On the Grapevine

The Wine Crisis That Wasn’t

Friday, 11 April 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 15
Did you hear the one about the Global Wine Crisis? If you didn’t, it’s hardly surprising because the whole palaver was over almost before it began. The well-known finance company…

When is Wine not Wine?

Friday, 04 April 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 14
The answer, according to the European Union, is when it contains less than 8.5% alcohol. At least, for the time being. In Great Britain, the rising levels of wine consumption…

Airing Opinions

Friday, 28 March 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 13
Some people - and evidently quite a few waiters - seem to believe that having removed the cork from a wine bottle, you should then leave it to stand for…

Sound Boxes

Friday, 21 March 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 12
Down at the village inn the other night, some of the chaps were bemoaning the increasing cost of wine in this fair and bounteous land. Wine has never been cheap…

The Washington Boast

Friday, 14 March 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 11
Ask any European or Australian to name the American states where wine is produced, and the chances are that California will top the list. And it’s true that California makes…

A Little Bit Extra

Friday, 07 March 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 10
The French expression vin ordinaire doesn’t translate as easily as it might appear because in English, “ordinary wine” sounds a bit disparaging. Technically it’s classed as vin de table which…

The Eagle Hawk has landed

Friday, 28 February 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 9
In 1949, fifteen-year-old Wolfgang Blass ran away from school. His distraught parents gave him an ultimatum: either get back to school or take a three-year apprenticeship in the wine business.…

National Grapes

Friday, 21 February 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 8
Do you know how many South American countries produce wine? Or to make it easier, do you know how many countries there are in South America? Well, I thought I…

Cat Tales

Friday, 14 February 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 7
Do you by any chance, happen to have a black cat? If you do, then you may know something about the folklore that surrounds them. In ancient Egypt in the…

Off the Beaten Track

Friday, 07 February 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 6
There was a time, not so long ago, when most of the roads in France - except the motorways - were grandly known as Routes Nationales (National Highways) and most…

The Flying Horse of Chile

Friday, 31 January 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 5
Ramirana wines come from a company known as Viña Ventisquero which began making wine only thirteen years ago. By Chilean standards, where wine-making goes back generations, it’s pretty much the…

Birds of a Feather

Friday, 24 January 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 4
Shiraz has been described by wine-writer Karen MacNeil as, “rustic, manly and yet elegant.” She must have written those words quite a few years ago because today, new-style Shiraz wines…

Clochemerle Country

Friday, 17 January 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 3
If you’re over a certain age, you may recall the satirical novel Clochemerle which was set in a small village in Beaujolais. In 1972, BBC television produced a series based…

A Million Baht a Bottle

Friday, 10 January 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 2
In the fading summers of yesteryear, I used to drive into the wine lands of Burgundy simply to delight in being surrounded by its gentle hills and illustrious vineyards. It…

Thoroughly Italian

Friday, 03 January 2014 Issue Vol. XXII No. 1
Italy is probably the oldest wine-producing region in the world and there are literally hundreds of different wines made there, many of them with unusual grape varieties that are rarely…
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