Small wineries tweet harder

underpantsgnome

What do a winery (and vacation cottage!) outside of San Diego and a Muscadine wine producer in North Carolina have in common?

They are both the quantitatively best winery adapters of social media: Eagle’s Nest Winery has over 6,000 followers on Twitter while Duplin Winery, “the world’s premier Muscadine winery located in Rose Hill, North Carolina” has nearly 4,000 fans on Facebook.

Whodathunkit! Do the small, new or off-the-beaten-path wineries tweet harder? Rounding out the top five twittering wineries are: a winery founded in 2001 in the Barossa Valley; a proto-winery in Sonoma that has yet to sell a bottle; an Iowa winery; and Mouton Noir wines based in Harlem.

Certainly, as our recent discussion showed, overt marketing is mercifully likely to fall on deaf ears in these new media. But these business are tweeting for dollars, one way or another. The logic may be as clear as with the underpants gnomes from SouthPark. Their business strategy was:

Phase 1: Collect underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit

Which platform works best? The media and finance worlds are abuzz this week with a report that teenagers don’t use Twitter. Indeed, a friend who works at college told me of a poll that showed only 0.5% of the undergrads used Twitter while 70% use Facebook. Twitter must be for old folks like John Hodgman who tweets about taking naps.

Since Facebook has high adoption among underage youngsters, we instead checked in with the two tweetest wineries who offered some thoughts on Twitter’s effectiveness. Dennis of Eagle’s Nest had some general comments in the previous thread.

Kym Teusner got his bachelor’s degree in 2001 and started Teusner wines that year in the Barossa Valley, which is now the number two most followed winery on Twitter. Dave Brookes, the self-proclaimed “Teusner twit,” shared his experience via email, unpacking that mysterious step two in the underpants gnome model:

“We’ve been tweeting since February without using automated traffic builders…..ahem…..unlike other wineries. We basically target wine lovers. Anyone getting more than 100 followers a day is using a automated system and we are more about quality than quantity. :)

And as to sales, Brookes replied, “Yes certainly….it has led to new on and off premise accounts in overseas markets and new customers domestically….most importantly we have built great relationships with customers via twitter and that is gold.”

Five wineries with most followers on Twitter according to wefollow.com:
@eaglesnestwines
@teusnerwine
@pinotblogger
@tasselridge
@MoutonNoirWines


A blow for Diemersfontein

Judging of the 13th running of the ABSA Top Ten Pinotage Competition kicked off at the Devon Valley Hotel this morning. Proceedings started with seven judges being given a pep-talk by chairman Duimpie Bayley, who noted in passing that he’s the world’s best judge of faulty wines. Not that we found too many […]

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese 2007

Mosel, Germany. Riesling. 8.5%. Cork. 375ml bottle.

If you don’t count the Chandon NV (direct but short), the 2 glasses of 08 McHenry Hohnen Semillon Sauvignon blanc (green beans and grass), the sip of 05 Watershed Shiraz (vanilla laden) and the half bottle of 00 Tyrrell’s Vat 47 Chardonnay (sappy and still kicking), I have had a wine free week. The sauce has been secondary and consumed with little thought. Even if my nose was functioning at 100%, my mind was distracted.

A veil of sulphur obscures the nose, but I imagine there are bruised green apples and wet stones. Somewhere. More pleasing in the mouth, though still reluctant and waiting. It is too soon you fool. Tea leaf and sugar cane, lime zest and apricot, the flavours roll and flow. Though the texture is teasing and playful, and the flavours rewarding, the secrets that might be there, are hidden away for the distant future.

Very good – excellent.
91+
2012 – 2025

Featured on The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast has published a new article by yours truly. Check it out and leave some  (hopefully nice) comments: The Great Cabernet Ripoff.

This is a great honor for me. The Daily Beast is published by Tina Brown, who rejected two articles of mine when she was editor of  The New Yorker, and one when she was editor of Vanity Fair.

If enough people show some comment love, she may just ask me back.

Long Weekend at Old Mission Peninsula


This post is by from Mother of the Vine by The Wine Mom


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Last summer, my husband and I drove the Traverse City Wine Trail on Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan. We had a wonderful visit. I’m looking forward to returning. I don’t think that we’ll have that opportunity this year, but time will tell. Perhaps writing this entry will encourage my husband to plan another trip!

