A Second French Revolution: Château Guiraud’s Sweet Eco Manifesto

Xavier Planty and his son Luc Planty may not be direct descendants of the 16th century owners of Château Guiraud in Sauternes, but they definitely inherited their revolutionary spirit. In fact, if there’s one word that best describes the wine business modus operandi of the Planty family, it’s rebellious. Which is exactly how one might…

Digging into Bordeaux’s Green Movement

I’m back from Bordeaux. Yes, again. How many visits to Bordeaux in a year constitute an addiction? No need to answer; it’s a rhetorical question. But for the record, I’m up to three. Some of my friends are calling me a wannabe Bordelaise. I am happy to report that’s true. Disclosures aside, the focus of…

Wines that are Better for You & the Environment. Meet Canadian Environmental Steward – Ann Sperling of Southbrook Vineyards

“Prescience” comes from the Latin verb praescire, which means to know beforehand, to have foresight. Prescient organizations often have leaders who – as the brilliant Queen’s University marketing professor Ken Wong says – aren’t afraid of leadership. “They recognize the ultimate competitive value is to be the best you.” Needless to say, (I’m saying it…

Tasting the 2018 Bordeaux Futures: a palate-expanding experience

Tasting red wine en primeur is not for the faint of heart or faint of palate. Wine tasters participating in Bordeaux’s annual spring “futures” marathon go long and go hard. They must push themselves physically and mentally. Tasting schedules can be gruelling, demanding ~14 days of heavy lifting and one hundred plus Grands Crus Classé…

Canadians in Napa! Steve Matthiasson: Farmer, Viticulturist, Winemaker & Guardian of the Galaxy….aka Grape

The 2017 Matthiasson Rosé. Photo credit: Matthiasson Wines Did I happen to mention Steve Matthiasson, venerated winemaker, chief viticultural steward and all round humanitarian at Matthiasson Wines, grew up on my street in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA? It’s true. Napa’s guardian of the grape is indeed Canadian, spending his early years on Queenston Street, just around the…

Bordeaux’s Château de Reignac: a Case Study in Risk and Reward

If you’re of a certain vintage – or a student of advertising – you may be familiar with the seminal 1962 advertising campaign for Avis. The car rental company summed up their ‘customer promise’ in the pithy advertising tagline “We Try Harder”. Of course, consumers everywhere wondered try harder than whom? Without saying as much,…

Château Margaux in the Digital Age: There’s no Looking Back

Many years ago, before I started studying wine, I had an opportunity to drink a Château Margaux at an advertising client lunch. I declined, because I knew my associates would expect me to say something pithy about the wine, and the weight of that expectation was crippling. I could describe the colour, but after that,…

Bordeaux’s Château Cos d’Estournel: A Digital Future Guided by the Past

  “Is the wine as good as the architecture?” asked my professor-of-architecture friend when I sent him a photo of Bordeaux’s Château Cos d’Estournel. “And then some!” I say, as I attempt to absorb a lecture on “Saracenic style” – a mix of Indian, Islamic and classical architecture, a result of the British colonization of…