This Week In Wine–1/8/12

This Week in Wine - A Recap of Wine News from Around the World

This is my "my restaurant is closing" face...Charlie Trotter’s Closing in Chicago

Charlie Trotter plans to close his famous Chicago restaurant in August, 25 years after it opened in a Lincoln Park townhouse and quickly became a national destination.

Trotter, 52, has said that he would close the 120-seat restaurant that bears his name to travel and go to school, after being accepted to graduate programs at schools in Chicago and California to study philosophy and political theory

Charlie Trotter’s has a two-star Michelin rating, but has been viewed as slightly staid and surpassed by restaurants run by younger chefs, including Grant Achatz, who worked in the Trotter’s kitchen before opening his own restaurant, Alinea.

Mr. Trotter said that the restaurant was not closing for financial reasons. A take-out restaurant, Trotter’s To Go, will remain open, he said, and he planned to start another restaurant after what he described as his sabbatical.

Click here for the full article.

My Thoughts

Shame, I’d always wanted to get to Trotter’s ever since reading his “Lessons in Service” and “Lessons in Excellence” books many years ago. I feel his pain, having recently closed the restaurant I was General Manager of for 7 years. The restaurant business is a tough mistress, and no doubt it takes a lot out of you for very little reward.
There are 101 reasons why a restaurant closes, but no-one can ever take away the fact that Charlie Trotter was (and still is) one of the most respected culinary figures in the industry. I wish him the best, but good luck getting a reservation at Trotter’s! I can only imagine he’s going to be booked (if not already) all the way up-to the closing in August!

Not cool.BMD Designs the ‘Coolest Wine Bar Ever’

The centuries-old art of sipping, tasting and sniffing wine is getting an upgrade. Earlier this month, the IFC Mall in Hong Kong saw the opening of Amo Eno, an interactive wine bar that combines technology and design to offer a wine tasting experience. The bar uses a special multi-touch LCD table powered by Surface 2.0 technology that acts as a menu, sommelier and wine handbook. A social media component lets you share where you are and what you’re drinking with your friends.

Amo Eno is the brainchild of Andrew Bradbury, the self-professed wine and tech geek who tried similar outings earlier, with 55 Degrees in Las Vegas, which was all about imbibing vino while reposing in a richly-designed space, and Clo in New York’s Time Warner Center, which offered an interactive wine experience. Both outlets have since shut down, for differing reasons, said Bradbury. 55 Degrees closed due to a buyout of the space by MGM, while Clo shut down about a year after Bradbury left. 

Bradbury said that the idea was to offer a forward-thinking, clean and modern space. "It may not have appealed to everyone, but a lot of people liked the space as it wasn’t traditional."

Click here for the full article.

My Thoughts

Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes “the coolest wine bar ever”. To me at least, what is mentioned above isn’t it. The whole idea behind hospitality is the idea of service, and no matter how advanced computers get, they will never able able to replicate the inter-action of 2 humans (no matter what scientists lead us to believe). Enomatic wine machines have their place, but I don’t ever expect them to replace a “good wine guy (or girl)” any day soon.

You saucy Austrian winemaking minx, you...!Young Austrian Winemakers Strip off for Calendar

A group of female Austrian winemakers has posed in scanty underwear for a new calendar that promises to be ‘sexy but not overly erotic’.

The Jungwinzerinnen, or Young Female Winemakers calendar 2012 is the brainchild of publisher Ellen Ledermüller-Reiner who started work on the project nine years ago.
‘It really helps the wineries, because we get so much publicity from the calendar, which is a big hit. It should attract attention and be sexy, but not be cheap or overly erotic,’ she said.

Some 3,500 copies have been made of the calendar, which are on sale for €25. They can be ordered online from the extremely sketchy-looking

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My Thoughts

A cool marketing ploy to bring attention to a wine producing country that gets very little media attention otherwise….and no, I’m not just saying that’s because I’m a guy and I’m into wine, and therefore powerless to resist this kind of thing!!! Well, maybe I am, a little..

Don't judge a wine by its....actually....that doesn't apply here...Wine Labels Losing Manners

It’s peppery and full of fight. The tannins have grip. The nose takes no prisoners. This shiraz is a bitch.

It says so on the label. Royal Bitch is the name of the wine, one of a teeming sisterhood of cabernets and chardonnays from a variety of producers with labels like Sassy Bitch, Jealous Bitch, Tasty Bitch and Sweet Bitch. They’re reinforcements for a growing army of rude, budget-priced wines that have shoved their way into wine stores and supermarkets in the past few years — most recently Happy Bitch, a Hudson Valley rose that made its debut last month.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, an agency of the Treasury Department, approves about 120,000 applications for wine labels every year. Most names are traditional, often genteel, especially at the lower price points. Then there are the others. Wines like the Ball Buster, BigAss Red, or even Stench, an Australian sparkler from R Winery, the company that collaborated with the American importer Dan Philips of the Grateful Palate in 2004 to get the postfeminist ball rolling with a Grenache named, simply, Bitch.

Click here for the full article.

My Thoughts

Everyone has a choice in their purchasing decisions, and the only reason these wines are so popular is that people are buying them. Simple. There will always being a market for "wines with cool labels”, and all companies like the R Winery are doing is taking the “critter wines” of past-years a step further. It is however wrong to assume that this is the future of wine as we know it. I should hope Millenials are much smarter than to take these wines for anything more than face (or label) value.

Been Doon so long!In Battle to Save Bonny Doon Vineyards, Scientists Try Tricking Bacteria

Every grapevine in the 28-acre Bonny Doon Vineyard had to be ripped from the earth and torched in 1994. New vines might have faced the same fate the following year. Instead, owner Randall Grahm, numb from years of battling an incurable plague, sold his whole vineyard of dead and dying Syrah, Viognier and Marsanne grapes.

Pierce’s disease drained more than $30 million out of Northern California’s $3 billion-a-year grape industry in the late ’90s. The wine industry retaliated with millions of dollars of pest-management and protection measures — in a battle it’s still fighting. Now, scientists have come up with a new and cheaper tactic: Confuse the germs as soon as the sharpshooter delivers them into a healthy vine. And it couldn’t come at a better time for Grahm, who just bought land for a new vineyard in Bonny Doon.

Glassy-winged sharpshooters, the pest that carry Pierce’s Disease, have been in California since the 19th century, and have been growing in numbers ever since. Their crosshairs are on almonds, stone fruits, citrus and grapes. Scientists are now investigating less costly methods of managing the sharpshooters and the spread of Pierce’s disease. Steve Lindow, a plant pathologist from UC Berkeley, is using something similar to a Jedi mind trick: Convince the bacteria they’ve already caused disease.

Click here for the full article.

My Thoughts

I can see how hard it must be for wineries to try and minimize (due to the supposed consumer demand for organic products) the use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides; but with crap like this destroying vineyards, what other choice do they have?

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