Thursday, December 15, 2016

BRAMBLES: Thankfully, Celebrate Something!

Bruno Occhipinti sharing a Marco de Bartoli Marsala

It is routine to look back at the end of the calendar year, something like looking into your car's rear view mirror on the highway.  There you can clearly see what has transpired in the recent past, and as we get older the recent past may be all we can easily remember.  As it has evolved, the year 2016 had many twists and turns, disappointments and regret, enchanting episodes of magic that foil against heartache.  But, if you are reading this, you have made it this far, and we have all that tempered experience to build upon.  It is fortunately that end of year wine time to thankfully raise a glass of cheer and celebrate something!
Beautiful Sonoma County agri-business.

  • Thankful for a memorable wine tasting in Sicily with the veritable patriarch of the Occhipinti cantina in Sicily's only DOCG.
  • Following a short-supply 2015 grape harvest, this year saw many premium local grape growers able to charge more for their quality fruit in a year of premium quality. North Coast spot markets increased significantly, according to our Allied Grape Growers cooperative.
  • 2016 offered a relatively even growing season statewide, producing a normal harvest of exceptional quality fruit(Wine Institute).
  • A new university graduate in the family, and a new lawyer in the family, who happen to be the same talented individual. 
  • Domestic wine lovers continue a familiar trend, with annual per capita consumption at around 10+ liters, so we can at least sit at the table of other established wine cultures.
  • Consumer market minor grape selections continue to show growth away from leaders Cabernet and Chardonnay; Beverage Dynamics reported impressive 2016 sales growth in Red Blends(10.1%) and Sauvignon Blanc(13.3%), as trends indicate buyers continue to trade up.
  • My Mom got to embrace a new grandson, and then visit with a few of her favorite major league ballplayers in the stadium clubhouse.
  • Direct to consumer wine sales continue to grow, according to Beverage Dynamics, up 8.1% over 2015, as more Prohibitionist states relax regulations and more consumers find confident selection, quality on-line.
  •  At home, our best Thompson Seedless grape harvest ever, and then drying to wonderfully sweet raisins.
    Traditional method cavas and cremants offer celebration value.
  • Fine wines, those above the declining table wine sector, are continuing a positive trend of a growing number of consumers trading 'up' to higher priced quality wines, as quality domestic & import selections improve.
  • With thanks to our premium grape farmers, there is more than twice as much quality Pinot Noir crushed around here compared to just 10 years ago.
  • U.S. wine consumption is at an all time high(more than 750 million gallons), as new wine lovers(mostly women) increasingly come to the table(or bar, or bottle).
  • Thankfully, I can still stand and share the delicious mysteries of wine with friends, old & new, and on occasions find a nectar that authentically inspires.
Looking back in the mirror that is 2016, we see many things that are a reflection of who we are as a culture and as people, yet our history is not yet written for our future.  Certainly, here then is our opportunity to raise a glass, and to celebrate something!  Cheers!
"what matters is the countless small deeds of unknown people, who lay the basis for the significant events that enter history". Howard Zinn

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