Informed wine lovers know that Châteauneuf-du-Pape has 13 allowed grape varieties, but did you know that Rioja has 14? Most people have heard of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura. But how about Maturana Tinta, Tempranillo Blanco or Malvasia? Or what role does Sauvignon Blanc play in Rioja? Discover the 14 grape varieties of Rioja and their characteristics, both in the vineyard and in wine, and learn how some of these are Rioja’s secret weapon against climate change.”
Peter Arijs is the educational and global project manager for the DOCa Rioja. Peter holds a Ph.D. in engineering from Ghent University (Belgium) and has been working in wine education for several years. He obtained the WSET Diploma in 2020 with a distinction grade, for which he was awarded the Royal Tokaji Award. He is also a certified educator for the Spanish Wine Scholar program of Wine Scholar Guild.
Juan Carlos Sancha holds a Ph.D. in viticulture and oenology at the university of La Rioja, where he has been working as a researcher and professor oenology. Much of his research work and professional activities have been around the use of "minority varieties" in Rioja. Juan Carlos Sancha is the owner and winemaker of his eponymous bodega in Baños de Río Tobía in Rioja Alta, he acts as a consultant for various wineries in the region, and he is a member of different commissions at the DOCa Rioja control board.
Aligoté has been getting increasingly more attention in the last 10 years or so in Bourgogne by producers and drinkers alike due to a combination of factors, including climate change and massale selections.
This webinar will focus on Bourgogne’s ‘Second White Grape’ by delving into its history, attributes, viticulture, winemaking, appellations and producers before looking at Aligoté’s larger global presence and potential.
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.
Following studies in French and English literature, she changed career paths in 1998 when she left her teaching position at the Université de Nice to study wine at the BIVB (Bureau Interprofessionel des Vins de Bourgogne) in Beaune, France and the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse in France’s Rhône Valley.
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.
Riesling isn’t the first grape we think of when considering “international varieties.” Yet it thrives from the suntraps of Napa Valley to the cool valleys of the Antipodes.
In this WSG Live, we will briefly examine the origins of Riesling, trace its early spread through Germany, and then zero in on the surprising range of regions where it thrives today: Alsace, Austria, Luxembourg, Northern Italy, the U.S. West Coast, Michigan, and New York, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
With a focus on the terroir, traditions, and innovations that affect the style in each place, we will uncover what makes Riesling so well-suited to such a wild array of climates, soil types, trellising styles, and winemaking approaches.
Valerie Kathawala is a New York City-based writer specializing in the wines of Austria, Germany, South Tyrol, and Switzerland.
She is a lifelong student of German culture and language and has lived, studied, and worked in both Germany and Austria. Valerie holds a WSET advanced certification and has hands-on harvest and cellar experience in two of Riesling’s spiritual homelands: the Mosel and the Finger Lakes.
Valerie’s work appears in SevenFifty Daily, Pipette, Glug, Meininger’s Wine Business International, Pellicle, WineFolly, The Vintner Project, and more. She is co-founder and co-editor of the wine magazine Trink.
Have you ever tasted a Souvignier Gris, a Solaris or a Bronner? What about Regent, Cabernet Cortis or Rösler? These are just some of the disease-resistant varieties that have been bred over the last few decades from complex crossings of vitis vinifera cultivars with American sub-species such as vitis labrusca, vitis riparia or vitis rupestris.
What started as a crude exercise in creating new plant material in the wake of the turn-of-the-century phylloxera catastrophe has become a cutting-edge niche in wine production. Varieties are being developed that have resistance to cold, drought, or to common vine ailments such as downy mildew and botrytis. This has opened the door to a form of viticulture that requires almost no inputs apart from pruning.
Should we call these varieties hybrids or PIWIs or something else? And how is a hybrid different to a crossing or a “direct producer”? Does laboratory crossing of grape varieties overlap with gene-splicing, CRISPR9 or GMOs? Where are the boundary lines in these techniques and what do they mean for viticulture and wine in general?
We’ll talk about why winemakers from France, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and beyond are planting hybrids. Hybrids might just be the future in wine. So join me for this session if you want to stay ahead of the curve!
Simon J Woolf is an award-winning English author and wine writer, currently based in The Netherlands.
An acknowledged expert on the developing niche of natural wine, he's written for Decanter magazine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, World of Fine Wine and Noble Rot, and many other publications. Simon is the editor of The Morning Claret, an online wine magazine which specialises in natural, biodynamic, organic and orange wine.
