Nature or Nurture – Terroir or Technology?

I had a very interesting experience the other day. I attended a tasting hosted by the Australian Wine Research Institute. This is a highly respected body that supplies the infrastructure and skills to give the Australian wine industry the research that keeps it at the forefront of technological and market developments in wine.

The AWRI does good and interesting work in the science of wine, giving greater understanding, more choices and potential to wine makers. I am all for that and of course no one is forced to use what they do, but I was slightly uncomfortable about the potential of some of the things that I heard. Continue reading

What’s Another Year?

I contemplate alcohol levels, laying wine down and vintage variation…

I like people to enjoy their wine, drinking wine is all about pleasure. I also want people to think about what they are drinking and to appreciate what makes their wine enjoyable, so I thought that I would deal with three topics that are frequently raised with me – vintage, laying wine down and alcohol levels.

Alcohol levels in wine:

In my opinion alcohol levels, whether high, low or middling are supremely unimportant. What is important is the balance of the wine – if the alcohol is high, but tastes right and feels right, then all is well. If a wine has alcohol levels that make it taste out of kilter, then that wine is not a success. Continue reading

I Like a Drink

I don’t know about you, but I find it quite hard to understand society’s relationship to alcoholic drinks.

I work in the world of wine and strange as it may seem I do not regard wine as alcohol. I know it has alcohol in it, but using the word alcohol to describe it makes it sound so terrible, evil and frightening – like something from the pages of the Daily Mail.

The media talks about alcohol as a substance – I never, ever ask for alcohol. I never actually want alcohol. If something that tastes exactly like good wine could be made and it had no alcohol in it at all, then I would be happy – I look forward to that day. Continue reading