No one who has visited the classical vineyards of the Mosel, the Douro or Cote Rotie will ever forget the often dizzying experience of their steep slopes and tiny terraces – but these astonishing sites are also workplaces, too. What are these vineyards like to work? How profitable are they? Is the younger generation ‘heroic enough’ to follow their forbears up the steep paths? Should there be a ‘heroic surcharge’ on bottles of wine created in exceptionally difficult circumstances? Or do we have to let viticultural evolution unfold as it will? Many of the steep-slope vineyards of the past have disappeared and are not coming back. Listen to and engage with our panel as they tackle these and other questions in our Meeting of the Minds – Heroic Viticulture webinar.event.
Andrew Jefford will be joined by:
Paul Symington, Honorary President of the WSET and a long-term Douro resident. He joined the family port firm, Symington Family Estates (which today includes Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s, Cockburn’s and Quinta do Vesuvio, as well as Altano and Prats & Symington) in 1979, becoming joint managing director in 1988 and retiring in 2018. Symington Family Estates is today the leading vineyard owner in the Douro valley, with 26 quintas (farms) covering 2,255 ha (1,024 ha are under vine), most of them acquired during Paul’s tenure.
Caro Maurer MW was the first woman from the German-speaking world to have become a Master of Wine, which she did in 2011. A career journalist who has served as a foreign correspondent in both New York and LA, Caro now reports exclusively on wine from Bonn in Germany and writes for many publications including Feinschmecker and Decanter. She teaches for the WSET diploma course in Germany, Austria, Italy and Norway as well as tutoring and mentoring the MWs of the future.
Dani Landi (or Daniel Gómez Jiménez Landi, to give him his full name) was born to a family of vineyard owners and farmers in Méntrida, almost all of whom sold to local co-operatives. He began to work independently with his cousin, and then formed his own winery in 2012, and has since become one of the leading exponents of the distinctive old-vine, single-site, high-altitude Garnacha (and Albillo) wines of the Sierra de Gredos. He also works in partnership with Fernando Garcia on the wines of Comando G.
Join WSG Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford as he talks to Dermot Sugrue, the UK’s leading younger-generation winemaker. Wine produced in the UK (chiefly in England and Wales) is one of the great success stories of the C21: the UK now has 3,758 ha of vineyards and 197 wineries, plantings having quadrupled since 2000. The ‘Champagne triumvirate’ of varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) account for 82 per cent of plantings, and the similarities between the growing conditions in England and in Champagne are much remarked.
Dermot Sugrue was born in Ireland but moved to the UK in 1992. After a stint as winemaker at leading producer Nyetimber (with vineyards in Sussex, Hampshire and Kent), he became the winemaker for Wiston Estate in West Sussex and also created his own label, now named Sugrue South Downs. No other English winemaker has helped create so many award-winning wines or won so many awards (including Winery of the Year for Wiston in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022) as this irrepressible Irishman.
The vintage chart and harvest report provided by the Wine Scholar Guild give you the ranking for every French wine region and vintage from 2000 to today. The most recent vintage report is published two years following the vintage, i.e. the 2021 vintage report was published in 2023.
Andrew Jefford gives us his insight about the 2021 vintage in France. Andrew is an award-winning author and columnist of Decanter and World of Fine Wine, Co-Chair of Decanter World Wine Awards; Vice-Chair of Decanter Asia Wine Awards as well as Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor, gives us
The famous classifications of Bordeaux (discussed in our Meeting of the Minds webinar on June 22nd) are based on properties – privately owned land entities whose boundaries are subject to change. Of more significance to French wine as a whole, though, are the land classifications based on the notion of the cru or ‘growth’: an entity which rarely coincides, Bordeaux excepted, with private property boundaries and which thus might be considered a community asset.
Crus also function as terroir units, in effect – and yet their definition ranges widely depending on the region in question. In Burgundy, they coincide with climats and lieux-dits; in Champagne, they coincide with whole villages or communes; while in other regions (such as Languedoc and the Rhône) multi-village appellations are considered to be crus. Is this satisfactory – or a blemish in France’s wine administration? What, too, of the hierarchisation of crus into ‘Premier’ and ‘Grand’ – of colossal economic significance in Burgundy and Champagne, but much less so in Alsace, and actively discouraged by INAO in other regions.
Should Burgundy be regarded as a model for the rest of France, or might other regions be best advised to ‘keep it simple' and avoid the dangers of entrenched classification systems?
Joining Andrew Jefford to discuss these and other questions concerning classification are:
Robin Kick MW is originally from the Chicago area, Robin is a Master of Wine who is presently based in Lugano, Switzerland, where she works as an independent wine consultant, wine judge, journalist and educator. In the 20+ years of working in the wine business, she has held a number of different positions including wine auction specialist for Christie’s in Beverly Hills, California and fine wine buyer for a pre-eminent London-based wine merchant with an award-winning Burgundy list. In 2014, after many years of study and a successful dissertation on whole cluster fermentation in Pinot Noir from the Côte d’Or, she became a Master of Wine. Her main wine passions are Burgundy, Champagne, northern Italy, particularly Piedmont, Switzerland and Jerez.
Jon Bonné is one of the leading American voices on wine and food. He covers dining across the country and around the globe, including for Resy and American Express, and spent nearly a decade as the wine editor and chief wine critic of The San Francisco Chronicle, where he co-edited its award-winning Food & Wine section. He also has served as the lifestyle editor and wine columnist for MSNBC, the U.S. columnist for Decanter magazine, and the wine consultant for JetBlue Airways. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Roederer Award for wine writing — the most ever won by an American — and has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation nearly a dozen times. Bonné is also the author of The New California Wine (2013), The New Wine Rules (2017), and has spent the past eight years completing his next book, The New French Wine, due out in spring 2023.
Charles Curtis MW is an author, journalist, and consultant. He is the former Head of Wine for Christie’s auction house in both Asia and the Americas. He joined Christie’s in 2008 from Moet Hennessy USA, where he was Director of Wine and Spirit Education. In 2012 he set up his fine wine consultancy WineAlpha to provide advice on varied topics of interest to wine collectors and the trade. His first book, The Original Grand Crus of Burgundy, was released in 2014, and the second, Vintage Champagne 1899 – 2019 in 2020. He is a board member of the Institute of Masters of Wine, North America and the Appraiser’s Association of America, and is a frequent contributor to Decanter magazine and other publications. He began his professional career as a chef, training at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and apprenticing there at the Crillon Hotel and at other restaurants. He hung up his toque at the age of thirty to pursue a career in wine.
Join WSG Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford as he talks to Laura Catena, Managing Director of Catena Zapata, one of contemporary Argentina’s most celebrated and innovative wine-creating companies.
Laura’s initial ambition was to help people – hence her medical studies and her continuing work as an emergency and paediatric physician in San Francisco. From the mid-1990s, though, the energetic and dynamic Laura has combined her medical career with driving the family wine business forward in partnership with her father Nicolas Catena Zapata.
She has been a leading figure in Argentinian wines’ move to ever-higher vineyards, and its search for single-site, terroir-expressive wines. She is a leading voice, too, in arguing that it is time to move beyond conventional Old World/New World thinking towards a wine scene in which each hemisphere is accorded parity of status -- so that expressive differences between the world's wine regions can be better explored, enjoyed and celebrated.
WSG Membership Manager Mary Kirk welcomes Andrew Jefford, WSG’s Academic Advisor and one of the world’s finest wine writers to discuss the release of his new book “Drinking with the Valkyries”.
Andrew also leads the WSG Confidential events, hosting and interviewing personalities in the wine world, but this time the tables are turned and you will have an opportunity to learn a bit more about Andrew: his story, his thoughts and his writings.
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to listen and ask questions to Andrew, a very thoughtful and distinguished wine writer who is also part of the WSG family!
As a member of the Wine Scholar Guild, enjoy an exclusive discount on Andrew's book here.
Join WSG Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford as he welcomes Elaine Chukan Brown, Executive Editor US for JancisRobinson.com for a passionate discussion about her life, her career and what lies ahead!
Elaine Chukan Brown serves as Executive Editor US for JancisRobinson.com, and is a James Beard nominee in Journalism. Brown is responsible for reporting on the California wine scene and expanding the site’s coverage of U.S. wineries and sustainability topics, as well as climate action and social responsibility in the context of wine. In 2020/1 IWSC and VinItaly awarded Brown Wine Communicator of the Year, and The Hue Society named them the Legend in Wine Education.
In 2022, WINWSA in China listed Brown as one of the 50 most Influential Women in Wine. Brown also leads seminars and does public speaking on wine, personal empowerment, and social justice and has done so in countries around the world. Prior to their career in wine, Brown was an academic philosopher, but first, they were a commercial salmon fisherman running their own business in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
WSG Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford welcomes Gigondas appellation President and leading winegrower Louis Barruol of Chateau de Saint Cosme to the latest in our Wine Scholar Guild Live series: an hour of discussion with leading figures in today's wine world. In addition to his groundbreaking work in Gigondas, Louis also knows the length of the Rhone very well via his 'St Cosme' micro-negociant wines -- and he has partnered with Rick Rainey and Justin Boyette to create Forge Cellars in New York State's Finger Lakes region.
Don't miss the chance to listen to the views of one of France's most thoughtful, provocative and internationally minded winegrowers!
Louis Barruol is the descendant of a family of wine growers who has made wine since 1490. After spending his childhood in Gigondas, he graduated in Economy and Agro-economy at the Universities of Montpellier and Paris. He took over the family property Château de Saint Cosme in Gigondas in 1992, aged 23. He then launched a negociant business called « Saint Cosme » in 1997 and began to develop partnerships with other growers all over the Rhone valley, especially the Northern Rhone.
In 2011 he created Forge Cellars on Seneca Lake in the Fingers Lakes region of New York State with friend Rick Rainey: they began to plant vineyards, build a cellar, vinify and explore the potential of hundreds of plots. This work continues. In 2019, Louis bought the Château de Rouanne in Vinsobres, southern Rhone: an extraordinary 136-acre property located on the best slope of the appellation. He has been President of the Gigondas appellation since 2017.
Louis played a lot of competitive rugby and he plays the cello. He is married to Cherry and they have three children: James, Jenny and Alix.
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