Simon's first book "Amber Revolution - How the world learned to love orange wine" was published in 2018, and won the Roederer Wine book of the year award in 2019. Simon has also won numerous awards for his magazine features and online columns.
Simon travels regularly to countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal, where he continues to research the stories and traditions behind artisan winemaking. His second book, Foot Trodden, a collaboration with photographer and wine communicator Ryan Opaz, was published in October 2021. It is described as a journey deep into the soul of Portuguese wine.
Simon is also active as a presenter, editor, wine judge and translator.
Marselan started its commercial journey a mere thirty years ago, as an unknown cross useful in the fight against mildew. It has since won medals and trophies for Chinese wines and has been acclaimed as the new Chinese variety.
However, the variety is fast spreading around the world with producers needing to learn how the variety expresses itself in new terroirs and with different winemaking techniques. With such a short history, there is little inherited knowledge as to how this variety behaves and ages. With such diversity in style and quality, it is also a difficult variety to market, with suspicion in more conservative markets over its cross status.
We will be looking at examples from France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel, Lebanon, Uruguay and China to see what the potential is and where it is going.
Elizabeth Gabay has been in the wine trade for thirty years, and an MW since 1998. She has lived in South-East France since 2002. Elizabeth specialises in the wines of southern France and Central Europe with a particular interest in viticulture, climate change, winemaking and non-mainstream varieties. International judge and speaker, she writes for magazines such as Decanter, Meininger, The Drinks Business, The Buyer, Sevenfifty and GuildSomm. Author of "Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution" (2018) and a new e-guide "The Buyer's Guide to the Rosés of Southern France" (2021).
Gewurztraminer is a well-known grape variety that has a high potential for aromatic intensity, diversities of style, different expressions of terroir and a good potential for aging. Often described as being too powerful, too rich or too sweet, consumers and sommeliers need to challenge themselves, get out of their comfort zone and embrace the uniqueness of Gewurztraminer. Eric will take us on an exploration of this grape variety and where it is found around the world and also describe which types of foods best pair with this distinct varietal.
Eric Zwiebel MS is Cellar Master at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in Dorset. Born in Alsace, he began his wine career early on by helping his parents in their restaurant, before working as Sommelier in Paris for 5 Years
Following his experience in Paris, he decided to move to London to broaden his knowledge of the many different wine regions and take courses offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Two years later, in 2001, Eric achieved his MS qualification.
In 2004, he was named Best Sommelier of the UK, which he followed up with 3rd place at the Best Sommelier of Europe competitions in 2006 and 2008. He reached the finals in the Best Sommelier of the World competition in 2007 and placed 4th at the 2013 competition in Tokyo.
Rick's Pick: Miguel Torres discusses the winery's role in the fight against climate change discussion as well as the recovery and rediscovery of Spain’s lost indigenous grapes.
Over thirty years ago, Familia Torres embarked on an exciting project close to its heart: the recuperation of ancestral varieties which were believed extinct after the devastating phylloxera plague of the late 19th century. The idea was to recover the winemaking heritage of Catalonia, and thanks to the efforts of the family's fifth generation, the project is going stronger than ever! More than 50 varieties have been rediscovered so far, a few of which are very interesting from a winemaking perspective.
Miguel Torres, who is now heading these efforts, will share more about this amazing project and how it is also making a positive impact on climate change.
Miguel Torres Maczassek is fifth-generation and has been the General Manager of Familia Torres since 2012. Miguel started as Manager of the Jean Leon winery (Penedès), later at Familia Torres he oversaw the new ventures in Priorat, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Rueda and Rias Baixas and worked as General Manager of Miguel Torres Chile. Today, his primary focus is the production of wines from unique vineyards and historical estates, climate change and the recovery of ancestral varieties.
Italy’s wealth of grape varieties presents wine connoisseurs with many tantalizing prospects, particularly on the red wine spectrum. While Sangiovese and Nebbiolo still reign supreme, numerous grape varieties have re-emerged from hiding in recent years to spellbind wine lovers around the world. In Italy, the story of how some of these grapes transitioned from obscurity to fashionably cool can be just as compelling as the wines themselves. In many cases, the wines from these grapes are shining in a way they never have before, thanks to more informed decisions in the vineyard and winery.
Here are five up-and-coming Italian red grapes to pay attention to. While all of these grapes have been around for centuries, their resurgence has meant a quality revolution and increased interest from the international marketplace.