Swirls: Cork wars, climate change, Wal-Mart wine, China wine

SWIRL: Producers of cork (the genuine thing) are fighting back as they lose market share to screw caps and a variety of synthetic closures.  A newcork advertising campaign by 100PercentCork.org, reported on by the Huffington Post, argues that cork is better for the environment and, perhaps just as importantly to some, will help you get where you want to go, so to speak, on a date. At least that’s the premise of  “First Date,” a  hilarious video created by the campaign.

SWIRL: There’s new evidence of the growing impact of climate change on the world’s vineyards in an excellent article by AFP that focuses on France. Says one researcher, "Overall, we are seeing a rise in alcohol content and a drop in acidity. That's a problem.” The head of a large French wine trade organization says, “We are seeing for the first time bird species from north Africa. In the vineyards, new types of weeds are growing even as others disappear.” Read the full article here. And for more on climate change and wine see my interview with a leading American researcher.

SWIRL: Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board, which oversees the state’s alcohol business, has given Wal-Mart approval to put Walmart-logo wine kiosks in seven of its stores across the state. And yes, they will include the same strict controls announced when the kiosks started appearing in Pennsylvania grocery stores earlier this year, including facing a camera, showing an ID and breathing into a Breathalyzer so a state employee monitoring it all can approve the sale. One user reading about it on The Consumerist asks, “Why does PA have to be so weird?” Read more here.

SWIRL: NPR takes note of China’s “meteoric rise” as a player in the high-end wine market. And it’s not only the Lafites of the world that are cashing in. The owner of one more down-to-earth Bordeaux property says “China is the salvation of our chateau.  Six years ago we had no sales in Asia. Now, China and the rest of Asia make up 30 percent of our sales.” Read and listen to the full story here.

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