The AWE Blog

The AWE blog is a collection of posts from AWE members.
  1. Nina Cerullo

    Always fancied being a Troglodyte

    By Nina Cerullo
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    AWE visit to Leduc-Frouin. Vins d’Anjou & Coteaux du Layon Half way between Saumur and Anjou is one of the most historic areas for viticulture on the Loire. In the heart of the Haut Layon we find husband and wife team Antoine and Nathalie Leduc of Domaine Leduc-Frouin. Antoine Leduc whisked us off to view the vineyards while and Nathalie disappeared to produce what later turned out to be a truly stonking picnic served in the family’s troglodyte cave. An area dominated by the production of rosé Leduc-Frouin make their fair share but also focus on quality Chenin production. The Domaine has 30 hectares of vines all of which have gone through 20 years of experimental planting to find the most suitable grape variety for each site, The result being the vigorous Grolleau planted on the infertile sand, the Chenin taking advantage of the limestone and the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon on varying levels of clay, schist and gravel. Interestingly the local vigorous Grolleau Noir has large, open conical bunches which have adapted perfectly to the local soils and seem naturally resistant to odium and mildew. 50% of the Leduc-Frouin is rosé but winemaking at the domaine has changed over the...
  2. Richard Bampfield MW

    Musings on recent visit to New Zealand

    By Richard Bampfield MW
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    Some musings following the recent MW visit to New Zealand in February 2019 Not intended to be exhaustive – simply a summary of some of the highlights, key learnings, wines/producers I will be looking out for in the future…….and general reflections.  Climate change – more likely to be wetter in winter when vines don’t need more water and dryer in summer when they do!  But it was mentioned on more than one occasion that, at present, New Zealand’s vineyards appear to be less affected by climate change than those in many other parts of the world. Sustainability SWNZ – Sustainable Wine-growing New Zealand 98% of NZ’s vineyard certified sustainable. Water use, waste management/recycling, biodiversity. An extension SWNZCI (continuous improvement) goes further and includes economic sustainability. As James Milton says “you can’t be green if you’re always in the red”.  Viticulture Even if NZ wine producers want to dry farm, it is often not realistic because so many soils are so porous. During veraison a vine’s water needs double. If you green harvest you halve a vine’s water requirement, so can be useful when water is short.  Clos Henri – Damien Yvon – some vineyards in Marlborough irrigate up to 8...
  3. Marie Cheong-Thong

    Brush Up on Your Sake Knowledge

    By Marie Cheong-Thong
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    Sake is now the vogue as high-end hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide are adding this food-friendly beverage to their drinks lists. It is as versatile and complex as wine. Currently, there are about 1200 sake breweries in Japan and a few more worldwide, including the UK! The choice of sakes is immense and there WILL be a personal favourite among the tens of thousands of sakes currently available. London-based VSF Wine Education is running the “WSET Level 3 Award in Sake” course this May with an added visit to Kanpai, UK’s first sake brewery. The course will be taught by British Sake Association’s Knowledge and Education Director, AWE Member and Certified WSET Sake Educator, Marie Cheong-Thong, who has an excellent track record (86% of her students passed with “merit” or “distinction” in 2018). Tom Wilson, Kanpai’s Co-Founder & Head Brewer, will give a tour to course delegates about sake production first-hand. Participants will even be given the opportunity to climb the ladder leaning against the fermentation tank to check the moromi. A 5% discount is now available for AWE Members. Please contact Marie ( for the special promo code. Details & registration: