When Peter F May visited Callaway Vineyards and Winery in 2002 it was the largest winery in in California’s Temecula Valley. Now under private ownership it is a small boutique operation hand making quality wines. Peter took a tour.
La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, France is a fun cultural centre celebrating all aspects of wine. Its permanent exhibition has superb state of the art interactive displays with translations into 10 languages via a small computer and headphones.
Dr Frank proved that classic vinifera wine grapes could succeed in the cold of north east America. 'Finger Lakes Wine and the Legacy of Dr Konstantin Frank' by Tom Russ is primarily the biography of Dr Frank, and his family from before his birth to after his death in 1985.
Sour Grapes is fast paced movie about a multi-million dollar scam in rare old wines, and how a tenacious band of wine lovers turned sleuths to reveal the truth. Peter F May watched in amazement aa people paying the price of a luxury car for one wine bottle didn't even 'kick the tyres'.
MJacquez is an old grape variety that few have heard of, but it has played an important role in at least three areas. Now DNA testing has revealed new information about its origins that may have a great impact on today's viticulture.
A river cruise from Budapest,Hungary to Amsterdam,Netherlands took Peter F May down the Rhine past the Mosel. He went along the Mosel to see some of the world's steepest vineyards and to taste the Riesling wines they produce.
What is Orange Wine? Or –– Orange is the new White! The choice has been red or white or pink, but increasingly now there’s a new colour to add to your palate’s palette. Peter F May gets to grip with a white wine that wants to be red and ends up orange!
What causes that smoky taste found in some wines? South African red wines are often noted as smoky by reviewers. The cause has been put down to local soils or winemaking practises. But the actual reason appears to be much simpler and, with hindsight, obvious. And it's avoidable.
How could the European grape variety Mission be planted and survive in the Americas when it's home to phylloxera? It was phylloxera on American vines taken to Europe in the late 1800s that destroyed Europe’s vineyards and then spread around the world.
After visiting the world's largest Norton plantings at Virginia's Chrysalis Vineyards in company of owner Jenni McCloud Peter F May tastes a range of Chrysalis wines at their just opened new tasting centre.
Peter F May visits the world's largest Norton plantings at Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia and meets its charismatic owner, Jenni McCloud. Jenni has a new tasting room and shares her vision for developing a complemenatry farm around the winery
Oak is the standard wood used for wine barrels, but winemakers are experimenting with alternatives, says Peter F May. Two wineries have discovered that by using certain woods they can avoid having to add sulphites to their wine.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is on Rhone river in the south of France, near the historic town of Avignon. Peter F May visited and was charmed by winemakers' shops in the old city. Luckily he had his credit card to hand.
Summer is when thoughts turn to wines neither red nor white but in-between. From the palest ethereal pink through deeper hues to almost red, or orange these wines look beautiful in the glass. They’re served chilled, like a white wine but have a bit more body to them.
When Jerry Rodrigues created a completely new grape variety named Cabernet Labrusco he took the pollen from an old vine planted in 1960. But discovering what variety it was turned out to be complicated so Jerry turned detective.
After twenty years Jerry Rodrigues drank the fruits of his long project. In his glass was the worlds first vintage of a brand new grape variety he named Cabernet Labrusco. He talked about his work to to Peter F May.
Austria's white Grüner Veltliner is becoming increaingly popular and Syrah-Shiraz has many fans. Peter F May was surprised to find they are related, learns about their parents, and tastes the very first varietal Dureza at a Masterclass presentd by the authors of Wine Grapes
Vines were dying throughout France and the malady called Phylloxera had spread across borders. Unless a remedy could be found there would be no more wine. The French Government advertised a large cash prize for solutions, and they received thousands. But how many were any use?
Rioja's classic elegant wines are currently out of fashion and are thus well-priced. Peter F May looks at Spain's most famout wine region, one of the few in the world where the word 'reserve' means something.
