Time ripe for review of wine news

There are numerous websites and publications detailing happenings in the world of wine. Sometimes those issues are worth sharing.

Indiana Senate Bill 113: The Indiana Direct Shipping bill would remove the ridiculous 2006 restriction on Indiana wineries requiring a face-to-face purchase before wine can be shipped in state.

The bill is a double-edged sword opening up an important stream of revenue for small wineries but increasing the licensing fee from $100 to $500. You can contact your local legislator asking the fee be restored to $100 as Sen. Phil Boots intended.

There’s a pattern here if you pay attention. The big alcohol-related legislation of the session is Sunday sales, but the same thing has happened. The legislation actually failed this week because the liquor lobby (read wholesalers/some retailers) objected. The bill was weighed down with the unruly burden of requiring supermarkets and drug stores to build walls. No one could make this stuff up.

Rose, how we love thee: Dry rose, and particularly dry French rose, is one of the biggest success stories of the past decade. For too long pink meant sweet; but now pink, or a light salmon color, means great dry French wine.

For the 11th straight year exports to the U.S. of Provence rose’ wine increased by double digits. In 2014, rose exports went up 29 percent on volume.

Oregon stature grows: The past two years have established the importance of Oregon pinot noir above and beyond some of its founders’ wildest expectations. When the “big boys” start buying up properties it’s easy to label Oregon pinot a worldwide success story.

Domaine Drouhin started the foreign investment in the 1980s, but recently it has exploded. Drouhin bought nearly 300 more acres of vineyard about a year ago. Louis Jadot more recently acquired a 32-acre vineyard and hopes to buy more.

Jackson Family Wines, probably better known to the average consumer as Kendall-Jackson, has purchased nearly 500 acres of Oregon vineyard in two acquisitions. They are operating a winery near Yamhill under the name Gran Moraine.

Joseph Wagner, think Caymus, has purchased the Elouan Brand, while Bill Foley picked off 35,000-case boutique brand Four Graces.

The interest shows Oregon is making great wine and has a great future. The purists must continue to hope some of these big boys don’t destroy the boutique feel of the Willamette Valley.

Join me on Oregon tour: I’ll serve as host to my second trip to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in June. It’s a five-night, four-day boutique visit. We taste with winemakers and winery owners, stay in a fabulous bed and breakfast and eat in a couple of Oregon’s best restaurants. The trip is all inclusive once you arrive until you leave.

You can find full details of the wine trip on the Grape Sense blog (howardhewitt.net). Click the link at the top “Drink & Eat Oregon” for full details.

Howard W. Hewitt of Crawfordsville, writes a column about wine for more than 20 newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected].