BKWine Brief nr 164, April 2017

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Per Karlsson portrait Britt Karlsson portraitPackaging or contents?

We all know the importance of the label on the wine bottle. How it influences us to buy or not to buy. Most consumers are not so knowledgeable about wine, and even if you are, you will sometimes be in a situation where you are unfamiliar with most wines on the shelf. Not knowing the wine, the label has to do the trick.

With the label, the producer can show a little of his philosophy. Because the character of the wine will probably match the label to some extent. A formal picture of a chateau label or a colourful, artistically designed label? Yes, you will have different expectations.

A bit like the shape of the bottle. If you see at a Bordeaux style bottle you often expect a fuller and more tannic wine than you do if you see a bottle with sloping shoulders.

You often know it’s a natural wine when you see a funny looking label or a very strange one.

But it is not just with the label that the producers can show who they are. A lightweight glass bottle shows that they think about the environment. Only this week did we have two such bottles. Still, the producers probably do not dare to switch because many consumers associate low weight with low quality. But that will probably change soon. Just as it has (to some extent at least) for screw caps.

Right now we cross our fingers for growers in Chablis and Burgundy and other northern regions in France, Italy and other countries. These are critical times (in many ways…). The spring has suddenly turned really cold and temperatures below zero are lurking around the corner. This can mean catastrophe in the vineyard this time of the year. If temperatures goes below freezing point for too long a time the tiny buds and leaves freeze to death. Frost has already struck many last night!

Take a look at our wine tour program. We have several exciting tours lined up this autumn. Piedmont and Alentejo are new on the list. We also have classics like Bordeaux and the Douro.

If you are looking for bigger adventures, take a look at the programs for South Africa and Chile-Argentina, countries very exciting things happen in wine these days.

More info below.

Enjoy the Brief!

Britt & Per
PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief!

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What’s on at BKWine Tours

Spring 2017

(with places left)

Autumn / fall 2017

Winter 2018

  • South Africa, February 23 – March 5, 2018 (with possible safari and golf add-on)

For more information please contact us on email or on phone (we’re on French time), or go to our wine travel site on!We also make custom designed wine tours – on-demand tours for you and a group of friends, for your company (maybe to scout new winegrowers?), for a special event… We can combine winery visits and wine touring with other activities: gastronomic workshops, visit to an oyster farm, truffles hunting, cheese making, and more. More info on the custom designed and bespoke BKWine wine tours and travel here!

Read our book(s)

We have written several wine books, nine at the last count. One of them has been translated to English; the others are (so far) only available in Swedish. This is the one that is available in English: Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking, Sustainable Viticulture and Viniculture

All our books are on wine, but on different subjects: wines of the Languedoc, wine growing and wine making, the wines of France, Tuscany, Bordeaux, Piedmont, Burgundy, Champagne. Several have won prestigeous prizes and awards. Read more on our wine books.

From the World of Wine

In Brief

In short, news and stuff from the world of wine.

Bee Friendly certification

gerard bertrand chateau l'hospitaletA wine can be certified organic, biodynamic, sustainable and now there is also a certification taking into account the well-being of the bees. It is called, of course, Bee Friendly. The label is a private initiative by European beekeepers to make farmers aware of the damage that certain pesticides make to this small, but very important animal. The label prohibits pesticides harmful to bees. It also requires a partnership with local beekeepers and that beehives are installed on the estate. Gérard Betrand, big wine producer in southern France, was quick to launch a series of wines that are certified Bee Friendly. We can now here the buzzing of bees on Bertrand’s well-known estate Château l’Hospitalet outside of Narbonne in the appellation of La Clape. More on Read more:

The winter wine tour program now (almost) finalised

south africa vineyard landscapeThe programs for the two winter wine tours, Chile-Argentina in February and South Africa at the end of Feb-early March, are now ready and published. These two long distance tours bring you to wonderful summer climates in the southern hemisphere and most likely it will be when harvest is in full swing. You can find more information below and on the travel site There are a few details remaining for the two extension modules for South Africa, the safari (a must!), and golf. You will have those details available in a week or so. (PS: We are considering New Zealand for 2019. Send us a mail if this sounds interesting to you.)

