NB.editor's note: The article omitted Schnebly's Winery in Homestead

By  www.TheFrenchDistrict.com


There are 28 registered wineries in Florida. Some of them are certified and regionally known. Others are more discreet, but nevertheless very friendly and always ready to offer you a free tasting ...


The Sun State claims the title of "first vineyard in the United States, so ancient is the wine tradition is here (FYI California claims the same ).

But to forestall a pointless debate let’s start the visit:    

From a geographic standpoint, even though the vineyards are scattered throughout the state of the Sun, Central, North and South West Florida group together the biggest farms.


San Sebastian Winery: Wine & Jazz
This immense homestead, few steps from the historic center of St. Augustine is home to several wineries and produces up to 1,250 cases of 12 bottles per day (11.250 liters). There is table wine, dessert wine, sparkling wine and also developed following the traditional methods produced by Méthode Champenoise. This area receives about 100,000 visitors a year who leave ... great! There are several buildings in the reception rooms to hold seminars. On the top floor, you can even listen to jazz in the bar "The Cellar Upstairs", while sipping a glass of wine and nibbling cheese. Consult the program on their website.
St. Augustine. South of Jacksonville. 157 King Street. Within blocks of the historic district. Tours and tastings daily from 10am to 18h and Sundays from 11h to 18h. Tel. :                            888-352-9463         888-352-9463                      888-352-9463         888-352-9463 www.sansebastianwinery.com

Chautauqua Winery & Vineyards: A good vintage
Its name means "meeting place" in India in homage to Indian tribes who organized huge rallies here in winter.
The wines produced in this vineyard come from a variety of muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) and often received top ratings at wine competitions. . Visit the winery and tastings throughout the year are free .

364 Hugh Adams Road, DeFuniak Springs. To the east of Tallahassee (corner of I-10 and U.S. Hwy 331) Tel. :                            850-892-5887         850-892-5887                      850-892-5887         850-892-5887

Dakotah Vineyard & Winery : Very nice family vineyard
Lovers of nature (and of white wine) shouldn’t miss a visit to this beautiful vineyard lost in nature. With only 12 acres and 6,000 feet of vines. Owners very welcoming offers they produce five types of table wine and even non-alcoholic wines, made from muscadine grape.
14365 NW Highway 19, Chiefland. North of this small town along the 19, which runs from north to south and west of Gainesville by 26. The opening hours are from 10am to 17h from Monday to Saturday and Sunday 12h to 17h. Tel. :                            352-493-9309         352-493-9309                      352-493-9309         352-493-9309


Henscratch Farms Vineyard & Winery :
It was and still is a farm where one can enjoy wine "country style", and also buy strawberries, berries, oils and jams, and of course the eggs of chickens wandering around in the vineyards.
980 Henscratch Road, Lake Placid in the heart of Florida well south of Orlando by 27 and north of Lake Okeechobee. To the west of Arcadia on the 70th from Fort Pierce to Bradendton. Tel:                            863-699-2060         863-699-2060                      863-699-2060         863-699-2060

Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards Champagne!
This winery which was established in 1988, belongs to the Cox family which also owns San Sebastian Winery.   Today, with state of the art equipment and over 127 acres it can produce up to 2 million bottles. The house specialty is the sparkling wine with a special cellar of more than 20,000 bottles. Otherwise, you can find good wines produced from grape varieties such as Stover, Suwannee, Blanc Du Bois, Miss White Mississippi and some muscadine varieties such as Noble (red), Carlos, Welder and Magnolia (white), many of which  have won awards at international competitions.
19239 U. S. Highway 27 North, Clermont. City located west of Orlando Florida's Turnpike and 31. Visit any day from 10am to 17h from Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 17h Sunday. Tel. :                            1-800-768-WINE         1-800-768-WINE                      1-800-768-WINE         1-800-768-WINE


Eden Vineyards & Winery : Science and Wine
It is a small area of 20 acres but that has planted  very specific varieties. With scientific support from the University of Florida (UF), the owners have managed to grow a variety resistant to diseases, including the Pierces Disease. Result: 6 wines from renowned winemaking techniques and ultra modern.
19709 Little Lane, Alva. East Fort Myers, near the beautiful and Denaud. Open daily for visits and tastings from 11am to 16h. Tel.:                            239-728-9463         239-728-9463        239-728-9463

For information, Eden Vineyards is paired with another domain: Florida Estates Winery 25241 State Road 52, Land O 'Lakes. North of Tampa in Pasco near I-75 and 52. Tours and tastings available daily from 11h to 17h. Picnics are allowed. Tel. :                            813-996-2113         813-996-2113                      813-996-2113         813-996-2113

Rosa Fiorelli Winery : A taste of Chianti.
Nestled in the hills of Lake Manatee, the domain belonging to the Italian couple Rosa and Antonio produces nine quality wines from several varieties of muscadine. In 5 years, the field has already won 6 trophies.
4250 CR 675, Bradenton. Open for visits and tastings Monday to Saturday from 10am to 17:30 and Sunday from 12h to 17h. Upon reservation, you can eat locally and wine is served in a souvenir glass of wine. Tel. :                            941-322-0976         941-322-0976                      941-322-0976         941-322-0976 www.fiorelliwinery.com

Murielle Winery : A wine with your name?
In this small winery with only 13 tanks, it is possible to customize all the bottles and tastings are free.
13131 56th Court, Suite 305, Clearwater. Visit and tasting by appointment or the Saturday. Tel. :                 727-561-0336         727-561-0336                      727-561-0336         727-561-0336

Florida Orange Groves & Winery : A wine without grapes ... a secret recipe
Here, the former orange grower had the original idea of making wine from juice of fruit other than grapes. The first wine made from berries and tropical fruit born in 1997. A few years later, much of this success, other wines made from mango juice, orange, grapefruit, tangerine and even appear on the market. The owner's family says he discovered the secret of making wine without grapes ... The flavors are very interesting.
1500 Pasadena Avenue S., St. Petersburg. Open for tours and tastings Monday through Saturday from 9h to 17h and Sundays from 12:30 à15h. Tel. :                            800-338-7923         800-338-7923                      800-338-7923         800-338-7923


The 18 certified vineyards in Florida are...

Chautauqua Vineyard, DeFuniak Springs,
Dakotah Vineyards and Winery, Chiefland
Eden Vineyards and Winery, Alva
Emerald Coast Wine Cellars, Destin
Florida Orange Groves Inc..St. Petersburg
Henscratch Farms Vineyards & WineryLake Placid
Keel and Curley Winery, Plant City
Lakeridge Winery and VineyardsClermont
Log Cabin Winery, Satsuma
Monticello Vineyards and Winery, Monticello
Pine Knoll Winery, Homosassa
Rosa Fiorelli Winery, Inc.., Bradenton
San Sebastian WinerySt. Augustine
Schnebly Redland's Winery, Homestead
SeaBreeze Winery, Panama City Beach
Strong Tower Vineyard and Winery, Spring Hill
Tangled Oaks VineyardsGrandin
Three Oaks WineryVernon

The 10 wineries that are not certified ...

Cork Screw Winery, Estero
Empire Winery and Distillery, New Port Richey
Florida Estates Winery, Land O'Lakes
Grapes of Kath Vineyards, Sebring
Lions Run Winery, Miami
Monarch Wine Company, West Palm Beach
Murielle WineryClearwater
Patrick Avery, Largo
Ridgeback Winery, Mount Dora
Tarpon Springs Castle Winery, Tarpon Springs



IT’S TIME FOR WINE by Monty and Sara Preiser
Petit Verdot – the James Dean of Wine