I can’t begin to explain how beautiful the scenery is on Old Mission Peninsula. Lake Michigan is the backdrop behind the vineyards, it was just breath taking. We immediately wished that we were staying another day or more….We hit a few wineries along the way and made it to Chateau Chantal, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Peninsula Cellars. All three were phenomenal and I am disappointed that we didn’t make it to all of the other wineries in the area. I know the wines were fantastic at all of the wineries that we visited, because we left with a few cases and had to call it quits!

If you are traveling sans children, then I personally would focus on the winery portion of this trip. Make sure you check out the websites for the wineries on this tour, as they all have different events and tasting room hours.

I am starting on the northern end of the peninsula and working my way back towards Traverse City. If you go that route, then your first stop will be 2 Lads Winery. They use gravity to transport their wines through the process, which helps preserve the compounds found in wine and saves energy. 2 Lads offers white, red, and sparkling wines.

Your next stop will then be Chateau Chantal. I have been to this winery and it is beautiful. They do have a Bed and Breakfast there if that fits your budget and time frame. Before you go, make sure you check their website as they do have events and cooking classes. I know that I already want to go to their Tapas Tour. You may want to allow extra time at this winery to experience all they have to offer.

Travel the wine trail over to Bowers Harbor Vineyard. Their tasting room was converted from a horse barn and the property is beautiful. Be sure to check on their wine events as well.

Brys Vineyard and Winery was established on a farm dating back to the 1890’s. The farm originally was designated for cherry and apple trees. They have a nice selection of wines and most are under $20. They do however have a dry ice wine available if you would like to splurge. Ice wines are traditionally more expensive because of the limited batch sizes and the effort required to pick the grapes at just the right time and temperature. The effort is well worth it and ice wines make wonderful pairings with dessert or they can be the dessert if that’s your preference.

Chateau Grand Traverse is another winery that I visited. They specialize in Riesling, red, white, and cherry wines. They have three tasting rooms, one on Old Mission Peninsula and one each in Williamsburg and Onekama, Michigan if you happen to be in those areas. Chateau Grand Traverse also has an inn if you are interested in spending the night.

Peninsula Cellars stood out to me during my quick visit last year. Their tasting room is in a former school house from the late 1800’s. They have a wide selection of white (including an ice wine), red, and fruit wines. We still have a few bottles of their “Detention” here that I will have to try again!

The final stop is Black Star Farms. This winery offers an impressive array of products and services. You can plan your next big event there; this is great if you are looking for a wedding spot. They also have an Inn and Tasting Room (and a second tasting room in Suttons Bay, Michigan). Black Star Farms offers a Community Sponsored Agriculture program (which includes 10% off of their wines.) If you live in the area, make sure you check that out. If that wasn’t enough, they have a creamery where you can get French and Swiss style cheeses. For those of you that like wine and cheese, this is a farm that you must visit.

We happened to be kid free during that trip (thanks to doting grandparents!) but you could easily make this an affordable family trip as well. Traverse City has beaches (check out Sleeping Bear Dunes), shopping, and numerous hotels. The Traverse Tall Ship has cruises suited for both families and adults. I know my kids would love the Moomers Ice Cream Sail, and my husband and I would like their Wine Tasting Cruise.

There is so much available for a nice, long weekend getaway. I am already itching to go back – so maybe we will see you there!


Clouds, and learning about wine

There was a recent program on BBC4 about Cloudspotting, featuring a dude who’s set up the Cloud Appreciation Society. It may sound very geeky, but it was actually rather interesting. I learned some new stuff about clouds, and that has now made looking at clouds a little more rewarding. For example, I could admire and enjoy these stratocumulus…

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Now THAT’S What I’m Looking for in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

That’s what I’m looking for when I open a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I remember my first bottles from Marlborough, and how they blew my tastebuds away with their clarity and clean lines. Then the aggression emerged–too much boxwood and cat pee, too much grass, too tart.

As soon as I opened the 2008 Drylands Sauvignon Blanc I knew I was in for a treat. Gooseberries, lemon, and herbs wafted right out of the bottle. After I drank it I checked my notes to be sure. My suspicions were confirmed. This is the most exciting New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted this year. (suggested retail $17.50; currently available for $12-$22)

This wine snaps, crackles, and pops with life. The aromas absolutely bowl you over–citrus, gooseberry, herbs and–as it opens up–flowers. The intriguing floral note in the wine’s aromas carries through in the palate, which is resoundingly tart and fresh, tingling over your tongue. A deeper, blood orange note creeps into the aftertaste. This wine represents excellent QPR, and is fully worth the suggested retail price.

