Profile: Steve Bettschen — Living the Phusis Life

When I slow down enough to glimpse the future of Swiss wine it’s almost always with a next generation winemaker in tow just returned from an apprenticeship abroad and flush with new ideas and important contacts. Some of them are excited for the opportunity to blaze a new path apart from the previous generation’s and some […]

The Hailstone Shield: Anathema to Organic and Biodynamic Vineyards?

Recently the Association National d’Etude et de Lutte contre les Fléaux Atmosphériques (ANELFA) announced the purchase and installation of 125 silver iodide generators in a no-holds-barred effort to thwart the occurrence of destructive hail storms in the vineyards of Burgundy. On the surface this would appear to be a wise investment but is there an ancillary cost?  At least one commentator thinks so. Wine-influencer Tom […]

Profile: La Maison du Moulin (Coinsins, La Côte, Vaud)

It’s three weeks into the new year and the weather is already historic—the coldest January in 30 years—and on this day it’s even colder with bone-numbing winds. Fortunately the family car is equipped with new snow tires, 4-wheel drive and GPS. All three are necessary with La Bise Noire in full fury and snow drifts obliterating […]

Opinion: Is It a Flower or a Root Day?

There isn’t much in social media, with the exception of international calamities and Donald Trump, to stir up the internet trolls as much as the subject of biodynamics. It’s as if the desire to improve soil health, the taste and quality of our food and how we interact with the earth is somehow a red […]

Heritage Grapes: A Return to Diversity

The 20th century trend toward monoculture and industrial farming has touched nearly all aspects of the agrarian economy including viticulture and the wine industry. Fortunately, the citations and figures below may represent a high water mark as the forces for agro-biodiversity gain momentum and start to chip away at these startling numbers. Out of around […]

Wine with Dinner: Randomly Chosen in August

The End of Summer Approaches Another month is in the books and new experiences are ready to share. The August round-up focuses on Geneva which I'm told I don't pay enough attention to. I actually do have plans to profile a couple of Geneva producers so please stay tuned. Later this month my profiles of […]

Profile: Domaine de la Maison Carrée (Auvernier, Neuchâtel)

  There is a very special quiet to a traditional wine village at rest. No people, no sounds, no stress and only meters from a past season’s slumbering wine. For me, it’s the perfect preparation for tasting. I call it calibrating the senses—listening carefully for the nuances of silence; focusing my eyesight on the smallest […]

The Return of a Bad, Bad Bug

After a one year hiatus the dreaded Drosophila Suzukii, or spotted-wing drosophila, is set to make a big return to Swiss vineyards in 2016. Early reports from Swiss cherry orchards are not encouraging with levels of drosophila infestation at the end of June matching the August highs from 2014, a particularly bad year (Agroscope Newsletter: […]

Wine with Dinner: Randomly Chosen in July

August is summer vacation month in Europe but there will be no let up on these pages. There’s always a lot of wine to taste, especially with the Weber grill at peak capacity, and wineries to visit. August will take me on a couple of excursions: first to Graubünden and Weinguts Donatsch and Adank in […]

In Memoriam: Jacques Granges 1946-2016

Jacques Granges the iconic Pied Piper of biodynamics in Switzerland is dead following a tragic accident in his beloved vineyards above Fully. Monsieur Granges was known as an uncompromising champion of sustainable agriculture, worked tirelessly to improve the health and vitality of his soils and was an advocate for clean, minimally processed food and wine. […]