Not getting paid.

I get upset when people ask for something and are not willing to pay for it. It happens all the time in the world of blogging. A publication needs content but doesn’t want to pay for it, so they put a call out to the world and people respond who are looking for an outlet for their work. Bloggers want recognition and what better way than to use someone else’s platform that many already have many followers. Recently I found a post from the folks at the flying winemaker saying that they are looking to start up a wine publication and were looking for writers. Turns out they are looking for free content and even want writers to give up the rights to their work. This is their pitch to get you to write for them. I am not sure who to blame for this situation, the writer or the publication. Both benefit in some way. The writer may reach an audience that they may not otherwise reach. The publication gets content. Win win. But there are so many problems with this. Often the bloggers seeking attention want an outlet and may not be the best writers or have little knowledge on the topic.  They […]

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Burgundy grapes in Germany

Many countries have some sort of dividing line. Some are east and west, other are north and south. The difference between the two are usually things like culture, dialect, traditions or attitudes. In Germany’s wine growing regions, there are some unique differences too. In the north, places like Mosel and the Rhine, the wines tend to be Riesling-based and for good reason. They have been making wines there for thousands of years. But in places like Baden in the far south, Riesling does get a role but it’s a minor one. Instead many young winemakers are turning away from family traditions and are growing burgundy grapes such as Pinot Gris or Grauburdunger, Pinot Blanc or Weissburguner and Pinot Noir or Spätburgunder. Since 2000 there has been a 103% increase of Pinot Gris planting in Germany, making it second after Italy for Pinot Gris plantings with most of that grown in the southern region of Baden. Grauburgunder is such an important grape that there is a symposium each year in May in the Kaiserstuhl region near Baden. German Pinot Gris wines are often big and full throttled are due to the soil in the area. Much of it volcanic mixed with high amounts of calcium […]

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Franconian Silvaner

  Franconian Silvaner Germany is the land of Riesling. With over 23,000 hectares of it growing Germany is the worlds largest producer of it. There is no doubt about the relationship between Germany and Riesling. But there is another grape that needs some attention too. One that is a bit of a hidden gem but has long history in and around Germany.  One that takes well to the cool climates of Franconia (or Franken in German), where it is most commonly found and one that hipsters are taking a little more seriously. That grape is Silvaner. Although you may know it as Sylvaner in Alsace France. There it is considered a “noble grape” and grows almost exclusively in the region. The grape has a history in Germany. At one time Silvaner was the one of the most planted grapes grown there. Now, with just over 5000 hectares, it has fallen far behind behind Riesling, Muller Thurgau and Grauburgunder! In 2009, Silvaner celebrated its 350th birthday, but according to Jancis, Julia and José’s book, Wine Grapes, Silvaner is likely from Austria, and it has been suggested that the grape is a result of a spontaneous crossing that took place over 500 years ago. Its […]

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German Wine Renaissance

For some wine drinkers, German wines represent sweet wines. Bring out a tall flute bottle and most people turn the glass around and tell me they don’t like sweet wines. “I’d prefer a California Chardonnay,” they say. However, in my opinion, Germany produces some of the finest wines in the world. There was a time that the wines from the Rhine, Germany’s largest growing region, were on par with the classed growth wines of Bordeaux. But things like prohibition, sandwiched between two world wars, really put a hold on wine production. And Germany’s major export market, the USA, dried up. The grape growers needed to make money so they started producing cheap sweet wines, so the world began to know Germany for Liebfraumilch. Wines like Blue Nun and Black Tower were what was on store shelves and the reputation for this style of wines were made. But there has been a change happening over the last 15 years in Germany. The level of winemaking and the commitment to quality has increased. And with Geisenheim, one of the leading universities for winemaking and grape growing, innovation in the vineyard and in the cellars has helped to bring German wines to the […]

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10 years of Laughing Stock Portfolio

When you are standing on the crush pad at Laughing Stock winery on the Naramata Bench, you can see Glaciers. Or at least how glaciers have altered the landscape of the Okanagan Valley during the last ice age. The Naramata Bench is located in the middle of the Okanagan Valley just north of Penticton on the east side of the Okanagan Lake. The small hamlet of Naramata was once a cottage town where Vancouver people would holiday. While there are still small homesteads scattered up and down the bench, most of the land is now planted with grapes. Currently the Naramata Bench Wineries Association has 25 wineries. Owners of Laughing stock David and Cynthia Enns were at one time financial advisors and the marketing of their wines is entirely based around the stock market. From the ticker tape that shows the closing numbers of the day grapes were harvested, to the Bay Street sign in the vineyard, their previous life is evident throughout the winery. The Enns were in Toronto recently, and I attended a tasting of their ten vintages of their flagship Laughing Stock Portfolio, a Bordeaux blend. Their transition to wine making started in 2001 when David bought […]

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Writings about my passion for wine, and the people, places, and stories connected to it.