Cowichan Valley: The Coolest Wine Destination You’ve Likely Never Heard Of

The Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is probably best know for its prized, all-weather, Cowichan sweaters. The iconic images of whales, eagles, bear and snowflakes woven into a First Nation’s cultural motif make these wooly sweaters recognizable around the world. These days, the Cowichan Valley is building a reputation beyond its island knitters…

Orange Wine is a Must Try – Skin Contact Whites

Portugal has green, France begat pink, and Georgia gave us Orange. Whether that orange spectrum is closer to deep cognac amber, rich pomegranate red or honey blonde straw, multi-hued “skin-contact wine” – AKA Orange wine – is definitely grabbing its share of headlines. Orange wines may be all the rage but they can also be…

Ironstone Wines: California Dreamin’

After Pinot Noir, my next big red crush is the noble Cab Franc (/Chinon/Bourgueil/….). I love a herbaceous, savoury wine that I can chew and really ponder. When I booked my flight for the Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC16) in Lodi, I was ready for ripe, round, sun-drenched Central Valley fruit in the form of Zinfandel…

Lodi’s Ironstone Vineyards: A Storied Glass

Walt Disney was a pioneer, animator, theme park designer, and consummate entrepreneur. You might say he was a go-big-or-go-home kind of guy. Five hundred miles north of Walt’s Anaheim-based Disneyland, in the Central Valley of California, a young John Kautz watched the meteoric rise of the Disney brand and learned. Back in the 60’s, John…

Wine Bloggers Unite! – #WBC16

Lodi, California is a city nestled in the San Joaquin Valley, the wine equivalent of the bread basket of America. Known as the Central Valley, Lodi sits at the north end of a flat, fertile, produce-rich, 400 mile valley that runs through the centre of the state. But between the valley’s rep for mass market…

Hooked on Hunter Valley – Part 2

  After a glorious morning of tasting, we enjoy a lovely lunch at the Bimbadgen Winery. On the ridge below, half a dozen kangaroos lounge in the mid-afternoon heat, indifferent to our presence. I can’t get over the fact these creatures are everywhere – including between the rows of vines – and their  disinterest reminds…

Hooked on Hunter Valley

In my books, Hunter Valley Semillon from New South Wales Australia is liquid gold. It’s one of those quiet, under-stated whites that’s a poster child for cellaring. I tasted a 2007 Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon in wine class last year and it made quite an impression. We were studying “crisp racy whites” except the Semillon…

Waiheke – The Island of Wine

I’m en route wine region #4 here in stunning New Zealand. (I’m all out of adjectives to describe this country’s beauty….feel free to help. Also, region numbers are strictly based on my travel itinerary) To date I’ve been razor focused on the South Island’s viniferous offerings specifically from regions Waipara, Central Otago and Marlborough. Now…

Marlborough Country

We’re en route the Marlborough wine district via Kiwi Rail’s Coastal Express. The journey is celebrated as one of the jewels in New Zealand’s tourism crown. The utterly bucolic route takes us along the east coast of the South Island via a rugged sheep and cattle strewn tract of land. The train makes its way…

Sips from Central Otago

So, here’s the problem. I’m profoundly sad to be leaving Waipara and the good people I’ve met at Greystone in North Canterbury but my consolation prize is I’m going to Central Otago – easily one of the top five regions in the world for Pinot Noir and other cool climate grapes. I’ve flown from Christchurch…