Wine News: Early July 2019

Welcome back to the Ultra Wine Racks & Cellars blog. Every three weeks we bring you exciting headlines about wine and spirits. We trawl the web and cherry-pick the best wine-related stories and headlines. Wine news, wine industry news, France news, Italy news, Sonoma news, Napa news, and any other interesting tidbits about wine and spirits we can find. Grab a glass of vino and give us a read!

Alcoholic Beverages Need Cancer Warnings, Says Consumer Federation of America

Alcohol consumption continues to decline worldwide as part of a growing trend towards health and wellness. Aiming to keep health in the public eye, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) seeks to draw attention to what it sees as a “crisis” in cancer prevention. Along with several other advocacy groups, the CFA sent a letter to the US Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau on Wednesday, June 26. The letter called upon the federal agency to require all manufacturers of alcoholic beverages to put a new label on their bottles.

The CFA and its allies proposed that the new label be worded thus: “Government Warning: According to the Surgeon General, consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause cancer, including breast and colon cancers.”

According to the CFA, its goal is to raise awareness of the link between cancer and alcohol consumption, a link of which less than half of Americans are aware. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90,000 Americans per year suffer from cancers linked to alcohol.

Representatives of the beverage industry are pushing back against the CFA’s move, calling it “unwarranted.”

Jackson Shedelbower, spokesman for the American Beverage Institute, stated that the CFA’s claim “flies in the face of mountains of prior research conducted over decades that links one or two drinks a day to modest health benefits⁠—notably a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The CDC states that it cannot “conclusively link” improved health to regular, moderate alcohol consumption.

Cannabis Tourism Thrives in Sonoma

Despite pushback from the winegrowing community, cannabis tourism is a burgeoning industry in the Sonoma Valley. Van Solkov is the owner and operator of Happy Travelers Tours. The company offers guests a tour of local wineries, a sampling of marijuana varietals, and a lunch from Sweet Pea Bakery.

“We focus on educating guests and on the convergence of wine and cannabis,” Solkov stated. “We are destigmatizing cannabis consumption.”

Solkov himself came to appreciate cannabis after a serious accident 26 years ago. The accident crushed twelve of his vertebrae. Cannabis was how he managed the pain during recovery.

During the tour of the mountaintop grow operation (managed by Solkov’s business partner and Airbnb host Doug Gardner), guests see how marijuana plants are cultivated and even get to try pruning them.

The goal, Solkov says, is to get people to see and touch marijuana plants and understand Sonoma’s history and terroir.

“At the end of every tour,” Solkov says, “we guarantee our guests will be happy travelers.”

Bordeaux Producers’ Syndicate Approves Seven New Grape Varieties

In an unprecedented move, the Bordeaux wine producers’ syndicate has approved the use of seven new grape varieties. The move is an attempt to combat climate change, according to Wine Business International.

The rules regarding the manufacture of Bordeaux are very strict. French vintners can only use certain types of grapes to legally create Bordeaux wines. However, in the grip of a record-breaking heatwave, French vignerons have acknowledged the need for change.

Accordingly, the syndicate voted unanimously on Friday, June 28, to permit four new reds (Arinarnoa, Touriga Nacional, Marselan, and Castets) and three whites (Alvarinho, Petit Manseng, and Liliorila) to be used in the production of Bordeaux. These grapes were chosen for several reasons. They are not as susceptible to some diseases as other grapes are. They preserve their volume and acidity despite abnormally high temperatures and unseasonal frosts. And, of course, they maintain their quality, aroma, flavor, and yields according to Bordeaux’s stringent standards.

Bordeaux manufacturers will henceforth be able to plant these new varietals on up to 5% of their vineyard acreage. Vintners will be able to add up to 10% of the new varietals’ production to their final Bordeaux blends.

Kylie Jenner Planning to Release Her Own Line of Wine and Spirits

Fans of Kylie Jenner can look forward to a new line of Kylie-related products now that Miss Jenner is of legal drinking age: wine and spirits. Jenner has already trademarked her name for numerous lines of consumer products. But now she wants to add it to the labels of wine, spirits, beers, nonalcoholic and alcoholic cocktail mixers, premixed cocktails, energy drinks, smoothies, and even restaurants and bars.

And that’s the wine, spirits, Sonoma, and Napa news for early July 2019! Thank you for reading. Be sure to check out our website for interesting wine racking designs. Happy Fourth of July, and happy sipping!


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