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.

    • 17 Feb 2017

    Christy Canterbury: How to Find Value in Burgundy

    Value is relative, especially in Burgundy. Wines from Burgundy are pricey, and there are no winds of change. Not even the relatively recent surge of the dollar helped. Understanding the Expense Why are these wines expensive? High demand and relative scarcity play a significant role. Burgundy’s wines are made in small quantities, mostly by wine domaines (93% of production) that are often very small and usually...
    • 8 Feb 2017

    Erin Brooks: So You Want to Be a Beverage Director?

    These days, you don’t have to subscribe to Decanter magazine to read about the wine business. Even the pages of Vogue boast articles glamorizing the work of beverage professionals. Yet while these portrayals have improved readers’ understanding of the industry, they leave something to be desired. Counting bottles until the wee hours of the morning is not what most people have in mind when they imagine the...
    • 26 Jan 2017

    State of the Industry: Spotlight: Detroit

    Detroit to us who live here means Metro Detroit, inclusive of the suburbs and townships within a couple hours’ drive. Maybe it even means Michigan, considering the wine-producing culture in our state’s northwestern and southwestern reaches. As someone who’s been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, I’m always very happy to come back to what dependably feels like “the real world,” the...
    • 20 Jan 2017

    Daniel Bjugstad: Irpinia: The Heart of Campania

    The region of Irpinia has no political lines to define, but culturally and geologically, it is distinct within Campania. Set off from the Mediterranean in the Apennine foothills, the DOCGs of Taurasi, Greco di Tufo, and Fiano di Avellino offer a treasure trove of indigenous grapes. The different geological and climatological factors of these regions have long been known by locals, but only now are their effects beginning...
    • 12 Jan 2017

    Fred Swan: What You Need to Know About Gin

    Juniper is the essence of gin, in both senses of the word: it is the defining feature and the primary flavoring agent. Gin has been with us for about 300 years, yet non-alcoholic beverages flavored with juniper go back thousands of years. The early use of juniper in beverages, typically in combination with other herbs, fruit, and sweeteners, had two aims. First, juniper’s strong flavor improved, or at least overshadowed...
    • 2 Jan 2017

    Richard Mendelson: Defining Napa: Shaping an Appellation

    Is there such a thing as terroir ? Professor Mark Matthews of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology says no. He argues in his new book that terroir is a myth, without any scientific basis. I have a different belief. Terroir exists, and Napa Valley is the perfect testament to its reality. I lay out the case in my new book, Appellation Napa Valley: Building and Protecting an American Treasure . I first learned...
    • 23 Dec 2016

    Eric Danch: Tokaj Part 2: Quality Over Quantity

    In the first installment , we looked at what first made Tokaj a classic wine region, why it nearly disappeared, and how it’s reemerging today in a relevant way. This article will focus on how a new generation is embracing the appellation’s history and pedigree while also improving farming and winemaking, adjusting to new wines laws, and aiming for high quality across the board. Tokaj, like the other 21 appellations...
    • 8 Dec 2016

    Eric Danch: Tokaj Part 1: Sweet Relevance

    Personally, I remember a similar situation in 1992 to 1993 when we were changing five percent of the area during the privatization. Today, we are changing eighty percent. At that time, we asked for twenty-five years of experience. Today, we have the twenty-five years of experience. Twenty-five years ago, we were only five persons working. Now we are hundreds. - Winemaker Samuel Tinon Hungarians are chronic storytellers...
    • 28 Nov 2016

    Jordan Mackay: The First Generation of American Amaro

    What is amaro? The best answer might be a paraphrase of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of pornography: you know it when you taste it. Amaro can be defined simply—it’s the Italian word for bitter (plural: amari)—but the category of bitter liqueurs it represents is vast and undefined. And it’s about to become an even bigger feature of our lives. The Birth of a Trend...
    • 19 Nov 2016

    Jane Lopes: Reconsidering Chianti Classico

    The world of wine is always in flux. A mere 60 years ago, locals in Chablis could ski down Les Clos in winter without touching a vine and Diamond Creek’s Gravelly Meadow was a barren hillside. In Tuscany, it was only 25 years ago that Poggio di Sotto produced their first wine. Changes in trends, discoveries of plots, development of new techniques, and shifts in philosophy happen all the time. As sommeliers, we have...