Record Wine Exports for California

Last year saw a hike in wine exports like the US has never seen before. Thanks to a budding market in Asian countries as well as a still growing recognition for American made wine have combined with a higher domestic consumption to put a bit of a strain on California’s wine makers and a bit of a price jump on American wine.                 Not long ago, wine from California was looked upon as low quality and lacking in art. This is a drastic change from 2011 where it is being elevated to something closer to a luxury item.  After winning over some well-known wine lovers, Californian wine was given a chance to be ranked and compared to French wine, where it has since flourished.

                A growing middle class in China is also a key player in this last year’s 123% demand from 2010. That is almost a quarter increase from the previous year. To the growing Asian market California wine is held as something of a gold standard and is sought after as a show of new found wealth. Picking some homegrown wine for those three bottle wine bags may be a little more expensive in years to come thanks to this striking increase in export demand, but many fans believe wine makers will keep a soft spot for loyal, local customers.

Robert Finigan

The time of a great wine critic has ended on the first of this month with the passing on of Robert Finigan, who has been a prominent figure among wine critics since the 1970s when he broke into the wine world with honest reviews of both fine European and emerging Californian wines.  His opinions were highly valued during his life, especially his tastings of pinot noir and burgundy.                  While later in his career he became interested in being a food critic, he was always an influential wine critic that was brutally honest in his expectations of a wine.  He was an advocate for the consumers too with his praises of wine in all forms, great and small, and looking for the good in any price range. 

                Born in 1943 Robert found his calling to wine and the culinary in college at Harvard.  Thankfully for the world of wine, he became interested in because of his roommates’ associations to wine.  His reviews will be valued for years and years to come and influence selections in wine totes, even if he won’t be around to write more of them. He is survived by his wife and sister, who just like us will miss him greatly. 

Worried Growing Season

This growing season has been hard for grape growers, who are hoping for as much heat as possible before summer fades into the past. The late spring and poor weather in many growing regions means that many Northern western locations are still trying to ripen grapes on the vine, but dropping temperatures are forcing them to think about the worst possible outcome. There is little that can be done by workers at vineyards except trim back the leaves; this exposes the grapes to more sunlight.                 This trouble ripening the grapes though doesn’t mean that the 2011 offerings are going to be a flop; it is more likely to mean slightly less sweet whites from the North and little else. Ripening the grapes properly, after all, develops the sugars more.  But the thing about vintners is that something magical could still happen with the less than supreme grapes to make wine fans eager to put them in three bottle wine carriers. Proper manipulation to the grapes could still create a wonderful vintage. So while wine makers are worried at the moment there is always a chance in the wine industry for unusual things to happen. Worse years have produced still wonderful wine.

Balancing Act

Studies have shown over and over again that low to moderate wine consumption leads to lower weight gain as one ages, but exactly why remains a bit of a mystery. It is believed to be a combination of factors that the right balance has to be achieved to benefit fully from them.  These factors include the antioxidants in the wine, red wine’s ability to inhibit sugar to fat conversion and the fact that wine drinkers may have a healthier overall diet than drinkers of other things and nondrinkers on average.                 Of course this is all scientific speculation but it never hurts to go with what science is pointing to as a good idea. After all gaining weight can lead all sorts of health problems.  And if staying away from these problems recommends that a glass of wine now and again is a good thing, who is a wine lover to tell science no? Of course it would also involve eating healthy still and only enjoying the reasonable amount of wine.  Oddly enough the low to moderate wine drinkers were the healthiest group, not the nondrinkers. This contrasts somewhat with the traditional knowledge that alcohol directly leads to weight gain. So give wine gifts and embrace the food and drink loving crowd that are wine enthusiasts by using those two bottle wine bags.

New Wine Health News

Is it impossible to get the gym every day? Well a new study suggests, that at least every now and then, a glass of red wine can stave off the muscle loss associated with skipping on a work out or two. The study was conducted on rats so it is not completely applicable to humans, but the thought that that glass of red wine is more than a treat after a hard day is comforting. The study used reservatol, a compound in red wine and was given to half the rats in a group that had been strenuously exercised for weeks. The group not given the compound had lost significant amounts of muscle mass and even a little mineral bone density after suddenly stopping the work out regiment. The half of the rats though that were given reservatol in place of their workouts had only a slightly detectable amount of muscle loss even a week after the exercise stopped.                 This study will be further researched and preformed again, but in the meantime it can be a comfort that after a hard Monday it is okay to ignore the treadmill and have a glass of red wine instead. Walking to wine baskets doesn't count as a workout though so it is only something to do every now and then.