Analysis

Style and Regions

Fred Franzia, the Questionable Pillar of the US Wine Industry

Head of the fourth largest wine business in California, and its biggest landowner, Fred T Franzia, who died on September 13, aged 79, was a spectacularly divisive character. Robert Joseph considers both sides of the story.

Reading time: 10m

France's Top Wine Brands Woo US Consumers With More Affordable Wines

The producers of some of France’s most-valued wines also make very affordable négociant wines. Roger Morris updates their progress.

Reading time: 7m 30s

Champagne and Sparkling Wine – Booming US Sales

In 2021, thirsty US wine drinkers popped 69% more Champagne corks than the previous year. Some of that dramatic increase can be attributed to the impact of Covid on 2020, but sales are still growing and, as Sarah Philips McCartan reveals, France’s iconic fizz is not the only beneficiary of this trend.

Reading time: 5m

Alternative Packaging: Everything But Glass

Alternative packaging in the wine industry promotes climate benefits. What possibilities are there to replace the emission-intensive disposable glass? Vincent Messmer reports.

Reading time: 7m 30s

The Rise and Plateau of Hard Seltzers

Why is hard seltzer so successful with younger consumers? Sarah Phillips McCartan reports on a category that's no longer a novelty and considers what it means for the wine industry.

Reading time: 6m

The Masters of Wine Exam - Relevant to Non-MW-Students?

The Institute of Masters of Wine publishes the questions candidates for membership have had to answer in 2022 - and the wines they had to taste. Robert Joseph considers the exam, and whether wine professionals with no interest in becoming MWs might still benefit from giving it some thought.

Reading time: 3m 45s

Spain: Time for a Rethink in Rioja?

The Rioja classification system has tradition and determines marketing. Ever cheaper Reservas, however, are causing criticism and fueling doubts about the traditional model. David Schwarzwälder reports.

Reading time: 6m 30s

Penfolds goes French, following in some Illustrious Footsteps

Will Penfolds decision to launch super-premium French, Californian and French-Australian and California-Australia blends under its own label inspire others to follow its example? Robert Joseph reports. 

Reading time: 6 m

State of the Cape: Interview with Rico Basson and Maryna Calow

The South African wine industry had an especially tough time during the pandemic, with challenges including restrictions on exports as well as domestic sales. Rico Basson, managing director of Vinpro, a non-profit company that represents close to 2,600 South African wine producers, and Maryna Calow head of communications at Wines of South Africa, speak frankly about the industry today.

Reading time: 9m 50s

Terra (In)cognita - Douro Valley and Trás-os-Montes Region in Portugal

While classics are being reinterpreted on the Douro without losing sight of tradition, the neighbouring region of Trás-os-Montes is waking up from its slumber. Simon Werner reports.

Reading time: 6m 30s

Robotic Vehicles are Driving into the World’s Vineyards

California is catching up with Europe with driverless tractors, and ones that can multitask while running on renewable electricity. Roger Morris reports.

Reading time: 4m 15s

Prosecco: Walking a Tightrope - with a Net

The constant increase in demand poses major challenges for the guardians of Prosecco. The consortium must keep an eye on quality and protect the image. Veronika Crecelius reports.

Reading time: 5m 15s

Portugal’s Alentejo Rises to the Climate Challenge

Alentejo’s big sustainability efforts are starting to provide a competitive edge for wine producers who have obtained third-party certification from their WASP (Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Programme) membership. Barnaby Eales reports.

Reading time: 6m 45s 

Vladimir Putin and his Friends – Taking Control of Russian Wine

When he is not focusing his attention on his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president and his entourage take a particular interest in wine. Last year, laws allowing domestic wine to be described as shampanskoe on official labels while Champagne could only be called ‘sparkling wine’ hit the headlines. But, as Sergey Panov reveals, other moves have been far more significant.

Reading time: 8m 30​s​​​​​

Austria: Well Equipped to Face the Competition

Record export results, a large number of international visitors at VieVinum, and a superb 2021 vintage: Austria is brimming with lots of energy in the world wine market. Sascha Speicher reports.

Reading time: 2m 50s