The IPNC Grand Seminar, windows of perception

Josh Raynolds, Frank Stitt, Pascaline Lepeltier, Elaine Brown, Jamie Goode, Hall Newbegin, Steven Shapin and Jordi Ballester

I love this picture. It’s a group photo of our panel at the IPNC Grand Seminar, which we did twice, on Friday and Saturday mornings. We were discussing how we perceive wine, and then communicate this perception in [...]

Winning best overall wine blog in the Wine Blog Awards

It was nice to wake up yesterday to a facebook message from Katie Myers telling me I’d won the best overall wine blog category at the Wine Blog Awards in the USA. It was only this evening, when the results were officially posted on the website, that I really believed it was true.

It’s a lovely [...]

The diversity of wine

Wine is unusual among drinks on many levels. And one of the most remarkable things about wine is its diversity.

It’s a function of the fact that wine quality is dependent on grape quality, which is largely determined by the physical characteristics of the vineyard site. There are gazillions of these, and there are 1400 different [...]

Careers advice, from me?

As I write I am on a train heading to York, where I will be taking part in a careers session for a group of 80 high acheiveing graduate plant scientists who are attending the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School.

They want careers advice from me? Are they sure?

When I was doing my PhD, my [...]

In Vancouver

For one night only. I arrived in Vancouver yesterday afternoon, just in time to watch the second half of England v Uruguay at a bar in the airport with my host David Scholefield, who I am driving down to the Okanagan with this morning. It wasn’t the right result.

Then, after checking in to the new [...]

Why judging super-expensive wines is difficult

I always like Emile Peynaud’s quote about how expensive wines tasted blind frequently disappoint. Along similar lines, there’s the well known scientific experiment where subjects had their brains scanned while they were tasting the same wine, but being given different price information each time. They liked the wine more – and their brains responded differently [...]

Success is an enemy

Whether you are a winemaker, a winery, a wine brand or a wine writer, one of the biggest threats can be success itself. It’s made more dangerous by the fact that it would never be suspected of being a threat, because it is a goal.

You begin to believe your own hype. You get complacent. You [...]

Caves d'Auvergne Gamay 2012

This is a sensational wine for the price, if – like me – you have a fascination with lighter, more elegant red wines. I’ve written about its sibling Pinot Noir before, which is equally good, but in 2012 I love the Gamay from this winery, which has a bit more weight than most Beaujolais, while [...]

Why I love working in wine - some unrestrained positivity

I love working in wine. For lots of reasons. Here’s some unrestrained positivity about the wine community, and why it’s a good place to earn a living.

I have such wonderful colleagues. So many positive interactions, such collegiate spirit!

Wine is endlessly fascinating, and you can never grow tired of it, as long as you have an [...]

More on the Coravin, a remarkable wine serving device

Back in October, I wrote about the Coravin, having seen one in action for the first time. Yesterday at a tasting of high-end wines at London merchant Roberson, I had my first proper encounter with the device as a tool of the trade. It’s such a game changer.

From the point of view of the Roberson [...]