wine bottles

What’s Going On In The Wine Industry? Seven Growing Developments To Keep Up With In 2020

Being a newcomer to the wine industry isn’t easy these days. Interestingly enough, the same goes for wine aficionados.

Talk about a great equalizer, right? The former is being faced with a culture shift: a gradual pull away from strong alcohol percentages in favor of lighter seltzers, spritzers and outright non-alcoholic artisan drinks. The latter has to deal with the industry being turned upside down and shaken for all its loose change. That’s not even touching on the side-effects of climate change. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, there’s always something new to learn. Keeping up with every little detail in the global wine industry is a fool’s game.

Here’s to trying!

I’ve listed seven growing developments in the wine industry to keep an eye out for, whether you’re getting into wine for the first time this year or have been loyally sipping cabernet sauvignon for the past fifteen plus.

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party clinking wine glasses

What Improves Wine Quality? It’s Not Just The Aging Process That Brings Out The Flavor

‘A little goes a long way’ is an age-old adage many of us are familiar with. It stresses the need for appreciating smaller details and how they make up a better whole. It’s why my mother’s chai tea always tastes better than anything I could get in a cafe: there’s nothing quite like a dollop of love.

This mentality stretches far and wide, up to and including the wine industry. Unsurprising, as a mere year difference in the barrel can completely transform flavor notes and aroma. Viticulture, in particular, is rising as a subtle and extremely important touch-up to the winemaking process: it involves tiny changes in how vines interact with their environment, from sunlight exposure to leaf trimming. Even fruit thinning, an idea that can seem odd at a glance in a quantity-focused world, is considered paramount in creating robust, subtle flavors.

If you’re looking for a little more insight into the ever complex winemaking process, give this Forbes piece a look. It’s a little lengthy, but all the better for it. I’m walking away this afternoon with a whole new appreciation for how the little things add up.

Better Late Than Never: Starting Off The Year With A Visit To The Townshend Winery

Ever since taking on wine alongside coffee and tea, I’m facing up again with just how little I know.

So many French and Italian names! So many decades! So much variety! This classic drink has thousands of years to its name and even the most experienced in the industry continue to learn new things about the craft. With the wine industry being faced with a more nebulous interest by several demographics, proposed tariffs and the ongoing impact of environmental changes, I expect everyone is going to see their intimate wine know-how challenged moving forward.

As for me, well…I don’t plan on sitting on my laurels.

My friend’s mother invited me to a Townshend winetasting event in January, set up to celebrate their different varieties and stir up some buzz. It was a night of firsts: I’ve never been to a winetasting event (unless you count my roommate and I popping open a bottle on a Friday night), nor had I ever tried wine straight out of the barrel. Consider me excited to continue seeing what local Washington wine culture is all about.

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Third-wave, gourmet, and artisan coffee — learn which labels are legit. — Coffee with the Queen

A quick glance through the coffee aisle of your local market shows the many ways to describe coffee, and many likely sound interesting but are they all legitimate indicators of quality? Today we are going to cover three often-used, seldom-described coffee labels: third wave, artisan, and gourmet.

Third-wave, gourmet, and artisan coffee — learn which labels are legit. — Coffee with the Queen

A fancy label does not a fancy product make. This is the vice of the average consumer, faced with a thousand different products all desperately screeching for attention. Coffee is a particularly tough nut to crack, in this regard.

This post cites several sources on its way to narrow down common terms in the coffee sphere, from the borderline meaningless ‘gourmet’ to the increasingly common ‘third-wave’. Check out their last post on the definition of specialty coffee and all the work that goes into achieving the title.

What is Specialty Coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

You’ve seen the descriptor. You may have even drank it but unless you are an obsessive coffee buff, you likely don’t really know what Specialty Coffee is. Specialty Coffee is a globally recognized coffee grade that signifies coffee quality, cleanliness, and uniqueness. To qualify as a Specialty Coffee…

What is Specialty Coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

A helpful and concise post on the definition of specialty coffee, which is a little more rigorous than an oversaturated market might suggest. Even several years after working as a barista and being trained by roasters, I’m still learning just how subtle a single cup of coffee can be depending on what seems like infinite factors. Growing conditions, bean type, amount of defects, aroma, body…the list is quite happy to go on.

Arabica coffee is the cream of the crop, but recent news suggests the less-popular Robusta might have an edge on the competition. A big part of this has to do with its more resilient nature in shifting weather conditions, compared to its more sensitive cousin. It also has a lot of potential for subtle flavor varieties; supporters insist it simply needs to be judged on its own standards, rather than constantly be compared to a different bean with different needs.

Supplement your lunch coffee with some additional coffee knowledge.

Happy National Wine Day! How Much Do You Know About The Drink?

National Wine Day is upon us. That means being given a more plausible excuse to pour yourself a glass at three in the afternoon.

I got a real kick out of this piece earlier today: ABC’s short video talks about common misconceptions about wine, as well as validates what are thought to be misconceptions. Swirling the drink? It’s not just for show, as the oxygen brings out the wine’s flavor. Need to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle? Probably not. The $15-20 price range is actually pretty good for most occasions.

I can definitely attest to that. Shout-out to my local Washington wine brands: you keep me buzzed.

For those that are getting into wine and struggling to figure out how to pair it with their meals, I like to look at wine flavors like a painting: just add contrast! If you’re eating something salty, pair it with a sweet wine. If you’re eating something savory, pair it with a fruity or tart wine. The more different the flavor notes, the more they bring out each other’s best. Don’t let a lack of knowledge keep you from trying new things. Even today’s leading wine experts are still learning something new about this old and delicious craft.

If you’re feeling like wine isn’t for you, for whatever reason, consider giving it a try this year. It’s a lot easier to get into than it seems and there’s a wine variety for just about everyone. All the French and Italian terminology will come later.