Archive for the 'Polls' Category

Vent your spleen: wax seals on wine bottles

waxsealswinebottles The other day we talked about “embarrassing moments in bottle opening.” Be sure to check out the stories for some good laughs.

But one commenter who wasn’t laughing was Paul Gregutt, wine columnist for the Seattle Times. He had this to say:

there’s little doubt that the most difficult cork pulling experiences in my life come when someone has slathered their weapon-grade wine bottle with a pound or two of faux wax. You need a chainsaw to drill through some of these things. It is not helpful to embark on what is supposed to be a thoughtful review of someone’s wine with blood all over the corkscrew, the bottle, the glass and the writer. Perhaps you will join me in an effort to dissuade wineries from using this stuff?

I’ve enjoyed quite a few wines–from Lapierre, Foillard, Vatan, and Lopez de Heredia to name a few–sealed with a wax layer on top of the cork. While they are annoying since they require an additional sweep of the counter, I’ve never shed blood as Paul apparently has. And I think they do add a nice aesthetic touch.

But what say you? Should wineries no longer use them as Paul suggests?

Wax seals on wine bottles should be

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Enlarge your Pinot dollar – Pinot under $20 – new world or old world?

bottleneck The whole concept of Pinot under $20 is enough to make some Burghounds shudder. But it is a topic of recurring interest to everyone at the Dr. Vino World Headquarters with its high concentration of frugal pinotphiles.

I recently had the $19 Nicolas Potel 2006 Bourgogne rouge and found it a great value, lean, old world pinot. In previous vintages, I’ve enjoyed value Pinots from Austria (e.g. Stadlmann) and Italy’s alto Alto Adige region (e.g. Hofstatter) as well. And I’ve had some good new world Pinot under $20, such as the “H” Pinot Noir from Hamacher in Oregon. (search for these wines)

What about you? Have your say in our latest poll!

Does better pinot noir under $20 come from the old world or the new world?

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Trading down: recession and wine trends [poll]

screamsm An op-ed in the Times yesterday puzzled over why beer sales are down while the economy is also in the dumps; there’s a perception out there that people drink more alcoholic beverages during a recession but a slump in beer sales defies that logic. The author pays a passing mention to wine, indicating that Constellation, the world’s largest publicly traded wine producer, has said they will have to “recalibrate” sales expectations.

But have Americans gotten so into wine that even a recession can’t take wine off the table? It appears that wine sales sales for 2008 may be up fractionally by volume but the value is likely to be down since many consumers are “trading down,” or reaching for less expensive wines.

We last checked in with you about your buying habits on September 29. Lots has happened in the economy since then. Tell us how your wine buying and consumption is now! And with the new polling software, you can now select two answers!

The economy has tanked! I have changed my wine buying patterns by...

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Do screwcaps diminish a gift wine? [Poll]

enscrew The other day I gave a friend a bottle of red wine as a gift, complete with a Santa wine bag that I got on sale after last Christmas. As I was slipping it in the bag, I saw that the wine was closed wit a screwcap, not a cork. Suddenly, I thought that it diminished my gift. But it was too late to give it a second thought as we were already out the door.

What do you say? Even if you like screwcaps for your own wine, have screwcaps gone mainstream enough that they’re not a stigma for gift wine? Let us know using the snazzy new poll software!

Does giving a wine with a screwcap diminish the gift?

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Trader Joe’s to sell wine in New York–almost!

wine hangs The economy’s downturn has left many a gap in the New York State budget. Governor Paterson has proposed some new ways to plug those gaps, such as difficult spending cuts as well as new taxes on private jets, furs and soda. It looks likely that wine will not escape unchanged.

The governor proposes raising the state taxes on wine. Given that the state tax is currently $0.19 per gallon, below the national median of $0.69, we could have seen that one coming.

But he proposes a more far-reaching change: selling wine at grocery stores. Yes, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and others might soon be able to sell Sancerre right next to the Camembert without the need for special, at-grade entrances to separate facilities. This could really shake up New York wine retail by offering more convenience to consumers and increase wine sales overall; indeed, the governor estimates that it will bring in $150 million in revenues to the state.

Given that the number of licensees would jump from 2,400 to 19,000, the plan would presumably, remove the limit to one location per licensee. This would allow stores such as Zachys, which has only one location in suburban Scarsdale, to open stores in Manhattan or other successful Manhattan stores to open in other neighborhoods. Presumably, they would also be allowed to sell cheese and bread if they wanted to. Many details clearly need to be worked out and we’ll see how it unfolds between now and March.

In the meantime, have your say in the latest poll!
Screen shot 2010 03 14 at 5.27.30 PM
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A motto for America, wine country #1: vote now!

co1bertflag America will soon be the biggest wine country in the world and we need a motto! Thanks to the 30 commenters who often had multiple suggestions–browse them all for a good laugh.

Ray Isle, Deputy Wine Editor at Food & Wine magazine, the frequent face of wine on the Today Show, a wine blogger in his own right and all around good guy joined me in narrowing the field of suggestions. So here they are, the finalists, for your voting. Decide America’s new wine motto here and now!

winepoliticscoversm2 The one with the most votes as of Friday will be crowned the winner and will receive a signed copy of Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink. That’s right, the book that tells the story of wine in France and America through the lens of industry politics will be on of theirs in time for the Fourth of July. Congratulations to site readers Mark Ashley, Patrick Henry (who knew?), and Katie for making it into the finals!
democracy1
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Vote now for the most groan-inducing wine name!

lapaws The groan committee has met! Thanks for your suggestions of the most groan-inducing wine name. There are many bad wine names out there but it was interesting that no fewer than three people observed that once they pulled the cork on the wine, it wasn’t half bad. Producers take note.

Here are the four “groan cru” (sorry, had to do it) wine names. Vote now for the worst offender! And remember, this isn’t for the worst label design, just the name, hence no finalist labels are shown to distract us.

democracy2
poll now closed

The worst wine labels – a contest – let the voting begin!

Thank you for your submissions in the worst wine label contest! Here we have it: the finalists!

I recruited two judges to help whittle down the field to five labels and they are now available for your voting after the jump. But first, the judges: Steve De Long, known to many for his fine aesthetic work on the various products at De Long Wine Company; and Guillaume Jourdan, a partner at Vitabella, a PR and marketing firm in Paris who has consulted wineries on improving their labels. Since he’s foreign, I guess he’ll be our Simon Cowell. To the voting! Read more…


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