Wine Buzz: Unified Wine & Grape Symposium sees juicy records

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

Sacramento became the temporary heart of the domestic wine industry last week as a record 13,400 people attended the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.

The annual event takes over the Sacramento Convention Center and Hyatt Regency, with seminars and a trade show featuring the latest in winemaking technology, farming equipment and much more.

That wasn't the only record at Unified. The 2012 grape crop set a high for California with an estimated 3.89 million tons crushed – up from 3.34 million tons crushed in 2011. Domestic wine shipments rose to 363 million cases, a 2 percent increase over 2011.

The crop report was good news for California's wine industry, which had endured two years of lower-than-average crush totals due to cool weather and faced possibile supply shortages.

Also in shortage last week: tables at downtown restaurants. Business at many eateries can double during Unified. When we caught up Jan. 30 with Adam Pechal of Tuli Bistro and Restaurant Thir13en, this chef featured on ABC's "The Taste" was preparing for a banquet of 350.

The next big wine event coming to town is the California State Commercial Wine Competition in June. More than 60 judges from around the country will descend on Cal Expo to consider wines from more than 500 producers.

As previously reported by The Bee's Cathie Anderson, two new chief judges will oversee the competition: Mike Dunne, the Bee's former food and wine editor whose writings still appear in this paper; and Rick Kushman, another former Bee staffer who is a certified wine educator and found his second calling as a consultant and marketer in the wine industry.

Kushman again

Speaking of Kushman, this chatterbox about wine will host a food-and-wine tasting on Thursday at 33rd St. Bistro (3301 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento). He'll talk and taste everyone through pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.

Appetizers will also be available for munching. $35 per person. Information: (916) 455-2233.

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Read more articles by Chris Macias

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