This week’s wine news: The end of Starbucks wine, plus adapting to climate change and the Jancis Robinson papers
• No more: Starbucks’ effort to sell beer and wine in the evening has failed, and the coffee shop giant ended the program last week. The goal was to sell alcohol at thousands of locations, but the plan ended after only 439 stores. This is not a surprise, given that hardly anyone goes to Starbucks to do anything other than drink coffee. And the company, whose missteps have been well documented, acknowledged the mistake when it said it was dropping beer and wine to focus on its “core business.” Which is business-speak for selling coffee. This is also significant since the chain’s demographics are about a generation younger than wine’s, which seems to speak to the way Millennials have not gravitated to wine as they were expected to do.
• Adjusting for the weather: How will climate change change the wine business? David Gelles of the New York Times does an excellent job showing how Jackson Family Wines, makers of the ubiquitous Kendall Jackson chardonnay, is adjusting. This is the kind of writing and reporting about wine I wish we saw more of – accurate, intelligible even for the non-wine drinker, and informative. My only gripe? This line: “Climate change is forcing the Jacksons to confront questions both practical and existential: Can you make fine wine with less water?” Of course you can, because fine wine has been made with less water in Spain and elsewhere in Europe for centuries. Only in California would anyone ask that question.
• The Wine Curmudgeon papers: Jancis Robinson, the British wine writer who is probably second in influence only to Robert Parker, has donated her papers to the University of California-Davis, perhaps the best wine school in the world. This raises an important question – where should I donate my papers? Because, of course, the world needs the WC papers (part of which is pictured with this post). How else to determine the genesis of my groundbreaking work with cheap wine? My stops and starts on the way to understanding and championing local wine? And, of course, the tax deduction, because the WC e-shop will make millions.