• Soils for wine-growing


    Soil Wines GrowingTaken in its broadest sense, the notion of “soils for wine-growing”, often referred to as terroir, brings together several different factors: biological (choice of variety), geographical, climatic, geological and pedological (types of soil). Added to these are the human, historical and commercial aspects: for example, the existence of the port at Bordeaux and its commerce with Scandinavian countries encouraged the wine-growers of the 18th century to improve the quality of their wines.

    In the northern hemisphere the vine is cultivated between the latitudes of 35° and 50°; it therefore has to adapt to very different climates. However, the most northerly vineyards usually cultivate only white varieties,

  • Algerian Wine

    Algerian Wine History

    Algerian Wine LabelThe Algerian wine-making tradition is more than 2,000 years old and wine was exported to Rome for the courts of the Caesars. Moslem domination ended Algerian wine production but grapes were still grown as fresh fruit and for raisins.


    Current situation for Algerian wine

    Modern Algerian wine production started about 130 years ago with the first French settlers and the first vineyards were planted in 1865. As French vineyards were decimated by phylloxera, many growers moved to Algeria to start again, bringing with them their own regional varieties.

  • Brazilian Wines

       Brazil is still a relatively unknown wine-growing area and Brazilian wines are seldom encountered, yet despite this Brazil does produce good wines.

    Brazilian wine-growing dates back to the sixteenth century when Don Martin Afonso de Souza, envoy of the Portuguese king, Don Juan III, planted the first vines at Santos El Baballero Bras Cubas. These vines had been brought from the island of Madeira.

    The Portuguese also took vines to the north-east of Brazil and sold the wine to the Dutch who controlled that territory at the time. The arrival of Portuguese wine-growers from the Azores in the eighteenth century briefly created a new impetus in the Brazilian wine industry. Because the European varieties were too susceptible to disease, the Brazilians chose North American grapes such as Alexander, Isabella, Catawba, Concord, and Delaware which are all varieties of Vitis labrus. The results of these experiments were not uniformly successful and the arrival of German, Italian, and French immigrants in Brazil brought both better knowledge and vines.

    Brazil has three large wine-growing regions: Rio Grande del Sur, Nordeste, and Vale de Sao Francisco. Many of the grapes are still grown as dessert grapes that can be harvested three times each year because of the favourable climate. Slightly less than half of the grapes are destined for wine production.

    Only about 20 percent of Brazil's vines are of the better Vilis vinifera varieties, while the others are hybrids and North American varieties, which are used for industrial wine. Acceptable to very good wines are made from Vitis vinifera varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay, Moscato, Semillon, Trebbiano, and Sauvignon Blanc. Brazil's potential as a wineproducing country can be shown by the many foreign companies investing in the industry like Moét et Chandon, Mumm, Remy Martin, Martini & Rosso, Domecq, and Seagram. Increasing numbers of Japanese companies are also entering the fray. It is clear that Brazil will soon become one of the major South American wine producers.

    Wine quality is getting better year by year. The control of hygiene and grape quality has been increased and the present wines are remarkably pleasing.

     A new era is just beginning for Brazilian wine. For those who wish to try Brazilian wine for themselves the Vinicola Miolo of Vale dos Vinhedos at Porto Alegre can certainly be recommended. It is probably Brazil's best wine at the present time.

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  • Champagne - French Wine

        The Champagne district is the most northerly wine region of France, located some ninety miles northeast of Paris. The method of production for champagne is explainde here.

     Originally, the wines of Champagne were still. The cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvillers, a certain Pierre Pérignon (1639-1715), developed a system of blending, whereby the wines from different area in Champagne and made from different grape varieties, were blendend together. Although Dom Pérignon has been credited as being the inventor of sparkling Champagne, there is little real evidence to support this. There are claims that it was the English who put the sparke into imported Champagne wines, in the seventeenth century. On school of thought argues that warm weather caused the wine to undergo a secondary fermentation in the barrels in which it was exported.

  • Champagne & sparkling wines

       Putting the bubbles into wine can be done in several ways but only sparkling wines made in a certain region of narthern France can be called Champagne.

      The best way to produce sparkling wine is the 'Methode Traditionelle' , practised in Champagne and elsewhere. Base wines high in acidity and fermented to dryness are bottled and a small amount of sugar and yeast is then introduced to create a second fermentation. It is the second fermentation which creates carbon dioxide and thus the bubbles which give the wine its sprakle. As the carbon dioxide is unable to escape into the air it dissolves into the wine. The sediment, or less, left behind by the spent yeast stays in conctact with the wine until dégorgement, and imparts biscuity flavours and complexity.

