Here's what happened in the world of wine in September: read the wine news collected and explained by Sommelier Wine Box so you don't miss the most important news.
13 wine news for September 2023 to know.
1. ITALIAN VINTAGE 2023
It will probably be the lightest in the last 6 years, due to the effects of climate change. A 12% drop in 2022 production is estimated. The heavy rainfall has in fact led to the proliferation of fungi (downy mildew and powdery mildew above all), especially in Central and Southern Italy. The most affected are the organic vineyards of Sicily, Marche, Tuscany and Calabria: in some areas and especially where the production is organic it was completely impossible to reach the harvest. Will we drink less wine in 2023? Yes, in the sense of wine from this year which is estimated to reach 44 million hectolitres, but it should not be forgotten that this situation fits in with the significant stocks of the previous one.
There seems to be only one prospect for winemakers: to focus more and more on quality, to cope with complex moments like this in which quantity cannot be achieved.
Evidently, a change of pace is also needed on the part of professionals, who will increasingly have to forget about records and quantitative rankings.
The wine industry in California has to deal with a glut of grapes, also in relation to the decrease in demand in the United States due to the closure of restaurants and clubs following the pandemic.
Concerns include overharvesting and the possibility that this could negatively impact wine prices. Producers for the future are looking for creative solutions, such as producing higher quality wines or exploring new markets.
3. DEALCOHOLED WINES
There is discussion about the rise in popularity of non-alcoholic wines in the United States, particularly in venues. The research and production of high-quality non-alcoholic wines is also advancing in Europe, particularly in Germany and Spain. In Germany, around 100 wineries produce non-alcoholic wines. In the United States, there are about 15 producers of non-alcoholic wines, but the industry is growing.
The sale of non-alcoholic wines in public places is accelerating, with the average bill amount increasing by 17% when non-alcoholic wines are served. This consumer segment is mainly made up of people under 44 and is very important for the restaurant industry.
Retail data shows that non-alcoholic white wines outsell pink and red wines. Whites represent 50% of non-alcoholic wine revenues, followed by sparkling whites with 28%. Non-alcoholic red wines represent 19% of total sales. Non-alcoholic sparkling wines are gaining popularity, as the carbonation can mimic the feel and taste of Champagne and Prosecco. Research and technology are improving the quality of non-alcoholic wines, with the use of new techniques to preserve aromas and texture. The sector could be set for significant growth.
4. MARISA LEO
The world of Italian wine was shaken by a feminicide : on 6 September 2023 she was shot dead by her ex-partner Marisa Leo, Marketing and Communications Manager of Cantine Colomba Bianca.
The Women of Wine delegation from Sicily recalls that in recent days it was among other things working on the next appointment of "DxD: Calici di vita", a project which it had created together with other members to support Sicilian associations that deal with women victims of violence .
The foreign press also talked about it.
5. ORNELLAIA: CHANGES
The historic CEO Giovanni Geddes Da Filicaja has announced that he will leave Ornellaia at the end of the year. His position will be filled by manager Fabrizio Dosi, already general director since 2018: from January he will become CEO of the entire Group. The director Axel Heinz and the oenologist Olga Fusari also change.
6. EXPENSIVE VINEYARD PRICES
There is a significant increase in vineyard prices in some renowned Italian wine regions. In Barolo (Piedmont), they can reach up to 2 million euros per hectare, while in Montalcino (Tuscany) they reach 900,000 euros per hectare. This increase in prices is due to several factors, including inflation, the economic disparities between the regions of Northern and Southern Italy, the high demand for quality viticultural land which contributes to raising prices to record levels.
7. SOMMELIERS: THE BEST
In September, a list of some of the best female sommeliers in the world of fine dining was drawn up. These sommeliers are recognized for their expertise in the field of food and wine pairing and for their influence in promoting wine culture.
Among the sommeliers mentioned in the article there are professionals from different parts of the world, each with their own experience and unique style. Among them also the Italian Martina Marini, who after a career traveling around the world opened her own bar in London.
An article tells the success stories of two new Master Sommeliers (Mark Guillaudeu, and Jonathan Eichholz). These wine professionals share their experiences and methods for preparing for the exam, including details on the different stages of the exam.
8. MENCÌA: A STAR VARIETY
Mencía is making its way into Spanish winemaking. This grape variety, originally from Galicia, has gained popularity thanks to its unique characteristics and growing presence on the market.
Originating from the Bierzo region (which experienced a renaissance thanks to Mencía) it is now cultivated in several regions including Ribera Sacra, Valdeorras and Asturias. It produces fresh, aromatic red wines, known for their aromas of red fruits, flowers and spices. However, it is versatile and is vinified in various styles, even in more structured and complex versions that age well.
The grape is also worth keeping an eye on because it seems able to cope with complex and unpredictable climatic conditions: its thick skin and bunches make it resistant to rain storms, and its late budding protects it from early frosts which are fatal for other varieties.
9. MARCO SIMONIT
Jancis Robinson wrote about Marco Simonit, an Italian winemaker and one of the world's leading pruning experts , a person who has a profound influence on the wine industry. Simonit has in fact developed a pruning method that emphasizes the care of the vine plants rather than their quantity, which improves the health and longevity of the vines. His innovative approach has been adopted by many prestigious wineries, and his work has helped change the way the wine industry views pruning.
10. SMOKE CONTAMINATION: RESEARCH
Jackson Family Wines supports research into smoke contamination in grapes and wines .
Smoke contamination has indeed become a growing concern in the wine industry, particularly in regions affected by fires. This very important research aims to better understand how smoking affects the quality of grapes and wines, as well as to develop methods to prevent or mitigate the problem.
11. TERROIR: NEW DISCOVERIES
An article published in Scientific American announces a large study (carried out among others by Wei Chen - Yunnan Agricultural University, China) explores the revolutionary technology and scientific discoveries that are revealing much information on the origins of wine. For example, scientific evidence of the direct relationship between terroir and the chemical composition of wine has been offered.
Among the tools used, isotopic analysis and DNA sequencing to trace the origin of grapes and discover their evolutionary history.
12. CHAMPAGNE IN US
Americans' love for Champagne continues. You can read about it here .
13. DEATHS IN THE VINEYARD
Six farm workers in vineyards in Champagne and Rhone, France, died between September 5 and 8 due to extreme temperatures during a heat wave .
The authorities are now investigating the circumstances of the death and whether there are responsibilities related to the safety of the workers. This incident has raised concerns about safety in the camps, especially considering rising temperatures linked to climate change. This raises important questions about the need to adopt protection and safety measures for those who work, as well as the need to address climate change in general.