Whole cluster (or whole bunch) fermentation is the winemaking method of using whole grape clusters without destemming during vinification. It is one of the oldest winemaking methods though the introduction of modern destemming machines after World War II shifted winemaking, eliminating much of its use. However over the last 20 years, it has been making a comeback in Burgundy and beyond, though producers such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Domaine Dujac and Domaine des Lambrays have long used whole clusters in their wines.
Join us for Robin's webinar to discover how the process works, why producers might work with the technique or why some such as the late Henri Jayer are against it, where it tends to be used more within the Côte, how producers determine the percentages of whole clusters to use within their various wines and other whole cluster “alternatives” that some producers are also utilizing.
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.
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
Alsace vineyards are one of the most renowned vineyard in the world, but difficult to define because of its geological complexity and numerous grape varieties. Through the grape variety, we will look at taste profiles that come from different soil types.
Romain Iltis is a French sommelier from Alsace who has won multiple awards including Best Sommelier of France 2012, Master of Port 2008 and "Meilleur Ouvrier de France", a prestigious award which translates to Best Craftsman in France for Sommellerie in 2015. He is currently the wine director for the Lalique Group, which has 4 restaurants, including the Villa René Lalique, a 2-star Michelin restaurant.
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.
Do you know your Luberon from your Ventoux? What about Clairette de Die, the Rhône sparkling wine that's actually made of... Muscat?
In this WSG LIve, we'll look at all 8 of the so-called 'Other Rhône Appellations', a diverse collection that includes some of the largest - and smallest - appellations in France.
We'll look at the key facts about the terroir that makes each of these appellations unique. Additionally, Matt will describe the wine styles you're likely to encounter and offer some suggested producers making classic examples.
These satellite appellations might be lesser known than the more famous Crus such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape - but they produce nearly a quarter of all Rhône Valley AOC wine. If you're not yet familiar with them, this is a great chance to improve your understanding.
Matt Walls is a freelance wine writer, author and consultant who contributes to various UK and international publications such as Club Oenologique, timatkin.com and Decanter, where he is a contributing editor. He also helps restaurants develop exceptional wine lists, judges wine and food competitions and presents trade and consumer tastings and masterclasses. He is the Panel Chair for the Rhône at the Decanter World Wine Awards. He has recently returned to the UK after living near Avignon in southern France for two years researching his latest book Wines of the Rhône, which was shortlisted for the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2022. Previously he was a wine buyer and manager at London wine retailer The Sampler and Fine Wines Manager for wine shipper Mentzendorff.
The vintage chart and harvest reports provided by the Wine Scholar Guild gives you the ranking for every French wine region and vintage from 2000 to today.
Andrew Jefford, award-winning author and columnist in every issue of Decanter and World of Fine Wine, Co-Chair Decanter World Wine Awards; Vice-Chair Decanter Asia Wine Awards as well as Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor, gives us his insight about the 2020 vintage in France.
The COVID pandemic made 2020 difficult in France as elsewhere in the world, but France’s winegowers had every reason to feel a sense of relief and gratitude as the year ended. Their future prosperity depends on both the quantity and the quality of each year’s harvest. Every French wine region was satisfied with quantities in 2020 and thrilled with quality. Sales may have been difficult in 2020 with the restaurant trade in abeyance and export markets disrupted, but after the run of good to great French vintages since 2015, no one had cause to complain about stocks.
The French wine business evolved a lot over the last 20 years. Younger wine producers, younger consumers, and new technologies in communication and marketing opened up new ways of communicating with the consumers and marketing the wines.
Digitastings, alliances between winemakers and influencers, sophisticated use of social media, and even NFTs are the top subjects talked about at the moment. But wine producers wisely keep thinking about issues such as sustainability and climate change, adapting their packaging and communication to address those topics.
Evelyne Resnick is a wine researcher and author. She has over 25 years of experience in the wine business as the co-founder and managing partner of an international digital agency specializing in fine wines and spirits. She authored several books in French and English on international wine marketing. She shares her time between America and France. She holds a PhD from the Sorbonne (Paris, France).
The history of Bourgogne wines is the story of a very specific collaboration, which defines the concept of Terroir.
Join wine historian and Official Bourgogne Ambassador, Tanya Morning Star Darling to explore the Bourgogne region from the ancient, and dramatic geological events which created the soils, and Côtes, to the Romans, the Church, the Dukes, Napoleon, to the thousands of growers and producers that make up the diverse mosaic of wines that is Bourgogne.
Tanya Morning Star Darling is a full-time wine educator, and writer with nearly 3 decades of industry experience. Her school, Cellar Muse is the approved program provider for Wine Scholar Certifications (French, Italian, and Spanish) in the Seattle area. She is also a Certified Wine Educator, an approved WSET instructor for L1-L4 curriculums, an official Ambassador of Bourgogne Wines, the Official Educational Ambassador of Orvieto Wines, the Educational Chair on the board of the Alliance of Women in Washington Wine, and she is very proud to have recently become a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador!
Tanya is deeply interested in the why and how of wine. Through her undergraduate studies at the Sorbonne and New York University, coupled with her love of travel, Tanya became interested in history and cultural identity, which guides her work, and research.