Winebits 154: Hall of Fame, Asian wine prices, wine terms

? 2011 Vintners Hall of Fame: And it doesn’t include Robert Parker or Fred Franzia, both of whom were nominated. This is silly. Both men, whatever you think of them, have had Hall of Fame careers, and I’ll write more on that later this week. The 2011 inductees will include Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson (subject of a Wine Curmudgeon podcast); UC Davis’ Vernon Singleton; and Bob Trinchero, owner of Sutter Home Winery and Trinchero Napa Valley. Chalone Vineyards winemaker Richard Graff and August Sebastiani will be inducted as Pioneers.

? Exorbitant wine prices: What do you do if you live in China and have too much money? You buy French wine. Decanter reports that Asian bidders paid stratospheric prices in a recent Hong Kong auction. Two cases of 2009 Chateau Lafite, which won’t be bottled until next year, fetched US$68,632. That’s almost six times the estimate. And a case of 2000 Lafite, estimated at US$20,000-30,000, sold for US$71,751. Said one analyst: “There is a lot of money out here, and a lot of demand for good cellars. But even taking that into consideration, those prices were crazy.”

? Feds looking at wine terms: Ever wondered what wine terms like Proprietors Blend, Old Vine, and Reserve mean when they show up on wine labels? The Treasury Department’s Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau, which oversees label regulation, wonders too. It is asking for public comment on whether it needs to write regulations for those terms, as well as several others. You can download the request for comments from the TTB site. It’s Notice No. 109. It’s not too difficult to read, either.