Every wine appellation in France has a cahier des charges, a set of regulations that delineates the production zone and specifies viticultural practices and production standards.
In many instances, a single cahier des charges references one zone of production and multiple wine styles within it (e.g. Lirac red, white, and rosé; Rasteau dry red, plus red, white and rosé Vins Doux Naturels). Some single cahiers also incorporate complementary geographic denominations or dénominations géographiques complémentaires (DGCs) such as Languedoc Montpeyroux or Bourgogne Hautes Côte de Nuits. Other times, very different wines can be grouped under one single cahier as is the case for Beaujolais, Beaujolais Supérieur, Beaujolais + Named Commune, and Beaujolais-Villages.
From vineyards on the best-exposed limestone slopes of the Prealps, Savoie wines are made from a plethora of grape varieties, which are proving to be ideal in the face of climate change.
Wink Lorch published her second book, Wines of the French Alps: Savoie, Bugey and beyond in 2019, and it has already received rave reviews from Eric Asimov, David Schildknecht and the team at jancisrobinson.com.
Wink, known for her knowledgeable and entertaining presentations, will help unpick the somewhat complicated appellations of the tiny French regions of Savoie and its neighbours Bugey and Isère. She will focus especially on the story of the grape varieties and why the fresh, ever-improving wines of Savoie are only now emerging from their Alpine homeland for us all to enjoy.
Wink is a wine writer and educator from the UK, who lives part of her time in the French Alps.
For over 25 years she has taught, entertained and written about wines of the world, contributing to many books and journals.
She has been a member of the Circle of Wine Writers for many years and is currently editor of its newsletter.
She was a founder and first chairman of the UK-based Association of Wine Educators, taught for over a decade on the WSET’s Diploma course and regularly speaks at seminars, especially on her speciality subject, the Jura.
Her first book, Jura Wine, was self-published in March 2014 and won the prize for best wine book in the 2014 André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards as well as being shortlisted for best book in the 2014 Louis Roederer Wine Writers' Awards.
She has published her new book, "Wines of the French Alps: Savoie, Bugey and beyond" in 2019.
"Wines of the French Alps: Savoie, Bugey and beyond", published in July, is the second book from Wink Lorch, following her award-winning Jura Wine book. The new book turns the focus on the French Alpine regions of Savoie, Bugey and Isère, along with the Diois (home to Clairette de Die) and the obscure Hautes-Alpes further south.
As well as parts on history and local foods, the book includes a solid technical part, with chapters on the appellations, terroir, grape varieties (more than 45 of them, many indigenous!) and winemaking with a special section on sparking wines.
The largest part of the book includes profiles on almost 120 producers, with the greatest number those in Savoie and Bugey.
This 384-page book is illustrated by over 250 photographs, plus 13 original maps and geological diagrams. These wines are beginning to turn up on the lists of independent wine stores and restaurants around the world, so the timing is ideal to have an in-depth book giving the back-story.Learn more & order here: www.winetravelmedia.com/shop.
WSG members enjoy a 20% discount off the price of book! Get your coupon code HERE
Learn more about Savoie wine by joining our French Wines Study program.
Thinking about signing up for the French Wine Scholar program? Be inspired by what our students are saying about the program and the top ten reasons they give for enrolling.
Each year, the Wine Scholar Guild awards a full scholarship for each of the following programs to three students of the Institute of Masters of Wine: French Wine Scholar , Italian Wine Scholar and Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification programs.
These scholarships are designed to allow students preparing for the Master of Wine exam to further and strengthen their French, Italian or Spanish wine knowledge.
The white wines of France offer unrivaled perfection. With few exceptions, every vineyard growing white grapes is so planted not because reds won’t grow well there, but because whites will flourish. France’s white wines are not an afterthought or a consolation prize. These are vinous treasures worth exploring.
Congratulations Matt Coleman, FWS for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with honors! Matt Coleman is General Manager and Sommelier at Crossings Restaurant in South Pasadena, CA. Matt is pursuing his wine education with the Court of Master Sommeliers and reflects on how his French Wine Scholar studies has and will help him:
1) Please let us know more about yourself and your passion for wine.