This wine has the pizzazz to stand up to Mexican or other spicy cuisine. We had it with a Southwestern Tortilla Salad and its fresh citrus and herbal notes were lovely with the lively flavors of the food–and something wonderful happened when the wine combined with the cilantro. Somehow, the Sauvignon Blanc muted the assertiveness that cilantro can sometimes have, while keeping it bright.

If you see this wine, grab it.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.

Photoshelter customisation – what would be good

To Andrew Fingerman, Photoshelter

Hi,

Thanks for the two customization examples you sent me through Twitter. (http://www.olsonfarlow.com/, http://www.sephi.com/)

They definitely look much more interesting.

What they manage to do, which most of the other customizations that you feature on the site don’t do, is integrate the Photoshelter “core” into a site that also contains other pages: My Camera Bag, Pricing & Availability, Randy, Melissa, Corporate etc.

What is key is that you must keep the menu structure the same when you’re on the Photoshelter pages and when you’re on the other pages (outside PS: WordPress, customized or other…). And that you must have the same “graphic look & feel” (colours, fonts etc) when you’re on the PS pages and where you’re on the other pages. (The issues some people have around the url and cname are really secondary IMO)

Most of the featured customisations don’t do that. When you click on “blog” for example, you’re directed to an entirely different site with different look & feel and different menus. = patchwork, not professional. (and I want to move away from that)

The two examples you sent me were great. I will look in detail at how they’ve done it!

If you have some more in the same vein I’d be very happy to look at those too. (e.g. if you know of someone who’ve integrated well with WordPress. I’m leaning to using that)

Perhaps you should start a section on your site with samples of “advanced manual customizations”? I think it could attract many of the professional photographers who feel you templates are too limiting.

I am really looking forward to start working actively with Photoshelter. It seems like a really nice tool and one that allows you to do a lot of self-marketing, internet marketing and other interesting stuff.

Best regards,
Per

Sorting It Out

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Sort This Out Cellars.

I’ve been friends on Twitter with stoc, or really Felicia, the personality behind STOC, which stands for “Sort This Out Cellars” for quite some time.  Recently she tweeted about taking STOC on the road, and I wondered if they would be coming to Virginia, alas, no, but Felicia offered to send me my own personal “road show” to taste.  Among the wines was the 2006 Sort This Out Cellas Viva Las Vegas California White Wine.  Viva Las Vegas White retails for $15, has a cork closure, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found honeysuckle, white flowers, orange zest, golden delicious apple, lemon, pepper, and pear.  In the mouth I got spice, pepper, apple, crisp pear, lemon, white pepper, orange, orange zest, and tangerine.  I like the finish on this one. It struck me as clean and zippy. The Viva Las Vegas would make a great wine to enjoy poolside on a hot day.

Posted in California, Pinot Grigio, White, Wine

Announcing 1WineDude TV!

Friends, Romans, Wine-Country-Peeps:

1WineDude TV has officially launched!

What are the plans for 1WineDude TV?

First off, covering next week’s second annual American Wine Bloggers Conference from Sonoma with what will hopefully be a witty collection of wine edu-tainment vids.  Personally, I can’t watch long vids over the Internet so I’m going to ensure that all 1WineDude TV episodes are short (very short).

After that, I’ve got absolutely no plans.  But hey, that’s never stopped things around 1WineDude.com before so what they hell, let’s Get This Par-Tay Started!  Enjoy… and shout out your thoughts (especially regarding my “face-plant”) in the comments!

Future 1WD TV episodes will be posted here on 1WineDude, of course, sourced from my YouTube channel.

Cheers!

p.s. – Special thanks to Shirley Thompson for the camera work, and to Black Box Wines for supplying the Flip Mino.

To filter or not to filter?

To filter or not to filter? That’s a question that many have an opinion about but there is little fact if it has any impact on the wine or not. This is one of the tools:

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Do you have wine & travel picture needs?
Let us know if you have any specific photo requests from wineries and vineyards.

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© Copyright Per Karlsson, BKWine

trouble at’mill…

With apologies to Lancastrians, Decanter reveals that the producers are revolting…
Currently it’s a storm in a teacup; if there are eventually to be vast lakes of Beaujolais sourced Bourgogne Blanc, it will still have to fight with vast lakes of the ‘Real McCoy’ at the supermarket price-points – though perhaps the Beajolais have more experience […]

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trouble at’mill…

The Tabloids come to the Wine Business

Let’s agree on a couple of things:  Wine industry reporters aren’t known for reporting hard news and industry currency is based on both reputation and word-of-mouth goodwill.

