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Concha y Toro, which owns 2,656 acres of vineyards including 1,144 acres at Fetzer and Bonterra in Mendocino, claims to be the world’s largest owner of vineyards since Treasury Estates sold the 275 acres around its venerable Asti Winery to Gallo, dropping it to 10,670.

C&T claims to be adding around 500-720 acres of vineyards every year through planting and acquiring.

However, Fred Franzia of Bronco Wines and his family owned more than 40,000 acres in California.

Most of that land is relatively inexpensive, I suspect. Some big landlords in Napa, like Beckstoffer or Laird or even in Sonoma and elsewhere like the Gallos or the Jackson family, could own more value.

Nomacork adds screwcaps and oak corks

Nomacork is the leading supplier of synthetic wine bottle closures, with sales of 2 billion per year, but it must want to cover all bases. Its parent company, Vinventions, has acquired Rudolf Ohlinger, which makes Weincap screwcap, and itself bought Juvenal, a cork manufacturing company. It is also the exclusive distributor of VinoLok glass closures.

Vinventions was basically Nomacork until January, when Bespoke Capital Partners and the founder and chairman of Nomacorc, Marc Noël, bought Nomacorc from Summit Partners.

Has alcohol consumption passed its peak?

The Economist of the U.K. speculates that alcoholic beverage consumption peaked in 2012, as dropping consumption per capita in Europe and relatively flat drinking in the U.S. and Brazil have not yet been balanced by rising consumption in China.

Russia grew rapidly until about 2008, and has declined steadily since.

The vast majority of that consumption is beer, with more than two-thirds of the total.

Per capita beer and wine consumption are about equal, though spirits are growing a bit faster.

China is the biggest market with 27 percent of the total in 2014, according to the Economist. The U.S. was No. 2 at 12 percent. Next highest was Brazil with 5.7 percent and Russian with 5.2 percent.

Napa cabernet sauvignon prices

Gabriel Froymovich of Vineyard Financial Associates has researched the price per ton of Napa cabernet sauvignon grapes back to 1991 in 2014 dollars.

It dipped slightly from $3,000 in 1991 to about $2,500 in 1994, then rose steadily to $5,000 in 2002, then slid a bit, rising in 2008 and 2009 before dropping again to about $4,700, but has risen sharply since 2010 to the $6,000 last year (The prices are for the middle 50 percent of the market).

Red bubblies are back

Back when I was first drinking wine, Riuinte Lambrusco, a sweet red sparkling wine from Italy, was very popular, but it faded from view, mostly becoming a joke among serious wine lovers.

Now Lambrusco is back, albeit in more sophisticated, less-syrupy forms.

It shouldn’t be surprising. Sparklers, especially prosecco, fruity sweetish red wine blends and rosé wines are also very popular, and a good Lambrusco sort of combines all three.

Australians have long loved sparkling shiraz (syrah), Domaine Chandon sells a sparkling red, and Mumm Napa a sparkling pinot noir.

I found them excellent with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with the assortment of tastes (food and people).

Watch what you eat

Wine writer Dave McIntyre at the excellent Washington Post, which I’ve been reading since it comes with my subscription to the Register, reports that a clever sommelier in Charlottesville, Virginia, looks for clues even before she talks to you.

Erin Scala at Fleurie said, “I learn a bit about their palates by what they order, and even how they eat their bread,” she says. “If they load their bread with butter and salt, I will reach for a more intense wine. Or their cocktail order: Someone who orders a shot of Patrón will have different tastes in wine than someone who orders a rye Manhattan with a specific type of vermouth. If they ask for ice in their water, they probably like their wines colder than I typically store them, so I might give the wines an extra chill.”

I’ll have to be more vigilant.

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