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FOOD
May 21, 2008 | Corie Brown, Times Staff Writer
NAPA Valley lost a charismatic leader when Robert Mondavi died on Friday. Has the Napa Valley that fostered such a maverick passed as well? Mondavi's Napa was the Wild West of winemaking. For the dozen wineries in operation in 1966, costs were low, there was room to grow and mistakes weren't fatal. The challenge was to persuade Americans to drink wine at all. Today, high costs have created a region dominated by small producers.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 17, 2008 | Shawn Hubler, Special to The Times
Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley vintner whose drive and salesmanship revolutionized the way the world thought about California wine, died peacefully Friday at his Yountville, Calif., home, a spokeswoman for the Robert Mondavi Winery said. He was 94. The son of an Italian-born grape wholesaler from the Central Valley, Mondavi was, at the end of his life, one of the best-known figures in American viticulture, with a name that was almost synonymous with California wine.
FOOD
May 7, 2008 | Corie Brown, Times Staff Writer
CALLUSED palms and bandaged fingers; broken fingernails stained black with dirt -- Hollywood actor and director Emilio Estevez proudly shows off his vineyard worker hands as he walks the vine rows. Four years ago, Estevez planted this half-acre Pinot Noir vineyard around his Malibu home.
BUSINESS
February 29, 2008 | Jerry Hirsch, Times Staff Writer
With the declining value of the U.S. dollar and increasing wine sales overseas, Charles Shaw wine, an American favorite, may seem in some places more like "One-Buck Chuck." That's because the low value of the dollar is starting to turn California wines into bargains abroad. 2007 was a vintage year for wine exports, which grew by almost 9% to a record $951 million, the Wine Institute, the industry's main trade group, said Thursday. California wineries make 95% of the U.S. wine sold abroad.
BUSINESS
February 27, 2008 | Michelle Locke, The Associated Press
California's big reds are coming on strong these days as winemakers pursue riper, fuller-flavored fruit. A number of wines have been creeping past 14% alcohol and even into the 15% to 16% range, as opposed to the tamer 12% to 13% of years past. This is largely because vintners wait longer to pick their grapes. More mature fruit is thought to make tastier wine, but it also means higher sugar levels, which comes with the side effect of pumping up the alcohol.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 2, 2008 | Steve Chawkins, Times Staff Writer
The man did not seem to be a serious student of wine. Disheveled, unshaven and reeking of booze, he demanded a glass, rested his head on the tasting-room counter and loudly moaned. Knocking over a "wet floor" sign and lurching into displays, he stumbled into eight wineries in one afternoon last week, and six refused him service.
FOOD
January 30, 2008 | Corie Brown, Times Staff Writer
"ANARCHIC" winemakers. Tiny ancient vineyards. Wines aged in clay jugs. Sacrilegious blends -- Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the ever-widening world of wine, Slovenia -- the Central European country bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia -- is emerging as a promising new producer with an idiosyncratic personality.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 8, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Alois Kracher, 48, a vintner whose success producing sweet wines helped to revive the Austrian wine industry, died of cancer Wednesday. The announcement on the website Decanter.com did not say where Kracher died. Kracher, working at his father's vineyard in Illmitz, in the eastern Austrian province of Burgenland, was known for making sweet wines that connoisseurs rated among the world's best.
MAGAZINE
October 14, 2007 | Barbara Thornburg
A quiet revolution is going on at the corner of Emiliano Zapata and 6th Street on a dirt road that cuts through the center of the tiny pueblo of El Porvenir in Baja California. The general is Hugo D'Acosta, although he would hate to be called that. The quiet, lanky Mexican with a mercurial smile sits addressing his troops on a blistering Saturday morning before class begins.
BUSINESS
October 13, 2007 | Michelle Locke, The Associated Press
Clusters of harvest-ready grapes, pendulous and purple, dangle among deep green leaves at Frog's Leap winery in Rutherford, Calif., waiting to become Napa Valley wine. But a few rows over is a plant of a different kind -- an array of square-faced solar panels that provide the power to keep operations humming. Winemakers in Napa Valley and elsewhere are bottling sunshine in more ways than one this year. "We tend to be massive power consumers during the harvest.
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