Choosing wines for his club's dinner dance, Peter F may suggested less mainsream wines with each one coming from a different country. The most popular wine turned out to be from California and it was variety few had previously encountered.
Champagne has such a hold on winemakers around the world that they use the same grapes to make their fizz. Peter F May explains why those three varieties came to be so important and questions whether they should be.
Visitors to a winery sometimes have the opportunity to purchase wines that are not available elsewhere. Peter F May took home 2008 Ridge Zinfandel Buchignani Ranch from Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs winery in Sonoma County, California.
Shadow Springs Vineyard in Hamptonville, North Carolina was a tobacco farm until new owners Chuck and Jamey Johnson started planting grapes in 2005. Peter F May visits to taste red wines, but one has a surprise ingredient.
With 75 wineries opening in a decade, bringing to total to more than 100, North Carolina is hoping to be as famous for its wine as it was for growing tobacco. Peter F May pays a visit to this exciting new wine region.
America’s most visited winery isn’t, as you’d expect, on the West Coast. Nor is it in New York, or Virginia. It is in North Carolina, but Peter F May was underwhelmed when he visited Biltmore Estate's Antler Hill winery in Asheville NC.
Taking a virtual world wine and food trip Peter F May recalls a serendipitous lunch in Southern France that taught him that a meal doesn't need meat. Article includes the recipe for ratatouille and wine suggestions.
Taking a virtual world wine and food trip Peter F May recalls the first time he had Austrian Gruner Veltiner and Wiener Schnitzel, and how it led to a major event in his life. As well as the schnitzel recipe are suggestions for alternative wines.
Chablis has 4,700 hectares (11,600 acres) of Chardonnay vineyards producing one of the worlds most famous white wines, yet many people haven't drunk the real thing. Peter F May went to the town of Chablis to taste and learn about Chablis.
Beaujolais is a compact wine region divided into ten wine appellations. Peter F may travelled the short distance from Ch de Pizay in Morgon to Domaine de la Madone in Fleurie and found despite their proximity the wines were distinctly different.
Chateau de Pizay is a magnificent historic estate in Beaujolais, France, that houses a luxury hotel, spa and gourmet restaurant. However Peter F May was more interested in tasting the delicious wines they grow and make at he chateau.
Little known outside America and generally looked down on by wine snobs, American vines play a valuable role in enabling wine to be made in regions not suitable for the European wine vine, Vitis Vinifera. Peter F May recommends 5 worthy of your attention.
Mateus Rosé is one of the world's most successful wine brand. On its iconic bottle is a picture of Mateus Palace. Peter F May visited the Palace in Portugal and found many riches but that bottle was not there.
Delheim is a pioneering family owned winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa. For many years they have had a well deserved reputation for quality wines but sixty years ago they would have gone bust had not a complaint led to its most famous wine which saved the winery.
Here's a wine guide for novices that won't go out of date. Peter F May reviews a book that helps novices find wines they'll like in supermarkets and then go on to find better quality wines with similar tastes.
When Georges Duboeuf was 18 he made a bicycle ride that would change his life, improve the lives of his neighbours and elevate the wines they made to be world famous. Peter F May reviews a charming book that tells how Beaujolais became the most recognised wine name after Champagne.
When buying wine you may be told that this wine was barrel fermented and that wine was barrel aged. Peter F May explains the difference and tells how cheap wines can get similar effects and what are giveaway words on the label.
The Italian sparkling wine Prosecco has quickly become very popular and even impacted sales of Champagne. But would you drink a cloudy Prosecco? Peter F May looks at Prosecco and admires the cunning coup played by Italy to own the Prosecco name.
Finding gifts for a wine lover is easy: there are many gadgets and an almost limitless choice of wines. But choosing a gift that the recipient will appreciate is a lot more difficult. Peter F May has some ideas.
St James Winery is one of the largest and most modern in Missouri and make a wide range of grape and fruit wines to suit all tastes. Peter F May visited to taste their Nortons and also fell for their sweet blackberry wine.
Adam Puchta and Sons Winery near Hermann, Missouri, make great Norton. Peter F May visited and met Tim Puchta, sixth generation owner of the oldest continuously owned family farm winery in the United States.
Robller Vineyards is a small family owned and operated wine estate just outside New Haven, on the south bank of the Missouri River between Washington and Hermann, Missouri. Peter F May visited to taste and learn about Missouri's State Grape -- Norton.
Les Bourgeois winery, Missouri, is located on the banks of the Missouri River where they grow Norton and other American and hybrid grapes. Peter F May went to taste their Norton and stayed for a delightful lunch at the cliff top bistro with stunning views along the Missouri.
In 'The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec' Ian Mount recounts 500 years of wine in Argentina, with emphasis on recent times and those responsible for changing a moribund industry and making an unfashionable grape variety a flagship for their country.
Alsace is France's northernmost wine region. Alsace wine bottles are tall and thin and look Germanic yet they are not alike in taste. Peter F May stayed in Alsace and considers its history, location and wines.
What could be more bucolic than picking grapes? A chance to get back to simpler times, admire beautiful scenery and maybe enjoy a glass or two of the previous vintage. So why did Peter F May decline this romantic opportunity?
Scavi & Ray is a new Prosecco brand with big ideas. They're targeting fashionable young women with single serving bottles with straws. Peter F May supped with the fashionistas when he attended a Fashion Week launch party in an up-market designer bar.
They’re the unappreciated wines ignored by most, they’re the varieties you’ve not heard of & those known only when grown elsewhere. Peter F May looks at the Chablis that isn’t Chardonnay, Burgundy’s other white grape, and California’s 5th most grown black wine grape that you’ve never ever heard of.
The first Sauvignon Blanc vines were planted in Marlborough on New Zealand's South Island in 1975. Within 10 years they were winning international acclaim and many now think of them as the standard for the variety. Peter F May looks at how an island thought too cold for vines became a world beater.
The second edition of Johnson's 'World Atlas of Wine' published in 1977 doesn't even mention New Zealand. Nowadays very few restaurants and wine shops don't carry its wines. Peter F May looks at how this remote island's wines gained world fame.
Virginia is the happening place in American winemaking, says Peter F May. Whether you're going to visit Virginia or want to get up-to-date with this most exciting of American wine regions, Richard Leahy's 'Beyond Jefferson's Vines' is an essential read.
There are more that 100 wineries and 400 vineyards in England. Peter F May visits a small boutique winery in Frithsden, close to London, and learned that mediaeval farmers knew what the owner discovered the hard way.
Wine is delicious on its own, but sometimes it is great to make a longer drink by adding orange juice or to sweeten with liqueur or peach puree. Peter F May looks at some wine based cocktails that have become world famous.
Wines described as Biodynamic are appearing on shelves but what does that really mean? Peter F May has a much better idea after reading Katherine Cole's short informative and enjoyable book Voodoo Vintners - Oregon's Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers
The glossary looks at that you that you might encounter at tastings and winery visits, including Lees, Killer Yeast, Malo MLF and Malolactic Fermentation, Meritage, Micro-oxygenation, and Natural Wine.
Wine, like many interests and business, has a language of its own. This growing glossary explains terms in common usage at tastings and winery visits. Peter F May explains the meanings of drip irrigation, dry, dryland farmed, en primeur, enzymes, futures, green harvest, guyot and hybrid.
A comic artist spends a year learning how to grow and make wine with a small artisanal wine farmer whose wines score 90+ Parker points. The result is this charming graphic book of naturalistic drawings, says Peter F May.
Wine, like many interests and business, has a language of its own. The following entry in our expanding glossary explains terms in common usage at tastings and winery visits from Cover Crops to Disgorgement
Wine, like many interests and business, has a language of its own. The following entry in our expanding glossary explains terms in common usage at tastings and winery visits from Claret to Cold Stabilisation.
In 'Would Jesus Drink?' Joel McDurmon takes to task those who interpret the bible as forbidding alcohol. Using bible references he demolishes the arguments of the prohibitionists and shows God wants man to enjoy wine, beer and strong spirits in moderation.
Wine, like many interests and business, has a language of its own. The following entry in our expanding glossary explains terms in common usage at tastings and winery visits from BIN to BRIX.
If you have any requests for explanations to be added to the glossary, please ask.
Glühwein is a favourite in winter, but as the 'wein' part of its name suggests, wine is its major ingredient. Peter F May shows how to make an version as close a possible to the real thing, without using any alcohol.
Visitors to Klein Constantia are asking for ‘the Fifty Shades wine’. The Fifty Shades trilogy isn't the first to mention Constantia's sweet wine. Dicken and Jane Austin also sang its praises, and it was a favourite of Kings and Emperors. Peter F May visited the winery to taste Vin de Constance.
Fifty Shades Freed brings a happy ending to the Trilogy. After looking at wines in the book, Peter F May considers wine choices throughout the Trilogy and suggests a menu for those wanting to host a Fifty Shades Dinner matching wines and foods most frequently enjoyed by Anastasia and Christian.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a publishing sensation and wines mentioned in it are getting attention from fans who want to eat and drink as well as read. Peter F May looks at wines and food featured in the book and proposes candidates where the author has not named the exact wine.
Jancis Robinson's long waited book on grape vines is out and it is huge covering 1400 grape varieties in 1300 pages. DNA evidence has revolutionised grape identification and this book has original research and the latest information. Peter F May has been enthralled with it.
New Clairvaux Vineyards in Vina, California, is owned by the Abbey of New Clairvaux which is the first Cistercian Monastery in the Americas to grow, vinify and bottle its own wine. Peter F May visited and tasted their wines.
Carbonic Maceration is a winemaking process used to produce fruity light red wines with little tannin. Peter F May learns what it means and what happens during Carbonic Maceration that from winemaker Josh Rude in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Cold Soak is a phrase you hear winemakers casually throw out but many wine lovers aren’t too clear about what it actually means. So Peter F May was keen to get the low down from Oregon winemaker Josh Rude.
Where do you keep your corkscrew? Chances are that it is tucked away in a drawer in the kitchen. La Flute is a new corkscrew designed with aesthetics in mind and it is meant to be put on display when not in use. But Peter F May queries whether looks are more important than function.
Even within the same grape variety there can be big differences in the wines produced that have nothing to do with how they were made or where the grapes were grown but how the vine has mutated over time. Peter F May experiences four different Pinot Noir clones in Oregon.
How would you choose wine if bottles didn't have labels? Surprisingly wine labels are fairly new. Peter F May looks at how they came about and why wineries started bottling their own wines and how we seem to be going back to old ways.
Visiting a winery to taste its wines is an increasingly popular pastime, but what are the ground rules, will you be expected to know all about wine and do you have to spit? Peter F May has been in more tasting rooms than he cares to remember.
Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913) was a nurseryman, grape vine breeder, author, holder of the Legion d’Honneur (France’s highest honour), and saviour of the world’s wines. Peter F May tells how a French delegation visited Denison, Texas, to beg Munson's help in saving the world's wines.
They say Steen is the name used in South Africa for Chenin Blanc in almost every article, news item and blog post about wine that you read. But that is just not true, says Peter F May. However the myth seems to be coming fact.
Phylloxera destroyed the words vineyards just over a hundred years ago. They all had to be replanted. The pest is as active today. Peter F May looks at the 'devastator' and how America gifted the world both the disease and its cure.
Mourvedre is also known as Mataro and it is a grape few wine drinkers had ever heard of but now it is becoming fashionable. Peter F May considers the variety known by the French as the 'Dog-Strangler'.
Sulphur has been used in winemaking for thousands of years but it is only recently that it has been blamed for causing headaches. Peter F May considers whether it is guilty and ponders on why it is only now that it is getting a bad reputation.
