Russian River Valley AVA Expansion The TTB has approved the previously proposed southern
expansion of the Russian River Valley to Cotati, effective December 16, 2011. This was a very contentious
proposal that was opposed by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers who have now acquiesced. The
expansion was sought by E. & J. Gallo, which owns the 350-acres Two Rock Vineyard adjacent Highway 101
in Cotati. The change will add 14,000 acres to the Russian River Valley’s current 155,000 acres. For a
complete summary on this decision, visit www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-11-16/pdf/2011-29519.pdf. Wine
Industry Insight, published by Lewis Purdue, has challenged Gallo's proposed boundaries for an expanded
Russian River Valley AVA, claiming they violate federal regulations (see www.wineindustryinsight.com). The
last word on this issue has yet to be written. I believe the large AVA needs better delineation because of its
diversity, since wines from the Middle Reach, for example, are noticeably different than the wines from Green
Valley or those from the Santa Rosa Plain. Steve Heimoff has pointed out seven distinct terroirs in the Russian
River Valley (see www.princeofpinot.com/article/1116/)
Sideways the Play Pickett, who wrote Sideways and its sequel Vertical, has now launched a social
media presence including a blog at www.rexpickett.com. Around the third week of April, 2012, Sideways will be
brought to the stage at Ruskin Group Theater Co., and Pickett is blogging about the play's progress before it
premiers. A new documentary (My Life on Spec) is being made about the story behind Sideways:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY3n5rK_AyY. A curious tidbit of obscure information about Sideways is that
George Clooney hoped to be cast in the movie but Thomas Haden Church was chosen instead.
World of Pinot Noir The WOPN has announced events for 2012. The 12th Annual World of Pinot Noir
will be held at The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach, California, Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, 2012. New
this year is a Vintage Burgundy Dinner being held at the Dolphin Bay Resort Friday evening. The cuisine will
be prepared in collaboration by Chef Mark Peel of Campanile Restaurant in Los Angeles and Chef Brian
Collins of Lido Restaurant. The Court of Master Sommeliers President, Fred Dame, will host and pour a
selection of vintage and rare wines from the Court's cellar. Also new this year is the Seaside Fête which will
take place on the beach at the Avila Beach Golf Resort also on Friday evening. More than 30 host wineries will
be pouring to the sounds of a live band. On Saturday night, there will be Dine Around at local Central Coast
restaurants with each restaurant hosting four wineries. Burgundy authority Allen Meadows will conduct a
primer on the history, grapes, soils and geography of Burgundy on Saturday morning. Tickets for the two day
events sell out quickly. Visit www.wopn.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
Australians Discover Brett's Genetic Blueprint Scientists at The Australian Wine Research
Institute have sequenced the genome of Dekkera bruzellensis (Brettanomyces). The research was published
in the November/December 2011 issue of the Wine and Viticulture Journal. The discovery could lead to better
methods for controlling the yeast in wine.
Launch of VinNobles A team of Master Sommeliers has founded a new wine flash site at
www.vinnobles.com that puts the emphasis on well vetted, hard-to-find, iconic wines, rather than simple
discounts. Beginning with weekly offers, VinNobles will offer small production wines sourced by a team
headed by Master Sommelier Barrie Larvin. An early offering included a selection of highly regarded wines
from Baxter Winery, a small artisan producer of Pinot Noir located in Elk near the Anderson Valley.
Two California Pinots in Top 10 of Wine Spectator's Top 100 for 2011 The 2009 Kosta
Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (5,818 cases, $52) was named the wine of the year and the 2008 Dehlinger
Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (1,050 cases, $35) was named the number 5 wine. The wines were chosen
out of more than 16,000 wines reviewed by the Wine Spectator in blind tastings in 2011. The criteria for
inclusion in the Top 100 include quality (score), value (release price), and availability (measured by case
production). The full list will be published in the December 31, 2011-January 15, 2011 issue or at
Oregon Wine Board Launches Wineries App To assist consumers in locating Oregon wineries
on their mobile phones, the Oregon Wine Board has launched an app created by Portland-based LynkSnap, a
developer of mobile websites for the wine industry. The app incorporates the Oregon Wine Map which has
maps to tasting rooms, hours of operation, contact information and turn-by-turn directions. A guide to over 60
restaurants that earned “Super Cellars” awards from the Oregon Wine Press are also included (restaurants
that offer exceptional selections of Oregon wines). Visit www.oregonwinemap.org where you will be directed to
a mobile site to upload the app.
