Things Change ....or surprising news in the wine industry

I found this tidbit on WineBusiness.com this morning. Normally, I check in with Wine Business for the industry news at work M-F, but don't spend too much time there on weekends. I popped in randomly today after scanning the job board and - woah! Saturday headline- Sebastiani Winery sold to Foley Group. That wasn't there on Friday afternoon.

In case you were wondering, I don't work for Sebastiani. But I do work for a winery that was sold by the founding family to a corporation about a year and a half ago. The day they announced the sale was quite shocking to the employees. Despite a lot lip service from upper management in the first few weeks saying "nothing is going to change," lots of things changed. Some good and some not so good. Many months later I still have to remind myself that change in the business world is inevitable. Change can be good. "Hang on Viva," 'cause things will probably change again in the near future.

Unfortunately this is the future for the US wine industry for the next decade. I think we will continue to see a lot of consolidation as founding families decide to move on rather build a business that lasts more than one or two generations. This seems to be a rather American trait. We like to think of ourselves as individuals and as such, our cultural need for individualism pushes us to leave the past behind and strike out for new horizons. Compare these US family wineries, which have been sold, to the Antinori family, members of the Italian aristocracy who have been making wine for over 600 years.

My heart goes out to the Sebastiani employees. I know how it feels. Some of you will loose your jobs and some of you won't. About the only thing I can guarantee, no matter what the higher ups are saying, is that things WILL change.

A selection of white wines from around the world

2007 Foppoli Russian River Valley Chardonnay Sonoma. Clear and light with grapefruit and a bit of grass. Citrus flavors in the mouth. No oak or ML. Medium acids. Medium-long finish, nice intensity and balance. Nice with sweet/spicy Thai dishes or something heavy in basil.

2005 Fillaboa Albarino Rias Biaxas. Yellow-gold in tone with stone fruits and citrus in the first aromas. Honey, and a touch of jasmine follow. Lemon, apples and flint, with a hint of zested citrus. Medium bodied, with some oak, on the tongue and in the finish. High acids and a 12% aftertaste. Medium finish, and a nice complexity. Drink this with seafood and pasta dishes or creamy sauces.

2006 El Bully Albarino El Bino Rias Biaxas. Pale straw, with a touch of green. Citrus and apples; flinty edge with floral notes. More green apple in the flavor. Light body, no oak or tannins. Medium finish, and moderate in balance and complexity. Nice 12.5% alcohol content. I’m thinking shellfish with this one.

2005 Marques Casa Concha Chardonnay Chile. Clear yellow gold in tone; Aromas of honey, cream with straw and minerals. Touch of creaminess and spice. Tannins leave a bitter aftertaste. Medium bodied and on oak for 9 months, and surprisingly high in acid, this wine was a mouthful. Intense with a medium finish, but an unfocused complexity of flavors that leaves the taster vaguely unsatisfied, despite the intensity.

2005 Premier Cru Les Fourneaux Chablis. Pale straw color. First impression is tropical flavors with some minerality and floral notes. Apple and citrus flavors with a flinty edge and a bit of cream; light body without much oak; Medium-high acids. Medium-long finish, with good intensity and complexity. This would go well with a wide variety of meals.

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