Benchmark dozen

16 May, 2008

The 2008 California Wine Benchmark selection will be on taste at the Wine Institute of California's stand - 12 wines priced at £5-£10 and chosen by an independent tasting panel including well-known wine journalists, MWs and retail buyers. The stand is also home to 24 companies representing more than 100 wineries, from well-established brands such as Fetzer, Delicato, Cycles Gladiator and Ironstone to new-to-market wineries such as Rodney Strong, Michael-David, Pink Umbrella and Z-52.

The institute's Venla Freeman says: "In a challenging atmosphere, California has had a satisfactory year, if less spectacular than of late, with growth staying ahead of the market. We would expect the coming year to be tougher still, but California is well placed to weather any storm. Our developed and developing brands, diversity in provenance and style, and interesting offers at every price point are all factors which help put the Golden State ahead of the game in the eyes of an enthusiastic consumer." Stand T30




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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