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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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Cork oak tree in Portugal harvest a year with 5

New techniques for cork oaks in Portugal

Portugal’s (and the world’s) largest producer of cork products, Amorim, is slowly changing the cork industry. Since 2013, a project has been in progress concerning the possibility to start harvesting the cork from the cork oaks earlier than at the age of 25, as is the case today. The solution seems to be an improved […]

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CheckMate Puffer for sexual confusion

Sexual confusion in the vineyard, in a new simpler version

When we visited Château Pichon-Baron, grand cru classé in Pauillac, recently we saw a small canister in the vineyard that we have never seen before. This canister is called CheckMate Puffer and is a new way of distribute pheromones that protect against the grape worm with the method with the curious name “sexual confusion”. The […]

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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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Marselan, recently planted vines

A future with herbicides replaced by thermal foam?

More and more herbicides are prohibited. What will happen to glyphosate and flumioxazin, two key ingredients in a variety of herbicides, is currently unclear. Many winemakers are preparing for a future without chemical weed removal. But there is no lack of new inventions. An Italian company will soon launch a new thermal weed control called […]

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Gin: Blue, Lark's, Monkey 42

The Renaissance of Gin, 4: Conclusions and Commentary, how the category and market may develop over the next 10 years

Although there has been a clear revival in the popularity of gin, and an explosion of new brands, we have seen that the impact has been limited to the premium-plus categories. New and existing customers have traded up, leaving the lower-value categories to continue to decline. There is little evidence to suggest that the renaissance […]

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Gin: Hendricks, Tanqueray

The Renaissance of Gin, 2: Production of Gin, how process variations result in different flavours

EU law defines three categories of gin:[1] “Gin” is the basic category. Flavourings, either natural or artificial, are mixed (cold compounded) with the base spirit and other approved colourings and sweeteners are added. A molasses-based spirit may be used (often cheaper), giving a softer feel. “Distilled Gin” is made by redistilling the mixture of diluted […]

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Selected yeasts "XR grand rouge"

Cultivated natural yeast?

Yeast, cultivated or natural, is something that a lot of people feel strongly about. Both consumers and producers. Although the vast majority of producers use cultivated yeast, the “natural” yeast enthusiasts have been so convincing, or overwhelming, that some wine consumers today mistakenly believe that natural yeast is the only true path to quality. “Natural” […]

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Swartland landscape in South Africa

A researcher studies wine and food tourism

We were contacted a little while back by a PhD student at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. She is working on a research project concerning “foodies” and other people who travel for pleasure for food and wine. For example, what is important when one is travelling, what kind of destinations you prefer etc. She […]

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Glyphosate, a herbicide to be allowed, or not?

The debate around glyphosate continues. The product is used as an herbicide, in for instance Roundup. It has been, since a while back, on EU’s list of unsafe products that maybe should be phased out. It is now time to renew the permit for its use (which is done every ten years for pesticides). This […]

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A modern grape sorting machine

Precision viticulture with the VineRobot

The wine grower has to take many decisions concerning the work in the vineyard. All decisions may affect the quality of the wine. So it is important that he makes the right decisions. Soon, the grower can get the help of VineRobot. This is a little robot that goes around the vineyard unmanned and equipped […]

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Grenache, rusty sign

Even better Grenache thanks to Rhône research

Grenache is one of the world’s most widely grown grape varieties. And one of our favourite grapes.It is found mainly in southern France and in Spain (Garnacha), but also in several other countries such as South Africa, Chile, and the United States. Everywhere there is a growing interest in the grape. It even has its […]

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A distillation machine (still) in stainless steel and copper

Lower the copper doses or not in the vineyard?

The copper doses are a constant headache for organic growers. The French authority ANSES (a food and health authority) and the European Commission want to reduce the permitted level from 6 kilogram per hectare and year to 4 kilo The organic growers say that they are not able to cope with such a reduction. On […]

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Cultured yeast from Danish Chr. Hansen

Danish company Chr. Hansen, with headquarters on the outskirts of Copenhagen, is one of the major suppliers to the wine industry. The vast majority of wines ferment with cultured yeast (or “selected”) and often this yeast comes from Chr. Hansen. The company continually experiments to offer different types of yeast to wine producers. 2009 it […]

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Less spraying with resistant grape varieties

For more than a decade there has been research going on in France in order to obtain grape varieties that are resistant to the fungal diseases oidium and mildiou. The research organization INRA believe that these varieties will be able to come on the market in 2017. 36 different resistance crossings are already out in […]

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New organic pesticide against rot (bytritis)

UK research company Eden Research has developed an organic pesticide, called 3AEY. The product has now been approved for sale in the EU. 3AEY is made of tea tree oil and lemon juice and is said to be effective against rot. The product has so far been found to have the same protection as conventional […]

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Spraying with helicopter

Copper, less dangerous than we think? Or not?

At the end of May, the EU Commission will decide whether to keep the present levels of copper permitted for organic growers or if the levels should be reduced. Currently, organic growers are allowed to use a maximum of six kilograms of copper per year and per hectare. Or more precisely, it is counted as […]

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Fermenting grapes

New yeast strain gives wines with less sulphur

All wines contain sulphur, but some less than others, help is on the way Almost all wines contain sulphur. This is not only because most winemakers add sulphur to stabilise the wine and make it more long-lived. It is also because during fermentation sulphur is produced. The yeast that converts sugar to alcohol, carbon dioxide […]

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Sandy soil in a vineyard in Castile and Leon in Spain

Copper harms beneficial bacteria

Copper is an effective way to fight the fungal disease mildiou. However, spraying too much copper in the vineyard is not good for the soil and the water and this has been known a long time. Now researchers have discovered another problem with copper. Spraying copper can affect the bacterial flora and the yeast population […]

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