Wine – But Not As We Know It

orkney wineWine But Not As We Know It

Wine is defined by the European Commission as the ‘fermented juice of grapes’. This definition excludes many types of wine such as ancient Chinese rice wine. A recent addition to the multitude of world wine is Chinese fish wine. The wine, for which the official Chinese news agency Xinhua claims orders have already been received from a number of neighbouring countries, is said to be nutritious and contain low alcohol.
In 2001, the Orkney Wine Company was established in Scotland after getting grants from the local council and the Highland Fund. The plan was to make wine with fruit and vegetables; a whisky and carrot blend was the first planned for commercial consumption. All their wines and liqueurs are made in the traditional way using fruit, flowers and vegetables, which are fermented whole resulting in high levels of anti-oxidants and maximum flavours. Only the finest natural ingredients are used, with as much as possible grown in Orkney. Turnip wine anyone?

5 Countries That Offer the Finest Wines

five wine countriesGuess post and image by Emily Johnson (unedited)

Wine is one of the best things to have happened to mankind and nowadays, wine making in nothing less than an art in countries like France, Spain, Italy and U.S, who also happen to be the largest wine producers in the world. So, if you like attending wine testing events to give your palate a distinct and royal taste from the varieties of wines available then let’s explore the top five countries all around the world that have mastered finesse in wines and are popular for their refined wines all over the globe.


Italy is famous for a lot of things and this includes wine too! The famed Chianti wine comes from Tuscany, Italy where it is made from a conventional method of crushing grapes with feet and wine is put into underground cellars made from rocks. Tuscany also lets out many wine tours for wine lovers and you can sometime plan a short visit to the grape vines there and immerse yourself in this quaint wine paradise.


The French destination Bordeaux is the one to explore for wine tasting and touring. Table wines from Bordeaux are really famous and the town itself is replete with Gothic church structures and tripping to chateaus is the way to experience wine ecstasy. It is one of the best places that produce finest wines from France to making it an ideal compliment to your family meals and parties!


Spain’s Catalonia and Barcelona are the regions that produce amazing white wines and sparkling cava. Barcelona is actually Catalonia’s capital and is blessed with a wonderful combination of modern and ancient aura. Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes found here are dominating ingredients in red wine while Macabeo and Parellada are used in white wine. Hence, both red wine and white wine are finely created in these two Spanish regions and if you are ever looking to witness the whole making process, plan a wine tour to Catalonia and Barcelona for sure.

United States

When looking for the best wine places in United States, Finger Lakes is surely the perfect one to begin with. It is the largest wine making destination and is located in New York. Around 100+ wineries are situated in Finger Lakes and offer a range of varieties from Chardonnay to Vidal Blank. For wine touring, start with New York Wine & Culinary Center and then explore the special wine trails of Cayuga and Seneca. There are also farmhouses located at this upstate side of New York and a whole trail of wineries are just waiting to be found around this splendid region. The relishing wine tasting and a quaintly backdrop will surely make your trip worth remembering!


Making its entry in the list of largest wine producers, Argentina has emerged as one of the superior wine making countries in the last decade. The popular of all are the incredible Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Mendoza is the wine destination to go for in Argentina and is well-known for wineries offering sample tasting tours. But pre-booking is inherently important if you are tripping to Mendoza and you can also visit the Vines of Mendoza for a brief introduction to the wine locations that can be found here.

Therefore, these stunning regions from all around the world have made our ideas of finest wines as truly possible. These are the places to add in your bucket list especially for wine connoisseurs and if you are on a spree to taste the best wines in the world.

Author’s Bio:

Being a scrumptious foodie herself, Emily writes about her food experiences and on international cuisine related topics like Mexican candies to keep her audience updated about latest food happenings.


Red Wine Make Us Superhuman


The Health Benefits Of Red Wine

the wine detectiveThere are lots of things that you can do, every day, that help lead to better health. Exercise is one; cutting out bad habits like smoking is another. Good food? Of course. But it also turns out that a moderate consumption of red wine provides health benefits, too.

Studies have shown that sips of red wine can do everything from lower cholesterol to controlling weight, improving longevity, and preventing colds. Of course, red wines differ in flavor and taste, from lighter Pinot Noir to medium-bodied Merlot and full-flavored Zinfandel. And those health benefits don’t apply for people that consume too much; moderate drinking is key. What does moderate mean? For women, it’s a single drink per day; for men, it’s two. Otherwise the health benefits are negated and that consumption may lead to heart disease and fertility issues, among others. Use the graphic to learn more about what red wine can do for you.


