The AWE Blog

The AWE blog is a collection of posts from AWE members.
  1. Laura Clay

    Cellier des Dauphins

    By Laura Clay
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    Wine cooperatives are underrated – discuss. I’ve never quite understood the slightly negative view of buying wine made by a co-operative. These are wineries jointly owned by vine-growers, grape-growers, vignerons, farmers, whatever you like to call them, which produce wine from the area in which their vines are situated. Over half of all French wine is made by co-operatives. It seems to me to make a great deal of sense to pool resources with your neighbours to buy expensive equipment, some of which is only needed for a couple of weeks a year, and to be able to employ a qualified, often well-travelled and experienced wine-maker to do a job you may not be quite so skilled at as you are at growing grapes. Sourcing grapes from a larger area than one or two plots of land also gives options unavailable to the individual wine producer. This is very much in evidence in the diverse range of Cellier des Dauphins in the Rhône Valley along with a new aim to highlight specific appellations and producers. Cellier des Dauphins was founded over fifty years ago, a brand created by the Union des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône which is today one...
  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 (marie@thelarderat36.co.uk) for the special promo code. Details & registration: https://bit.ly/2seHf0a
  4. Laura Clay

    AWEsome Wines selected by AWEsome Educators

    By Laura Clay
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    How lucky we are to have access to such a an array of diverse wines. The 2019 100 AWEsome Wines brochure features wines from 20 different countries from £6.75 to £35. You might expect the big three to have the most wines selected and you’d be right – France, Italy and Spain between them account for over half the choices submitted but alongside those are wines from Georgia, Brazil, Hungary and many more.   There are firm favourites such as Rioja and Bordeaux, wines that deserve never to go out of fashion, and there are the more unusual, too, which, as a result of  featuring in the brochure, will no doubt gain a new and appreciative following.  Let’s hope the brochure does the same for the AWE. Somebody with time on their hands* might like to count up the number of different grape varieties in all the wines of the brochure. There may be three South African Chenin Blancs on page 1 but there’s only one Albarossa on page 11!  A special mention should go to Katie Jones who had two of her wines selected, Grenache Gris and Fitou, which is the same as the number of wines submitted for Australia.  I hope you enjoy using the brochure and spending...