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Author Archive | Britt Karlsson

Douro landscape and vineyards a rainy and sunny day

Climate change in the vineyards, is it a problem?

In late October, a conference called Tasting Climate Change was held in Canada. The subject was the impact of climate change on wine growing. An important question asked was: is it justifiable to plant vines where they have to be irrigated? Undoubtedly an interesting question. We asked ourselves approximately the same question when we wrote […]

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Vine burned by the frost in Languedoc

French wine producers’ main concerns 2018

On February 8, BIVB, Interprofession des Vins de Burgundy (BIVB), will host its annual conference, Vinosphère, to discuss the future of Burgundy. The things that will be discussed are probably high on the agenda for many other French wine regions as well. Loi Evin. This is the law that regulates what you can say and […]

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Barrel ageing cellar, Domaine Parent, Pommard

Wine Trends 2018: surprises, alcohol, ethics

At this time of year, it is popular to try to figure out new trends for the coming year. It’s hard, but on the other hand, you can almost say anything because who can say you’re wrong? Jean-Philippe Perrouty from Wine Intelligence recently spoke to a group of wine producers in the Loire Valley. He […]

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A barrel cellar tunnel at Bodegas Roda in Rioja

Viti-tunnel may reduce need for spraying

Ten Bordeaux chateaux will in 2018 and 2019 try out a new way to reduce the spraying in the vineyard. They will protect their vines against rain by installing in their vineyard a Viti-tunnel. This is a new invention. The tunnel is a transparent rain cover for the vines that automatically folds out when it […]

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Forest fire damage in Stellenbosch, South Africa

South Africa’s harvest hit by the drought

There is a severe water shortage at the moment in South Africa’s wine regions. The harvest 2018 will probably be the smallest in ten years. The South Africans begin picking their grapes in February. The irrigation dams in Western Cape, where most of the wine regions are located, are just 30 % full compared to […]

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The Ackerman cellars for sparkling wine in Saumur

New strategy for Ackerman, one of the biggest producers in the Loire | Britt on Forbes

The Loire Valley is short on “locomotives”, producers with an international reputation for quality. There are many, many top-quality small producers and also a few big houses and co-operatives, but none with a significant international reputation. Perhaps Ackerman is on the way to turning up the steam to pull Loire Valley wines forward. Ackerman has […]

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Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon more and more popular in Washington

No, this is not about preferences in the White House. We are talking about wine production in Washington State, north of California and Oregon. Cabernet Sauvignon has grown significantly, from 560 hectares in the early 1990s to today’s 7,500 hectares. Washington was originally known for its white wines with fine acidity and crispness made from […]

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Chardonnay

IGP Pays d’Oc celebrates 30 year anniversary

A success story in the Languedoc celebrates 30 years. Robert Skalli and Jacques Gravegeal created IGP Pays d’Oc in 1987. At the time it was called Vin de Pays d’Oc. It became the most successful of all the “vin de pays” wines (that have changed name to IGP). But the success was not obvious from […]

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Cabernet Sauvignon grapes

Phenomenal 2017 vintage in California

We have received a harvest report from California that says that 2017 will be a very good vintage. The fires in October have not affected the quality of the wines. Napa Valley, Sonoma and Mendocino were worst affected by the fires. These three regions grow only 12% of California grapes and 85-90% of the grapes […]

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Pinot Noir in a grand cru vineyard in Corton

New appellations in Burgundy: Vézelay and Côte d’Or

Burgundy has a new village appellation. Bourgogne Vézelay has been upgraded to AOP Vézelay. The new village appellation has 70 hectares planted with chardonnay, the only grape permitted. Vézelay is located 50 kilometres south of Chablis and is more famous for its beautiful basilica than its wine. Burgundy has also a new regional appellation: Bourgogne […]

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A tractor for treatments in a vineyard in Champagne

Foreign harvest workers dominate in Champagne

Where do all the harvest workers come from? This is a question we are often asked on our wine tours. Even though harvesting machines are being used more and more, still perhaps 40% of all grapes are still harvested by hand (the exact number is hard to know). And in Champagne it’s 100%. It is […]

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A glass of South African brandy, Alchemy of Gold

Fungus resistant grape varieties tested in Cognac

Cognac has a long-term plan to reduce the spraying in the vineyards. Currently, four different hybrids are being tested in the vineyards. All four grape varieties have good resistance to both downy mildew and powdery mildew. They also have the qualities required for cognac production, namely high acidity and low sugar content. And, not least, […]

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A vine leaf affected by mildiou

Wine myths: hybrids make poor wines

In the previous issue of the Brief. we wrote about myths in the wine world. Some of our readers have contacted us with comments. Among others, William H. Shoemaker, retired horticulturist from the University of Illinois. He wants to add the myth “wines from hybrids are inferior”. He adds: “While they may not reach the […]

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Britt Karlsson, BKWine, tasting wine in Ningxia in China

Ningxia Winemakers Challenge

Ningxia started an original project in 2015, the Ningxia Winemakers Challenge (NWC). 48 different wine makers from all over the world were invited to Ningxia for the harvest that year. Each winemaker was paired with a local winery and received three hectares of vines each to dispose of. That year, 2015, the 48 winemakers made […]

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Chenin Blanc

Buy chenin blanc to drink or to age

We were recently doing wine tour with wine lovers in the Loire Valley we tasted some really delicious chenin blanc wines, many of them. Chenin blanc has never really caught on as a trendy grape, not at all like riesling, with which it shares several characteristics. We have never understood why since it is a […]

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Forest fire damage in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Violent wildfires in California’s wine regions

Around 40 people died in very extensive fires north of San Francisco in mid-October. Wine regions like Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino were affected and the fires caused damage to a large number of wine estates. It was mainly buildings that were either completely destroyed or damaged. Estimates say that around 85% of the grapes had […]

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The vineyard at the Great Wall (Hua Xia) Winery, vines covered with soil in winter

Chinese wines from Ningxia

I (Britt) visited Ningxia, one of China’s new wine regions, at the end of August. Ningxia is about a two hours’ flight west of Beijing, on the border to the Gobi Desert and Mongolia. There are now around 40,000 hectares, mostly planted in the last 10 years. Ambitions are high. Already they are starting to […]

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Jean-Marie Aurand, director general of the OIV

World wine production 2017 drastically reduced

OIV, International Organisation Of Vine And Wine, presented recently preliminary figures for the world’s wine production in 2017. “As expected,” said director general Jean-Marie Aurand, “the production has been affected by the extreme heat and the drought in France, Spain and Italy”. Italy has produced the biggest volume with 39.3 million hectolitres. A normal harvest […]

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Selected yeasts "XR grand rouge"

Protect the must with yeast instead of sulphur

Natural wines are fashionable at the moment and there is a lot of talk about the difficulty of making wine without adding sulphur. But what if it’s not that hard? Since a few years’ back there is something called bio protection. It means that by adding special yeasts for the fermentation the wine makers can […]

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Equestrian statue

Swedish winery gets a medal at the AWC Vienna

Sweden is definitely a cool climate wine country. We have a few brave wine producers, most of them very small and most of them in the southernmost part of Sweden. Fredholms Wine Estate in Tyringe in Skåne is one and recently this estate received a medal, a “seal of approval” in AWC Vienna for its […]

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Ludivine Ambroise of Maison Ambroise, Burgundy

Affordable Red Burgundy from Maison Ambroise

Red Burgundy that is both good and does not break the bank can be difficult to find. Maison Ambroise is one place to look. We visited the house this spring on one of our wine tours and tasted their selection, starting with the “plain” Bourgogne Rouge, a wine that offers a good pinot noir character […]

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