• A Schooling in Wine Writing And Gender

      I’ve heard it said that where winemaking is concerned, women may have an advantage either because they may have a more acute palate or because they are more natural nurturers. I don’t know. It’s an intriguing and not altogether outlandish set of ideas. However, I’m wondering if there is such a substantial difference between male wine writers and female wine writers that it is ...

      Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 14 readers -
    • What it Takes to Grow the Direct To Consumer Wine Channel

      In a recent editorial at Wine Industry Advisor, Brian Rosen, former CEO of SAMS,, a large wine retailer in Chicago, and now head of the consulting firm Rosen Retail, said the following: “The DTC movement is not what you think it is and will not provide the added revenue that wineries around the globe are seeking….

      Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 19 readers -
    • The Napa Earthquake Strikes

      I think I slept through the first 5 seconds of the earthquake. But that’s all. Upon waking I was confronted by the duel familiarities of the most unnatural sound of cacophonous rumbling and crashing and the feeling of the floor moving beneath my feet. Even in the pitch dark of my bedroom I knew what was happening. I also knew immediately that my wife and child were not next to me.

      Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 4 readers -
  • Thoughts After A Decade of Wine Blogging

    Over the last ten years this wine blog has published 2,873 posts. This equates to 1.1 posts per week day since November 2004. So, I can say, at the very least, that I’ve achieved the “Daily” part of this blog’s name: FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog. I can’t say for sure what else I have accomplished. I never set a goal for this blog at the outset or since.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 2 readers -
  • Grapes, Not Wines, Are Impacted by AVAs

    There is a good case to be made that when comparing the French Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) system with the American Viticultural Area (AVA) system, it is the American system of delineating grape growing regions that is far more invested in the theory of terroir than the French AOC system.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 1 readers -
  • A Best-of-Its-Type Wine Book

    There are all sorts of examples of books that just keep appearing, edition after edition after edition. There are really only two ways of looking at this phenomenon: 1) The book is old hat, but they just keep putting it out because it’s well-known and that’s good enough for the publisher, or 2) The book remains among the best of its type. There is no fine line here.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 2 readers -
  • Hogwash!

    I recently had the good fortune of being interviewed by ReasonTV on the subject of laws that harm wine consumers. In the brief interview, I outline many of the ways in which various state laws, supported by various actors in the wine industry, harm consumer choice and consumer access to wines. However, what I did not do is address the most common ways these laws are defended ...

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 1 readers -
  • The Stupidest Alcohol Law in All the Land?

    I’ve been accused, unfairly, of mocking Mormons. What I’ve actually done is mock citizens and lawmakers in Utah. I’m certain there is a difference. However, with the release of this new poll, I will refrain from mocking Utah citizens and simply focus on lawmakers. It appears that a new poll shows that nearly two-thirds of those polled favor taking down the “Zion Curtain” that, ...

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 3 readers -
  • Wine and Tom Wark’s Failure at Predicting Elections

    Yesterday in Tennessee 78 different counties and municipalities voted to determine if wine should be sold in the same stores where food is sold. The proposal to put wine in grocery stores won in all 78 counties. I have to admit that I was wrong about this move to use the ballot box to finally put wine in grocery stores in Tennessee.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 1 readers -
  • Top 5 Reasons Napa Is Best Visited in November

    Napa Valley has just seen its busiest tourist month of the year come and go. October, during the height of harvest is when the Valley sees more tourists than any other month. From October, visits fall precipitously until January, which sees the fewest visitors. All this is leading me to the point that November just may be the best month of year to visit Napa Valley…But it depen ...

    Tom Wark/ Fermentationin Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay- 2 readers -
  • Wine Critics Keep Semantic Arguments at Bay—Not So for Beer and Spirits

    The most consequential battles and issues for small, quality-oriented alcohol beverage producers are those having to do with the distribution and sales of their products. Whether the issue is self distribution for craft distillers, franchise laws for craft beer producers or direct shipping for smaller wineries, these are the consequential and important issues that will directly ...

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 1 readers -
  • A Great Story About a Great Wine Man

    I used to joke with a former colleague at a wine PR firm that the first one of us to get their visage depicted in a line drawing in the Wall Street Journal wins—triggering an automatic dinner at the restaurant of our choice. However, after reading this absolutely wonderful and inspiring story about Peter Mondavi, Sr.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 5 readers -
  • Beer Drinkers More Experimental Than Wine Drinkers?

    Are beer enthusiasts more experimental with their alcohol consumption than wine enthusiasts? It may seem like an academic question but not for spirit producers or cider producers. For these two category of drinks the answer to the questions would dictate at which kind of drinker they would aim their marketing.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation -
  • Frantic Parent Syndrome Highlighted in Wine TV Ads

    It’s not often that voters here the words “wine” in those wonderful campaign ads that control the airwaves during election season. However, voters in Tennessee are getting a glass full in the run up to the November election. Having recently passed a law that (finally) allows Tennessee grocery stores to sell wine, the new wine-in-grocery-stores-law came with a caveat: local ju ...

    Tom Wark/ Fermentationin Merlot- 3 readers -
  • Wine Auctions and the Flinging of Poo

    Everybody’s favorite Gagillionaire William Koch recently declared, “The business of selling rare old wine is basically over because of the preponderance of fakes.” Meanwhile: Sotheby’s Sells Record breaking $1.6 million Super Lot of DRC Nederburg 2014 Wine Auction Sales Soar Christie’s Auction Featuring Chateau Angelus Brings $1.8 million Sotheby’s September London Wine Auction Brings $2.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 4 readers -
  • In Defense of Excess(ive) Wine Writing

    While it is true that the vast majority of wine that is sold and drunk in the U.S. is sub-$10 basic stuff of little note or interest, that’s no reason for a writer (or publisher) to focus on these wines. The best of the best is much more interesting. And the same can often be said of travel, automobiles, other consumables, etc, etc: These much more rare and treasured items (inc ...

    Tom Wark/ Fermentationin Cabernet Sauvignon- 3 readers -
  • New York Liquor Authority Scandal Has Consequences for Wine Stores and Consumers

    New York Liquor Authority Scandal Has Consequences for Wine Stores and Consumers Posted by Tom Wark on Oct 9, 2014 What happens when you combine self-serving legal theories with delusions of grandeur? Beginning almost immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court warned states in 2005 that they may not interfere with interstate commerce by discriminating against in-state or out- ...

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 2 readers -
  • Best Dining in Napa: The Top 5 Lists

    Best Dining in Napa: The Top 5 Lists Posted by Tom Wark on Oct 7, 2014 Despite earthquakes and inch deep hail, the town of Napa in Napa Valley remains the most vibrant community in the Napa Valley for both locals and visitors. It gets this designation based on the continued revitalization it has undergone over the past 10 years, particularly its downtown area.

    Tom Wark/ Fermentation- 4 readers -