U.S. Alcohol Consumption At a 25-Year High A recent Gallup poll shows alcohol consumption
reached a new 25-year high in 2010, with 67% of Americans reporting that they drank alcoholic beverages.
The all-time alcohol benchmark of 71% was set in the 1970s. According to the Washington-based Beer
Institute, people in the far West and the Upper Plains states drink the most, with the deep south and Mid-
Atlantic region relatively dry. New Hampshire citizens are the biggest consumers of alcoholic beverages
according to the poll, with the average adult in that state doubling the national per capita average, consuming
an average of 6.7 gallons of wine each in 2010. Americans consumed wine at a record rate last year, about
2.3 gallons apiece.
Crushpad Offshoots in Urban San Francisco Jon Bonné wrote that two new projects have
appeared in San Francisco recently that were founded by Crushpad veterans (SFGate.com, October 30, 2011).
Dogpatch Wine Works was founded by Dave Gifford and Kevin Doucet, who are former Crushpad clients and
investors. They are attempting to duplicate the Crushpad model on a smaller scale. Winemaker consultant for
Dogpatch is Mike Zitlaff who was previously Crushpad's director of winemaking. The other project, Bluxome
Street Winery, was founded by former Crushpad winemaker Chris Nelson and former Crushpad client (Connor
Brennan Wines) Matthew Reidy. The partners make wine under the Bluxome Street Winery label but also host
former Crushpad labels such as Furthermore and Waits-Mast Family Cellars. Visit www.dpwineworks.com and
International Pinot Noir Tasting A large blind tasting was held in London recently featuring wines
from ten of the world's major Pinot Noir producing regions. German Pinot Noir grabbed seven of the top ten
spots, but the 2009 Antica Terra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir took first place. The 2008 Au Bon Climat Isabelle
Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir took third place and the 2009 Felton Road Block 5 Central Otago Pinot Noir was
awarded eighth place. Consumers here in the U.S. have had almost no exposure to German Pinot Noir since
just over 1% of its production is exported. Germany is the world's third largest producer of Pinot Noir and has
more Pinot Noir plantings than Australia and New Zealand combined.
Wine Barrel Furniture Very cool furniture handmade from reclaimed American or French oak wine
barrel staves by artisans in Texas. A contoured bar stool, an outdoor swing and a bench with a comfortable
bend are also offered. Visit www.uncommongoods.com.
Riedel “Mamba” Decanter Wine aerates quickly through the coiled base and upright portion of this
way-cool, mouth-blown lead crystal decanter, named for the world's fastest snake. The decanter was released
in 2011 and is available in clear or limited edition black or green ($495 retail but available at significant discount
from several online retailers). Visit www.riedel.com for other unusual decanters.
20th ¡Salud! Results 42 wineries poured at Domaine Drouhin Oregon's winery in the Dundee Hills and
the 450 wine lovers in attendance bid on cases of 2010 special cuvée Oregon Pinot Noirs. Each of the 42
participating wineries produced five cases of their special cuvée. Bidding reached $2,000 per case in many
instances. All five cases of Ponzi Vineyards' 2010 ¡Salud! Cuvée were sold to one bidder for $10,000.
Preliminary estimates indicate the proceeds from Friday's Big Board Barrel Auction and Saturday's Dinner and
Auction Gala were close to $680,000, topping last year's total. The Ponzi family was honored with the event's
first-ever Founder's Award. Nancy Ponzi was one of the founders of ¡Salud!.