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Wednesday, December 19, Americans like sweet wines, but nobody talks about it. Missed opportunity for wineries, and media? The question was, "How do you prefer your wine to taste? Check all that apply. Liz Thach Americans like sweet wines. Big wine companies know it. East Coast wineries know it. The main people in the dark are the wine media: people like me. We usually write disparagingly about red wines with residual sugar, if we write about them at all. We drink in an ivory tower. This is my main conclusion from Sonoma State University's American Wine Consumer poll , which was published last week.

I combined this story with another Sonoma State professor's gloom-and-doom seminar the week before about the outlook for small wineries and wondered, should more small wineries be making sweet wines? I called Dr.

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Liz Thach MW, the professor of wine and management who led the survey, to chat. Here's an edited transcript. Thach : Every time we've done this survey, we always get these same results. This is a survey of the everyday consumer in America. Me : How do you choose the people to survey? Thach : You try to get a representative sample of your target population.

Our target population is the American wine consumer. We try to get a sample of at least people. We need to have at least 40 percent men and 60 percent women. It used to be 45 percent men and 55 percent women. We're using Wine Market Council statistics. Me : Men aren't drinking as much wine as before?

Posted by W. Blake Gray at AM 10 comments Links to this post. Thursday, December 6, Christmas gifts for wine lovers. If you have a wine lover on your gift list, you might think the best gift is a bottle of wine. That's not untrue -- if you know them well enough to get a bottle they would find delightful. Sometimes that's easier said than done. Wine gadgets wind up in magazine stories this time of year because we all have to write holiday gift stories, but most gadgets are just more space-eating junk.

Exceptions are below. Here are some gifts the wine lover on your list will enjoy. I guarantee it! Wine glasses Glasses break. We always need more. Look for a simple design, and don't spend too much money. More expensive glassware is often handblown and thus even more likely to break. I usually buy wine glasses at Cost Plus World Market, but I admit I'm intrigued that this is a product Amazon has decided to make as part of its Amazon Basics series , like batteries.

It does make sense: if you need 4 today, you're going to need another 4 soon enough. I have not tried Amazon's glassware but I probably will. A Coravin The Coravin is a revolutionary system that allows you to take a glass of wine from a bottle without pulling out the cork, so what's left in the bottle stays fresh longer.

The Wine Pocket Bible

I will say this: a Coravin is a gift no wine lover will reject. We're all curious about it. Buy it here. Wine charms Need something cheap? Wine charms hook around the stem of a wine glass so you can tell your glass from your friends'. They're invaluable at parties. I'm still using a set I got as a present years ago, along with a few others I have picked up since.

Good books that are about wine, but not intros to wine The problem with most year-end wine book lists is that many of the best books about wine aren't really of interest to a wine lover. I know that seems paradoxical, but we don't need a book that tells us what we already know. Here are some excellent books that a wine lover will enjoy. Wine and War : Interesting history of Nazi occupation of French wine country The Botanist and the Vintner : Phylloxera nearly destroyed wine as we know it.

A scientific hero's journey By the Smoke and the Smell : This one's about artisanal spirits, and it will make the reader thirsty for some Wine Grapes : The reference book I use more than any other, it tells the history and current state of every commercial wine grape in the world. A must-have for people who like offbeat varietals A good bottle of amaro. Blake Gray at AM 1 comments Links to this post.

Thursday, November 15, Trump, tariffs, and trade barriers to U. On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U. Not fair, must change! Blake Gray at AM 3 comments Links to this post. Blake Gray at AM Links to this post. Wednesday, October 10, My guilty pleasure wine: admitting my youthful transgression.

Opening ceremony for a wine competition. I think they're supposed to be This story is about one of my guilty pleasures: a transgression of my early drinking days. It's about a wine I would never have the courage to praise to a professional crowd: a cheap, sweet, mass-produced wine, screwcapped before that was cool, and I didn't even believe it was made from grapes.

I liked it and was ashamed to say it. The one on the right is better; sealed with a synthetic cork Here is the wine in question: Kuei Hua Chen Chiew. When I lived in Tokyo we used to eat sometimes in a southeast Asian restaurant that served spicy food, and their drink menu was limited.

