Judging the National Wine Awards of Canada 2018

The first evening, at Martins Lane winery

I’m just on the way back from Penticton, BC, in the Okanagan Valley, where I’ve been part of the team judging the Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada. It’s my fifth year as a judge, and in this time we have been in Penticton, then Niagara Falls, […]

Lunch at Nedre Foss Gård, Oslo, with Sandhi and Souhaut

On Sunday, Brian Smith and I had some time to spare in Oslo, so we lunched. We’d been recommended Nedre Foss Gård, which is a restaurant in an old building in a park on the Akerselva river. The restaurant reopened in 2017 after a fire two years earlier, and it’s very stylish. We lunched well: the […]

In Norway for the Sandefjord Wine Festival

Preparing the festival tent

I’ve just spent the weekend in Norway, at the Sandefjord Wine Festival. Sandefjord is a small seaside town about two hours’ train ride south of Oslo, and it’s a lovely place to hang out, especially when the weather is favourable.

The wine festival is a collaboration between a few local importers, and […]

Commercializing social media, and being honest with readers

The landscape of wine writing has changed quite a bit since I first started earning money writing about wine. [This is a subject I’ve written about before here and here.]

When I started out there were quite a few people making a good professional salary writing about wine. Several writers had specialist columns in newspapers that paid […]

Impressive new releases from Franco Lourens, a new South African star

Chris Alheit and Franco Lourens

Franco Lourens is assistant winemaker with Chris Alheit, and also makes his own wines in the Alheit cellar in Hemel-en-Aarde. I tasted through the latest releases of the Lourens Family Wines and was really impressed, especially by the two new Chenin Blancs. These are pretty serious.


Lourens Family Wines Lindi Carien […]

In Beaujolais: the elegant wines of Domaine David Chapel

Michele Smith-Chapel and David Chapel

David Chapel has a restaurant background, having worked as a sommelier. His father (Alain Chapel) owned a restaurant that had the full complement of three Michelin stars. David also spent three years in Kobe, Japan. His father was good friends with Marcel Lapierre, and David went to work with the […]

Visiting the spectacular Ribeira Sacra region with Envinate

Alfonso and Roberto

Envinate began with four friends, who met studying wine at university, near Alicante. They decided to form a wine company together, and are now making some of Spain’s most exciting wines, with a focus on Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands.

I met with two of them, Alfonso Torrente and Roberto Santana, to […]

Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa En Rama 2018 bottling

This is the 2018 bottling of the Valdespino single vineyard Manzanilla Deliciosa En Rama. It’s from six casks of the Manzanilla Deliciosa Solera, which comes from the Pago de Miraflores vineyard in Sanlucar de Barrameda, and it is bottled ‘en rama’ straight from the cask.

Unusually for a sherry producer, Valdespino own 750 hectares of their own […]

In the Okanagan: the impressive 50th Parallel Estate Winery

Matthew, Sheri-Lee and Curtis

When we arrived at 50 Parallel, owners Curtis Krouzel and Sheri-Lee Turner-Krouzel were waiting for us. They look like rock stars, and they have built an incredible winery in the far north of the Okanagan, not far from Kelowna, that rivals even the grandeur of Mission Hill. They are also tremendously […]

What makes for a healthy, dynamic wine region?

I’m just preparing for a seminar on The New Faces of Beaujolais, and it has got me thinking about what it makes to create a healthy, dynamic wine region?

As wine journalists, we can be a bit obsessed by the novel, or people working at the boundaries. Does this distract us from recognizing and celebrating the […]