After several months of dormancy, the first signs of the new vintage begin to show in March (in temperate to warm climates). The fresh pruning wounds begin to “bleed.” This initial sap flow is triggered by rising temperatures. Shortly after the bleeding stops, the buds will begin to swell.
February is still a relatively quiet time in the vineyard. Pruning continues in warm climates while in cold climates it may not begin until March or later. This is primarily due to the risk of winter bud kill. Different varieties have different tolerances for cold. February, in the northern hemisphere, has historically been the coldest month in the calendar year and a cause for worry.
WSG launches “Vine to Wine,” an exciting, new blog series that will chronicle what is happening in the vineyard and in the winery each and every month of the calendar year. Nova Cadamatre, MW and winemaker, will author these authoritative and detailed posts drawing upon her studies (Cornell Viticulture and Enology graduate) as well as her winemaking experience in California, China and the Finger Lakes.
Each “Vine to Wine” installment will detail that month’s vineyard and winery tasks with deep dives into a particular grape growing or wine making topic such as pruning methods and training systems or barrel aging and fermentation vessels.
The series is designed to give wine students and educators an opportunity to develop or hone their technical savvy.
January is a very quiet time for the winery in the northern hemisphere. It is the in between time when the last vintage is quietly waiting in maturation and the next vintage has yet to start. In cold climates, all eyes are still on the weather to ensure that the depths of winter do not bring damage to the dormant buds. The buds hold the entire shoot and cluster primordia (more on this in February’s post) for the new vintage and each variety has a different tolerance to the cold… so monitoring the risk of damage is very important.
It's become one of the hippest and most contentious niches in wine, often poorly understood and derided by the more traditional sectors of the wine trade. But what exactly is natural wine? Is it just fault-ridden hipster juice, cloudy and smelling of cider as some claim?
We’ll explore where this movement came from and why winemakers in some parts of the world felt that they had to turn their backs on the establishment, plus how the movement has developed over the last few decades.
How does natural wine overlap with existing certification schemes such as organics and biodynamics? What attempts have there been at certifying or classifying natural wine? We’ll talk about the current state of play, and the detailed definitions that have been proposed for natural wine by various organisations.
Why do natural wines taste, smell and look different? What are the differences in production and philosophy compared to conventional wine? We will of course mention the recent “clean wine” fad and how this relates to natural wine.
A few of the movement’s pioneering winemakers and growers will also be discussed, together with some recommendations for tracking down and enjoying great natural wines from different parts of the wine-producing world.
The aim of this webinar is to imbue you with enthusiasm for what can be a fascinating and innovative corner of the wine world, and to help you make sense of the smorgasbord of exciting flavours and aromas to be found in the best natural wines.
Your sense of adventure is the only limit!
Simon J Woolf is an award-winning English wine and drinks writer, currently based in The Netherlands.
An acknowledged expert on the developing niche of natural wine, he contributes regularly to Decanter magazine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, World of Fine Wine and Noble Rot, and many other publications. Simon is the editor of The Morning Claret, an online wine magazine which specialises in natural, biodynamic, organic and orange wine.
Simon's first book "Amber Revolution - How the world learned to love orange wine" was published in 2018, and won the Roederer Wine book of the year award in 2019. Simon has also won numerous awards for his magazine features and online columns. He is currently shortlisted for a Roederer interntional wine columnist award in 2020.
Simon travels regularly to countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal, where he continues to research the stories and traditions behind artisan winemaking.
Simon is also active as an editor, wine judge and translator.
WSG members enjoy a discount on Simon's book "Amber Revolution"! Get your coupon code HERE
The technique of allowing grapes to dry out and shrivel up after harvest and before vinification is an ancient one that dates back to the early stages of serious wine-making in places like Mesopotamia, Greece and Italy via the Ancient Romans. And nowhere else in the world is this practice as alive and well today as it is in Italy.
In this session we’ll investigate the early origins of this practice and the reasons behind it.
Then, pausing for a quick look at the wine called Commandaria from Cyprus that is a very early and still extant example, we’ll flash forward to a survey of wines that continue to be produced by this technique today, both dry and sweet, including Recioto della Valpolicella and Amarone, Sfursat/Sforzato (nebbiolo from the Valtellina, Lombardy), Erbaluce di Caluso, Malanotte del Piave (Raboso), Sciacchetrà (Cinque Terre, Liguria), and/or Vin Santo (Tuscany).
We’ll take a look at the various grape varieties, the origins of the local traditions, the terroir, a representative producer or two, and food pairings. Specific examples chosen for discussion will be the ones deemed most interesting and representative.
Alan Tardi first became interested in wine through food, working as a cook, chef, and chef-owner in New York City.
As a freelance food and wine journalist, Tardi has authored numerous articles for publications including The New York Times, Wine & Spirits Magazine, The Wine Spectator, Decanter, and Sommelier Journal.
In 2003, Alan moved to the village of Castiglione Falletto in the Barolo region of Italy, where he spent several years working in the surrounding vineyards and wineries through all phases of the growing and production process.