If a deal goes sour or there is a rift between two businesses it is an exceedingly rare circumstance that a story makes proper news reports. However, you can be certain that ‘over-the-fence-post’ word will spread about the offending parties, and probably from both sides of the situation. 

No sir, fair and balanced news reporting doesn’t often happen in the wine business.  It doesn’t have to. 

The real reporting occurs over the barrel, at dinner, or on the veranda amongst industry folks; and, most of this “news” will never see sanitizing or fair and balanced sunlight from a journalist (or an editor’s red pen).  If you understand and agree with this premise than what is happening with the Inertia Beverage Group (IBG) / New Vine Logistics (NVL) imbroglio should surprise you because the over the barrel conversation is starting to bleed into a quasi-news function that is neither opinion nor fact and frankly kind of frightening.

image

I won’t recount the New Vine / Inertia Beverage narrative in all its glory.  A quick Google search of, “New Vine Logistics” and about an hour’s time will get you caught up to speed.  Suffice to say, it’s the most salacious story I’ve seen in 10 years as a wine industry observer.

And, that salaciousness shows, given the very nature of the reporting that we’re getting.  Woodward and Bernstein never had it so good, what with all of the off-the-record deep throat comments that are being bandied about in “news” stories on the subject.  Frankly, as mentioned, it’s a surprise.  It’s as if the same anonymous insider that plagued Britney Spears in the tabloids has decided to move north from L.A. and set-up camp around two companies in the wine industry ecosystem.

By way of background, last month I wrote an op-ed piece where I offered an opinion on what could be an eventuality of the IBG / NVL deal.  I suggested that what Inertia really wanted in the deal was the compliance software that would lead into a relationship with Amazon.com.  It was speculation, I presented it as such, and I still believe that to be the case.  It’s my opinion.  End of story.  However, I need to draw distinct correlation in between an opinion piece on a blog, which speculated based on reasonable assumptions, and news reporting.

Op-ed is where I source anecdotal or other circumstantial information to support my opinion, but it’s still my opinion with a relative merit commensurate to anybody else’s opinion .  However, news is balanced reporting that presents both sides of a story and has direct quotes that support the story.  Off the record quotes are used for background and to find a source who will subsequently allow quote attribution.

Unfortunately, in regards to NVL/IBG, we’re not seeing a whole lot of reporting.  Instead we’re getting a weird kind of hybrid off-the-record background presented as news.  It’s Spanglish for the online era, but the rub is nobody wants their news reports bastardized like a tofu taco.

image

If wine industry insiders think Julia Flynn Siler’s Wall Street Journal background, and 26 pages of sources was cause to clam up and be wary based on her airing of laundry in The House of Mondavi, the way this New Vine Logistics deal is being handled from a news perspective should turn everybody into a turtle.

Today, I regrettably tweeted to Megan, author of Wine & Spirits Daily, that she did in my words, “great reporting” on her piece about developments in this New Vine deal.  And, then, I re-read her post, article, whatever the hell it is.

Then, I read Lew Perdue’s news report from Wine Industry Insight.

Neither of these two reports, presented as a news article, not opinion, offered a single person who would go on record and be attributed to a quote about New Vine Logistics or Inertia Beverage Group. 

I can give Perdue something of a pass because his contacts seem well-placed and he snared some financial documents on Inertia fundraising—a coup that lends some insider credibility.  However, Megan Haverkorn’s piece, upon reflection and re-reading, might as well be in an issue of Us magazine talking about an “insider” close to Jon and Kate and the eight rug rats.

Something rubs me as tabloid-ish when alleged news reports are digging into business laundry WITHOUT ANYBODY GOING ON THE RECORD FOR A QUOTE.

Secondarily, something rubs me the wrong way when none of the principals of the businesses in question are quoted outside of press releases.  Even a “we can’t comment at this time” would help round out the stories to be something more than speculation masquerading as news.

Tom Wark, a guy that lifts his sheets up at night to make sure there isn’t a horse’s head in his bed based on his work on wine shipping issues, is the PR guy for Inertia Beverage Group and no stranger to controversy.  I wonder what he has to say – even if it’s party line, it’s not anonymous.  I’d be willing to bet nobody has contacted him.  How do I know this?  Because he’s pretty good at his job and he would likely follow-up a voice mail asking for comment with an email that would essentially say, “I can’t comment at this time. The next statement from Inertia will occur after the auction” which would get published in the “news” report. 

