The main vintage has started in Germany

The main vintage has started a little earlier than originally expected in many German wine-growing areas. The German Wine Institute (DWI) announced yesterday, the vines have experienced an enormous development spurt during the very sunny days in late August and early September.

Promising vintage 2019 expected

The ripeness of the grapes are ahead of the long-term average. The summer brought lots of sun and was rain-free. The grapes are still very healthy at present. The weather forecast predicts warm days and cool nights. This favors the formation of aroma in the grapes. In terms of quality, the German wine producers are looking forward to a promising vintage in 2019.

Among the first grape varieties that are harvested for the actual winemaking, include the precocious Müller-Thurgau or the Frühburgunder. Pinot Noir is currently being harvested for rosé and sparkling wine. The Riesling grapes, which dominate the Moselle, the Rheingau or the Middle Rhine region, generally mature a little longer, so that the main harvest of these varieties is expected later on in September.

Volume: presumably below nine million hectolitres

The heavy precipitation from last weekend has had a positive effect on dry vineyards and the juice content in the berries. Before, the grapes were still relatively small-berried due to a summer with little rainfall. In addition, sunburn damage to the grapes and regionally limited hailstorms have brought a slight yield-reducing effect. According to current estimates, the 2019 vintage is unlikely to reach the level of an average crop yield of around nine million hectoliters.

“The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” is recommended as one of the ten best Champagne books

Megan Starr, Travel Editor, Content Editor, and Marketing/SEO Specialist, based in Frankfurt, Germany has recommended The Ultimate Guide To Champagne as one of the ten best Champagne books to read.

“Liz Palmer’s The Ultimate Guide to Champagne is one of the best books available for those looking to learn everything about the world of Champagne. A perfect accessory for a beginner, it takes you through the history and makings of Champagne, from how to shop for it to how to store it. The book’s exquisite detail and the clear in-depth knowledge possessed by the author is easily transferred from writer to reader.

Hailing from (Toronto) Canada, the author has spent plenty of time traveling throughout the region getting to know the area in great detail that you would easily believe she spent her whole life living and working there.”

https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide-Champagne-Liz-Palmer/dp/0991894634

https://www.meganstarr.com/best-champagne-books/

Austrian Wine Harvest – Vintage 2019

Austrian winegrowers are looking forward to a good vintage with fully ripe grapes this year. Compared to the big harvest in 2018, an average volume of approximately 2.4 million hectolitres is expected. And after the record-breaking early harvest last year, picking will begin around Lake Neusiedl at the beginning of September. In other regions, the primary harvest will begin in mid-September’, states Johannes Schmuckenschlager, president of the Austrian Winegrowers’ Association.

No late frost damage
After a normal budding, late frost damage could be avoided once more this year, despite a few anxious nights. In contrast to the previous year, flowering took place about two weeks later – at the normal time. Excessive heat in June 2019 with record temperatures over 30°C then led to rapid progress of the vegetation. The dry and hot weather conditions also provided very healthy grapes; this dryness worked against the development of any fungal diseases during and after flowering. The very high temperatures around blossoming led, in some areas to a poor fruit set.

First drought, then relief

In the wine-growing regions of Burgenland and Krems, the heat brought severe drought stress in June and July. At the end of July, however, the onset of rainfall provided relief in most winegrowing regions. Occasionally there was also heavy precipitation in the form of downpours and thunderstorms, and some hail damage was recorded. At present, the vegetation is progressing due to the rainfall.

How does 2019 look?
The development of the vegetation cycle in 2019 points to a fully ripe vintage. Due to the arid stretch after flowering in June and July, the berries are on average a bit smaller, which is also an indicator that there will be some very aromatic wines. And because of the postponement of maturity to a normal, slightly cooler period, growers expect high sugar concentration but sufficient acidity as well. 2019 should offer very harmonious and nicely balanced wines.

All in all, it is quite likely that this year’s wines will have finesse and freshness on top of ripeness and opulent texture because there is plenty of acid backbone to go with the depth of fruit.

