Diageo to sell wine brands?

Many reports from the U.K. say that Diageo has put up its wine brands for sale. They include Beaulieu, Sterling, Acacia and Provenance here.

May 14, 2015 4:52 pm(0)

The buzz on APAC

Everyone in the wine business seems to be talking about the 17-member Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee appointed by the county commissioners to take a look at possible tweaks to the Winery Definition Ordinance and other parts of the agricultural laws.

April 30, 2015 2:24 pm(1)

First California Green awards

Napa County has garnered two of the four first annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.

April 16, 2015 12:31 pm(0)

Arsenic in wine

The wine industry has been buzzing about a report that some inexpensive wines from big companies contained excessive alcohol.

April 02, 2015 12:28 pm(0)

Yao Family Wines to raise $3 million

Yao Family Wines plans to raise $3 million via Crowdfunder, a website for entrepreneurs to get funding from fans.

March 19, 2015 12:06 pm(0)

Jon Bonné sliding from Chronicle

Wine writer Jon Bonné is ending his full-time employment at the San Francisco Chronicle, and will be writing only a monthly column. He’s joined the online website Punch as wine columnist.

March 05, 2015 4:07 pm(1)

Premiere Napa Valley on Saturday

Saturday is Premiere Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Vintners’ trade wine auction, but it really follows days of events leading up to the big day by local wineries and groups of wineries — with more parties following on Sunday as well.

February 19, 2015 2:57 pm(0)

Wine exports up, value down

U.S. wine exports hit a record high of $1.56 billion in 2013, up 16 percent from 2012 (and up from $621 million a decade ago).

February 05, 2015 5:10 pm(0)

Unified Wine & Grape show next week

The 2015 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium will be held next week, Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 27-29, at the Sacramento Convention Center.

January 22, 2015 10:43 am(0)

Who’s brewing?

It’s interesting to see how many local restaurants exploit the quirky law that allows brewpubs to serve spirits:

December 25, 2014 4:28 pm(0)

The Chronicle adds a blow to Spectator’s jabs

Last week, L. Pierce Carson commented on how few Napa Valley wines were in the Wine Spectator’s list of top 100 wines, and this week, the report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Bonné was hardly any better to the valley.

December 11, 2014 11:46 am(7)

Carneros chardonnay tasting marks 30th anniversary

The Carneros Wine Alliance held a tasting of chardonnay wines last week at Domaine Carneros highlighting the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Carneros American Viticultural Area.

November 27, 2014 7:00 pm(0)

Water dominates thinking

Water remains utmost in the minds of California farmers as we end three years of drought and prospects of an El Niño weather system providing a wet year fading.

November 13, 2014 4:32 pm(0)

How many is too much?

With growing public opposition to many new winery and vineyard projects, sentiment seems to be growing to restrict new wineries, perhaps by increasing the minimum parcel size for a new winery from the present 10 acres to 20 or even 40 acres, or to require them to use estate grapes from that property.

October 30, 2014 5:21 pm(0)

Will Durst on the wine business

Rex Stulz of the Napa Valley Vintners passed along a list from comedian Will Durst, who appeared at City Winery on Tuesday. According to Durst, the top 10 reasons “why it doesn’t suck to work in the wine industry” are:

October 14, 2014 11:20 am(0)

Napa growers avoid another disaster

A month after the 6.0 earthquake hit Napa, a freak hailstorm and heavy rains last Friday could have wreaked more havoc on our wine business.

October 02, 2014 2:30 pm(0)

Auction barrel tasting to be at Hall Winery

Next year’s Barrel Tasting for Auction Napa Valley in early June will be in the valley’s newest favorite meeting place, the impressive Hall Winery in St. Helena.

September 18, 2014 6:00 pm(0)

Looking at the quake’s impact

A little over a week later, we can start to put the south Napa quake into perspective.

September 04, 2014 12:34 pm(1)

Big grape crop forecast

California’s wine grape production this year will be 3.9 million tons, down 8 percent from the large 2013 crop, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast. It’s in line from projections by Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers, a large marketing cooperative.

August 21, 2014 4:37 pm(0)

Dry farm for better wine – not to save water

In this drought, it’s not surprising that the seventh Organic Winegrowing Conference scheduled a session on dry farming, and it was very well attended by attendees. But John Williams of dry-farmed Frog’s Leap Winery reminded them, “Dry farming isn’t about saving water. It’s about producing better wine — and long-living vines.”

