry Scott and Mike Basayne voted to approve it, while Commissioners Matt Pope and Heather Phillips were absent.
Santa Clara Board Approves Ordinance to Improve Agri-Tourism and Winery Operations
The group participants determined that the current winery regulations fall short of providing desired clarity about allowed winery activities. To address that, the Planning Office began a comprehensive review of winery regulations with a focus on ways to better support wineries and to accommodate a greater range of winery marketing activities.
Australian wine most popular in off-trade but France leads on-trade
Australia is the most popular wine in the UK off-trade, while France tops on-trade sales, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association Market Report.
Texas wine country on the rise as more residents choose to drink local
According to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, Texas is No. 5 in the country for wine production and No. 7 for wine grape production. From 2007 to 2009, the number of cases of wines produced in Texas increased by 20 percent, and the number of wineries across the state increased by 16 percent.
Massachusetts wine auction bill uncorked while wine shipment bill bottled up
The charity wine auction bill was substituted for more sweeping legislation (H 1883) that would have allowed consumers to buy wine online and have it shipped directly to them - a proposal that has failed to win legislative approval since the Romney administration.
Average Canadian will spend more than $85 on wine, beer and spirits in December
Annual alcohol sales in Canada are expected to top $19 billion this year, about 38 per cent or $700 million higher than in 2011, BMO economist Aaron Goertzen said.
Champagne's low yields pose blending problems
Jacquart's winemaker says the 2012 harvest is "incredible", but warned that low yields meant some houses would have problems sourcing sufficient quantities of reserve wines for blending.
Foley Family Wines becomes majority owner of the Guenoc Valley producer
Foley Family Wines has become the majority owner of the Guenoc Valley producer. Foley Family Wines had previously entered into an agency agreement in August, and is currently selling both the Guenoc and Langtry brands wholesale.
Frank Family Vineyards Named "Winery of the Year" by Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
Frank Family Vineyards was awarded "Winery of the Year" by Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine in the publication's "Best of 2012" December issue. The periodical, published by Charles Olken, has been reviewing wine since 1974, and reviews thousands of wines each year.
Restaurants' Christmas bookings up in U.K., but big spenders unlikely
Continued pressure on the restaurant sector means owners are stepping "cautiously" into Christmas 2012, as consumers keep a tight rein on spending.
Cambria winery opens tasting room
The Stolo Family Winery tasting room opened last month, eight years after the operation began making wine from its vineyard at 3776 Santa Rosa Creek Road, about two miles east of Cambria.
From Finance to Grapes: Young Petaluma Entrepreneur Has Big Dreams for Winery
Cecilia Enriquez is the 25-year-old owner Enriquez Estate Wines on the city's Eastside. Her vision? Build a sophisticated and exclusive brand using high quality grapes. And, of course, have a lot of fun in the process
Australia's Cambewarra Estate Winery goes to auction this Saturday
The property includes 10-acres under vine, features two large dams, cellar door, cool room, press, crusher and heat-exchanger, as well as a new commercial kitchen and function room, with views across the vineyard and Cambewarra Mountain.
Capital City Package expands online product portfolio
The website features complete information related to the beverages, including the pictures, descriptions and bottle sizes, using which the consumers can easily find the beverage.
Gershon Bachus Vintners rolls out two wines under De Portola Wine Trail
The two new blends are GBV 2008 Estate Blend Aeolus and GBV 2007 Aquilo Cabernet Sauvignon. Both the new blends replace their predecessors 2005 Zephyrus Zinfandel and 2005 Aquilo Cabernet Sauvignon, which are now confined to library collection.
Roederer Sells Bordeaux's Château Bernadotte to Asian Drinks Firm
Champagne house wants to focus on three Bordeaux properties, buyer King Power wants to expand.
Spirited Wines to roll out cheese deli concept
Spirited Wines has launched a cheese deli counter at 11 of its stores and is hoping to roll the concept out across the estate once trials are complete.
