In Porto for Simplesmente Vinho 2016

I’m in the lovely city of Porto, northern Portugal, for Simplesmente Vinho 2016. Held over this weekend at the Convento Monchique, an impressive run down Manueline building that is in the first stages of being restored, it’s a two-day festival of small, authentic wines combined with food, art and music.

60 producers are attending this [...]

In New Zealand, day 1: Wanaka, Central Otago - Maude and Rippon

I’m back in Central Otago, for my fourth visit. I’m slowly beginning to understand a little about this remarkable wine region, and yesterday saw a lovely set of visits to four different producers, all of whom are doing something quite special. I’ll write the day up in two batches, beginning with a morning in Wanaka.

In Gippsland with Bill Downie and Patrick Sullivan

Bill Downie

The flight from Adelaide to Melbourne is a short one, and before I knew it I was at the arrivals hall, being greeted by Bill Downie. We headed off to the city for a spot of lunch and to meet with Adi Badenhorst, who was to be joining me for the rest of [...]

The Klopper Basket Range Tour

Visit finished, Ben and I hopped into Anton’s Land Rover Defender. All aboard for a tour of the Basket Range.

The Basket Range is a beautiful corner of the Adelaide Hills, and it is the epicentre for the new wave of interesting, naturally made Australian wine. There’s a fabulous critical mass of winegrowers who are working [...]

In the Adelaide Hills (1) Ngeringa and Anton van Klopper

The Monday morning after Rootstock. I threw all my belongings into a bag, and headed off to Sydney airport on the train. At the gate I bumped into a tired band of Rootstock survivors: Anton van Klopper, Tom Shobbrook, Monique and Annie Millton, and Tim Webber. They are cheerful but deeply weary. Most have had [...]

Rootstock Sydney highlights, 3

More Rootstock highlights.

Christian Tschida’s wines, from Burgenland, in Austria, are full of nervous detail and intensity.

Shashi and Devendra Singh have a 4 hectare dry grown Syrah vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula and their Avani Syrah is very fresh and elegant. The 2014 is delightful, and just 11.6% alcohol.

Herzog are not your typical Marlborough (NZ) producer. I [...]

Rootstock Sydney highlights (1)

So Rootstock is half way through. Yesterday was a great day. The energy and enthusiasm for wine shown by all the people who flocked to the Carriageworks was quite electric. And it was fun, too. I can’t understand people who moan about how doomed the wine industry is, and how it needs to produce fruit [...]

A day in Sydney

After a morning coffee and a quick blog, I set about ensuring internet access for the trip. Roaming is just too expensive, even with bundles, so I bought a cheap android phone and 3 gigs of data, and made sure it supported tethering (thank you Telstra for allowing this: a lot of pre-paid data sims [...]

In Hong Kong

I’m in Hong Kong. My first time here. But only for two days, alas.

The reason? I was giving a talk at the Wine Trade Conference at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair. It seems a bit bonkers to fly across the world (and suffer an 8 hour time zone shift) for such a [...]

In South Africa, day 2, Roberston

I woke up on Sunday early but excited. A few lucky people, including me, had been invited to Robertson by three producers: Graham Beck, Springfield and De Wetshof. And we were to fly there on a small plane (a Beechcraft – from looking on the website, I’m pretty sure this was a King Air 350). [...]