In Paris, in the rain

Spent a day in Paris on the way to Provence. Drank some wine, ate oysters, and generally walked around. Paris is unique. One of my favourite films is Midnight in Paris, by Woody Allen. Watch the opening scenes: it’s basically just a three-minute string of scenes from the city, accompanied by Sidney Bechet’s Si tu [...]

Video and pictures: Elgin from the air

Here’s a short film and some pictures from my gyrocopter flight over Elgin with Ian Corder. It was an amazing experience. But gyrocopters are tiny and it was a little bit scary. Thankfully Ian is a safe pilot.





Elgin Ridge winery

The currently roofless Iona winery

Iona, house


Ian Corder


We have the wrong map: how false directions impede our search for happiness

A while ago I posted on happiness, and in the short essay I mentioned that one reason people might be unhappy is that they have false beliefs about how happiness might be attained.

I am walking along a London street. I am approached by a tourist. She speaks good English, but they are clearly lost. I’m [...]

Answering questions about achieving online success

Wineanorak as it looked back in 2000

I was recently asked some questions (quite good ones) by someone researching a book. It took a while to answer, so I thought I’d share the responses here.

1) Tell me about your life before your wine blog. What was going on in your personal and professional life that [...]

In the Douro: Vale Meão

Vale Meão is an important property in the Douro Superior. It traces its history as a Quinta back to the end of the late 19th century, when Dona Antónia Ferreira was the first to plant vineyards in this part of the Douro. It was a difficult time for the regional council, and to raise funds, [...]

Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans Saumur 2012

I love this wine so much. I had it with Doug Wregg at Terroirs. It’s Chenin Blanc at its best.

Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans Saumur 2012 Loire, France
Chenin Blanc on tufa (limestone). Very spicy, smoky and linear with a hint of hay and bright lemony acidity. Such precision here with amazing linear acidity. [...]

On happiness

On happiness. Some thoughts prompted by someone asking me how they could be happier, when they were feeling miserable.

Are you happy?

Happiness is something we all strive for.

But we don’t find it by looking for it. Happiness is rarely gained through its pursuit.

We can make choices, though, that make it more likely to happen. Just as [...]

On power and charging

Over the last decade there has been a massive societal change.

Back in 2006, most of us didn’t have smartphones (the first iPhone was released in June 2007). We had mobile phones that we used to make calls on. The batteries used to last for ages. A couple of days? Three?

Now we live our lives on [...]

On running and wine

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with my twin sister, Anne. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but the conversation came on to the subject of being healthy at our advanced age.

‘Well, at least I’m not fat,’ I said.

There was a pause. Quite a long pause. This wasn’t good.

‘But you [...]

The history of coffee: a seminar with Ian Picco

Coffee is interesting and I don’t know all that much about it. So it was really interesting to attend a seminar on the history of coffee at Texsom, presented by Ian Picco.

The Arabica coffee shrub, an evergreen, originates from the western islands of Ethiopia, and the first written account of coffee drinking dates back to [...]