Fast facts for vintage 2019

Quality
-Very healthy, fully ripe grape material throughout the winegrowing regions of Austria
-Aromatic wines with good acid backbone, finesse and freshness expected

Harvest volume
-Approx. 2.4 million hectolitres expected
-Vegetation cycle

-Budding at the normal time, no late frost damage
-Hot June/July: rapid progress of vegetation, coloure in some instances; drought stress in most regions relieved by rainfall in late July
-Isolated hail damage

Australian Cabernet Sauvignon Insights

According to Wine-Searcher, Australia produces seven of the world’s top 10 value Cabernet Sauvignon. Based on wines with at least a 90-point rating + and dividing the rating by the wine’s price, Cabernet Sauvignon from Australian regions Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek and Margaret River out-performed wines from international competitors Napa Valley and Bordeaux.

This comes on top of Australia’s strong performance at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. Of the 27 gold medals awarded to Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia received the most with seven golds ahead of France and South Africa.

Gold medals awarded to Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards:

Australia 7
France 4
South Africa 4
Chile 3
China 3
USA 2
Italy 1
Romania 1
Bulgaria 1
Israel 1
Total 27

Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most planted grape variety?

According to IWSR, Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s largest selling variety with 163 million cases (9-liter case equivalents) sold across the globe in 2018. Cabernet Sauvignon is Australia’s second most planted red variety behind Shiraz.

In 2019, while the overall Australian grape-crush declined by 3 percent, the Cabernet Sauvignon crush increased by 3 percent to just over 250,000 tonnes and reflecting growing demand, the average purchase price of Cabernet increased by 14 percent to $846 per tonne. Reflecting the premium nature of Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 % of the Cabernet Sauvignon purchased by Australian wineries was at prices above $1500 per tonne (vs 7 % for all grapes).

Australian Cabernet Sauvignon is shipped to over 114 markets around the world, with China and the United States the two biggest export destinations with a combined 70 percent value share.

The premium status of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon is also evident in the latest export figures. Exports of Australian single variety Cabernet Sauvignon averaged A$6.71 per liter in 2018–19, well-above the total average for all red wines of A$4.54 per liter. Australian Cabernet Sauvignon was destined for 114 markets

According to IRI Worldwide, in 2018–19, sales of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon grew 6 % in value in the USA’s off-trade market, double the overall Cabernet market growth rate of 3 %. For Australia, the strongest growth is coming at US$8–14.99 per bottle and, albeit off a small base, above US$25 per bottle.

The Clones
Wine Australia is also investing in R & D into Cabernet Sauvignon. The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) is currently into the final year of a three-year project, ‘Cabernet Sauvignon trials to evaluate response to climate and management.’ Three field sites of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings will be established in contrasting climates and soils. Each will contain at least 10 Cabernet Sauvignon clones that will be selected in collaboration with the sector and monitored to ensure that vines are well-established.

In the future, clone performance will be evaluated via a range of parameters including vine phenology, vegetative and reproductive growth, water relations and berry traits. The construction of the trial will allow comparison between different clones at the same site and between the performance of each clone in different.

SARDI
https://pir.sa.gov.au/research/about_sardi

Wines Australia
https://www.wineaustralia.com/

Eight New Masters of Wine Announced

August 30th, 2019 The Institute of Masters of Wine announced eight new Masters of Wine. There are now 390 Masters of Wine, based in 30 countries.

The new members of the IMW include: Julien Boulard MW (PR China), Thomas Curtius MW (Germany), Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK), Lydia Harrison MW (UK), Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland), Christine Marsiglio MW (UK), Edward Ragg MW (PR China) and Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA).

The new MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine examination, recognized worldwide for its rigor and high standards.

The MW examination consists of three stages and culminates in the submission of a final research paper, an in-depth study on a wine-related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences.