Coe Vintners keen to boost wine reputation
Coe Vintners is aiming to become as well known for wine as it is for spirits, according to the group's commercial director Nick Gillett. Speaking exclusively to Harpers, Gillett said the group wanted to "change people's perceptions" and get sommeliers to choose Coe Vintners when looking for wine.
Vranken-Pommery spends E37m buying new vineyards
Champagne group Vranken-Pommery Monopole has spent more than €37m increasing its vineyard holdings with the purchase of five companies in the region, including Bissinger & Co.
Napa: The second crop
Because of the unexpected bounty of this year's harvest, many grapes were left on the vines in Napa Valley. This included both the usual second crop that's generally not used in a good year, but also many prime-quality grapes: Many wineries that had contracted for the fruit had processed all they could use.
New Finger Lakes wine symposium to star ex-White House chef
People attending the inaugural Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes will learn from and taste wines alongside international experts, including Walter Scheib, who was the White House executive chef from 1994 to 2005.
Total Wine & More opens first Connecticut store in Norwalk
The shelves and coolers are filled with 8,000 wines, 3,000 distilled spirits and 2,500 beers. Nine check-out aisles await shoppers who have finished perusing the 30,000 square feet of Total Wine & More, which is Norwalk's newest liquor store and the state's largest.
The Girl and the Fig: 15 Years in Wine Country
"I love our plats du jour at all our restaurants, we've been doing it forever." Restaurateur Sondra Bernstein is perhaps best known for her iconic Sonoma wine country restaurant the girl & the fig. She first opened it in the charming Sonoma County town of Glen Ellen 15 years ago, in 1997.
Carruades de Lafite Paces Declines Among Leading Bordeaux Wines
Carruades vintages from 2002, 2004 and 2007 all fell more than 40 percent over the period, while Chateau d'Yquem 1999 dessert wine and Pavillon Rouge 2002, the second wine of Chateau Margaux, were also among the five leading decliners, according to Liv-ex data on its Cellar Watch website.
SJV wine meet focuses on stepped-up production
A record wine grape crush in California for 2012 should not dissuade growers from stepped-up production, a wine industry leader told those who attended a San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association Wine and Grape Industry Forum in Fresno.
Vancouver Urban Winery releases Roaring Twenties
The founders of Vancouver Urban Winery, a very cool multi-function space with tasting bar introduced a new idea to Vancouver earlier this year - importing good wines in bulk and packaging it locally. First, they packaged wines in kegs for a wine on tap trade they started.
Walla Walla wineries' efforts benefit kids in pour health
More than 30 Walla Walla Valley wineries raised $237,000 in cash and funds to assist with uncompensated care at Seattle Children's Hospital. The fundraiser was part of the recent Auction of Washington Wines 25th anniversary celebration, an annual event that supports patients at one of the nation's best children's hospitals, according to a ranking from U.S. News & World Reports.
Highland Heights, OH native returns home to open shop selling wine and beer from around the world
As a boy, Adam Bossin would ride his bike along Miner Road past the many stores located at its intersection with Highland Road. Today, he looks out at that intersection from the window of Highland Hops & Vines - a business at 544 Miner Road that he launched in October with Lakewood resident Kiran Grewal.
Wine: Don Sebastiani & Sons upgrades Napa winery
Sonoma-based wine company Don Sebastiani & Sons upgraded its south Napa winery, now called Steelbird Cellars after birds that populate the area, with new bottling capabilities, high-tech treatment of water to reduce chemicals used, energy-efficient lighting and "showcase" offices and client reception area
N.J. wineries enjoying direct shipping to customers this holiday season
"New Jersey wineries produce some of the best wines in the world that have placed well in international competitions," said Fisher. "The wine shipping law makes these wonderful wines more readily available to those already familiar with their high quality and taste, as well as those wanting to experience great New Jersey products across the country."
12/10/12 strips out middleman
The founders of, a British online wine retailer that recently launched in Napa and Sonoma, say they have bad news for consumers
France adds taxes to beer but not to wine
The French government this week passed a law that adds 480 million euros ($628 million) in new taxes on beer while leaving wine unscathed
No charges against ex-Utah liquor agency employees
... after a series of critical state audits of their performance, prosecutors said
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