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Monterey County

Although Franciscan missionaries in the 17OOs found what is known today as Monterey County to be ideal for viticulture, it was only in the 196Os that the US wine industry seriously entered the area. Urban sprawl increasingly forced wine producers to look further and further south of San Francisco for...
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Insanity

European regulators are shooting themselves in the foot, yet again. To begin with, France’s INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) is reportedly set to ban mention of grape variety from Alsace labels. When I mentioned this to a seasoned and wise international wine merchant, an éminence grise, he exclaimed, “Insane!”,...
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Sicilian Stars

‘Twas not so long ago that the wines of Sicily, always a generous producer, were almost entirely sold anonymously in bulk, the reds tired, the whites oxidized. No longer. Although much is still passed along to who-knows-where in bulk, even that has become largely acceptable, and the bottled wines of...
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Single Malt Whisky

While one brand of blended Scotch sells more than all single malt brands put together, and the category is dwarfed by vodka sales, single malts have led the way on ‘premiumization’, the marketing realization that consumers will pay more for a product with a better flavor, a better package, a...
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The Blends

“In the top tier of blended Scotch, it’s all price driven,”said Ryan Maloney of Julio’s Liquors in Westborough.“In the second tier, customers are switching to cost-friendly brands.” Maloney echoed the statements of retailers across the state. “The same brands are selling the same as always,”said Phil LeBlanc of Table &...
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Ready to Drink to Serve for Takeoff

“We live in a one-hour-photo, instant oatmeal, microwave popcorn society,” Lisa Simpson once remarked.  Of course, she couldn’t turn to her Duff Beer-glugging father to find out how cocktails fit into that schema, but the answer is clear to anyone in the industry.  Pre-mixed cocktails, both ready-to-drink (RTD), the smaller...
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Berkshire Mountain Distillers

We drive the Pike to Route 2O to Route 1O2 to Route 7, then head up again into the scrag southern end of the Berkshires. We see Connecticut off in the haze; then we get lost. No roadside building marks the spot, nor roadside stand; one small sign gives a...
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The Uber-Retailer

The email that arrived just before the July 4th weekend had an urgent command in the subject line: “Get It Before It’s Gone!” The personalized digital message announcing that several cases of Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Rouge 2OO7 had just landed at BRIX Wine Shop went on to give a brief,...
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Poliziano

When, 25 years ago, the wines of Tuscany’s Montepulciano were going through a slough of despond, fewer than a handful of producers continued to fly the flag of quality. Notable among them was, and still is, Poliziano. I was, therefore, most pleased to visit recently with the owner/winemaker of Azienda...
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