Will you be travelling to France? Few French wines name a grape variety on the label, and restaurants list wines by region rather than varietal. Peter F May's handy chart helps you find the red varieties you want when in France
They’re not exactly homonyms but they are wines and wine terms that sound alike and cause confusion, so if you want to know Pouilly Fumé from Pouilly Fuisse, Syrah from Petit Sirah and Variety from Varietal read on.
Wine can be confusing and when names look alike even the expert can be stumped. Here are some that are not exactly homonyms but they are wines and wine terms that sound alike and cause confusion, says Peter F May, so if you want to know Barbera from Barbaresco, Muscat from Muscadet, or Montepulciano
An American owned wine farm in South Africa with a reputation for the quality of its grapes is now producing its own wine which is served on American Airlines Business Class and a luxury cruise liner. Peter F May visited Silkbush Mountain Vineyards.
Herman and Agnes Seifried created the first vineyard and winery on the South Island of New Zealand. Peter F May met them at a tasting in his home town and heard how an Austrian boy met a New Zealander girl and made a pioneering winery together.
A traditional California grape variety fell out of fashion and almost vanished, then its fans went in to bat for it and showed it was of noble birth. Today Petite Sirah is riding high. Peter F May tells its story.
What your wine is closed with and what you think of corks, screwcaps and synthetics depends a lot on where you are. Peter F May has been looking at some recent surveys of American, Australian and British wine drinkers.
Grape vines can live for a hundred years - if they survive attacks from insects, viruses, and animals. And as grapes ripen the surrounding woods and hills are full of animal and birds who see them as dinner. Peter F May is just back from the front line.
When a widow in her seventies sells up, few travel 12,000 miles to start a brand new vineyard and winery in a new country. But Madam May de Lencquesaing is no ordinary woman. Peter F May visits her new estate and tastes her wines.
Broke the Grape's Joy is a heartwarming bitter-sweet novel of a middle-aged widow running an about-to-go broke St Emilion winery. Into her life comes an older man and a beautiful young girl. They will change her life but who can she trust?
Terroir is one of those wine terms that you come across as you get interested in the subject But getting a clear explanation of what it really means has been difficult -- until now. Peter F May has the official definition.
Australian Wine Walkabout is a charming readable account of Australian wine personalities and their wines, says Peter F May. Written by David Copp who has been in the wine business for fifty years, this is no text book but a conversational account based on Copp's visits downunder.
Mission Hill Winery in western Canada's Okanagan Valley was named 2011 Winery of the Year in the InterVin International Wine Awards. Peter F May was one of the 100,000 visitors who come very year to taste wine, admire its architecture and views.
I am a devotee of ice-wine. I love its unctuous sweetness while appreciating the difficulty under which it is produced and that because of its expense it must be a special occasion when I am drinking it. So how could I miss an ice-wine vineyard tour and tasting? Peter F May visits Inniskillin's Oka
Okanagan Valley in western Canada is home to around 200 wineries and some of the best of them are located on an Indian reservation. Peter F May visits the North America's only winery owned by aboriginal peoples.
All cork closures are not the same. Let Peter F May show you how to identify the type of cork in your wine bottle.
If nothing else it’ll help pass that time in a restaurant after opening the wine and your food arriving.
Ch Mouton-Rothschild is one of the five 'First Growths' of the Medoc and one of the worlds most famous, most desired and most expensive wines. Peter F May pays a visit and tastes a sample from the barrel.
You cannot talk about Bordeaux wines for long before there is a reference to the 1855 Classification. Peter F May lists the wines of the Medoc and Sauternes whose prices today are affected by a rating more than 150 years ago
Benziger Family Winery was one of the first in the USA to get Biodynamic Certification. The Boulard family has been growing grapes for more than 200 years and now Francis Boulard has converted to Biodynamic farming. Peter F May travels to California and Champagne to visit their vineyards
Domaine du Closel - Chateau des Vaults is a female run winery in Savennières in the Loire valley, France. Peter F May meets owner-winemaker Vicomtesse Evelyne de Pontbriand and learns why it is not necessary to name the grape variety on a wine label.