This led to his first book, 'Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo' (St Martins Press, 2006), which won a James Beard Award for Best Wine and Spirits Book of 2006.
In 2015, Tardi became the first-ever US Ambassador of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco.
His new book, “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink” (Hachette 2016) recently won a Gourmand Best in the World Award.
As was discussed in Viti 101, wine is a product of many influences, particularly those that happen in the vineyard. However, grape growing is only half the story.
In this webinar, we will explore the various practices and procedures that take place once the grapes arrive at the winery such as sorting, crushing, fermentation, must adjustment, winemaking vessels, post-fermentation options and aging.
Tracy Ellen Kamens is a wine educator, writer and consultant who currently serves at Membership Director for the Wine Scholar Guild. In addition to her role as an ambassador for the Napa Valley Vintners and the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois, she is on the Curation Team for Wine Ring.
Tracy has taught at the International Wine Center, New York University, Cornell University and Baruch College and has also worked with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Consorzio Chianti Classico, Balzac Communications, Consorzio Prosecco Superiore and Sopexa. Dr. Kamens previously spent time at Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits in their public relations department.
Tracy earned her doctorate in higher education and also holds the WSET Diploma of Wine & Spirits and the Society of Wine Educators Certified Wine Educator certification.
In this intriguing discussion on winemaking in the modern era, Clark Smith will discuss the principles explored in his book, Postmodern Winemaking, named Wine & Spirits Magazine 2013 Book of the Year. He will share his views on the causes of the rift between wine lovers and winemakers and how it might be healed and will illustrate the application of postmodern principles through the production of Eurocentric wines in California under his own WineSmith label.
Clark Robert Smith is one of California’s most widely respected winemakers. He has built many successful brands, consults on five continents, judges wines at several competitions, teaches wine technology at CSU Fresno and online Wine Appreciation for Professionals at Florida International University and directs the curriculum of the GrapeCraft Wine Academy.
After attending M.I.T. and graduating as the top student at U. C. Davis, Smith served as the founding winemaker for The R. H. Phillips Vineyard for its first seven years, where he implemented night-harvesting and published ground-breaking research on vineyard variables affecting wine quality.
In the 1990s, Smith went on to patent reverse osmosis methods for alcohol removal and volatile acidity correction, founding the world’s largest wine technology provider, Vinovation, and pioneering the implementation in American winemaking of micro-oxygenation, ultrafiltration, tartrate stabilization through electrodialysis, alternatives to sterile filtration, and a host of other wine quality enhancement techniques, serving for a decade with the international body O.I.V’s. Groupe d’Experts sur la Technologie du Vin. He sold Vinovation in 2008 to concentrate on winemaking, writing, music and exploring the new American wine scene.
In 1993, Smith started WineSmith to explore a range of California terroirs with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Roman Syrah made in a European style, emphasizing balance, structural integrity, aromatic integration, profundity and graceful longevity. In 2007, he began making the wines for Diamond Ridge Vineyards, a unique high-altitude site in Lake County. He is actively engaged in production consulting for some two dozen wineries on an ongoing basis.
Smith is recognized as a leading authority on the enhancement of wine structure and a vocal proponent of living soil and barrel conservation. His popular class on Fundamentals of Wine Chemistry has been attended by over 4,000 participants since 1986. David Darlington’s biography of him in Wine & Spirits magazine won the James Beard award, perhaps a more dubious distinction for the subject than the author. He directs the Best- of-Appellation wine evaluations for AppellationAmerica.com, and writes a monthly column, “The Postmodern Winemaker,” for Wines and Vines magazine.
In recent years, Smith has become increasingly interested in the study of the relationship of wine and music cognition. A composer and vocalist, he is currently engaged in the production of a CD of original songs about real life in the Wine Industry. He resides in Santa Rosa, California.
Premature oxidation of White Burgundy was first noted in the early 2000’s on 1995 and 1996 White Burgundies and no single cause has been isolated yet. Join Richard Bampfield MW to explore this phenomenon and investigate what might be behind it.
Richard Bampfield graduated in French from Cambridge in 1981 and immediately decided the wine trade was where he could put the language to best use. He managed retail wine shops in the North West of England for JW Lees Brewers for 7 years, then spent a year getting his hands dirty in vineyards around the world, also working in wine cellars in California and Australia.
Having passed the Master of Wine Exam in 1990, he joined the Australian producer, Brown Brothers, and managed their European operations until 1999. He left them to set up his own company, specialising in public relations and offering wine talks, tours and courses. Principal clients include Yvon Mau (Bordeaux), Albert Bichot (Burgundy), Dom Perignon Champagne, Lidl, Leith’s School of Food and Wine, Santa Rita (Chile), Château Sociando-Mallet, Enotria and the English Wine Group.
Richard is a past Chairman of the Association of Wine Educators and was the European Champagne Ambassador in 2009.
Learn more about wines with the Wine Scholar Guild's study & certification program and sign up for our Wine Study Trips.
Ready for your next challenge? There's still time to join the upcoming sessions!
+ 300 on-demand replays on WSG Studio