Broccoli, Batali’s Law & Deconstructing Italian Wine at Vino 2015

Last week I wrote about Batali’s Law and how it applies to Italian wine in general and to Vino 2015, the recent Italian wine event in New York, in particular. Batali’s Law, for those of you who had too much Opus One and were napping along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, holds that there is no such thing as “Italian food,” there are only the diverse regional cuisines of Italy. Complicated things are best understood in complicated ways.

The application of Batali’s Law to wine is straightforward. We talk about “Italian wine” all the time, but what is it? Show me a bottle of wine that defines Italy. No, Italy is too big and diverse from a wine (or food) standpoint to be summed up so simply. There is no such think as Italian wine, only the diverse regional wines of Italy.

The seminars at Vino 2015 explored this theme very effectively. Two in particular stand out in my mind.

Italian Sparklers: Zraly Flips Out

One of the highlights (for me) of Vino 2015 was the opportunity to see Kevin Zraly, author of Windows on the World Complete Wine Course 30th Anniversary Edition. in action. (You can read my enthusiastic review of the book here.) Zraly was invited to moderate a panel discussion on the topic of “Italy Outsparkles the Competition — from Prosecco to Franciacorta and Beyond!”

The only problem (according to Kevin) was that the organizers never bothered to invite anyone else to speak at the session! I don’t think it was an oversight, either. I think they wanted Kevin Zraly to work his magic unfettered, which he did magnificently. He “flipped” the seminar, as we say in academics, making the audience the panel. And thus a room full of wine industry and media professionals were led by Zraly to make their own examination of Batali’s Law applied to Italian sparkling wines. What fun. Bravo Kevin!

We began, as you might expect, with Prosecco, which is so very popular these days. We only tasted one Prosecco, the Tre Venti 2013 vintage from Zardetto, but we could have drilled much deeper — I have written about the huge variety of distinctive wines that exist under the Prosecco umbrella. Then we moved from white to pink (the Belcanto Cuvee Rosé Brut from Bellussi) to deep dark red (the remarkable sparkling Vernaccia Nera by Alberto Quacquarini, made with 60 percent dried grapes according to my  notes).

Franciacorta was next (Bellavista 2008 Brut) and an unexpected wine from Alba in the Piedmont, a 100% Chardonnary Rocche dei Manzoni di Valentino Brut Riserva 2001.  And we finished up on a sweet note with the Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Aqui.

It was quite a tour of sparkling styles and regions and since there were just six wines I think we really didn’t scratch the surface. So many more wines and styles, so much more diversity.

 Drilling Down into the World of Sicilian Wine

The second seminar could not have been more different from the first and yet it served to further reinforce the Batali’s Law theme. Bill Nesto MW (author with Frances Di Savio of The World of Sicilian Wine — see my review here) led the discussion of “Sicily from Myth to Reality — A Unique World of Wine Tradition, Variety, Terroir.”

The focus was clear: drilling down into one region rather than highlighting the diversity among regions of a particular style and Nesto was the perfect guide for Sicily. His quick survey captured key elements of the geography, geology, history, economics, vineyards, wines and wine people. Bravo Bill!

But Batali’s Law appeared again in a difference context because if Italian wine is the wine of its regions, then Sicilian wine presents the same multi-local diversity.  What exactly is Sicilian wine? Nesto deftly showed us that it is many things not just one, in terms of grapes, styles and winemaking approaches. Some of the wines were links with history and others distinctive variations on an international style.

It was a study in contrasts, especially between the Portelli Riesco Cerasuolo di Vittorio DOCG 2012, made of equal parts of Nero D’Avola and Frappato, and the Quignone Petit Verdot IGT 2011. My favorite of these wines was probably the Pietracava di Comenico Ortoleva “Maanar” Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane IGT 2013.

A Fractal Image of Italian Wine?

I’m starting to think that Italian wine is really a fractal phenomenon. Fractal? That’s an image that retains its complicated properties at every possible scale.

Think of a stalk of romanesco broccoli, for example (see the image below). Imagine its shape. Now cut off a broccoli flower and look closely. Same characteristic  shape. Now take a piece of that and you will see the broccoli  design once again.

Italy is incredible diverse among the regions and, like my fractal broccoli, equally diverse within each region. Or at least that’s what I hope because that makes my terroirist soul happy. It’s that diversity that makes wine in general and Italian wine in particular really special.

If and when wine loses this characteristic (and it may have happened in some places), it becomes commodified, like industrial beer, and vulnerable to competition both from within the wine world and from more interesting products (craft beer? craft cider? innovative cocktails?) outside it, too. Cheers to Vino 2015 for celebrating Italy’s wines and reminding us of what makes them great.

