Two-Buck Chuck Turns Ten; The ‘Sideways Effect’ Abates

“I’ve been told I have a ‘Sideways Effect’ on the ladies.” Photo: iStockphoto

• It’s the tenth anniversary of Two-Buck Chuck! Fred Franzia says that sales of TJ’s cheapest wine have helped increase the overall American wine market by 5 percent. [Press-Democrat, Shanken News]

• We may think we’re big drinkers in this country, but according to some rankings by the World Health Organization, the U.S. doesn’t even crack the top 50 in terms of per capita alcohol consumption. Still, Americans, on average, each drink 94 bottles of wine a year. [LiveScience]

• The “Sideways Effect,” which boosted the prices and popularity of California Pinot Noir beginning with the movie’s release in 2004, is finally abating; for the first time in seven years, Pinot prices sank. [Decanter]

• Red grapes grown at high altitudes, like Argentinian Malbecs grown in the Andes, are exposed to more sun with less ozone to protect them. This produces thicker skins and arguably richer wines, says an Argentinian. [Miami Herald]

• There are now wineries in all 50 states (even Alaska!), and wineries and wine tourism are helping to boost local economies. [Western Farm Press]

• More fodder for the screw cap versus cork debate: Did you know that screw-capped bottles can be kept at almost any temperature, and that the wine will be preserved far better, on average, than with a cork? [Drink Me]

• Where does the Times tasting panel take us this week? Back to France to taste a variety of Gigondas, “Châteauneuf’s close neighbor,” which are higher in alcohol and which “rarely rise to the level of exalted.” [NYT]

Two-Buck Chuck Turns Ten; The ‘Sideways Effect’ Abates