Frost Fighting Helicopters in Montlouis-sur-Loire

spraying with helicopterSpring is a lovely time of the year but it can also be a nail-biter for wine growers in northern wine regions. No one wants to be hit by frost in April or May, destroying the new buds. There are various ways to protect the vines even if, as with hail protection, no way is completely reliable. In Montlouis-sur-Loire tests have recently been made by using a helicopter. It works exactly like a wind machine with a propeller, i.e. it mixes warmer air with the cold air down on the ground. A helicopter is supposedly as effective as ten propellers and with the same sound volume and the same energy consumption. Montlouis-sur-Loire makes, just like its neighbour Vouvray on the other side of the river Loire, magnificent wines from Chenin Blanc. (On helicopters: it is since some years back forbidden to do spraying with them.) More:

Champagne rejects astronaut in advertising campaign

spraying in a vineyardAtout France is a government organization that is responsible for promoting various French tourist destinations. Recently, it launched an ad campaign aimed at French tourists. The slogan for the campaign is “France, tout un monde à explorer – Devenez Françonaute” (France, a whole world to discover – be a Franconaute). The campaign images show an astronaut visiting various French tourist destinations. The astronaut is seen in front of the cliffs of Fécamp, in front of Chateau of Chambord in the Loire, on the sand dunes of Pyla, in front of the Hôtel Dieu in Beaune, etc. And he stands in the middle of the vineyards in Côte des Bar in southern Champagne. Or rather, he was. The Champagne producers reacted strongly when they saw this astronaut in the middle of the vines and called for his immediate removal. Why? Well, an astronaut costume resembles too much the protective equipment that winegrowers must wear when spraying with pesticides. Obviously, no one wants to remind people that pesticides are used in the vineyard. On françonautes: Read more

Experience Champagne and it’s wines yourself: come on a wine tour to Champagne with BKWine.

Spain still the biggest wine country in the EU, according to Eurostat

vineyards in riojaEurostat has recently published a variety of interesting statistics on the EU’s vineyards and wine industry. The EU currently has more than 3 million hectares of vineyards and 80% of it is classified as quality wine. Spain is the largest wine country with 941,000 hectares. EU’s largest wine region is also in Spain: Castilla-La Mancha with 434,000 ha. The second largest country is France with 803,000 hectares, followed by Italy at 610,000 hectares. After these three giants we have Portugal with 199,000 ha, Romania with 184,000 and Greece and Germany, both with around 103,000 hectares.

France has the largest average size of its vineyards, 10.5 hectares. Several countries are very small and have an average size of under one hectare: Romania (0.2 ha), Malta (0.3 ha), Croatia (0.4 ha), Greece, Cyprus and Slovenia (all 0.5 ha) and Portugal (0.9 ha). Read more:

VINC, new TCA-free cork from the Cork Supply Group

cork soakingThe Company Cork Supply Group, a major supplier of natural corks, introduced earlier this year a new cork called VINC. This is a cork that is guaranteed to be free of TCA contamination. In other words, a wine sealed with VINC will not be corked. VINC is a technical agglomerated cork, which means that it is made from natural cork granules. The cork is produced in the company’s new and technologically very advanced factory in Porto in northern Portugal. The technology used to produce VINC is a new and improved VAPEX process developed by Cork Supply’s research and development department. Very briefly, this means that the cork granules undergo an effective mass and heat transfer. Today there are many different techniques to reduce or almost completely eliminate the risk of corked wines. More and more corks of this type are on the market. Corked wines, a thing of the past perhaps? Read more

Experience Portugal and it’s wines yourself: come on a wine tour to the Douro Valley or to wine tour to the Alentejo-Setubal  with BKWine.

