If I were to set wine exams, I'd ask some rather different questions

If I were to set wine exams, I think I’d ask some rather different questions. Let’s think of a few.

1. Tell me about a wine that you once fell in love with?
Now this is a vague question that isn’t particularly well defined. But we’re good with that, because we want people to give an answer [...]

Niagara falls, four ways

One of the side benefits of judging the National Wine Awards of Canada in Niagara Falls was the chance to spend some quality time with big water. Below is a short film of the Falls, four ways – up close, by boat, by helicopter, and at night. They really are remarkable, and you can get [...]

Niagara wine country, Canada, day 3

Just two visits today. But they were good ones. First, Thomas Bachelder, for the second time on this trip, and that’s no bad thing.

Thomas Bachelder

Thomas is a talented dude, and great to geek out with. We visited his cellar, right next to Fielding and Hidden Bench. It’s not a big or glamorous facility, but [...]

In the Niagara wine region, Canada, day 2

Another day of visits. And they were all good. First of all, I headed off to Flat Rock cellars, hosted by winemaker Jay Johnston. Flat Rock are Riesling specialists, but also make very good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And the wines are very reasonably priced.

Jay Johnston

After two brutal winters they’ve decided to replant 24 [...]

In the Niagara wine region, day 1

In the greenhouse, Niagara College

The first day of my visits in Niagara wine country was an interesting one. I met up with Michael Godel, a really nice Canadian wine journalist, and we did some visits together. First up was Niagara College, where we met with Michael Olson, a well known chef who is on [...]

Cloudburst: the remarkable emergence of a cult Margaret River wine brand

Cloudburst is a really interesting and slightly controversial wine project in Margaret River. Interesting? Because the wines are so good. Controversial? Because of high prices, despite the lack of any track record.

Owner Will Berliner (above) wasn’t previously involved with wine, but has always loved plants. He studied plant biology and owned forests in the USA, [...]

In Canada: Niagara Falls

I’m in Canada, with younger son Louis. The reason? The National Wine Awards of Canada 2015, organized by WineAlign. I had so much fun being a guest judge last year that I’m delighted to be back. This time we are based in Niagara Falls. Louis will be helping behind the scenes while I judge. I’ll [...]

Gamay Focus, 3 - Orofino 2013, Similkameen Valley, BC, Canada

For number 3 in this Gamay focus, we are heading to the Similkameen Valley in Canada’s British Columbia. It was served at a small dinner I attended last night in Niagara Falls, and of the several bottles served this was the first to be drained.

Canada does well with Gamay, but most of it is in [...]

Gamay Focus, 2 - Metrat La Scandaleuse 2013

I’m going to begin focusing on Gamay a bit over the next few months, because it’s an underdog grape that really intrigues me.

So, here we go, with the first wine in this focus. [Actually, I may have to go back to the RPM Gamay I reviewed a few days ago and make that the first [...]

Establishing geographic indications for wine

I’ve just written an article on ‘Developing Appellations’, which discusses some of the controversies and pitfalls surrounding the creation of geographic indications (GIs) in emerging wine regions.

Here are a few brief thoughts.

First, it’s quite useful to read this document on the topic from the World Intellectual Property Organization. It’s a broad look at the whole [...]