The Big Vin Theory
The Big Vin TheoryJul 23, 2022
Diana Snowden Seysses - Domaine Dujac/Snowden Vineyards
We talk to Diana Snowden Seysses - winemaker at two illustrious houses from other sides of the pond. We ask what her approach to viticulture is, how she is mitigating the effects of climate change and why she thinks glyphosate is "The Devil's Spunk". We talk about whole cluster fermentation, inoculation, acidification, oak treatments and more...
Alex Maltman - Emeritus Professor Aberystwyth University
We talk to Alex Maltman, Emeritus Professor Aberystwyth University, about geology and wine. We ask how the geology of the vineyard impacts the winemaking practices and final flavour of the wine? Why does soil pH matter and what can we do about it? Is 'minerality' a useful word for wine tasting? And more...
Find his book here: https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Vineyards_Rocks_and_Soils/8vdJDwAAQBAJ?hl=en
Christopher Chen PhD - UCCE North Coast Viticulture
We talk to Dr Christopher Chen, the UCCE Integrated Vineyard Systems Advisor for the North Coast region of California. Chris's research focuses on Climate-
Adaptive viticulture practices, so we ask all things viticultural. What are the main considerations when selecting rootstocks and what species look promising in the future? How can vinegrowers mitigate some of the effects of climate change? Is dry farming a serious option? What developments can we expect to see in precision viticulture? And more...
Prof Sakkie Pretorius - Macquarie University
We talk to Prof Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University. We ask what the major flavour compounds produced by yeasts are and how they do them? How are different compounds (like rotundone) discovered in wines? What are the potential uses of GMO yeasts and how does gain-of-function research provide practical applications in the winery? What does the future hold for yeast research? And more....
Brad Greatrix - Nyetimber
We chat with Brad Greatrix, of Nyetimber fame, on all things sparkling winemaking. What are the best grape varieties to use? How do you manage pH in a marginal climate? What factors influence the finished texture? What does he think abut light-strike?
And much more...
Laura Willoughby MBE - Club Soda
We talk to Laura Willoughby MBE - co-founder of Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement. We ask what the big trends in no/low are, what the wine trade should learn from and contribute to this, how restaurants can incorporate alc-alternatives to make money and whether or not we should be worried in the world of wine (answer = yes!).
Laura Willoughby MBE is co-founder of Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement. Their aim is to help people drink more mindfully and live well.
The inspiration for Club Soda comes Laura’s experience of giving up drinking ten years ago. A campaigner at heart with a background in movement building and politics, she realised that one of the big sticking points was a way to support people to take a self-guided journey to change their drinking.
Club Soda https://joinclubsoda.com/ has over 70,000 individual members and nearly 100 brand members who they support through research and collaborative projects. They have built a drinks guide and they run the UK’s only Mindful Drinking Festival which is now in its 8th edition. Laura and here team
Opened the pop-up alcohol-free shop in London’s West End in 2022. She is co-author of How to Be a Mindful Drinker published by DK books.
Laura is Imbibe’s No & Low ambassador and judge for the IWSC awards.
K Felix G Åhrberg - Kullabergs Vingård
We chat with K Felix G Åhrberg, Oenologist & Winemaker at Kullabergs Vingård. We ask what it takes to plant a vineyard in a marginal climate and how climate change is helping them as a region. We talk about planting the newest generations of hybrids, suitable rootstocks. Then chat about his preference for heterofermentative yeasts, fining, and 'fine-tuning' his wines. And much more...
Felix says he "fosters a sustainable vineyard with healthy soils and biodiversity. Scandinavias coolest cellar exports to Japan, Norway, Italy and represents the next step in vine growing and winemaking."
Cathy van Zyl MW
We chat to Cathy van Zyl MW about all things South Africa. What are the key markers to look out for when funnelling between regions? How has COVID affected the SA wine industry? How have the styles and winemaking practices changed over the past few decades? This episode is absolutely jam-packed with facts and figures, so have a notepad handy!
Rachel Allison PhD
We talk to Dr Rachel Allison about her research at Cornell University into canned wines. We ask how reductive compounds can be avoided and what the issues are with wines in cans. Are there any wines that are not suitable for canning? Is it a more sustainable packaging? What steps can winemakers take to avoid VSCs? And more....
Here are a link to a couple of her papers and presentations.
