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Mjödhamnens produktbeskrivning med cirkeldiagram

Monopoly on pie charts? You must be kidding!

No, I am not kidding. The very small company called Mjödhamnen is threatened with a law suit by the very big monopoly retailer Systembolaget in Sweden. Mjödhamnen means “the port of mead” and is a small, tiny, producer and importer of mead. What has Mjödhamnen done? Well, they have used pie charts, circular diagrams, to […]

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Are wine bloggers becoming just a megaphone for marketing budgets?

Wine blogging, as well as on-line (and off-line in print) wine journalism is changing. Are more and more blog articles just promotional pieces published just because the blogger / journalist has been invited to a tasting or been treated to a trip to a wine region? It all started with a report that I happened […]

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The orangerie at Moet & Chandon in Epernay

Why does champagne cost so much?

A champagne lunch for, maybe, 1500–2000 euro Champagne always carries a not insignificant price tag. As with everything, “expensive” is a question of each one’s personal assessment. One thing is certain: there are no other wines that are marketed with so much money. It is in many ways a meaningless question if a wine is […]

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Is it a problem with all these new “cheap amarones”?

Are all the new, low(ish) priced appassimento, ripasso, passito, “baby-amarone” wines a cause for concern? I received an interesting question on email from someone in the wine business. In short: “You see more and more of ‘cheap amarone’ (or ripasso, appassimento, passito), not least in Sweden at Systembolaget where amarone has become fantastically popular, but […]

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Selling wine in supermarkets, something to be ashamed of?

Often we hear wine producers in France saying, not without a certain pride in their voice that their wine is certainly not sold in supermarkets (grande surfaces). I wonder why this would be so terrible. Today’s supermarkets often have as a minimum a very decent selection of wines and sometimes an extremely good one. So […]

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Poison in your glass? Big headlines, thin on news in television program on wine

Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts) is a Swedish investigative news program at TV4. A program that is always watched by a lot of people. The November edition of the program was called “Poison in your glass” and the big news was that the wine industry uses additives in the cellar for the winemaking and chemical products […]

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Reader submitted picture of Peter Marshall, used with permission from the photographer

The (financial) dangers of being a wine & food journalist / photographer, working for Peter Marshall / Chef Magazine

Working for Peter Marshall, editor in chief and publisher of Chef Magazine UK, and never getting paid This is the story of how we came to work for Peter Marshall and Chef Magazine in the UK and what came out of it. We were commissioned by Peter Marshall to write two articles and to do […]

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The whole truth! Or just half the truth? Adding sugar to wine

There is currently a serious lobbying effort in the EU regarding sugar in wine, we read in Vitisphere. The lobbyists want to introduce rules that would make it compulsory to mention “sugar added” on the label for wines that have been chaptalised. Chaptalisation is the process of adding sugar, beet or cane sugar, to the […]

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Global wine production vs consumption 2000-2012

World wine market, implications for winemakers, consumers and policy-makers

Bringing it all together: conclusions on the world wine industry situation 2000-20012 Europe is slowly losing its dominant position both as a vine grower, wine maker and consumer. The New World is gaining share. The over-supply of wine that existed some years back has disappeared and we may be heading for a wine “shortage”. More […]

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Thursday, June 13: Time for Systembolaget’s Lottery: The winner gets some 40,000 to 60,000 crowns

How Systembolaget subsidises luxury wines From time to time a few bottles of Romanée Conti, Domaine de la Romanée Conti (DRC), arrive in Sweden. This Thursday Systembolaget will launch this wine in a “new” vintage (2010). There will be in total four bottles available of Romanee Conti in Systembolaget’s “web launch” (wines only sold on […]

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Visitors in front of La Romanee Conti Grand Cru

Is it time to say that it does not matter if a wine is organic? | Britt’s Friday Column

It is best to judge organic wines on their quality, not by a philosophy Do wine consumers have greater expectations when they drink organic wines? Sometimes it feels that way. They should not. It is always the skill of the producer / winemaker that determines how the wine will taste and how high the quality […]

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Why increase the alcohol level in the Languedoc? Stop chaptalisation!

We have said it before and we will say it again: Why chaptalise in Languedoc? This is southern France we are talking about. With sun and heat during the growing season. These wines should have enough natural sugar to provide a decent alcohol level without having to add sugar or concentrated grape must The reason […]

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Marselan, recently planted vines

Let’s talk business: Why Planting Rights is a bad idea

“Planting rights” is an archaic system that limits the rights to plant new vines and protects the incumbent wine producers from competition. In this article Per Karlsson explains why it is bad for wine consumers and also bad for the long term health of the wine industry as a whole. My primary interest in wine […]

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Wine tanks at Cupertinum co-operative, Apulia

Is it good for the wine consumer that the producers are now allowed to blend vintages with VCI?

A new kind of insurance for the wine producer: “The individual supplementary volume” Many things can happen in a vineyard. Weather problems are frequent. Diseases can reduce quantity and destroy quality. A small harvest could be disastrous for the producer. On the other hand, the change of character in a wine according to the specificities […]

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DIX jours de panne sur le réseau internet chez Numéricable – quelle galère

Numericable incapable de fournir un service réseau internet, même modeste, pendant dix onze douze treize quatorze jours (et plus) ! Non, VINGT-TROIS (23) JOURS DE PANNE RESEAU Numericable ! ET CA CONTINUE ! Depuis plus de dix jour Numericable n’arrive pas à fournir un service de réseau de qualité même modeste chez nous à Paris […]

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Do you have to “know” about a wine to be able to judge it fairly?