Guest post by Laura Schwecherl at Health Perch, and graphics by Ghergich & Co.

We won’t go so far to suggest knocking back beer and nachos is a great health habit—but we can show you some science behind the health benefits of drinking wine—in moderation, of course.  In 2014, Americans consumed 893 million gallons of wine; that’s about 2.8 gallons per person. (One bottle of wine is one-fifth of a gallon.) From heart health to cancer prevention and even weight control, there a number of studies that support the habit of a glass a day to keep the doctor away. Ready to dive deeper into these studies? Want the answers to questions like, “Is wine really better than exercise?” We‘ve got the low down on the science, plus the best way to drink wine to reap all of its tasty benefits.

Read the entire article from Health Perch.


Legal Actions


The wine DetectiveLegal Actions

Wine is a litigious business. Most effort, and most money is spent on protecting a name. In 2001 Moët & Chandon sued Channon wines of Queensland, Australia, for ‘passing off’. The French won, but the outcome was a PR and sales triumph for the tiny winery. They renamed their wines as Robert Channon Wines and achieved the best sales they had ever had. The producers of Champagne, as individual house and via their trade body CIVC (comite Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne) are among the most litigious.

J Bollinger v Costa Brava Wine Co. Ltd.

Popularly known as the Spanish Champagne case, this particular case saw an action being brought by twelve biggest Champagne manufacturers of France, on behalf of every champagne manufacturer in their country, seeking injunctions on use of the word “champagne” while describing Spanish wine, and passing it off as Champagne. An injunction was granted.

(info via

The Wine Almanac – January

Moonset1January – In the Vineyard

The coming of the new year in the vineyards is not really a turning point for the winegrower because the ‘wine year’ rather begins with the vintage and the making of the new wine with all the excitement and agitation of creation during September, October, and November. Around Christmas came the time to start pruning the vines and this hard labour continues into  the chilly month of February.

It is in January that the sampling of a full-bodied red or white wine may commence and the winemaker will invite friends and businesses to assess the young wines as they develop in the barrel, vat or giant steel tank. So the month of January sees the start of activities in the cellar, and the making of plans for the new wine. Some will be sold in the year to come, like the white and rosé styles, the rest will be laid down in barrel or bottle for a period of ageing which may be months or years. Some wines are ready for bottling and labelling, and the cold weather is an ideal time for such activities.

In various districts of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne as well as the Loire Valley there are special fêtes and festivals in honour of the new wine. Other countries may have fewer formal celebrations, but the new wine does not go unrecognized. In Austria the small wine bars called heurigen are the focal point for sampling the fresh green-tasting young wine direct from the cask, and of course winemakers everywhere enjoy any opportunity to show their wines to visitors. Plan your next trip to Europe around one of these wine festivals. Visit BurgundyEnFete.


A Poem On The Médoc









A Poem On The Médoc by Peter Dickinson from ‘The Compleat Imbiber 7′ book (1956).

On the evidences of having spat too close in the tasting-room of a first-growth château

This purple spot

Upon my shirt

That otherwise appears so neat —

This mark is not,

As you think, dirt:

No, it is 63 Lafite.


One couldn’t swallow

This shrivelling brew,

Smelling of sawdust, harsh as brine.

The years that follow

Will turn it to

The fabled, violet-hinting wine.


Its price will rise

With every year

Far from my pocket as star from star:

And so I prize

The shirt I wear,

Stained with this honourable scar.






Wine Almanac – December


December, the season of frosts and new activity in the vineyard as pruning begins, and of tasting in the cellar of both the new and the older wines. Apart from a few very late picking of grape for iced wine or late harvest styles. The vines will now be bare and looking very bleak and grimy in most areas. Depending on the regions, pruning begins in the second half of the month where you can find a bunch of people working away with clippers.

Every region has its own distinctive style of pruning, usually related to the grape variety grown as certain grapes respond to being cut hard (back to one shoot) while others do better with two or more. Very abbreviated pruning is known as spur pruning to form the ‘goblet’ shape of the vine and is the areas where the vines are not grown against wires or poles. Cane pruning allows the vine to grow fairly high against a support of wires or poles. Cane pruning allows the vine to grow fairly high against a support of wires or poles with one or two long spurs for next year’s fruit.

Talking about practicalities brings the question of planting the vines. The traditional gap between vines used to be about four feet, but this distance is being increased to cope with machine ploughing, spraying, and even harvesting. For machine harvesting the vines must also be allowed to grow taller. Vineyards are usually ploughed in December to break up the ground before the frosts come. Regions which specialize in very light, fruity wines will prepare some bottling by Christmas to keep the intensity of fruit flavours. Bur, remember that all wine should rest for a short while after bottling.