Kind of dark. Brooding. Powerful without being overpowering. Perhaps not for everyone’s taste. Such are the descriptors used by entertainment writers over the years for a number of distinctive actors, but the one that comes most immediately to mind is James Dean (though in Rebel Without a Cause Sal Mineo was the darkest character – too dark). Dean, on the other hand, met the criteria above, and further, like a good wine, he could also show off range, style, and an ability to attract an ultra loyal fan base.
Every so often we do something at our home in South Florida that has not (as far as we can determine) been done before. In years past we have amassed almost all of the Charbonos and all of the Pinotages produced in California, and had them tasted by a qualified panel of judges. This week we did the same with the increasingly popular Petit Verdot, which possesses all the characteristics ascribed to James Dean (we just wish we had come up with the connection between the two, but that honor goes to Dine Magazine’s Patrick Sullivan).
Wine lovers are usually aware that Petit Verdot is one of the modern five red “Bordeaux Varietals,” just as they are aware that generally it is used in small amounts to blend in some power and structure to other wines, such as Merlot or Cabernet Franc. Truth be told, however, there are more than five Bordeaux varietals (Carmenere - a sixth - is making a comeback in the New World). Petit Verdot, currently out of favor in France due to its long ripening season coupled with France’s poor late season weather, is now being bottled as a single varietal in many areas of the western hemisphere and Australia.
The impetus behind Petit Verdot being bottled on its own, or having added to it a small quantity of Merlot or Cab, most certainly comes from the American psyche that includes creativity, invention and ingenuity, and an American way of life that declines to impose winemaking rules merely due to tradition. Winemakers here are rarely satisfied with the “status quo” and constantly search out the newest envelope pushing techniques and products. Thus came single varietal Petit Verdot not so many years ago, and, to the surprise of almost everyone you ask now, there are over 30 being made in California, over a half dozen in Virginia, and more in Australia, Canada, and other countries.
As mentioned, everyone knows a good Petit Verdot should be strong on tannins, deep purple in color, and possessed of some spices that will enhance whatever wine to which it is added. On its own, however, one might ascribe to the wine the following descriptors in varying combinations: blackberry, pencil shavings, tar, cedar or other woods, cigar box, vanilla, oak, and leather.
OK – to our Florida tasting of last week. Participants included four writers, a sommelier, the leading independent retailer in South Florida, two collectors with top palates, and a restaurateur who maintains an award winning wine list. Each wine was judged as to whether, hypothetically, a medal should be awarded, and, if so, which one. They were also ranked as they compared to each other in the minds of the judges, with each rank being worth designated points. Ultimately we ended up with a result that mirrored the comments of the judges pretty closely.
After the formal blind tasting and ranking, we then took the five wines with the top scores and for fun blindly tasted them again and ranked them next to each other. Kind of like the NCAA “March Madness” where teams have a ranking before the tournament, and then usually have a different ranking after head to head competition.
As far as we know, all wines made in California were included in this tasting except Mazzoco (declined to participate), Homewood (the vintner listened and never called back), Carmody-McKnight and Goosecross (these 2 did not even have the courtesy to answer 2 emails, 2 phone calls, and a fax), Martin-Weyrich (they actually sent a bottle but with their present troubles we did not include the wine), Ledson (they called 3 times to say they would participate but never sent anything), and James Cole (they donated, but the particular bottle we received was defective so we did not rate it – we will retaste and comment in a future article). Because of the relative few Petit Verdots being produced, we put all of them in side by side competition regardless of vintage.
General Conclusions:
            -The vintage did not seem to matter when these wines were tasted next to each other. It may have been to a great degree because the panel was made up of professionals who could often identify whether the vintage was fresh or had been around a few years. Nevertheless, the wide range of vintages among the top ranked wines pretty much obviates this factor as a consideration when buying Petit Verdot.
            -The location was clearly important insofar as imparting structure and complexity. This tasting was performed blindly by the entire panel, and so no undue subconscious influence can be charged. When one views the results, it really is no surprise that Napa would far and away lead the preferences for a Bordeaux varietal. Six of the seven Gold medal wines were from Napa, and the last five in line were from outside the Napa Valley.
            -The price of the wines could be correlated to conclude that one does in fact need to spend more than a nominal sum to buy the better Petit Verdots. The upper echelon wines were all $45 and above, while the lowest scoring 10 wines all had price tags of $35 or less (except Lange Twins, which asks $45).
            -Value, on the other hand was a completely different story. Reminding you that the judges on this day are all well familiar with wine prices, it was the general consensus that the prices being asked for many of these wines are more related to the present panache of the varietal than the actual quality of the wine. While almost everything we tasted was pleasant and enticing, almost all of them lacked the complexity one looks for in an expensive wine. To pay $125 (Anderson’s Conn Valley), or $105 (Briar Rose), or $75 (Frazier), or even $68 (Bourassa), one would have to find far more in the glass than did this panel, even though we appreciated all four of the wines enough to assign three gold medals and one silver, Clearly upon looking at the results, you can find top of the line Petit Verdots from $40 - $60, the range where our panel felt comfortable in recommending them if one was seeking quality and value.
            -The biggest surprise was the showing of Briar Rose Winery from Temecula. We were stunned to see their Website, with wine prices as high as $1300 per bottle (this is, after, all Temecula), and the asking price for the Petit Verdot is way out of line at $105 in our opinion. However, when you talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk, and this winery did exactly that in this tasting by garnering a Gold medal and high rankings.
Our special congratulations go to Stonegate and Bourassa for earning the most points to tie for first place in the tasting, and also to Trinchero Family for winning the head to head competition among the top five scorers.
Perhaps all that is left is to actually show you the full results. If we have missed a producer, please let us know. It is never too late to taste and at least write about what we find. Maybe a bottle that will remind us of this generation’s James Dean – Johnny Depp.
Rank and Hypothetical Medals from Aptil 11, 2010, Petit Verdot Tasting at home of Monty & Sara Preiser
1.      2004 Stonegate ($60) – Gold (Napa)
1.      2005 Bourassa ($68) – Gold (Napa)
3.   2005 William Hill ($45) – Gold (Napa)
4.   2007 Trinchero Family Central Park West ($50) – Gold (Napa)
5.   2004 Briar Rose ($105) – Gold (Temecula)
6.   2006 St. Supery ($50) – Gold (Napa)
7.   2005 Ehlers Estate ($45) – Gold (Napa)
7.   2004 Frazier ($75) – Gold (Napa)
9.   2006 Jarvis ($44/375ml.) – Silver (Napa)
10. 2005 Sawyer ($54) – Silver (Napa)
10. 2006 Imagery ($39) – Silver (Sonoma)
10. 2007 Ferrari-Carano ($38) – Silver (Sonoma)
13. 2005 Trahan ($35) – Silver (Napa)
13. 2006 Stryker Rockpile ($45) – Silver (Sonoma)
15. 2005 Murphy-Goode ($28) – Silver (Sonoma)
16. 2006 Ballentine ($38) – Silver (Napa)
17. 2005 Anderson’s Conn Valley ($125) – Silver (Napa)
18. 2005 Markham ($40) – Silver (Napa)
19. 2006 Heitz ($35) – Bronze (Napa)
20. 2005 Truchard ($35) – Bronze (Napa)
21. 2005 Rutherford Hill ($35) – Bronze (Napa)
22. 2006 Mietz ($30) – No Medal (Sonoma)
23. 2007 Grands Amis ($25) – No Medal (Lodi)
24. 2006 Lange Twins ($45) – No Medal (Lodi)
25. 2007 Linden ($28) – No Medal (Virginia)
26. 2007 Justin ($39) – No Medal (Paso Robles)
27. 2006 Crystal Basin ($28) – No Medal (El Dorado County)
1.      2007 Trinchero Family Central Park West ($50) – Napa
2.      2005 William Hill ($45) – Napa
3.      2004 Briar Rose ($105) – Temecula
 4.     2004 Stonegate ($60) – Napa
5.      2005 Bourassa ($60) – Napa

