"Sake Confidential" book review: Straight talk about sake

    The best sakes tend to come from cold places Intro to sake books haven't been as successful as intro to wine books, and not only because wine is much more popular. Sake books tend to get bogged down early in describing how sake is made. It's an important question, but the answer isn't simple, nor does it have much to do with the really key questions about sake, such as How do ...

    By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    Strippers know Champagne

    Courtesy Stag and Hen, Amsterdam The Champagne Bureau was in San Francisco last week for a huge trade tasting. I sipped a bunch of delicious Champagnes and left a happy camper. I guess they wanted me to write about the uniqueness of Champagne. It's illegal to call sparkling wine made outside the region "Champagne" in 117 countries, but not in the U.S.

    1 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    David Ramey Q&A: "Alcohol level is not a political decision"

    David and Carla Ramey met at a winemaker dinner David Ramey has been a major figure in California wine for several decades. After graduating from UC Davis, he did a stint at Château Pétrus in Bordeaux and worked at Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus Estate and Rudd Estate before going out on his own with Ramey Wine Cellars in 2002.

    2 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    What soda makers think San Franciscans look like

    Proposition E would put a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugary soft drinks if San Francisco voters pass it in November. The American Beverage Association -- mostly Coke, Pepsi and their distributors -- has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign against it. San Francisco and its horde ...

    2 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    "American Wine Story:" Boring documentary without a plot

    Wine doesn't make a great documentary subject. You can't capture the feeling of drinking an amazing wine on film, and in talking about it, you risk sounding like someone describing an orgasm. That's not what makes "American Wine Story," released this week for sale online, dull. First-time director David Baker exhibits a frequent problem of people trying to chronicle the lives ...

    3 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    Winemakers are paid less than HR managers

    "This wine has an excellent bouquet and a long finish. It's a credit to the winery's human resources director." Who's the most important employee at a winery? You might think it's the winemaker or vineyard manager. But they're not paid like it. Wine Business Monthly released its annual salary survey in its October issue, and I was struck by how many people are paid more than the winemaker.

    7 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    Endorsements for November 2014 San Francisco election

    After a dull June primary in California, November has a lot of interesting decisions, and I'm here to help you make them. I read the endorsements from the Los Angeles Times, which did a fine job on statewide races, as well as the Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle, which was even weaker than usual.

    1 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    My wines of August

    People who say "you can never be too rich or too thin" have never read Stephen King. I'm here to tell you that you can also have too many wines. For about a year, I got out of the habit of reviewing wines at home. If you read this blog, you know that wine reviews in a vacuum aren't my raison d'être. I like telling stories, and if I can tell a story about a bottle, I like to do it.

    4 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    Millenials vs. grocery store wines

    Last month a wine buyer for a major northern California grocery store chain made this observation at Wines & Vines' packaging seminar. "Baby boomers are still driving volume. They come in and buy six wines and don't ask about them," said Curtis Mann, wine & ...

    7 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    Wine Spectator, Advocate can now legally sell a 90-point rating

    Can Wine Spectator now openly offer higher ratings to wineries that buy advertising -- and threaten lower ones to wineries that don't? It appears that it can. So can the Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, CellarTracker, and any other site publishing ratings. For years, some wineries have whispered that such practices might be informally happening, even though there has never been any evidence.

    5 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    Three Napa Valley wineries where you can play games

    The view from the deck at Cade Estate The best way you can help Napa Valley rebuild from the earthquake is to visit. Tourism can take a hit after a quake, and that impacts a lot of local jobs. More than 95% of Napa wineries, restaurants and hotels are open and they want you to come and spend your money.

    5 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

    Wine shop owner catches Tequila thief with bag of meat

    By day, Frank Pagliaro is a mild-mannered wine store owner. But then he goes into the back room, possibly sliding down some sort of pole, and emerges as Batman, Delaware edition. Gotham City's Batman takes on the Joker and Bane and barely survives. Wilmington's Batman takes on the AssClown and The AssClown's Cousin Julio, and not only does he triumph, he posts video on Youtube.

    4 readers - By W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report

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Best Blogger/Online Wine Writer (in the world!): Roederer Award 2013

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