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Sweden’s first Master of Wine

>> Tuesday, October 23, 2007 Sjödin became Sweden’s first Master of Wine. His normal day job (when not working on the MW exam) is marketing manager at V&S Wine, the wine division of the government owned wine importer and spirits producer V&S Group. After three years hard work he passed the three hurdles: the practical exam (read: wine tasting), the theoretical exam and a paper to be written on an individually chosen subject (Ulf chose, not surprisingly, to write on wine pricing in Sweden). Congratulations! More info on MW here:


New information source on Alsace Swedish wine enthusiast Per Warfvinge fell in love with Alsace wines and created a very interesting site on Alsatian wines, unfortunately only available in Swedish. After no doubt substantial work he has now translated the whole site to English. A gold mine for he who looks for information on Alsace:


More harvest news: great year for Châteauneuf-du-Pape

>> Monday, October 15, 2007 summer has been exceptionally sunny and windy in Châteauneuf (as opposed to some regions further north). They have had a bit of rain during the harvest but it has not caused any serious problems (it was rather welcome after the very dry summer). The producers’ federation expects it to be an outstanding vintage (following on the also very good 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006). As Marc Perrin at Château de Beaucastel says: “The weather is fantastic. Very sunny and very windy. The grapes are very healthy and if things continue this way, 2007 will be a great vintage in the Southern Rhône.”


Five bottles of cognac per second – a new sales record of cognac reached a new record last year: 160 million bottles, which is the largest volume ever since the appellation was created in 1936. Sounds like good news from a region that otherwise seems hard hit by competition from whiskey and more “trendy” drinks. Sales were up 9.3% (and +16.4 in the Far East). It is to a large extent the consumption of cognac as an aperitif (in mixed drinks) that is driving the progression.


BBR Fine Wine Blog content with launching a virtual wine course BBR continues with a Fine Wine Blog written by various BBR staff. Some headlines from the first posts: “Biodynamic Wine Production – hocus-pocus or genuine?” and “Champagne; too successful by half?” Seems interesting to follow what it will turn into and seems not too focussed on just selling their wines.


Virtual wine course

Berry Bro:s & Rudd is perhaps the world’s oldest wine merchant, founded in 1698. It is headquartered in London at the same address as where it was originally started: 3 St James’s Street. This venerable heritage does not prevent BBR from being one of the most forward-thinking and technology savvy merchants, e.g. with an unusually contents rich and user friendly site ( they have just launched a “virtual wine course”, a series of six videos to introduce you to wine. The series is hosted by Rebecca Lamont, head of their wine school. The wine course is available both on BBR’s site ( and on their YouTube-channel.

PS: Don’t miss that BKWine also has a YouTube wine video channel:


This months indispensable wine gadget: The key to Pontet Canet

>> Wednesday, October 10, 2007 is of course a USB key – a computer memory with a 1GB capacity. The key has the shape of a bottle from Château Pontet-Canet (Pauillac, Bordeaux). On the key there is a wealth of information about Pontet-Canet, including tasting notes, as well as a computer program to manage your wine cellar. Price: €33. We have not had the occasion to test it…


Super premium tasting

040916-131-3191In the US they categorise wines according to quality (price) level. The top category is Super Premium (or is it Super Super Premium?). The upcoming wine seminar at Sotheby’s could perhaps be labelled a super premium tasting albeit without American wines. Seven vintages of Château Margaux (back to 1983, including 2000 and 1990) and two of Pavillon Rouge. The tasting is led by Serena Sutcliffe, Bordeaux connoisseur and director at Sotheby’s. Date: November 21 in London. Price: £375. Contact for more info.


Small harvest in Italy

Italy expects to make the smallest harvest for 50 years, partially due to bad weather in the south. In the south there has been frequent rain which has cause diseases in the vineyards reducing the yield. In the north, the weather has in contrast been very hot. It is expected that this will lead to rising prices on Italian wines. AP


Welcome to the BKWine Brief nr 51, October 2007

>> Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Most early forecasts for this year’s harvest has been moderate to pessimistic. A summer that has been in many places not very warm (to say the least) and humid has not meant ideal weather for the grapes. But – you should never cry foul too early. Since the beginning of September the weather has generally been very nice: sunshine, not much rain and good temperatures. This has given the grapes the extra push at the end to reach excellent maturity in good health and most wine growers we have talked with recently have sounded optimistic, or even very optimistic. A few week’s good weather at the end of the season can make a big difference. But… never cash in before the deal is done. Last week we were in Bordeaux. The weather was splendid and the early ripening Merlot grapes were being brought in. Cabernet ripens later and still needs a few weeks on the vines. And what happens? At the end of the week the weather unexpectedly changes and we get rain (the grower we visited say “I finished harvesting Merlot last night”…). If it is a short shower it won’t be a problem but if it keeps raining until the Cabernets are ready to be harvested it won’t be too good… Fortunately, the weather forecast mainly predicts good weather.

Perhaps the wisest thing to do for a wine grower is to say like Catherine Papon Nouvel at Château Gaillard: “I don’t worry about the weather. If I did I’d be a nerve wreck. The weather isn’t my responsibility and I can do nothing about it. What I do worry about is what happens in the vineyard and in the wine cellar. That’s my responsibility!”

BKWine in print

If you’re curious to know a bit more about BKWine (and the story of how I created it) you should take a look at Sterling Airways’ in-flight magazine Sterling Magazine. In the latest issue they have an article on me called Living Abroad: Paris Uncorked

BKWine on radio

I was recently “subject to” (it almost felt like that) a radio appearance too. Lynn Krielow Chamberlain, “The Wine Fairy” ( on Wine and Dine Radio interviewed me about the upcoming Truffles, Foie Gras and Wine tour. You can listen to the interview here on Wine and Dine Radio. I explain about the tour, about truffles and some other things.

