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Top Wine Trends for 2009

Friday, December 19, 2008 by Michal The Joggler Kapral

You would think winemaking, which has been around for thousands of years, would remain fixed in tradition, resistant to the shifting winds of other industries such as fashion, music and art. But no, wine is now fully immersed in the marketing business, and its appeal among a younger crowd is really shaking things up. And that's probably a good thing.

Here are some of the top wine trends for 2009, according to beverage marketing guru Kimberly Charles, founder of the San Francisco-based PR agency, Charles Communications:

Going Green "Organic, biodynamic, fair trade and sustainable offerings are continuing their upswing. It’s becoming more of a standard than a specialty but it still has a ways to go."

Alternative Packaging "Tasty, affordable wines are showing up in trendy, modern-designed boxes, tetra paks, aluminum bottles and lightweight glass."

Small is Beautiful "Sample sizes are not just for beauty products anymore. Many wines are being offered more often in half-bottles now for those watching their intake or who are being savvy shoppers."

It's a Small World After All "As the Internet has brought us closer, and as people who enjoy beverages travel and seek value, we are seeing more exotic wines showing up on wine lists from places such as Croatia, Uruguay, Turkey, India and China."

Raise the Wine Bar "It has been said that 'Wine Bars are the Coffee Bars of the 2000s.' Wine Bar concepts are exploding around the country..."

Here Come the Millennials "This of the most influential groups to affect the world of beverages... Many are price resistant, well-traveled, internet-savvy..."

Happy sipping in 2009.


Gift Wines: Vino Nobile

Thursday, December 11, 2008 by Michal The Joggler Kapral

It can be hard to find the right wine to buy as a gift for someone who has a cellar. You can to get something special, but don't want to spend a fortune. With that in mind, this week's wine gift recommendation is the intriguing Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. A big Tuscan red, primarily made from the Sangiovese grape, the Vino Nobile is less well-known than Chianti or the massive Brunello di Montalcino.

Having done a bicycle tour through Montepulciano in the late 80s, I have a special affinity toward the wine. It's opulent yet rustic flavors and big tannins allow the region's wines to age very well. Bottles usually range from $25 to $40 or more.

I recently tried the Lodola Nuova Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2005 ($25). It's a finely structured and silky wine, with a balance that allows you to enjoy all the flavors without too much cheek puckering. Other version of Vino Nobile are more bitter and potent, so this would be a good bottle to buy as a present. It would hard not to like this wine.

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Michal Kapral has been enjoying wine at home since way before he was of legal age. The editor-in-chief of Canadian Running magazine runs marathons to burn off all the calories he consumes on wine and cheese. Kapral spent some time living in Italy as a teenager, solidifying his appreciation for all things wine-related. In his days as a journalism student, he was likely one of the youngest – and poorest – subscribers to Wine Spectator magazine. In 1999, Kapral turned down a job at a winery to work at Captivate, where he spent 11 years as a news editor.


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