Vineyard surface in the 18 EU wine countries

vineyards in prioratOf the 28 member states of the EU, 18 counts officially as wine countries. Wine is made also in Denmark, Sweden and Poland but you have to have more than 500 hectares planted to be included in the statistics. Vineyard area in hectares, total EU, 3 190 459 ha:

  • Spain, 941 154
  • France, 802 896
  • Italy, 610 291
  • Portugal, 198 586
  • Romania, 183 717
  • Greece, 103 298
  • Germany, 102 581
  • Hungary, 65 049
  • Bulgaria, 59 991
  • Austria, 45 574
  • Croatia, 20 393
  • Czech Republic, 17 689
  • Slovenia, 15 806
  • Slovakia, 12 054
  • Cyprus, 7 781
  • United Kingdom, 1 687
  • Luxembourg, 1 295
  • Malta, 618


Features that we have published during the past month, with lots of reading for you.

What is new in Alsace? 24 producers and a blind tasting

colmar“Once a year Sopexa organizes a tasting of wines from Alsace. This year 24 producers were present with their new vintages. There was also a Master Class led by Thierry Frietsch, a well-known wine profile and wine educator in Alsace. Forty guests was greeted by the message that our host had not prepared any presentation… But he had instead selected six older wines from CIVA’s (Alsace´s wine consortium) cellar. Frietsch wanted us to taste the wines blind and then give our opinion about the grape variety, vintage and character. A challenge!”

Read more on this and recommended wines from other producers on BKWine Magazine: What is new in Alsace? 24 producers and a blind tasting.

Monteraponi and Montevertine, two stars in Radda in Chianti

monteraponi wines“A lot is happening in one of Europe’s oldest wine regions right now. Chianti Classico wants to take a step forward, and producers Monteraponi and Montevertine are not afraid to take the lead. Monteraponi and Montevertine are two wineries that show how far you can reach quality wise in Chianti Classico. – We do not really want to talk only about us but about the whole village of Radda in Chianti, says Michele Braganti.”

BKWine Magazine’s Åsa Johansson reports: Monteraponi and Montevertine, two stars in Radda in Chianti.

Discover and enjoy the wines from Tuscany on site, come on a wine tour to Tuscany with BKWine.

The launch of a new, different and unique book about Champagne

champagne bookThe new book on champagne, the wine, and Champagne, the region, has now been launched! It’s called “Champagne, the wine and the growers“. It’s our ninth wine book. It’s a different book about Champagne, in some ways quite unique. “Champagne, the wine and the growers” is a book that gives the reader an unparalleled insight into this sparkling wine. The book tells you about the reality, the truth, of Champagne.

Read more and watch videos with Britt, Per and the publisher, from the launch on BKWine Magazine: The launch of a new, different and unique book about Champagne.

Discover and enjoy the wines from Champagne on site, come on a wine tour to Champagne with BKWine. 

Casa Marin, a cool climate pioneer in Chile | Britt on Forbes

felipe marin“Chilean wines come in many different styles. Many more than you would imagine, actually. This is obvious not least when you go to the coastal regions. San Antonio Valley is one, situated a little south of the enticing harbor city of Valparaiso. Here in San Antonio, just a few kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, oenologist Maria Luz Marin decided to create a vineyard in 2000. “Everyone thought I was crazy”, she says.”

Read more on BKWine Magazine on this article by Britt’s originally published on Forbes: Exciting Chilean Cool Climate Wines From Casa Marin.

Discover the world class wines from Chile (and Argentina together with BKWine on the wine tour to Chile and Argentina

The latest on the Bordeaux business, CIVB press conference

civb office“Every year in spring time the “interprofessional body” of Bordeaux presents the status of Bordeaux wine and its vision for the future. The CIVB, Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (Bordeaux wine Bureau), is an organisation that has the responsibility to promote Bordeaux wine, and to act as a technical and political organisation for Bordeaux wine. It is one of the most influential wine organisations in France, not least thanks to it big budget and to the importance of the Bordeaux wine region.”

