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Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 6.49

Monterey Wine Auction & Gala Monterey is fast becoming known for its excellent Pinot Noirs. The 12th Annual Monterey Wine Auction & Gala will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2008 at the newly reopened Carmel Valley Ranch. The event is sponsored by the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association and benefits college scholarships, children of local Ag workers, the American Vineyard Foundation, and viticultural research through University California Monterey. Tickets are $165 for the “Diamonds & Denim” themed event which will include an auction of special wines, many in large formats, along with lifestyle items. Pinot Noir producers participating include Bernardus, Chalone, Estancia, Hahn Estates, Kendall-Jackson, Paraiso Vineyards, and Pessagno Winery. For information and tickets go to

The Sonoma County Wine Library This is a special collection and service of the Sonoma County Library. The library’s vast Wine Information Files are now on the web, including summaries of most articles and links to the full text of some articles at The database also contains a large historical component. Subscribers receive additional benefits including full access to the collection and an informed staff of researchers.

Chocolate Shares Health Benefits with Pinot According to the book, Heal Your Heart with Wine & Chocolate, written by Debora Yost (Steward, Tabori & Chang, New York, 2006, 271 pp, $19.95), chocolate has a lot in common with wine. Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, helps fight heart disease by decreasing blood pressure, decreasing stickiness of platelets, and improving artery function. Quality, not quantity is most important. Recommended intake of dark chocolate is 1/2 oz to 1 oz per day or 2 oz a few times a week. Like wine, dark chocolate taken regularly in moderation, along with a proper diet and exercise can lower the risk of heart disease.

Randall Grahm Seeks Holy Grail Again in Santa Cruz Mountains In The World of Fine Wine (Issue 16, 2007), Grahm talks about his plans for a Pinot Noir vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “I will not irrigate this vineyard. If I am to plant a vineyard that truly expresses terroir, I simply cannot. The vineyard will be composed of as many different clonal selections as I can find in California.” He goes on to present his seemingly preposterous idea of growing the grapes from seedlings, germinating the seeds from the harvested fruit. The problem, of course, is that the offspring will not closely resemble their parents and many desirable characteristics will be lost in the progeny. The result will be “Pinot Noir vines producing offspring of every hue ... there should be a certain familial resonance and harmony in this ragtag collection of vines.” Only Grahm could think up something like this.

Auction Wine Prices Stratospheric and Going Up Jonathan Davis wrote in The Spectator (March 17, 2007): “Risk, in its conventional financial sense, appears to have gone walkabout. Just about everything has been going up in price, and may well be going higher.” Fine wine continues to confound one of economics’ iron laws - that is prices rise, demand declines. The auction houses and brokers are attracting more business, even as their produce (wine) is becoming ever more expensive. It seems that only an asteroid can stop fine-wine prices rising higher still.” There are more wealthy collectors than ever before, particularly in Russia, the Middle East, China and India. Auctions often feature billionaires competing against billionaires for the limited number of collectable Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italian and German wines from great cellars.

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