From the endless Jolie-Pitt diatribe - which also affects the shares of the Chateau Miraval winery - to the extraordinary EU measures to remedy the abundance of wine... here is the wine news for June 2023.
What happened in the world of wine in June? The Sommelier Wine Box press review.
1. WINE WITHOUT ALCOHOL
At a time when there is much discussion about alcohol-free wines, a reflection by Andrea Moser in particular on what alcohol brings that is "practical", from a chemical and physical point of view, to the drink of Bacchus: from the physical and chemical effects in body to the specific contribution of alcohol to the organoleptic profile. With the question: can wine without alcohol exist? To which he replies no.
On Linkiesta .
2. EXTRAORDINARY EU MEASURES
The European Commission has adopted extraordinary measures to support wine producers struggling with problems related to the increase in production (due to the good 2022 harvest) associated with a decline in consumption and exports. In fact there is a lot of wine on the market .
European Union production increased by 4% compared to the previous year (and starting inventories were 2% higher than the average of the last five years). Added to these data are those on the declines in wine consumption for the current year, estimated at -7% in Italy, -10% in Spain, -15% in France, -22% in Germany and -34% in Portugal . EU wine exports between January and April 2023 were 8.5% lower than in the same period the previous year.
Hence Brussels' intervention:
- which will allow Member States to include, until 15 October, crisis distillation in national support programs for the wine sector. Surpluses can be processed at EU expense and distilled wine can only be used for industrial purposes and as biofuel, with financial compensation based on its share of recent market prices.
- which will provide greater funding for the 2023 harvest with eco-sustainable methods, increasing the EU co-financing rate of measures relating to restructuring, 'green' harvesting, promotion and investments from 50% to 60%.
3. AN EU PROPOSAL
A draft EU proposal would ban the use of pesticides in nature reserves, but there is debate over whether the solution is workable for wine producers in the difficult Wachau region. We are in Lower Austria, in a World Heritage region, 80 kilometers west of Vienna, part of the European network of protected areas called Natura 2000.
Austrian EU MP Alexander Bernhuber described the blanket ban in Natura 2000 areas as "highly problematic", according to a national newspaper article, saying Wachau wineries were threatened with closure by 2025. This apprehension was also shared by Reinhard Zöchmann, president of the Lower Austrian Winegrowers' Association, who declared that "without crop protection, the vines would die and the cultural landscape would disappear".
The problem revolves around the fact that banning pesticides would increase the need for labor, with unsustainable costs for local, small and family businesses. Researchers and winemakers are looking for biocompatible solutions and sustainable methods for the correct management of the vineyard without the use of chemistry.
For further information, on Seven Fiftly Daily .
Angelina Jolie is reportedly looking to sell her shares in the winery she once shared with Brad Pitt. The legal controversy surrounding Jolie's sale of shares in the Chateau Miraval winery dates back to October 2021, and was reported by her ex-husband on June 1.
He claims that there was an unwritten agreement which provided for him to sell his share only if the other had agreed, while she claims that that agreement never existed and therefore was totally entitled to sell her shares.
In Jolie's telling, it's a story of alcohol abuse and financial control. For Pitt it's revenge.
5. IMPORTANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES
Archaeologists digging in the Negev desert in southern Israel have discovered evidence of a major wine industry dating back more than 1,500 years. They also found and genetically analyzed two ancient varieties of wine grapes that thrived in the region's hot, dry climate. The scholars used genomic sequencing to determine the type of grape, discovering that Byzantine farmers grew many genetically different grapes together, probably a precise strategy to have a safe and long-lasting harvest. A seed has turned out to be the oldest white wine grape identified so far, linked by some to the legendary white wine of Gaza mentioned in ancient sources.
The reasons why the once-thriving wine industry collapsed after two centuries of economic boom remains a mystery.
More information can be read on Wine Spectator .
Pottery fragments from a Puerto Rican island paint a clearer picture of wine during the early stages of European colonization. A group of English researchers has found evidence of the oldest evidence of wine in the Americas , in the tiny Isla de Mona of Puerto Rico. Researchers found residues of tartaric and malic acid in some jars, which indicates the presence of wine. The artefacts are Spanish and date back to the sixteenth century.
We also read about this discovery in Wine Spectator .
Acquiesce Winery, a small family winery in California specializing in white wines inspired by the tradition of the Rhone Valley has promoted the “ Lodi Appellation Inclusion Collective ”: a program to promote work in the world of wine by underrepresented groups in the nation (people of colour, indigenous, LGBTQ…). Important initiative, considering that in the United States only 0.1% of wineries are owned by blacks.
For further information, in English .
7. EMILIA ROMAGNA
Just over a month after the flood in Emilia Romagna and with the extraordinary commissioner in charge, it is important to take stock of the situation of the vineyards. The damage count is very large and it is very important not to lower the attention threshold.
A 63-year-old Italian citizen, resident in Piedmont, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for counterfeiting bottles of wine between 2016 and 2017. There is talk of at least 12,352 bottles of counterfeit wine, including a false label of Antinori's Tignanello 2021.
9. WINE FLAGSHIP STORE
A wine-themed Carrefour flagship store opened in Piazza de Angeli in Milan on Thursday 15 June: a wine bar with pouring and the possibility of having an aperitif. Just over 60 square meters, a serving counter and more than 700 items.
You can read about it among other things on Pambianco .
10. CHANGE THE WAY OF MAKING WINE
Raj Parr , California's most influential sommelier and winemaker , wants to radically change grape cultivation . In fact, he is cultivating a vineyard in Cambria using radical agricultural methods.
To prevent mildew, Parr sprays the vines with milk, not traditional fungicides. To add potassium to the soil and encourage photosynthesis, apply fermented nettles instead of typical fertilizer. In fact, in the Central Coast vineyard, Phelan Farm avoids interventions that even the strongest organic supporters would find harmless.
For further information, here .
11. MASSIMILIANO PIERMATTEI
Tragic accident at Monte Rossa , a winery in Franciacorta. Massimiliano Piermattei – winemaker and site manager – died crushed by the pallet machines.