WSET Exam-Type Question: Dealing with Hail

Identify and evaluate three options for dealing with the treat of hail in an established vineyard.

As someone that grew up in the Bay Area, hail, for me, is a once-in-awhile thing, not an every vintage thing. Those tiny little pellets that hit against my window or get stuck in my hair have nothing on the major rocks that slam down in other regions. Hail is a real threat in many areas: Bordeaux, Languedoc, Beaujolais, Argentina. So…what does that mean for the grapes and wine?

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WSET Exam-Type Question: Slopes & Aspect

Explain how slopes and aspect can benefit grapegrowing in cool climates in the Norther Hemisphere.

All other factors being equal, regions at lower latitudes (nearer the Equator, e.g. Mendoza, South Africa, New South Wales) will receive more solar radiation per annum than regions at higher latitudes (nearer the Poles, e.g. northern France and Germany).” But we know that “all other factors” are not equal are they? Where a vineyard is planted within its give region has more specific influence than just the mere latitude it happens to reside. Today we’re looking at the Northern Hemisphere—specifically cooler climate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. So travel with me, if you will, to your favorite cool climate wine region. (I like Alsace, but whatever you fancy.)

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WSET Exam-Type Question: Flowering and Fruit Set

Yo. Don’t ask why yo. Just yo. Yo—I gotta study for my WSET Diploma (D1) exam. One thing that really helped me pass my Level 3 exam was writing posts that simulated questions I could expect to see on the exam. So, that’s what the next (several) posts will be. Interspersed with wine notes (probably). My first exam is in one month. On my birthday no less. So…help me study? Thanks.

Describe how acid & tannins develop in the grape from flowering through veraison.

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This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: June 28—July 3

It’s a short week this week for those of us in the US, and I hope everyone has some way they’ll be enjoying the time off. Of course, celebrating our country’s heritage is a bit bitter sweet this year—for many reasons—so, I’d like to highlight a few positive pieces that came out in this week’s wine-related news. Wine Industry Advisor speaks to Sonoma viticulturist Brenae Royal, who speaks to how racial inclusivity within the wine business means creating a simultaneously broader, yet more intimate and meaningful, wine consumer base. For more on that kind of perspective, check out the Forbes piece that profiles three Black wine experts—including one of my favorite local producers Theodora Lee. And for those of you in the biz who are looking to hire, work or network with, or just become familiar with qualified Black wine industry pros, Julie Coney has spearheaded, and officially launched, the Black Wine Professionals website just this past week.

Need a bit of a laugh? Well, there’s a company making wine bottles out of paper. Yeah…

Oh, and for my wine nerds out there, check out Tim Gaiser’s blog post on deductive tasting and Young Gun of Wines’ dive into ageable Aussie Chard.

That’s some of the good/fun news. However, I do want to say that if you have outdoor plans for this Fourth of July weekend, please stay safe. Here in California Newsom has shutdown indoor businesses (including bars, restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms) in 19 counties, as well as state beaches from Monterey to Sonoma. But before you get any ideas about packing up the truck and heading toward the North Bay, be warned: Sonoma County is not immune and is, in fact, probably next on that list.

So, again, wherever you are, however you choose to celebrate, please make smart decisions, stay safe, protect yourself and others. That’s all from me for now. Have a happy weekend and drink some good wine.

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