3 min talk at Cornell: https://vod.video.cornell.edu/media/2021+Three+Minute+Thesis+Competition-+Rachel+Allison/1_rblzalv7
Glutathione and brine-releasable H2S
5 min video talk from ASEV conference:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPilnZBQ7To
Aileen Sevier - Early Mountain Vineyards
We talk to Aileen Sevier, VP Strategy & Marketing, Early Mountain Vineyards. We ask what they plant and what interesting things they do in Virginina as well as the biggest problems they face and what the future holds. Aileen talks about her previous role at Terlato and metrics she uses to determine the strength of the brand, as well as giving some personal opinions on the three tier system. And much more...
Cain Todd - Lancaster University
We talk to Dr Cain Todd and ask just one exam question - "can one wine ever be objectively better than another?"
Cain Todd is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Lancaster University (U.K.) and a visiting Humboldt Research Fellow at LMU, Munich. He primarily works on areas in aesthetics and philosophy of mind and perception. He became seriously interested in wine while on the Cambridge University Blind Tasting Team as a student and has since written a number of research and non-academic papers on the perception and appreciation of wine, on olfaction, on expertise and the objectivity of judgements of taste. HIs book is ’The Philosophy of Wine: a case of truth, beauty, and intoxication’ (Routledge 2010).
Mags Janjo - MJ Wine Cellars
Tommy Nordam Jensen - WiV
Nova Cadamatre MW
We talk to Nova Cadamatre MW - the first female winemaker MW in the USA about all things winemaking. What yeasts and processing aids are best? How do you rescue a stuck fermentation? How safe is too safe for SO2? Why is diammonium phosphate like a bag of crisps? And more....
Claudio Martell - Bevica
Millie Milliken - IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year
We talk to Millie Milliken about drinks communication. How do the different drinks categories differ? What does successful communication look like? What will be the next big thing in drinks? Is print dead? And more...
To read more of Millie's work click on this link: https://www.clippings.me/users/milliemilliken
As always, if you're getting any value out of TBVT, please support us here: https://ko-fi.com/thebigvintheory
Ben Smith - Freerun PR
We chat with Ben Smith, founder of Freerun PR, about how to judge whether or not a brand is strong, whether or not supermarkets are a force for good on the global stage, whether or not new products are necessary for survival, how to get journalists to write about your products and much more...
As always, please support TBVT here: https://ko-fi.com/thebigvintheory
Geoffrey Moss MW
We talk to Geoffrey Moss MW about all things BC, including a SWOT analysis of the region, what the future may hold for it. We also discuss his work as a marketing consultant at https://lithica.wine/ around marketing for DTC models, competitions and trade shows and much more...
As always, if you can, please support TBVT here https://ko-fi.com/thebigvintheory
Peter Yeung and Robert Vernick - X Chateau
We talk to Peter Yeung and Robert Vernick from X Chateau podcast https://www.xchateau.com/ , which every MW student should subscribe to! We discuss how social media has changed wine marketing and transparency and how can influencers and new tech be used by the trade. We discuss Peter's excellent book https://g.co/kgs/wcDh9U , what the more commercial end of the market can learn from the luxury and much more!
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For the final episode of Season 1, we thought we'd like to go out with a Big Bang (or should that be 'vin'?), so we talk to the legend that is Robert Joseph! Has writing about wine helped him make and sell it? What does he wish he had done differently? What are the major metrics by which to judge a brand's success? How have tariffs affected imports to other countries? What are we not talking about in the wine industry that we should be? And more...
Rod Smith MW
We talk to Rod Smith MW of Riviera Wine Academy. We ask what the wine market is like in the South of France? How does the yachting industry work? Do we need more educators? Are clear glass bottles not a really bad idea? Is the wine trade transparent enough about salaries? Is DTC growing? And more...
NB - apologies for the sound quality at times - there was some interference on the Zoom call I couldn't edit out.
Katherine Jones - ThinK Prosecco
We talk with Katherine Jones of ThinK Wine Group about what it takes to launch a new, lifestyle, low calorie wine brand. What did the design process look like? How was the gap in the market identified? How has it been marketed? Katherine also runs We Are SN, an influencer marketing agency, so we ask what platforms work best? How can influencers work best? And more...
