Malibu Coast AVA back in court over planting ban

Malibu Coast AVA back in court over planting banCalifornia's Malibu Coast AVA has just turned one year ancient but growers continue to face court battles over the right to plant new vineyards. Could it be a case of the 'terrible twos'? Christy Canterbury MW reports. Malibu Coast AVA was made in 2014Malibu Coast growers recently returned to the courtrooms to secure a deal that vineyard applications would at least be dealt with on a case-by-case and must meet strict conditions, rather than be banned outright.
Around half of pending applications were approved to proceed and proposed 10 month extension to the ban was reduced to four months.
It represents a incomplete victory for growers. Vintners were hit with a ban on new plantings just six weeks after the birth of the Malibu Coast AVA in mid-2014, after surviving the slow, three-year administer for approval. It was quite a shock.
Most recently, Los Angeles County had wanted to extend the ban for 10 months to study the effects of vine planting in the Santa Monica Mountains. Water usage, soil wearing away and natural habitat topped the list of concerns, as was the seemingly odd possibility of ruining views.
A lobbying campaign ensued. John Gooden and Dan Fredman, president and public relations head correspondingly for the Malibu Coast Vintners and Grape Growers Alliance, developed an education plot for the county Supervisors based water usage and wearing away hegemony.
They met many times with various supervisors during June and July to educate them on grapevine physiology, sustainable farming methodology and vineyard and winery economics.
And, unlike last year, this time they were rather successful. After all, grapevines need precious small water, especially when drip irrigated, and vines’ roots prevent wearing away by anchoring the soil.
Education wasn’t the only key. An online petition to oppose the vote gathered 718 signatures, and there was also coverage in local newspapers.
Unexpectedly, county supervisor Sheila Kuehl presented a compromise that was across the world approved. Restrictions apply but are de minimis. Water applied to vineyards must come from municipal supplies rather than wells and can only be applied via drip irrigation. New plantings must have pre-approved wearing away hegemony plans, and no planting is allowed on 50% or greater gradients.
After the meeting, Fredman said that no one in the AVA can recall anyone contouring hills for planting, because there is simply no need. Furthermore, flood irrigation is impossible due to the slopes, as well as the local water shortage, and who would use lawn sprinklers anyway?
Fredman said undeveloped property might have been the real seed of the controversy. It is believed speculative developers requested permits in order to make their lots more attractive to potential buyers. Approvals were granted for 28 of the 51 pending permits.
For now, the nearly 200-year-ancient tradition of vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains will continue, and should grow. Environmental studies will be brought back to supervisors toward the end of 2015.
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10 top grower Champagnes to try

10 top grower Champagnes to tryChampagne resident and expert Pieter Liem picks out 10 top grower Champagnes to try. Grower Champagne – where the wine is produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards – is growing in popularity, but gets much less attention than the more well-known houses. Peter Liem picks out 10 top grower Champagnes to try, with tasting notes and its drinking window. Read more

DAWA vice-chair: Andrew Jefford

Andrew Jefford is a judge and vice-chair in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA). DAWA vice-chair: Andrew JeffordAndrew Jefford is a columnist for both Decanter magazine and decanter.com, Jefford has been prose and broadcasting about wine (as well as food, whisky, travel and perfume) since the 1980s, winning many awards – the latest for his work as a columnist.
After 15 months as a senior research fellow at Adelaide University between 2009 and 2010, Andrew is currently prose a book on Australia’s wine landscape and terroirs.
He lives in the Languedoc, on the frontier between the Grès de Montpellier and Pic St Loup zones.
Andrew Jefford has been a judge and vice-chair in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards since the launch of the competition in 2012.
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DAWA judge: Alvin Gho

