In the episode I was in the vineyard with Alex Starey, winemaker at Keermont Vineyards, in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Keermont is located in a long narrow valley that is tucked between the Helderberg and the Stellenbosch Mountains. Right at the tope of his vineyards, near an open pool feeding from the local spring, we sat on a sunny mid-winter day to chat about this relatively new estate. Keermont was bought by current owners Mark and Monica Wraith in 2003. they originally planned to plant...
Published 11/25/22
Published 11/18/22
In this episode I chatted to Nic Van Aarde, winemaker at Oldenburg Vineyards in Banghoek, Stellenbosch, South Africa. You can hear all about the mystical Rondekop Hill, the centrepiece vineyards at the heart of this beautiful estate. We discussed the Grenache, each vine supported by a rock, against the ferocious wind, the Cabernet Sauvignon, with putting green grass between the rows of vines, the Stone Axe Shiraz and why the valley was called 'Scary Corner' by the Dutch settlers. Join us for...
Published 11/18/22
In this episode I was chatting to Christiana Von Arnim CEO of Warwick Estate in Stellenbosch and JD Pretorius, her winemaker. On a sunny, midwinter afternoon, we sat in the winery's garden to talk and taste their superb range of wines. It was a pleasure discovering their vision and plans for the future of the Warwick estate as well as how they preserve and maintain what was started by the iconic winemaker Norma Ratcliffe.
Published 11/02/22
In episode 52 we conclude a short visit to northern California, where I already spoke to Cathy Corison, Dave Gates from Ridge Vineyards and Rebekah Wineburg from Quintessa Estate. Bertus van Zyl, winemaker at Tank garage ( a cool converted Gas station), as well as James Cole Winery and his own project Belong Wine Co, which he started 5 years ago with his wife Alli. From Stellenbosch to California, through the eyes of Bertus.
Published 10/28/22
Can a bottle of wine change your life? If you are in a receptive mode, the stars are aligned for you and the right questions asked, Yes says Rebekah Wineburg, winemaker at Quintessa. In our latest episode she recalls such an encounter with a bottle of Ornellaia 1998 while having lunch in San Francisco, with her father. This bottle started her very own ‘Butterfly Effect’ that led her eventually to be at the helm of one of California’s premium estate, Quintessa.
Published 10/14/22
50 Episodes! In this milestone episode, I was chatting with Dave Gates, Head of Vineyard Operations and VP at Ridge Vineyards in Northern California. We discussed his interesting route into wine from his home farm in Central Minnesota, through agriculture in Southern California, to eventually Viticulture in UC Davis. Dave is now in his 34th year in Ridge and his encyclopaedic knowledge of vineyards, soils, climates, fruits and the wines they are able to produce is simply awe inspiring. I...
Published 09/23/22
In this episode, I chatted with a real Californian pioneer, Cathy Corison, of Cathy Corison Winery in Napa Valley. Cathy is a champion of Cabernet Sauvignon, who always managed to marry the qualities of power alongside elegance and finesse beautifully. Not an easy fit. You can hear about her early years as a young winemaker. She spoke of taking on complex and big operations, for which in hindsight, she is happy to admit, they (her and other 20-something-year-old winemakers of the time)...
Published 09/16/22
‘’If you include white grapes in a Rosé you can do longer maceration, you can get more texture, more concentration, more roundness, keeps the colour pale. Provence Rose is different, often because of that.’’ And that concisely is the whole secret according to Rosé Specialist Liz Gabay MW. In this conversation we discussed all things Rosé and her brand-new book about the Rosés of South of France. We covered grape varieties, various terroirs, countries, and regions hot on her list of exciting...
Published 08/25/22
A conversation with Alessio Inama from The Inama Winery in the Veneto region in North Eastern Italy. Listen to Alessio talking about the Soave Classico, a fantastic wine made from Garganega grapes that portray its Volcanic terroir beautifully. The wine’s journey from mediocracy in the 80’s to starring in wine lists in some of the world’s best restaurants is another subject of discussion. We hear him talk about the reds, all coming from a hilly region called Colli Berici, further east from...
Published 06/22/22
A long-awaited conversation with Jane Anson, the award winning author and commentator of all things Bordeaux. It was a pleasure to record this conversation as regular listeners to my podcast will know, I love hearing about the person as much as I enjoy discussing the wines. In the last 20 years, through her work for Decanter and later as an independent publisher, Jane is in many people’s eyes the authority on Bordeaux and rightly so. The veteran wine writer John Stimpfig has described her as...
Published 05/12/22
In this episode, the first recording in a vineyard for nearly two and a half years (!) , I was talking to Yuval Erlich from the small biodynamic vineyard of Harashim. The winery is located in the High mountains (850m)of the Western Galilee in Israel where Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are grown in complete harmony with the local natural forest and Garigue. Harashim winery is located in Mitspe Harashim (village), where the entire community lives...