Heather Daenitz - Craft & Cluster
We speak with Heather Daenitz from Craft and Cluster, photography and social media consultant and podcast host https://www.craftandcluster.com/podcast/ . We ask how the wine trade can attract new customers? What metrics should branding and social media be judged on? How can you determine ROI from a social media campaign? What is the future of podcasting? And more...
Kryss Speegle MW - O'Neill Vintners & Distillers
We talk to Kryss Speegle MW about bulk wine QA, QC, transport and global business. What are the most important things to include on a tech sheet? What are the most important checks during bottling? What have been the biggest changes in supply and demand globally recently? How have tariffs affected bulk wine distribution? And more...
Belinda Kemp - Senior Staff Scientist in Oenology & Adjunct Professor (Dept of Biological Science) · Brock University
We talk with Dr Belinda Kemp, Senior Staff Scientist in Oenology & Adjunct Professor about sparkling winemaking. We ask what constitutes a 'cool climate'? Can machine harvesting ever make quality fizz? What yeasts and fining agents are worthwhile? What are the main odour compounds from autolysis? Does Bob seriously think he can pass the exams when he mixes up CO2 and SO2? And more....
Charlie Foley - Specialist and Auctioneer at Christie's
We chat to Charlie Foley, Specialist and Auctioneer at Christie's. We ask when it would be appropriate to write 'auctions' for a commercial positioning question? How does the auction process work? How do they attract new customers? How do they guard against fraud? What are the trends to look for? Where does he get those incredible jackets? And more...
Follow Christie's on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/christieswine/
Rob MacCulloch MW
We talk with Rob MacCulloch MW - contract winemaker in Hawkes Bay. We ask Rob what the main considerations are for growing and purchasing fruit for commercial bulk wineries? What yeasts work for different varieties? What processing aids are best, and why? How do you add complexity and texture to an entry-level wine? Is chaptalisation really necessary? And more....
Matt Wilson - Wine, Lifestyle and Travel Photographer
We talk to Matt Wilson, award winning wine photographer, about wine imagery. What makes a good photograph? What are the most common mistakes people make? What's more important, the image or the writing? What makes a good Instagram image? How is video changing wine imagery? And more...
Justin Moran - co-founder of The Hidden Sea
We talk with Justin Moran, co-founder of The Hidden Sea. We ask whether or not environmental credentials are important in marketing wine? What metrics should a brand look at when evaluating its strength? How does social media drive sales? Does great wine need a great story? And more...
To learn more about The Hidden Sea, and how much plastic they've removed from the ocean with their partners ReSea Project, visit thehiddensea.com
This month is Plastic Free July and The Hidden Sea is promoting it with a Plastic Pledge. Head over to thehiddensea.com/pages/pledge and pledge to reduce the amount of plastic you use, and The Hidden Sea will remove and recycle 100 plastic bottles in your name. Signing the pledge will take seconds, and that simple act will directly benefit the ocean.
Surina Burger - Quality Assurance Manager, De Wet Wine Cellar
We talk to Surina Burger, Quality Assurance Manager at De Wet Wine Cellar, about how to design and implement a QA system in a winery. We ask what the different third party accreditations are, what constitutes a Critical Control Point and how to follow the CODEX flow chart. What adjustments do they make? How does preparing a wine for bulk differ from that in bottle? And much, much more!
Justin Howard-Sneyd MW
We chat to Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, owner of Domaine of the Bee. We ask what the challenges are in managing very old vines, how they deal with grape moths and wild boar. We also chat about the new course being run in the South West of the UK on sustainable viticulture; more details here: https://www.dartington.org/event/introduction-to-viticulture/
Pauline Vicard - Co-founder and Executive Director at ARENI Global
We talk with Pauline Vicard, Co-founder and Executive Director at ARENI Global. We ask what "fine wine" is? Who is drinking it? Why? Where is it growing? What are the breakdown of consumers? Should more wine be 'fine'? And much more.
Here are the various links we reference during the podcast:
The future of fine wine report
Pauline on twitter @labelsandgrapes
Phil Reedman MW
We talk with Phil Reedman MW - principal consultant at Phil Reedman Master of Wine Pty Ltd. Phil has spent over 37 years working in the wine industry. From his start at a Nottingham restaurant in 1982 through to today Phil continues to be captivated by wine’s endless complexity. We ask does the wine trade need more consultants? How do you select the right yeast? What are the new products in fining? How much does he love natural wine? And more...