 

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I am a big fan of DeLong’s wine maps, especially the wine map of Italy shown above.

Batali’s Law, the U.S. Wine Market & Vino 2015 Italian Wine Week

batali3Sue and I had a wonderful time at Vino 2015, the Italian Wine Week celebration in New York City. Besides speaking on the opening panel I was asked to write the Foreword for the conference program. The organizers have posted my essay on their blog. I will paste the first few paragraphs below. You can read the whole essay on the Vino 2015 website by clicking on this link. And here is a link to a story that emphasizes how my ideas about Brand Italy relate to Stevie Kim’s work at Vinitaly International. Enjoy!

BATALI’S LAW AND VINO 2015 ITALIAN WINE WEEK

Wine Economist Year in Review & Looking Ahead to 2016

Past and Future - Two-Way Street Sign2015 was a busy year here at The Wine Economist and 2016 is shaping up to be pretty interesting, too.

Looking Back at 2015

In January I spoke in the “State of the Industry” session at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento. Then we left for New York City where I spoke at “Vino 2015,” a conference and trade show organized by the Italian Trade Commission.

North to Alaska: I traveled to Juneau and Anchorage to give talks and do a fund-raising wine dinner for the World Affairs Council chapters in those cities. Then it was east to Boise, Idaho to speak at the Idaho Wine Commission annual meeting. Both Anchorage and Boise were surprisingly warm, but …

It was really really cold in Ontario when I visited in March to speak to the Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario meetings, but the people were warm and it was a great experience. Then a quick trip to Walla Walla to talk about wine industry at a regional business summit.

South to California in May, to speak at the Ramona Valley AVA symposium, then a fund-raiser for the Admiral Theatre Foundation in Bremerton along with my friends from Hedges Family Wines. Sue and I were delighted to be invited to the 50-year retrospective tasting of Oregon’s Eyrie Vineyards in Portland, too.

Italy and a Few Surprises

June’s highlight was lecturing at the Conegliano Wine School in Italy and visiting with winemakers in the Veneto and Friuli.While we were in Cormons I got word that around the globe in Yantai, China the Wine Economist had received the Gourmand International prize for the “Best in the World” wine blog. Incredible.

Back home it was north again in July, to speak at the British Columbia Wine Institute annual meetings, then south to Napa Valley to talk at the California Association of Winegrape Growers summer conference.

Two books came out in the fall, my newest volume Money, Taste, and Wine: It’s Complicated and the paperback edition of Extreme Wine. 

We visited Barboursville Vineyards while in Virginia to meet with Luca Paschina and we were lucky to able to meet up with Marc Hochar in Richmond and taste some older vintages of Lebanon’s Chateau Musar on the same trip.

I spoke at the Seattle meetings of the Academy of International Business and then flew to Milan to participate in a discussion on sustainability organized in conjunction with the big SIMEI trade show there.

The year ended on a high note when we learned that Money, Taste, and Wine will receive the Gourmand International award for the year’s best wine writing in a U.S. book. As the U.S. winner it is a finalist for the “Best in the World” award to be revealed in Yantai, China in May 2016.

What’s Ahead for 2016?

The travel schedule is coming together for 2016. I am looking forward to going back to Sacramento at the end of January for my fifth year moderating the “State of the Industry” program at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.

A few weeks later we will head to Napa where Sue and I are on the faculty for the Professional Wine Writers Symposium.

Then it is north to Anchorage for another World Affairs Council fund raising program before returning to Walla Walla for the big Reveal Walla Walla trade auction.

It looks like we will be going to Portugal in May to speak at a conference organized by Wines of Alentejo and later to Seattle for Riesling Rendezvous, an international conference sponsored by Chateau Ste Michelle and Dr Loosen.

That’s what’s on tap for 2016 so far, but the year is still young. No wait — it actually hasn’t even started yet. Who knows where the wine rivers and roads will take us.

That’s the look back and ahead. Hope to see you somewhere on our travels in 2016. In the meantime, cheers to all! And have a great New Year.

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Sometimes I feel like I have been everywhere in the wine world to speak to wine industry groups, but the truth is … I’m not even close!

Tre Bicchieri: A Journey Through Friuli Wine in Three Glasses

Tre Bicchieri — three glasses.  Those are important words if you are interested in Italian wine. The Michelin Guide gives up to three stars to the top restaurants in France and around the world and perhaps for that reason Gambero Rosso magazine’s Vini d”Italia gives up to three glasses to Italy’s finest wines.

