California

Wine boom!

The number of wineries in California has more than doubled since 2000. Check out this visual I made using government data that hits home the point:

And California wine is a $61.5 billion industry. That’s billion with a B.

Yet, at the same time, California’s share of the U.S. wine market is slipping, down to 61% from 77% in 2000, according to winebusiness.com.

David Freed, chairman of a vineyard investment firm called Silverado Group, told industry insiders iand winebusiness.com in September that he thinks on top of the tumbling market share, there won’t be much new planting in California as Sonoma County is built out, Santa Barbara has regulatory issues, the Central Coast is sputtering, etc.

What do you think of the situation? Has the California wine industry reached its limits or is there still room to grow?

Review: 2011 Baileyana Pinot Noir

A friend of mine hosted a fancy fundraising event with wine and naturally, since she’s a good friend, she gave me a whole case of the leftovers, which included Baileyana’s “Firepeak” Pinot Noir. Free wine, and lots of it can’t be beat! She gave another friend a case, too and I wasn’t surprised to see it out on the refreshment table at a pumpkin carving party I went to this week.

Despite having several glasses of the easy-to-drink red, I still managed to carve a pretty good pumpkin. It’s a Cockateil! Alright, alright, it was supposed to be a cat, but I mistakenly cut off its tail. Luckily for me, I know how to problem solve. Sometimes it looks like a bunny, sometimes it looks like my bird, Pepe, but I’ve decided to just describe this jack-o-lantern a bird.

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The Baileyana tastes chocalatey and fruity and is easy to drink, but it’s not for me. I tend to like Pinot Noirs smoky and this, to me, didn’t have that essence. However, it was a crowd pleaser at the pumpkin party. Hey, everyone–and their tastebuds–are different.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Baileyana
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Edna Valley
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: I got it for free, but it seems to range from $17-$20
  • Alcohol content:13%
  • When to drink: While entertaining friends who come over early before going out to dinner.

 

 

Review: Main & Geary Pinot Grigio

The first time I had Pinot Grigio I was way under the legal drinking age in the United States, but I wasn’t in the United States! I was in Florence, Italy during a summer abroad “studying” art history after my junior year in high school. It was the first summer that I wouldn’t be going to camp playing Color War and swinging on the ropes course. Instead, I was going somewhere fancy, sophisticated; it made all my friends jealous.

On one of the first nights there, a few of us from the trip decided to see if we could order alcohol. I honestly think none of us had before, but this one very artsy, very Karen O girl seemed to know what she was doing. She ordered a bottle of cheap Pinot Grigio.

We were a couple of 16-year-olds in Florence, ordering wine on our own! The city smelled old, not musty, but old like a favorite well-read book. I remember the Pinot Grigio being sweeeet and honestly not liking it very much. I didn’t pick up another glass of the stuff for years.

Over time, I had transformed into a smoky red wine fan through and through. I thought whites were all syrupy. I had a closed mind. I was outright wrong.

Main & Geary Pinot Grigio, while arguably not even close to the best Pinot Grigio, made me a fan of the varietal about a decade after that trip to Florence.

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I bought Main & Geary for the first time two years ago at a BevMo 5 cent wine sale (Yes, I sing the song: 5 cennnttt winnne sale). One, it was inexpensive: $12 for the first, 5 cents for the second. It’s become a favorite sipping wine, the kind you go to when you’re making lemon-butter shrimp stir-fry. It’s not complex or super special, but it’s crisp and refreshing and has a hint of melon. Like a good alfredo pasta or Martha’s Perfect Mac & Cheese are comfort food, I think of it as comfort wine.

There’s often a bottle chilling in my fridge and when I go to a 5 cent sale, it’s one of the first things in my cart.

Do you have a favorite Pinot Grigio? Tell me about it! Try Main & Geary and give me your review in the comments.

 Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Main & Geary
  • Type: Pinot Grigio
  • Origin: California (bottle’s not specific)
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $12
  • Alcohol content: 13.9%
  • When to drink: On your porch, on a hot day while gossiping with a girlfriend

California losing ground

As more wineries have popped up in other states, California is no longer home to more than half the wineries in the nation. In 1993, the Golden State claimed 52% of the wineries in the United States. In 2012, it clocked in at about 43%. Here’s an infographic I made that visually shows the change between 2000 and 2012:

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Surprising, huh?

I’ve only been wine tasting in California, Oregon and abroad (Spain and Italy). I’ve been told I need to head to Finger Lakes, NY. Where else outside my home state makes for good wine tasting? Tell me in the comments.