BKWine on TV

Or at least almost. We have started to experiment with videos: interviews with wine makers, vineyard visits and more. You can find the very first experiments on our YouTube Channel: More will come. (Don’t be too harsh on us. It’s our very first adventure into moving pictures. But we’d love to hear your feedback!)

Spring wine tours

Do take a look at the spring 2008 program below. Two exciting tours on the schedule at the moment. At the moment we’re almost constantly on the road (wine travel ‘oblige’). Therefore this Brief is a bit shorter. We’ll be back later in the autumn with the usual producer recommendations, restaurant and book reviews and more. Including of course new finds from our travel.


PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief or forward it to them !


QmP becomes Prädikatswein

The German quality designation Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, often shortened to QmP, changes name to Prädikatswein from August this year.


Mosel-Saar-Ruwer becomes Mosel

Short and efficient? The German wine district Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (named after the three rivers that flow through the district) changes name to Mosel. The new name should be used starting 2007.


Donauland changes name to Wagram in Austria

The Austrian Donauland has had to sub-districts: Wagram (2450 ha) and Klosterneuburg (350 ha). The whole region will now change name from Donauland to Wagram. Klosterneuburg will still as a sub-region – a grosslage.


One bottle of Grange sold for $51,000

At a recent auction in Australia a single bottle of Grange 1951 (previously called “Grange hermitage”) sold for the record price $51,000. It was two Grange collections that were up for sale at the same time. They fetched a total of $308,000.


Beaujolais Villages trials mechanical harvesting

The traditional harvest is by hand in Beaujolais but since 2004 it has been allowed to harvest by machine in AOC Beaujolais. This year a new experiment is launched to also use mechanical harvest for AOC Beaujolais Villages and Cru. Mechanical harvest is generally more cost effective and can produce at least as good results as manual harvest – if done properly. One difficulty is that vines trained in e.g. Gobelet (as is the tradition in Beaujolais) cannot be harvested with machine. The vines have to be “re-trained” in e.g. Guyot, which is not a small task.


New French Vin de Pays rejected by the EU

France recently created three new Vins de Pays: “de l’Atlantique”, “de Gaule” and “de France”. These have now been rejected by the agricultural commission at the EU. The reason is that, according to European rules, a Vin de Pays (and its name) should refer to a specific geographic place name and that this geographic area should be smaller than an entire country. None of the three new French VdP abide by these rule. France have now two months to argue its case. Wine Business International


The genome of the vine mapped

French and Italian researchers have mapped the full genome of the vine. It is the fourth plant after Arabidopsis, rice and poplar that has had its genetic fingerprint identified. The results were recently published in the scientific journal Nature. Le Figaro


New DOCG in Italy: Oltrepò Pavese

Oltrepò Pavese have been given DOCG-status (the highest rank for Italian wines) for its sparkling wines made from Pinot Noir grapes.


Mas de Martin vineyards, Languedoc, part 1

>> Monday, October 01, 2007

Mas de Martin vineyards, a tour of the vineyards, the soil and terroir, the winery, and interview with the owner and winemaker Christian Mocci. Saint Bauzille de Montmel, Languedoc, France. Language: French. By BKWine.


Crozes-Hermitage snapshot

040514-110-CRW_1046_JFRWith its 1430 ha it is the biggest appellation in the northern Rhône valley
- Annual production is 60,000 hl, 93% of which is red
- The appellation accounts for 50% of all wines from the northern Rhône
- Maximum yield is 45 hl/ha
- Grape varieties: Red Crozes is made from Syrah. The whites are primarily made from Marsanne but also Roussanne is permitted. - 40% of all wine is exported. The biggest market is the UK.


Provence snapshot

bc27-359-5948Provence in a few lines:
- Provence is the biggest producer of rosé wine. 42% of all French AOC rosé wine come from Provence
- Annual production is 140 million bottles: 84% rosé, 13% red, and 3% white
- Total vineyard plantings: 27,300 ha in the departements Var, Bouches-du-Rhône and Alpes-Maritimes.


Record harvest in Argentina

The 2007 grape harvest reached record levels – up 6.5% compared to last year. A substantial part of the grape production is used for grape juice rather than wine though.


Early harvest

Many wine regions will start the harvest exceptionally early this year, due to the warm weather early in spring. Champagne started harvesting on August 20. In Italy many regions are three weeks ahead of schedule and some started harvesting already by mid August. In Provence the harvest began on August 20, Alsace started on August 22, in Beaujolais the harvest began on August 25, 11 days earlier than last year, Burgundy on August 31, two weeks early... But quality wise the outcome is so far uncertain with some districts looking disappointing and others ready to produce excellent wine – according to this years unusual weather...


Giant winemaker Gallo changes importer in Sweden

One of the world’s largest wine producers, Gallo in California, has changed importer for the Swedish market. The will now be represented by Spendrups Vin instead of their previous importer, the government owned (but up for sale) V&S Vin & Sprit. Wine Business International


Wine sells – even sex?

But it is not only in South Africa where you sell wine with sex. In New York they try it too. Or perhaps it is the other way around: selling sex with wine? At Babeland, a shop for sex toys, they recently organised a wine tasting where the participants were offered to taste Seduction Cabernet, Foreplay Chardonnay and other wines. One of the organisers says to Decanter: “Wine and sexuality have one thing in common: people indulge in both, often don't have a clue what it's about, but like to appear as though they do”. They also organize something called Kinky Wine Tastings. We don’t want to know... Decanter

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