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Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: When Dinner and Breakfast Drinks Share Identity Crises

The food and beverages we consume have gone through revolutionary production processes and distribution channels in the last 50 years. Before the globalization of our economy and the dominance of the corporate industrial complex in the food chain, life seemed simpler. Before science perfected ways to optimize food production and increase the shelf life of […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Mother Nature vs. Man

Here we are in the second decade of the new century. My how time flies. It seems just a short time ago that we were celebrating the dawn of the new millennium. Much has transpired in our lifetimes, in the realms of turbulent geopolitics, radical economic cycles, eye-opening technological advances and major scientific breakthroughs. Through […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Justice Prevails in Wine Counterfeit Criminal Trial

“for some, small solace” Over two years ago I reported on the arrest of a wealthy wine aficionado. His crimes were ones of passion, of greed and unbridled ego. And one other that eventually got him arrested: selling counterfeit wines. Rudy Kurniawan, a 37-year-old self-proclaimed multi-millionaire, was arrested in 2012 by the F.B.I. on charges that […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Life and Times of California Small Producers

The California agricultural industry is the juggernaut of the food industry. It supplies more farmed products to the world than any other nation. On a micro level, the California wine industry supplies over 90 percent of wine consumed domestically. And wine is big business in the United States. Over 80 percent of all wine is […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Fledgling Trend to Consider in Wine Innovations

In my travels through the wine world, whether caressing a handful of soil or the keyboard on my computer, I always keep a peripheral watch for new trends, wines or approaches to the marketing of wines. I recently came across a fledgling trend that may portend the future of winemaking offerings. As a wine journalist […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Wartime Tribulations of French Champagne Citizenry

In recent columns I’ve been exploring the Champagne region of France. Together we’ve traipsed through the vineyards, the cellars and the streets of the people of this illustrious center of the past and future glory of Champagne. Intricately enmeshed in the oenological fame of the region is its tumultuous political history. I’ve described the history […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Champagne’s History: Struggling to Produce a Fine Wine

From the early plantings of the Romans in pre-Christian times through the evolution into a favored sparkling wine in the 17th century, Champagne was subjected to political and winemaking upheaval. Last week we left the region in the heady experimental days of Dom Perignon and the refinement of a still wine looked upon with disdain, […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Mystique of the Champagne Region and its Wine

Ah, Champagne. . . Historically referred to as the wine of kings and the king of wines, Champagne has a storied and checkered past, often as much by happenstance as by astute winemaking. It has become a fabled, preferred beverage for special, celebratory occasions as a symbol of good fortune and happiness. The history of […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Enjoying One of the World’s Best Sparkling Wine Regions

Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Cremant, Asti Spumante, Sekt, Brachetto, Lambrusco and Franciacorta. All are highly regarded sparkling wines, some familiar, some flying well under the American wine consumer’s radar. But not all sparkling wines are equal. The majority are made from three traditional grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), but several are made from grapes […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

When you walk into your wine shop do you receive ad hoc information from the owner concerning a wine you’ve come to purchase? Do you receive insightful comments laced with a touch of humor? Are you regaled with the history of the wine region, the grape varietal and a myriad of factoids that enlighten you […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Trust Science or Practical Experience When it Comes to Benefits of Red Wine

Scientific health studies are in the news constantly these days, attempting to validate or refute claims made by manufacturers, scientists, the health industry or any number of respected medical and health journals. Much has been written concerning the validity of these studies and whether they conform to strict scientific standards or, rather, are more anecdotal, […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Wine Backdrop On the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Last week marked the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. Listening to the media coverage, including the spoken words of the tales of the few remaining survivors of the invasion, brought the memory of the invasion and the war into vivid focus for me. I realized the importance of keeping these images as our […]

Grapevine: The State of the Largest Wine Consuming Nation

Grapevine: The State of the Largest Wine Consuming Nation

Whatever happened to the artisanal goods of years past? Where have the locally grown and produced products gone? With all the talk these days about farm-to-table and farmers markets, the vast majority of products we purchase and consume are controlled by mega companies. When you walk into your local grocery store, what brands do you […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

“It’s time.” The call from Uncle Charlie that I had been anticipating came last Thursday. The grapes that we had crushed 13 days ago have reached the ideal level of fermentation. The grapes are now ready to be “pressed.” As I arrive at Uncle Charlie’s, I eagerly begin my assignments as his apprentice. But this […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