For the 2015 edition the editors surveyed 2042 wineries and evaluated 20,000 wines. Just 423 (about 2 percent) received  the tre bicchieri rating.

Friuli Venezia Giulia punches above its weight in the Gambero Rosso rankings with 27 tre bicchieri awards listed in the 2015 league table including wines from three wineries that I mentioned in my last column: the Rosso Sacrisassi 2012 from Le Due Terre, the Sauvignon 2013 from Tiare, and the Sauvignon Ronco delle Mele 2013 from Venica & Venica.

The quality of the Friuli wines is high and rising and deserves greater attention. We visited three wineries (the “three glasses” of this column’s title) that impressed us both for the three glasses-worthy wines and also for the different ways they are advancing the reputation of the wines of this region.

Rooted in Nature: Borgo San Daniele

We first learned the story of Borgo San Daniele in my dog-eared copy of Slow Wine 2014, which awarded the winery its “snail” designation for giving particular attention to the values of the Slow Food movement (I wrote about Slow Food in my Globaloney books).

It is the philosophy of Slow Food that tradition and nature are best preserved if they are valued in the marketplace and so the Slow Food and Slow Wine movements seek to identify producers of traditional and natural products and then draw wider attention to them. There was a special room set aside for Slow Wine producers at the Italian Trade Commission’s  Vino 2015 symposium in New York City earlier this year, for example, and it was always buzzing.

Borgo San Daniele fits right into the Slow Wine philosophy. Mauro Mauri and his sister Alessandra inherited vineyards from their grandfather in 1990 and have spent the last 25 years renewing the land and the vineyards and developing wines with a quite distinct local identity that reflects their own gentle but determined personalities. We were fortunate to be able to stay at the winery, meet Alessandra, and taste the wines with Mauro.

The Borgo San Daniele wines have an extraordinary reputation in Friuli — restaurants and wine shops that are lucky enough to get a few bottles display them proudly. Only a few different wines are made, each from specific varieties or blends and each from a particular place. The land, not demand, limits production and when it is gone it’s gone. Vineyards are 18 hectares in total, according to Slow Wine, and about 14,000 cases are produced.

Each of the wines we tasted was distinctive and memorable, but the Arbis Blanc and Arbis Ròs stand out. Arbis Blanc, from the grassy San Leonardo site in Cormons, is considered a defining Friulian white. It is a field blend of Sauvngnon, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Friuliano, with subtly integrated Slovenian oak. Arbis Ròs is 100% Pignolo from the Ziris site in Cormons. It was one of the two best Pignolo wines (along with Rodaro Paolo) that we tasted. Mauro served us the 2009 Arbis Ròs from magnum and it was simply stunning.

I desperately wanted bring home a bottle of Arbus Ròs to lay down and see if Maruo was right that it would continue to evolve and start to develop Asian spice notes in 8-10 years. But the standard bottles of this wine were long sold out and I didn’t think I could get one of the few remaining magnums home successfully. So there is just the memory of  Mauro, Alessandra and the Arbis and other Borgo San Daniele wines. Their personalities (which I think come out in the video at the end of this column) are so distinct that I am sure the memories will last.

 Tradition and Innovation at Rodaro Paolo

 Slow Wine brought us next to Rodaro Paolo and to meet the very intense and focused Paolo Rodaro himself, the 6th generation of his family to make wine in this region since 1847.  The current winery makes about 16,000 cases of wine from the 57 hectares of estate vineyards (40 hectares on the hillsides).  The vines are split 50/50 between red and white grapes, an increase on the red side (Pignolo, Schioppettino, Reofsco) over the years as climate change has improved the ability to ripen these grapes.

Slow Wine told us that the entry-level wines are a bargain for the quality (and we tried them a few days later over dinner at a simple country trattoria across the street from the winery). But we came to learn about the Romain wines.

Paolo Rodaro is committed to bringing out the very best of the traditional local wines that he produces and he intensely channels this desire through experimentation and innovation (evolution, not revolution), with some quite spectacular results. The flagship Romain wines, for example, are the result of an experiment in drying red wine grapes before pressing and fermentation. Paolo observed the beneficial effects of “appassimento” air-drying of Picolit and Verduzzo Friulano grapes for sweet wines. Would air-drying also bring out intensity and character of some of the red wines?

The answer we found in our glasses is a clear yes. Drying very ripe red grapes for 3-4 weeks through the “surmaturazione” process (versus 3-4 months for the white grapes) achieved maturity, concentration, and balance. The resulting wines are dry and therefore high in alcohol but extraordinarily balanced and capable of significant aging. These were some of the best red wines we have ever tasted and it was an honor to discuss them with the man who made them.

