What We Read This Weekend

This Vintner Is a Cattle Rancher

San Francisco Chronicle had a fascinating story about Jack and Dawn Galante, owners of Galante Vineyards in Carmel, Calif., which sells 3,500 cases a year.

The vineyard is just 30 acres of a 700-acre working cattle ranch.  The family’s been there “forever:”  His great-grandfather was a founder of Carmel,  The cattle ranch was purchased in 1960.  You can read the full story here.

How Vineyard Owners Shape Environmental Policy

The Press-Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif., has an interesting story about how larger vineyard operators help shape environmental policy in Sonoma County., Calif.  You can read it here.

The Press-Democrat also noted that the top five vineyard owners in Sonoma County control nearly a fifth of the county’s grape supply.  Jackson Family Wines and E&J Gallo each control about 3,200 acres.  Silverado Premium Properties owns nearly 2,400acres of vineyards, valued at $80 million.

The Sangiacomo family, a longtime grape-growing family in Sonoma, and Ferrari-Carano winery west of Healdsburg round out the top five. The two own a combined 2,300 acres of planted vineyards, the paper says.

Martell Cognac Heir Eyes Asian Luxury Market

Michel Firino Martell, who family founded the cognac brand three centuries ago, is selling limited edition wine to Chinese and Asian markets.  “My grandfather told me that you don’t drink the bottle but what’s inside,” he said.  “It’s become my business motto because it reminds me that quality is the most important thing to lure customers.”  You can read the full report, from the South China Morning Post, here.

In Indiana, the Old Jail Is Now an Inn

The old Parke County Jail – built in 1879, right across from the county courthouse in Rockville, Ind. – has been refurbished into a B&B.  The former drunk tank is now the wine cellar.

“I bought a door,” says the owner, “and they threw in the jail.”  Officials had been trying to unload the building since 2000.  You can read the story here.

How Tragedy-Tinged Widows Made Champagne the Business It Is Today

“Champagne is the story of widows,” said Francois Godard, scion of Veuve Godard et Fils Champagne house. “Women who lost their husbands, and then outshone the men,” The Associated Press says.

Widowhood gave these figures an independent social status in France. Unlike other women — who were the property of a father or a husband — only a widow could become a CEO.  You can read the story on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website.

How Lem Motlow Beat a St. Louis Murder Charge

Lem Motlow, who was running the Jack Daniel’s Distillery while it was in St. Louis after Tennessee adopted Prohibition in 1910, was accused of murder in the death of a white conductor.  He was cleared of the crime by a jury.  You can read the story, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, here.

After Prohibition reached Missouri, Motlow was one of several people charged in “milking” whiskey from the bonded warehouse.  He was never tried, but 21 others were convicted.  That story, also from the Post-Dispatch is here.

 Beverage Quote of the Day

“A large winery should control their destiny, and the best way to do that is control vineyards.”  — Tony Correia, consultant.

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