Published 04/27/22
In this episode, I was talking with Sarah Pidgeon, assistant wine maker at Wynns, the historic Coonawarra Estate. We discussed her route into winemaking, What makes Coonawarra so unique and suitable to produce great Cabernet Sauvignon (and Shiraz!). Her line of wine under the V&A Lane label, the threat of global warming, whether other varieties can be introduced into Coonawarra, how their wines age over time and what she will be happy to drink on a desert island. Enjoy!
Published 03/03/22
In the Episode, I was chatting with Charles Lachaux from Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux, from Vosne-Romanee, about his untraditional viticulture and winemaking techniques, his wines, what In his view is the key ingredient every Pinot Noir should have. You can also hear his views over Pinot Noir from the rest of the world, his desert island wine choice and what he wishes for his wines to taste like in 30 years time.
Published 02/11/22
In this episode, I was chatting to Gordon Russell, winemaker for the last 34 years at the Esk Valley winery, in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. We naturally discussed his wines, including his Malbec based, legendary red wine, ‘’The Terraces’’ made from a field blend of Malbec-Merlot-Cabernet Franc from a one hectare sloping, terraced vineyard that is one of New Zealand’s most famous single plots...
Published 09/27/21
In this episode I had the pleasure of talking to Marta Galli from La Regose wine estate, located in the Valpolicella hills, just north of the city of Verona. I first tasted Le Ragose wines in 2014 and became a fan ever since. In this episode you can hear us talk about her Grandparents decision to move form the city to Le Ragose in 1969, in order for her Grandfather, Arnaldo, already an experienced Oenologist, to produce his own wines.
Published 09/02/21
In this episode, I was talking to Father and son team of Paul Cluver Senior and Junior about their Elgin vineyards and wines. It is a fascinating account filled with brave and visionary decisions and visions. Planting a vineyard against all professional advice, in times when South African wines were not exported in any volume and when there was no other vineyard planted anywhere in the valley.
Published 08/18/21
In this episode I was chatting with Yiannis Paraskevopoulous from Gaia Wines on the island of Santorini and the Nemea region in Greece about his personal journey into wine, making wines in Santorini, experimentation with ageing white wines on the sea floor, off the coast of the island, the main characteristics of Nemea as a region and Aghiorgitiko, its main grape. We discussed Assyrtiko and its qualities and heard about the latest from Yiannis, an orange Assyrtiko...
Published 07/22/21
In this live webinar, Cathy Van Zyl MW and I hosted Hannes Storm (Storm Wines) and Richard Kershaw MW (Richard Kershaw Wines) for a comprehensive discussion about the Pinot Noir wines of Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde in South Africa. We heard from them about the unique terroir in each zone, their choices of vineyard sites, clones, rootstock as well as the challenges, such as disease and pests (watch out for the Baboons!)
Published 06/11/21
Listen to my chat with Kate McIntyre MW from Moorooduc Estate, in the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. Kate was telling me about her parents’ decision to buy land and plant a vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula in the early 80’s. About the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir they’re making. Her way through wine and her long journey to become a master of Wine. Her inspirations from elsewhere in the world of wine and much more.
Published 06/04/21
In this episode (part2 of 2), Ben was able to address some question presented by some friends of the podcast and the Etna Wine School. Issues we covered: growing vines and making wines on an active volcano, the different aspects of the mountain and the micro climates, soil types, training methods... Pistachios, favourite food and wines pairings, global warming, sparkling wines of Etna and more. Press Play and enjoy !
Published 04/29/21
In this episode I was talking to Benjamin Spencer about the wines of Mount Etna, in Sicily, Italy. This is part 1 of 2, you can hear Ben telling us about his love affair with Sicily and Mount Etna in particular. The grapes and vineyards of the mountain. Nerello Mascelese, Caricante and much more...
Published 04/29/21
My original conversation with Anselme and Guillaume Selosse. My questions in English, answers are in French.
Published 04/19/21
An interview (in English) with one of the world’s most original and visionary winemakers, Anselme Selosse and his son Guillaume Selosse. We discussed his early days beside his father, the decisions that led him to move to biodynamic viticulture. A fascinating description of his wines from individual plots (lieu-dits) and his view of retirement.
Published 04/16/21
In this conversation I was talking with Cedric Mousse, from the Champagne of Mousse Fils in the village of Cuisles in the Vallee de la Marne. Mousse is a Meunier specialist with incredible terroir driven Champagne ( and a beautiful Ratafia too!) that has followers the world over.
Published 02/26/21