In a recent column, I expounded on a time-honored and well-worn axiom in the wine industry: 90 percent of a wine is made in the vineyard. This implies that the characteristics of a wine are primarily under the influence of nature, not man. That the soil, natural irrigation, vineyard elevation and microclimate influence the vigor […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

For the past two weeks we’ve been exploring the various means by which entrepreneurs have been pursuing their love of wine and winemaking. Some have purchased vineyards, harvested their crops and then created their unique brand and profile of wines. Others have not been as adventurous or as capital-rich, instead opting to buy grapes and […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Following the Winding Trail of a Virtual Winery

“Ink stains, not grape stains, cover his hands​.” In recent weeks, we’ve explored the state of winemaking and winemakers in 2014. From traditional winemakers who grow their own grapes and produce their own wines, to trend-setting winemakers who own no land, no winery and no storage facilities, we’ve become accustomed to focusing on what’s in […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

“Ninety percent of wine is made in the vineyard.” “The winemaker’s role is to let the wine make itself.” I am frequently reminded of these words from wine merchant and author Neil Rosenthal. As an agricultural product, the essence of a given wine is steeped in its origins. It stands to reason that the more […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

In my previous 343 consecutive weekly columns, I’ve touched on many wine-related topics. Oftentimes educational while on other occasions tracking unfolding news events, I’ve enjoyed the research and resulting reports presented to readers. A number of news events are open-ended as I report on them. I periodically hear from readers inquiring if closure has been […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

I’ve been penning this wine column for over six years. I’ve written on topics relating to the finer points of winemaking, the broad expanse of new wines popping up all over the world and the lighter side of the antics of personalities in the wine industry. Every once in a while, I’ve even drawn parallels […]

Show, Don't Tell

Show, Don’t Tell

The first rule of good character development is simple.  Use action to show important character traits.  Don’t use narrative to tell your readers that an important character has a temper. Show the character in a sudden rage.  If your character is brilliant, have them do brilliant things—solve the crossword puzzle in pen, know obscure facts. […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

As humans we tend to think of ourselves as interacting with our surroundings through our five senses. But do we rely on certain senses more than on others? Scientists have long known that humans can discern millions of different colors and half a million different sounds. To a much lesser extent, we perceive the world […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

At my periodic wine tasting events for consumers, I always emphasize that we each have individual, unique palates. Our individual palates influence our unique senses of taste and smell; our individual palates influence our appreciation of one wine over another; our individual palates segregate us into varying camps, such as red wine lovers or white […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

Last week I focused on four business models for producing wine across the globe. As I stated, many wine consumers believe that the process for making wine is similar for all wines. The supposition is that grapes are gently handpicked at the epitome of ripeness, carefully sorted for rotten grapes, leaves and insects and then […]

Grapevine: Today's Winery May Not Fit Your Preconceived Notion

Grapevine: Today’s Winery May Not Fit Your Preconceived Notion

Wine is, in its most elemental form, an agricultural product. To make a decent wine you must be a decent farmer. This axiom has been generally true since the beginning of winemaking, nearly 6,000 years ago. Of course, as with many products, there are exceptions, which is the focus of this week’s column. In the […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine

It must be my fascination with wine. When I see news of a scientific breakthrough or a new application for old technology, my mind goes into “I wonder if there’s a wine angle to this?” mode. On several occasions the insights I’ve gained over my wine-centric lifetime have come up with ancillary or alternative ways […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Pairing the 2013 Oscar-Nominated Movies With Wine

The 86th Academy Awards show airs this Sunday. This is my sixth year of presenting the Best Picture nominees and creating hypothetical pairings of wine with the top contenders. I’ve distilled my list to five of the nine nominees. “12 Years a Slave,” based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Planning the Meal For a White House State Dinner

Globalization has homogenized much of the American landscape. From “American” cars incorporating foreign parts, to “foreign” cars incorporating American-made parts and assembled in the United States, a blurred line has developed over the past 50 years between American made and American inspired. An iPhone is American inspired but substantially produced and assembled overseas. Another seeming […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Sixties Student Protests Redux? On British Campuses?

Remember the student college campus protests that were held across the United States and Western Europe in the late 60s and early 70s? They arose over the on-going war in Vietnam, perceived intrusive government policies and a myriad of social issues. For the most part they were peaceful, representing idealistic statements from students whose view […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The New French Paradox

The concept of unintended consequences has always fascinated me. As modern man has sought to improve lives – medically, economically and technologically – unforeseen outcomes have affected our lives as dramatically as the original intended results. Examples abound, and seem to be increasing. 1. Banning DDT in the 1970s. Its widespread use in agriculture assuredly […]