The emperor might need his robe

We're all familiar with Andersen's 18th century tale turned popular idiom. The emperors subjects daren't speak their truth for fear of being branded stupid. It takes the unrestrained tongue of an outspoken child to declare the Emperors obvious nudity. Natural wine can be a funky old place (no pun intended) What started life as a well-intentioned, philosophically-sound approach to holistic viticulture and winemaking may have past its use-by date. Narcissism of small differences, an undertone of pontification, lack of definition and a determination to overlook faults may leave the emperor feeling a little exposed. In this article I explore the issues as I see them.

English wine: discussing the challenges of a growing supply

UK volume sales of both still and sparkling wine are in decline. Analysts predict still wine sales will fall by almost 11% over the next five years. However, consumption, production and planting of English wine are all increasing. 2018 production bottle equivalent is up by circa 180% with hectarage under vine increasing by 83% since 2015. It is predicted there are roughly 7-8 years of U.K. sales currently in stock with around 55% of plantings having no wine currently for sale. Considering market decline, assuming the market is one of monopolistic competition, and noting only 8% of English wine is exported, supply is grossly outstripping demand. How will this excess supply impact the market and how should it react?

The glass matters, science says so!

We've all experienced it, the inevitable barrage of questioning, jovial taunting and understandable confusion upon the expression of revulsion, frustration and dismay toward the choice, or offering, of wine glassware. It's easy to see how to many this seemingly strange aversion may appear pomp, confusing and unnecessary; however, there's more to it, stay with me. Anecdotally the majority of us have experienced the enhanced olfactory experience that the 'right' glassware can make, but there's more to this than anecdote. Let's talk about the science ...

Tackling the 2019 MW Exam Part 3: Consider the growth in demand for vegan, organic and sustainable wines. What can and should the wine industry be doing in response?

As consumer interest in wellbeing, sustainability, and environmental impact increases, in turn there exists a rising demand for organic, biodynamic & vegan wines. All of the aforementioned are hot topics in both the popular media and social media, and whilst they are not exclusive to the wine industry, winemakers are most certainly responding to this demand by increasing production and availability of wines in these categories. Andrij Jurkiw joins me this week and contributes his attempt at tackling this topic from the recent MW exam ...

Tackling the 2019 MW Exam Part 2: Discuss the role of the following factors in the production of high-quality grapes: aspect, vine density and row orientation

It is often said that one can produce bad wine from good grapes but cannot produce good wine from bad grapes. There is little room, if any, for debate when it comes to the importance of viticultural decision-making in producing high-quality wine. From the very beginning of a vines life the decisions taken in the vineyard, from planting to clonal selection, will go some way toward determining the quality of the finished wine. Factors often principally touted amongst fact sheets are aspect (direction) vine density and row orientation. But exactly what role do these factors play when it comes to producing high-quality grapes …

Tackling the 2019 MW Exam Part 1: Are yield restrictions necessary to produce high-quality wine?

Fruit thinning, green harvest, restricted yield, whichever name it may go by there are few canards as distinctly pervasive as yield-restriction. Across Europe, the belief that yield restriction is directly correlated with amplified wine 'quality' is so widely held that one can almost predict the nature of questioning at any tasting, visit or seminar. Let's stop for a second; just how accurate is this belief? Is yield restriction really a fundamental requirement of high-quality wine production or is this hypothesis flawed?

Microsoft Excel tasting note template

Protracted, confusing, challenging and intrusive. Writing tasting notes is not always an enjoyable experience. Whether you're taking notes for personal record, independent learning, employment requirements or in order to teach others, I want to help you make the process more efficient, valuable and effective, giving you more time to enjoy the wine in hand. What started off as a personal project is now available to you all for FREE ...