This blog has moved to a new location.

You can now read it on BKWine Magazine.

Please change your bookmarks and RSS feeds accordingly.

And do subscribe to our free wine newsletter, the BKWine Brief!

All info on our wine and food tours are now on

Sonoma tightens the rules

>> Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Governor Schwarzenegger has just signed into law a new text that defines that wines that say Sonoma on the label really must come from Sonoma. Or at least mostly. The new rule stipulates that a Sonoma wine must contain at least 75% of wine that actually comes from Sonoma County. The law follows in the footsteps of a similar ruling last year for Napa (that even went to the Supreme court before it was settled). Read more in


French Private Preserve (and Dutch, Spanish Swiss and Austrian…)

>> Monday, October 30, 2006

No, this is not a new fashion contraceptive, or perhaps it is. Anyway, we have at several occasions written about Private Preserve, which is an excellent way of keeping an open bottle fresh for longer. You fill the half finished bottle with inert gas from the Private Preserve canister and it protects the wine. Much better, in our opinion, than the vacuum-type devices (although we must admit to not having tried the vacuum thingies – it just seems obvious that creating a vacuum will make the volatile components – i.e. smell and taste – of the wine disappear quicker). The producer now tells us that it is available in Europe from the following distributors: France: Christophe Wallaert Vins Selections, cwallaert-at-club-internet-dot-fr, ph 06 17 51 35 41; The Netherlands: info-at-verbunt-dot-nl; Spain: josephpuig-at-gastrogourmet-dot-com; Switzerland: info-at-boucherville-dot-ch; Austria: info-at-englitsch-dot-com; UK: (and USA: siegelandassoc-at-san.rr-dot-com). They also took the opportunity to remind us that many restaurants and wine bars use Private Preserve so that they can serve a larger selection of wines by the glass: a little gush of gas in the bottle after each serving and the wine keeps as long as needed. Apparently Opus One, one of the most expensive Californian wines, even sent a bottle a Private Preserve together with the wine to restaurants to encourage by-the-glass service. Clever marketing! A good idea that helps you serve more wine by the glass we think!


Sylvaner approved for Grand Cru in Alsace

INAO (l’Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) has approved Sylvaner as a grape variety to be used in Alsace Grand Cru wines. It will initially only be allowed in Zotzenberg wines but one can perhaps expect that it will be more widely approved in the future. The other grape varieties that can be used for Alsace Grand Cru are Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer. Read more on


New St Emilion classification announced

>> Saturday, October 28, 2006

050527-204-0413Every ten years (or so) the classification in Saint Emilion is reviewed. Some chateau may be upgraded and some may be downgraded. The last revision the classification has just been announced with some changes. No changes were made in the top tier “Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A”. Two new chateaux were promoted to “Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B”: Ch Troplong-Mondot and Ch Pavie-Macquin. And quite a few changes were made in the third tier “Grand Cru Classé” (you almost have to be an accountant to understand how the St Emilion classification works…). Read more and see the entire classification: or on


What salary do you earn in the vineyard? has just published the 2006 edition of their regular salary survey for winery employees. Here are some titbits: The average wage increase for winery employees were 5.4%, compared to a US average of 3.5% (no wine crisis there). A winemaker earns on average $93,358 in 2006. The highest salary increases have been gained by people working in sales and marketing positions. Read more in Wine Business Monthly


Robot to analyse the taste of wine

>> Friday, October 27, 2006 System Technologies has developed a wine robot (a winebot?) that can taste wine (and other food and drink) and analyze its contents. It can also give health recommendations to consumers based on its analysis. However, it is not capable of judging the vintage or the appellation we are told… More info on and USA Today


Four new French appellations

The French wine supervision organisation INAO has approved four new appellations: Orléans (red, white and rosé made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), and Orléans-Cléry (red Cabernet Franc) in Loiret. Chaume has been granted its own appellation (after having tried to create “Chaume 1er Cru” a few years ago but had to withdraw it since the name was judge inappropriate and confusing) for sweet white wines made from Chenin Blanc. And finally Pézenas has been granted a “cru” appellation in Coteaux du Languedoc (primarily from Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre). Read more on and


110 hectolitres per hectare is the limit for Vin de Table

The French ministry of agriculture has decided to put the limit for the yield for Vin de Table at 110 hl/ha. Last year the limit was exceptionally increased to 130 hl/ha but it is now brought down to 110 hl/ha. Might be worth mentioning that the yields may be much higher than that in many countries around the world. Read more on


Seven new Masters of Wine

>> Thursday, October 26, 2006 persons passed the Master of Wine (MW) exam in the latest batch. Essi Avellan, Finland (first Finnish MW. congratulations!), Sarah Jane Evans (UK), Linda Granik (USA), Geoff Labitzke (USA), Ken Mackay (UK), Rod Smith (UK), Paul Tudor (New Zealand). (We still don’t have any Swedish MWs but two are in the pipe.) More info:, MW Release and Read about the process of becoming an MW on (Photo: Essi Avellan)


Wine drinkers earn more than non-drinkers

A new study has shown that people who drink wine (or beer or spirit) on average earn 10-14% more than those who do not drink at all. A theory of why that is so is that those who enjoy a glass once in a while are more “social” which can be an advantage in a working environment. The study was made by The Reason Foundation. Read more on CNN (But we can’t help wondering how someone came up with the idea to make such a study…)


