Features

The Guild of Sommeliers publishes several original feature articles, discussions and in-depth reports every month on a range of wine and beverage topics. Written by the trade and for the trade, this section is public content and free to read for all.

    • 21 Sep 2017

    Kelli White: Interview: Expats of Napa & Sonoma

    The sale of Napa’s Stagecoach Vineyard on Atlas Peak to Gallo raised more than a few eyebrows in April of 2017. The 1,300-acre estate and its 600 acres of vines sold for a staggering $180 million, with neither winery nor brand included in the deal. The transaction was significant on several levels, not the least of which the amount of high quality fruit it effectively pulled off the market. For young or less well...
    • 15 Sep 2017

    Jessica Dupuy: Savoring the Rhône Valley: The Flavors of an Iconic Region

    This past June, I spent an evening wandering around the medieval city of Avignon. At a friend’s suggestion, I made my way to Avenio, a small restaurant in the heart of the city serving Provençal cuisine. I was warmly greeted and promptly seated by a woman I would later find was the co-owner of the restaurant, Pauline Casamatta. I perused the menu of regional fare given a distinctive modern update, swooning...
    • 22 Aug 2017

    Kelli White: An Interview with Axel Borg of the UC Davis Library

    I have always loved libraries. As a child in Massachusetts, my mother would take me to our local branch on an almost weekly basis. We would spend hours there and leave with a stack of books each, along with VHS tapes, magazines, and, later, CDs. During most weekends, the library hosted children’s events—readings, puppet shows, and the like. While I giggled along with my three-foot contemporaries, my mother...
    • 2 Aug 2017

    Kelli White: Gods & Heroes: Xinomavro in Northern Greece

    Xinomavro is a difficult grape. It’s a challenge to grow, problematic in the cellar, and can be painful to taste. Until it isn’t. When the stars align and a talented winemaker is presented with great grapes and a beautiful vintage, the result is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s for this reason that aficionados liken Xinomavro to Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir. All three grapes have a rare ability to produce...
    • 21 Jul 2017

    Chris Tanghe: An Introduction to Prosecco

    A fast-growing category that is capturing the American palate, Prosecco is more than just an approachable sparkling quaffer. Prosecco sales grew 32% in 2016 over the previous year, helping elevate sparkling wine consumption 11% overall. A third of those who purchased Prosecco were buying a sparkling wine for the first time. Additionally, it was one of three top sellers for on-premise accounts, along with Sauvignon Blanc...
    • 11 Jul 2017

    Elaine Chukan Brown: Viticulture in a Marginal Climate

    With the return of interest in wines of freshness, energy, and more delicate presentation, interest in cool climate wines has also increased. Without a formal definition, the idea of cool climate gets applied generously to regions around the world. Climate classification systems based on growing degree days and mean temperature indexes provide only limited insight into the actual growing conditions of a region. Many regions...
    • 6 Jul 2017

    Lauren Mowery: Northern Piedmont's Renaissance

    The history of Alto Piemonte, or Northern Piedmont, reaches back 300 million years to when a super volcano rumbled, shuddered, and exploded with violence. This event created a unique geological site that would ultimately contribute to the varied expressions of Nebbiolo planted on top of it. The region’s modern story has unfolded with a series of events that are less dramatic yet still unequivocally influential...
    • 28 Jun 2017

    Fred Swan: Five Myths of Winemaking

    Despite thousands of years of winemaking history, we’re still refining our understanding of the myriad factors leading any given wine to taste and feel as it does. Arguably, no other consumer product has such variety or involves so many minute, often inscrutable, factors. A wine’s personality is influenced by geology, microbiology, chemistry, plant and human physiology, agronomy, entomology, geography, weather...
    • 15 Jun 2017

    Jane Lopes: Discovering Australia

    Ben Shewry moved from his home of New Zealand to Australia about 20 years ago. A young chef, he came to study, train, and learn. He was amazed by the flavors and textures of the native ingredients of Australia, and perplexed by the lack of interest Australians took in them. He became a great champion for these ingredients—fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices with names like lilly pilly, desert lime, quandong, lemon...
    • 25 May 2017

    Kelli White: Exploring British Columbia

    It’s natural to want to understand something new in terms of something known, to define A by its similarities to and differences from B . This is often especially true for emerging wine regions, where a direct comparison to a more established area provides a shortcut for consumer comprehension. Prior to my trip to the Okanagan Valley, I marveled at all the marketing materials that compared the region to Napa. In...