Read more on Bordeaux and watch the video on BKWine Magazine: The latest on the Bordeaux business, CIVB press conference.

Discover and enjoy the wines from Bordeaux on site, come on a wine tour to Bordeaux with BKWine. 

Okanagan Valley, Wines of British Columbia

pinot noir“Wine production, quality, and tourism are booming in the Okanagan Valley, Canada’s predominant wine district of the five contained within British Columbia; the other officially­ designated viticultural areas being Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Gulf Islands. The boom enjoyed by its more than 240 wineries has been generated in great part by its geographic proximity to economically vibrant Vancouver, and petrochemical­ and cattle­rich Calgary thereby minimizing its need to sell to other parts of Canada or to its neighbor to the south.”

Read more in David Furer’s article on BKWine Magazine: Okanagan Valley, Wines of British Columbia.

Tasting wine importer Johan Lidby Vinhandel´s range

prosecco“It was a very broad range of mainly wine but also prosecco, champagne, cognac and other fine drinks when Johan Lidby Vinhandel presented thirty of its partners. Producers from Australia, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Germany, USA and Austria were represented. I tasted a dozen different producers and here are my favorites!”

Swedish wine importer Johan Lidby Vinhandel organized a tasting of their range. BKWine Magazine’s Henrik Stadler was there: Tasting wine importer Johan Lidby Vinhandel´s range.

The status of the wine world according to the OIV | press conference

Jean-Marie Aurand, director general of the OIVOIV, the International Office of Vine and Wine, keeps track of world wine production, vineyards surface area, wine consumption and many other interesting things in the global world of wine. In their press conference on April 11, 2017 they presented the situation for global wine in 2016. We will come back to all the details that were presented about world wine production etc here on BKWine Magazine later, but first I thought I’d share with you the whole press conference, if you are keen on details. Watch the video! The status of the wine world according to the OIV | press conference.

Big wines in small Jura!

jura wines in glassesJura is the smallest wine region in France, located in an area in the north-eastern part of the country, on the border to Switzerland. Alsace is the northern boundary, Savoie the southern and Burgundy is to the west. The area is about fifty miles long (80km) and rather narrow. Production takes place on about 5000 acres (2000 hectares) around a hundred villages.

Jura is the smallest wine region in France. Although the region is small, there is plenty to choose from. The region’s wines are of high quality. BKWine Magazine’s Henrik Stadler was in place at a Master Class of Jura: Big wines in small Jura!

“Chianti Classico Collection” preview of new vintages

chianti classico tastingThe black rooster has every reason to pout with his chest since Chianti Classico is doing really well. For the seventh consecutive year, sales are increasing. Since 2009, sales have increased by a whopping 48.5 percent. The US remains the largest market with 32 percent. However, many are concerned that the positive trend may change with Trump as president. Italy is second with 22 percent; Germany also likes the sangiovese and clocks in at 13 percent. Canada arrives at eight percent, while the UK and Scandinavia have five percent each.

BKWine Magazine’s Åsa Johansson was one of only a handful of Scandinavians invited to Florence for the tasting and gives you her favourite wines: “Chianti Classico Collection” preview of new vintages.

Discover and enjoy the wines from Tuscany on site, come on a wine tour to Tuscany with BKWine.

Chablis 2016, a challenging vintage. Wines from La Chablisienne

chablis grand cru vineyardFor many winemakers in Chablis the vintage 2016 will be remembered as the worst year in terms of harvest since the 1950s. That said, was it a bad vintage? On the contrary, it may eventually be positive for many. However, it could turn out challenging for us consumers. Hervé Tucki from La Chablisienne summed up the problems in 2016: “In one year we have seen everything that can happen in a grower’s entire life.”

