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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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Bodegas Cooperativa Los Oteros , Pajares de los Oteros, Spain, Castile and Leon

Why wine co-operatives are so incredibly important

Wine lovers often tend to simply ignore wine co-operatives or even look down at them as sources of not so good wine. This is a mistake. It is true that many co-operatives are not tuned for making small batches of high quality wine. And even worse that wine co-operatives are often very poor at marketing. […]

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More information on Italian wine labels

Unfathomable is the Italian bureaucracy. We have just read that from January 1, 2015 it is apparently no longer illegal to mention Piedmont on a bottle of Barolo. Of course, the name Barolo DOCG is the most important information on such a bottle but if the producer in addition wanted to inform the consumer that […]

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Organic viticulture: How do you use less copper?

It does not matter if you are organic or not. All vineyards can suffer from various diseases. Against certain fungal diseases, downy mildew for example, you can spray with copper, usually in the form of copper sulphate. Both organic and conventional growers use copper but the conventional ones can also, or instead, use synthetic chemical […]

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Congratulations INAO, 80 years this year!

This year we congratulate the INAO which was founded in 1935, 80 years ago. Then it was called Institut national des appellations d’origine. Nowadays the name has changed to the Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité. But fortunately they kept the handy abbreviation. INAO is a public body working under the French Ministry […]

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Mjödhamnens produktbeskrivning med cirkeldiagram

Monopoly on pie charts? You must be kidding!

No, I am not kidding. The very small company called Mjödhamnen is threatened with a law suit by the very big monopoly retailer Systembolaget in Sweden. Mjödhamnen means “the port of mead” and is a small, tiny, producer and importer of mead. What has Mjödhamnen done? Well, they have used pie charts, circular diagrams, to […]

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New rules in France for hiring harvesting workers

The harvesting machine today replaces hand harvesting in many places around the world. And harvesting machines are not only for simple wines. Small, efficient and gentle machines are also seen in densely planted vineyards where the grapes end up in prestigious wines. More and more grapes are harvested with machine. Today it is around 60%. […]

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A glass of sparkling wine

California Champagne and bullying Gallo

The best-selling sparkling wine in the United States, excluding champagne, is nevertheless a champagne. The brand André, owned by the giant E & J Gallo, is a California Champagne which also is clearly stated on the label. Since a few years ago, it is forbidden for wine producers in the United States to call their […]

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French wine – a national heritage

Finally it’s official. The wine belongs to the French cultural heritage. On July 9, the French wine industry had a reason to celebrate. On that day it was confirmed, finally, by the parliament that the French wine is a part of the French national heritage (le patrimoine français). Maybe this confirmation came just in time. […]

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Where do all the pressed grapes go?

On August 1, it will cease to be mandatory for winemakers in France to deliver their pressed skins to a distillery. This means that growers now have several options for what to do with the skins after pressing. They can either continue to send them to a distillery or they can use them as nutrients […]

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Our first book in English: Biodynamic, Organic, and Natural Winemaking

We are very happy to announce that our first book in English is soon to be published. The book is called “Biodynamic, organic and natural winemaking. Sustainable viticulture and viniculture.” It is published by Floris Books. Here is a short introduction to the book. We will give you more details once it is on the […]

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Spraying by helicopter, forbidden but not quite

Should spraying by helicopter or air-plane be banned? Yes, says Segolène Royale, the French Minister for ecology, sustainability and energy (as well as ex-presidential candidate and ex-partner of the current president). There is actually already an EU ban on helicopter spraying but winemakers and some other farmers in France (banana growers in Guadeloupe, for example) […]

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Saved by the bell? (Or by the copper in the vineyard?)

No, more likely by copper. Many organic growers survive thanks to the permission they have to spray with copper against the severe fungal disease mildiou. This applies not least to the organic growers in Burgundy where the weather can be both cool and rainy. Currently, organic producers in Europe are allowed to use a maximum […]

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A restaurant in a town square

Aix-en-Provence without “Coteaux”?

Côte and Coteaux, we see these words everywhere: Côtes du Rhône, Coteaux du Languedoc, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Beaune, etc. It is an old French tradition to call wine regions located along rivers or slopes like this. Often the prefixes indicate a larger wine area (though not always, Côte Rôtie is a good example). […]

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