For decades, I thought this was plum liquor. The bottle doesn't say -- I think. My then-girlfriend, now my wife, reads Mandarin, and she couldn't glean any information from the bottle. But she has a sweet tooth and she loooooved Kuei Hua Chen Chiew, which she thought was a cheap, industrial Chinese version of umeshu people call umeshu Japanese plum "wine," but it's actually made by infusing plums in shochu, which is a distilled spirit. I was young. We drank cheap. Blake Gray at AM 4 comments Links to this post. Thursday, September 6, An ancient, rare wine that can be beautiful, or smell like old lady's perfume: Lacrima di Morro d'Alba.

Lacrima di Morro d'Alba grapes will cry for you -- see below Even among niche wine lovers, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba is polarizing. It faced extinction in the 20th century, but has been revived as Italy has concentrated on rediscovering its indigenous wines. Stacionis complains that the wine smells like her great aunt's perfume, and I can see that. It's an unusual category of grape: an aromatic red. Its best qualities are usually all in the nose, and if there were no exceptions to that, I wouldn't be writing this. Fortunately, I found two reasons to drink a really weird and unique varietal.

Lacrima di Morro d'Alba smells like gingerbread, anise, dried flowers and plums -- like some sort of European Christmas hot beverage. It's not shy: the aromas jump out of the glass. But for most of the wines, the flavors are underwhelming. It's a light-bodied wine and without sufficient fruit on the palate, those aromas quickly shift from intriguing to cloying. There's often also a balance problem, as producers do one thing wrong and try to fix it by doing something else wrong. There are a couple of exceptions: the wines of Stefano Mancinelli and Marotti Campi.

Because only about 30 producers make only about 80, total cases, it's possible these are the best Lacrima di Morro d'Alba wines that have ever been made in the history of the world. Blake Gray at AM 5 comments Links to this post.

The Wine Pocket Bible

Tuesday, August 14, How to buy sake at a Japanese grocery store: a pictorial guide. Tuesday, August 7, Can you bring cheese into the U. Raw-milk Reblochon is my favorite of the cheeses sold in French duty-free First, the short answer: if you are flying home from Europe or elsewhere, you can bring cheese into the U. I'm writing this post to counter persistent misinformation, even from what one would think are reliable sources. I hope that some editor at USA Today sees this blog post and corrects this completely wrong story.

This was the No. Yo Google, help me out here -- make my post with the correct information No. Before I go further, here is the correct information from the official U. Customs and Border Protection site. I'll get into it in detail in a moment. Last month I had a long and frustrating argument at a duty-free shop in Lyon, France. I wanted to buy three raw-milk cheeses: a Roquefort, a Reblochon and a hunk of Beaufort.

The clerk refused to sell them to me. She said I could not bring them into the U. After insisting first that I was right, and second that the risk was mine not hers, I asked to speak to her supervisor. She also refused to sell me the cheese. Most people would have given up. The supervisor in the duty-free shop must know U. Wednesday, August 1, The most arrogant comment I have ever received. Blake Gray at AM 11 comments Links to this post. Blake Gray at AM 0 comments Links to this post. Friday, July 27, Thoughts on deleting my Twitter archive.

None of us owe Twitter anything. Every one of us who has tweeted has provided Twitter with a service. Our content and our eyeballs to trade for advertising dollars. And all some of us asked is that Twitter jettison the Nazis and the abusers. And we got "No" in return. And that means we have to take on the business of protecting ourselves with locked accounts and block bots and even removing our content if we deem it necessary. Monday, July 23, W. Blake Gray shortlisted for another Roederer Award!

It's still right there in my blog's masthead.

The night I won, while my wife and I were deeply into a bottle of sparkling wine, she suggested that I put the award on my business cards. It contains a unique mix of practical information, alongside trivia and little- known facts to enlighten and entertain you. Help Centre. Track My Order. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist.

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Ships in 7 to 10 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Vignette Stories of Life and Wine in Bottles. In Stock. I am working in a wine bar and find it very handy. Skip to main content. About this product. New other.

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