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A Taste from French Oak Wine Barrels

Tasting wine straight from the barrel is an interesting exercise. As a winemaker you do it often to see how your wine is progressing. Once a year, in March, we participate in the Barrel Weekend arranged by Wine Road and it is really fun to engage in conversation about the wine and its journey in the barrel and in the bottle with our visitors. The discussion ranges from taste and various barrels impact as well as time, which is an essential ingredient when getting to those sought after flavors in a mature wine.

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Raindrops are Finally Falling in Sonoma

We had no rain for 8 months. I really started worrying in January since it is a month when we usually get only a few glimpses of the sun after weeks and weeks of downpour. A couple of weeks ago we had not seen real rain since before summer.

Written by Katarina at West Wines
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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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