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.

    • 3 Nov 2016

    Peter Weltman: The Oak Road: Understanding France’s Most Important Hardwood

    At a GuildSomm workshop at New York City’s Corkbuzz in 2013, Master Sommelier Laura Maniec led a blind tasting with seasoned and fledgling sommeliers. At one point, after pointing out our confusion of American and French oak once again, Maniec commented, “I find that sommeliers are so used to smelling ripe fruit and oak together that it is hard for them to distinguish a wine that has ripe fruit and no oak...
    • 17 Oct 2016

    Rod Phillips: The Myths of French Wine History

    Editor's note: For more on this subject, check out Rod Phillips’ new book, French Wine: A History. UC Press is graciously offering GuildSomm readers a discount. Order online using the code 16M4197 for 30% off. France occupies a special place in the world of wine. Only one wine is a household name globally, and it’s French: Champagne. There’s still a widespread belief that the best French wines...
    • 12 Oct 2016

    Guild of Sommeliers: Ampelography: The Art of Vine Identification

    By Tina Caputo Thanks to DNA testing, anyone can identify a mysterious vine simply by sending a sample off to the lab. But for Virginia-based vineyard consultant Lucie Morton, a world-renowned ampelographer, it’s still crucial to know how to distinguish vines the old-fashioned way: by sight and touch. It took Morton years to learn ampelography, a skill that few viticulturists in today’s high-tech world...
    • 4 Oct 2016

    Michael Meagher: Studying in the Margins: Pursuing the MS in Small Markets

    My path to the Master Sommelier Diploma ran through Boston. At the time, it was a nice restaurant city but a bit of a wine wilderness. People liked what they liked, but no one was too concerned about the details. When I passed the Advanced Exam, there were two other green pins in the city, and that was about it. As I started to prepare for the MS in earnest, I considered leaving my home city behind, lining up interviews...
    • 23 Sep 2016

    Miquel Hudin: Spain’s Great Grapes

    If there is one native Spanish grape that a typical wine drinker will know, it is Tempranillo, and for most consumers, the story ends there. In the second half of the 20th century, it was this widespread lack of recognition of Spain’s native grapes combined with the ease of growing French varieties that gave nonnative grapes inroads in Spain. Winemakers didn't want to explain Monastrell when people already knew...
    • 14 Sep 2016

    State of the Industry: Spotlight: Mexico City

    For a long time, fine dining in Mexico City meant fancy French restaurants. Restaurateurs would import big names from Europe for bumper fees; French wines became synonymous with good (and expensive) taste. But the local dining scene is undergoing steady change. Some of Mexico City’s most exciting restaurants are its cocina de autor , eateries owned and driven by Mexican chefs who trained overseas and returned to...
    • 6 Sep 2016

    Camille Berry: The Wines of Virginia

    Introduction The first recorded wine production in the United States took place in Virginia soon after the British established a colony there in 1607. Despite the historical achievement, however, the early years of winemaking in the region were rocky, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that Virginia’s winemakers truly caught their stride. Today, Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for wine grape production—not...
    • 22 Jul 2016

    Dana Farner: Five Fresh Ideas for Running a Tasting Group, Plus One Way to Go It Alone

    Blind tasting is, to the perception of the masses, the most exciting magic trick sommeliers perform. How many times have friends outside the industry brought you a glass of wine and demanded that you get to grape, region, and vintage on the spot? They believe in us and are fascinated by blind tasting—but few understand what it takes to get to this level. Whether you are studying for a Court of Master Sommeliers...
    • 11 Jul 2016

    Miquel Hudin: The Wines of the Croatian Coast

    In recent years, Croatia has shaken its image as a war-torn country crawling out from the disastrous breakup of former Yugoslavia, thanks in part to the touristic appeal of the blue-green Adriatic Sea. Following its independence, Croatia’s wine cellars were heavily privatized and modernized, and today, wine production in this country of only 4.5 million people rivals that of Canada. Even so, its wines continue to...
    • 23 Jun 2016

    Back and Forth: An Interview with The HoseMaster of Wine ™

    It is difficult not to write satire. -Juvenal, 1st Century Rome When I see a social media link to a new post from the HoseMaster of Wine —the alter ego of former sommelier Ron Washam—I always click. That's more than I can say for most wine blogs. My feelings on his writing are complicated: sometimes I think it merely fuels the fire of the disgruntled, but I also know it fills a critical void. As a profession...