Brangelina, Texas, tariffs, Davos – sipped and spit

SPIT: wine reporting!
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a “stormy dinner date” with friends (including Alec Baldwin) at Alto restaurant in midtown Manhattan. This story says they had five bottles of wine with dinner, the friends left and then Brangelina exchanged barbs, with him telling her to get therapy and her telling him that she thinks he’s “toxic!” Eeegad. But, really, the most important detail for wine enthusiasts was neglected: which wines did they have with dinner?!?

SIPPED: conflicting opinions
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision that had found the wine distribution system in Texas unconstitutional. The lower court ruled that it discriminated against out-of-state distributors and retailers according to the Dallas Morning News. With the recent ruling in favor of free trade in Massachusetts, wine enthusiasts will be watching to see if the Specialty Wine Retailers Association appeals to the Supreme Court.

SPIT: wine tastings
Gideon Rachman bemoans a “new Puritanism” at Davos that has banned the epic wine tastings of previous years. Never fear: he was able to find one organized by Jancis Robinson off campus (at a Zurich airport hotel) with Krug, and Chateaus Cheval Blanc and Yquem.

SPIT: tariffs and taxes
Canadian wine lovers visiting America, someone’s got your back: Charles Schumer! The NY senator is trying to have the 100 percent levy on wines brought into Canada to reduced to stimulate sales from NY wineries. On a related note, wineries that export receive almost full reimbursement of federal excise taxes and he also wants to keep that now-imperiled subsidy in place. [BusinessWeek]

SPIT: drinking national?
Imported wine sales rose in Australia — as well as in the US, where California wine sales fell for the first time in 16 years.

SIPPED: kind words
Vinography posts a favorable review of my book, A Year of Wine.

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8 Responses to “Brangelina, Texas, tariffs, Davos – sipped and spit”

  1. BC and Ontario are the worse with the taxes and yes they should lower then hate seeing on a US website such and such wine for 50$ when it costs 110 aprox in BC

  2. I find it more surprising that wine imports are increasing in Australia than the same happening in the US. In my experience Australians often tend to be more convinced that their home-made products are best and be less interested in ‘alien’ commodities. This may be another sweeping generalisation (all generalisations are odious, naturally) but it strikes me that US buyers are less parochial and will source their goods from anywhere if the price is right.

    As an aside, the most parochial people as far as liking their own wines go are clearly the big wine producing countries in Europe: France, Italy, Spain and Germany. When dining in them it is a vanishingly rare treat to see a wine from outside their country on a restaurant list.


  3. I bet I’ll be the only one here commenting on the Brangelina gossip, but thanks for sharing the news! To be serious, of course I’d love to know which 5 bottles of wine they drank at their “stormy” dinner, but also I’m thinking, where on earth can I get both edifying news from on wine scene, AND the latest celebrity gossip! I’m not being facetious here, I really was totally entertained by the Brangelina bit here.
    Every now and then a girl needs some juicy, mindless celebrity gossip on a Saturday night. : )

  4. In the link on California wine sales (gotta love a newspaper that calls itself The Bee), notice that the big guys like Constellation, Gallo, and Trinchero (no mention of Bronco, why’s that?) did all right in ’09. Which just goes to show that if you get the price right, you can still move an ocean of wine off the shelf, even if it really isn’t very good.

    Once you get off the bottom tier, there are still far too many California producers who are either unable or unwilling to be price-competitive. No matter what the marketing ninnies who yammer about “branding” say, “Napa Valley” on a label is not enough to move a bottle of cabernet priced at $29.99, especially when there’s a Chilean cab with an equal or better Spectator score across the way at $21.99.

  5. interesting Australia is importing more wine (or the U.S., for that matter). With such a glut, one might think local marketeers would try to encourage more domestic consumption (especially in Australia). Seems that we’re in a ebb of lighter-styled wines, lower alcohol; more food-friendly. Wonder where the imports are coming from (Europe?)

  6. We can all relax, it seems Brangelina had an “affectionate night out” last night. PHEW! Now what’s more interesting, the wine they had during their feud or their make up wine?? 🙂,,20340572,00.html

  7. Joe – The number one selling wine in Australia is Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc (from New Zealand). Also, once commenter on twitter pointed out that imports account for 11 percent of Australian wine consumption, adding, “Imports just a sign of a maturing and more confident market ‘palate’. A good thing, no?”

    Thanks for the Brangelina update, Sarah!

  8. In my limited experience, Champagne is the preferred beverage of reconciliation. Although a 1997 Faively Mercurey “Les Framboisieres” is pretty good, too.


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