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A Pot-Loving Friend\'s Point of View about Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
May, 2019 Issue

Recently, I had a conversation with my cannabis-loving friend, a pot-smoking Silicon Valley entrepreneur whom I’ll call Bob. He’s preferred weed over wine for years. I mentioned how the world of wine is changing, including massive competition, a slowing of growth and shifting from the view that wine is healthy.

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Gender And Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
Apr, 2019 Issue

Will there ever be equanimity between genders within the world of wine? Hopefully, but it won’t happen without a lot of change. I’ve been in the wine industry for years as both a writer and a vintner, and I’ve worked with both male and female winemakers, viticulturists, marketing and sales professionals, and a host of other roles.

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California Wine as an Investment

Columnist: Tim Carl
Mar, 2019 Issue

When investors in the stock market become uncertain, they often switch to safer investments such as gold, silver and bonds.

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Avoiding the Discount Trap in Wine Pricing

Columnist: Tim Carl
Sep, 2018 Issue

Because the wine industry is now oversaturated with brands that have followed the “premiumization” bubble, some experts are extolling the virtue of discounting wine to increase sales. But don’t be too quick to take the bait because once price becomes your key value proposition, it’s nearly impossible to do anything more than chase your tail into the discount bin at your local supermarket or online flash-sale site.

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Meal Kits and Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
Aug, 2018 Issue

For any major holiday or special event when I was growing up, our family would clamor into my father’s van and drive unencumbered by seatbelts to one of our extended family’s homes. There, the women congregated in the kitchen preparing the meal, while the men gathered around libations (beer, jug wine and spirits) and the children slipped out of sight to accomplish some forbidden act, such as competing for the title of Highest Tree Climber.

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An Overabundance of Wine Professionals

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jul, 2018 Issue

In the last couple of decades, the number of formally trained wine professionals has exploded. Each year more than 2,000 winemaking students have earned degrees—a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D.—and graduate from top-tier programs in the United States alone. Thousands more, through dozens of accredited colleges and hundreds of internships and apprenticeship training programs, are provided some sort of certificate of winemaking. Beyond the burgeoning numbers of winemakers (enology), vineyard (viticulture) programs also continue to expand, as does the popularity of programs for becoming a certified sommelier.

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Vineyards as Firebreaks

Author: Tim Carl
Jul, 2018 Issue

When the phone rang at 11 p.m. on October 8 last year, Lyall and Karen Fahden did not yet smell smoke. A friend from nearby Calistoga had called to warn them that a fast-moving fire was heading toward their home and winery. They dressed quickly and drove through their vineyards toward the nearby ridge. As they neared the top, they noticed the silhouette of the mountain was edged with an eerie red glow that pulsed and grew in intensity as they approached. By the time they reached the top and gazed down, it appeared that the entire valley was in flames.

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One Glass of Wine a Day?

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jun, 2018 Issue

Recent headlines suggested that drinking much more than one glass of wine per day can have negative health effects for both males and females. That would be very bad news for an industry that has pinned much of its marketing efforts on the view that drinking wine has positive health benefits. But looking more deeply into the science behind these headlines actually suggest that drinking a glass or two of wine may be better than drinking no alcohol at all. So what gives? First a little background.

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The X, Y and Z of Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
May, 2018 Issue

By 2021 Generation X (born approximately between 1965 and 1979) will consume more wine than any other generational group in America. Five years later, the Millennials (born approximately between 1980 and 1994) will take over that spot, according to Silicon Valley Bank. Years later, sometime in the future, Generation Z (born approximately between 1995 and 2014) will take over the most prominent wine-drinking position.

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Beer to Busts

Columnist: Tim Carl
Apr, 2018 Issue

Recently, craft beer has been one of the hottest new trends to hit what is being now referred to as the “relaxant market,” which includes alcoholic beverages and cannabis products. In the last 10 years, there’s been a mad rush of new entrants, as everyone and his brother seems now to be making beer. But like all booms, this one is coming quickly to a bust, where only the strong, lucky or steady will survive.

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Batten Down the Hatches

Columnist: Tim Carl
Mar, 2018 Issue

It’s a cheap shot when a columnist says “I told you so.” It’s especially unattractive when the issue in question is particularly bad news. If, for example, I’ve been saying for the last year that you’d better get cracking when it comes to nailing down your grape- and wine-sales strategy, you might scoff and tell me, “What’s new?” And that’s when I’d sit back and go down the list.

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Augmented Social Media the New Normal

Columnist: Tim Carl
Feb, 2018 Issue

I’ve never been a big believer in the power of social media when it comes to selling wine. The idea that someone might become enamored with a new winery or wine brand because of some pithy antidotes on Twitter or a few hyperbolically colorized photos on Instagram has always seemed far-fetched. However, what we are seeing now is that social media coupled with technology is helping to fuel unprecedented volatility that will eventually spread to the world of wine. 

