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The Wine Club Bureau
The Wine Club Bureau
The year 2010 was a witness of many a significant happenings that moulded the wine industry across the globe. The Wine Club looks back to the top ten events with potential to make or break the course of the world of wine.

The Year That Was

31 - dec - 10

Wine as the Panacea
avy drinking has always been associated with fetal alcohol syndromes, but with wine here is a deviation from the norm. Wine has turned out to be a magic potion against almost all ailments. Be it about retaining the youthful glow of your skin, preventing weight gain or increasing the memory, wine is the key. Adding more edge to the cure-all factor of wine, British researchers have discovered that not only pregnant women can safely drink a couple of glasses of wine per week, but that their children performed better three years after birth when compared to children of women who did not drink at all.


Major Earthquake Hit Chile Vineyards
e wine industry of Chile could not escape the destruction as a devastating earthquake with a massive 8.8 magnitude shook the nation killing hundreds and causing billions of dollars in damage. Wine industry was the worst hit. wineries in both the Curicó and Maule valleys, which are not far from the epicenter, were especially hard hit, and wineries further north in Rapel and Maipo also reported damage. The catastrophe threatens the coming vintage as well. The industry estimated that they had lost about 125 million liters of wine in tanks, barrels and bottles [the equivalent of about 14 million cases] with a value of approximately $250 million


Lafite-Rothschild Created History at Hong Kong Auction
rdeaux First Growth Château Lafite-Rothschild was the centre of attraction in 2010 as three bottles of the wine’s 1869 vintage were sold for a mind-blowing HK$1.8 million each in Hong Kong in October. The bottle set a record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at any auction.The auction held by Sotheby’s saw the price of wine skyrocket in Asia. The Sotheby’s auction earned a total of $8.4 million which is more than triple the initial estimate. A total of seven bottles hit more than HK$1 million, or $128,205 each.




Asia, the New Super Power in Wine Industry
Asia became a name to reckon with in the fine wine auction market as Asian buyers ruled the auction shows. Asian buyers bought the three highest grossing lots at Christie's June 6 auction in South Hampton, New York, including spending $16,900 for a 12-bottle case of 1982 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. At Sotheby's New York auction also, an Asian collector bought a case of 1990 Le Pin for $48,400, more than double its pre-sale estimate of $12,000 to $20,000. According to U.S. trade data, American wine imports to Hong Kong grew a whopping 138% to $40 million in 2009. A rapidly growing middle class in China fueled the bulk of Asian wine growth.


The New Investment Option
ine turned out to be a liquid gold as more and more investors chose wine as a form of alternative investment that could return an average profit of 10-50% per bottle. Asset management companies claimed that investors put a chunk of their money on wine. The upside of investing in wine funds is that there are no storage or commission charges and on the downside, it involves a high entry fee. Meenu Kohli, director of Winteage Investments says that for investing through her fund house, one needs to invest a minimum of £5,100 (nearly 4 lakh). In fact the minimum amount for investing through funds or advisory companies is generally more than Rs 1 lakh.


Chinese Artist Joined Elite Mouton League
ina’s Xu Lei joined the league of Salvador Dali, Joan Miró and George Braque – all great names to have designed a label for Chateau Mouton Rothschild, one of the top Bordeaux wine producers. Xu Lei is the second Chinese artist chosen by Mouton Rothschild. He is the art director of Today Art Museum, Beijing’s leading contemporary art gallery. The label, says Chateau, asserts “the role of a great wine as a link between people and cultures, from one hemisphere to the other”. Xu has reworked the classic Mouton emblem with a fine ink drawing depicting the ram standing between two halves of the moon.




Chandigarh Races to Topple Bangalore
handigarh overwhelmed Bangalore, the wine capital of India as residents of Chandigarh bought 42,000 bottles of wine this year, compared to 35,000 bottles last year. In their pursuit to catch up with the Bangaloreans, Chandigarh residents didn’t mind to pay their bucks. Five bottles of Dom Perignon are being sold from a single outlet every month, each bottle costing about Rs. 14,000. Currently there are more than 100 brands of wine available in the city. Not just men, but Chandigarh women are also buying bottles in bulk for kitty parties. Most preferred among these are Kim Crawford and Ruffino wines. Sales have gone up from 10 to 25 bottles per day.

Gunter Grass Designed Chianti Label
Nobel laureate German author Gunter Grass designed the label for the latest vintage of the top Chianti Classico produced by Tuscan winery Fattoria Nittardi. Grass, a multifaceted talent won the Nobel Prize for Literature on 1999 and is considered a key voice in the magical realism movement in Europe. And now the Master who is also a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, has depicted a snail on a cluster of grapes for the label and wrapping paper of the 2008 vintage of Casanuova di Nittardi. The wine will be up for sale in November. The celebrated 83-year-old author of The Tin Drum is the latest in a long line of artists commissioned to design labels for Casanuova since 1981. The long list includes Yoko Ono, Tomi Ungerer, Horst Janssen and Friedensreich Hundertwasser among others.

Technology is the Key
test technology swept the wine industry across the world. After the ipad revolution that allowed buyers to order their favourite wine from a computerized wine list, another new system allowed the measurement of tannin in an oak stave. Oakscan, an infrared scanning system, measures the exact number of tannins in each stave of a barrel before it is assembled, thus implying that winemakers now can select the exact type of tannins to match the style of wine required. In another instance, a France-based company has invented Prooftag in order to deter counterfeiting of wine. Its unique "bubble seal" is affixed to an individual bottle along with a distinctive numeric code that, when logged into a website, produces authentic product statistics about the wine, and a link back to the winery's website.

Randall Grahm Pioneers Cross-breed Wine
ndall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard undertook a project to create and interesting wine produced from cross-breed vines. Randall is working on a radical project to make wine from a vineyard grown from grape seeds of uncertain parentage. The mission of the long term project is “to produce a distinctive and original wine that’s pleasant and interesting,” or “a true vin de terroir.” Grahm will deviate from the normal practice of planting clonal selections of vines reproduced by grafting, and instead will create a vineyard from grape seeds of uncertain pedigree. It is an extremely tricky process since the hard outer layer of grape seeds makes germination difficult. On the contrary, grafting is a quick, certain and the most economical way of starting a vineyard where the result is an exact genetic copy of the parent vine, having the identical DNA.

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