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.

    • 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...
    • 10 Jun 2016

    Rebecca Fineman: An Overview of Israeli Wine

    Israel's winemaking history can be traced back thousands of years, but only recently have its wines attracted widespread attention. Still unfamiliar not only to most consumers but also to many sommeliers, Israel is becoming an important player in the wine world and deserves this newfound interest and respect. Religious Significance Wine is an integral part of the Jewish religion. The Hebrew Scriptures celebrate...
    • 1 Jun 2016

    Jamie Goode: The History and Science of Malolactic Fermentation

    The History Brad Webb with Ambassador Zellerbach Brad Webb had landed the dream job. It was 1956, and he’d just been appointed winemaker at a new winery, Hanzell, founded by James D. Zellerbach, the wealthy US ambassador to Italy. Zellerbach had spared no expense in pursuing his dream of making classically styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to rival the wines of Burgundy. Webb had at his disposal an array of shiny...
    • 6 May 2016

    State of the Industry: Spotlight: Sydney

    I have fond memories of living in Sydney in 2005 and 2006. Coming from England, the city’s lifestyle was eminently appealing. Runs from Bondi to Bronte for a dip in an ocean-filled pool etched into the cliffs. Long lunches, dominated by oversized sunnies and cold glasses of Chardonnay. Leaving the office with the sun still shining for happy hour bites at a street-side cafe, often with the glinting waters of one...