RAW is one of the most exciting, and certainly the largest, collection of fine, natural, organic and biodynamic wine artisans ever to come together in the capital. The two-day celebration of some of the best wine talent in the world offers visitors the chance to sample over 1000 different wines from more than 200 growers. As well as tastings, the show features talks from the world’s leading experts and a selection of incredible food by renowned artisan food producers and restaurants. The independent fair is organised by Isabelle Legeron MW – the first French female to earn the accolade of Master of Wine and the first MW to focus exclusively on natural wine.
Dates: 19th – 20th May 2013. Sunday – open to public and trade, Monday – open to trade in the day, public early evening
Times: Sunday (open to everyone) 10 am to 6 pm. Monday (open to trade) 10 am to 8 pm
Address: F BLOCK, The Old Truman Brewery, 83 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL.
The entrances to use are near the corner of Brick Lane and Hanbury Street.
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street Station (or Shoreditch High Street). RAW is a 5 to 10-minute walk from the station
Web Address: rawfair.com, Twitter @rawfair and Facebook: www.facebook.com/rawfair
Price: Sunday All day: £20 (fee included) – if bought in advance. All day: £25 – on the door Monday: 5pm to 8pm: £20 (fee included) – if bought in advance 5pm to 8pm: £25 – on the day (trade only in the day) Sunday & Monday tickets (i.e. all day Sunday and evening Monday): for £30.
Age Group: 18+
“Wine and the Environment, Organic, Biodynamic, and Natural,” the latest book by Britt and Per Karlsson (of BKWine), has won two prizes. It was first named “Best Wine Book for Professionals” in Sweden. Then it was awarded silver, second place, in the category “World’s Best Educational Wine Book 2012.” Both awards were given by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
“Wine and the Environment” is the third book by Britt and Per Karlsson. It describes in detail organic wine growing and wine making and what organic wines are. It also explains other related concepts like biodynamic wine, natural wine, sustainability and fair trade. The book also contains a number of producer profiles of wine makers that the authors recommend. It is lavishly illustrated.
The text in the book is written by Britt and the photographs are by Per in this husband and wife author couple. It has taken the authors a year and a half to complete the book. Over that time they have visited and talked to hundreds of wine producers all over the world. Britt comments on the awards: “To make a book like this, full of facts and details, you need a lot of energy and drive. It is perhaps a little trite to say but we have really put our soul into it. Then it is fantastic to be acknowledged like this for all the work that you have done, both in Sweden and internationally.”
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards is the world biggest competition for wine and food literature. The first phase of the competition awards national prizes. These are then presented at the world finals where they compete for the international awards. The awards ceremony took place in Paris at the end of February. More than 10,000 books participate every year.
BKWine was founded in the 90s by Britt Karlsson, a Swede living in Paris. In the early ‘00s she was joined by her husband Per Karlsson in the business that now encompasses several different wine related activates. The main business is organising wine tours for wine enthusiasts and wine professionals who want to visit wine regions to learn more about wine. Each year BKWine organises some 30 wine tours. BKWine also publishes an online newsletter on wine, The BKWine Brief, which reaches some 20,000 subscribers. Britt and Per are members of the British Circle of Wine Writers (CWW), the International Wine Writers Federation (FIJEV), the French Wine Press Association (APV), the International Wine and Food Society (IWFS) and several other wine and gastronomic organisations.
by Organic Wine Journal
on Mar 20, 2013
What is that “organic taste” that, apparently, most organic wines suffer from? The writer from examiner.com doesn’t go into detail, but thank God that Grgich Hills avoids it:
Looking for a good organic wine that doesn’t have the “organic” taste? Grgich Hills has some of the very best selections of wines that come from certified organic & Biodynamic vineyards. They won’t make you feel guilty for spending a little more on vino and are great alone or with certain foods.
by Organic Wine Journal
on Mar 13, 2013
From The Guardian:
Forty Hall vineyard is the brainchild of Sarah Vaughan-Roberts, a Hackney resident who studied viticulture and became determined to create an organic vineyard in London. Eventually, she discovered the Jacobean mansion of Forty Hall, owned by Enfield council. Its organic farm, run by Capel Manor, the local horticultural college, had some underused, south-facing slopes with, crucially, light, gravelly soils, unlike the unsuitable heavy clays of most of London. With added lime to deliver the perfect pH, this soil could grow grapes.