In addition to passing the examination, all MWs are required to sign the MW code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity and to use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

There are 14 Masters of Wine in the ‘2019 vintage’, as Edouard Baijot MW (France), Nicholas Jackson MW (USA), Brendan Jansen MW (Australia), Jonas Röjerman MW (Sweden), Harriet Tindal MW (Ireland) and Jonas Tofterup MW (Spain) were announced as MWs in February. They will all be formally welcomed to the IMW at a ceremony in London later this year.

The 2019 crop shows the increasing internationalization of the IMW. The top six countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Here are the new Masters of Wine

Julien Boulard MW (PR China) – Born in Alsace, Julien arrived in China in 2003 after studying Mandarin at university. After completing a master’s degree in international affairs, he worked for five years for a wine importer in Nanning, before setting up his own company Zhulian Wines, specializing in wine education. Unsatisfied with solely mastering an exotic language, he started to study wine and became an accredited educator of the Bordeaux Wine School in China in 2008. He then passed the WSET Diploma in 2012 and embarked on the MW journey in 2013. His fluency in Mandarin, both spoken and written, his reputation on Chinese social media (Weibo and WeChat), his wine knowledge, as well as his experience as a wine educator, enabled him to become a key professional on the Chinese wine scene. He is a judge for various wine competitions in China and Hong Kong and writes sporadically when he manages to find time between teaching, tasting and daughter-caring.

Research paper: Exploring the potential of Marselan production in China.


Thomas Curtius MW (Germany)
– Thomas is primarily a specialist in PR, digital communications and business development. He studied communications and economics at the University of Mainz and started his business career as a TV journalist for n-tv, the first news television channel in Germany. Later he moved into the automotive industry and joined the PR department of a premium car manufacturer in Stuttgart, Germany. After various positions in the passenger car division, he took over responsibility for events, trade shows and digital communication within global truck, bus and van communications. He heads a dedicated team which develops and manages communications projects, trade shows and product presentations around the globe. Thomas has also been intensively involved in the wine business for more than two decades. He sees great advantage in bringing his expertise in strategy, change management and digital communication together with his knowledge in wine. He concluded his WSET Diploma in 2010 and is now also a member of the WSET International Alumni Advisory Board. He works as a consultant, teacher and lecturer. He judges in wine competitions, runs wine seminars and masterclasses for professionals and enthusiasts and writes articles spreading his passion for wine. When not traveling or developing new ideas and concepts in business, Thomas loves to run in the vineyards around his town or work in his garden.

Research paper: Current opportunities and threats for ProWein, Vinexpo, Vinitaly and London Wine Fair: An investigation into ProWein exhibitors’ attitudes towards European wine trade shows.

Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK) – Dominic is a partner at the London law firm Lewis Silkin where he specializes in intellectual property. He is both a solicitor and a trademark attorney and his practice focuses on brand protection, advertising and sport. He acts for a number of businesses in the drinks sector. His interest in wine was sparked by walking past Lay & Wheelers’ shop on the route to school. It was more reminiscent of an antiquarian bookshop than a retail store and the rows of unintelligible labels only added to the mystery. Love of the taste of wine followed and was reinforced by finding that wine had a tendency to be produced in some of the most beautiful parts of the world by interesting people. He followed the WSET route through to the Diploma. Then, setting himself the goal of either climbing Himalayan peaks or passing the MW, he took what he thought was the easier option! He lives in South West London, married with two children, and his other interests include music, traveling and mountains.

Research paper: The threats posed by government regulation to the sale of wine in the United Kingdom.

Lydia Harrison MW (UK) – Lydia was born and lives in London, where she enjoys the diversity of wines available. She started officially in the wine industry after university by joining Majestic Wine where she worked for six years, culminating in the position of senior manager of the Battersea branch. During this time she completed the WSET Level 3 and Diploma with distinction and was awarded several prizes for her exam results: trips to Jerez and the Douro which cemented her love for fortified wines, and the Vintners’ Scholarship for the highest mark in Diploma in the UK trade, which she used to tour New Zealand and its wine regions. She joined WSET School London in 2013 and teaches all levels of WSET wine qualifications, specialising in Bordeaux, fortified wines and tasting technique at Diploma level. She also organises an eclectic programme of evening tasting events and is a Bordeaux Ambassador for the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).

