skybar Wine connoisseurs come in all shapes and sizes, from the old-fashioned purists to the cutting edge trend setters, and this product would definitely be for the latter.

The Skybar Wine Preservation & Optimization System is designed to do it all. It chills up to 3 bottles of wine at once (all in separate compartments with individual temperature controls), dispenses the wine smoothly and without disturbing the natural sediment, preserves open bottles of wine for up to 10 days with vacuum technology, and displays the bottles attractively with LED lighting.

I don’t know which type of wine drinker I am (old fashioned or trendy) because although I think this wine system is great I also think I would miss pouring the wine from the bottle.

By Rigel Celeste.

The wine industry is making a concerted effort to adopt environmentally responsible practices but sees a need for better education among both consumers and professionals on many "green" issues, according to two surveys of wine industry professionals and executives conducted by Robert Smiley, professor and director of wine studies in the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis.

"These industry leaders are very concerned that their firms authentically ‘walk-the-walk’ when it comes to environmental issues and that they not being accused of just ‘greenwashing’ their businesses," Smiley said.

He added that while survey participants reported that the high prices of gasoline and other inputs have negatively impacted their costs and revenues, they remain optimistic that the industry will ride out the current nationwide economic downturn.

As part of his 10th annual wine executives survey, Smiley gathered the opinions and projections of 28 heads of key wine operations, ranging from growers to vintners to distributors.

All of the executives interviewed said their firms were actively engaged in environmentally friendly business activities, such as package redesign, use of biodiesel fuel, wastewater reclamation and developing "green" building plans. They expressed a concern, however, over the lack of clarity in the industry and among consumers over what many environmental terms like "sustainable," "green," and "low carbon footprint" actually mean and how industry can genuinely adopt environmentally sensitive practices.

Survey respondents also said that rising prices for gas, electricity, supplies and transportation have significantly raised the cost of doing business across the industry at the same time that wine consumption has been hurt by the general economic downturn. They reported that consumers are responding to rising gas and food prices by dining out less and buying less wine, and noted that wine sales at both casual and high-end restaurants have suffered as a result.

"Despite that downturn in sales, the majority of the wine executives surveyed said that they believe the industry will survive the current economic slump on the strength of non-restaurant sales, particularly the moderately priced $10-$14 wines," Smiley said. "They are confident that the millennial generation’s love of wine provides a solid foundation for the industry."

Respondents to the executive survey also reported that:

  • Consolidation of distributors is not having a significant impact on large wine producers but is making it difficult for small- to medium-sized wineries to gain a market share.
  • There is, or likely will be, a grape shortage in Napa and Sonoma counties, especially of major varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
  • There is concern that some Central Valley growers will replace wine grape vineyards with other crops.
  • Major changes in wine packaging during the next five to 10 years are anticipated, with most producers using screw caps rather than corks and less expensive wines being sold in soft-sided packages rather than bottles.

Smiley’s industry trends survey of wine professionals, now in its 17th year, included responses from 73 vineyard and winery representatives from throughout California.

"One of the biggest changes reflected in this survey was that consumers are increasingly viewing wine as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle," said Smiley. "And for the first time, these wine professionals said that they are finding consumers to be more accepting of alternative packaging."

This survey, like the wine executives survey, also reflected a marked increase in businesses using sustainable practices. Eighty percent of the vineyard representatives participating in the survey said they have used sustainable farming practices on at least part of their acreage during 2008. And 46 percent of the respondents said they have been, or plan to be, marketing their grapes as "sustainable" or "organic" during the current or upcoming year.

Survey participants from vineyard operations also reported that they are reducing their use of vineyard chemicals and mechanized equipment to deal with the rising cost of inputs.

They predicted that the growing consumer perception of wine as an everyday beverage and the rising quality of California wines relative to their prices are the top factors that will impact California wine sales during the next three years. Growing recognition of the health benefits of wine, as well as the deregulation of direct shipping of wine, will likely also provide short-term boosts for the industry, they projected.

And for the first time, survey participants from the winery side of the industry noted that their firms are planning to introduce new, lighter-weight packaging for their wines.

Results of both the wine executives and wine professionals surveys are available online at http://www.gsm.ucdavis.edu/2008winestudy.

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel community, has announced the top 10 wine destinations in the world, according to TripAdvisor editors and traveler popularity.

"In addition to supplying some of the finest wines to the world, these destinations offer visitors outstanding hotels, restaurants and wine tours," comments  Michele Perry, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor.

1. Geaux Bordeaux: Bordeaux, France

Perhaps the world’s most famous wine destination, the Bordeaux region of France has long been renowned for its vineyards that produce everything from delicious table wines to the most expensive bottles in the world. In Bordeaux, the French passion for food and wine unite for a sensational wine-tasting experience.

2. Golden Grapes: Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley has long been synonymous with superb wine and striking scenery, both of which draw millions of wine lovers to the region each year. Home to nearly 400 unique wineries, the valley has a Mediterranean climate that is ideal for growing a variety of grapes, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Zinfandel.

3. Keen on Chianti: Tuscany, Italy

Famed for its reds like Chianti and Montalcino, the Tuscany region of Italy is a delight for the senses. Celebrated not only for its vineyards and its cuisine, its sheer natural and historic beauty make it one of the world’s most sought-after destinations and a magical place to taste the local "vino."

4. A Bit of the Bubbly: Champagne-Ardenne, France

The Champagne province is famous for the beloved sparkling white wine that shares its name. Its neatly-tended vineyards amongst a picturesque natural landscape, rich history, and unique culture make this region as vibrant as its effervescent wine.

5. Raising the Barossa: Barossa Valley, Australia

This scenic region in Southern Australia is highly regarded for its Shiraz and its other robust varieties of red wine. Characterized by its visibly rich German heritage, along with its rolling, vine-covered hills, Barossa Valley is a uniquely beautiful destination for sightseers and wine connoisseurs alike.

6. Spanish Inbibation: La Rioja, Spain

Spain’s most famous wine destination, Rioja is divided into three regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. Most recognized for its outstanding reds, the region’s wines are particularly distinctive because of the oak aging and delicious vanilla flavors.

7. To the Moon: Sonoma Valley, California

Nicknamed the "Valley of the Moon" by legendary writer and one time Sonoma local Jack London, the Valley features amazing vineyards, with particularly remarkable whites, as well as beautiful scenery and charming towns.

8. Grand Central: Valle Central, Chile

Just outside the Chilean capital of Santiago, the gorgeous Valle Central set among the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean is internationally acclaimed. Wine enthusiasts will be particularly fond of the Maipo Valley’s cabernets, and the Curico’s chardonnays.

9. Great Escape: Stellenbosch, South Africa

Home to one of South Africa’s most visited wine routes, Stellenbosch is the heart of the Cape Winelands region, with more than 100 wine cellars to visit surrounding the culturally rich center town of Stellenbosch.

10. Blanc Stare: Marlborough, New Zealand

Located on the southern island of New Zealand, Marlborough is widely regarded as the country’s birthplace of winemaking. Famous for its white wine varietals, the region is best known for its delectable Sauvignon Blancs.

Reggina Estate

Photos, Calligraphy & Graphic Design by J.Jelev for Reggina Estate.

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