Category Archives: WINERIES WANDERED

No wine lives in a vacuum. Wineries create more than a beverage but dress it with identity, goals and a whole lot of gibberish. Follow me to their fabricated homes.

Hiyu Wine Farm: Oregon’s Sustainable Utopia in the Columbia Gorge

JancisRobinson.com recently finished their summer 2020 Wine Writing Competition (WWC20) and published 75 entries on Sustainability Heroes in the wine industry. I was honored to have all three of my submissions published. Although, I did not win the final, one made it onto the shortlist. For your re-reading pleasure, I will re-publish each over the following days.

If sustainability needs mascots, Nate Ready and China Tresemer would fit perfectly. In floppy hats, with Nate’s druidical beard and China’s proud grin, they grow the most complete whole farm vineyard on Oregon’s northern fringe: the Columbia Gorge. Their minimal approach at Hiyu Wine Farm makes Biodynamics look conventional. Here, native plants grow higher than vines, animals seem to do more work than people, and you almost forget this is viticulture. Nate admits that they are “trying to nudge the system as close as possible to a wild system, and it isn’t a wild system, but we try to make agriculture look a little more like nature”.[1]Any visit confirms this. Continue reading

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A Canadian Winery (and Distillery) Eh!? De Vine Vineyards Wine Review

Wayward Wine continues to ply the uncharted wines of Vancouver Island. It has been rough, but we found some decent Pinot Noir (read here). This marginal-in-the-best-of-times climate manages to counter its Northern latitude by bottling any warmth it can from the eastern straights with its western mountains. The best example: the Butchart Gardens utopia that traps tourists with its improbably lush gardens… Continue reading

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Other Muscadets and Oddities: Coteaux de la Loire, Grandlieu, Gros Plant, Fiefs Vendeens, Chenin, and Muscadet

Yes. Winter grips the Northern hemisphere. But turn your minds to warmer weather. Our 7 month 13 country EU Austerity Drinking Tour has visited Muscadet’s famed Sèvre-et-Maine and every-day Muscadet. This Monday, we try on Muscadet’s other wine regions for size.

On the Loire’s right bank, North of Sèvre et Maine sits Coteaux de la Loire in the hills above Ancenis:

They too mainly grow Muscadet. But how do they perform:

Les Vignerons de la Noëlle’s “Folies Siffait” Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, France 2011

Like most Muscadet, Noëlle looks pale lemon with a slight fizz. Continue reading

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Nantes, Muscadet, and the vines of Sevre et Maine: EU Austerity Drinking Tour #51

86 days into our EU Austerity Drinking Tour, we leave Tours for Nantes: port of entry into France’s Loire River.

We pass the lovely hills of Saumur and Chinon: famed for cabernet franc.

Then the miserable, industrial Angers flattens before us: a wine region overstretched to countless styles, including the derided Rosé d’Anjou.

But finally our train stops in magnificent Nantes.

Yes. Nantes has castles, chocolate shops, and museums: very French but very Brittany. Really though, Nantes, in a nutshell, is Syfy’s town of Eureka. Jules Verne was born here. Industrial cranes and factories pop up everywhere. The city boasts more trams, buses, trains, and bike-shares than needed. They have a whole, magnificent island dedicated to steam-punk machines: Continue reading

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Chenonceau Castle, Gamay, and a new AOC Touraine Chenonceaux: EU Austerity Drinking Tour #50

Before our EU Austerity Drinking Tour leaves the central Loire for it’s Atlantic Coast, we have to squeeze in a castle. Think of Bordeaux.  You probably think of famed Châteaux.  But most of those are 19th century, retro-wannabes.  Only true, … Continue reading

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