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.

    • 20 Apr 2017

    Matt Stamp: Inglenook of Napa Valley

    Undoubtedly there will be many things contained in these notes which will seem so much like self-evident truths that you may consider them commentary on my opinion of your judgment and perception, and for that reason I want to say, at the very first, anything included in these notes will be something I have found to be helpful to me… - Letter from John Daniel Jr. to his sister Suzanne, dated March 30, 1942 ...
    • 15 Apr 2017

    Back and Forth: Directions in Napa Winemaking

    In the time since I moved to Napa Valley nearly seven years ago, a great many things have changed. Shortly after my arrival, Robert Parker ended his decades-long tenure as the preeminent California wine critic and passed the reins to his then-heir apparent Antonio Galloni. A few years later, the pieces shuffled again when Parker sold a majority stake of The Wine Advocate , causing Galloni to start his own publication...
    • 6 Apr 2017

    Stacy Ladenburger: The White Wines of Friuli

    Tucked into the northeastern corner of Italy, Friuli is a land of green rolling hills and enchanting landscapes. In the 1990s, its Burgundian-style white wines were highly sought after in Europe and beyond, a popularity that has waned in more recent years. Today, the most-discussed wines are perhaps the orange wines made by pioneers like Radikon and Gravner. Unfortunately, the full spectrum of Friuli’s wines remains...
    • 31 Mar 2017

    Jessica Dupuy: New Zealand: Beyond Sauvignon Blanc

    New Zealand is a country of superlatives, from the towering mountain peaks of the Southern Alps on the South Island to its crystalline glacial lakes, vibrantly green hillsides, gin-clear streams, and breathtaking seaside views. Its culture is deeply woven into its history and the natural environment, and producers fervently protect what they cultivate and harvest from the land. Yet for all its unsurpassed beauty, this...
    • 22 Mar 2017

    Kelli White: The Evolution of American Oak

    It happens almost every time. American oak comes up in a conversation, and I see it: that subtle flinch, a pinch of the lips, maybe a cocked eyebrow. As a subject, American oak seems to be forever filed away under “things sommeliers know they hate.” And yet, this hypothetical person, our imagined skeptical sommelier, would likely never turn down a glass of López de Heredia, well-aged Grange, Ridge Monte...
    • 16 Mar 2017

    Romana Echensperger: German Sekt: The Next Big Thing

    For centuries, German vintners have made fantastic Riesling. Spätburgunder has been excellent for 25 years now. So, what’s next? Sekt has the potential to be the next big thing for German wine, but it still has a long road to travel. Germany’s Sparkling Wine History “There is, in fact, not a single wine establishment in all Champagne which is not under the control, more or less, of a native...
    • 1 Mar 2017

    Fred Swan: The Wines of Santa Barbara County

    Santa Barbara County is a wine region that established itself slowly, over time. Today, it is worthy of international attention for the great wines being produced by several generations of talented winemakers. In 1782, Junípero Serra ordered wine grapes planted at what would become Mission Santa Barbara in 1786. More vineyards followed, peaking at about 45 plots, 260 total acres, and 17 winemakers in the late...
    • 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...