By Simone Zarmati Diament

Masi revolutionized the art of wine-making in the Venetian region with modern technology, techniques of double fermentation combined with traditional craftsmanship,to create powerful, well-balanced and delicious wines 

amarone masisandroboscainiWhile the Boscaini family, headed by company president Sandro Boscaini, have been the owners of the Masi vineyards for six generations, some of their vineyards, like the Mazzano vineyard in the Veneto, have been famous for their wines since the 12th century. 

Masi specializes in the production of Amarones from vineyards in the Tre Venezie – the Dolomite mountains, the hillside from Friuli to Adige, and the flatlad Padana – for which it has gained worldwide reputation and countless awards and prizes. 

Amarone della Valpolicella is a powerful dry red wine -- in Italian, amarone means "big bitter" -- made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina (40.0% – 70.0%), Rondinella (20.0% – 40.0%) and Molinara (5.0% – 25.0%) varieties. The wine was awarded DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata status - in December 1990. 

Amarone is the product of the wine-making method well known since the Romans called "appassimento"(grape drying). At the end of September or the beginning of October, the best clusters of grapes from the hillside are picked and placed on bamboo racks in special lofts equipped with the “natural appassimento” control system. At the end of January the grapes weigh 35% less and have concentrated their sugars. Then they go through soft pressing; partial destalking; and the vinification process. The final result is a very ripe, raisiny, big-bodied wine with very little acid. Alcohol content easily surpasses 15% (the legal minimum is 14%) and the resulting wine is rarely released until five years after the vintage, even though this is not a legal requirement. They age well and keep for decades in a good cellar. 

The same process can also be used to make a dessert wine called Recioto della Valpolicella. 

Over the years, Masi has spread out to other prestigious viticulutral areas in the Venetian region, Tuscany where Masi joined forces with the Serego Alighieri Estate -- for over six centuries a reference point for Verona's winemaking and agricultural traditions--, and more recently in Argentina. 

Costasera Amarone Classico - Masi DOC 2001 ( $55) 
A fullbodied, deep ruby red with mahogany reflections on the edges, this Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is made with 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara. The red calcareous (limestone) soil of the slopes in the historic Valpolicella Classico communes where Masi’s hillside vineyards are planted facing Lake Garda is the best in Valpolicella Classica for producing high-quality Amarone. The Costasera Amarone expresses a particular majesty and complexity. Ideal with red meats, game and mature cheeses. An excellent wine for the end of the meal and for aging 30-35 years. Alcohol 14.80 % 

Mazzano Amarone della Valpolicella Classico – Masi 2000 ($120)
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC from Mazzano, a historic vineyard renowned since the XII century., in the commune of Negrar.. Mazzano (75% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Molinara) is an austere and majestic wine - the very essence of Amarone - which derives particular benefit from being aged in small oak barrels. It is it is dense and rich, elegant with hints of cherry, plums and incense which evolve into liquorice, dark chocolate and toasted coffee with nutty touch of “gianduia” in the dry and long finish. . It is delicious with meats, game, and with mature Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses, without talking about desserts!!! Its production is very limited. Alcohol 16% Ageing potential 35-40 years 

Serego Alighieri Vaio Amaron Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2000 - $75
This Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC (65% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 15% Molinara Serego Alighieri) comes from the rich red soil and dry stone wall terraces of tge Vaio Armaron vineyard, at Gargagnago, commune of Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, property of Serego Alighieri. Since 1353 the noble Serego Alighieri family, descendants of the poet Dante, has cultivated its estate in Valpolicella, and the term Amarone itself probably derives from the name of this ancient vineyard: Vaio Armaron. It is an extraordinarily rich and complex wine with aromas of cherries, mint, spicy and Mediterranean herbs, partially aged in cherry wood, which is capable of long ageing, 25-30 years. Excellent with red meats, game and mature cheeses. Alcohol 15.5% 

Campofiorin Supervenetian - Masi 2003 - $15
Rosso del Veronese IGT (70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara). A specialty of Masi, “Supervenetian” are wines from the Veneto with the characteristics of the terroir, the character of local grapes and the uniqueness of production methods: refermentation or double fermentation of wine from fresh Veronese red grapes with a percentage of "appassimento," or semi-dried grapes of the same varietals, followed by natural malolactic fermentation which enriches the wine in alcohol, in colour, in extracts and in soft and elegant tannins. The wine is rich, full-bodied, round and velvety, and has an aging potential of 15 to 20 years. Campofiorin is a registered trademark of the Masi company since 1964. 

White Masianco Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo- Masi ($13)
Those of you searching for PG might be surprised by what you find in Masi’s Masianco Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo (75% Pinot Grigio, 25% Verduzzo). A “Supervenetian” white of unmistakable Masi style (like the Campofiorin red), it is an intense straw-yellow color wine dry, fruity, in the style of a Friuli wine: no oak but a tropical fruit bouquet (pineapple, banana, honeysuckle), and a full floral and creamy palate balanced with citrus freshness and a crisp herbal finish with hints of almonds and hazelnuts. While Masi specializes in the semi-drying of red grapes, to produce Masianco, Verduzzo grapes are ripened further after picking; this unusual process for an elegant white wine makes for more roundness, body and richness which complement the fine aromas and the elegant fruity notes of Pinot Grigio delle Venezie. It pairs well as an aperitif, with hors d'oeuvres, fish and grilled white meats. Alcohol 13%




After six days of the 8.8 richter´s scale earthquake impacted Chile, the country is moving forward to recover from the devastation. Food and water started to be delivered along Constitución, Talca, Concepción, Dichato, Pichilemu and several small cities and villages. Seems like will never be enough, however, international and local help started to arrive providing some hope to the people. Report from http://www.AndesWines.cl

The damage to wine industry’s infrastructure varies among the different wineries and valleys and has not been fully measured. Wine valleys like Curico, Maule, Rapel (Colchagua) and Itata are the most affected in the wine industry´s points of view.