BKWine Magazine’s Wilhelm Arnör explains why consumers still have good things to look forward to: Chablis 2016, a challenging vintage. Wines from La Chablisienne.

Chablis is one of the wine regions that you will discover on the wine tour Three Classics with BKWine.

Wine tours

Some information about current and future wine tours with BKWine.

Fabulous wine tours, autumn 2017 and winter 2018

vineyards in vallee de la marneWe have prepared some exciting wine tours for you the coming seasons. You will find all information about the tours for autumn 2017 and our South America and South Africa tours at the beginning of 2018 on You can choose between France, Portugal, Italy, Argentina & Chile and South Africa. All destinations will give you a magnificent wine and food experience and an insight into the world of wine like no other tours..

  • Bordeaux, 27 September – 1 October
  • Douro Valley in northern Portugal, 18-22 October
  • Piedmont, Wine, Food and Truffles, October 18-22
  • Alentejo and Setubal, Portugal, 25-29 October
  • Argentina & Chile, 27 January – 11 February 2018
  • South Africa, 23 February-5 March 2018

Read more details in the program for all these wine tours on

Local grapes with structure, and cork oaks in Alentejo | wine tour

alentejo wineryPortugal is a magnificent country for tourism. You will find vineyards pretty much everywhere from north to south but the Alentejo region in the south is the biggest one. It is hot and dry in summer, but the local grape varieties – Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro, Antao Vaz and others – are used to it and they have adapted. And growers prefer to use these indigenous grapes instead of French grape varieties that are maybe more famous, but that don’t thrive as well here. Alentejo wines have a warm, southern character, but also the typical Portuguese structure and freshness that make them excellent food wines and give them a good ageing potential. But Alentejo is not only wine. Here you will find a large part of Europe’s (and therefore the world’s) cork oaks. These forests have a unique animal and plant environment, best preserved by continuing to use natural corks for our wine bottles!

Do you want to know more about Alentejo, the wines, the cork oaks, the food and much more, then come to Alentejo and Setúbal on the wine tour on 25 to 29 October.

Chile and Argentina, wine, gastronomy and nature in South America | wine tour

tinaja amphora in chileIt is something of an adventure to go on a wine tour to Chile and Argentina. Our two intense weeks here are full of experiences. We taste a lot of wines and we eat a lot of food. Our lunches are often magnificent barbecues on a high gastronomic level. But you cannot do this continuously for two weeks so you will also have time to enjoy the stunning scenery, both in the Andes Mountains and by the Pacific Ocean. After each intense day in the vineyards we relax by the swimming pool at the hotel. We begin with a week in Argentina. Then we go over the Andes by bus to Chile, an experience in itself. The two countries’ wines are quite different but the producers on both sides of the Andes are now investing a tremendous amount of effort into changes and improvements. The future is exciting. Read more: the wine tour to Chile and Argentina 27 January to 11 February 2018.

If you want to see more of photos and video of the trip, you can visit the Facebook group for the wine tour to Chile and Argentina 2017.

South Africa, wine, gastronomy and nature – an unbeatable combination | wine tour

wildlife in south africaWe have now also published our program for South Africa 2018. The tour starts at the end of February, when it is still summer in South Africa. The harvest has just begun and there will be lots of activities going on, both in the cellars and in the vineyards. We start the tour in Cape Town, and we will go to the top of Table Mountain and enjoy breath-taking views. After that we will start seriously with the wine! We will go to Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Elgin, Paarl and Walker Bay. We will get to know exciting winemakers who will generously share with us their knowledge. And enjoy plenty of delicious food. Without a doubt, you will fall in love with this amazing country. Read more: the wine tour to South Africa 23 February to 5 March 2018.

If you want to stay a few extra days in South Africa we are offering a safari extension, a must (!), and also golf as an option.

You can see plenty of photos and videos in the Facebook group for the wine tour to South Africa 2017.

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