Tag Archives: wine gifts

Winebits 467: U.S. wine boom, organic wine, wine gifts

U.S. wine boomThis week’s wine news: The end of the U.S. wine boom, plus the profitability of organic wine and returning wine gifts

Is the fat lady singing? Those of us who rely on facts instead of “this is the way it’s always been” to parse the wine business got more bad news last week. “Two measures suggest that the U.S. market for wine may have peaked – or at least paused. There has been a reduction in the average consumption per head of wine in the last few years, coupled with a reduction in the number of very frequent wine drinkers – that is, those drinking wine on a near daily basis.” This, from a report by the Wine Intelligence consultancy, confirms what has been reported elsewhere – the 40-year-old U.S. wine boom seems to be over. What happens next, as more producers and retailers chase fewer consumers, is anyone’s guess. I’m going to write about this quite a bit over the next year; it’s probably the most important trend in wine in this country since the fighting varietals of the 1970s.

Not much of a market? Organic wine, whether it’s labeled as organic, made with organic grapes, or farmed bio-dynamically, has never been much of a factor in the U.S., and certainly not the way organics are for tomatoes and the like. This article from the Western Farm Press trade magazine is about as technical as you would expect from something called Western Farm Press, but the gist is that growing organic grapes is not easy and not necessarily profitable. Sheep grazing for weed control, anyone?

What about the leftover wine? The Wine Curmudgeon, who has insisted that giving wine for a gift should be done with thoughtfulness and considerations, is always impressed when someone else feels the same way. Hence this article from the Courier-Post in Camden, N.J..: Unless “you’re specifically asked to bring wine to contribute [to dinner[, do not be offended if the bottle you bring isn’t opened. Sometimes, wine is specifically chosen to go with the food being served. Although you may bring a perfectly wonderful wine, it may not complement the dishes being served that evening.”

Utah

Tuesday Birthday Week giveaway: French wine accessory gift pack

French wine accessoriesrandom2And the winner is: Janee, who selected 527; the winning number was 515 (screen shot to the left). Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway is a $100 gift card from Wine.com, and thank you very much to the people at Wine.com for their annual enthusiasm for what we do here.

 

 

 


Today, to celebrate the blog’s ninth anniversary, we’re giving away a French wine accessory gift pack, courtesy of Teuwen Communications and its French wine clients. It includes a t-shirt, waiter’s corkscrew, coffee mug, and much more. This is the second of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift pack.

Birthday week 2016 starts Monday

Birthday week 2016The blog’s ninth Birthday Week begins on Monday, with the best prizes yet

Birthday Week 2016, the ninth annual, begins on Monday with the best prizes in Birthday Week history. And why not? This year will be the best in blog history, with almost one-half million visitors. Who knew after the trials and travails of the past couple of years?

Hence the Wine Curmudgeon’s annual thank you to everyone who reads the blog and visits the site, since none of this would happen without you. Contest rules are here. Those of you who get the blog via email or RSS will need to go to winecurmudgeon.com and click on that day’s prize post to enter.

Each day next week, a prize post will run in addition to the regular post. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of the prize post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts, like this one. Unless the number is in the comments section of the prize post, the entry won’t count.

This year’s prize schedule:

• Monday: The VinGardeValise Petite, the ultimate wine bottle suitcase, plus a copy of Jerry Lockspesier’s “Your Wine Questions Answered.” Thanks to VinGarde, a long-time pal of the blog, and Jerry for their contributions.

• Tuesday: A French wine gift accessory pack, courtesy of Teuwen Communications and its French wine clients.

• Wednesday: A $100 gift card from Wine.com, and thank you very much to the people at Wine.com for their annual enthusiasm for what we do here.

• Thursday: A $100 gift certificate from NakedWines.com, plus a $100 voucher for a $160 order for the second and third place finishers.

• Friday: Another VinGardeValise Petite, plus an autographed copy of the cheap wine book.

Besides the prize giveaways, I’ll recap the past year on the blog — the top posts and the least liked on Monday, as well as my always insightful analysis about what it all means and the future of the wine business on Thursday.

2015 holiday wine gift guide

2015 holiday wine gift guide

Yes the Wine Sack is chic, but also ridiculously expensive.

This year’s holiday wine gift guide, despite my best efforts to find something incredibly silly, mostly sticks to the basics. And, as always, keep in mind that you ?re buying someone a gift they will like, and not something you think they should like because you know more about wine than they do. The 2015 holiday wine gift guide:

? Wine openers: Still don’t feel comfortable with a waiter’s corkscrew? The Vinomaster ($40) is a sturdier version of an old reliable, Metrokane’s Rabbit, and at more less the same price. I was impressed with how well put together it was, though it’s not quite as intuitive as the Rabbit. The Barvivo corkscrew ($15) is a nifty turn on the traditional waiter’s corkscrew, with a more flexible double hinge.

