Filming, jet-lagged

Arrived back in the UK at 7 am, feeling very tired: I’d intended to sleep most of the flight from Raleigh/Durham, but my luck was out: I was surrounded by three kids and their disorganized mother, and they were talking, shouting and moving around all night.

But I did finish my book: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. [...]

Greetings from Planet Zebulon!

Nomacorc is based in the wonderfully named town of Zebulon, which sounds like something from a Flash Gordon movie. I spent the day here yesterday, visiting Nomacorc’s headquarters. I have just a few minutes to blog, so I won’t go into any great detail, other to say that it’s a big operation, with 10 extrusion [...]

In Raleigh, North Carolina

Arrived yesterday afternoon in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s the first time I’ve been to this part of the USA. I’m not here visiting vineyards, but to visit Nomacorc, the world’s largest manufacturer of synthetic wine bottle corks. Today I get to visit their facility, do a presentation on trends in the wine market (from my [...]

Two Bordeaux-style reds from New Zealand

As regular readers know, I’m a bit taken by New Zealand’s top reds at the moment. Here are two more good-uns, both from the wonderful Gimblett Gravels terroir.

Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2006 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Sweet, fresh plum and blackberry fruit nose with a gravelly, tarry edge. The palate shows sweet, [...]

The death of the wine bulletin board?

Just heard the news that the wine forum is to go subscriber-only (see the announcement at While I can understand the reasons for this, I think it’s a mistake. The move to hide material behind paywalls limits the number of readers, viewers or listeners, and in any form of media, eyeballs (or ears for [...]

Lichen on an old vine

Just thought I’d share this lovely picture of lichen growing on an old vine in the Arribes region of Spain. The vineyard in question is pictured below.

Sir Alex to become a wine importer? He follows Parker…

The News of the World reports today that when Manchester United manager retires (he’s now 69) he plans to get into the wine trade in some capacity – either as an importer or even a vineyard owner.

Apparently, he’s pretty serious about wine, and follows the advice of Robert Parker. You can read the full story [...]

Remarkable Saperavi from Georgia: Satrapezo

This is astonishingly good: a thoroughly modern, but restrained and quite elegant, expression of the Saperavi grape variety. It’s made by Telavi in Kakheti, the largest of the country’s wine regions, in the east, sandwiched between Azerbaijan and Russia. Aussie David Morrison consults here. This is their top wine, fermented in quveri (clay amphorae) buried [...]

Random musings on a lovely day

After two weeks of non-stop work (a bit like having a real job – not sure I can cope with that!), today was a chance to relax. Blue skies (just a little haze), warmest temperatures of the year, and younger son, the only one at home at the moment, off for the day.

But some deadlines [...]

The IWC ends, and a chance to enter the inner circle

Today was the last day of the International Wine Challenge (IWC), and today I was admitted to the inner circle: I was asked to fill in as a co-chair for the morning, along with Tim Atkin, Sam Harrop, Charles Metcalfe, Derek Smedley and Victor de la Serna (overseas guest co-chair). The co-chairs perform an important [...]