SWIRL: The fastest growing white wine variety in the United States in terms of sales is – drum roll, please -- riesling. Jim Trezise, president of the International Riesling Foundation, which promotes the grape, made the observation at this month’s Riesling Rendezvous in Bellevue, Washington. However, he said, the “food friendliness” of riesling isn’t recognized by many wine drinkers, and consumers who don’t drink riesling aren’t particularly interested in trying it. At least at this point. One tool the riesling industry is promoting, with some success, is a very useful dry-to-sweet scale for the back labels on riesling bottles that tells consumers (and retailers) exactly where a bottle of riesling stands.
SWIRL: China’s growth as a wine-consuming country has been very good news for some wine regions. Bordeaux, for example, now counts China as a vital market for its wines. There’s evidence as well that American wineries are benefiting. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that California exports to China grew a whopping 64 percent between 2008 and 2009.
SWIRL: Wine by the glass is still a very mixed bag in restaurants when it comes to depth and quality. In general, if you and a friend are each going to have a couple of glasses of wine, it pays to consider ordering a bottle, which will provide more choices and potential cost savings. That said, the AP reports that more restaurants are expanding wine-by-the-glass programs, including, yes, wines on tap.