Fighting the Funk in Funky Wine
Scientists in Australia have sequenced the Brettanomyces genome – a breakthrough that will ‘future-proof’ the industry against spoilage by the yeast organism known as brett.
Brett is widely know to spoil wine with medicinal or metallic flavors, often described as “funk”.
‘Sequencing the brett genome, which reveals its genetic blueprint, means the Australian wine industry can future-proof its strategy against brett and the risk of spoilage,’ Australian Wine Research Institute managing director Professor Sakkie Pretorius said.
Describing brett as ‘the enemy’, Dr Chris Curtin, the lead AWRI researcher on the Brett genomics project, said they could now investigate the potential for brett to develop a ‘super strain’ that would be resistant to sulphites, the common method for dealing with the organism.
Quite a boring story to lead off with, but it certainly has major implications for the wine industry. My question is what do they plan to do with this “solution”? Notice how Prof. Sakkie stated; “…the Australian wine industry can future-proof its strategy…”.
I wonder how much “the recipe against Brett” is worth to other Countries?
Steve Heimoff Jumps the Social Media Shark . . . again
Oh dear. There’s a war a-brewing!
For those of you who don’t know who Steve Heimoff is, let me fill you in. He’s a highly regarded wine writer, previously served as West Coast editor of Wine Enthusiast, contributor to Wine Spectator, vocal democrat, and has also authored a couple of wine books. He also seems to be whole-heartedly of the opinion that social media has little relevance to the wine industry.
Paul Mabray, is the Chief Strategy Officer for Vintank, a “Digital Think Tank for the Wine Industry, and probably the foremost authority on social media in the industry.
Clearly there may be a little friction between the two.
“There is no question that Steve Heimoff is a professional, extremely successful wine writer and critic. While I respect his decades of industry experience, his continual statements on his blog about the value of social media are not only ignorant but seemingly motivated by his desire to generate more web traffic to his blog. His obsession with the medium is not surprising, considering that online continues to erode traditional print publication and is evolving more quickly than ever in history. In fact, it constitutes a tremendous percentage of his blog posts (#2 only to wine). But what is grossly obvious is either his complete inability to grasp the transformational change of social media or his desire to evoke the ire of the Blogosphere/Twitterati/Facebook natives.”
I, of course, side with Paul Mabray on this one. Steve Heimoff is so off the mark it’s unreal.
It should never be suggested that social media can replace all other forms of media. But to ignore it altogether is dangerous. Once you’ve seen the positive impact of social media on any business, it’s impossible to refute its relevance.
The Web 2.0 phase that we’re experiencing is still a fairly recent phenomena, and still hasn’t anywhere close to realized its full potential. I’d like to check back with Steve in another few years, and see if he still shares the same point of view. I highly doubt it.
Wine on Tap is the Hot New Trend…this Week…
There’s a new trend in wine packaging, and it borrows from its beer brethren. Restaurants have begun keeping wines in kegs, and pouring it out of a tap.
Keeping wine on tap reduces packaging and storage space, saves time opening bottles — some of which might be corked — and allows restaurants to keep a selection of wines by the glass fresher than they tend to stay when they’re kept in a bottle on the counter or in a fridge for who knows how many days.
For Steve Rose, chef/owner of the Vineyards Inn Spanish Bar & Grill in Kenwood, it’s all that and also about being environmentally conscious.
“I believe in it,” he said. “It’s my passion to be as green as possible.”
Rose recently designed his own tap system to pour 14 different wines, from whites and rosés that are kept in the restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator to a selection of reds kept at room temperature. Each keg holds 1.5 gallons, depending on pour size (the average is 5 ounces) or about 130 glasses worth of wine. Nitrogen is used to keep the wines fresh and once the kegs are empty, they’re returned to their respective wineries to be cleaned and re-used.
I like it, although I think there’s still some work to be done. It’s true that you’re going to avoid a wine being “corked”, but what about all the other flaws?
A perfect example of this is when – about a year and a half ago – I decided to test out a wine on tap system for a wine bar I was (and still am) running. I ordered the product (a White Bordeaux and a Red Rhone), and poured my first glass from the tap. Oxidized. I opened another. Oxidized. I opened another. Oxidized.
This is only one example, granted, but it did slightly turn my off the idea on wine on tap systems. Saying they won’t be affected by cork-taint is one thing, but there’s still plenty of other ways that wine can “go bad”.
Giant Egg-Shaped Wine Tanks Invade Milan Wine Show!
As iconic and seductively curved as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo., the egg-shaped wooden fermenter displayed by Bordeaux-based master artisan Joseph François may be the image many visitors will retain of SIMEI 2011 (wine trade show in Milan).
“The Biodynamic producers who like this shape are interested in the natural vortex it allows the wine to create. It has no corners to baffle and disturb motion. In theory, Brownian motion will naturally be directed by coreolis forces to establish a natural vortex in such a tank, constantly refreshing lees contact and thus protecting and enriching the wine,” he said. [NB: Natural vortexes, coreolis forces, and Brownian motion!?!? I’m sold!!! I’m buying 2!!!]
“We have not verified these claims, but for sure, the tourists love the look.” [Ahhhh…ok….there you go! The real selling point!]
The craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal is undeniable, and even the 27,000-euro price tag seems cheap compared to concrete eggs one- fifth the size now selling for 4,000 euros.
Damn! I don’t even make wine, and I want one right in the middle of my living-room!