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wine-making and viticulture

Sparkling wine bottles in a cooling bath

Disgorging sparkling wine – how to get the yeast out of the bottle

A video explanation on how sparkling wine is made Many better sparkling wines have a second fermentation in the bottle. It is this second fermentation in the bottle that makes the wine bubbly. This is the method known as “the traditional method” methode traditionnelle. In the past it was called “champagne method” but the champagne […]

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A vine leaf affected by mildiou

Less pesticides? New, environmentally friendly treatment of mildiou

Whether you are organic or not, you have to spray against fungal diseases like downy mildew and powdery mildew. The organic growers use copper and sulphur and the conventional growers use synthetic chemical pesticides. To reduce the use of all these products would be a blessing for both the vineyards and the people that are […]

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Spraying vines with a vineyard tractor

Can organic wine production continue to grow? | Britt on Forbes

Organic viticulture has seen some astonishing growth. Today almost 10% of world wine production is estimated to be organic. A year like 2016 with very difficult weather conditions in many parts of Europe, that still accounts for the majority of the world’s wine, the growth in organics will no doubt be dampened. Bad weather is […]

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Picking grapes on goblet vines in Beaujolais

Is manual harvest really better than mechanical harvest? No!

Facts and myths about hand and machine picking Let’s start with clearing up one of the basic misconceptions. It is not true that manual harvest is better than mechanical harvest. However, manual harvest can sometimes be better than mechanical harvest. But the opposite is also true: Mechanical harvest can be better than manual harvest. Sometimes. […]

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How do you make rosé? Facts and fails.

This is rosé season. Or should be. We’re having a rather cold spring in Paris. Rosé has in recent years become incredibly popular. Incredibly is the right word. So let’s take a look at how rosé is made. This seems to be needed; it seems to be a very misunderstood area… There are three ways […]

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Pinot Meunier

Learn how to identify a grape variety by the leaf and grape bunch

So you want to be (like) a pro ampelographer? That’s what they call someone who is a botanic specialist focussed on the grape vine. Or maybe you don’t? Maybe you just want to know how to tell one grape variety from another. Or as they would say in South Africa, one cultivar from another (bear […]

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Less vineyard spraying, less poisons, with resistant grape varieties

If you are a winemaker, be it “conventional” or organic, you have to spray the vineyards with treatments against diseases. You don’t really have much of a choice. The vines would barely survive and certainly not bear much useful fruit in most wine regions without spraying. Spraying is always, by definition, done with some kind […]

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Syrah for Cotes du Rhone

The art of blending a Côtes du Rhône wine

How hard can it be? Blending a wine? I mean, you have a few different pure variety base wines which, together, will converge in a balanced and tasty cuvée that will hit home with any wine critic any-time! Now, if you do not get my irony in the above sentence then I can clarify that […]

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Do organic wines taste better? German wine producers answer

Organic, biodynamic and natural wines have a more concentrated flavour than traditionally produced wines, some of the producers claimed at a seminar on German organic wines that I recently attended. The international wine world seems to be increasingly aware of how important it is that wine be produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. […]

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Rosé is normally made from red grapes, like these in Provence

Pink is the new colour. Everyone drinks rosé wines | Britt on Forbes

It seems the conquest of the world for rosé wines is unstoppable. From having been a little appreciated cheap (and often nasty) wine rosé is now – literally – on everyone’s lips. Even the most serious of wine writers assures us that rose is, or can be, great. In the first of two articles on […]

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To Kalon Robert Mondavi

To Kalon, a California study in quality, climate and soil in the vineyard

Three nearly identical wines from Robert Mondavi show large differences How is it that the prices of different wines can vary considerably although the wines are produced with grapes from virtually the same vineyard? What creates the quality differences within the same vineyard? When Dana Andrus from the Robert Mondavi Winery came to Stockholm recently, […]

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Claude Bourguignon, vineyard consultant

The importance of long roots: We meet Claude and Lydia Bourguignon in Cahors

Claude and Lydia Bourguignon are two well-known microbiologists who work as consultants worldwide. They advise wine producers and other farmers on all aspects of the soil. They analyse the soil, measure the microbiological activity, make recommendations about rootstocks, grape varieties, plant density, cover crops, fertilizers and so on. Their home base is northern Burgundy and […]

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Sandy soil in a vineyard in Castile and Leon in Spain

High or low planting density in the vineyard? (It’s not just yields!)

Wine growers talk about high and low yields in the vineyard. In Languedoc they have around 45 hectolitres per hectare, in Bordeaux 50 to 60 and in Champagne even higher. But when you talk about yield it is also important to know the planting density of the vineyard. The density can vary between 1 500 […]

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Yeast – selected or natural?

Everyone agrees that the grape-must must ferment to become wine. However, when it comes to what type of yeast to use, opinions differ. The choice is open to the winemaker to let the must ferment using the yeast that naturally sits on the grape skins (and in the air) or to use a cultured (selected) […]

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A snifter glass with grappa grape brandy

The fate of a grape after the pressing: Grappa, industrial alcohol or manure?

