Great Whites from Austria

Attending an MW Education Seminar is hard work. Most of the students wouldn’t have sat for 10 hours a day in a classroom for some time and the stress of five days packed with formal blind wine tastings, intense theory sessions and lectures from renowned experts (Jean Guillaume Prats and Professor Dr Monika Christmann this year)… Read More »

Gentle Pruning, Austrian Style

The modern wine industry should be able to evolve quickly and even regions and producers full of history and tradition have learned to adapt and innovate to respond to external pressures, be they climate, market or consumer driven. As a wine commentator and educator, one of the best (and most challenging) things about working with wine… Read More »

Kumeu River : 2015 New Releases

(apologies for the blurry  photo – I couldn’t locate the ones I took myself so had to snitch from the Kumeu River website). The annual invitation to taste the new releases from Kumeu River usually involves driving out to the Brajkovich family winery in West Auckland. This year the venue was the only-just-reopened O’Connell Street Bistro –… Read More »

Tantalus Estate, Waiheke

As I’m up to my ears in wine all week, I don’t make a habit of visiting producers on my days off. But a long standing invitation to taste the wines made by one of my students, Alex Perez, at Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island proved irresistible. With relatives visiting from New York and a… Read More »

2014 Trinity Hill Homage Syrah

One thing I have found through teaching wine courses is that students who are new to wine bring a refreshing perspective to the way they describe it. Wine should be described in an evocative (but hopefully pretention-free) way and we shouldn’t feel shackled by use of conventional anglo-saxon lexicon.

Hippies, unite here

  Human life depends upon the soil and yet we abuse it, degrade it, pour endless indelible chemicals upon it and suck the very life from it. Crazy, no? And yet apparently it’s people who practise organic and biodynamics who are the crazy ones. Yes that’s right, it’s those people who nurture, value and place… Read More »

Alto Adige

I’d never been to Alto Adige so an opportunity to visit was one I couldn’t refuse.  Alto Adige is a small (5400 hectare) but incredibly diverse region.

2016 Decanter World Wine Awards

The start of the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards judging week did not bode well. I’d been excused judging on the first day (not enough NZ entries apparently) so was catching up on emails when I received a fraught text from Emma asking me if I could venture out buy her something warm to wear… Read More »

The Douro

A flying visit to Porto meant an opportunity to go to the Douro, a region I’ve always wanted to explore, but never made the time. A new motorway takes you most of the way there but the final 30 minutes is on roads so winding, they make the road over the Rimutakas look like the… Read More »