Mr Grumpy - Dinner party etiquette

OPINION: It is frustrating to take a special bottle to a dinner party and have the host murmur thanks before consigning the bottle to his or her wine cellar.

Bob Campbell

The late professor Émile Peynaud was not a fan of aerating wine by decanting it, claiming that the action of oxygen dissolved in a sound wine when ready to serve is usually detrimental.

 
The Big Dipper

Once a year, when capsicum prices bottom out (which means they’re at their freshest best) I make the Big Dipper, a kick-ass mix of red capsicum, cashew nuts, garlic and olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Bob's Blog: Back to the Future

An increasing number of winemakers are employing ancient winemaking techniques to produce wines with gustatory as well as historic merit.

 
Fizz Facts

Our annual Christmas Eve party put pressure on my modest stock of champagne flutes. I have about 30 champagne flutes of all different shapes and sizes. Six or seven glasses are identical while the rest are orphans.

Wine serving order

The general convention for serving order is dry before sweet, ordinary before fine, and young before old.

Bob's Blog: Predictions for 2021

Market research organisation Wine Intelligence looks into the future each year and makes quite specific predictions. They have scored a high hit rate in the past. Here are their five predictions for 2021.

  1.  Wine volumes will decline and spend per bottle will rise – though this may be largely due to rising alcohol taxes. Taxes on alcohol are a popular way for governments to re-charge the coffers drained by Covid-19. I would add that Australian wine producers will be seeking alternative markets after China, their biggest market, placed restrictive taxes on Australian wine. New Zealand is an obvious target.
  2. Alternative packaging formats will make serious inroads into the traditional glass bottle market. Bag-in-box and cans have a smaller carbon footprint than bottles, which could become a victim of measures to battle climate change.
  3. Wineries will forge more meaningful and lasting direct relationships with their consumer bases, but wine tourism will take a long time to recover. The pandemic has motivated producers to ramp up their online sales to good effect. The momentum is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace. Cellar door visitors will continue to be depleted until borders are opened.
  4. The surge in online retail usage will continue, and investment and growing competition will reshape the online channel and enhance delivery speed. Consumers have been encouraged to make purchases online. That is likely to continue as deliveries become faster and more efficient.
  5. The wine seltzer market will take off. Hard seltzer has tripled in the US over the past two years and is expected to continue.

Ditching premox - Bob's Blog

Premature oxidation (premox) is a scourge that has affected white Burgundy since the mid-90s. It needs to be distinguished from natural oxidation, which occurs in all wines over a long period.

Photo: Yealands.

Misha Wilkinson’s description of “pirouetting” through Covid-19 seems apt, given the industry’s need to stay on its toes throughout this pandemic.

There’s been something of a makeover in New Zealand vineyards in recent years, as the clean-cut look of sprayed rows and boundaries loses a little gloss.

At Boneline in Waipara, Paul Goodege ferments grapes grown on the fossils of dinosaurs, the bones of moa, and a landscape carved by a glacier.

Busy, busy, busy. The countdown is on for the first vintage of the new decade and the one thing we can guarantee is it will be the best of the decade - so far, of course.

The past year has been a momentous one for our sector. For me the past 12 months has been marked by two stand out events.

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