California top ten grapes

In Uncategorized on March 7, 2016 at 10:28 am

I’m in the middle of writing a class on California wine, so I’m going through acreage statistics (2014), and found some things I thought were interesting.

#1- Chardonnay, 97k acres. I just thought this was kind of interesting because I would have assumed Cabernet would be #1. And, while red wine acreage does outpace white, 310k acres vs 185k, Chardonnay is still the #varietal for the state.

#2- Cabernet, 87k acres. No surprise here.

#3- Zinfandel, 47k acres. Not a shock, although I would have assumed Merlot would be ahead of Zinfandel.

#4-Merlot, 44k acres.

#5- Pinot Noir, 42k acres. Again, no surprise, Pinot Noir is extremely popular. But what stands out to me is the change in relative plantings. In 2004, Pinot Noir was still the #4 red grape, but with 24k acres, compared to 51k for Zinfandel and 54k for Merlot.

#6- French Colombard, 22k acres. This one caught me off guard. I had heard of the former glory of French Colombard in California, it was the most widely planted white grape in the state until it was usurped by Chardonnay in the 70s and 80s (Thanks, Chateau Montelena). Colombard has been on a steady downward trend since the height of its popularity (that 22k is down from 29k in 2004), but I thought it interesting that the 5th most widely planted wine grape in the state is one which most consumers aren’t even aware exists. The grape is rarely bottled itself, and is used primarily for blending or distillation.

#7- Syrah, 18k acres. I feel like Syrah has had a rough road among American consumers. A group of passionate and dedicated winemakers in the central coast lead the charge in planting Syrah, along with other Rhone varieties in the late 90s and early 2000s, but consumer response has been mixed, and the grape is currently experiencing a downward trend in total planted acres.

#8-Sauvignon Blanc, 15k acres

#9- Pinot Gris, 15k acres

#10- Rubired, 12k acres. This was one I hadn’t heard of before, it’s kind of interesting. It’s a hybrid of two Portuguese varieties, and it’s a tienturier grape, meaning it has both red skin and red flesh. Most red wine grapes are only red on the outside, their flesh is white. As a result, Rubired can produce extremely deeply colored juice, and can be added by winemakers wishing to produce more deeply colored wines.

I made a podcast

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2016 at 2:52 pm

I made a podcast to accompany this blog. You can listen. It is here Or you can search for I Think About Wine on itunes. Enjoy my dulcet tones.

Mancan: the latest thing I hate.

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm

I’m not going to link to it, because I don’t want to run the risk of driving traffic to their website, but suffice it to say, yet another product has hit the market that is trading on the tropes of wine being “too complicated” and “not manly”, both premises that I find generally offensive. Here’s why.

  1. The “man” part. There is an implication inherent any time you put the word ‘man’ in front of any other word: that whatever it is was once not for men, but now it is. Purses aren’t for men? Solution: man-purse! Chapstick too girly? Boom! Dude-stick (yes, that’s a real thing). Want to enjoy a refreshing glass of sangria without being in danger of having your man-card revoked? Magria (also real). Want to put your flowing locks up, but don’t want anybody equating it with some wussy girl hairstyle? Man-bun. Want to drink wine, but afraid your friends will call you a faggot for using a wine glass? Mancan. Gender equality can go fuck a rock.
  2. You’re giving canned wine a bad name. I don’t object to wine being put in a can. At all. Ten years ago, nobody thought craft beer in a can would ever fly, and guess what! But Mancan trades on nothing but the gimmick of its packaging, you can tell by the name. There are two aspects to this wine. It is for dudes, and it is in a can. I’m all for quality wine in alternative packaging. I take canned and boxed wine camping all the time. It’s lightweight and convenient, it’s great! But I take those wines because I think they’re quality wines, regardless of their packaging. And to be clear, I have not even tried these wines, and for all I know, what’s in the can could be totally legit juice. But the packaging will still be profoundly stupid and misogynistic.
  3. Mancan is not original. Sorry, can-bro, but you’re not breaking any new ground here. Wine in a can has been on the market for several years at this point, so your product whose only distinguishing factor is the fact that it’s in a can just isn’t that interesting.
  4. This quote from the website: “OUT WITH A FRIEND AT A BAR, GRAHAM WISHED HE COULD ORDER WINE, BUT DIDN’T WANT A “SAUVIGNON BLANC” OR “PINOT” IN STEMWARE WHEN HIS FRIEND HAD A CAN OF BEER. HE BOUGHT MANCANWINE.COM THAT NIGHT.”   Graham sounds like a cartoonishly insecure douchebag. Seriously bro-Graham, if your masculinity is so fragile that you’re unwilling to touch a wine glass, I think you need to do some soul-searching.
  5. Seriously, what the fuck is up with the quotation marks around the grape varieties? It’s not like Pinot Noir is a nickname, or slang, or colloquialism. It’s just the name of the grape. I’m sincerely asking this question here: do you know the purpose of quotation marks? I’m not even judging. It’s not your fault brah, the public school system failed you. The internet is here to help. 
  6. Now that I think of it, what bar were you in where your bro-friend was actually drinking beer out of a can? Again, I’m not judging, it’s just that the story doesn’t hold together. I can only think of two circumstances where one would normally be drinking beer from a can in a bar; either it’s a dive bar where you’re drinking Beast Ice ironically because it’s 50 cents a can during happy hour, or it’s a progressive craft bar that serves one of the many great craft beers now available in a can. The thing is, if it’s the dive bar, you really shouldn’t drink the wine there anyway, and if it’s the craft bar, don’t they serve the can with a pint glass? I’m just saying.
  7. I want to flesh out the misogyny inherent in this attitude that certain things are for women, and are therefore unmasculine and gross/embarrassing/shameful. You understand that the inherent implication there is that it is gross/embarrassing/shameful to be a woman, right? And, I mean, if that’s the way you feel, I guess that’s a whole different issue, but if it’s not, you seriously need to spend some time on introspection. Personally, I love women. A woman carried me in her body, which I super appreciate, and every person I’ve ever done naked bedroom wrestling with has been a woman, and I legit LOVE naked bedroom wrestling. And that’s just my own selfish perspective. Beyond gestation and sex, it’s super important that all people, but men in particular begin dismantling traditional gender-assigned rules and roles, because with the exception of anatomy, there is basically nothing that is inherently male or female, from clothing to behavior to hairstyle, and most definitely not wine in a can.
  8. Finally, where does this idea that wine isn’t dudely enough even come from? Seriously, wine gets you drunk just as good as beer does, guys.