Alvin Gho, head sommelier at db Bistro & Oyster bar in Singapore, is a judge in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA). DAWA judge: Alvin Ghodb Bistro & Oyster Bar head sommelier Alvin Gho, a native of Singapore, is only Singaporean Advanced Sommelier and is fluent in both English and Mandarin. Gho is Champion of the 2013 Singapore Sommelier Competition and has represented his country in both the Best Sommelier of the World and Best Sommelier of Asia-Oceania Competitions.
Gho started his wine career in Singapore at Morton’s Steakhouse and Raffles Hotel. Before long after, Gho relocated to Shanghai to supply as head sommelier at Jean Georges in the city’s well loved Three on the Bund complex. Over time Gho came to manage the wine program for several Three on the Bund eateries only departing when offered the chance to help open a multi-million wine cellar for the local government at No.1 Waitanyuan.
Currently pursuing his WSET Diploma, Gho aims to be a Master Sommelier by 2020 and looks forward to further exploring regions and expanding his palette on the job at db Bistro & Oyster Bar.
Alvin Gho has been a judge in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards since 2015.
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Berry Bros appoints Tesco wine chief Dan Jago as CEO

Berry Bros appoints Tesco wine chief Dan Jago as CEOBerry Bros & Rudd has appointed Dan Jago, group wine director at Tesco, as its new chief executive, Decanter.com can reveal. Dan Jago, the new CEO of Berry Bros & RuddDan Jago is expected to take up the position of Berry Bros & Rudd CEO in early October and will be responsible for ‘overseeing the whole business’, from fine wine to spirits and even the companionship’s stake in Anchor Steam brewery in San Francisco, California.
‘We needed a wine trade businessman’
‘We needed a name who understands all aspects of the wine business,’ Berry Bros chairman Simon Berry told Decanter.com today (12 August) on the strategy in the rear Jago’s appointment.
‘What we needed was a businessman, but a wine trade businessman,’ he said, adding that he was thrilled to be bringing a name of Jago’s experience onboard.
The news also follows a hard period for Tesco‘s wine division.
Last autumn, Jago was one of several Tesco directors temporarily suspended amid a companionship-wide investigation into overstated profits. No charges were brought against Jago he was fully re-instated as ‘category director – group wine’ at Tesco earlier this year.
The ‘ultimate’ job
Ex-Navy man Jago joined Tesco as category director for wines, beer and spirits in 2006, having earlier worked at the Bibendum wine merchant.
At Berry Bros, the official wine merchant of the Queen, Jago will work closely with Jeremy Parsons, who has been appointed chief operating officer.
‘I have spent most of my working life in the drinks business and, for me, this is perhaps the ultimate job,’ said Jago.
Earlier this year, Berry Bros’ managing director, Hugh Sturges, left the companionship after 14 years, prompting a senior management re-shuffle. Berrys’ reported net losses of £5.7m in the year to the end of Development 2014, but net sales rose by 8% to £149.7m over the same period and the merchant said at the time that its five-year investment plot was subdue on-footstep.
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DAWA judge: Chee Wee Lee

Chee Wee Lee, a wine specialist bsaed in Singapore, is a judge in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA). DAWA judge: Chee Wee LeeChee Wee Lee represents the Bordeaux-based wine negociant Europvin in their Southeast Asia markets as a regional manager. Europvin incorporates an agency specialty, which services the specific requirements of exclusive partner wineries in key markets, including Vega Sicilia, CVNE, E. Guigal and Emilio Lustau. Chee Wee was bitten by the wine bug when he tasted a 1970 Y’quem on his fourth day in the wine trade, and after working for five years as a wine distributor he joined supermarket chain Cold Storage as category manager of beer, wines and spirits for three years, previous to becoming general manager of Auric Pacific Fine Wines. He founded Vino Cave, a Singapore-based wine distribution companionship representing producers from Burgundy, the Rhône Valley and America, a year before long. Over the course of a decade, Chee Wee has completed the certified wine specialist program, and the Burgundy wine educator accreditation program by Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB). He is a regular guest speaker for Singapore Airlines’ in-flight sommelier program. Chee Wee Lee has been a Decanter Asia Wine Awards judge since 2012.
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