The discussion was very personal — as when we tasted with Mauro at Borgo San Daniele.  Both men make a statement about themselves and their idea of Friuli through the wines they put in a bottle. Both limit the production of the wines that make the strongest statements — Paolo released just a few hundred bottles of some wines each year and makes them only in years where conditions are ideal. We felt fortunate to leave with a bottle of 2009 Refosco Romain. My tasting notes rave about the depth and elegance of this wine and I can’t wait to taste it again in eight or ten years (a timetable we negotiated with Paolo, who encouraged us to wait even longer).

The personal touch extends to the label design shown here, which was created by Paolo’s daughter Giulia when she was 5 years old. It looks like a curling vine, but it is really an abstract representation of the family home’s wrought-iron gate.

Returning to Roots: Bastianich

It would be easy to dismiss Bastianich  as just another celebrity winery. Lidia Bastianich and her husband Felix fled their home in Istria (just across the Adriatic from Venice) during the dark days after the Second World War, eventually making their way to the United States where they slowly worked their way up in the world using food as their ladder. A restaurant (Bounavia) arrived the same year as a son, Joseph.

Lidia Bastianich is now a celebrity chef with cookbooks and a PBS cooking series to her credit. Joseph is a celebrity in his own right — business partner of Mario Battali in several famous restaurants, former judge on MasterChef USA and now host and judge on MasterChef Italia. It would be easy to say that the Bastianich winery in Friuli is just another example of a celebrity using wine to cash in on transitory fame.

But it isn’t true. In fact, against all odds, I think the first sentence you find on the Bastianich website holds true: “The Bastianich winery, founded in 1997, strives to understand the history and culture of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and take it to a new level.” Sue and I toured the vineyards and winery with Wayne Young, an American who has been with the project since the first vintage in 1998 and is very much part of Friulian wine society (he sits on the board of the Coli Orientali Consorzio, for example).

It was clear in talking with Wayne that although the Bastianich owners are American, the winery and its wines are not just Italian but Friulian through and through and that to the degree that celebrity comes into play, it is an asset that is used to try to draw attention to the region.

Take the wines, which is the right place to begin. Vespa Bianco and Vespa Rosso are the flagship “tre bichiere-class” products  (Vespa is Italian for “wasp,” inspired by the swarms of wasps that descend at harvest time) and they are authentic blends of local grapes that will introduce many wine drinkers to the wine styles of this region. We’ve enjoyed Vespa Bianco many times over the years, but never the single-variety Plus (from old vine Friuliano planted near Buttrio) and the Calabrone (Italian for “hornet”), a blend of Refosco, Schioppetino, Pignolo and a bit of Merlot. All the Schioppettino and some of the Refosco are air-dried before vinification.

Celebrity creates barriers that can only be overcome by performance. These are authentic wines and the intent is to take them to the next level while respecting tradition.  Celebrity  also opens some doors for the wines and the region. This is literally true with Orsone, the Bastianich restaurant, taverna and B&B down the hill from the winery which is worth a trip even if you (gasp!) do not care about wine. The menu at Orsone gives respect to local culture while also giving an occasional nod to New York.

We asked the chefs to choose our meal and the sommelier to pair Bastianich wines with each course with a predictably delicious result. My primo course was a burnt wheat orecchiette that honored the tradition of Italian peasants making one final pass through the fields after they have been burnt in the fall, looking for every last bit of wheat, no matter how scorched. Quite an experience.

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So what do these three wineries have in common? A commitment to authenticity, which they have developed in distinctly different circumstances. The three families approach Friulian wine from very different angles and tell its story if very different ways. Tasting these wines and learning about the makers gives a sense of the journey that Friulian wine has taken and the road that lies ahead to greater global appreciation in the future.

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Many thanks to Alessandra, Mauro, Paolo and Wayne.

I found videos of the three wineries featured here and I thought I would share them to give you a taste of Friuli wine. Enjoy!

Borgo San Daniele

Rodaro Paolo

Bastianich

 

Vino 2105: Perspectives on the Italian Wine Renaissance in the U.S. Market

vino2015

Wine Economist readers who fall into the “trade and media” category should set their map-app coordinates for the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City during the first week in February because that’s where Vino 2015 will happen. This celebration of the wines of Italy is being billed as the “grandest Italian wine event ever held outside of Italy!” Do I have your attention now?

