This sponsored post is brought to you by Salt Creek Grille – Princeton.
Wine is an ever-changing industry, so we sat down with wine expert Hugh Preece to decode the latest trends in the world of vino. A master in his field, Hugh is one of only 44 US Vinitaly International Academy Wine Ambassadors. The Vinitaly International Academy offers an intense training to teach a chosen group of wine educators, journalists, and trade professionals a highly specialized curriculum of Italian wine. Its courses teach professionals to master the diversity of Italian wine in order to support and promote it throughout the world. To date, only 170 people have completed the vigorous course to earn the esteemed certification of Wine Ambassador.
Natural and Organic
Natural wines have been around for decades, but are currently seeing a spike in popularity. Due to the fact that there is no certification or regulation for what makes a wine “natural,” there is a huge window of what natural wine actually is. Natural wines typically include those that are farmed organically or biodynamically with nothing added or removed. The challenge lies in finding a winemaker who has the right practices. According to Hugh, you should still be able to taste the true characteristics of the varietal without it being cloudy or chunky. Adding commercial yeast will bring out the aromatics in wine, but doing so also alters the natural taste. However, without yeast, wine doesn’t ferment properly. Natural winemaking doesn’t mess with the fermenting process, but rather it creates a product that stays in its true state.
With organic foods trending, consumers are starting to take note of organic wines as another step toward improving the environment. Some wineries practice sustainability, but don’t get the organic seal due to the high cost.
With the changing climate, we are also seeing different wine regions emerging. In addition, the harvest of wine comes earlier and earlier each year. It’s currently around late August / early September. Some wines do well in droughts of high heat environments, so farmers in different locations are experimenting with growing grapes. For example, in Germany, temperatures are warmer during the day and cooler at night, which works well for Pinot Noir grapes.
The menu at Salt Creek Grille’s Princeton location features a section called Hugh’s Picks—standout wines Hugh is currently drinking and recommends. Hugh tends to search for boutique wineries that practice sustainability—ones that offer wines that aren’t mass-produced. He enjoys family wineries that want to preserve the environment with biodynamic practices. Hugh also makes sure each selection is a good quality wine at a good value.
Salt Creek Grille – Princeton
1 Rockingham Row