Look, I’m not a pious guy coming down from up on high.  I’m a blogger that offers up opinions.  Some are right and some are wrong, but I’m never in doubt.  But, what I don’t do is report news, balanced, fair news.  It’s hard work and I know I don’t have the time to do it capably.  However, as a consumer of information, what I do require is that my news sources go beyond bullshit and background to offer up somebody, anybody that will go on record with a quote and their name attached—otherwise, it’s not a story, it’s op-ed and, well, hell, any blogger can do that.

*Note*
If you’re interested in some fun, read this primer on how Tabloids operate.

The Great Northern Migration (of Grapes, That Is)

TI logo

By Jason Feulner, Finger Lakes Regional Correspondent

I encourage followers of the New York winery scene to check out this article by Syracuse Post-Standard writer Don Cazentre. For some time, wineries in the frozen hinterlands north of Syracuse in the Thousand Island region, the Tug Hill Plateau, and the Adirondack foothills have been making a brazen attempt to grow a significant amount of grapes using cold-hardy hybrids developed by Cornell and the University of Minnesota.

This article focuses on the operations in the Thousand Islands region and specific varieties developed by the University of Minnesota.

Formerly, these wineries relied heavily on grapes sources from vineyards throughout the state. Now, they are attempting to cement their own regional identity.

The article contains quotes from some usual sources that exhibit the "come one, come all" mentality of winery expansion in the state. The number of wineries in New York (wow!), and the rate of growth is mentioned as well.

While I think it's great that people are following their entrepreneurial dreams, I'm also aware that the issues of saturation and identity always come into play when we are talking about expansion of the New York wine industry. Has it come to pass that we can no longer talk about the "New York" industry because it is too globular and diverse to warrant a specific description?

What are your reactions to this article and some of its implications?

California’s Newest Cult Pinot Noir

Thomas Rivers Brown and his wife and business partner Genevieve Marie Walsh have quietly developed one of California’s most honored Pinot Noir labels: Rivers-Marie.  Although Brown crafts wine for at least twelve other wineries where the focus is Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, Rivers-Marie produces small lots of Pinot Noir from three vineyard sources in the […]

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California’s Newest Cult Pinot Noir

DC’s Wine Country – Food and Wine Festival

On Saturday July 11th, we attended the first annual DC’s Wine Country – Food and Wine Festival, not as an attendee, but as a volunteer. Good thing, because that evening was completely sold out – 1,500 people had purchased tickets. They had prepared to travel to beautiful Bluemont Virginia and enjoy about a hundred different wines from Loudoun County wineries. Along with fellow blogger Dezel from My Vine Spot and fellow wine drinker Brian, we poured wines for our friends at Corcoran Vineyards, perhaps the most popular winery at the event. Maybe it was a result of sponsoring the pre-festival dinner or merely of crafting excellent wines; but we were besieged the entire night. OK, a slight exaggeration; but we were busy.

Almost all the Loudoun County wineries participated in the event from the oldest, Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, the biggest, Breaux Vineyards, Chrysalis Vineyards, Tarara Winery, the smallest, Zephaniah Farm Vineyard, to some of the newest, Dry Mill Vineyards & Winery and Quattro Goomba’s Winery. One noticeable exception was Notaviva Vineyards, who welcomed a new addition to the family earlier in the week. Congratulations.

Before our pouring responsibilities contained us, I was able to visit a few booths – couldn’t taste – but I could see what was in store for the attendees. The Village Winery & Vineyards had their Apple, Elderberry, and a Petit Verdot, which I was very interested in trying – it seems most of these wineries had warmed to this grape. The aforementioned Zephaniah Farm Vineyard had bottled a Cabernet Sauvignon as a companion to their Cabernet Franc. Breaux Vineyards had produced a Nebbiolo Ice Wine, but since their booth was unoccupied at the moment – I couldn’t confirm whether it was a true ice wine. And finally I learned that Hiddencroft Vineyards has some nice wines aging in their cellar – they should be expecting a visit later this summer.

Besides wine, author Ellen Crosby was available to autograph books. I was briefly able to discuss how Mrs. Swedenburg, the former patriarch of Swedenburg Estate Vineyard assisted her on her research. And in fact the winery was the inspiration for The Merlot Murders. Her latest in the series is The Riesling Retribution: A Wine Country Mystery; perfect summer reading.

