Wine on Starchefs
Greg Harrington, MS
B.R. Guest Inc.
206 Spring St.
New York, NY 10012

Wine Tips from Greg Harrington: The 10 Greatest Things Happening in the Wine Business Right Now
(in no particular order)

1. Producers in Old World Regions realizing that maybe the newest winemaking technology doesn't make the greatest wine. Many producers are returning to traditional methods leading to distinctive terroir-based wines without caring about the 100 point score.

2. Screw Caps. And with Hanzell's recent revelations about how easily TCA can infect wine (not just through the actual cork), I think we are grossly underestimating just how many wines are actually corked. This is a fantastic step forward addressing the issue.

3. German wine on the cover of a major wine magazine. FINALLY, a non-oak-dominated wine region gets some recognition. Find these and try them.

4. The consumers’ thirst for education. The average consumer wants to learn about wine. Today, there are more opportunities to learn about wine than ever. Wine Industry, help provide entertaining, insightful, and fun education for customers. It will greatly help turn the United States into a true wine-drinking culture.

5. Walmart getting into the retail wine business. The world's biggest retailer recognizes the impending demand for wine by their consumer segment. This is exactly the market the wine world needs.

6. The California grape glut. Yes, it spelled unfortunate financial hardship for many wineries, but it also forced both the producer and consumer to re-evaluate the business segment. Are the wines worth the money? In many cases, absolutely. But sadly, many times the answer is no. The reflection on the business model, I think, will prove beneficial in the long run to the California wine industry.

7. Direct shipping. We just may win this one. It's still insane that a consumer can legally buy a shotgun on the Internet but not a case of wine. Hello?

8. Lagrein, Vermentino, Scheurebe, Blaufrankisch, Schiopettino, Godello, Refosco, Furmint, Dornfelder and every other obscure local varietal making it into a bottle of wine - and selling.

9. The consumer's willingness to pick wines from regions throughout the world.

10. The wine business becoming a respectable profession. Major hospitality programs are offering programs in beverage management. Restaurants are hiring sommeliers and beverage directors to manage these programs. More people are studying for - and passing - the world's major wine exams. It is now a true profession.

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 Published: June 2004