State of the Napa Valley wine industry, trouble at Ubuntu and more

by TrevR on February 17, 2010

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It’s Wednesday, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and it certainly feels like Spring in these parts.

It’s also a super busy time of year, with no shortage of news coming from our small valley. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the major items making headlines…

The State of the Napa Valley Wine Industry
Yesterday’s New York Times had a long article about the current state of the wine industry as a whole and the state of the Napa Valley wine industry in particular.

Overall, it’s a good read with tons of insight and commentary around how many vintners in the valley are still “in denial” about their ability (or lack thereof) to sell expensive wines in the current economy. The article also examines how many wineries are focused on going direct-to-consumer using not only their tasting rooms but things called the Internet and social networks.

One of our favorite bits is this one:

Mike Grgich, the founder of Grgich Hills Estate, distrusted computers so intensely that for decades he insisted on handwritten accounting. No more. At 87, Mr. Grgich recently bellowed to his staff: “We have to upgrade everything! Get me Facebook and Twitter!” recalled Ivo Jeramaz, a vice president at the winery who is also Mr. Grgich’s nephew.

“We nearly fell off our chairs,” Mr. Jeramaz said.

The Cork Board Take: We can’t help but note the timing of this article, which ran the week Premiere Napa Valley, the lavish “red carpet” industry-only event, is scheduled to kick-off. It also still amazes us how far behind the wine industry here in the valley seems to be when it comes to utilizing the Internet and social media channels to go direct.

New Cheese Room at Black Stallion Winery
Black Stallion Winery over on Silverado Trail last week announced a partnership with cheesemonger John Raymond. Raymond, who has been a cheese maker in the Napa and Sonoma Valley’s for more than 10 years, will be offering in-depth wine and cheese education and wine and cheese pairings at the winery’s newly opened Cheese Room.

The Room is open daily from 10am – 5pm and you can find more details here.

‘Paris Icons’ Coming to Mumm Napa in March
A new fine art photography exhibit, Paris Icons, is opening at Mumm Napa winery in late March. The exhibit highlights the award winning book of the same name, which focuses on the soul of the famous city.

Both the author, Leslie J Little, and the photographer, James Scholz, will be signing copies of the book on the night of the opening (which is free and open to the public and includes a sparkling wine reception), March 20th (from 6:30pm – 8:30pm).

The exhibit will run from March 20th – September 26th.

Jeremy Fox and Crew Out at Downtown Napa’s Ubuntu?
Meanwhile, in downtown Napa the highly acclaimed Ubuntu restaurant is rumored to be in some serious trouble. By all accounts, the vegetarian restaurant has wowed diners due in large part to up-and-coming chef Jeremy Fox’s tasty creations.

Now, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Fox and much of the kitchen staff have left the restaurant under what sounds like not-so-great circumstances. If true, this would be a big blow to Ubuntu…

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, state of napa valley wine industry, black stallion winery, ubuntu, jeremy fox ubuntu, mumm napa]

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About the Author

has written 724 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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