? Wine books: I would be remiss without mentioning Jon Thorsen’s “Reverse Wine Snob: How to buy and drink great wine” ($18), which follows up on the work he does on his Reverse Wine Snob website, regularly ranked among the top five most influential wine websites on the Internet. Also intriguing: “American Wine: A Coming-of-Age Story” ($30), by Tom Acitelli, which tries to tell the story of the U.S. wine business from the 1960s to today in English and not winespeak. It mostly succeeds, and has generated some criticism for its explanation of the growth — and popularity — of high alcohol wines.

? Wine: This is the year for something different, a wine made with grapes or from a region that you might not buy often (or at all). How about the Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling from Australia ($15, sample, 12.5%), a dry wine full of petrol and lemon? Or the Domaine Serol Les Originelles ($15, sample, 13.5%), a gamay from the Loire in France that is as fresh and intriguing as it is unusual?

? As silly as we’re getting: The ridiculously expensive Wine Sack ($70), which gives you a way to carry your box wine with you in a fashionable black carryall. The bladder inside the box that holds the wine slips inside the Wine Sack, and the bladder spout fits in an opening on the Wine Sack. Why ridiculously expensive? Because the point of box wine is how cheap it is, and do we really need an accessory for it that costs as much as 3 1/2 boxes? But it does look chic.

More about holiday wine gifts:
? Holiday wine gift guide 2014
? Holiday wine gift guide 2013
? Holiday wine gift guide 2012
? Expensive wine 79: North Star Merlot 2010

Christmas wine 2016

Holiday wine gift guide 2014

Holiday wine gift guide

Silly yes, but who wouldn’t get a kick out of the High Heel Wine Bottle Caddy?

? Holiday wine trends 2014

If you go by my email, the hottest holiday wine gifts this year are accessories — every day has brought yet another news release with lots of exclamation points and breathless prose. But gadgets, as always, are not at the top of the Wine Curmudgeon’s recommendations. Because the math rarely works out: How many $100 accessories are worth 10 bottles of quality $10 wine? This year’s recommendations are after the jump: Continue reading

Mother’s Day wine 2014

Mother's Day wine 2014Keep two things in mind when buying Mother ?s Day wine 2014. First, wine as a gift requirea a different apprioach than wine to drink with brunch. A heavy red wine with scrambled eggs, no matter how much Mom likes heavy red wine, may not be the best idea. Second, don’t forget our wine gift-giving guidelines ? ?Don ?t buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them what they will like.

Hence these suggestions:

? Lamberti Vino Spumante NV ($14, sample, 11.5%): Surprisingly pleasant Italian sparkler at a not bad price with sweetish strawberry fruit, decent enough bubbles for spumante, and light body. The quintessential brunch wine.

? Feudo Arancio Nero d’Avola Stemmari 2012 ($8, purchased, 13.5%): Solid red made with nero d’avola grape that speaks to how far Sicily has come. Five years ago, I would have raved about its sour cherry fruit and hints of dark herbs. Today, it seems simple, though it’s still a fine value and quite enjoyable.

? Jules Taylor Pinot Gris 2012 ($19, purchased, 13.5%): Another quality effort from one of my favorite New Zealand producers. Light and delicate white fruit, far removed from the fruit-forward style of the Pacific Northwest but just as interesting.

? Fowles Wine Stone Dwellers Riesling 2011 ($20, sample, $12.9%): Modern style of Australian riesling, with lots of candied lemon balanced by an almost bubbly acidity to make a medium dry wine. Very nicely done, if you don’t mind spending $20 on riesling. And you probably don’t for Mom.

More about Mother ?s Day wine:
? Mother ?s Day wine 2013
? Mother ?s Day wine 2012
? Expensive wine 62: Chamisal Chalifa Chardonnay 2011
? Wine of the week: Zenato San Benedetto 2012

Image courtesy of Cheeky Chicago, using a Creative Commons license

Christmas wine 2016

Holiday wine gift guide 2013

The Wine Curmudgeon didn’t think there was a need for this year’s holiday gift guide. After all, what else could anyone want to give other than the cheap wine book?

But when I asked around, I was stunned to find out that this was not the case. The consensus: “Jeff, there are more things in the wine world than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or something like that.

So, after the jump, gift suggestions, as well as the all-important gift guidelines: Continue reading