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Oak barrels with Burgundy wine ageing in the cellars of Chanson, Beaune

Burgundy shows off its best figures

For the lover of statistics and/or the lover of Burgundy wines, we have found a handy and updated summary of all relevant figures concerning the wines of Burgundy, from Chablis to Mâconnais (Beaujolais not included). Burgundy has 84 appellations, which is 23% of all France’s wine appellations. Grapes are grown on almost 30,000 hectares. 50% […]

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Bottles ageing at Champagne Fleury

Champagne inspires German quality sekt

VDP stands for Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweinguter and is a highly respected association of around 200 German top producers with their own set of rules for wine growing and wine making. VDP recently launched a new category of German high-quality Sekt. This new category, VDP Sekt, can, like the still VDP wines, be made in four […]

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"Water", a sign in an old-style grape press in Champagne

California wine: from the time of prohibition until now

For 100 years, the magazine Wines and Vines (formerly called California Grape Grower) has written about Californian wine news. To launch a wine magazine in the United States in 1919, just a few months before the prohibition started in January 1920, may not seem as the smartest of ideas. On the other hand, nobody thought […]

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A snifter glass with brandy

XXO, new category of cognac now official

Cognac has a new category: XXO. In 2017 Hennessy launched a prestigious Cognac which they named XXO. But the authorities were not happy about it as this category of Cognac didn’t exist. Thus, the sale of this particular Cognac was suspended. But Hennessy did not give up and with the help of luxury conglomerate LVMH, […]

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A barrel that has been treated with sulphur

Tea instead of sulphur to protect the wine

A few years ago, we wrote in the Brief about the South African wine producer KWV who had made a wine called Earth’s Essence without added sulphur. Instead, they had used the rooibos plant, known for its antioxidant properties. Continued research in South Africa has now shown that the South African tea plant honeybush also […]

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A vine leaf attacked by mildiou (downy mildew)

Three white fungus resistant hybrid grape varieties approved in Austria

Four new white grape varieties have just been approved for use in Austrian Qualitätswein (quality wine) Three of these are so-called PIWIs, which is fungal resistant crossings. PIWI is a German abbreviation for Pilzwiderstandsfähig (literally fungus resistant). The fourth grape is Goldmuskateller, a regular Vitis vinifera that also has a good resistance to rot. The […]

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A malbec leaf

How eco-friendly is Bordeaux?

A European wine that is organic is easy to identify. You just look for the green EU leaf. If it does not have the leaf it is not organic. But now there are also more and more “sustainability” labels on the bottles in France. However, “sustainable” is different from “organic”. Organics is mainly about the […]

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Cow horn and herbs used in biodynamic wine making

Alsace is leader in Europe on biodynamics (and organic?)

Alsace is the number one biodynamic wine region in Europe. 880 hectares are certified biodynamic. This means that an impressive 5.6% of all Alsace vineyards are biodynamic, a record in Europe. Around 70 growers are certified either with the international certification association Demeter or the French association Biodyvin. All of these producers are also organically […]

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Old grenache vine

Old vines in South Africa, rediscovered and rescued

Older vines give more character to the wine, says Rosa Kruger, a well-known South African viticulturist. She is behind a project called South Africa’s Old Vines Project, which aims at finding old vineyards, vineyards that have often been abandoned. The idea with the project is to give a new life to these old vines. A […]

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Mechanical harvester straddling a row of vines

A new machine harvester for small vineyards

When some people think about machine harvesting, they often imagine big monsters that brutalize the vineyard. It is true that harvesting machines are often big machines, but they can be quite gentle to both grapes and vines. And soon there will be on the market a tiny harvesting machine, suitable for the small producer and […]

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Baccarat glasses in a restaurant

Star Wine List recommends restaurants with good wine lists

Star Wine List is a digital guide to wine bars and wine restaurants in different cities. Currently, the guide covers Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala and several other locations in Sweden as well as Oslo, Toronto and London. And more cities are coming soon. Krister Bengtsson is the man behind this excellent tool. Read about great restaurants […]

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A glass of champagne with bubbles

Henkell, a bubbly giant grows bigger

Henkell Trocken is one of the world’s most famous sparkling wines. The German company Henkell & Co is also the largest producer in the world of sparkling wines since the purchase of Spanish Freixenet in March 2018. Henkell now accounts for 8% of the world market for bubbles and is aiming for 10%. In addition […]

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Chateau Latour tower and vineyard, Bordeaux

A joke or false marketing?

Wine producers should not deceive consumers when they promote their wines. This story is about Château de Reignac in Entre-deux-Mers. This chateau was bought in the 1990s by Yves Vatelot. His ambition from the very beginning was to make a high-quality Bordeaux. The natural conditions are there. In fact, he thinks that his soil is […]

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Vineyard workers pruning, Vinedos y Bodega Filgueira, Montevideo, Uruguay

No more spraying with herbicides in Anjou and Saumur

A tour of France’s vineyards today shows that more and more wine producers prefer to let the grass and the weed remain in the vineyard instead of removing it. Today, many refrain from chemical weed control, also those who are not organic. The region of Anjou-Saumur in the Loire Valley has gone one step further. […]

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Chateau l'Hospitalet in La Clape, Languedoc

Gérard Bertrand buys neighbouring Mas du Soleilla in La Clape in Languedoc

Gérard Bertrand’s empire in Languedoc is growing. He recently bought Mas du Soleilla, a 22-hectare vineyard adjacent to Bertrand’s headquarters Château l’Hospitalet in the appellation of La Clape. Mas du Soleilla was founded by Peter Wildbolz and Christa Derungs, both Swiss. 2002 was their first vintage. Mas de Soleilla is, like the Château l’Hospitalet, certified […]

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Melanie Pfister, Domaine Pfister, Alsace

Alsace Pinot Gris is finally dry

Alsace wines are becoming drier and drier. At least that was the impression we had on our recent Alsace tour. And that is very positive. In addition, it is easier to know if the wines are dry or not because producers are now more and more putting “vin sec” on the label if the wine […]

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Child's feet in water

Disastrous floods in Languedoc

Heavy rain and floods of a rare violence in the department of Aude In Languedoc in mid-October caused major damage to vineyards and wineries, in particular in the Minervois and Cabardes appellations and, to a lesser extent, in Saint Chinian. 14 people died. Several wine cellars were flooded, pumps and presses have been destroyed and […]

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Flowers in the vineyards in Limoux

Grass in the vineyard, yes, but which grass?

It is amazing how different vineyards look today compared to 30 years ago. Then, there was not one single straw of grass in the rows between the vines. Today vineyards are often vibrant and colourful with different plants and flowers to keep the vines company. But they also compete with the vines for water and […]

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