The Dregs - 7 August 2020 - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

Italians are reviving ancient wine windows or buchette del vino, which were created as the Black Death swept across Europe from the 14th century onwards. The New York Post reports that these are "pint-size hatches, carved into the concrete walls of urban wineries and shops, where beverage merchants would serve sips at a safe social distance".

The Florence-based Wine Windows Association – which we didn't know existed, but we're glad it does – explains that during Italy's 2020 coronavirus lockdown, "enterprising Florentine wine window owners have turned back the clock and are using their wine windows to dispense glasses of wine, cups of coffee, drinks, sandwiches and ice cream – all germ-free, contactless!"

Australian consumers are turning to wine in boxes, with sales up more than 20% in the four weeks to 5 April 2020 after years of decline. But as the Guardian reports there's also activity at the other end of the wine spectrum with a record AU$103,000 (£57,000) paid for a bottle of the first Penfolds Grange Hermitage vintage from 1951. Aussie fine-wine auctioneer Langtons, which sold the rare Penfolds wine, says sales are up 53%.

Much closer to WineUncorked HQ, Welsh Wine Week has raised awareness of wine production in a country better known for lamb, coal and unfortunate road signs. Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh government's minister for environment, energy and rural affairs told Wales247.co.uk: "If vineyards can capitalise on the success of Welsh Wine Week and the increased visibility the events have brought to the sector, I have high hopes the industry will continue to go from strength to strength." But across the Channel the outlook isn't so positive: the French government this week announced a €250million rescue package for a wine industry ravaged by the effects of coronavirus lockdown and US tariffs.

The WineGB Awards 2020 have named 245 medal-winning English wines, 34 of them with coveted gold medals. The judges, including vintage TV wine pundit Oz Clarke, sipped their way through a record 281 entries in five days.

a 14 black bowmore db5 presentation case open v2

James Bond's favourite car maker Aston Martin has unveiled a collaboration with the Islay single malt Bowmore. Black Bowmore DB5 1964 is said to be "A striking concept which brings together an iconic whisky and a legendary car in a bottle of equal parts, featuring exceptional single malt and a genuine Aston Martin DB5 piston." Whisky always tastes better out of a piston, of course. Just 25 bottles will be made available, at a cool £50,000 each. Which is no problem if you're in the market for a DB5 like Bond's, complete with the famous gadgets, which Aston are now building copies of for sale – at no less than £3.3million each.

The latest internet trend is the Tik-Tok wine challenge where users of the video sharing platform over-complicate the drinking of wine by making it a two-person task. Latest to try it is actor Cameron Diaz, which may not be unconnected to the launch in July of Diaz's new wine Avaline – said to be "chemical free" which, in fact, most wine is anyway. No doubt Diaz was hoping the video would be hugely popular and help promote the wine, though these days "going viral" isn't quite as good a thing as it used to be. 

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