My interest with wine sparked while working at a local steakhouse in Pasadena that had a large wine program. At the time I was an Assistant Manager and from time to time I would sit in for wine tastings at the restaurant with the General Manager. I was able to get familiar with labels and varietals at a leisurely pace. When I became the General Manager and wine buyer I quickly realized that I had to start learning more about wine.
2) Please tell us more about your wine studies. What other wine certification programs have you followed and passed? If any, how do you think the FWS program complemented/added to your previous wine studies?
So, my good friend Manny and I decided to take Level 1 with the Court of Master Sommeliers and we passed. If you ask Manny, he’d tell you I was a wreck at the end. I found it all so over whelming. We started studying right away for Level 2 with the Court of Master that’s when our soon to be good friend Elliot, joined our group. Tasting and studying with them gave me a personal goal to try and catch up to them. They were amazing!
The big day came and we took Level 2 with Court of Masters. Once again nerves got a good hold on me. I was very lucky to have Manny and Elliot to keep me focused. We all passed and Elliot got top score of the class! I felt so privileged to have surrounded myself with two great gentlemen.
During the study period for Level 2, I had the opportunity to help my friend, Patrick, open his own restaurant, Crossings in South Pasadena. He gave me the opportunity to have a large influence on the opening bar and wine programs. We now do the list together as a team and have fun with wine maker dinners. As I explored my studies I am able to influence the wine list at the same rate.
Once Level 2 was complete, the wine bug had set in. There was nothing that could stop my studies. I learned about the Wine Scholar Guild from wine tasting classes at the Neptune School of Wine in Costa Mesa with Master Sommelier Peter Neptune. His class was brilliant and I was able to taste wines from many wine regions of France. Peter spoke so highly of the Wine Scholar Guild that the information couldn’t be rivaled. I completely agree! The format gives you an abundance of information without being over whelming while keeping my interest piqued the whole time!!! It was fun! I even canceled my cable TV so I could study more and not be distracted!
Please tell us how you think the FWS program will help you further your wine passion/carrier moving forward.
I recently passed the French Wine Scholar with honors! It took me a little longer but I am enthralled with the material. I quickly signed up for the Master-Level of Bourgogne right after. I feel that the Court of Master Sommeliers and French Wine Scholar work hand in hand. I am confident that with the preparation on French theory with FWS it will prepare me for the Court of Master Sommeliers level 3 and 4. The learning process has been so enjoyable that I don’t want it to ever stop.
I now see that the road to Master-Level will be a long journey that can’t be rushed. I look forward to taking advantage of everything the French Wine Society has to offer on my way to Level 3 (and 4) with Court of Masters!
The French Wine Scholar™ education program is the most advanced, comprehensive, and up-to-date French wine course available.The syllabus takes a regional approach and discusses all French wine appellations and the factors that shape their identities.
The program provides committed students of wine with an unparalleled set of study tools that are designed to maximize learning and boost knowledge retention.
It was created by WSG Education Director, Lisa M. Airey CWE, with the support of the French Ministry of Agriculture which knighted her in recognition of the program's exceptional level of depth, accuracy, detail, and academic rigor as well as its impact on the global wine industry.
The French Wine Scholar study and certification program confers a post-nominal to wine professionals and enthusiasts who successfully pass the certification exam (Ex: John Smith, FWS). With a school network encompassing 30 countries on 5 continents, the FWS credential has true international recognition.
Alternately, the FWS program is available in a instructor-led online format with professional instructor support from with acclaimed wine educators Sharon Mclean, DipWSET, FWS and French Programs Director Matthew Landry
The 270-page, full-color study manual (6th Edition) provides all the information from which the test questions are derived. You do not need to research you own study materials; everything you need to know is in the manual.
Regions covered: Alsace, Champagne, Bourgogne, Beaujolais, Jura, Savoie, Loire, Bordeaux, Southwest, Languedoc, Roussillon, Rhône, Provence, Corsica
Plus: A Foundation Unit covering: French wine law, grape varieties, viticulture, viniculture and a discussion of Old World vs. New World wine styles
The FWS online study modules offer interactive presentations that are put into a measurable, meaningful format designed for maximum retention of content and ease of use. Each region of France is covered and dovetails nicely with the French Wine Scholar study manual. Study materials are available 24/7. If you’ve got a laptop and an internet connection, you’ve got a classroom!