“The main concern of winemakers right now is to evaluate how much grape they can receive the next couple of weeks considering that the white grapes are close to being picked up. The majority of wineries decided to move the harvest one week because fortunately was a little bit delayed also, and also, they are taking care of the needs of their workers in the countryside first” said CEO of AndesWines.cl, Maximiliano Morales.

Most of rural areas do not have electricity, so the winemakers are fixing all minor and major problems in the cellar to be prepared to the harvest. Since Thursday, the power came back to some areas of Concepcion and other areas in different valleys and according to official sources, rural areas will take 3 to 5 days to have electricity back.

The majority of vineyards in the coast and central valley are safe and did not get affected by earthquake, however, the damages were very different from one valley to the other. In some areas like Maule and Curicó most of the “adobe” cellars are down, some barrels and wine in the floor, said http://www.AndesWines.cl

The bottling lines are working with no trouble and the barrels on the floor are being counted to define how many are lost along the wineries. Highways and ports in San Antonio and Valparaiso are fine and returning to the normal movement, and no delayed should be an issue from orders from overseas.

Most of the “grape harvest celebrations” along the country were suspended in Santa Cruz, San Fernando, Curicó and Talca, because most of the harvest workers and agricultures have serious damage in their “adobe” homes and also, most of the wineries have to clean and fix the cellars and damage constructions to start the white grape harvest along the countryside.

Thanks to reports made by mosto.cl, the coast area of Leyda and San Antonio are in general fine, however, Casa Marin´s Casona from Lo Abarca is falling down after 2 prior earthquakes in the past, and will start the repair as soon as they can. They did not have major wine losses, so they will have no problem to respond to importers and distributors orders internationally. In the case of Casas del Bosque in Casablanca Valley, they lost approximately 5.000 lts. from some barrels falling down, and the touristic facilities are 100% working. In Maipo valley, the reports confirm no major losses, considering the vineyards are fine and the constructions survived.

In Curicó Valley, Miguel Torres winery informed that 300 barrels were smashed, as well as a 100.000 liters´ tanks got broken. Miguel Torres Maczassek, the fifth generation in charge of the winery in Chile started to collect data to help their workers and according to local press donated 50.000 euros to the municipality of Curico to help the devastation of the area.

According to vinorama, the sommelier in charge informed that Francisco Gillmore´s sister died in a terrible moment of the earthquake and they had 20% of loss. In the case of Louise-Antoine Luyt –from Clos Ouvert, in Cauquenes, Maule–, calculates a 70% loss. “All barrels and some tanks are down, however the cellar stayed ok. His house was destroyed”

The movement of independent vinters MOVI informed that Polkura lost part of 2009 wine; Erasmo from Francesco Marone is with minor damage.

After a desperate request from viticulturalist Renan Cancino to get help in the wake of the tragedy to Sauzal, Garage Wine Co., lead by the owner Derek Mossman started a “Carignan Crusade” to help the growers and the neighbouring town of Sauzal, which is next to Cauquenes. This area is precisely the zone where the dry-farmed old-vine Carignan grows. These vines are part of Chilean wine history. They decided to donate the remaining stocks of Carignan 2008 that had kept for counter samples and posterity and send these funds to the people who need them.

Darué Bernard, owner of "Las Niñas Winery" in Apalta in the Colchagua Valley said to La Tercera newspaper that lost 160.000 lits. of wine and 11 years of work due to the major damage in tanks, barrels and infrastructure.

The total loss of wine according to wine association “Vinos de Chile” is approximately 125 million liters, including bulk, bottled, and aging wine, which means about US$ 250 million, which represents a loss of just 12.5% compared to 2009.



Although 2009 was a black year for Italian exports, -20% according to the official government statistics, for Italian wine it was an all time record year with an increase in the overall volume of wine exported which was close to 10%, even if the value of the wine exported totaled -6% from the point of view of price.

