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284

Percent more European wine exceeding 14% abv that America imported after the U.S. Trade Bureau levied 25% tariffs on wines under 14%. High-alcohol wine exports (primarily from France and Spain) are soaring, as consumers take advantage of lower prices on wines that avoid the punitive tax. According to U.S. Commerce Dep’t data, America historically imported $150 million a year in higher-alcohol wine compared to $434 million in the 12 months since the tariff took effect.

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47

Number of states in the U.S. that prefer carbs over greens to accompany their Thanksgiving turkey. Career site Zippia recently released a map of each state’s favorite holiday side dishes, after analyzing Google Trends. Mashed potatoes topped the list as the favorite in 10 states, while mac n’ cheese counts 6 (mostly southern) states in its tally. The three outlying states chose cranberry sauce (New Hampshire), salad (Maine) and deviled eggs (Indiana).

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50

Cost (in US$) of COVID-19 tests that City Winery, in Manhattan, began requiring prospective diners take on-site before entering the restaurant. With six other locations in five states and Washington, DC, the company launched the pilot testing program in New York this week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. Patrons awaiting their rapid results (which should take about 15 minutes) are offered a glass of City Winery sparkling wine.

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2021

The first year in the past forty that Napa Valley will not hold its world famous, star-studded auction, which has raised a total of $200 million. This past week the Board of the Napa Valley Vintners voted to reimagine new ways to fund the many charities it supports. The event was launched in 1981 by a small group of winery owners, including Robert and Margrit Mondavi, and, from the beginning, was held at Meadowood resort, parts of which were destroyed in the recent Napa Valley wildfires.

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39

Number of years the Butterball company has operated its Turkey Talk-Line to help home chefs in the U.S. and Canada avert disaster during the holidays. This November and December, more than 50 professionally trained experts will answer over 100,000 turkey-related questions. From humble beginnings in 1981, the Turkey Talk-Line is now accessible through social media, live chat, texting—even Amazon Alexa. Spanish-speaking experts are also at the ready.

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7

Number of years that the notorious wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan spent in prison before he was released this week. Kurniawan was convicted in 2013 for selling millions of dollars worth of phony wines. Many of the counterfeit wines– often rare, old vintages of famous French wines–are still in circulation, according to experts. Awaiting deportation back to his home country, Indonesia, Kurniawan is likely to “set up shop” anew, this time in China, a story in wine-searcher.com suggests.

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1951

Year that Beaujolais Nouveau was first commercialized. Nearly a century ago, casks of just-made, “grapey” wine from the Beaujolais region of France would be shipped downriver to the bars and bistros of Lyon. By the 1960s, Beaujolais Nouveau, made from gamay, became a wildly successful PR sensation. Beaujolais Nouveau can be amusing, but far better and far more exciting are old-style traditional (not nouveau) Beaujolais like the beautiful Domaine Dupeuble Père Et Fils Beaujolais 2018.

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2

Percentage of the world’s population with red hair. Yesterday, November 5, was National Redhead Day, and the WineSpeed editorial staff extends belated best wishes to our fiery-tressed boss, Karen! Australia, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K. all celebrate their Carrot Tops on similar days across the calendar year. Most often the result of scoring the mutated MC1R gene on Chromosome 16 from parents, red hair appears naturally across all ethnicities and people of color.

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114

Bottles of Madeira and Bordeaux consumed in one evening by 55 revelers celebrating George Washington’s election as the first U.S. president, as well as the imminent signing of the Constitution. The total beverage bill for the evening in 1787 was roughly $17,250 in today’s dollars and also included 60 bottles of beer, hard cider, and whiskey. The eye-popping City Tavern bar receipt was discovered in the archives of the event’s host, the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry.

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20

Amount of savings (in billions of U.S.$) that Bespoken Spirits says its new maturation technology promises the spirits industry by “aging” spirits in days not years. The abbreviated method preserves the so-called “angel’s share” of alcohol lost through evaporation during the traditional barrel-ageing process. What will they call the results, I wonder, given that ageing requirements for some spirits, such as Bourbon (2 years) or Scotch Whisky (3), are enshrined in law.

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2:1

Ratio of spending on wine by consumers in Blue states to those in Red states. Curious about whether or not Americans’ politics affected their purchasing, wine blogger, and amateur pollster, Chris Bitter (Vintage Economics) analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found that households in states that traditionally vote Democratic spend an estimated average of $274 on wine per year—nearly double the $142 spent in traditionally Republican states.

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400

Percentage increase in insurance premiums facing many California wineries. Even before the latest wildfires in Napa and Sonoma, wineries had received notices of sky-high increases as well as policy cancellations, as insurers abandon the fire-prone state. According to the insurance industry, the disappearing act is attributable to the big jump in state wildfire losses since 2017, more than $25 billion.