Wine history in Europe is pretty much split into two distinct periods. That’s before and after the phylloxera. Phylloxera is a vine pest that came over from North America in the 1860s and effectively ate its way through the roots of most of Europe’s vineyards.
Between 1870 and 1895 it’s estimated up to 80%of Europe’s vineyards were destroyed. The fallout from the disaster saw tough times for many, but Rioja, as I found out on a recent trip, could be argued to have been one of the few winners.
This years Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championship has recently announced its medal winners for 2017 and it was wonderful to see so many English and Welsh Wine Makers scooping gold medals. It’s just further proof that wine making in England and Wales is on the up and here to stay!
Very few times do you see a gadget come out in the wine world when you think that it’d genuinely have mass market appeal. It’s got to have a practical use, look good, and also (and let’s be fair, most importantly) be affordable. I got an email the other day from a team running a KickStarter campaign for something that genuinely ticks all three, a wine decanter called the ETO. And this blog post is because there’s only 2 days left to get involved online…
I’ve just had a piece released on The Buyer about a trip I did recently down to Sussex to go learn all about making sparkling wine. It was a room full of English sparkling wine makers, and hosted by the 3 judges of the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships. Lot of great info flowing around, but even more fun went the chat went a bit off piste, and the dreamy ideas started flowing!
English Wine is now flying the flag high and proud. The bubbles especially are scooping up plenty of international awards, and even the great and the good of the famous region of Champagne are buying up land on our fair shores to take advantage of the climatic change. So it’s time to really look forward to this year’s English Wine Week starting this Saturday, the 27th May 2017.
I’ve just had an email through form the English Wine Producers marketing board about a very cool thing that’s just been announced for Camel Valley. Based in Cornwall, a county in the far South West of England, they’ve just been granted protected status by the EU for a specific plot of vineyards called Darnibole, and in doing so have become the first single vineyard site in the UK to be granted the honour. Yeghes da!!
I got an email a few weeks back from a fella called Richard Bampfield. He’s an MW and a bit of UK boff when it comes to the wines of Bordeaux, so he’s someone I take a keen interest in following given my Bordeaux connection with 20h33. So when all of a sudden he was inviting me to come and taste through a range of Bordeaux wines, and then rate them on behalf of the Bordeaux Wines UK it was a bit of a humbling thing. Someone like that ask you to do that? That’s pretty damn cool.
I had a great day out of the Big Smoke, last week, down to Kent, to go freeze my nuts off and do some digging in the dirt. Doesn’t sound all that appealing does it? Well how about if I clarify it a bit, as we were planting vines for the first Champagne Grand Marque to officially land on our shores. Domaine Evremond, a new venture for Champagne Taittinger, is now the proud owner of row after (slightly wonky) row of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, as the quest for increasingly swanky and gorgeous English bubbles hots up.
Every wine-o out there will no doubt heard of Yealands before. They are a big family wine estate with vineyards stretching all over the famous Marlborough district in New Zealand. I’ve been sent 5 bottles of their different Sauvignon Blancs and been asked to come up with something “arty” to promote them on International Sauvignon Blanc Day, this coming Friday, the 5th May. Arty? Have they met me?
That constant niggle of whether I’m doing the right thing by trying to ram my way into the wine industry never wants to go away. I grew up as an introverted maths geek, became a reluctant finance geek, and then a very angry young man working in an office somewhere in London. I don’t miss those days one little bit, but sometimes I’m constantly battling with myself about whether this wine thing will work out, and if I’m actually any good at it. Well, some weeks are better than others…