An excellent, short but pithy treatise by Colman Andrews on the wines of the Catalan regions of Europe is available from the author.
Andrews, well-known Los Angeles wine and food writer, wrote the newly released "Catalan Cuisine" for Atheneum. A chapter of that book, "Wines of the Paisos Catalans" (Catalan regions), was produced about the wines of the region (mostly Spain, but also a portion of southern France).
The chapter was rejected by the publisher, who felt that the book as written was about food and that the wines of the region added little to the text.
However, the material is well written and terse (24 pages), and Andrews has been persuaded by some of his wine-loving friends to make available a limited number of copies of the additional chapter.
For a copy, send a check for $6 to Colman Andrews, Los Angeles Magazine, 1888 Century Park East, Los Angeles 90067. Incidentally, "Catalan Cuisine," just out, sells for $24.95.
The biggest viticultural appellation yet approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is also the smallest.
Wines produced from the newly approved region located in Gillespie County, Tex., may display on the label the location "Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country." A total of 50 acres is now under cultivation, smallest viticultural region yet approved by the BATF.
The house of Antinori, born more than 600 years ago, has decided to change the name of some of its wines to more specifically designate what the wines are.
The most important of the name changes is with the Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva, which for decades has been called Villa Antinori Riserva Marchese. Because the wine is produced entirely from grapes grown on the Antinori estate ( tenute ), the wine has been renamed Tenute Marchese Antinori.
The first wine renamed is the 1982 Chianti Classico.
Fourteen years after the concept was conceived, the Sonoma County Wine Library will be dedicated on Sunday in Healdsburg.
The project was conceived by wine writer Mildred Howie and the first funds were raised by the Healdsburg Kiwanis. Since then, numerous fund-raising events have helped the library acquire the $30,000 Vintner's Club Library from San Francisco, among other assets.
The library will open with about 2,200 volumes and subscribes to 57 wine publications.
Caruso and Me, a San Pedro restaurant with an extensive wine list, has charted its wine sales by type from October 1988 through January this year and has found that more than 34% of the wine it sold was Chardonnay.
However, the survey also showed that we are creatures of tradition: sales of Champagne in October and November never topped 8% of the restaurant's total, but was 14.6% in December, which incidentally has in it two of the most festive dates of the year.
The four-month total shows that the second-best selling wine in the restaurant was Sauvignon Blanc (12.6%), followed by Champagne (11.1%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (8.6%).
Sutter Home Winery in the Napa Valley, which shipped more White Zinfandel than any winery in California in 1988, said it had shipments of about 700,000 cases of wine that were not White Zinfandel.
Sutter Home, which is estimated to have shipped 3.2 million cases of all wine in 1988, said it had 50% increases in sales of red Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc wines last year.
It is estimated that some 9.5 million cases of White Zinfandel were shipped last year. Sutter Home has captured more than a one-fourth share of that market.
Beringer Vineyards, which has bought vineyard land in California faster than any other winery, recently made its largest acquisition yet, more than 4,300 acres of land in Santa Barbara County.
The San Antonio Ranch, bought from Prudential Insurance, is located in the Santa Maria area of Santa Barbara County and has 2,200 acres of land planted. The largest single variety is Chardonnay, and a company spokesman said more acreage will be converted to Chardonnay.
Since late 1986, Beringer has been on a land acquisition kick and now has an estimated 6,200 acres of California land planted with grapevines.
Here is a brief look at the larger purchases:
Dec. 30, 1987: acquired Cat Canyon Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, 750 acres; 372 planted.
March 11, 1988: acquired Rancho Sisquoc Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, 358 acres; 308 planted.
March 16, 1988: acquired Mountain Lake vineyard, Lake County, 196 acres; 150 now being developed.
June 10, 1988: acquired Estrella River Winery and adjoining property, San Luis Obispo County, 780 acres; 520 planted. (Property renamed Meridian.)
June 17, 1988: acquired Asti property, formerly Italian Swiss Colony, in Sonoma County, 544 acres; 300 now being developed.
Aug. 15, 1988: acquired additional 196 acres in Knight's Valley in Sonoma County; 50 acres now being developed.
In addition, Beringer (which operates under the corporate name Wine World) owns about 40 acres in front of its Chateau Souverain property in Sonoma County and previously owned 600 acres in Knight's Valley and 800 in the Napa Valley.
Mike Moone, president of Wine World, said the latest acquisition was the largest and tried to put it into perspective: "If you walked every row of the San Antonio vineyard, you would walk from here to Chicago."
Because of complaints from wineries that they have encountered bureaucratic obstacles selling wine in other states, a task force on the wine industry, proposed by California State Assemblyman Dominic Cortese (D-San Jose), has been approved by the National Conference of State Legislators.
Cortese is chairman of the Assembly Select Committee on California Wine Production and Economy. In 1988 the committee held five hearings on issues of concern to those in the industry, and one repeated complaint was the difficulty of shipping wine across state lines because of the great variation in regulations in other states.
Among the bureaucratic tangle of rules that winery owners mentioned were those pertaining to labeling, licensing, collection and shipping.
Sammy Nunez, a Louisiana state legislator and president of the National Conference of State Legislators, responded to Cortese late in January, saying he was "pleased to honor your request" to form a task force, and adding that his staff would contact Cortese to set up the task force.