      'Dégorgement' is the removal of the lees, in order to render the wine clear and bright. A process known as 'rémuge', which invols the twisting and turning of the bottles, slowly shifts the lees to the neck of the bottle. The necks of the bottles are then passed through a solution of freezing brine in order to freeze the first inch or so of wine now containing the lees. When the cap is removed, the pressure in the bottle forces out the ice pellet.

    sparklin wine To finish, the wine lost during 'dégorgement' is replaced by a mixture of wine and cane sugar, called the 'dosage' or 'Liquer d'Expedition'. The amount of sugar added has a bearing on the final style of the wine, for example a small amount of sugar is added for the dryish style of Brut while more is added for the quite sweet and sticky rich.

     A cheaper form of secondary fermentation can take place in closed tanks. Known as 'Cuve close', the wine is bottled under pressure so that it retains carbon dioxide. This method is generally reserved for less expensive fizz.

     Particular grape varieties are sought the world over. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir both have the attributes required to make great champagnes and sparkling wines. Although the best champagne may be a first choice for many as a 'desert island' bottle, there are plenty of fine sparkling wines around.

      Areas of England with chalky soil, combined with the country's cool climate, make it capabile of producing top-quality sparkling wine. Fruity and expressive sparklers come from riper fruit in countries such as Australia, USA, New Zealand and South Africa, while the favoured choice from Spain is Cava, a lighter sparkling wine made from indigenous grape varieties.

     Areas of England with chalky soil, combined with the country's cool climate, make it capabile of producing top-quality sparkling wine. Fruity and expressive sparklers come from riper fruit in countries such as Australia, USA, New Zealand and South Africa, while the favoured choice from Spain is Cava, a lighter sparkling wine made from indigenous grape varieties.

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  • Corsica - French Wine

    Two faces

    The grapes used for the first eight AC wines listed are the traditional varieties of Niellucciu, Sciacarello and Vermentinu, whilst Vermentinu, Nielluccio, Sciaccarello and Grenache are used for the generic Vins de Corse AC. The Vins de Pays wines are dominated by Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

    Corsica is divided in two areas in terms of its terroir. In the north (Bastia, Calvi, Corte, and Aleria) have complex soils of clay and chalk around Bastia (Patrimonio AC) and blue shale on the east coast, while the south (Porto, Ajaccio, Sartene, Bonifacio en Porto-Vecchio) consist entirely of igneous rock and granite. This dividing line is only a guide of course since there are countless mini-terroirs and micro climates to discover on the island.


    Grape varieties for a good French wine

    The three 'native' varieties of grape on Corsica are not actually entirely native. The names may be different but in reality two of the three are wellknownfrom elsewhere.



    The white Vermentinu grape, also known as Corsican Malvoisie, is a typical Mediterranean grape which is also cultivated in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, where it produces white wines of quality. This French wine are very floral, usually strong in alcohol, full-bodied, and with abundant taste but definite aftertaste of bitter almond and apple. In common with the Italian practice this grape is also often added to red grapes to make a fine rose, but also to enhance the flavour of red wine.



    This is a world-famous grape that is better-known under the name of 'Jupiter's Blood' or Tuscan Sangiovese. This French wine from this Niellucciu can be recognised by its nose of red fruit, violets, herbs, and sometimes apricot. When it is older it develops characteristic flavours of game, fur, and liquorice. The taste is worldly, fatty, and lithe. Niellucciu is particularly used to produce Patrimonio wines.



    Sciaccarello is also known locally as Sciaccarellu, which has a meaning akin to 'crackling'. These French vines thrive extremely well on granite soil, such as around Ajaccio. Sciaccarello wines are very refined and recognisable above all by the characteristic pepper taste and aroma.

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  • English Grapes

    English grape varieties

    Lamberhurst Wine EnglishThe English grapes used are excellent and it is generally agreed that the choice of grapes will play a major role in the future of English wine-making, though perhaps not everywhere. From a list of more than 35 varieties we identify the most popular types. These are Bacchus, Chardonnay, Dornfelder, Kerner, Kernling, Ortega, Pinot Noir, Regner, Siegerrebe, Triomphe d’ Alsace, Wrotham Pinot, and Wurzer. Bacchus is the most widely grown of these, accounting for more than 9% of the vines planted. Bacchus is a hybrid of Sylvaner, Riesling, and Müller-Thurgau that produces better wine than ordinary Müller-Thurgau. The best Bacchus wines stand out with their Muscat-like nose. Pinot Noir virtually never achieves full ripening here and is used mainly to produce lighter wines that are virtually rosés.

