Rui Falcao on Madeira, at MUST 2017

Rui Falcao’s presentation at MUST was on Madeira. He began by showing a picture of a bottle of Madeira from 1795, and revealed that most of his great old wine experiences have been with wines from this remarkable island. ‘The oldest wine I’ve had was from 1715,’ he says, which he thinks is the oldest [...]

Lulie Halstead on Millennials and the wine market, at MUST 2017

Lulie Halstead of Wine Intelligence gave an interesting talk on Millennials, and whether or not we make too much of them in marketing discussions. ‘It’s a topic we often get asked to speak about,’ she said. Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1995, which means that they are currently 21-35 years old. The previous [...]

Felicity Carter on the importance of wine tourism, at MUST

Continuing with the MUST fermenting ideas summit, I was impressed by Felicity Carter’s talk on the importance of wine tourism.

‘Journalists love catastrophes of all kinds,’ began Felicity, before outlining why she thinks the wine industry could be facing catastrophe if it doesn’t embrace wine tourism.

‘I’m going to start off with the worst wine tour in [...]

Binary thinking and bubble creation

It’s getting worse, I reckon. The world is being polarised. It upsets me when otherwise smart friends fall into the trap of seeing the world in binary terms. Good versus evil. Black versus white.

The problem is the way we access information on the internet. It’s pull rather than push: we choose what to read, watch [...]

63 Pall Mall: the exciting new wine shop from Berry Bros & Rudd

On Friday I went to the press tasting of high-end London retailer Berry Bros & Rudd, and it proved to be a great chance to check out their new retail outlet at 63 Pall Mall.

Previously, Berry Bros had a small retail space at 3 St James’ Street, which has been in operation since 1698. This [...]

On the need for recognition and approval

I remember that as a child I loved creating things. I spent hours drawing: pencils, felt-tip pens, and even drawing ink. I also loved sculpting things out of plasticine (famously used by Nick Park in his animated features) and clay. But each time I did something new, I needed it to be endorsed by someone [...]

More thoughts on flying, and laptop bans

Just back from California, my first trip in a few weeks. Back into the swing of long haul flying.

I enjoy being on a plane, most of the time. It’s a nice space to think, to do some writing, and also to watch bad movies. Now that there’s entertainment on a plane, people have stopped trying [...]

Self versus non-self: on wine becoming part of us

One of the questions that has interested brain scientists and philosophers alike is that of self versus non-self. How do we distinguish what is part of us, versus what is part of the environment?

This sounds like a trivial question. When I see my hand move, I know it is part of me. That’s obvious. But [...]

Discussing sweet wines, with notes on 18 interesting bottles

Sweet wines aren’t all that fashionable, but they are delicious. The best sweet wines are among the most complex and concentrated expressions of the vine possible, and in past times they occupied the pinnacle of the fine wine tree. We’ve kind of neglected them of late, partly because in these alcohol-consumption-conscious days we seldom manage [...]

Half way in the International Wine Challenge

Week one of this second tranche of the 2017 International Wine Challenge is over. Except for the crew, that is: they have to stay the weekend doing the immense job of reflighting all the thousands of wines that have made the cut into week two.

When we get back to the Oval on Tuesday, we’ll be [...]