The Wine Almanac – November

wine almanac november

November Activities In The Vineyard

After the grape has been harvested the vine leaf colour is impressive from yellow to deep purple. In a few regions, there still be grapes on the vines, if the grower wants botrystis to take its full effect, or to extract ripeness from the very last rays of sun for dessert wines. But for most growers the harvest is safely in and the attention has switched to the new wine which must be carefully monitored after the first fermentation. Many wines now begin a secondary malolactic fermentation (conversion of harsh malic acid into mellow lactic acid), which is usually encouraged by the winemaker to ‘soften’ the wine. The new wine is racked off its lees. If the vintage has not been great or if extra tannin and depth are required it may rest on the lees for longer. Older wines may be bottled now in the cool of autumn. First, it will be fine, using eggs or a more modern concoction. The purpose of this step is to clarify the wine by encouraging particles to cling to the fining agent and therefore be separated from the wine. The remaining particles will be filtered to ensure the wine is perfectly clear. Some wines will then rest for a year or more before release while others will be released after just a few weeks. A wine to be rushed to market is Beaujolais Nouveau. It is produced by the carbonic maceration method (produce lighter red wines with fruitier aromas) for maximum fruit and then promptly bottled for the annual release on the third Thursday of November, on the stroke of midnight.

Out in the vineyards it is time for a certain amount of tidying up, trimming back the longest shoots and bundling them up as fuel. Winter ploughing begins if the weather is not too wet and soil is heaped around the roots of the vines as protection against frost. At this stage, some vineyards may be manured or have other fertilisers added to the soil.

With a few exceptions, most wine regions can be found ‘en fête’ at this time of year. Go online and check out the wine festival calendar in your region.


Wine Almanac – October

002 (3)October, a season of fruitfulness. Deciding when to pick the grapes can be a nail-biting time. For high quality wine, great amount of good may come from leaving the grapes on the vine for just that week or so longer than your neighbour winery. If the weather holds, not only more sweetness but also more concentration of flavour may result. If the aim is to produce an everyday wine with fruity taste then it is probably not worth the extra anxiety involved in waiting for the ultimate picking time. Keeping the grape-pickers standing by can be a costly business and they may work with another winery on just that day or the communal grape-picking machine is in use somewhere else. Few wineries can afford the luxury of their own machine-harvester. A day’s delay, a thunderstorm and… no quality wine to sell at a higher price to pay the bills.

The family owned vineyard with all the wine produced on the spot is fast becoming harder to find. Thousands of grape growers are opting to concentrate on viticulture and leave the vinification (wine making) to someone else. Those family ventures which do thrive are based on enormously hard work, passion for the industry, and a devotion to modern methods for maximum quality and hopefully sales. Often behind the old cellars and barns there are likely a computer and modern equipment to help keep ahead of the competition. Such is the state of family ventures of a sufficient size to sell to restaurants and retail stores. Many are smaller family winery which tends to aim for self-sufficient rather than for big profit, producing enough wine to meet the family’s needs and the goods they need.

DeVine 1

During the fall season, many wineries stay open on weekends. Organize a friend get-together wine tasting.


Garage Wines and Garagistes


From one extreme of the world of made wines to the other. the name vins de garage was coined by Michel Bertrane, the French wine consultant, to describe wines produced in Bordeaux in tiny quantities.The garagistes refers to a group of winemakers in the Bordeaux region, producing “Garage wine”. A group emerged in the mid-1990s in reaction to the traditional style of red Bordeaux wine, which is highly tannic and requires long ageing in the bottle to become drinkable. The garagistes developed a style more consistent with perceived international wine tastes. The essence of garage wines is that they are formulated around tiny yields, between 12 to 40 hectoliters per hectare, of the finest grapes from mature vines. The average is somewhere around 50 hectoliters per hectare. Meticulous care in the vineyard when harvesting ensure that only the best of the grapes survive to be picked at the optimum point of ripeness.

The first garagiste was probably Jean-Luc Thunevin of Château Valandraud. He was a bank employee before he set-up his winery; his first commercial vintage was in 1991. Such winemaking aims for maximum concentration and colour extraction while maintaining soft tannins. That means slow fermentation, lengthy skin contact and the pumping of oxygen into the must to accelerate its evolution. A minimum of 100 per cent new French oak is used. Le Pin, Valandraud, Mondotte, Marajollia and others pull in high Parker points and high prices. Many wine writers think that garage wines are a prime example of emperor’s new clothes syndrome, and the overpriced wines are charged for gullible collectors.