Life Beyond Grape Variety

There is much about how wine is taught, sold and marketed with which I disagree – I suppose that is what comes of having been in the wine trade for such a long time.

However the big thing that I really object too is so fundamental to many consumer’s view of what wine is, that just voicing my opinion might appear somewhat strange and old fashioned.

I fundamentally disapprove of the current focus on grape variety. Wines are sold and marketed chiefly by grape variety and all the wine qualifications and examinations concentrate on grape variety.

To my mind the grape variety from which a wine is made is just one of the pieces of information that a consumer could find useful. What is more, if too much attention is paid to it, then it can limit choice as well as help.

If you are under 35 and reading this, then the chances are that you think of wine by grape variety – this is because you have experienced 20 years or so of marketing based on grape variety as the most important piece of information about a wine. Continue reading


Many of you are aware by now that I get excited by new wine experiences and often seek out the unusual. A few of you may even have read my write up of a Japanese wine made from the Koshu grape, if not please give it a go.

Well, the other day I was fortunate enough to be able to build on that lone experience and, under Jancis Robinson’s guidance, taste more Japanese wines made from Koshu, which is a fascinating grape. It doesn’t grow anywhere else in the world other than Japan, it is at least 98% Vitis Vifera and as far as we are aware is unrelated to any other grape variety.

Koshu grapes

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Chacolí: The Wild Wine of Spain

I have written a piece about one of the most interesting wines in the world – Chacolí. Chacoli comes from Spain’s beautiful Basque region and the wines are a really unusual and thrilling style that is perfect with the local shellfish, they are mainly white, although a little red and rosé is made too. You can read the article here