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For Now No Pot Infused Wine Allowed in California

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jan, 2018 Issue

Recently, three California agencies released rules on growing and selling cannabis. The regulations, devised by the state’s Department of Health, Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Bureau of Cannabis Control—who knew that even existed? Together, these agencies offer the first glimpse into how things have changed since the sale of recreational marijuana became legal on January 1. 

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Wine Country Will Survive

Columnist: Tim Carl
Dec, 2017 Issue

The fires in Northern California Wine Country are tragic beyond comprehension and resulted in an obscenely too-high number of people losing their lives. Beyond the loss of life, thousands of families’ homes and hundreds of businesses were damaged or destroyed, and countless animals and forests have been decimated.

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Get Ready for a Bumpy Ride

Columnist: Tim Carl
Nov, 2017 Issue

The wine industry is heading for a bumpy ride in the next decade, and those without a well-planned and realistic strategy in place will either get very lucky or fail.

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Going Underground

Columnist: Tim Carl
Oct, 2017 Issue

I have a friend—let’s call him “Bob”—who is in his 60s and has a vacation home and small vineyard in the hills above Calistoga. He made a fortune as an early investor in some of the biggest tech companies around, and now he drives expensive cars and is often traveling through some distant country in search of adventure. Bob flies his own helicopter and sits on the boards of three or four successful companies, and his children are being groomed to attend Ivy League colleges. Bob is also a total stoner, smoking marijuana daily.

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The Amazon Now Flows With Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
Sep, 2017 Issue

Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion will decimate small wine and beer retail shops across the country and hasten the consolidation of wineries and distributors.

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Things are Heating Up

Columnist: Tim Carl
Aug, 2017 Issue

It’s a fact that increasing temperatures will impact wine-grape growing. I’m not arguing one side or the other of the climate change debate. You either believe humans are the cause of increasing temperatures or you think this is a normal cycle of warming.

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Truffles

Author: Tim Carl
Jul, 2017 Issue

In February 2017, a dog named Ilsa discovered the first-ever cultivated European Tuber melanosporum, or the Périgord truffle, in Sonoma County.

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Look for Winery Acqusitions to Continue

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jul, 2017 Issue

Over the last year or so, the number of winery and vineyard acquisitions has been surging at a breakneck pace. Jackson Family wines has been on a tear, purchasing many wineries, including Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. GI Partners bought Far Niente Wine Estates, TSG Consumer Partners purchased Duckhorn Wine Co., E. & J. Gallo bought Orin Swift Cellars, Constellation Brands purchased the Prisoner Wine Co., Francis Ford Coppola purchased Silverwood Vineyard and the owners of Silver Oak purchased Ovid Winery. This is only the tip of the iceberg, with many more deals that have been completed or are near completion.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

Columnist: Tim Carl
May, 2017 Issue

What could possibly go wrong?—Source Unknown Love him or hate him, President Donald Trump is already having an impact. His proposed budget would slash funding for—or completely eliminate—many aspects of the government and shift much of the focus to military spending. Many of the changes he advocates will not make it through Congress. But the ones that do, will create an impact that will be felt throughout the economy and perhaps especially in luxury goods such as wine.

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The Ten Percent

Columnist: Tim Carl
Apr, 2017 Issue

Got competition? There are 9,091 wineries in the United States and 4,202 are in California, reports Wine Business Monthly, What’s more, nearly 39 percent of those are “virtual,” meaning they don’t have a physical place to call home and instead make wine at a custom-crush facility or through some other arrangement. What this means is there are wine producers with significantly different cost structures, all trying their best to sell wine to an increasingly saturated market

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A Conversation From 2057

Columnist: Tim Carl
Mar, 2017 Issue

“I miss all the old vineyards,” she said quietly. “Remember when there were vines and we didn’t drink synthetic wine, but it came from actual grapes?"

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Tight Job Market

Columnist: Tim Carl
Feb, 2017 Issue

The problem with wine distributors is out of control, but that\'s not likely to change anytime soon.

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Hobby Loss

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jan, 2017 Issue

I don’t really envision the wholesale removal of vineyards in favor of cannabis, but I can imagine adding a marijuana crop to existing operations will be too attractive to pass up for many.

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Synthetic Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
Dec, 2016 Issue

As wine businesses continue to evolve, it's important to know what the value proposition of wine actually is for most consumers.

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Hedging the Future

Columnist: Tim Carl
Nov, 2016 Issue

Up until recently, hedge funds and private equity typically stayed away from wineries and vineyards. There just wasnt enough profit potential.