Vino Italiano Renaissance

Italy is the number one source of imported wines in the U.S. market and sales are on the rise. I would call it an Italian Wine Renaissance except that many would counter that Italian wines have no need to be reborn in the U.S. — they have long been popular here. Still there is something to the Renaissance metaphor, starting with Prosecco, which I wrote about in 2014, and continuing up and down the boot-shaped peninsula.

Prosecco’s popularity has invigorated the whole sparkling wine category in the U.S. and is part of a growing interest in Italy beyond the usual suspects. There is much more to Italian wine than the famous names and best-selling styles and varieties, as important as they are, and Vino 2015 is coming to New York to tell that story.

I’ll be there to speak at about Italian wines in a rapidly changing U.S. market. Here’s the description of my session. Click on this link to see the entire agenda.

Trends in the World’s Largest Wine Market : US’s Growing Global Relevance

In 2013, the United States  became the world largest wine market, in terms of absolute consumption. Despite economic headwinds, the market grew again in 2014, and is expected to add to these gains in 2015. What segments of the U.S. market are doing especially well—even outperforming? What opportunities lie ahead for Italian wines in the U.S.? This is the ideal discussion with which to kick off Vino 2015.

Moderator:

  • Anthony Dias Blue, Editor-in-Chief, The Tasting Panel & The Sommelier Journal

Panelists:

  • Jon Fredrikson – Gomberg Fredrikson and Associates

  • Cristina Mariani-May –  Co-CEO, Banfi Vintners

  • Angelina Mondavi – Partner & Winemaker, Dark Matter Wines

  • Mike Veseth – Wine Economist and University of Puget Sound

Piazza Conversations

I was asked to write the Foreword to the printed program, which gave me an excuse to think about how the many parts of the event come together and what the trade and media attendees might take away from it all. There’s a lot to consider!

Start with the Grand Tasting “Italian Wine Exchange,” featuring over 200 Italian wineries. This, as the name suggests, is a traditional arena for tasting the wine, making contacts, doing deals, renewing relationships, seeing and being seen.

Trade tastings like this always remind me of when we lived in Bologna and would hang out at the Piazza Maggiore just a few steps from our apartment. Everyone came to the Piazza, or so it seemed, and you never knew what new opportunity would present itself through a mixture of purposeful design and simple fortune.

An ambitious series of seminars explores several broad themes. Wine business and economics comes first — the characteristics and dynamics of the U.S. market for Italian wine with its shifting demographics, and the state of the wine industry in Italy. The second theme examines the Italian South — Puglia, Sicily, Calabria and Campania. Italy is too big and diverse in terms of wine to focus on everything, so shining a spotlight on the South — as big and diverse as it is by itself — is a great strategy.

Other seminars take a compare and contrast approach to Italian sparkling wines and to rosés from different regions.  A final set of programs looks beyond wine to food (of course!), music and culture,  global climate change, Italian craft beers and more. As I explain in my Foreword, I think the formal program parts tie together very well. Lots to share, learn and discuss.

And of course that’s what is going to happen in the hallways, lunches, bars, cafes and so forth when everyone gathers to socialize, do a little business and talk about Italian wine. Just like the Piazza Maggiore!

Creative Tension

Years ago I wrote an essay about the economy of Renaissance Italy that was titled “The Creative Economy” and one element of creativity is tension. I will be interested to see how the many tensions in the wine market are addressed at Vino 2015. What kinds of tension? Some of the typical ones, I suppose. Old and new. Modern and traditional. Local and global. North and South (because this is Italy and regional identities are always important).

Add to the list particular tensions in the dynamic U.S. market. The strategies that have been successful for Italian wines in the past may not be the best plans for the future as new demographic groups become the focus of attention and as new parts of the country are targeted for growth. Add new competitors to the mix — new wine regions, new craft beers, spirits and cider rivals — and the situation becomes more complicated.

This tension between stability and change that was at the heart of the Creative Economy 500 years ago is central to the wine market today. I’m interested to see what my creative  Italian friends will do with it! Italian wine Renaissance? You be the judge. Ciao, everyone. See you in New York.

The World Tour

Upcoming Wine Economist World Tour Stops
logoScroll down to see both my upcoming appearance calendar and the previous World Tour stops. Check back frequently — several speaking engagements are in the planning stage.

 

51ppzy7bwzl-_sx332_bo1204203200_March 2019

May 2019

June 2019

  • Sue and I are looking forward to traveling to Italy to participate in the Consorzio Collio’s Enjoy Collio Experience on May 27-June 2, 2019.

July 2019

September 2019

  • Chile? Details tba.

