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(Reuters)
The more wine costs, the more people enjoy it, regardless of how it tastes, a study by California researchers has found. Researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the California Institute of Technology found that because people expect wines that cost more to be of higher quality, they trick themselves into believing the wines provide a more pleasurable experience than less expensive ones. Their study, says that expectations of quality trigger activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain that registers pleasure. This happens even though the part of our brain that interprets taste is not affected. While many studies have looked at how marketing affects behavior, this is the first to show that it has a direct effect on the brain.
The researchers said that when 20 adult test subjects sampled the same wine at different prices, they reported experiencing pleasure at significantly greater levels when told the wine cost more. At the same time, the part of the brain responsible for pleasure showed significant activity.
According to the study, if an experience is pleasurable, the brain will use it to help guide future choices. That conclusion has important implications for marketing that aims to influence perceptions of quality such as expert ratings, peer reviews, information about country of origin, store and brand names and repeated exposure to advertisements.

According to That's Fit- Wine may help keep teeth clean
The cardiovascular benefits of drinking red wine have been known for quite some time. Reveratrol, found in grape seeds and skin, has been shown to improve HDL (good) cholesterol and prevent blood clotting, just as flavonoids, antioxidants of which wine grapes are plentiful, have been linked to a reduction in blood clots and plaque formation in arteries. This is all great news for your heart, something that should make you smile.
Fortunately, wine has also been shown in an Italian study to protect your teeth by eliminating the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. This effect is not limited to red wine, as white wine was found to be just as effective in warding off these bacteria.
And not to worry, wine won't stain your teeth (especially white wine). A little rinsing with water after you imbibe is all it takes to make your teeth pearly white again.
As reported in WebMD Medical News- White wine fans, raise your glasses! A new study suggests the lighter wines may be just as good for the heart as red.
Until now, research has suggested the bulk of grapes' heart-healthy benefits come from antioxidant compounds primarily found in their skins. These compounds are called anthocyanins and contribute to the red color of the fruit.
In the making of red wines, the grape skins are crushed along with the pulp. But the skins are quickly separated out during the making of most white wines.
That led to the conventional belief that red wines, which contain more of these compounds, are responsible for the drink's beneficial effects in fighting heart disease.
But researchers say new evidence suggests the pulp of grapes appears to be just as heart-healthy as the skin, thanks to other types of antioxidants present in the flesh. This challenges the notion that red wines, like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and pinot noir, are better for the heart than white wines, such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and Riesling.
Red or White? Let Your Heart Decide
A drink or two a day- beer, wine or liquor- may help protect against heart failure, a new survey suggests. Researchers followed 5,595 people 65 and older, recording their medical history and alcohol consumption over 7 to 10 years. This study appeared in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Compared with those who abstain from alcohol, people who consume 1 to 6 drinks per week were about 16% less likely to suffer from heart failure or die of cardiovascular disease, and those who had 7 to 13 drinks per week were about 30% less likely to have these problems. A drink was defined as one 12-ounce beer, one 6-ounce glass of wine, or an ounce of hard liquor.- New York Times
Soledad, Monterey County California- The city has rejected a developer's donation of a $25,000 fountain featuring a 10-foot statue of a scantily clad women because it was too racy for the City Coucil. The statue depicts a female follower of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. The voluptous figure holds aloft a goblet of wine and dangles some grapes by her side. The developer said its theme reflects the wine grape-growing region surrounding Soledad. A local pastor said it would have a negative influence on youth- Associated Press
Now youv'e got an excuse for drinking Tequila: It's a cultural thing. Mexico's sprawling blue agave fields- a cactus-like plant used to make tequila- have just been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Located about 45 miles north-east of the city of Guadalajara, the town of Tequila is packed with breweries and cantinas, and most of its 60,000 residents work in the spirits industry or in its spillover tourism sector- Associated Press
Talking Wine