On a trip to the Piedmont wine region this spring we visited a grappa producer, Distillatori Mazzetti. And we discussed what actually happens to all the grape skins after they have been pressed. Is everything distilled into grappa? No, in that case we would probably have a huge grappa surplus. There are, as you can […]

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EU vs non-EU long term trend in wine production (top 11 countries only)

The world’s wine production 2000-2012

Global wine production down in 2012, Europe declining, most others growing. Is Europe strangling its wine sector? Global wine production decreased 6% in 2012 to 252 million hectolitres. This was partially due to a very small harvest in Europe but also a longer term trend. France, Italy and Spain are still the biggest producers. But […]

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Grape production growth rates 2000-2012

The world’s grape production 2000-2012

Global grape production: short term drop, long term rise, big shift away from Europe, productivity increasing Global grape production has seen a slight drop in 2012 from 2011 but has since 2000 seen a slight increase. The big change is a shift from Europe that has dropped from almost 63% to 40% of world grape production. […]

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New World vineyard area 2012

The world’s grape growing (vineyard) surface area 2000-2012

World statistics on acreage use for growing vines and producing grapes The OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) produces some of the most fascinating and telling statistics there is about wine. They have just released a report from their annual congress in Bucharest. We first take a look at the evolution of grape growing […]

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Fermenting grapes

Using native yeast or selected yeast at Quevedo Wines in the Douro

Natural and cultured yeast are both used in the Douro Valley but in different ways One of the winemaker’s most important decisions is if he should use native yeasts or selected yeast strains for the fermentation. In this guest article Oscar Quevedo from the Quevedo Wines estate in the Douro explains the difference and why […]

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Luigi Tecce wine maker in Taurasi, Campania, Italy

Wine producers have started making wine in amphora. Again.

Nothing new under the sun… Or: Dusting off the clay pots for winemaking The amphora is back. The ancient way of making and storing wine in clay amphora, like the Greeks and the Romans did, is high fashion today. Although the number of amphorae users is quite low they are very much talked about and […]

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Marselan, recently planted vines

Experimental planting of new vines with resistance to mildew allowed in Languedoc

The producers of the Languedoc has now received its long-awaited permission from the Ministry of Agriculture to start growing, on an experimental basis, new grape varieties that are developed to be resistant against powdery mildew and downy mildew, we read in La Vigne. Not having to treat the vineyards against these two problems is of […]

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A diam cork

Natural cork without cork taint

We heard about the Diam closure for the first time about five years ago. We attended a tasting with some Champagne producers who all had tried a natural cork called Mytik, which is Diams counterpart for sparkling wines. Recently we read in Vitisphere that the company Diam Bouchage now accounts for 5% of the world […]

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Vineyards and the rooftops of the Sancerre village

World première: “trim the vines with tractor” simulator

Try rognage: Sancerre launches the world’s first simulation machine for canopy management! It is called rognage, when you trim or prune the canopy (the leaves) off the vines in summer to remove excess leaves. It is often done several times during the growing season. The purpose is to have a good balance between leaves and […]

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A reverse-osmosis machine for must concentration in Bordeaux

Soon we will have organic wines

On February 8 the EU agreed the rules for organic vinification paving the way for “organic wine” The member countries in the European Union have finally (on February 8 ) voted for an agreement concerning which rules should apply for an organic wine. As from the vintage 2012 we will se “organic wine” on the […]

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Seeking strength in wine?

There has recently been a curious “debate” on one of the major Swedish wine blogs on what is “the stongest wine in the world”, naturally fermented, excluding fortified wines. It started some time back with the blogger / wine writer Mikael Molstad, who writes for one of Sweden’s biggest daily paper, Svenska Dagbladet. It started […]

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The magic of oxygen in the wine bottle

One of the things that contribute to the ageing of wine is oxygen. Aging is, partially, a slow oxidation of the wine. It leads to changes in the flavour and aromas and it also changes the colour. Sometimes it goes too far and the wine becomes “oxidised” – a defect. Apparent oxidation in a wine […]

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White wine fermenting in barrel

10 microbes that you may (or may not) want in your wine

There are many different types of microbes (minuscule organisms) that contribute to making the wine into what it is. Many of them are desirable and even essential to the making of a wine. some only exist during the vinification process while other may survive into the bottled wine. Many microbes have been studied in detail […]

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Local Wine, Local Oak

Text: David Furer Photo: Per Karlsson / BKWine & David Furer Copyright © David Furer & BKWine With the rise of flavor profiles attributed to French wood, along with their undisputed preeminence in technique, the dominance of French cooperages in fine wines in the past 20 or so years has led to a type of […]

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More extraction with higher pressure – or lower. Flash detente and Delta Extractys

Perhaps you are familiar with ‘flash detente’. If you are not you should read our book The Creation of a Wine (A Wine is Born, unfortunately not yet available in English – Ett vin blir till). Basically, it is a method to extract more from the grape skins by heating up the grapes and then […]

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Must fermenting in a tank

Not all yeasts are created equal

It is common practice to add cultured (sometimes called artificial) yeast to the must to control the fermentation of wine. Just like for “natural” fermentation it is Saccharomyses Cerevisiae that converts the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide (for beer it can be Saccharomyses Carlsbergensis). A new type of has now been launched that is […]

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