Opinion: The Other Side of Calamity

Back in January the threat of 100% tariffs on European wine sent waves of panic through the trade. The collapse of an important segment of the industry was a real possibility with small importers and distributors among the most likely casualties. Collateral businesses were at risk, too; bars, restaurants, retailers and the supply chain cohort […]

Swiss Grapes — The Twins: Gamaret & Garanoir

Whenever I think of Gamaret, I invariably think of its less assertive twin, Garanoir. And whenever my mind thinks in pairs like that, it invariably settles on the Silva sisters, Sheila and Sonja. The dreaded sisters were among my most formidable childhood antagonists and the first set of twins to enter my consciousness as classmates […]

The Women of Swiss Wine

By most accounts Switzerland is a pretty good place to be a woman. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) through its annual Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Switzerland ranked first with the fewest impediments to gender equality (8.1%) — ahead of next-in-line Denmark (10.4%) and third-place Sweden (10.5%). That’s pretty good company […]

The Wine Advocate’s Latest Swiss Foray

It’s like a national holiday in the Confederation when The Wine Advocate shows up with new reporting on the nation’s wines. I can attest: everyone in the business is on alert — social media accounts fire-up, graphics departments get busy creating shelf-talkers and every commentator worth their weight in chasselas opines on the results. The current issue […]

A Taster’s Notes: My Path to Minerality

On a warm summer morning in 1986 I found myself marking time in a stale smelling bar-tabac drinking bad French coffee while fingering the last crumbs from a buttery apricot tart. Back then this part of the northern Rhône valley was nearly as famous for apricots as it was for grapes. The local vineyards had not fully […]

The Awkward Members of the Gamay Family

When most people talk Gamay they mean Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc the celebrated grape of Beaujolais. And since the vast majority of the Beaujolais vineyards are planted to Gamay noir the discussion usually ends there. There’s not much need to mention the thirty-eight approved and hundreds of unapproved clones residing in nurseries around the […]

Wine Tariffs — The End Game

Mid-January 2020 looms large in the world of wine. That’s when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative closes the window on two public comment periods for the proposed 100% tariff on agricultural products emanating from the European Union, including wine. Most everyone in our business knows the story: Trump’s tariffs are in retaliation for […]

Profile: Clos de Tsampéhro (Flanthey, Valais)

It’s not exactly a secret garden — situated as it is mid-slope, in the middle of Valais — but Tsampéhro isn’t obvious either. From a distance it looks like any other vineyard along the Coteaux de Sierre, but upon closer inspection you might notice the low stone wall that surrounds it or the vibrant green, […]