Do you need prior knowledge (about the wine region, producer etc) as a wine writer to evaluate a wine? Can you taste a wine totally blind and still give a competent tasting note? Or, if you do NOT taste blind are your tasting notes still reliable? This is all interesting but difficult questions. With no […]

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Chateau Richelieu, Fronsac, Bordeaux

Should Bordeaux (or the French) have a monopoly on the term “chateau”?

Another example of outrageous protectionism or justified worries about consumer protection? The Bordeaux producers, or more precisely the Fédération des Grands Vins de Bordeaux (FGVB), the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB, who sent the press release) as well as the Confédération Nationale des AOC (CNAOC) is incensed by a discussion between the EU […]

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Does it matter for a wine blog if the wines you write about are samples?

Is it important or irrelevant with “disclosure” of free samples etc? Sparked by a twitter discussion and by yesterday’s text on French wine bloggers I though it could (possibly) be interesting to bring up this issue with “disclosure” again. “Disclosure” is mostly interpreted as that when you write about a wine you say “I received […]

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Mout Concentre Rectifie, MCR, concetrated grape juice

No more subsidies for enrichment. Forbid it, that’s what should be done!

Confédération française des vins de pays (CFVDP, an association for French Vin de Pays-producers) had a congress earlier this June and they discussed among other things the discontinuing of subsidies to enrich wines with concentrated grape must (MCR). La Vigne reports that CFVDP are against the subsidies being discontinued (big surprise…) and that it finds […]

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Vineyard workers on a steep hill

Why the system of Planting Rights should be abolished

“Planting Rights” is an archaic system by which winegrowers are not allowed to plant new vines (extend their vineyards) unless they have “planting rights”. Without these “rights” nothing can be planted. It has been in place for many years in the big wine producing countries in Europe, to some extent as a counter-party to the […]

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Picking and sorting grapes in the vineyard

“Sustainable” and “Fair Trade”. What is it? Does it make sense?

Fair trade, sustainable, organic,… Is it perhaps a meaningless terminology? “Sustainable” is actually quite a curious terminology. Not least for wine. Sometimes it is used as some kind of “super category” embracing everything that is organic, environmentally friendly and sometimes even “ethical”. At other occasions it is used to describe a more narrow type of […]

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The range of products available at the Swedish monopoly is … great, good, or poor?

The Swedish retail monopoly for wine and spirits is managed by the government owned Systembolaget. It is one of the world’s biggest wine buyers (but not the biggest). It basically controls what wines are available on the Swedish market although in recent years it has become a little fuzzier, or “liberalised”, with internet shops and […]

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Sugar in the winery

Low alcohol wines are good or bad?

Less is not always more when it comes to alcohol in wine Apparently there is a huge interest in the world for wines with low alcohol contents. On www.decanter.com we read about a report by Wine Intelligence, made on behalf of ProWein, the big wine fair in Düsseldorf, which opens at the beginning of March. […]

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Fleurie in Beaujolais

Champagne in Beaujolais? Are the Champenois crazy?

We all know that Champagne is protecting its name with an almost fanatical intensity. God help the non-champagne-producer who puts the name of Champagne on the label. We read in the French wine magazine La Revue du Vin de France that the latest region to experience the wrath of the Champagne producers is Fleurie, one […]

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Sexism and equality in wine packaging

What do you think is most suggestive? Stylised pouting lips and the name “Wacky Chicks”, or A young girl with a flimsy skirt (petticoat?), with a wistful man with a flower, and the name “Untouched”? A while back we told you the story of a Swedish wine importer that had had his wine banned from […]

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Chateau Lafite circular barrel cellar

Prices on Bordeaux primeurs mostly going up

Prices for Bordeaux primeurs are mainly going up. Again. Is that a cause for concern? No, we argue. Most if not all chateau in Bordeaux will have announced their prices for the primeurs 2010 by now although many of the “releases” seems to have been done later than usual. Perhaps that is because they wanted […]

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A fence as a wind shield in a vineyard

Vine planting rights: a return to protectionism?

A few years back all EU countries agreed to a reform of the agricultural policies concerning the wine sector. One element was to abolish the existing system with planting rights, that decrees that a grower has to ask for strictly controlled planting rights from the authorities. One consequence is e.g. that a successful producer cannot […]

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Old bottles in the cellar, 1961

A Perfect 10?

Mother Nature was unkind in 2010 – an earthquake in Haiti, floods in Pakistan and an unpronounceable volcano in Iceland. There was huge financial trauma; many are still recovering. But commodities and collectibles – especially wine – have carried on regardless. The art market – or at least Damien Hirst’s reputation – wobbled before the […]

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Faugeres sign

The strange story of the proposed Languedoc classification

Is the purpose of a classification to benefit the consumer or to benefit the producer? That is one of the questions one can ask when reading about the new (yet to come) classification in the Languedoc. It was recently launched officially at a trade event in the Languedoc. The answer to the question seems to […]

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Chateau Haut-Brion

Publish and be damned! Or should we have a plan economy for Bordeaux wines?

In an article last week Jancis Robinson advocated a freeze period for comments and reviews on wines tasted at the Bordeaux primeur circus next week (presentation and trade tasting of the new 2010 vintage) until after the chateaux have announced their prices. She argued that holding off on comments may have a dampening effect on […]

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