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Bellet – A small appellation in Provence

Bellet is the name of a small “Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée” i.e. viticultural area in Provence, just north of Nice and the planted area is only 60 hectares (150 acres). We recently spent a day winetasting, talking to local winemakers and learning about new (for us) grape varietals with historic roots in the area. And I found a Rosé wine from Domaine de Toasc that I liked a lot.

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Old World Winemaking: Stomping and Pressing

I have long had a dream to make a Late Harvest wine. Last year we had the right conditions to accomplish just that and on Halloween we finally harvested the last Viognier grapes. To soften the leathery skins we had to climb into the bins with rubber boots on (sanitized, no worries) and stomp as best we could, then left the bins covered in dry ice overnight. The following day it was time to press. Since this was a small lot we had decided to use a manual wooden basket press. How hard can it be to press 3 tons of grapes manually?

Written by Katarina

Wine Tasting in Sweden

Last weekend I visited Munskänkarna in Östersund, Sweden (yes the dots are supposed to be there, nothing wrong with your screen) to hold a tasting seminar at a wine fair with over 1,000 visitors. I was blown away by the knowledgeable group which is part of a 23,000 members strong Swedish non-profit association. The members go through rigorous classes in winetasting to distinguish between wines from all over the world. They do it for the fun and love of wine - they are not sommeliers or professionals, but beat many professionals with their professionalism. What a cool organization!

Written by Katarina at West Wines
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Weather During the Sonoma County Harvest

To farm is to worry they say. At least it is to be obsessed by weather. These days it is even worse since you can be obsessed not just with the real weather but you can live through a number of different virtual realities until the real weather hits. You can follow the weather forecast weeks in advance and see how the percentage chance for various outcomes change.

Written by Katarina at West Wines
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Dry Creek Valley Wine Harvest in Full Swing

Harvest is in full swing, you can see it, hear it, smell it, taste it and sense it. In the middle of the night the picking crews move through the vineyards with headlights like lightning bugs and close up you can see the reflection of light on the blades of the harvest knives.

Written by Katarina at West Wines
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