France just experienced its third-hottest July since 1900 and received half its normal rainfall. The French wine industry is searching for grape hybrids that can better survive the warmer summers and rainfall extremes expected in the future. Read about their attempts to adapt to climate change >>here<<.
Tourists on Napa Valley’s Wine Train are often drunk and loud. Some are physically removed from the train. The recent removal of a group of 11 loud friends has brought a new focus on the Wine Train.
A group of upstart wine makers and sommeliers have formed an organization called “In Pursuit of Balance”. Their goal is to promote wines with lower alcohol levels made from grapes picked before they are fully ripe. Their enemy is Robert Parker, the founder of the Wine Advocate. His popular ratings have promoted riper and more flavorful wines with higher alcohol levels. This battle for the heart and soul of the wine industry is set forth in a recent New York Times article that can be read >>here<<.
Houston attorneys Richard LaGarde and Mary LaGarde visited the Burgundy region of France last week and discovered that crawfish were used as a medication in the 15th century. They toured the Hospices de Beaune, a hospital for the poor built in 1443. One of the medicine jars in the hospital’s apothecary was labeled “Yeaux d’ ecrevisses” (Eyes of Crawfish). The ingredients were ground limestone and the interiors of crawfish. The medication was used to prevent diarrhea and hemorrhages. Cajuns have known for a long time that crawfish are good for you. It appears that their ancestors in France knew that too.
Popular wine critic Robert Parker recently expressed concern that high wine prices are shutting out young consumers and are leading to the rise in craft beers and other alternative alcoholic beverages. He predicts that there will be a “reckoning” for high-priced wine producers, especially elite Bordeaux producers. Parker admits that he is part of the problem and that his rating of certain wines has led to increased prices. Click here to read more about Parker’s comments.
Approximately $300,000 worth of rare wine was stolen from the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley on Christmas Day, 2014. One month later, the wine was found in the possession of a private collector in Greensboro, N.C. Who stole the wine? How did it end up in the hands of a private collector? The mystery remains unsolved. Click here to read the few details that have been revealed.
For the past few years scientists have published papers suggesting that the bacteria in our gut have a profound impact on our health and perhaps even our behavior. A scientific paper published this week by the American Society for Microbiology suggests that the bacteria in soil has a profound influence on the health of grape vines and even the flavor and other characteristics of wine. Click here to read the paper.