Who judges the wine judges? And how can we increase judge diversity?

Wine judging is tough. This week and next it’s International Wine Challenge judging, which will keep me and quite a lot of other people busy. I guess if you are looking in from outside it looks like a whole lot of fun, tasting wine all day. Well it is – the judges are invariably nice […]

On hope, for wine businesses, for people

It’s amazing how much bravery a little hope can inspire. But take away hope – make someone feel trapped and hopeless – and they then become cautious and fearful. Many people live their lives from a position of fear because of this lack of hope. Their best efforts are directed at minimizing damage and suffering […]

Time for a new passport

I’ve just applied for a new passport. I’m going to miss the old one: it has been a constant companion on my travels, but even though it has plenty of space (I got a big one last time!) and five more years’ validity, it has started playing up at electronic passport gates.

And that’s a deal […]

A template letter for wineries responding to two-timing critics

As a public service, I’m providing a template letter for those wineries who want to escape abusive relationships with two-timing critics. If you are a winery and you find yourself in this regrettably common position, I hope you find it useful.

Dear (insert well known critic’s name)

It was lovely to host you last week at the […]

Dinner at Arbour with lovely wines: Felton Road, Vieux Telegraphe, Kumeu River and Quartz Reef

Arbour is widely regarded to be the best fine dining option in the Marlborough region. I visited with friends yesterday evening and we had a really good time. The kitchen here is currently on a roll. We chose the ‘feed me’ option on the menu: you choose 3, 4 or 7 courses and the kitchen […]

Do Parker points matter any more?

Do Parker points matter any more? This was the question that started a big thread on facebook today, and it got me thinking.

Points, points, points. It’s such a complicated and polarized discussion. I can see a good reason for not using points to score wine (how can a score even pretend to be a useful […]

A world without mirrors, and the importance of receiving criticism well

Imagine living in a world without mirrors (and, of course, cameras and smart phones sort of count here, too). How would you see yourself?

To catch a reflection of yourself in any sort of reflective surface, such as still water, would have been intriguing, because we cannot see ourselves. So that’s what I look like! Is […]

How are you?

How are you?

This is a question most of us are asked frequently, but it’s a difficult one to answer.

Of course, when we’re normally asked this question, there’s an expected answer, and unless we’re speaking to a good friend in the right context, then it would be unusual not to give this expected answer: I’m good […]

Wines of the year, as decided by Instagram (2)

Following on from my earlier post, looking at the most popular wines on my Instagram feed in 2017, here’s the next batch of wines. We begin with the Jura, and a hot favourite is Ganevat.

I begin with this Vines de Mon Pere, drunk with Mr Wregg. Only in magnum. Amazing.

This is a red – Plousard […]

Take part in a wine study

Dr Wendy Parr is an academic researching the way we perceive wine, based in New Zealand. She and a research group from France are looking for participants in a study. All you have to do is answer, anonymously, a set of questions.

The link is here.

Wendy and her colleagues are serious scientists and the research they’ve […]