Before exploring more, duty called and it was time to start pouring some Corcoran wines. Lori Corcoran had brought her stellar Viognier, the easy drinking Cabernet Franc, spicy Malbec, and full bodied Meritage – a blend of the first two reds plus a shot of Merlot. It was a real pleasure serving these wines, because we knew they were going to be popular – not a bad wine in the bunch. This statement was verified several times by other attendees who were quick to state that this was the only winery were they liked the entire selection.

And this was a wine educated crowd. A clear majority not only were familiar with grapes, but knew which were best suited for the Virginia climate. The most common misconception was that a few attendees were not aware that Malbec was a Bourdeaux grape and thought it was indignous to South America. Many were even aware of Tannat, which Lori adds to the Malbec – maybe for some earthiness? Either way, Tannat and Malbec should be considered along with Petit Verdot as old world grapes suitable to Virginia. And in fact, all of Corcoran’s grapes are grown in Northern Virginia, either at their estate or in vineyards surrounding Purcellville & Winchester. A little micro-climate.

Before long, the three hours were finished. We were thirsty – no drinking in the booth. And there was no time to sample from the other wineries. Oh well; the only other disappointment was not being close to the music stage. Throughout the night I heard a few notes from Moon Music and Hard Swimmin’ Fish (pictured on the left) – enough to peak my interest – but not able to hear the entire set. Fortunately they play regularly at local venues – perhaps On the Border on Thursday night.

From what we witnessed Saturday, this was a successful festival – well run and popularly attended. We look forward to pouring at next year’s festival and actually plan to attend one of the other nights to taste what Loudoun County wineries have to offer.

Spotlight: Camel Valley Winery

I’d heard of Camel Valley Winery’s reputation (award winning sparklers) since I first moved out of Cornwall over a decade ago. I was glad after all this time to get the chance to visit and meet Bob and Sam Lindo, the father and son winemaking team.

Camel Valley was started in 1989 with 8,000 vines. They added 4,000 vines in 2002 and another 12,000 in 2005. However, even with 20k vines under management, they still get 2/3rds of their grapes from other vineyards around the UK – this gives them some defense against a poor harvest and allows them to choose the ripest grapes from around the country. Total production is around 90,000 bottles.

They grow an eclectic mix of hardy, cool climate, early ripening grapes, including Bacchus, Triomphe, Dornfelder, Rondo, Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Seyval, Huxel and Reissersteiner. When I asked how they figured out why these grapes would work well in the English climate, Sam said that they are all commonly grown in Germany, which is one of the Northernmost wine regions in the world.

rows-of-camel-valley-vines.png
South facing Seyval at Camel Valley Winery

I also asked when they first realized that the region could produce good Sparkling wines, and Sam told me that they used to make still (acidic) wines, and one year the harvest was particularly lean, the grapes under ripe, and not destined for greatness, so they decided to go ‘bubbly’, and haven’t looked back. Champagne and sparkling wines are known for their high acidity and make extremely tart, puckering, still wines, so it makes perfect sense.

The cool climate means that the grapes take a long time to ripen, and in some cases, although the grapes reach “ripeness”, they are never “ripe” by warmer regions standards (ie. no phenolic ripeness). The long hang times mean that the grapes are picked in October, and give a meager 2 tonnes per acre yield. That’s comparable to Burgundy Grand Cru, and typical vineyards harvest 6-8 tonnes per acre for table wines.

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Grape clusters beginning to form

My favorite wines of the day were:

Camel Valley Valley Rosé 2008, £22 ($37):
“Pinot Noir and Dornfelder. Light straw and cherry aromas. Good, rich, mouth feel, with a sweet cherry taste (7% residual sugar). The sugar isn’t as noticeable as you’d expect given the acidity, but it keeps the wine smooth. Subtle pine flavors and a candy floss finish.”

Camel Valley Atlantic Dry Quality Wine 2008, £9 ($15)
“Made with Huxel and Reissersteiner. Green apples and cinamon dominate. Great oily texture and firm acidity – green apples and crisp. Secondary fruit flavors of banana and apple crumble. Rhubarb crumble on the finish. 4% residual sugar, but barely noticeable.”

Khaya Cookies – Delicious Treats From South Africa


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South Africa has shot onto the scene as a wine making region of note, and now a company aims to expand on that success by producing cookie’s that include ingredients like grapeseeds and Rooibos that, they claim, can be paired with wine. The Khaya Cookie Company was founded by Alicia Polak, an investment banker turned […]