What we can do to help California Wine Country?

Since the beginning of 2020, there have been over 8,100 wildfires in California, alone.   August 15 when fire activity increased extensively, there have been over 26 fatalities and 7,000 homes and businesses destroyed. This week, the California wine country was affected by the “Glass Fire”, which burned parts of Sonoma and Napa. The images are disturbing and the wine industry, as a whole, is with heavy-heart!

Here’s how you can help:

1. Donate to charitable organizations – see list below;
2. Book a trip in advance: support the wine country by visiting them;
3. Shop California wines: search for local shops, DTC winery shipments, order California wines in restaurants and bars; and
4. Show your support by using #WineCountryStrong on social media.

American Red Cross
California Community Foundation’s Wildlife Relief Fund
California Fire Foundation
Google (Scroll down and click “Yes, Donate”)
Humane Society of Ventura County
Salvation Army
United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Stay safe and show your support!

Liz Palmer

Ashes & Diamonds Winery in Napa opens a drive-thru

A winery in California’s Napa Valley has opened a drive-thru service with complimentary caviar when you purchase a case of wine.

Last month, California’s wineries, breweries, bars, restaurants and taprooms were asked to close as governor Gavin Newsom imposed a lockdown across the state to slow the spread of coronavirus.

This naturally is a hammer blow to the value of the country’s wine sector. California makes around 81% of all US wine and is the world’s 4th leading wine producer, according to the California Wine Institute. The state’s wine sector employs roughly 325,000 people, while the 23.6 million tourists who visit California wine regions spend around US$7.2 billion last year.

Thankfully, the measures only apply to tours, tasting activities and events. Wineries are now adapting to the new rules by offering pick-up and delivery services, but some are going the extra mile to stand out.

Ashes & Diamonds winery, located in the Oak Knoll district of Napa Valley, is using booking platform Tock to open up a delivery and drive-thru service to supply locals with the high-end wines in its portfolio and is throwing in caviar as a gift.

Customers can opt for either delivery or drive-through, and reserve a specific time slot, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m to order a package that includes Ashes & Diamonds wines as well as snacks such as focaccia, locally made cheese and caviar.

The winery’s prices range from US$45 for a 2017 vintage white wine made with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillion, to $125 for a 2016 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon.

Also, customers who order at least three bottles of wine will get an additional bundle of food, which includes Focaccia, Rancho Gordo bean dip, house-made pickles and locally produced cheese. Those who order at least six bottles will also get a portion of trout roe, and only those who splash out on a 12-bottle case will be given a complimentary 1oz serving of caviar.

On the other side of the pond, in Nottingham UK Castle Rock brewery has also opened a drive-thru service allowing customers to stock up on 5lr, 10lr or 20lr polypins, alongside cases of bottled beer and mini kegs of its session ale.

Craft beer giant Brewdog, meanwhile, has also turned a large portion of its UK bar network into drive thru stations. The brewer has set up a new app, called Hop Drop, which allows people to select their nearest Brewdog bar, choose the beers and food they want to take away, and adding 30% off all orders as an extra incentive.

Sources:  Drinks Business and California Wine Institute

California Wine Institute announces Danielle Giroux as new Director for California Wines Canada

The California Wine Institute announced yesterday the appointment of Danielle Giroux as its new Director of California Wines Canada, responsible for marketing and promotion in the largest single-country market for California wines. Giroux brings 15 years of wine industry sales and marketing experience to the role, including marketing and communications strategy, brand development and event management. She recently served as Vice President, Marketing at Colio Estate.

“This is an exciting time for California wines. We are well-positioned to grow and prosper to the benefit of our member wineries, our trade partners and wine lovers around the world who are fans of California wines,” said Honore Comfort, Vice President of International Marketing for Wine Institute. “Danielle’s experience and knowledge of the Canadian market will bring momentum to plans to grow sales and market share over the next several years.”

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the California wines team in Canada,” said Giroux. “Wine Institute has built a solid foundation for California wines in Canada over the past few decades and I’m excited to be part of the next chapter.”

Giroux replaces Rick Slomka who will be retiring in June after more than 26 years representing the wines of the Golden State. Giroux will be starting her new role at the beginning of January 2020.

According to the wine association, Canadian sales of US wine, 95% of which hail from California, totalled around 6m cases last year, amounting to a retail value of more than US$1bn.