February 2020

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Scroll down to see previous World Tour stops.

February 2019

  • Washington: Washington Winegrowers Convention & Trade Show Kennewick, Washington. February 11-14, 2019. I will heading up the State of the Industry panel and also talking about the market for Rosé wine. [I was scheduled to speak but my flight was cancelled at the last minute and I was unable to attend.]

January 2019

  • California: Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento, California. January 29-31 2019. I am speaking at and moderating the “State of the Industry” session again this year.

November 2018

September 2018

  • Italy: Sue and I will be in Conegliano, Italy in late September to help iconic Prosecco producer Carpenè Malvolti celebrate their 150th anniversary.

July 2018

  • I will talk on a panel discussing “Competing on a Global Stage” at the California Association of Winegrape Growers Summer Conference at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California on July 17.
  • I am doing a charity-fundraising “Around the World in 80 Wines” talk and tasting on July 29. Private event.

June 2018

  • I’ll be speaking about “Around the World in Eighty Wines” and leading a wine tasting as part of the University of Puget Sound’s Summer Reunion Weekend Alumni College. June 8-9, 2018.
  • Sue and I will be in Forte dei Marmi, Italy on June 18 for VinoVIP al Forte. I will talk about money and wine in the global market context.

April 2018

  • Sue and I will be in France to participate in two programs: Terroir and Millésimes in Languedoc and Roussillon from April 15-22 and Val de Loire Millésimes from April 22-25.

May 2018

  • I’m happy to talk about “Around the World in Eighty Wines” for the Kiwanis Club of Clover Park on May 15, 2018.

February 2018

January 20189781442234635

  • The World Tour comes to Grand Junction, Colorado where I will be speaking at the VinCO Conference & Trade Show January 15-18. I’ll be giving three talks: “Secrets of the World’s Most Respected Wine Regions,” “The Future of Small Wineries,” and “Around the World in Eighty Wines.”
  • Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. January  23-25, 2018 , Sacramento California. I will be moderating and speaking at the “State of the Industry” session on January 24.

November 2017

  • My new book Around the World in Eight Wines will be released on November 1, 2017!
  • Sue and I will be in Spain and Portugal for private wine industry events in November — November 8 in Madrid and Nov 9 in Porto.
  • I’ll be chatting with Natalie MacLean on her Facebook live show on Sunday Nov 26 at 6pm EST. Watch for more details.

September 2017

May 2017

  • Sue and I will attend the 10th Cyprus Wine Competition in Paphos, Cyprus on May 2-6. I will give a seminar about “Secrets of the World’s Most Respected Wine Regions” and lessons that might be useful to the Cyprus wine industry.

March 2017

January 2017

  • “Wine Drinker: Know Thyself.” This is a wine tasting and workshop for staff at the University of Puget Sound. January 11, 2017.
  • The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, California is North America’s largest wine industry gathering. This year I will again moderate and speak at the State of the Industry session on January 25, 2017.

September 2016

  • I’m speaking at the first global wine tourism conference to be organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The event is set for September 7-9, 2016 in the Republic of Georgia. Here are links to the preliminary program and registration information.

July 2016

  • Sue and I look forward to attending Riesling Rendezvous, the international Riesling symposium sponsored by Chateau Ste Michelle and Dr. Loosen. July 17-19 in Seattle.

June 2016

May 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

November 2015

  • I’ll be speaking at  the International Congress on Sustainability “SUSTAINABILITY AS A TRIBUTE TO WINE QUALITY”, that will be held on 3rd November 2015  and “DISCOVER THE SENSORY FACTORS”, that will be held on 4th November 2015 during the 26th edition of SIMEI – International Enological and Bottling Equipment Exhibition in Milan, Italy. This event is sponsored by Unione Italiana Vini.

October 2015

  • I’m giving a luncheon keynote address to the annual meetings of the Academy of International Business US West Chapter at the University of Washington in Seattle on Friday, October 23, 2015.

August 2015

  • Sue and I will be attending A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Charles Coury Planting of vines in the Willamette Valley at the David Hill Vineyards & Winery in Forest Grove, Oregon on August 1, 2015. Hope to see our Oregon friends for the trade tasting and then the public BBQ that follows.
  • My new book Money, Taste and Wine: It’s Complicated will be released on August 4, 2015.
  • I’m doing a fund-raising wine dinner for a local service club on August 15. Private event.

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

  • Walla Walla Business Summit, April 10, 2015. Marcus Whitman Hotel, Walla Walla, Washington. I’ll be speaking on the topic “How to Make a Small Fortune in the Wine Business (and other lessons for people in and out of the wine game).”
  • I’m doing a fund-raising wine dinner for a local service club on April 18. Private event.

