Did the English Invent Bubbly Before Dom Perignon?

The French monk Dom Perignon is thought to have invented champagne in 1697. But 30 years earlier, an English scientist discovered winemakers on this side of the Channel had long been adding sparkle to their tipple. Read more.

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Chile Rebuilds Devastated Wine Regions After Fires

Lovers of Chilean wine, take note. Wine Spectator takes at look at how the fires in Chile, which damaged or destroyed over 100 vineyards in the country, will impact this year’s wine harvest.

In vineyards spared by the flames, smoke taint was the primary concern, and several acres of vineyards were completely destroyed by fires. It’s too early to tell how prices will be affected, but this is sad news for all fans of Chile’s wines. Read more.

California Wine Sales in the U.S. Hit Record $34.1 Billion

The value of California wine shipments to the U.S. market hit $34.1 billion in 2016, up 4.6% on the previous year and a record for the golden state’s winemakers. This is huge and exciting news for the state’s many vintners.

California Chardonnay remains the most popular variety among American consumers, accounting for 20% of sales, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), red blends including sweet reds (12%), Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris (9%), Merlot (7%), and Pinot Noir (6%). Close behind are White Zinfandel / blush wines (6%), Moscato / Muscat (5%) and Sauvignon Blanc (5%). Read more.

2017 South African Wine Harvest Best in Years

South Africa’s 2017 grape harvest was slightly larger than the previous year, wine industry body VinPro has confirmed.

What has made the crop so prolific? Dry conditions offset by cool nights, resulting in healthy vineyards and good grape concentration. Read more.

Lost Vine of Chilean Patagonia Identified by DNA

Here’s a story for all of you science and wine geeks out there! Check out this piece from Andes Wines about how a lost vine of Chilean Patagonia was positively identified using state-of-the-art DNA profiling. Read more.

How Australia Led the Screwcap Revolution

Fun wine fact: 99 bottles out of every 100 produced by Australian wineries are sealed with a screwcap. What’s even more surprising is that screwcaps for wine have only been used in Australia since 2000. Read more about Australia’s love of the easy-open enclosure for fine wines.

Magpies Safeguarding Vineyards from Grape-Eating Birds

Scientists at Charles Stuart University in Australia have devised an environmentally friendly alternative to keep bird pests off vineyard grapes: magpies! Across Victoria, several wineries have installed wooden perches that by design will attract magpies and other aggressive birds (like falcons) to scare off smaller birds. Read more about this fantastic idea that will benefit both grape growers and hungry birds.