Charlie is the only one of the Four Bears to express interest in becoming a winemaker, in fact he prayed for help during lent in 2011.
Larry Soble, Eastern Sales Manager, recently visited Maryland and West Virginia to work with our new distributors there. He visited the very nice and quiet, quaint town of McHenry, MD, which is a resort area in the Summer and Winter. They have skiing there in the winter and it is a second home for many people who live in the DC area. Larry stayed at the Inn at Deep Creek Lake where they do a lot of boating.
France vs Germany
France and Germany will meet on the soccer field tomorrow for the first time in 28 years at the World Cup. The French team won their only World Cup title in 1998, having appeared in 14 FIFA World Cups, they are tied for fifth most of any country. The German national team is one of the most successful FIFA World Cup contenders, winning three World Cup titles, and reaching four other finals. They are second only to Italy as most frequent team to appear in the World Cup with 18 tournaments.
France is one of the oldest and largest wine producers in the world, with winemaking history dating back the 6th century BC. France is home to the Appellation d’Origine Controlee system and the concept of terroir, where varietal and styles of wines are linked to the location where they are grown and made. They are the source of many well-known grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah, which are now planted throughout the world. The rich history and prestige of French wines is known throughout the world, along with their cultural practice of wines being made to compliment foods. There are many famous wine regions in France, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Champagne, the Loire, and Alsace.
As we discussed on the discussed on the blog on Monday Germany is primarily a white wine country, known for their aromatic and elegant Riselings. Spätburgunder is the name for Pinot Noir grown in Germany. At one time, Germany and France were both revered as the top two wine producing countries in the world and German wines fetched top prices at auction. Interestingly, because of the Germanic influence in the Alsace region of France, most wines are labeled as their varietal (rather than appellation), and are predominantly white wines such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
During the 60’s and 70’s Germany’s wine production grew to include large quantities of sweet blended wines for export. While they continued to produce and consume high quality wines in the country, Germany became known for these sweet cheap wines in the international markets diminishing their reputation. Today Germany produces some of the finest wines of exceptional quality, but you may only occasionally find these underrated German wines in your local wine shop.
As these two European powerhouses head into the quarter finals tomorrow, with a rivalry dating back to 1931, it is sure to be a tense match. Seven of Germany’s players are reportedly ill with flu symptoms, which could give France the upper hand. In 25 previous World Cup meet ups between them; France has won 11 to Germany’s 8, the remaining six drawn. We are guessing France will win this match and move forward to the semi-finals.
Brazil vs Columbia
Being in such close proximity to the equator, much of Brazil is unsuitable for viticulture due to the heat and humidity. Although the country has a relatively large number of vineyards, most produce table grapes and only some vineyards in the south of the country produce Brazilian wine. The first vines were introduced by the Portuguese in 1532 and Spanish vines by the Jesuits in 1626.
Colombia does grow some grapes and produce wine, however their history is the shortest of any of the countries we have discussed so far in this week’s blogs. The catalyst for wine production in the country was the high taxes the government imposed on imported wines in the 80’s and 90’s, when previously US wines had been freely imported. Taking lessons from neighboring Chile, Colombia began producing some wines and much of their production is now used to produce fortified wines or brandy. Colombia is much better known for its oldest and best known product: coffee. There are many similarities between coffee and wine – regions of origin, climate, plant/fruit varietals, methods of harvesting, bean/grape selection, production processes, single-origin versus blends, point scoring, aromas, and many health benefits (and perhaps detriments). Both coffee and wine enhance meals and occasions, and offer a complex variety to satisfy any palate.
This is the first time in 16 years Colombia has appeared at the World Cup and the first time ever they have advanced to the quarterfinals! If Colombia maintains the confidence they have shown so far, they could get past the mental block most South American teams have when playing Brazil. Colombia enters this match as the underdog, against host-nation Brazil, who has won the World Cup a record five times and hasn't lost a game on home soil since 1975.
Prediction: France, Netherlands, Argentina, and Brazil move on to the semifinals.
Obviously we are rooting for USA today! Here is a quick rundown on the on the World Cup (of wine) match up between the United States and Belgium. The Americans, although not the favorite to win today, crushed Belgium, 3-0, the last time they met in the World Cup – which was only 84 years ago on July 13, 1930 at the inaugural World Cup. This is the first time the US has advanced past Round of 16 of the World Cup since 2002 and we believe the US will win today!Although Belgian wine production is quite modest compared to other countries, wine has been made in Belgium since the Middle Ages and by the 14th Century each city had its own vineyard. Monks were the first in the region to cultivate vines to use in their celebrations, so the first vineyards were owned by the abbeys. Currently, about 90% of Belgian production is white wines; mostly Chardonnay reminiscent of white Burgundy, both Chablis-style (un-oaked) and Côte de Beaune-style (oaked) are popular in the country.
So, Argentina is clearly favored to win this match, having gone undefeated in the past six international meetings with Switzerland. The two countries have met only once previously on the World Cup field in 1966, when Argentina beat Switzerland 2-0. With Switzerland’s two wins over Latin American teams from Ecuador and Honduras, they could be Argentina’s toughest opponents yet. How do these two countries stack up in the world of wine?
I had the opportunity earlier this week to give a rare tour of our production facility to a fraternity brother from ASU, Tom McAndrew. Tom and wife Donna joined me and my wife Nicole, along with another couple, for a tour of our facility and lunch in downtown Napa at Angèle Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant is located in downtown Napa in the historic 1890's ship chandlery now known as the Hatt Building, with a great patio right on the riverfront. It was great catching up with the McAndrews and was a beautiful day in the valley! Check out the pictures for a glimpse behind the scenes of production at Sean Minor Wines. Cheers!
Click photos to enlarge.