What can a bottle of wine say for itself? In the near future, quite a lot. The talking wine label, coming this fall to upscale wine shops, will help oenophiles learn about particular bottles of wine, ranging from production history to the kind of food it should accompany. This new educational tool, created by Modulgraf, an Italian graphics and printing company, functions like this: A chip is embedded into the paper label; then the information is transmitted through a handheld device, much like a Walkman. Based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), the clever tool will allow consumers to listen to pertinent information about the wine, taking the place of an on-site sommelier. Geared toward luxury wines and wine connoisseurs, the listening device is likely to be expensive.
Since 1995 the number of US wineries has doubled to 3,726. California leads with 1,689 wineries, followed by Washington State with 323, Oregon with 228 & New York with 203. All 50 states have at least one winery.
Consumers spent $68.7 billion on alcoholic beverages in restaurants,bars and hotels according to the Cheers On Premise Handbook 2003. The Margarita is the most popular mixed drink in the US. The Martini is king in NYC. Absolut reigns as the most called for liquor brand in restaurants & bars. Hot on its heels are Grey Goose, Belvedere & Ketel One.
According to The Scarborough Wine Market Report- " 39% of US adults, age 21 and older, have purchased wine in the past 3 months. 33% of the wine consumers have a household income of over $75,000 and 39% have attended college. 25% of wine purchasers are between the ages of 21-34; 45% are between 35-54". Over 200,000 adults were interviewed in 75 of the US's largest markets for this survey.
From The Associated Press - Louisville, Ky- More than 1,000 gallons of Tequila spilled into Louisville's sewer system after a worker tried to unload it from a truck into an already full storage tank.Water was used to dilute the 80-proof liquor, and fire officials were on alert in case it ignited.The spokesperson for Brown-Forman Distillery blamed human error. Pass the salt please.
Infections: Wine is a germ killer. Oregon State University food science researcher Mark Daeschel is developing wine as the next big kitchen disinfectant." Wine kills the bugs," he says, referring to food-bourne disease-causing germs such as e.coli and salmonella. He has created an enviromentally friendly germ-killing spray made from waste white wine. Dry white wines such as Chardonnay work best; they don't stain or leave sticky residue. Daeschel is currently working to remove the alcohol so the disinfectant can be sold to households with children under 21.
According to the Women & Wine Survey: 75% of women surveyed said they make the majority of the wine purchasing decisions. 45% cited a friend's recommendation, while 20% cited price as the most important factor.
According to the latest Shafer Line on Wine: Idaho has the highest per-person wine consumption of the 50 states.
40% of the US population drinks no alcohol.
There are 100 calories in a five ounce glass of red wine
Finally, wine drinkers have a higher IQ than beer drinkers or abstainers. But, we already knew that.
Origins of Zinfandel
Carole Meredith, an expert in genetic mapping at the University of California Davis has proved through the use of DNA that Zinfandel and an indigenous Croatian grape called Crljenak are one and the same. Working with two Croatian scientists, she also examined the DNA of two other Croatian varieties, Dobricic and Plavac Mali. They determined that Plavac Mali is a result of a genetic cross between Dobricic and Zinfandel. Finally, she has determined that Zinfandel and the Italian varietal Primitivo are different clones of the same variety. It has long been suspected that the origins of Zinfandel would be found around the Adriatic sea.
Texas Grape Production
In 2001, Texas produced 9, 300 tons of grapes.
California Crush
Preliminary figure show that in 2001, California crushed a total of 3.3 million tons of grapes. This is down 15% from 2000. Red grape varietals were only down 5% and over 1.7 million tons. 1.3 million tons of white varietals were crushed a reduction of 13%. Raisin type varietals were down 49% and table type varietals were down 28%.
Global Wine Consumption: Consumption of wine rose 1.2% in 2001 to 2.55 billion cases. It is projected that by 2010, consumption will increase by another 130 million cases. (from: The Wine Spectator)
Save Those Corks: John Pollack and Garth Goldstein of Washington D.C. have constructed a 22 foot sailboat from used wine corks. They used 160,000 corks along with rubber bands and fishing net. (The Wine Enthusiast)
2000 a Vintage Year for Port: Most port wine houses declared a vintage in 2000. This is the first generally declared vintage since 1977.
Sauvignon Blanc in Burgundy: A new appellation in Burgundy, Saint Bris (formerly a VDQS known as Sauvignon Saint Bris) is the first to permit the Sauvignon Blanc grape in this heretofore Chardonnay area. The appellation covers 1700 acres in the commune of Saint Bris. (From Wine Business Monthly)
Sauvignon Blanc Poised to Oust Chardonnay: The price for premium Chardonnay grapes has fallen from $1260 to $915 per ton. At the same time the price for quality Sauvignon Blanc has risen to $902 per ton. It is expected that over the next couple of years Sauvignon Blanc will replace Chardonnay as California's most expensive white grape varietal.
High in the hills of a remote part of southern China, the villagers claim to have discovered the secret of long life: rice wine, drunk more or less all day long; snake wine; and a soup made from the oily seeds of the cannabis plant.