A success?

Absolutely, even if there is little to cheer about because the results were achieved at the cost of painful sacrifices on the part of the cellars: a lowering of prices to the break-even point and, for those accustomed to sell only bottled wine, forced sales of surplus wine in bulk to the sole advantage of commercial bottlers who paid fire-sale prices. Not to speak of the price of the grapes during the 2009 harvest, purchased at drastically lowered prices.

The system managed to hold its own, however, indicating that this is a healthy sector of the Italian economy, one which has developed with many different compartments and components which work together for mutual benefit. It was a sector which was not compelled to resort of layoffs, did not need the assistance of government support

programs, and did not waste time with the usual pointless diatribes of home-grown polemicists: native grapes versus well known French varieties, territory versus less identifiable sources, new oak barrels versus older casks, international taste versus typical character. 

2009 was certainly not a lark, the entrepreneurs of the sector were forced to double their efforts and tighten their belts but gained results which none of their European rivals, above all the French, could even come close to.

The prospects for the export of Italian wine in 2010 are rosy.The weakening of the euro against other currencies will be of great assistance in non-European markets.

The objective of exporting at least an additional 2.5 million hectolitres of wine in the coming year is an entirely feasible objective for Italy.

Stocks of wine will inevitably decrease, at least partially due to lower production in the 2008 and 2009 vintages.

The support programmed by the EEC and aimed at compensating producers for crop thinning (the elimination of surplus grape bunches during the growing season, normally before the phase of the colour change of the grapes), if intelligently directed by the cooperative cellars of Italy’s centre and south and correctly and carefully carried out by the associated growers, will contribute to maintaining lower levels of production and balancing supply and demand. And so there is a chance that Italy could arrive at the 2010 harvest this coming fall with some prospects of a remuneration - for those who either sell their grapes or confer them to cooperative cellars - which will at least balance the cost of their production. 

Exports, which are of great benefit for the country, must become of obsessive importance for those producers of wine who intend to maintain their firms in healthy and competitive shape.


cellar spartico





Easy to drink, fruity and healthy varietal from Spain

Spartico, a Spanish Tempranillo, crafted by Bodegas Iranzo — Spain’s Oldest Estate Bottled Winery at the Finca Cañada Honda at 850 meters above sea level, with evidence of vineyard production dating back to 1335 — is the first USDA Certified Organic No Sulfites Added (NSA) wine from Spain available in major outlets in the USA. The suggested retail price for the wine is $13.99-15.99

cellar elyssia_g


Blend Pinot Noir and Trepat, let it ferment 12 months in the caves and you get a lively raspberry pink cava,  full in colour, with lively mid-sized bubbles, persistent in the glass and forming a full crown.

This attractive cava from Freixenet was elaborated by methode champenoise, and  spent more than 12 months of aging in underground caves. It  is full of intensely ripe summer red fruit aromas – summer raspberries, red currants and cherries, with a beautifully balanced acidity, and a long  refreshing finish. 11,50% alcohol.

The Pinot Noir,  a grape variety with a low tannic structure, not particularly full bodied, but elegantly fruity on the palate, is harvested at the beginning of September in Mas Bernich estate, in the village of Masquefa in the High Penedes. The Mas Bernich estate covers 92 hectares of sandy chalk, of which 15 are Pinot Noir.  

The Trepat, which is a later ripener, is harvested towards the end of September, and has its origins in Serral, part of the region of Conca de Barbera, in the province of Tarragona, a naturally chalky area, with soils low in organic matter. The climate of this alluvial valley creates a perfect environment for vine growing, and in particular the Trepat varietal, creating a clean, light, refreshing structure with great aromatic expression.

Retail price: $18




cellar petits grains

Made from the Muscat à Petits Grains grape, Les Petits Grains comes from the St. Jean de Minervois appellation of France, located near the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea between the Pyrennées Mountains and the Rhône River. The unique combination of limestone-rich soil, ample sunshine, and northerly winds contributes to the wine’s character, freshness and finesse.
Les Petits Grains’ nectar-like unctuousness, lively aromas, and clean finish make it an excellent wine to accompany desserts or cheeses or  to enjoy by itself. Best served chilled, it is full of the lush ripe flavors of apricot, mango, mandarin and honey, with an intensely gold color and a bouquet that reveals hints of peaches, orange zest and spice. Les Petits Grains is rich on the palate – but not in price. A bottle (375 ml) retails for an affordable $10.
 In New York, Chef Jean-Pierre Vuillermet, along with five other renowned Maîtres Cuisiniers de France chefs from the tri-state area: Chef Claude Godard of Madison Bistro;  Chef Jean-Louis Gerin of Restaurant Jean-Louis; Chef Jean-Michel Bergougnoux of L’Absinthe Brasserie; Chef Luc Pasquier of Jack’s Oyster House and Chef Jacques Sorei of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, created his sumptuous "Gratin of Poached Pears with Spice, Saffron and Les Petits Grains Sabayon" at  a decadent Les Petits Grains “Luscious Desserts Only” promotion.




cellar fine wine photo

The Best American Wines 
winners of  this year's American Fine Wine Competition
At this year's American Fine Wine Competition held this past January at the Lincoln (formerly Florida) Culinary Institute the winners were:   WHITE  2008 Ferrante Winery Signature Series Grand River Valley, and RED:  2007 Turnbull Wine Cellars Oakville


rocio osborne


Easy to drink, fruity blends from Spain

For more than 200 years The Spanish winemaking family Osborne has had a major presence in Spain and Portugal  most notably for producing sherry (jerez). Most people recognize the Osborne brand by the black bull, el Toro de Osborne, which has, over the years, been adopted as a symbol of Spain itself.

But the latest Osborne is much , much younger. She’s Rocio Alonso-Allende Osborne, the sixth generation of the family to undertake winemaking. Reflective of her generation, Rocío keeps in the public eye with a blog, Facebook page and Twitter site, all of which remind us that winemaking, just like wine itself, is a living, ever-changing endeavor.

Because Osborne’s family estate is outside the DO (denominacion de origen, which strictly controls which grapes may be grown and vinified, similar to Italy’s DOC and DOCG laws), they also grow grape varietals more familiar to most Americans, including cabernet sauvignon, merlot and shiraz, aka syrah.

wine competition2

JANUARY 17 – 18, 2010
The Best American Wines 

Sight, Smell and Sip” summarizes what it takes to enjoy wine. But to evaluate wine, one must have the perspective that comes with a good palate and experience. 

By Monty and Sara Preiser
Publishers, The Preiser Key to Napa Valley


Part I : Adastra, Ceja, Cuvaison, and Donum


By Bruce Nichols

Wine lovers often will speak of a grape “epiphany,” some transformative wine they’ve had, walking among the vines of a revered vineyard, or perhaps the poetic passion of winemaker as he or she speaks of their land and the wines they produce. I’ve had a few over the years, quite a few come to think of it, but the latest awakening took me by surprise. It was a sauvignon blanc, a grape, as a writer, I have not been especially kind to.  


Discovering the delights of native grapes with:
Dusan Brejc, director of Slovenian Wine Commission; Darinko Ribolica, winemaker at Goriska Brda; Primoz Susmelj of 1894 Vipava wineries, Vivapa Valley




The good things in life - history, culture, food, and stunning landscapes. 

More wine is produced in this area than in the entire United States. For decades it was France's bulk-wine-growing region, producing more than a third of the grapes in France. But it all changed about 10 years ago when it became a focus for outside investors and bold winemakers, who couldn't afford land in Bordeaux or Burgundy, discovered the great promise of the Languedoc.



Cleavage Creek, Napa, CA, is owned by Budge Brown, 77, who lost his wife of 48 years to breast cancer in 2005. A businessman and a farmer, Mr. Brown obtained the Cleavage Creek label after deciding that he wanted to fight the disease and raise awareness so that others would not suffer as his wife had.

Food & Wine Talk Radio

Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
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The House of Mandela Wines from South Africa


Chef Scott Conant: Scarpetta


Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor


Elizabeth Minchilli, author of  Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.  


James Beard Award-winning wine journalist Lyn Farmer on: Garnacha from Carinena; the next great wine


Cindy Hutson,chef/owner, Ortanique and Zest, author of From the Tip of My Tongue


Lidia Batianich, celebrity chef, TV host, author and restaurateur 






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