The US Wine Industry During Prohibition

iStock_000025777122Small abandoned vineyard

National Prohibition had a profound impact upon the US wine industry. Not only did it have a major effect on wine producers and consumers during the 13-year period when it was in force, but the consequences linger to this day—nearly 81 years after Repeal. To learn more about this seminal event in the history of…

Wacky Wine Laws

Cork screw and wine bottle

In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed. It ended Prohibition, the period during which the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal, and essentially gave individual states absolute power to regulate alcoholic beverages within their own borders. This legal architecture, combined with evolving cultural attitudes towards the consumption…

Direct Sales by US Wineries Surpass $1.5B

box with wine

  Direct to Consumer (DTC) shipments by US wineries grew at an impressive 7.5% in 2013, hitting a record $1.57 billion, according to the 2014 Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping Report developed by ShipCompliant and Wines & Vines. Total volume was 3.47 million cases, up 9.3% over the prior year. By comparison, according to Nielsen,…

2013 US Wine Consumption Trends

iStock_000010364509Small red and white wine glasses and bottles

In 2013, the US maintained its position as the world’s top wine consumer as table wine consumption grew for the 20th consecutive year, according to the Beverage Information Group. An estimated 297 million cases of table wine were consumed, up 1.6% from the prior year. According to John Gillespie, President of the Wine Market Council,…

An Introduction to TTB

iStock_000021206191Small selecting wine in store

Ever wonder who grants operating permits to wineries? Or who approves the designation of new American Viticultural Areas (AVAs)? Or who reviews and approves wine labels? All these activities and more are the responsibility of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), a bureau within the Treasury Department which plays an important role…

Maiwein (May wine)

iStock_000023408297Small may wine

Has dancing around a maypole celebrating the arrival of spring left you feeling thirsty? Or are you just in the mood for a traditional springtime wine-based drink? In either case, Maiwein may be the perfect option. Maiwein (May wine) is a centuries-old beverage of German origin enjoyed in the spring, traditionally on the May Day holiday. It…

The UK “Government Wine Cellar”

Bottles of wine aging in a cellar

In late March, the UK government pulled out a few bottles from its wine collection, sold them at auction, and pocketed almost £75,000 (US $115,275) which it plans to use to replenish its wine cellar. Wait—a government with its own wine cellar? It may seem odd, but when you think about it, many a person…

US Wine Consumption Grows in 2012

People holding glasses of white wine making a toast

In 2012, the US maintained its position as the world’s top wine consumer as table wine consumption grew for the 19th consecutive year, according to the Beverage Information Group. An estimated 295 million cases of table wine were consumed, up 2.8% from the prior year. According to the Wine Market Council’s 2012 Consumer Tracking Study,…

The Origin of Champagne


Wine has been made in the Champagne region since Roman times, but the sparkling white wine we know today was not developed until centuries later. Here’s how the wine we know and love today—which has become a fixture at holidays and special celebrations—came to be… Dom Pérignon did not invent sparkling Champagne; rather, its “fizzy…

The Canadian Wine Industry

okanagan valley vineyards  penticton british columbia

Although early European settlers, and possibly even the Vikings, attempted to make wine using wild native grapes, Canada’s commercial wine industry has been slow to develop. Canada’s production of wine is small by world standards as its climate, characterized by severe winters, spring frosts, and a short growing season, are not conducive to large-scale winemaking….