August 07, 2014 11:18 am(0)

Quixote sold to Chinese-owned firm

Carl Doumani has sold his 6,000-to-8,000-case Quixote winery, vineyard and home in the Stags Leap District to a subsidiary of Le Melange, an American company owned by a Chinese firm. The story was first reported in the Wine Spectator blog by Napan James Laube.

July 24, 2014 12:30 pm(0)

$3 million pledge for Sonoma State University

The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation has pledged $3 million to Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park to build a new home for SSU’s Wine Business institute.

July 10, 2014 12:00 pm(0)

Napa bashing continues

Last week, I attended a wine event in Walla Walla, Washington, designed to highlight the quality of the area’s wines and naturally help increase their renown (and price!) as the Napa Valley Vintners have done so spectacularly well over the years.

June 26, 2014 12:00 pm(2)

Millennial drinkers and other seminar topics

In my reporting on wine, I attend a lot of seminars and conferences. Here are some interesting and offbeat observations from some meetings I’ve attended recently.

June 12, 2014 8:00 pm(0)

Washington junior college wine students can transfer

Wine students at Walla Walla Community College or Yakima Valley Community College in Washington can transfer to several ag degree programs at Washington State University.

May 29, 2014 6:00 pm(0)

City Winery joins Vintners

City Winery threw a party Monday to celebrate its becoming the 500th member of the Napa Valley Vintners.

May 15, 2014 8:00 pm(0)

Santa Rosa moves ahead with wine museum

Organizers are raising money for the planned California Wine Museum in Santa Rosa. They are seeking $3 million to $4 million, a long way from the $50 million-plus spent on Copia here. The museum would occupy the donated “cellar” of a former AT&T telephone switching building on Third Street across from Courthouse Square and on the city’s Transit Mall. The venue would have exhibits starting with 4,500 items from California’s viticultural and oenological history collected by antiques dealer John McCormick.

May 08, 2014 1:20 pm(0)

Somm Journal

Like many specialty magazines, the Sommelier Journal ended publication due to financial pressures, but now it’s been reborn as Somm Journal under publisher and editorial director Meridith May of the Tasting Panel magazine.

April 10, 2014 7:31 pm(0)

Large winery proposed atop Yountville Hills

Eric Sklar of St. Helena, a former owner of Alpha Omega Winery, and Prescott Ashe, who owns Prescott Ashe Vineyards, have applied with the county for new winery with an annual production capacity of 100,000 gallons atop the northwest Yountville hill where dormant Castle in the Clouds B&B now stands.

March 27, 2014 7:41 pm(0)

Top 10 wineries

Wine Business Monthly recently posted its list of the top 10 wineries in the U.S. market by sales volume for 2013:

March 13, 2014 7:58 pm(0)

Earn a wine MBA at night – in St. Helena

Someone interested in the wine business traditionally studies enology and viticulture, and while everyone in the wine business in Napa Valley knows about the viticulture and enology programs at UC Davis, Fresno State University and Napa Valley College, but they may not know much about another important source of wine education.

February 13, 2014 7:29 pm(0)

Wine industry hears mostly great news

The Sacramento Convention Center welcomed 13,000 members of the wine industry this week for the 20th annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, the Western Hemisphere’s largest wine trade show.

January 30, 2014 6:49 pm(0)

Celebrating a centennial

Grapegrowers, home gardeners, ranchers and even schoolchildren in 4-H will celebrate the 100th anniversary this year of the legislation that created Cooperative Extension, the community-based education that’s part of California’s land grant university system.

January 16, 2014 11:39 am(0)

Cider returns to American tables — and bars

One of the fastest-growing beverage categories in America is hard cider, light, usually bubbly wine made from apples.

December 26, 2013 6:05 pm(0)

CabFestNV coming

The first Napa Valley Cabernet Festival, CabFestNV, is scheduled for March 1 and 2 at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater. It will be a weekend filled with wine, food, parties and entertainment. Passes will be available at

December 19, 2013 8:21 pm(0)

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Safety, recreation collide at airport

Safety, recreation collide at airport

Barry Christian stood on the new levee trail south of Napa one day recently and enjoyed the expansive views. Distant mountains, adjacent tidal wetlands and the Brazos railroad drawbridge crossing the Napa River are part of the scenery.

May 24, 2015 6:00 am Photos



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