Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's a Little Known Fact....

Q:  What does it take to make really good wine?

Thought I'd open with a little joke I heard last weekend.  I'll let you mull it over and I'll post the answer at the bottom.

Last weekend, we attended the Annual Cold Climate Grape Growers and Winemakers Conference. As a result, I am now educated in things like wine law, fermentation, cold stabilization and have a much better understanding of things like, the ph levels and amount of yeast various winemakers used to make their first varietal of Marquette.  So I will now document the scientific process of wine making and explain in detail how ph level measures acidity. 

Just kidding. I don't even know if that sentence makes sense. There's a reason why Aaron is the winemaker.   

Anyone reading this who is actually interested in ph and yeast was probably at the wine nerd conference themselves and anything here would be redundant.  So, instead of boring you with the science of winemaking, I will, in true Cliff Clavin fashion, give you a few "little known facts" from the conference that might be a bit more interesting to the general public.
  • In 2007, wine surpassed beer as American's favorite alcoholic drink for the1st time.
  • America is the #1 consuming nation by total volume.
  • Wine drinking countries, such as Italy, are drinking less wine by volume, but drinking more quality wine than they have in the past.
  • In 2007, the amount of wineries in the United States outside of California surpassed the amount of wineries in California.
  • Women purchase most wine, but both genders consume it equally.
  • Wine consumption frequency has risen since 2000 in the top two categories, weekly and daily (both are up 4%).
  • All adult generations (WWII, Swing, Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials) are wine consumers; the last two have more "core" drinkers than "marginal" wine drinkers.  Which basically means that Gen Xers and Millennials are more likely to drink wine several times a week than the older generations, who drink wine several times a month.
  • Trends in white whites are steering away from the oaked, buttery whites and moving towards fresh, crisp, more acidic whites.  Lucky for us here in Minnesota, we have terroir in our favor for these types of vibrant, fruit-forward types of wines. Remember our little terroir lesson
  • The "localvore" movement across the nation has meant more people are eating and drinking locally grown products and the reason the #1 trend for alcoholic drinks in the NRA for 2010 is locally produced beer and wine. 
  • The NRA mentioned in the previous statement refers to the National Restaurant Association, not the National Rifle Association as I was led to believe.  Oops.  I thought that was a really weird statistic! 
I also attended a session on wine tastings and wine pairings and got some good information, which I will stick in my pocket for a blog post another day. 

Now, are you dying to know the answer to the question, what does it take to make really good wine?

A:  A lot of beer.

Hard-e-har-har.  Get it?  I told you winemakers are a bunch of nerds.