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1

Approximate number (in billions) of bottles of “Two Buck Chuck” sold by the late Fred Franzia. The creator of the ultra cheap wine, and co-owner of Bronco Wine Company,  died earlier this month. When asked how he could produce a bottle of wine that cost less than a bottle of water, Franzia reportedly huffed that water companies were overcharging consumers.

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26

Age Evan Goldstein was when he passed the Master Sommelier exam in 1987, the youngest American at the time to do so. This month Goldstein announced another first: he has become the first consulting sommelier to a major sports team—in this case, the San Francisco Giants baseball team. The Giants’ home stadium–Oracle Park—has wine bars on every level of the stadium.

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50

Average number of years in the blend of Ports used to make Taylor Fladgate’s newly released, very rare 50-Year-Old Tawny Port. (Most Tawny Ports are designated either 10-, 20-, 30-, or (rarely) 40-Years Old). The wine-called “Golden Age” is based on individual lots of Ports that have aged a half century in the company’s historic cellars in Porto, Portugal. Taylor Fladgate was founded in 1692.

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44

Average percentage increase in the wine tasting fee Sonoma wineries now charge compared to the average fee before the Covid pandemic resulted in a statewide lockdown in California. When the lockdown was lifted this past June many other wine regions in the state also increased tasting fees significantly. Wineries in California are experiencing unprecedented  cost increases, from the cost of labor to the cost of fire insurance.

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3

Number of sustained heat waves on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) so far this summer. Spain is the driest it has been in the last 1,200 yearsaccording to the journal Nature Geoscience. In many parts of both countries, the heat and drought caused the grape harvest to begin in August (it usually begins in September). And once-rare night harvesting (when the temperature is cooler) is now increasingly common.

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1.2

Cost per acre (in millions of US$) (equal to 3 million euros per hectare) for the most prized “crus” of Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont, making these vineyards the most expensive in Italy, according to Italy’s Wine News newsletter. The next most expensive vineyard land is in Tuscany where top vineyard land in Brunello di Montalcino can cost more than $800k an acre. By comparison, vineyards on the Italian island of Sardinia are a steal at $6k an acre.

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14

Asking price (in millions of US$) for a 30-acre vineyard in the charmingly named Piddle Valley located in Dorset, one of the four main counties in southern England now famous for sparkling wines made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Southern England, just west of the White Cliffs of Dover, shares the same band of limestone soil found in the Champagne region of France.

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1816

Year that the technique of rémuage was developed in Champagne.  During rémuage, which is known in English as “riddling,” Champagne bottles are rotated and tilted to concentrate yeast sediments in the necks of the bottles. Riddling is done by hand in A-shape frames called pupitres or by computerized machines originally called gyropalettes.

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16

Approximate price (in US$) of a new sweet, low alcohol Pinot Noir being released under the Robert Mondavi Private Selection brand. Called “Naturally Sweet Pinot Noir,” the wine was made from grapes with a potential 14% alcohol by volume, but the fermentation was stopped at 9% abv, leaving considerable residual sugar. Robert Mondavi brands are owned by the giant wine firm Constellation.

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49

Percentage of US adults who say they have tried marijuana, according to a Gallup poll. Fifty years ago, just 4% said they had tried cannabis, but that percentage surpassed 20% in 1977 and 40% in 2015. The impact on the wine industry of the legalization of cannabis (and recent proliferation of cannabis lounges) is yet unknown.

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47

Percentage of holiday shoppers who plan to buy their holiday gifts early this year—as early as September and mid-October, according to BusinessWire. The majority of consumers (96%) plan to do most of their early shopping online according to the survey. This is a good moment to point out that you can pre-order a signed and personalized copy of the NEW Third Edition of The Wine Bible and get 20% off if you order by Sep. 15 and use coupon code WB3PreOrder at checkout.

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267

Number of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) now in the US with the confirmation this week of the Gabilan Mountains on California’s Central Coast. The area was glowingly written about in John Steinbeck’s 1952 novel East of Eden. The Gabilan Mountains AVA  covers 98,000 acres of land with an average elevation of 2730 feet. The small AVAs Chalone and Mt. Harlan are within the Gabilan Mountains.