Wine News & New Releases

Vint Marketplace Weekly News – Edition #5

Your weekly round-up of five of the top news from the world of wine & spirits and the latest Vint Podcast episode.

#1) Two Burgundy AOCs Gain Intellectual Property Protection in China

China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has recognized Mâcon and Gevrey-Chambertin, two of Burgundy’s appellations, as protected wine designations. This decision, aligned with President Xi Jinping’s visit to France, is hailed by Burgundy’s wine authorities as a significant advancement for their AOCs’ rights and a model for future recognition of all regional AOCs. The recognition is seen as crucial given Burgundy’s increasing popularity and dominance over Bordeaux in the Asian wine markets, especially in China. Photo Credit: The Times

Constellation Buys Santa Barbara Icon Sea Smoke

Constellation Brands has acquired Sea Smoke, a notable Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, enhancing their high-end wine portfolio despite a slowing U.S. wine market. Sea Smoke, known for its biodynamic vineyard and prestigious wines, aligns with Constellation’s shift towards premium brands. The purchase includes the winery, brand, and 1,100 acres with 256 acres of vines. Sea Smoke, established by Bob Davids in 1998, quickly gained fame for its high-quality Pinot Noirs and played a significant role in the regional wine renaissance.

Devastating Hailstorm Hits Chablis Vineyards

A severe hailstorm on May 1 significantly damaged Chablis vineyards, impacting up to 25 percent of the appellation’s 15,000 acres, with potential grape losses ranging from 30 to 100 percent in affected areas. The storm, described as a supercell, struck key villages within the northern Burgundy region, compounding earlier weather-related stresses such as frost. The extent of vine recovery remains uncertain, with vintners facing a crucial period of assessing damage and hoping for favorable weather to alleviate stressed vines.

Severe Spring Frosts Devastate German Vineyards

Following a record-warm March, a sudden cold snap brought temperatures down to -5°C, causing “extreme damage” to many German vineyards. The Deutscher Weinbauverband e.V/German Winegrowers’ Association (DMV) noted that the premature development of vines due to earlier warm temperatures exacerbated the frost’s impact, leading to significant losses. Some vineyards, like Weingut Maximin Grünhaus, reported losing up to 100% of their shoots over two nights, highlighting the severe nature of this weather event.

Recent James Suckling Tastings: Notable Wines from Laurent-Perrier, Krug, and Swiss Vineyards

This article features a compilation of recent tastings by James Suckling and his team. These recent reviews showcased stunning Champagnes from Laurent-Perrier and Krug, including the No. 24 Grand Siècle and latest editions of Krug Grande Cuvée and Krug Rosé, respectively. Both houses demonstrated the impact of climate variability on their production, with Laurent-Perrier revealing a richer, more intense version of their Grand Siècle in magnum format and Krug navigating heat spikes during 2016. Additionally, standout wines from Veneto and Barolo were highlighted, as well as exceptional wines from Jean-René Germanier in the Swiss Rhone, emphasizing the influence of small oak cask maturation on regional varietals like syrah and cornalin.

Senior Wine & Spirits Specialist

Billy Galanko, DipWSET