“Stories of Regeneration”– My Article for #WWC22 on Regenerative Ag Up at Jancis Robinson


UPDATE 9/9/22: I made the shortlist! To determine the Reader’s Prize, you can vote for up to three entries from now  until Wednesday, September 21 9am UK time. It’s easy: you can can find the link to vote and the shortlist here. 

The young foster dog “Lupine” was restless. I’d just finished a 90 minute conversation with Ventura County fifth generation farmer Phil McGrath, a statewide leader in regenerative farming, or as he likes to think of it, successional farming, meaning farming in a way that considers successive generations. So begins my submission to the Jancis Robinson Wine Writing Contest 2022 edition which you can read here. It includes a far reaching range of regenerative stories including Burning Man artist Valerie Mallory, Champagne’s Vincent Charlot, Italy’s Antonella Manuli, and Oregon’s Troon.  

Last year I wrote one of 136 essays on the subject of old vines entered in Jancis Robinson’s annual wine writing competition. About half were selected for publication, and  I made the cut in 2021 when my article about old vines was selected to be published at Jancis Robinson. That article “Meet Magdalena” features the organic Zinstar vineyard at Lucas in Lodi. 

This year’s competition is inspired by the Regenerative Viticulture Foundation, and we were tasked with writing “An account of regeneration in the wine world, whether of a vineyard, a soil, a winery, a person, a family, a community, a business – anything in the world of wine involving genuine renewal.” Continue reading

Celebrating Organic Pinot Noir from Sta Rita Hills: Au Bon Climat, J. Dirt, The Ojai Vineyard, Sea Smoke

3 Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir paired with smoked chicken, roasted vegetables, salad

In Sideways, Miles famously celebrates Santa Barbara County’s Pinot Noir. Like Miles, I’m a fan of the region’s Pinot Noir, and I find the wines from the Sta Rita Hills exceptionally fabulous. Since I’m writing about several organic Pinot Noir for the next edition of Slow Wine Guide, Continue reading

A Summer Harvest and A Visit to Santa Ynez Valley’s Beautiful Biodynamic Demetria #WinePW

3 biodynamic wines from Demetria with a farm basket of organic fruits and vegetables

Wine country around the world is wonderfully scenic. Santa Barbara County, known around the world for its beauty, proves the rule, even during a drought year making the state truly “golden.” We were reminded of this during recent visits to Santa Ynez Valley: from the drive along the Pacific, to the climb up from Santa Barbara over San Marcos pass, and down the other side toward Lake Cachuma, an eerily empty reservoir following a history making absence of rainfall in 2022. 

On any road trip, some times you go with the flow, sometimes you trust your gut. In 2021, when I asked Lisa Stoll of Explore Wines Tour company about wineries she would recommend I include in Slow Wine Guide, she suggested Demetria: practicing biodynamic, great wines, and a beautiful locale Continue reading

Chardonnay Blanc de Blanc: Ivaldi’s Andrea DOCG Alta Langa #ItalianFWT

Italy is a land full of fascinating and unusual grapes that are indigenous or autochthonous, meaning that they have been there for a long long time, if not forever or original, or adapted to that place so much as to be unique. Read more about this topic here with tasting notes and pairings for several very rare Italian wines. In fact, that is one of my favorite aspects of Italian wines: there are so many interesting grapes to discover! And I’ve been on quest at least once a month for over five years to learn more and write about the interesting indigenous grapes of Italy. 

So why bother with “international” grapes like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, or Merlot grown and made into wine in Italy? Continue reading

Albariño Day 2022: Comparing 2 Rías Baixas with 2 from California

Spain vs California Albariño

As much as I appreciate the freshness and food friendliness of Sauvignon Blanc (and yes more Chilean ones soon!), there are other white grapes that it’s high time for people to discover. Two at the top of my list are Chenin Blanc, like Sauvignon Blanc originating in the Loire Valley of France, and Spain’s Albariño aka Portugal’s Alvarinho, both coming from the Iberian peninsula. While Chenin Blanc was widely planted at one time in California, too often it was made into simple, sweet, insipid wine but there’s plenty of potential. Albariño, however, has always been uncommon in California. Fortunately, as people are discovering the Iberian versions, they are more interested in trying out the Californian ones. And at least one vineyard in California is planning on expanding their vines! Continue reading