Flash flooding in parts of Europe has added to France’s already difficult agricultural season. With the approaching summer vacation season, the news has taken on a somewhat predictable tone, with articles on rosé appearing practically everyday (it seems) for instance. The fact that Lionel Messi’s main winemaking instruction during the manufacture of his L10 label was that “my wine needs to be better than [midfielder Andrés] Iniesta’s” came to light this week.
Despite the fact that Campari and Moet announced they were teaming forces to push further harder into an online sales platform, it hasn’t all been bright and lighthearted recently. Shoking photos of flooding in Germany’s Ahr area were all over the news recently.
The flooding that closed several cellar doors in Blenheim, New Zealand’s Marlborough region, occurred over the weekend, while the steadily increasing threat of wildfires in California has prompted an increasing number of anxious questions to be directed at regional firefighters, insurance companies, and local aid funds.
Some of the stories you might have missed this week are listed below….
The potential of mildew is exacerbated by record rainfall.
In France in 2021, it never rains, but it pours — literally and figuratively – with torrential downpours. Mildew has begun to appear in the northern tier of the country, following on the heels of ice, hail, and tornadoes. Due to a downpour in Alsace – the likes of which have not been seen in more than a century – combined with high summer temperatures, fungal illnesses, particularly powdery mildew, have spread across the region.
Even though it’s crucial to note that viticulturists don’t need much of an excuse to predict doom, it’s difficult not to perceive the newest findings as anything but alarming. While the president of the Alsace wine trade association, Gilles Ehrhart, told regional news service France3 that mildew damage could affect up to 70% of the crop in some areas, national news station LCI reported that one grower claimed as much as 80 percent of his crop had been destroyed.
Since three weeks, Ehrhart, who is based in Wettolsheim, has seen a complete establishment of mildew on all of the lots he has been inspecting. The rest of my family has told me that they’ve never seen anything like it before.
According to the sources, while organic growers would continue to have access to copper sprays, it is the latter (as well as those who use biodynamics) who will be most at risk.
Furthermore, according to the same analysis, other viticultural sites in France are also in danger of being destroyed. French television station France3 cited a horticulture report from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes area as indicating that the mildew situation was “out of control.”
Two weeks ago, the French wine news website vitisphere.com warned of the possibility of infections in Champagne, as well as concerns in Burgundy, among other things. But it did point out that the other northern French area, the Loire, appeared to be less impacted by the storm.
A plane crashes into a vineyard owned by a Napa consultant.
Three people died in a small plane crash in a vineyard near Angwin Airport in the Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain wine region on Friday, in tragic images. The small plane they were in crashed down in a vineyard near Angwin Airport, in the Howell Mountain wine region. The plane, a Beechcraft 35 Bonanza, crashed into a vineyard, engulfing it in flames as soon as it hit the ground. Despite the fact that vineyard employees witnessed the catastrophe, no one survived.
The vineyard where the tragedy occurred is the Lucia Abreu property of David Abreu, a well-known viticultural consultant in the Napa Valley region. It is only a few minutes away from Abreu’s offices, and the vineyard is named for his daughter.
At the time of publication, the identities of the victims were still being kept under wraps. A small aircraft has crashed in California for the second time in as many days, according to authorities. After taking off from Monterey Regional Airport on Thursday, a small, twin-engine plane crashed into a Monterey home, killing the pilot and one of his passengers. When the crash occurred, the house’s owners were not around to see it.
The OIV will be held in Dijon.
It appears that the pundits were correct. When we originally reported on the International Office of Wine and Vine’s (OIV) rehoming initiative earlier this month, we noted some rumours that Burgundy was the best political choice for the project. As a result, the French government announced last week that it had approved Dijon’s candidacy to become the home of the International Wine Organization.
However, despite the fact that the race was a toss-up between three candidate cities – Bordeaux, Reims, and Dijon – it was the latter that was the last to submit its entry to be considered (at the very end of last month). The city of Dijon will be the site, however, if the approval by the OIV’s international delegates goes off without a hitch.
When the OIV relocates to Burgundy, it will most likely be at the city’s astonishingly opulent 17th Century Hotel Bouchu de Lessart (also known as Hotel d’Esterno), which will be the organization’s second home following a metropolitain sojourn in Paris’ 8th arrondissment. According to a report in the local newspaper Le Bien Public, the expense of preparing the offices for the relocation will be a princely €7 million ($8.26 million) in total.
The Canary Islands have opened their first wine route.
A new wine tourist route on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, dubbed “La Ruta del Vino de Gran Canaria,” was officially unveiled this week as the Canary Islands’ first official wine tourism route. A large portion of the northern and western portions of the Atlantic island is covered by the circuit, which includes not only 10 wineries but also 11 restaurants, a number of hotels and agricultural establishments, as well as a number of speciality shops.
Underwater ageing uncovers hitherto undiscovered depths
This week, two stories from opposing ends of the production scale emerged, both of which suggest that we may be approaching saturation point in terms of maturing wine under water, at least in the short term.
As a starting point, SuperSomm and winemaker Rajat Parr have partnered on a project called Ocean Fathoms, where they will age their wines for a year in seas 70 metres deep, one mile off the coast of Santa Barbara. The bottles are hauled up, complete with barnacles plastered on their surfaces, and sold at a premium because of their rarity ““A proprietary ocean ageing process” has been developed.
According to a report published on Thursday by the Los Angeles Times, Ocean Fathoms has drawn the ire of the California Coastal Commission and is currently attempting to strike a settlement with the agency. The newspaper’s summary of the Commission’s outlook was arguably the most succinct: “For all intents and purposes, the agency stated: “The ocean is not your private wine locker, gentlemen.” So get the wine out of the water as soon as possible.”
This is being challenged by Ocean Fathoms. Susan Jordan of the California Coastal Protection Network, on the other hand, delivered one of the most incisive statements. When it comes to ocean and coastal protection, “the image of a wine bottle coated with dead marine life is definitely not a plus,” she explained.”
So it was to the Vendée coast in north-west France, where rum company Les Rhums de Ced took 450 bottles of rum that had been aged in a former blackthorn liqueur barrel (the local “trousseminette”) and threw them into a saline marsh for a month to see what would happen. They appeared to be having a good time taking the bottles out of the water, despite the fact that the algue-covered vessel didn’t have quite the same wow-factor as Ocean Fathoms’ dredges.
Still, if nothing else, all of the splashing around demonstrates that messing around on the water is still able to attract people’s attention to it.