Lia Jones - Executive Director at Diversity in Food and Beverage, Co-Founder of Be The Change, Managing Director at DIFB Consulting
We talk with Lia Jones on diversity in wine and the drinks trade more generally. What does diversity look like? What steps can people businesses take to create a more diverse atmosphere? How do other industries compare? How can we approach a younger generation? To find out more about what you can do to improve diversity, Lia recommends this website: www.Google.com
NB - we recorded this only a couple of days before the Woman's Hour episode with Melissa Cole and Charlotte Cook.
My assessment of the UK craft beer scene was inaccurate, and I hold my hands up and apologise. Whilst I could have easily edited this out, it felt more honest to leave it in and admit I'm wrong here.
Jacques Jordaan - Director, Drinks Sea Logistics, Kuehne+Nagel
We speak with Jacques Jordaan, at VinLog, Kuehne+Nagel about the main points of interest in wine logistics. What are the main considerations when moving in bulk vs bottle? How much does a shipment cost and how quickly and easily can it be organised? What are the main geo-political factors affecting wine logistics? What does technology hold for the future? And much more!
Rowena Curlewis - CEO & co-founder, Denomination
We chat to Rowena Curlewis at Denomination design agency - a specialist in wine and drinks packaging design. We ask if the wine industry cares enough about packaging? How does it compare with other drinks categories? What does the design process involve? How does this industry deal with copycats? What new technology will we see on wine bottles?
Frances Bentley - Wine, Spirits and Beer buyer
We talk with Frances Bentley about buying for the UK on-trade. How do the different categories differ? What are the main buying considerations? What are your private label strategies? How do we bounce back after COVID? How do you view consolidations in the industry? And much more...
Janice Wang - Assistant Professor at the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University
We talk to Dr Janice Wang on her research into blind tasting, 'crossmodalism' and more. What pedagogical approach works best in terms of training? Does learning how to taste wine help with other skills? What music should you listen to to enhance acidic properties in a wine? What opportunities does VR hold for the world of wine?
Andrew Jones - Wine Grape Sales Manager, Sunridge Nurseries
We talk with Andrew Jones of Sunridge Nurseries about everything rootstock related - including his take that rootstocks will change the flavour of a wine more than the clone. What are the biggest sellers, which are best for higher quality vineyards, are there any scions that do or don't work together? What are the biggest issues facing rootstock production? And more...
Nick Jackson MW
We talk to Nick Jackson MW, author of 'Beyond Flavour' (US link here). We ask, from the perspective of the MW exam, how do you construct a convincing origin argument between wines of similar structures, eg Chardonnay? How can you really distinguish between sub regions within Burgundy, and Germany? What are the limitations of using structure for tasting? This is indispensable listening for any MW students.
You can view Nick's webinars here: https://www.pathlms.com/school-of-taste/courses/25117
Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan MW
We ask Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan MW how to pass the MW tasting exam, so if you want to do that, you should probably listen to this. Then we ask whether or not tasting wine on TV can ever ben entertaining, what media works well, how does trading fine wine as a commodity benefit the trade and is blind tasting really a useful tool anyway?
Jennifer has very kindly offered a special discount to you lucky Big Vin Theory listeners to her Blind Tasting X Program for a very limited time only! You can hear more about it and access it here: https://www.masterwineonline.com/lp/extra-special-mw/
Tom Wilkinson - Vineyard Manager at Chapel Down Group plc
We chat with Tom Wilkinson, Vineyard Manager at Chapel Down Group plc, about all things UK Viticulture. How do you manage workforce requirements? How mechanised are the UK's vineyards? What are the biggest problems and how are they dealt with? Does he want a helicopter? Special praise also has to go to Tom for the most dramatic pause in TBVT's short history.
Etienne Paumier - Les Caves du Lac
We talk to Etienne about life as a wine authenticator - what makes wine authentic? What are the specific things to look out for of a fake wine? How big an issue is wine forgery? And, if you've ever wondered what Chernobyl has to do with Ch Margaux 1900, then this is the episode for you!
You can see more of Etienne's work here: www.aceswines.com / email@example.com
We talk to winemaking legend Brian Fletcher, who everyone should follow on Twitter. We ask about the history of modern Aussie winemaking, what he thinks of R2 yeast, why he loves tartaric acid and PVPP, how to maximise quality in bulk grape/wine production, how companies like Naked can be a win-win and more....