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The Science of Terroir

Author: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

“Terroir” is one of the most controversial words in the vocabulary of wine. For many, it holds within the ultimate meaning of wine, whereas for others, it represents an overused marketing tool with roots in mysticism and pseudoscience. Regardless of your position—and precisely because of the fervor surrounding it—terroir is a fascinating entry point into the world of wine, as well as to human physiology and psychology.

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Secret Sauce

Columnist: Tim Carl
Oct, 2016 Issue

I remember getting high scores and a feature story on my wine in Wine Spectator. I was thrilled and waited for the phone to ring off the hook.

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Highest and Best Use

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Sep, 2016 Issue

I only spent a brief amount of time at McKinsey, but even so, it changed the way I think. 

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Cork vs. Screw Cap

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Jul, 2016 Issue

I love corks, but I think that has more to do with their natural origins and the fact they provide a certain level of tradition, theater and ceremony more than anything else.

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East Meets West

Author: Tim Carl
Jul, 2016 Issue

Wineries take the lead welcoming an expected increase of visitors from China.

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Thomas Jefferson's Dream

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Jun, 2016 Issue

“Bringing wine to France is like bringing sand to a beach."

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2016 BEST Zinfandel: Armida Winery

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2016

Armida Winery has been voted Best Zinfandel in the 2016 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll

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2016 BEST Merlot: Matanzas Creek Winery

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2016

Matanzas Creek has been voted Best Merlot in the 2016 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2016 BEST Spa Resort: The Meritage Resort & Spa

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2016

The Meritage has been voted Best Resort & Spa in the 2016 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2016 BEST Law Firm: Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2016

Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty has been voted Best Law Firm in the 2016 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2016 BEST Consumer Bank: Umpqua Bank

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2016

Umpqua Bank has been voted Best Consumer Bank in the 2016 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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Tourism From China Will Increase

Author: Tim Carl
May, 2016 Issue

On average, visitors from China spent $6,000 per person during trips to the United States, which was more than any of the other groups surveyed.

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Sobering News

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Apr, 2016 Issue

If we could study how consumers were acting in 1938 we might get a better idea about where things may go for us in the near term.

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Everything Changes

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Mar, 2016 Issue

When the only thing that is constant is change.

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Evolving Tastes?

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Feb, 2016 Issue

Envisioning a future where grapes aren’t the biggest industry around here.

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Wine World: California's Newest Theme Park

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Jan, 2016 Issue

Is Wine Country in danger of Disneyfication?

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Herd Mentality

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Dec, 2015

[Robert] Parker produced a simple method that provided busy, successful people with the ability to purchase exclusive luxury items that appealed to the American palate.

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Will Winter Bring A Super El Nino?

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Nov, 2015

 It’s time to assess and take action regarding potential winter flooding.  

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Attack of the Robot Winemakers

Columnist: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2015

There’s something to be said for technology’s role in winemaking—but nothing can replace the human touch.

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How Many Tasting Rooms Are Enough?

Author: Tim Carl
Columnist: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2015

Normally, I lean toward the free-market side of things, but even I’m starting to wonder about the future of our downtowns.

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Water: Blood in the Veins

Columnist: Tim Carl
Sep, 2015 Issue

Our water troubles could worsen before they get better.

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Welcome to the New Vine Wise

Columnist: Tim Carl
Aug, 2015 Issue

Tim Carl introduces himself with his first Vine Wise column.

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2015 BEST Busines Bank: Exchange Bank

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2015

Exchange Bank has been voted Best Business Bank in the 2015 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2015 BEST Real Estate Company: Coldwell Banker

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2015

Coldwell Banker has been voted Best Real Estate Company in the 2015 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2015 BEST Merlot: Selby Winery

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2015

Selby Winery has been voted Best Merlot in the 2015 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2015 BEST Sparkling Wine: J Vineyards & Winery

Author: Tim Carl
NBB Best Of, May, 2015

J Vineyards and Winery has been voted Best Sparkling Wine in the 2015 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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Guest Column: Mindful Awareness

Author: Tim Carl
Apr, 2015 Issue

Your guide to bringing yourself into the present moment.

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Blending Art and Science

Author: Tim Carl
Apr, 2015 Issue

A look at trends in the world of wine

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Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor

Author: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2013

Exploring the art and science of tasting wine

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In this Issue

Rebuilding: Sonoma County Housing Sites

Take a spin through Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood and you’ll see what recovery and resiliency look like. Efforts to rebuild thousands of lost homes have ramped up to full speed i...

Fighting Fire With Forethought

As new homes rise in North Bay neighborhoods leveled by fire, it appears life is slowly returning to normal. There is, however, a factor we cannot underestimate: the ever-present risk that comes wit...

Rohnert Park Renaissance

For decades, the city of Rohnert Park has longed for a downtown. Rotary president, Pat Miller remembers moving to Rohnert Park with her boyfriend, now husband, in 1978, and finding disappointment....

See all...

  

 

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