There are 73 centenarians in a population of just over 300,000. The 99 year old Ms. Xiao sloshes rice wine from her glazed bowl, which is filled at 8 a.m. and continually replenished until she retires at nightfall. She demands that visitors match her glass for glass. She swears by drinks such as rice and snake wine, bottled with real snakes preserved in the alcohol, that keep her going.
The Sunday Telegram.
Wine DNA to foil crooks- Bottles of premium Australian wine are being given genetic "fingerprints" in an attempt to foil counterfeiters. BRL Hardy unveiled a world-first security seal which uses DNA coding to authenticate its flagship wine. The seal is based on a process used for the Sydney Olympics.DNA from the company's wines is impregnated into light-reflective ink and applied to a tamperproof neck label that will seal the bottle. Security measures will include random and pre-sale checks at auction houses and at wine retailers.
French vineyards have come up with an answer for health-conscious but sober customers who want the benefits of wine without the hangover:wine pills. Over 20,000 producers from the Rhone Valley & the Roussillon regions of southern France intend to sell powdered wine to the pharmaceutical industry. A year-long trial has shown that there was a market for the red wine extract.The producers plan to sell tons of powdered wine, mainly to northern European and north American pharmaceutical companies, which will transform it into pills. The trial disclosed a limited demand in France, where the company, Arkopharma, has begun to sell a red wine extract pill called French Paradox, but a far greater demand in the United States.
According to Shafer Line On Wine, the annual per capita consumption in the US of wine is - 2 Gallons; of Coffee - 30 Gallons; and of Soft Drinks - 54 Gallons.

Of the $20 billion Americans spent on wine in 2000, 72% was spent on California wine. There are 847 wineries that participated in California's 2000 harvest.

According to the Beverage Alcohol Market Report, the US wine market is the world's largest in total cases - 233 million annually.

Annual per capita consumption of wine in France in 1960 was 100 liters and in 2001 it is 55 liters.

Percentage of wine purchases in U.S. supermarkets that are made by women: 72%

Age of the grape vine reported to be the world's oldest, located in Maribor, Slovenia: 400 years.

The wine Thomas Jefferson and colleageus drank to toast the new Declaration of Independence: Madeira.

Increase in U.S. per-capita spending on California wine during the last five years: 83%.
President Clinton signed into law the "Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000," which included the "21st" Amendment Enforcement Act. This allows state Attorneys General federal court jurisdiction to pursue potential civil injunctive relief for alleged violations of state law regulating the importation of alcohol. The legal framework in place allowing consumers to receive interstate shipments in 20 states and intrastate shipments in 30 states will remain intact. The new law does not provide for either civil damages or criminal penalties and will not adversely affect businesses currently making legal shipments.
According to The Robards Report - "The market for futures on the Bordeaux vintage of 1999 is off to a tepid start as a result of mixed reactions to the quality of the wines. Opening prices were down 2 to 10 percent from the 1998 levels, reflecting decidedly mixed reactions to wine quality. But, as the dollar continued strengthening through the months, the chateau owners realized they could probably get away with little or no reductions from their 1998 prices, because the dollar's rising exchange rate against the franc would dictate lower future prices in the American market".

"A bumper crop of wines in the vintage of 1999 in Burgundy has placed downward pressure on prices, and American consumers should see significant lower prices when these wines reach the American market. The harvest yielded a record amount and was up 13% from the 1998 crop and up 11% from the average of the last five years. The quality of the vintage ranges from good to excellent".
Some interesting statistics, according to the US Commerce Department:
World wide consumption of wine:
  #1-Italy, #2-Australia, #3-France, #4-Chile, #5- Spain.
Per capita consumption of wine:
  #1-Luxembourg, #2-France, #3-Italy, #4-Slovenia, #5-Croati, Where is the Us? - #33.
World vineyard acreage:
  #1-Spain, #2-France, #3-Italy, #4-Turkey, #5- United States.
World wine wine production:
  #1-Italy, #2-France, #3-Spain, #4-United States, #5-Argentina
According to the Wine Institute, new research from the University of North Carolina medical school may explain the molecular mechanisms through which Trans-Resveratrol may help fight cancer and cardiovascular disease. Trans-Resveratrol or Res is an antioxidant compound found in many fruits and nuts, but most abundantly in red grapes. The authors published their new findings in the July edition of "Cancer Research" stating, "These data may also explain aspects of the so-called "French Paradox" that is associated with reduced mortality from coronary heart disease and certain cancers and provide a molecular rationale for the role of potent chemo-preventive compound in blocking the initiative of inflammation and oncogenesis."
The department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services has released the latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2000. The new guidelines provide 10 important nutrition messages outlining the fundamentals of a healthy diet and lifestyle. The alcohol guideline includes an expanded moderation message, which advises moderate mealtime consumption for those healthy adults who choose to drink and recommends that consumption occur,"with meals to slow alcohol absorption." That is no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