Research paper: Online wine education – comparing motivations, satisfactions and outcomes of online vs. classroom students.

Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland) – Heidi currently works in Helsinki as a wine ambassador for a Finnish wine importing company where her main tasks are on-trade wine education and portfolio development. At first, she studied theatre and drama research at university, yet after gaining her bachelor of arts she followed her bigger passion to work in hospitality and to learn more about wine. Before her current job she worked for 12 years on the restaurant floor, both in her native Finland and the UK. With her international work experience and knowledge gained from her success in national and international sommelier competitions she continues to help and mentor other professionals to develop themselves within the industry. Passionate and excited about food, wine and travel, Heidi is always looking at new opportunities to explore the world.

Research paper: A critical assessment of Finnish on-trade wine education – satisfaction levels and opportunities for development and improvement.

Christine Marsiglio MW (UK) – Christine is a Canadian residing in London, where she is a wine educator and program manager at WSET School London, and mum to a three-year-old and a one-year-old. She recently contributed to the development of materials for the newly released WSET Diploma and teaches all WSET levels. Before discovering her love of wine education, Christine was tastings executive at Decanter where she ran panel tastings and helped organize the Decanter World Wine Awards. During the course of her MW and WSET Diploma studies, Christine was awarded scholarships from the Family of Twelve, Freixenet, and the Derouet Jameson Memorial Foundation. She holds an MSc in oenology and viticulture from École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers, France, where her thesis focused on the early detection of Brettanomyces in wineries. She also holds a BSc in chemistry and biology from the University of Alberta in Canada. Christine is a keen long-distance runner, cook, and traveler.

Research paper: The sensory effects of different lactic acid bacteria on wine.

Edward Ragg MW (PR China) – Edward co-founded Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting in Beijing with his wife and partner Fongyee Walker MW in 2007. Having read English at Oxford University, Edward began blind-tasting at Cambridge whilst writing a Ph.D. on American poet and Burgundy tippler Wallace Stevens. A former captain and coach of the Cambridge blind-tasting team, Edward co-wrote and revises regularly the Cambridge University Guide to Blind-Tasting. He has also published widely in international wine magazines, literary journals and has authored three collections of poetry. Formerly a Professor at Tsinghua University (2007-2017), he completed his WSET Diploma in 2012 and began the MW study program in 2015. Together with Fongyee, he is the other authorized tutor of the WSET Diploma in mainland China. Edward also has judging experience, serving as a guest international judge for the McLaren Vale Wine Show (2012) and Perth Royal Wine Show (2019), as well as judging in Chinese competitions. He is keen to expand his international judging experience and also make wine in the future.

Research paper: Portfolio management strategies of major Chinese wine importers: an analysis of the evolving mainland Chinese import market 2008-2018.

Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA) – Gus has become a seasoned wine educator under the tutelage of Fongyee Walker MW and Edward Ragg MW, the co-founders of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting. He has combined his wine education resulting in an MSc in viticulture and enology from UC Davis, with practical winemaking experience at Napa Valley’s Cakebread Cellars, and hospitality and sales experience at the Hall Winery in Napa. Gus’ commitment to the academic field of wine is evidenced by his MW research paper about the sensory science of wine; and by co-authoring a review paper, A Quarter Century of Wine Pigment Discovery, published in the Journal of Food and Agriculture. Gus provides education and consulting services at Gus Zhu Wine Consulting. He works as an international consultant on wine education and is committed to sharing his knowledge as a certified educator for all levels of WSET qualifications in wines. Gus shares his expertise with global WSET Diploma candidates in the online classroom and as a guest lecturer at the Dragon Phoenix in Beijing and Napa Valley Wine Academy.

Research paper: The impact of acidity adjustments on the sensory perception of a Californian Chardonnay.