NB - this conversation was recorded between an absolute gentleman in his late 60s, in the outback, with dodgy internet (next to a place he calls 'Bogan Bay') in the middle of a cyclone, and a questionable gentleman in his late 30s, 10,000 miles away, recording on a cheap laptop with literally no training. The sound quality isn't amazing but stick with it - it gets better.
Harry Crowther - Grain to Grape
We talk to Harry Crowther, founder of Grain to Grape. Harry is a winemaker and ex-somm who runs Grain to Grape - a wine training company with a difference. We ask how sales can be maximised in the on-trade? How can and should people up-sell in a restaurant? How can wine work for mixologists and those without a wine background? What are the new social media platforms we should be paying attention to? Follow him on all the social media platforms he mentions with @graintogrape
Sabas Joosten - De Librije
We interviewed Sabas Joosten, Head Sommelier at De Librije, a Three Michelin Star restaurant in Zwolle, The Netherlands. De Librije has consistently been considered one of the top 50 restaurants in the world for many years, taking particular pride in its wine pairing for the tasting menu. We ask Sabas about the Dutch market, how to make sustainable profit in the on-trade, how to curate a wine list for top end food, how a Coravin wine list works and what they have done to 'pivot' during lockdown.
Magdalena Kaiser - Director of Public Relations - Marketing & Tourism for Wine Marketing Association of Ontario
We talk to Magdalena about the Ontarian market, how does the quasi-monopoly work, what are the regulations on grape-growing in Eastern Canada, where are the biggest markets, facts and figures on wine tourism as well as discussing her own excellent wines.
Dmitry Grozoubinski - Founder, ExplainTrade
In this episode we talk to Dmitry Grozoubinski, Founder of ExplainTrade . Dmitry is a negotiations and trade policy expert and Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde’s School of Law. Prior to launching ExplainTrade.com, Dmitry served as an Australian diplomat and trade negotiator at the World Trade Organisation and beyond. We urge you to follow him on Twitter : https://twitter.com/DmitryOpines
We ask which of the main objectives of Brexit have been borne out, what will be the major benefits we can see from it in the wine trade, how accurate has the recent coverage in regards to wine importers been, and his advice for SMEs looking to manoeuvre around the new paperwork. We also ask his opinion on the recent Australia/China wine tariffs and trade disputes, and how he sees the Biden presidency changing the global trade landscape.
Links he mentions in the podcast:
Mike Best MW - Account Manager - Boutinot Wines
We talk to Mike Best MW on what makes a good sales pitch, and on various topics around his RP on DTC sales and wine tourism for English Vineyards. What constitutes a good cellar door experience, what are the future opportunities for English Wine and how do consumers interact with different wine categories.
Anne Jones - Waitrose
We talk with Anne Jones, Waitrose Category Manager: Wines, Beers and Spirits. We discuss initiatives Waitrose ran and 'pivoted' during lockdown, consumer data and decision making, private label strategy, differences between drinks categories and sexism, amongst other things. Essential listening for anyone looking at Paper 4!
Richard Hemming MW
We talk to the legend that is Richard Hemming MW about wine in Singapore, looking at a SWOT analysis of the market, trends, legislation and brands. We also ask what the future of wine writing is, how can (or can't) it be monetised, is 'print dead', if Richard thinks experts are irrelevant and his prediction for the next hot AOC.
Will Dennison - Pol Roger Portfolio
We talk with Will Dennison - Head of Fine Wine at Pol Roger Portfolio. Pol Roger surely needs no introduction, and Will heads up the fine wine estates they manage from Napa, Burgundy, Alsace and beyond. We ask whether or not investment is good for the industry, how has the market changed over the past 10 years, what can fine wine companies do to promote diversity and much more.
Barbara Drew MW - Events Manager BBR
This episode features Barbara Drew, Master of Wine. Barbara heads up the events and education team at BBR, so we ask her what it takes to design a successful wine education programme, what are common pitfalls in wine education and do other drinks categories do it better?
Nik Darlington - Graft Wines
Our first ever episode asks Nik Darlington whether he views consolidations as a good thing, what the main things to consider are when launching a wine importer and how e-commerce and direct to consumer sales are an integral part of a modern business model.
The Big Vin Theory Trailer
Here's a sneak peek at the upcoming podcast aimed for those studying the world of wine.