Creating London’s first organic wine for 500 years or so has not been straightforward. An acre of bacchus grapes planted in 2009 failed to grow. “Planting was done haphazardly by students and volunteers. We were all learning,” says Mark Mendes, a former science teacher and volunteer. “The second field was much more successful.”
This field, poised to deliver its first crop this year, was planted in 2011 by a German team with laser-guided equipment, funded by lottery money and other grants. (The day after, the Germans headed off to Windsor to plant some vines for the Queen.) “You can see the straight lines on Google Earth. It’s fantastic,” enthuses Mendes.
by Organic Wine Journal
on Mar 1, 2013
Lyle Fass, one of our contributors at Organic Wine Journal, is starting up Fass Selections, where he will be selling fine wines online through special email offers. We asked Lyle to tell us about his new venture:
What made you decide to open Fass Selections?
I’m 38 years and it was time I did my one “great thing.” I was tired of working for other people and not being able to fully express myself. Combine that with my experiences traveling in Europe and always getting asked by growers how they can sell more wine to America; the pieces were in place. The one thing that was not in place was money. Opening a wine store is expensive due to the numerous regulations, but that changed when California started issuing new licenses that enabled me to import/distribute and e-tail (sell wine on the internet) without a physical space.
I jumped at this opportunity as I could open my own business and help the countless growers who want more wine sold in America. Their wines will be cheaper to the consumer as I cut out 2 of the traditional distribution tiers, have almost no overhead and can be in total control. There are so many great wines in Germany that do not get exported to the US. I want to change that and I will.
How does the site work?
Come to the website, sign up for the email list and boom, you are all set. Emails will start off twice a week but may ramp up as time goes on. Each one will feature no more than 2-3 wines. We may also offer multiple formats, such as mags and 1/2 bottles, but we want to concentrate on a few quality selections each time.
How are you picking the wines?
The short answer is hard work. I travel to Europe frequently and meet winemakers and taste their wines.
The longer answer is that I have a terrific network of friends in the winemaking community. I have introduced many of them to the New York market and they are willing to return the favor by introducing me to up and coming winemakers in their regions. Some of these winemakers may have productions that are too small for traditional importers. I have three winemakers who have full time day jobs and make wine as a passion. I have another who works for another winemaker during the day and tends his vines at night. They are all making incredible wines but no importer has picked them up.
Will I completely ignore wines that are sold through the traditional 3-tier distribution system? Of course not. Some of them are purchased by the importers at prices that make them appealing, even with the three tier markup. I will also buy some older wines from collectors’ cellars if I think that they represent good value. I am a rebel but not a complete ideologue. My job is to sell great wines at fair prices and I will do that in any way that makes sense
Will there be organic/biodynamic/natural selections?
Yes, but I am not tied down to any ideology. Of course, I would love all my winemakers to make wine in the cleanest way possible with minimal intervention, organic viticulture/biodynamic if they choose to and natural if they can. At the end of the day, though, each of these growers is a small business unto themselves and they have to make decisions based on their own situations and not what I demand or expect.
If you’re interested in being on Lyle’s email list you can sign up at Fass Selections.
by Susannah Gold
on Feb 25, 2013
While organic and biodynamic viniculture is more widespread in Italy than people realize, most producers who follow these practices still do not get certification. One winery bucking this trend is Gualdo del Re in Suvereto, a lovely town in Southern Tuscany, not too far from the Mediterranean coast. On a clear day, you can even see the island of Elba in the distance.