  • Galicia Spanish Wine

    The north west

    The following autonomies or areas are found in north-western Spain: Galicia, the Pals Vasco, Castilla y Leon, Asturias, and Cantabria. The latter two of these autonomies only produce vinos de mesa. The other areas can be split into their DO wine-growing areas.



    The climate of north west Spain is clearly influenced by the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean. The weather is much cooler, wetter, and more windy than the rest of the country. Daily life is clearly marked by the sea and fishing.

    This part of Spain is less typically Spanish, having more Celtic and Basque characteristics with little sign of the Castilian and Moorish invasion. The local dishes are inspired by the sea's harvest: fish and other seafood. The local Spanish wine is generally white, dry, fresh, and light, with the exception of a few red wines.

  • Greek wine growing

    Greek region wine

    Greek winesGreek wines fall into two market segments: the branded wines and those with the name of their place of origin. Large numbers of just about drinkable wines fall within the branded sector but also some very top quality wines. Greek wine-growers have an ideal climate for cultivating vines and making wine, especially close to the sea. Many different microclimates, combined with varying local soil conditions such as chalk and rock, and the different varieties of grapes used ensure different characters for the various wines. At present some 300 different types of grape are grown in Greece. Many of these are of French origin such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, but the majority are native and sometimes ancient varieties. The best known of them are Assyrtiko (Santorini, Sithonia, Athos) ,

    Vilana (Heraklion, Crete), Robola (Cephalonia), Savatiano (Attiki, Beotia, Euboea) , Giorgitiko (Nemea), Xinomavro (Naoussa, Amynteon, Goumenissa, Rapsani) , Mavrodaphne (Achaia, Cephalonia),Mandelaria (Paros, Rhodes, Heraklion Crete), Moschofilero (Mantinia), Muscat (Patras, Samos), and Rhoditis (Achaia, Anchialos, Macedonia, Thrace).

    Greek wine logoThe Greek regions, from north to south, are Thrace, Macedonia, Ipeiros, Thessalia, Central Greece, The Ionian islands (Eptanesos), Eastern Aegean islands, The Peloponnese, Cyclades islands, Dodecanese islands and Crete.

    Greek wines fall into two market segments: the branded wines and those with the name of their place of origin. The Greek landscape does not generally feature large mountains with a few exceptions but the country is naturally divided into smaller areas by small mountains and hills.

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  • Italian wine

        Italy has a million grape growers, hundreds of grape varieties, and an amazing number of wine regions and styles.

      Argyably, the country provides greater diversity than any other wine-producing nation. Native grape varieties are still Italy’s strength, but some notable success has also been achieved with international grape varieties, such as Chabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay.

     Italian wines tend to be best appreciated with food, This is a nation where regional food and wines are wnjoyed togetherm a natural evolution that has developed over centuries. Cultivation of the vine was introduced by both the Greeks and Italy ‘Oenotria’, land of the wine. Although Italy’s wine laws have come in for some criticism, they broadly follow the French model, with Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita being reserved for a few ‘top’ wines, which are subject to strict rules of control. Denominazione di Origine Controllata introduced in 1963, guarantees that the wine has been produced in the named vineyard area.

    Italy wine map Methods of production are also specified. The newst category is Indicazione Geographica Tipica, which mirrors the French Vin de Pays. The removal of restrictions had led to winemakers making the most of blending opportunities and at best, making truly exciting and innovative wines. Vino da Tavola or table wine represents not only the simplest wines, but also super-premium and expresive wine made from non-indigenous grape varieties, such as Sassicaia, a pioneering Cabernet produced in Tuscany, which was promoted to a special sub-zone status in the Bolgheri in 1994.

     Italy’s climate tends to be more consistent than northern France’s but there is quite a variation from north to south. The best grape varieties, in terms of the quality of the wines produced, are Nebbiolo which reaches its greatest heights in Barolo and Barbaresco, both of which are Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantitas and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This trio make up some of Tuscany’s most impressive wines.

