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Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 9.35

Loam Baby R.H. Drexel is a non de plum for the writer of Loam Baby, a very cool, well-penned online wine magazine that captured my attention. The magazine features a grade-school design that is charming and unpretentious. The content is informative and goes well with Pinot Noir. Only three issues published, all available free online at Hardcopy versions are available.

World’s Largest Bottle of Rosé Champagne Armand De Brignac plans to release a 30-liter Midas bottle of its rosé Champagne, the largest bottle of rosé Champagne ever produced according to (December 5, 2013). The Midas bottle, which contains the equivalent of forty 750 ml bottles and is over four feet tall, will be uncorked at Hakkasan Las Vegas in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. The price makes for a very expensive bar bill: $275,000.

Castle Rock Winery New Winemaker Eric Laumann has been appointed the Director of Winemaking at Castle Rock Winery as of January 1, 2014. He is a graduate of University of California at Davis and has over thirty years of winemaking experience at Kendall-Jackson Winery, Chalone Wine Group, Golden State Vintners and Bonny Doon Vineyard. Has last position was General Manager and Winemaker at Monterey Wine Company. He replaces Joe Briggs, Castle Rock’s Consulting Winemaker, who retired at the end of 2013. Castle Rock is one of the top 30 wineries in the United States, producing over 500,000 cases of wine a year. Pinot Noir is the winery’s focus and represents about 70% of the winery’s sales.

Oregon Wine Board Releases 2012 Census Report The 2012 Census, prepared by Southern Oregon University Research Center, was released November 13, 2013, and reported that the number of Oregon wineries now exceed 500 (545) and production topped 50,000 tons from 26,440 acres of vineyards. The number of vineyards in Oregon grew to 905 in 2012. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are the two largest produced varieties, while their was growth with Chardonnay and Syrah. Pinot Noir production totaled 28,565 tons. The North Willamette Valley had 73% of the total production. Total wine sales topped 2 million cases reaching 2.4 million cases. Pinot Noir accounted for 48% of total sales while Pinot Gris grabbed 24%. The full report is available on the Oregon Wine Board website at

Cruise with Argyle, ROCO and Ponzi Dick and Nancy Ponzi and Rollin and Corby Soles are heading down under to Australia and New Zealand to personally escort a 12-night adventure on the Celebrity Cruises ship Solstice. The ship has a 2-story wine tower with over 500 varieties of wine and cuisine is served in ten restaurants. Onboard wine program with tastings and special group lunch, and optional private shore tours to boutique wineries. For information visit

Halls Buy the Anderson Valley Vineyard Wines & Vines (December 2013) reports that Craig and Kathryn Walt Hall, owners of Walt and Hall wine companies, have bought the 35-acre (33 acres of Pinot Noir and 2 acres of Chardonnay) Anderson Creek Vineyard near Boonville in the Anderson Valley. The vineyard has been a source of grapes for Walt Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir Now Most Popular Wine-By-The-Glass According to Restaurant Sciences LLC’s Wine-By-The-Glass Price Study, Pinot Noir wine-by-the-glass sales soared in 2013 compared to 2012 and surpassed Merlot for the first time.

Drouhin Family Buys Roserock Vineyard The owners of Domaine Drouhin Oregon have bought the 279-acre Roserock property in Salem in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. There are 111 acres of Pinot Noir and 11 acres of Chardonnay planted, with an additional 80 plantable acres. The Roserock Vineyard was planted beginning in 2003 and the fruit has been sold to many premium wineries in Oregon. The acquisition makes sense, because it would be impossible to buy a vineyard of this size in Burgundy, and with many recent Oregon vineyard sales, prices will go up for prime Oregon vineyard land.

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