While the Central Coast Wine Competition was still underway at press time, the Best of Show honor, announced June 14, goes to Alapay Cellars of Avila Bay.

Alapay’s 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir was awarded “Best of Show,” “Best Pinot Noir” and “Best Red,” organizers announced.

I’ll include all the 2012 results in my July 8 column.


The July issue of “Cooking Light” magazine, long a staple in my home, features “Hidden Gems and Delicious Destinations,” a story spotlighting the Santa Barbara County gem known as the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.

Headlined “Santa Barbara County’s Wine-Tasting Revolution,” the three-paragraph story notes young winemakers in this region are “fiddling with ideas about traditional tasting rooms.”

It describes the Lompoc Ghetto-based crew as winemakers who share both equipment, knowledge “and 16 tasting rooms representing more than 20 local wineries, all housed in a two-block industrial complex.”

Now the rest of the nation knows our little secret: Winemakers who have tasting rooms, production sites — or, in many cases, both — within the Lompoc Wine Ghetto are some of the region’s finest.

And it’s certainly an honor for Lompoc’s home-grown gem to be spotlighted along with more established food, wine and beer hotspots, among them Portland, Ore., Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston and New Orleans.


The industry’s winebusiness.com offers subscribers daily news updates, which I find an ideal way to stay current in an industry that’s growing like a weed — er, vine.

From Western Farm Press: The United States now ranks top in the world as the largest single market for still wine (as opposed to sparkling). U.S. sales in 2011 rose to 300.6 million cases, which represents an increase of 4.2 percent since 2010.

This means residents of the United States drink more wine than do residents of Italy; the Italian market declined by 1.2 percent to 297.3 million cases, according to the Western Farm Press article.

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In addition, France continued its decline, falling 0.8 percent to 271.6 million cases in 2011.

It’s vital to note that, within the United States, “local” (American) wines represent a 5.1 percent increase, to 221 million cases, while imported wine sales increased by 1.9 percent to 82.1 million cases, the article notes.

These figures include a higher demand for moscato and sweet red wines; the need has been satiated by mostly local brands and Italian wines, according to the article.

In addition, it continued, sales of “Old World” wines have included higher numbers for Italy (up 9.1 percent), France (up 5.4 percent) and Spain (up 8.7 percent), but decreases for Chile (down 4.4 percent) and Argentina (up only slightly, at 0.5 percent). The author notes that the latter two nation’s import rates have suffered because of unfavorable exchange rates.

Despite the increase in U.S. sales, per capita wine consumption is low when compared with most other “major” wine-consuming nations: Just 12.1 liters per year.


Freelance writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at winecountrywriter@gmail.com. Her blog is www.centralcoastwinepress.com.