Bulk Wine Briefs
· A healthy wine grape harvest in California in 2012, coupled with an expected robust harvest in 2013, have the state’s wineries slowing down their purchase of bulk wine grapes from foreign sources (mostly Chile, Argentina and Australia) and ramping up their deliveries from bulk wine producers in their own backyard, according to recent reports. At mid-year, U.S. bulk wine imports were down by 22 percent, noted the authoritative Gomberg-Fredrikson Report.
· Were the ancient Romans the first producers of bulk wine? Could be, says a winemaker-slash-archeologists examining a pair of structures in Oplontis, a town near Pompeii that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. According to Dr. Michael Thomas, head of the Oplontis Project that is studying the site, one of the structures first thought to be a wealthy citizen’s villa is more likely an ancient wine co-op, where grapes from surrounding vineyards were pressed into wine, which was then shipped by boat to other, thirstier areas. The Oplontis Project plans release of an ebook documenting its findings, as well as “fully navigable 3D models” to enable others to conduct further studies.
· The weather in Bordeaux is notorious for it fickleness and occasional brutality, evidenced again this summer by hailstorms that damaged almost 62,000 acres of vineyards. To make up for the shortfall of wine grapes, the local governing body has allowed vintners to purchase bulk wine of specified appellations and vintages until July of next year. Bordeaux winemakers have also asked the French government for emergency help, so far to no avail.