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Wine Shorts


A PORT BY ANY OTHER NAME – STILL AS SWEET?

A lot of US-made wines carry European place names, and Port is one of them. But as European countries and the EU (European Union) have ramped up to protect those names in international trade, American producers see their brand names and brand recognition threatened, with good reason. If an American producer can’t call its wine “Port” anymore, substituting “Sweet red dessert wine made in the traditional Portugese style with four noble grapes” probably won’t work so well, either. So, what to call these wines, that the TTB (the US regulatory agency for wineries) will allow? Wines & Vines magazine covers the issue and talks to some California winemakers dealing with the problem.

PROSECCO GRANTED D.O.C. STATUS

A larger area that produces Italy’s sparkling wine Prosecco (made from a grape of the same name) has been granted DOC status by the Italian government. As in Champagne, only sparkling wine from this newly-designated region may be legally labeled “Prosecco” beginning August 1st. Prosecco is produced using the Charmat (bulk) method as opposed to the Champenoise method, so it needs to be drunk very young – under two years – and it won’t ever have the lasting fizz of Champagne. Not to worry; it’s a wonderful, refreshing wine nonetheless.

TENNESSEE JOINS NY AND NJ TO CONSIDER WINE SALES IN GROCERY STORES

On March 24, committees of the Tennessee legislature will hold a “study session” to consider allowing grocery and convenience stores to begin selling wine. New York and New Jersey are also looking at similar bills…and there’s a lot of contention around them all. Wine and liquor stores generally oppose these laws, but small wineries in particular seem to welcome them. Their view is that grocery stores represent potential new markets, because they are often ignored by retailers and distributors. And while consumers may benefit, how many small grocers and convenience store operators will have knowledgeable wine staff? The decisions of these lawmakers will surely make some people happy and many others, well, whine.

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