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Grapes in a vineyard in Veneto ready for harvest

Is Prosecco a grape or an origin?

A Prosecco debate rages in both Australia and New Zealand. The big question is whether Prosecco should be considered as being a grape variety or a geographical origin. Up until 2009, Prosecco was the name of the grape with which the sparkling wine Prosecco was produced in north-eastern Italy. But then the Italians changed the […]

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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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Nets to protect vines from hail in Chablis, Burgundy

Hail nets are now permitted in France

Wine producers in France are now allowed to use vertical hail nets. After three years of experiments in Burgundy, the INAO has decided that the nets do not affect the maturity or quality of the grapes. The background is that in recent year hail has caused extensive damage and lost harvests in several wine regions. […]

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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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An old farm house, where Linnaeus was born

A crazy idea? Selling wine at the cellar door?

This may sound absurd but it is true. The wine producers are not allowed to sell their wines at the cellar door. It is strictly forbidden. This is not in any normal wine country but in Sweden. There are actually a few vineyards in Sweden, perhaps 20, maybe even more, but with of course very […]

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The sea, the mountains and the sun in Sicily

New Zealand has defined 18 protected wine regions

Every wine lover is familiar with some of the well-established wine regions in New Zealand, but they may not always have been so well-defined and protected from abuse. From July 27 new rules govern 18 “geographical indications”. It is far from the complex systems of rules found in the Old World (Italy, France, Spain and […]

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Landscape with vineyards in Rioja

Rioja allows villages and sub-regions on the label

Traditionally, Rioja is simply Rioja. No vineyards or villages or the like on the label. But in the same way that Rioja wines are exciting and modern today, the rules also evolve. A little while ago, it was allowed to put a vineyard name on the Rioja label. Close on the heels of that decision, […]

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A barrel cellar tunnel at Bodegas Roda in Rioja

Rioja, now with single vineyards on the label

Henceforth it is allowed for Rioja to indicate the name of the vineyard from which the grapes come from on the label. Many producers have impatiently been waiting for this. Consumers want, says the Rioja producers, to have this precise information. The traditional Rioja categories will remain: joven, crianza, reserva and gran reserva. The single […]

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Big tractor equipped for spraying

Lower copper limit for organic wine producers. Maybe.

Being an organic winegrower means that you are obliged to spray with copper to prevent certain fungal diseases rather than using synthetic pesticides. Copper is effective primarily against mildiou. As with all other pesticides the authorisation to use copper is renewed every ten years. This year the EU will evaluate copper and decide whether to […]

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New rules in Tokaj: puttonyos no more

An era is gone in the Hungarian wine region of Tokaj. Many of you probably remember Tokaj Aszú with its different number of puttonyos. It could be 3, 4, 5 or even 6. The more puttonyos, the higher the sugar content in the wine. Now Tokaj has simplified the classification of its wines and has, […]

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New ideas in Beaujolais: villages on the label

The Beaujolais producers are keen to prove that they do not only make Beaujolais Nouveau wines. One way to do this, they believe, is to give consumers a more accurate geographical indication on the labels. Therefore, from 2016 a number of Beaujolais-Villages wines will be able to put their village name on the label, in […]

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Setback for blue wine

We must admit that when a blue wine was launched a few months ago we did not think it deserved a mention in the BKWine Brief. It felt too bizarre and somehow so unnecessary. However, now we can tell you about the latest adventure of the blue wine in France. It was recently launched at […]

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Happy 80th anniversary to 75 French appellations

In 1936 the first appellations (AOC, appellation d’origine contrôlée) were awarded to 75 wine regions in France. The very first appellations were confirmed on 15 May 1936. It was Arbois, Cassis, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel and Monbazillac. Then during the year a further 70 regions were confirmed. It is an interesting list that shows which districts were […]

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New wine hierarchy in Languedoc

The Languedoc growers have long been planning a structuring of the different appellations in a hierarchy. Earlier they planned to have a top appellation category called “grand cru”. However, they were rapped on the knuckles by the INAO. Grand cru, they may not use. When I was recently in the Languedoc for their annual primeur […]

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A new IGP called Terre du Midi

A new IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée, the category that has replaced vin de pays) will soon be launched in the south of France. It will be an IGP that brings together the departments of Aude, Hérault and Gard, all three of them in Languedoc. After several rounds of discussions it has now been decided that […]

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