Teresa and Nico Rossi, the owners of Gualdo del Re, have always worked the land using organic methods, but felt that certification was a further seal of approval recognizable by consumers who want to be certain they are purchasing “natural” products. After completing the three year process for certification, they received approval in 2011 for two of their white wines: Eliseo Bianco 2011 and Valentina 2011. Their red wines will be certified by the start of 2014.
Gualdo produces a classic line-up of wines from Valentina, a Vermentino, an award winning Merlot, L’Rennero, made from 100% Merlot and aged for 36 months; 15 months in oak barriques and 21 months in the bottle. There is a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon called Federico I and an interesting 100% Aleatico from Elba DOC called Amansio. Valentina and Federico are the names of their children.
A forward-looking pair in all ways, Nico and Teresa hired a top female enologist at a time when women in the cellar were pretty rare. Barbara Tamburini, has been with Gualdo for about 13 years. She started her career working with noted Tuscan enologist Vittorio Fiore.
Val di Cornia, where Suvereto is located, only recently received its denominazione d’origine controllata e garantita (DOCG). Yet the Val di Cornia became a DOC in November of 1989. There are only six towns that may use this legislation for wine labeling and that includes Campiglia Marittima, Piombino, San Vincenzo, Suvereto, Sassetta and Monteverdi Marttimo. These towns are located in the provinces of Livorno and Pisa.
Nico and Teresa have been singing the praises of their area for years, well before the DOCG recognition. A wine industry expert said he felt the area was similar to Pomerol in terms of the terroir and growing potential of certain grapes. Gualdo del Re also cultivates olive trees and makes grappa. The soil is a mixture of limestone, sandy, and clay. This area of Tuscany has a mild climate due to the tempering influence of ocean breezes. The wines exhibit their terroir and are minerally with salinity from the sea breezes. The grapes are very healthy as well because of these constant breezes.
The woods where Gualdo del Re’s 25 hectares of vines are located were a King’s retreat in the Middle Ages. There are numerous medieval towns with ancient ruins in this Etruscan Coast area. Nico and Teresa have created a “piccolo paradiso” in this lovely spot complete with delicious wines, a fine restaurant and a bed and breakfast set amidst pine woods and olive grows. They also have an agriturismo nearby where they are very careful with their use of water. The entire area is one viticultural park.
During my visit, Teresa was furious because hunters had wandered onto her land. Wild pheasant and rabbits frolic in this area, usually untroubled by man. Part of the environmental vision that Nico and Teresa have also pertains to animals and how healthy the area is for them. Nico and Teresa also breed ducks in their pond and grow vegetables in an orchard.
While Nico and Teresa noted that they haven’t seen much excitement in Italy over organic wines, especially because of the difficult economic situation that most people are facing. However, the pair remain convinced that they are absolutely certain that this is the direction for them and for the future of their wines.
Susannah Gold is a wine writer, publicist and certified Italian sommelier.
by Organic Wine Journal
on Feb 20, 2013
EXCELL laboratory in Bordeaux tested more than 300 French wines from the 2009 and 2010 vintages and found that around 90% of them contain pesticide residues. While we’re getting our hands on the report you can see a wrap up of more info at Decanter. Obviously we’re curious about how may organic wineries were included and, if so, what the statistical difference between those and conventional wines were. A previous study of European wines found pesticide residues in all conventional wines tested and, with one exception, none in the organic wines they sampled.
by Organic Wine Journal
on Feb 19, 2013
Will he remember his old friends now that he’s hit the big time? Tony Coturri does a Q&A with Nils Bernstein at Wine Enthusiast.
Our teaching universities say you gotta add sulfites, chemicals, get these ‘balances.’ Historically grapes were the fruit you did this with ’cause of the natural acidity, sugars, all the other goodies, it’s all there. I’m considered a radical, that my wines are unstable, if you buy them they’ll blow up, all that is just a lack of basic education.
See the full article.