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

November 2014

  • Peninsula  Book Club Extreme Wine talk. Private event. November 11, 2014.
  • Finally Found Books, Auburn, Washington. Wine Wars and Extreme Wine book talk and signing. 6-8 pm. Click on the link to reserve your place.
  • Wine Vision.  November 17-19, 2014. London. This is a global CEO-level wine industry conference. I’ll help set the stage on the opening day by talking about the state of the global wine economy today.
  • Scoula Enologica di Conegliano,  Conegliano, Italy. I will be doing a pair of wine industry “webinars” on November 26 and 27. The first seminar is titled “Anatomy of the U.S. Wine Market” and the second “Wines of the Veneto: A SWOT Analysis of the U.S. Market.”

September 2014

  • Valpolicella, Italy. Sue and I will be joining a team of international wine bloggers to explore this fascinating wine region and test out a new App to help wine tourists navigate the many options. Sept 1-4, 2014. We will also visit Prosecco with wine economist colleagues and then examine the Bisol family’s Venissa winery project in Venice.
  • Wine Industry Financial Symposium, Napa Valley. September 22-23, 2014. Click here for details.

August 2014

  • Wine Industry Symposium. August 19, 2014.  Willamette Valley, Oregon. Private event.
  • “A World of Wine,” World Affairs Council of Tacoma event. Wednesday, August 20, 2014. Click for details.

June 2014

  • The World of Syrah, Walla Walla Washington June 19-21. Sue and I will be attending this celebration of Syrah in Walla Walla and across the globe.
  • American Association of Wine Economists meetings, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington. June 22-25, 2014. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the AAWE’s annual conference

May 2014

  • Whitman College. I’m giving a talk to  Lee Sanning’s Wine Economics class on Monday, May 5, 2014.
  • Northwest Farm Credit Services Financial Summit Conference, May 6-8, 2014. I’ll be talking about what wine can teach us about global business. (Private event.)
  • Open That Bottle Night, Saturday May 10, 2014. We are celebrating this important holiday a few weeks late this year because of schedule problems. There is no wrong night to Open That Bottle, is there?

April 2014

  • I’m giving a book talk at a private event in Midlothian, Virginia on April 15, 2014. Hope to taste some great Virginia wines while I am in the region.

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

  • South Africa! VinPro Information Day — Somerset West, South Africa. January 23, 2014. Click here for details.
  • Unified Symposium, Sacramento California. The biggest wine gathering in the Western Hemisphere! I’m moderating a panel on Tuesday, January 28 and speaking in the “State of the Industry” session the following day.
  • I’m also giving the keynote address at the luncheon meeting of the Winegrape Growers of America at noon on Wednesday January 29.
  • Finally, I’ll be signing books at the Wine Appreciation Guild booth at the Unified’s trade show from 2-3:30 on Wednesday.

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

  • Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association “Nightcapper” meet the author event in Portland, Oregon.
  • Extreme Wine is released on October 7, 2013.
  • Peninsula Book Club talk. October 8, 2013. Gig Harbor, Washington.
  • Extreme Wine: Idaho. October 18, 2013 at the Mouvance winery in Boise. This is an event for University of Puget Sound alumni and parents.

September 2013

  • Savour Australia 2013. Adelaide, Australia 15-18 September 2013. I’ll be speaking about global market opportunities in the Tuesday session of this conference.
  • Ninth International Wine Forum, Mendoza Argentina. September 24, 2013. Since I can’t be in two places (Argentina and Australia) at the same time, I’ll be speaking via the internet on an “virtual panel” of international experts.

August 2013

July 2013

  • Riesling Rendezvous 2013. Sue and I will be attending Riesling Rendezvous 2013, sponsored by Chateau Ste Michelle and Dr. Loosen. The event runs from July 14 to July 16.
  • Northwest Farm Credit Services 2013 Wine/Vineyard Industry Symposium, Kennewick, Washington. July 24, 2013. I’ll be talking after lunch about how northwest wine fits into the changing global picture.

June 2013

  • Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium. Sue and I will be attending this annual event for Oregon Pinot Gris producers, which is held at Oak Knoll Vineyards.

March 2013

  • Taste Washington. Sue and I will be attending Taste Washington on Sunday March 24 to check out what’s new in the Washington wine scene. Hope to see you there.

February 2013

  • Open That Bottle Night celebration. Saturday February 23, 2013.

