theCorkHead.com

theCorkHead.com

The online home of Mark “The Cork Head” Stuart, Certified Wine Professional, speaker/educator, judge, and columnist.

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August 2017
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Late film director John Hugues

Film Director John Hughes

In honor of the 2009 passing of the great movie producer John Hughes…

Mathew Broderick preached wisely to the audience in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when he turned to the camera and preached, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Amid the current economic turmoil, these words may have more meaning today than when the movie was released. Hunkering down has its place, but so to does smelling the roses when they are in bloom.

Let’s take a look at why today, more than any time in history, is the best time to be a wine lover.

Quality:

Relative peace between major winemaking nations and open sharing of modern viticulture practices have lead to consistently higher quality grapes. Quite simply, good wine comes from good fruit.

Winemakers also are working multiple harvests each year. After southern hemisphere crops are brought in and put to barrel, winemakers head north of the equator to work a second harvest. The international sharing of ideas has lead to far greater quality across the board.

Improved Shipping:

Port, among other fortified wines, was originally created out of necessity, as standard still wine made in Portugal would spoil on the lengthy shipping routes to England. Winemakers began to fortify the wine with brandy so as to stabilize it for the journey. Eventually the style held and we now recognize port as one of the worlds most important wines.

Today, not only is wine heat and cold stabilized prior to shipping, but shipping far more efficient than in the past. These improvements allow wines to arrive at a destination in far better condition.

Large Retailers Dominating Sales:

Bigger is better when it comes to wine retailers, at least when it comes to price. Beverages and More, Costco, and major grocery chains are all selling more wine than ever. In fact, Costco is the single largest retailer of fine wine in the United States. According to Wine and Spirits Daily, Costco wine sales approached $1.15 billion in 2008, up from $620 million in 2003.

Worldwide Competition:

According to the Wine Market Council, a non-profit wine industry organization, the US is currently the second highest overall consumer of wine in the world and is poised to overtake Italy’s top spot sometime in 2010. Producers from all corners of the earth realize the incredible potential of the US wine market and are finding inroads with nifty styles of both the familiar and foreign, and at low prices to tempt new customers in an uncertain economy.

Malbec grown in the Mendoza region of Argentina is a perfect example of an import providing a change of pace from California cabernet sauvignon, while maintaining internationally high standards of quality. Excellent versions are usually available at Costco for under $15.

Prior to World War II, German riesling was the most prized and expensive wine in the world. Today, they still are among the world’s best white wines, and are certainly one of the easiest to pair with food with. One of my favorite sources for German riesling is www.trulyfinewine.com

There has never been a better time to enjoy wine, and it’s only getting better. Make sure to stop and look around at what is available. You might just find a new favorite.

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