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Head To The South Of France

A few years ago I worked in a fine wine shop in the town where I live. The inventory was about 80% or more European, but geared intentionally towards the more attractive price ranges, those numbers where the vast majority of customers felt most comfortable. One of the labels that moved continually was a $10 […]

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Now Where Was I?

I was talking about a wine book and then the holidays rolled around and that was that for a while. Then I thought The Grape Belt needed a new look, and that’s dragged its own silly behind for way too long. Now I’m at the point where we – the entire TGB staff — all […]

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In The Shade Of Historical Napa

You can’t be familiar with the better producers in the Napa Valley and not know the name Sequoia Grove. But there’s knowing, and then there’s knowing. It wasn’t until recently, when I came across a few bits of Napa Valley history that described the winery’s 19th century roots, that I decided I wanted to know more about Sequoia Grove. To […]

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Geek Of The Week — Lugana

During the past few years there has been a big push on in the media and in wine shops everywhere for people to drink more and more rosé. Think pink! Drink pink! I know I’ve been pushing as hard or harder than most. I still believe that more people need to enjoy the growing number […]

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Far From The Madding Crowd

Chappellet Winery is not just someplace you pop into on your way to somewhere else. Being there is never a fun bit of serendipity, never a surprise. You have to want to go there. In fact, you should want to go there. That’s appropriate given the Chappellet family’s pioneering role in today’s Napa Valley wine […]

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The High Costs of Low Prices

Part of the WSET’s Diploma studies is the composition of a research paper that focuses on some of the more pressing issues currently at play in the global wine industry. The following is my look at the challenges created when discounting becomes standard operating procedure. This paper received a passing grade of Distinction, and so […]

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No, It’s Somm-Thing Else

So, you’re studying to become a sommelier? Uh, no. Not exactly. Since I started formal wine studies five years ago I’ve answered this question approximately seven gajillion times. At first it made me nuts, but I’ve gotten used to it. I know as well as most folks in the wine industry that the majority of […]

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It Must Be Refreshing!

In a talk at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone a few months back, noted British wine writer, Jancis Robinson MW, explained her top criteria for any wine she encounters: “It must be refreshing!” Given that simple yet demanding yardstick, I think Robinson would have found a great deal to like about almost all […]

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When In Spain… Notes From Jerez

As some of you might recall, my daughter, Katie, is in Spain for the year as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant. As a part of the Fulbright program she is required to pursue a cultural education project, focusing on a particular aspect of life in Spain. Well, the apple must not fall very far from the […]

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