107 AVAs in California

There are now 107 AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in California. An AVA is a bit like a French appellation, only with less rules and regulations. It specifies the origin of the wine. Here’s the full list of Californian AVAs:


Wine festival in Chablis

040923-140-4094On November 28 and 29 there will be the annual Chablis wine festival in the village Chablis (of course). The village is some 190 kilometres from Paris so it is an excellent weekend excursion. The Saturday is for professionals and on the Sunday there will be tastings and other events open for all. More info


The best selection of champagne in restaurants

>> Wednesday, October 25, 2006 Trophée Celebris is organised each year by Champagne Gosset. It gives a prize to the restaurant with the best selection of champagne. This year’s trophy winners are: the restaurt Zur Traube ( in Germany, ’T Oud Konijntje in Belgium (, ’T Molenje in Belgium (, The Bell at Skenfrith in Great Britain (, and Die Fischerzunft in Switzerland ( In France (which is separate from “Europe”) the winner was Les Crayères in Reims. More info:


BKWine experiments with more info to wine lovers on the internet

As a reader of the BKWine Brief you may already know that “The Brief” is also available in blog format. We are now experimenting with some other new ways of providing info to wine lovers. Don’t worry, we’re not planning to abandon The Brief!

Here’s what you can choose from now:

BKWine Brief Blog
-- A weekly email with updates to The Brief Blog (beta)

Wine Picture Blog
-- The Daily Wine Picture Inspiration – a daily email with the latest photo in the photo blog. (beta)
-- Weekly Wine Picture Update (beta)

You can subscribe and unsubscribe on this page.


Truffles, olive oil and wine in the Rhone Valley, 14-18 February

>> Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The black Perigord truffle is one of the most highly acclaimed (or at least most expensive) food ingredients. The price varies between €1500 and €4000 per kilo… To find truffles you need a truffle dog (sometimes, but rarely a pig) and access to a truffle forest during the short season between the end of November to the end of February. BKWine organises a “truffles hunting trip” in the southern Rhône valley in February 2007. We will spend half a day with a truffle hunter and his dog. After “the hunt” we will enjoy a truffles lunch with the mushroom part of every dish from start to finish. The whole trip is three days long and we will also visit an olive oil producer and several interesting wine domaines.

More info will soon be available on the site



Chateau Tour des Gendres, Bergerac

be03-381-8175 bb20-344-4439Luc de Conti of Domaine Tour des Gendres is a well known character in Bergerac. He has been a precursor and a source for inspiration for many producers in the Sud-Ouest region. He has researched e.g. how the deposit may influence the character of the wine and he was a pioneer in using micro-oxygenation (micro-oxidation, micro-bullage). His view is that the lees (the deposit) nourishes the wine during the aging process. So to maintain the lees he does not rack the wines during the aging process. Instead, if the wine needs aeration, he uses micro-oxygenation. de Conti was also an early adopter of organic culture and is today moving towards bio-dynamic culture as the vineyards improve in health. Over time he has become more and more restrained in the use of oak and now he never uses more than 50% new barrels. On the white side he has a soft spot for Sémillon that achieves a wonderful expression in the excellent Cuvée de Conti.

Click here for address and more recommendations.


Domaine de La Tour du Bon, Bandol

>> Monday, October 23, 2006

bc26-358-5849La Tour du Bon is in the small Mediterranean appellation of Bandol. The 17 hectares are beautifully situated at the foot of the hilltop village Le Castellet (and with a view over the sea a clear day!). Lots of sun and vines growing on a soil dominated by clay and limestone gives powerful wines full of individual character. The owner and winemaker, Agnès Henry-Hocquard blends the archetypical Bandol grape Mourvèdre with some Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan. Just Mourvèdre gives wines that are a bit one-dimensional, she says. 14 euro for the 2003 vintage at the winery

Click here for address and more recommendations.


Truffle hunting in the Rhône Valley

Next year’s travel program starts with a magnificent trip: truffles, olive oil and wine in the southern Rhône Valley. I can promise you a very exciting, and unusual, trip. The tour takes place already in February (at the very end of the truffles season) so don’t delay getting registered!

More info on truffles and wine tours (coming soon).


Wine Books

A suggestion to those of you who like reading about wine: We have a section on the site with recommendations on good wine books. We add new reviews continuously. Let yourself be inspired to do more reading when browsing our “library”. (And if you are a publisher or an author who would like your books reviewed, just let us know.)


Wine Pictures

We have recently added lots of new wine photographs on the site, both from France and from other countries. In our photo galleries you can find lots of information on wine making and wine producers (and pictures of course!).

Wine Photos

The Wine Picture Blog


The Harvest

>> Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The harvest is now almost to an end and it is bubbling in almost every cellar. How will the vintage 2006 be? Well, the wine producers seem in general quite happy with the result. It will be a good, but perhaps not an exceptional vintage. The summer got off to a very good start with flowering in June without any problems and a (small) heat wave in July. But then arrived August with cold and sometimes wet weather which, of course, is not ideal. September was much better and recovered a bit of the fall-down in August so things turned out pretty well in the end even if some places have had too much rain close to, or during, the harvest. There were some areas in Bordeaux, for example, that had 100 mm of rain in September. So this is a year when the sorting table will pay for its price to remove some rotten grapes.

The blog has moved. Here is the new location: BKWine Magazine Blog.

  © Blogger template Webnolia by 2009

Back to TOP