Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Time for Imports?

We've been hearing a lot of scuttlebutt around the trade about the problems in California; you know, the drought and the fires, and how winemakers don't have serviceable juice to make their products.  This industry has always had an uncanny knack for escaping historic calamities in the past.  It's actually inspirational the way they will work with each other to sustain a competitor who is in trouble.  I guess the idea is that the industry as a whole does better if there is a larger pie to sustain it.

So when we heard that certain large players were importing juice from South America to supplement their own, we thought, "Well, this is interesting."  Wine laws in America are purposely loose to protect wineries during rough patches like what's going on now.  If a winery produces a "Napa Valley Cabernet" fully seventy-five percent of that wine must originate in the Napa Valley appellation.  The other twenty-five percent can be from anywhere.

Smoke is the insidious culprit currently messing things up in northern California and it's pervasive.  If importing Chilean and Argentine juice makes sense to offset unusable smoke-tainted produce then you do what you have to do.  And we wish you well.  But for those wine companies who make their living by marketing "Napa" or "Sonoma" and always supplementing with lesser juice, then this isn't exactly a crisis.  It's a way of life.  Just more of the same.  Smoke and mirrors.  "Nothing to see here, please move along."

So here's the pitch:  We have invested in quantities of Alsatian white wines and Italian and Argentine reds.  The whites are traditional choices for Thanksgiving dinner.  The Italians were offered to us for holiday sippers with European tastes.  The Argentines are from Catena, the greatest producer of that country and would work fine for New World aficionados.  All of these are guaranteed to be non-smoked and may be served confidently with that holiday meal.    

Thought for the day: The assumption here is that the juice that is being brought in from South America is inferior to that from northern California.  What if it isn't?   

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