Sancerre is a town on the River Loire and the name of a wine region famous for some of France's best Sauvignon Blanc. Peter F May starts his Loire visit in the town of Sancerre and visits winemaker Henri Bourgeois.
Every year in April wine buyers and critics head to Bordeaux in France to taste and bid for wine that has not been made and will not be in bottle for another 18 – 24 months. Peter F May considers buying wine futures.
The best way to learn about wine is to experience as much as you can and to keep notes. Peter F May considers the ways and reviews The Wine Journal, a book in which to record your impressions of wines.
The Wild Vine – A Forgotten Grape and the Untold Story of American Wine by Todd Kliman tells the story of Norton, America's forgotten grape. Also known as Cynthiana, Norton was once an important variety. Peter F May was enthralled.
Master Sommelier Keith Goldston has a new online course 'Wine De-mystified: A Practical Guide'. Peter F May enrols to see if he can tell Claret from Bordeaux. There is a 40% discount on the cost of the course for readers of this article.
Mark Oldman’s exuberant ebullient new book -- Oldman's Brave New World of Wine –- aims to lead wine drinkers from their comfort zone and explore some less familiar wines that offer good value and great tasting experiences.
Can you imagine living in a country where you can’t buy a beer or get a glass of wine with your restaurant dinner? Peter F May reads Vivienne Sosnowski's fascinating tales of how California's grape growers and wineries survived during the fourteen terrible years of Prohibition.
What is the difference between an 'ice' wine and an 'ice wine', apart that the second will cost more than 100% more? Peter F May explains about some of the rarest and most expensive wines you can buy -- and their modern imitations.
With current air security arrangements we cannot carry liquids in our hand baggage yet fear bottles packed in our baggage may break or leak and wine will flood our bag.
Is The Wine Diaper the solution? Peter F May investigates.
Bordeaux wine region is the largest fine wine region in the world producing some of the most desirable collectable expensive wines at the same time as countless good drinking and reasonably priced quaffers. Peter F May considers Bordeaux.
Temperature and wine have an intimate relationship. The most misunderstood wine ‘fact’ is that red wine must be served at room temperature but temperature affects the final taste of wine long before it is poured. Peter F May investigates.
Wineries sometimes produce different batches of wine under the same label. If you read a review of a wine that impresses you enough to go out and buy it and you are disappointed when you taste the wine it may be because you have tasted a different wine. Peter F May explains why this happens.
Want a wine qualification with an impressive certificate to hang on your wall, yet don’t fancy book studying or taking examinations? All you need to qualify for certification by the Wine Century Club is to drink some wine.
"The Insider’s Guide to Champagne – Everything you should know about Champagne, but nobody tells you" is an eBook by Jiles Hanning who lives in the region and for ten years worked for Moet et Chandon at their head office. The book is reviewed by Peter F May
Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy made from the Prosecco grape but other regions and countries are growing Prosecco vines. Italy has claimed the word Prosecco for itself in a legal move that has implications for everyone. Peter F May investigates
Norton is a true American grape variety because it originated in America rather than being brought from Europe. And, rarely for a native American grape variety, it makes an excellent wine, says Peter F May
Glass wine bottles are so last century! The wine business wants to move to alternative packaging because its better for the planet and saves them money. And it seems the public are increasingly willing to pour wine from tins, plastic and cardboard. Peter F May investigates.
Having read in Sunday’s newspaper that the restaurant at Rust en Vrede winery had been judged third best in Africa and first for service at the same time as winning a wine tourism award we decided to head there for lunch and to see for ourselves.
Matching Food and Wine is not a science and it is very hard to make a mistake, but some foods more than others call out for a certain wine. Beef and a sturdy red wine is perfect marriage. Peter F May has some suggestions, and includes a white wine