January: a trip to the Ahr Valley, Germany. Pinot Noir country. Thanks Lars Daniels for being my travel companion.
February: Zell Am Zee, Austria, for some skiing. Managed one day of 3 (injured knee). Not my core competency, it must be said.
March: a visit to northwest Spain and Portugal, with Nick Oakley. Such interesting things happening in this part of the world. Not least: single-variety Vinho Verde. The next big thing?
March: Arinto about to go into the ground. A vineyard is born. Vinho Verde.
March: my first ProWein. Telling the world about NZ Sauvignon Blanc and Canadian wine was my task.
March: back to St James, Cape Town. Fifth year in a row, judging the Top100 South African Wines competition.
April: a few days in Franschhoek, exploring the real heart of this misunderstood wine valley. Here, with Basil Landau in his ancient Semillon vineyard. Kevin Swart is also in shot: it was his idea to bring me to visit this lovely place.
April: the view from SushiSamba, where I was at a Bruno Paillard event. London is a wonderful city. I’ve lived here all my adult life and I’m still getting to know it.
May: Canadian wine tasting at Canada House, with dudes like this (Norm Hardie)
May: RAW Fair was brilliant. Such a good bunch of wines
May: London Wine Trade Fair was excellent this year. Bumped into two of my favourite Saffers, too (Adi Badenhorst, Duncan Savage)
May: super-proud to be showing some Canadian wine peeps around some of England’s finest sparkling wine producers. This is Nyetimber. We also did Hambledon and Coates & Seely. 2015 was a big year for English sparkling wine.
June: Washington State. In in-depth exploration of Washington State (and here, in Walla Walla, I think we may have been just over into Oregon) with Treve Ring, Richard Hemming, Kevin Pogue (who was explaining some terroir to us) and Kate Sweet.
June: Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State
July: visiting Niagara wine country again. Including this dude: Thomas Bachelder
July: Niagara Falls, Canada. Judging the WineAlign National Wine Awards with a wonderful but slightly bonkers group of humans. I guess I fit in well.
July: In South Africa again, to judge the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc
July: In Portugal for a Lallemand conference in Sintra, and to do a talk on the future of natural wine in Lisbon
August: had a beautiful time in Tampere, Finland, lecturing to a group of Sommeliers. Thank you Heidi and Matti for inviting me!
Late to the game, 2015 was the year when I really got into Grower Champagne. This beauty courtesy Francis and Bronwen Percival.
It has been a year filled with good lunches. Most of the best have involved these two fellas. Keith Prothero and Master of Lunch Greg Sherwood.
September: Cape Wine was epic. Lots of amazing wines. Here are two of the dudes: Donovan Rall and Peter-Allan Finlayson.
September: while in South Africa, had a beautiful time at the Sanbona game reserve.
September: It’s been a big year for Noble Rot. Mark and Dan opened their wine bar at last. And the triumph of the year was probably this well publicized blind tasting that put English Sparkling Wine firmly on the map.
September: Napa Valley. Memorable trip. Included a face plant at Mayacamas, which was my least favourite moment but my favourite visit. This is one of their replanted vineyards.
September: the view from Cain, another mountain vineyard in Napa
October: in the Douro with the Douro Boys. Super trip.
October: in Champagne. I definitely need to spend more time here.
November: in Hong Kong for the first time, taking part in the wine fair
November: Rugby World Cup Final. Quite an event.
November: off to Italy. Watching grapes dry at Masi, Veneto.
November: visiting Poli, amazing grappa producer
November: watching more grapes dry, this time at Maculan
December: Rootstock Festival, Sydney. Here with Amber and Taras Ochota.
December: had an amazing time visiting some of Australia’s new wave producers. Pictured here, in the Barossa, Fraser McKinley (Sami Odi), Abel Gibson (Ruggabellus) and Tom Shobbrook.
So that’s a brief glimpse of 2015. It has been eventful, fun and also very complex. I’m so looking forward to 2016.