January 2013

  • Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento, California. January 28-29, 2013.
    • I’ll be on the panel for the general session on globalization and the U.S. wine industry that starts at 9 am on Tuesday, January 29 and moderator

    for the “State of the Industry” panel that starts at 8:30 am on Wednesday, January 30. I’ll also be signing copies of Wine Wars at the Wine Appreciation Guild booth in the trade show from 12:30 – 2 pm on Wednesday.  Please stop by Booth # 1620 and say hello if you are there.

November 2012
  • Boeing Management Association program. 4-6 pm on Saturday November 3, 2012 at Wine World & Spirits in Seattle. Open to Boeing Management Association members and their guests.
October 2012
  • Pierce County Library Donor Event. Thursday October 4, 2012.
  • Tacoma Film Festival October 4-11, 2012. Boom Varietal (in which I appear) will be one of the featured films. Not sure what we’ll be doing to celebrate. Watch for details.
  • International Studies Association West conference, Pasadena California. October 19-20, 2012. I’ll be talking about the political economy of global wine and participating in a teaching panel.

September 2012

  • Cape Wine 2012, Capetown, South Africa. September 25-27, 2012. I’ll be attending Cape Wine as a guest of Wines of South Africa.
  • Nederburg Auction, Paarl, South Africa. Sept 28-29, 2012. I’m giving the keynote address at 9 a.m. on Saturday the 29th at the historic Nederburg winery in Paarl.

August 2012

  • World Trade Club of Seattle. August 8, 2012. 4-7 pm at Wine World & Spirits in the University District.
  • Tacoma Opera Guild donor dinner. Private Event. August 8, 2012.
  • American Wine Bloggers Conference, Portland, Oregon. August 17-19, 2012. I’ll be moderating one of the breakout sessions. Looking forward to meeting wine bloggers and guests!

July 2012

  • Timber Ridge at Talus. A talk and Three Buck Chuck tasting for members. July17, 2012 at 3pm.
  • International Pinot Noir Celebration, McMinnville, Oregon. July 27-29, 2012. Details here. I’m teaching “Globalization 101: The Revenge of the Terroirists” as part of the University of Pinot curriculum.

June 2012

  • University of Puget Sound Alumni College. June 8-9. Details here. I’ll be talking about “Robert Mondavi and the ‘Grape Transformation’ of American Wine.”
  • International Wine Wars Day. June 16, 2012: One year anniversary of Wine Wars publication. Lift a glass to celebrate!

May 2012

  • Eastside Business Roundtable breakfast talk, Thursday May 3. Overlake Golf and Country Club.
  • University of Puget Sound Olympia area alumni event, Thursday May 3. Details here.

April 2012

  • University of Puget Sound Seattle alumni event at Chateau Ste Michelle. Thursday, April 12. Details here.
  • Puget Sound Women’s League Luncheon. 11:30 am on April 25 in Kilworth Chapel basement, Puget Sound campus.
  • Mortar Board “Last Lecture” series on “Second Thoughts.” I won’t be talking about wine, but I think it will be interesting. 7pm on April 25 in Trimble Forum, Puget Sound campus.
  • World Trade Center Tacoma Monthly Lunch Meeting Friday April 27. Details here.
  • Pike and Western Wine Shop book signing, Pike Place Market, Seattle April 27. I’ll be signing books from 3-6pm and the Pike and Western folks will be sampling some of their great “terroirist” wines. The tasting is free and it should be a lot of fun!
March 2012
February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

  • Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. Thursday, December 1, 2011. Noon.
  • Retired Teachers Association of  Tacoma. Saturday, December 3, 2011.
  • World Affairs Council of Oregon. Thursday, December 8, 2011. Portland, Oregon.  6:30 pm at the WAC headquarters, (Madison Room, 3rd Floor, The Oregon Historical Society), 1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR.
  • Metropolitan Market wine tasting and book signing. Friday, December 9, 2011 from 4-7 pm.  25th & Proctor Street, Tacoma, WA. (This is the store featured in chapter 3 of Wine Wars). I’ll be chatting and signing books at the kiosk in the deli section.

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

  • “The Miracle of Two Buck Chuck and the Revenge of the Terroirists.” Saturday September 17 2011  11:00 am in McIntyre Hall 103, University of Puget Sound.
  • ”Wine Wars: A Tale of Curses, Miracles and Revenge.” Thursday September 29 2011. 7:30 pm Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon.
  • “Wine Wars: A Tale of Curses, Miracles and Revenge.” Friday September 30 2011.   Noon. McMinnville Rotary Club, McMinnville, Oregon.