On writing

Everyone wants to be a writer. At least, it seems that way. Few get to write for a living. But people so love to work with words that they are often drawn to occupations where they are dealing with other people’s words, even if they aren’t writing themselves.

I remember that when I worked as a [...]

On the 'relaxation' of planting rights in the European Union

There’s been a lot of discussion on changes to the rules on planting new vineyards in the European Union. For as long as I have been alive, there have been restrictions on planting new vineyards in Europe. The system of planting rights that stood until the beginning of this year was first introduced in 1976 [...]

2015, a year in pictures

January: a trip to the Ahr Valley, Germany. Pinot Noir country. Thanks Lars Daniels for being my travel companion.

February: Zell Am Zee, Austria, for some skiing. Managed one day of 3 (injured knee). Not my core competency, it must be said.

March: a visit to northwest Spain and Portugal, with Nick Oakley. Such interesting things happening [...]

Analogue in a digital world

Vinyl isn’t dead.

That is remarkable, on so many levels. Digital is better than analogue. So we are told. When CDs came along, the days of vinyl were fast running out.

Then, with the advent of digital music delivery and iTunes, surely analogue was finished. We’d entered the digital era.

I think there’s a parallel with digital and [...]

Some nice wines blind with dinner

Had another wine dinner on Thursday night. Andrew Thomas hosted, with Will Willis and Stuart Bowman-Hood. Alas fellow regular with this group, Joe Wadsack, wasn’t able to make it. [Here's the report of our last dinner together.] We did some wine blind. The best way to taste: start off blind, but before too long do [...]

The rise of the lighter-coloured red wine

What’s the most interesting development in the world of wine? Single-variety Vinho Verde? Rosé in magnum? No, for me, it’s the rise of lighter-coloured red wines. And this is quite a new thing, and a big thing.

When I started out drinking wine seriously, back in the mid-1990s, bigger was best. The sorts of red wines [...]

In Sydney, day 1. Grasped by the shoulder!

Moon on the wing tip, flying into Sydney this morning

I have just arrived in Sydney, and while sitting drinking my first flat white of the trip, I jotted down some thoughts, prompted by the following lines in a book I was reading on the flight, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars.

Nobody grasped [...]

Wine media and the internet: are we drowning in a sea of mediocrity?

Recently, I discussed the way that the internet has changed the landscape of wine writing. I considered the impact on wine writers of an enormous increase in the volume of published wine media. Against all this noise, I asked, how can a professional wine writer ensure that their voice is heard?

Now I’d like to address [...]

Advice to emerging wine writers: be known for something, but be careful

Would you like to be a wine writer? Are you already a wine writer, but would like to take the next step?

Normally, I’d say you shouldn’t listen to advice from modestly successful people, but I reckon that the properly successful wine writers haven’t go enough time to dispense this sort of advice, so [...]

On flying and films

Just got home from Hong Kong. Had a lovely flight back, and it was in economy class. This was the first time I’d flown with Cathay Pacific, and I was impressed. I don’t know about their entire fleet, but the new 777s they fly on the London route are very nicely configured.

As long as you [...]