NEW YORK (Reuters) – Winemakers around the globe are encountering a mixed 2011 grape harvest with those north of the equator facing challenges, while their southern neighbors have plentiful grapes of good quality.
In Europe, Spain reported a slight decline in production. Italian wine makers had their smallest harvests in 60 years and the French Ministry of Agriculture enjoyed a bumper crop.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Rain, cold and mold are threatening this year’s California wine harvest prompting one vintner to call in a helicopter to fight Mother Nature.
“We’re about three weeks late. The whole state is late,” said Chuck Wagner, the owner of Caymus Vineyards, the iconic Napa winery. “Cabernet Sauvignon was definitely affected,” he said of the popular varietal.
SEBASTOPOL, Calif. (Reuters) – Forty years after breaking into the wine industry, Merry Edwards stills finds herself battling with the boys in the business.
In the ’70s when she was trying to get her first job in the industry, a large California winery tried to push Edwards into research, a New Zealand winery would not let her interview for a job and a third turned her away when she walked through the cellar doors.
SANTA ROSA, California (Reuters) – Despite a late harvest in the Sonoma region of California and heavy rains that tore through vineyards, California wine makers expect this year’s grapes to yield superior wines.
Like other grape growers in the region Saralee Kunde is coping with the impact of the delayed harvest because of the above average rainfall and cool summer weather.
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – Global economic woes dented sales of fine wines at auctions in Hong Kong, New York and London, but some lots fetched record prices or exceeded presale estimates.
Fears of a Greek default roiling the world’s markets and stubbornly high U.S. unemployment rates impacted the auctions. Unlike last season none of the houses sold 100 percent of their lots.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A brush with the horror of the September 11 attacks on a visit to New York prompted Rebecca and Peter Work, Californian corporate executives, to rethink their lives and opt for a quieter existence on the land.
Peter Work, the chief technology officer for an outsourcing firm, had a 9 a.m. appointment near the World Trade Center on that day which would have put him close to the Twin Towers when the hijacked planes hit. It was canceled at the last moment.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kevin Zraly was offered a bottle of wine that survived the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but he didn’t even want to see it.
“It’s quite possible that some bottles survived,” said the former wine director of Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the North Tower. “But I didn’t want to look. I told him: ‘keep it. It’s yours.’”
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Although it is nearly 50 years since the first woman graduated with a wine degree from a top university, less then 10 percent of women are chief winemakers at U.S. wineries.
MaryAnn Graf became the first woman to graduate from the viticulture and enology department at the University of California Davis in 1965, and since the mid-90s women have made up nearly half of the students in that specialty at the university.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wine collectors, particularly from Hong Kong, bought more than $200 million worth of fine wines at auction in the first half of 2011, nearly doubling the amount for the same period last year.
But while the buying opportunities have expanded, prices for individual bottles have stabilized.
NEW YORK/TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Beer, long the preferred beverage at baseball games, is seeing some competition from wine as North American stadiums go up market and increase their beverage offerings.
Wine has been seen as the beverage of choice by the upper classes, while beer and hotdogs have been staple fare at baseball games across the United States.