Helix, a new cork-based closure solution

Very interested by this new development, which was launched today at Vinexpo. It’s the Helix closure, which is the result of a partnership between cork company Amorim and glass manufacturer O-I (Owens-Illinois).

The idea is very clever. By using a special bottle, with grooves inside the neck, it makes it possible to remove the cork [...]

Yeasts and volatile sulfur compounds, a graphic

I’ve attempted to produce a simplified graphic showing the role of yeasts in producing volatile sulfur compounds, which are responsible for ‘reduction’ problems in wine. The big oval here is the yeast cell, and – grossly simplified – this is how reduction issues are caused by yeasts.

The main way in which yeasts produce volatile sulfur [...]

Graphic: wine flavour chemistry and the perception of wine

Just working on this graphic, showing the relationship between wine flavour chemistry and the perception of wine.

Flavour chemicals come directly from grape must, from bacteria and yeasts directly, and also from bacteria and yeasts modifying precursors in the must. There’s also the possibility that some elements of flavour could come from the soils, although this [...]

Video: a geeky review of wine glasses

So, here I review some of my tools of the trade: my favourite wine glasses.


Video: the rare varieties tasting with Dr Jose Vouillamoz

Here’s the video from the rare grape varieties tasting conducted by Dr Jose Vouillamoz at the London Wine Trade Fair this week, organized by the Circle of Wine Writers. I’d agreed to film it for them (I am on the committee), even though I was a little concerned that filming a tasting would actually be [...]

Distracted by a book revision

Apologies for the slight slowing down on my blog. I haven’t been posting every day, as I normally do, because I have been fiendishly busy, revising my Wine Science book.

The original was really good, and I was happy with it (even though I was plagued by self-doubt as I sent it out into the world). [...]

On soils and wines, part 6 - water relations and wine quality, plus a bit about clays

So, the next instalment in my exploration of the importance of soils for wine. This is really thinking aloud, so I’d love to hear comments and corrections.

One of the most important properties of vineyard soils is how they control water supply to the vine. Vine roots are designed to be particularly effective in taking up [...]

Exploring the language of wine

I’m very interested in the language we use to describe wine.

Could it be that our possession of descriptors for wine actually shapes the way that we experience wine? Can language shape perception?

I have just looked through my first wine notebook. It dates back to when I was first getting into wine, just after I’d finished [...]

The mystery of soils and wine, part 1

To the ancients, the idea that plants are formed from the soil would have seemed self-evident. The communion between the roots and the earth suggests that the composition of plants, and by extension the fruit they produce, is determined largely by the composition of the soil. Modern science, however, paints a rather different picture. The [...]

Q&A on oxygen and wine shipping and bottling

Unloading a wine flextank after shipping

I have just taken some time to answer an email from a TV researcher about wine and oxygen, specifically related to shipping and bottling wine. Because it took a fair while to answer the questions, I thought I’d share my responses here. Yes, geeky technical stuff indeed, but I [...]