    Best whites

     Veneto, home to Valpoliclla and Soave, is found in the north.

    Some of Italy’s best white wines are produced in Trentino and Friuli, in what is often referrend to as the varietal northeast. The south has made great stides in improving its wines, and evidence of success can be seen in wines such as Salice Salentino from Apulia.{jcomments on}

  • Somontano Spanish Wine

    Somontano wine and region

    Somontano Spanish wineSomontano is the most surprising part of Aragon for connoisseurs. The Spanish vineyards of Somontano are barely 31 miles (50 km) from the Pyrenees in the province of Huesca. These Spanish wines have been made here for many years for creative French wine traders. No- one had heard of Somontano thirty years ago but today the wines are to be found everywhere with quality ranging from honest and pleasing to superb. The wine-growers of Somontano are not held back by old-fashioned and stifling traditions in wine-making so that they try all manner of experiments. The terroir and climate of Somontano offer excellent prospects for the persistent among the Spanish wine-growers. The best results are achieved with a combination of traditional grape varieties and methods with newer varieties and modern vinification techniques.

  • South and Middle-East for American Wine

      The south west of the United States is not really suited to wine-growing with the exception of certain parts of Texas. But American derermination can overcome much and the odd place has been found here and there to grown vines after a long search.KN85T8SFFEJC

     The South and Middle-East region is enormous and the vineyards are spread widely. They lie between Denver in the centr of the United States, Columbia on the eastern seaboard, south to a line formed by Austin, New Orleans, and Orlando, and finally Florida.


    The first pioneers, but more particularly the first monks, planted the first vineyards in New Mexico. The territory now known as New Mexico and Texas was then part of the Spanish Empire. German immigrants introduced wine-growing to Missouri, Georgia, and Carolina in the nineteenth century. Other immigrants did the same in Arkansas. These vineyards, which combined European Vitis vinferawith many native and hybrid varieties, have never become well-known and their wines were all intended for local consumption.


    When wine-growing and making started to catch on in America in the 1960s and 1970s, the growers of South Carolina saw their opportunity. The area of vines in cultivation in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida has also been substantially extended and the cultivation and varieties improved during the past twenty years.

    The climate is not really favourable, for the summers are extremly hot and the winters severe. It is too dry in the north of the region but irrigation can work wonders. In the south on th other hand it is too wet but here growers seek out places that are sighted at higher levels, where it is more windy and drier. The extensive area has a number of official palces of origin or AVAs. These include Texas Hill Contry, Bell Mountain, Frederichsburg, and Escondido in Texas; New Mexico, Missouri, and Virginia. Although there are still many native and hybrid varieties grown in these area the houses that are really serios about wine are increasingly switching to Vitis vineferavarieties.


    There is on native grape thougt that springs a surprise: the Scuppernong, which makes a pleasing and very aromatic Muscat-like sweet wine in some of the southern states. All the other native and hybrid varieties are really only intended for local cosumption.

     The most widly used varieties of grape now are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Trebbiano, Chenin Blanc, and Colombard for white wines and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Zinfandel for wine reds. Although you will rarelly encounter these wines in Europe, the wines from Texas are worht discovering.

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  • The Netherlands Wine

    The Netherlands Wine

    the-netherlands-wineQuite a few small-scale Dutch growers in The Netherlands also make their own ‘wine’ just as the Belgian growers but much of that originates from grape extract or grapes grown under glass which falls outside the scope of this wine website.

    This The Netherlands wine that interests us is that made from grapes picked from genuine vineyards. The Netherlands has at least 100 small vineyards plus some ten larger professional scale vineyards of more than one hectare. A guild of vineyard proprietors has been in existence in The Netherlands for at least seven years. This fulfils a mainly advisory rather than controlling function.

  • Valais Wine Region

    Valais Swiss Wine Region

    Valais Vineyards The vineyards of Valais produce about 40% of all Swiss wine. Although Valais is world-renowned for its Pendant and Dole, the true wine connoisseur is attracted by the native grape varieties. Anyone who takes the time to discover the unique wines of Valais will fall in love for the rest of their life with this rugged but superbly beautiful area. Valais is at the foot of the Alps, spread along the high Rhone valley to either side of the town of Sion. The area is protected against excessive precipitation by the Alps to the north and south. Most vineyards are sited on terraces that jut out from the steep hills above the Rhone valley. Ingenious irrigation systems were established long ago to bring the necessary water to the terraces.

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