With regard to moderate alcohol consumption’s potential cardiovascular effect, the guidelines now state, "Drinking in moderation may lower risk for coronary heart disease, mainly among men over age 45 and women over age 55." "Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures... You can enjoy all foods as part of a healthy diet as long as you don’t overdo on fat, sugars, salt and alcohol." For further information you can go to the site of the Wine Institute, a public policy advocacy organization of California wineries at-http://www.wineinstitute.org.
A new guide to help explore Australia's wine regions is now available FREE from the Australian Wine Bureau in New York.
For your copy phone: (212)351-6585, email: awb.usa@austrade.gov.au or on the website: www.wineaustralia.com.

This free publication provides comprehensive information on the wine regions and wineries of Australia. It also lists the Australian wine importers in the USA. Over 130 wineries are listed throughout 40 wine regions. There is information on winery descriptions, tasting facilities and tour possibilities. It also includes travel tips, plus a list of helpful contacts in the US and Australia.
HARVARD STUDY- As published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology; The new data confirmed previous findings regarding the association between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk for overall mortality. Dr. Michael Gaziano of Harvard University - "light to moderate drinking shows benefits in reducing the risk of heart disease with no increased risk of cancer."
FRENCH VINTAGE UPDATE- THE BEST OF THE 1990's- The following are the finest vintage years, during the 1990's, for various French wine regions:
Bordeaux 1995 and 1990
Burgundy Red 1996, 1993 and 1990
Burgundy White 1996 and 1990
Northern Rhone 1996, 1995 and 1990
Southern Rhone 1998 and 1990
Alsace 1996, 1995, 1994 and 1990
Sauternes 1997 and 1990
Champagne 1995 and 1990
SCHOOL OF TASTE: The Bordeaux Wine School (Ecole du Vin) offers wine courses to professionals and amateurs alike ranging from a simple two-hour introduction to a three-day course in French, English or German. Located in the city of Bordeaux, the school runs a series of course from April through November 2000. Options include an intensive beginners course (level 1) or intermediate course (level 2), wine weekends or wine and food matching courses. Leading specialists from the Bordeaux region conduct all courses. There is an option to taste wines at famous Chateaux. Prices range from $10 to $400. Learn about the history of wine, winemaking, wine tasting techniques and how to build a wine cellar.
For further information on the Bordeaux Wine School visit their website.
Madeira wine, named after the Portuguese island, is best known for its use in sauces and cakes. It gained popularity when ships stopping off at Funchal took on casks of the local wine for ballast. The wine was kept at a high temperature during the lengthy sea voyage to the Americas, resulting in a much appreciated "burnt flavor". Today, the same effect is achieved though a vinification process called estafugem.
Wine is the fastest growing category of beverages . . . behind soft drinks.
In the last four years, wine sales have grown tremendously. Sales increases have been boosted by a strong economy, the health benefits associated with drinking wine, and consumer trends toward more upscale products like imported beer, gourmet coffee and bottled water.
The top imported table wines in the United States are
Italy
Australia
France
Chile
Spain
Domestic table wine accounts for 83% of sales, followed by imported table wine at 17%.
Wines in the $5 to $9 price segment are the fastest growing category
Varietal wines account for 79% of wine sales, and they’re still growing in popularity. The top-selling varietal wines include:
Chardonnay 38%
White Zinfandel 21%
Cabernet 18%
Merlot 12%
Sauvignon Blanc 6%
Sales of Merlot have increased approximately 48%.
Since 1988, the wine-consuming age group has grown by 27% (17 million people) and is expected to increase another 23% by 2008.
Wine, beer and other spirits edged out coffee at American dinner tables for the first time ever. Alcoholic beverages are now served at 3.5 percent of at-home dinners, while coffee is served at only 3.4 percent. In 1990, coffee was nearly three times as popular as spirits at at-home dinners, served at 6.2% of meals while alcohol was served at only 2.5%.
Women dominate consumption of:
White table wine 58%
Rose 56%
Blush 62%
Men dominate consumption of:
Red 68%
80% of all wine is consumed at home.
More women (54%) consume wine than men (46%).
According to Shafer Line On Wine: The cost of planted vineyards in the Napa Valley are $70,000-$250,000/acre. In Languedoc, France: $4,500/acre.
Recent DNA tests conducted in France have shown the grapes Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche to be the parents of: Syrah.
For the first time in history, the top 10 wines in Britian this year do not include wines from: France.



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