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The soul of Indian Soil Carefully Crafted into our Boutique wines
Under the full moon, at a thriving vineyard on the west coast of Australia last night, they were picking cabernet sauvignon. I know this because Vanya Cullen, winemaker and managing director of Cullen Wines tweeted a picture saying so – “Full moon fruit day. Cabernet harvest today”.

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Cullen grows grapes and makes wine according to biodynamic principles – that is, according to the waxing and waning of the moon, the positions of the other celestial orbs, and with the help of special preparations placed in cow horns and buried in the earth. I don’t like to think too hard about biodynamics because it always sounds mad, but Cullen is such a comfortable, warm, interesting person, and her wines are the same, that when you listen to her talk it all seems to make sense, even when she says things like, “That’s the 500 spray going on at the moon opposite Saturn”.

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Or, it makes one sort of sense, because what is clear when you visit the vineyard is that Vanya is a custodian of the land and the land has responded to the way she deals with it.

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True or false? Organic wines tastes better. I suspect most drinkers would say “false,” including many who go out of their way to buy certified-organic brands. If the many questions I receive on this topic from readers are a fair indication, consumers generally choose pesticide-free wine not for flavour but almost purely out of concern for health. Most often they expect to spare themselves the headaches and allergic reactions widely – and often spuriously – held to be associated with artificial chemicals. Many people in fact expect organic wines to taste worse.

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But get this: They actually taste better. At least they do if you go by the assessments of a few top critics of wines produced in California.

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A joint American-French study by three business-school professors reveals that wines made with grapes grown on eco-certified vineyards are more likely to garner higher numerical ratings from experts. It’s not a huge gap, to be fair, on average just 0.46 percentage points higher. But in this case that’s what statisticians call significant.

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Tuck Beckstoffer Wines Buys Napa Valley's Dancing Hares Vineyard
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He was impressed with the winemaking facility, the brand's reputation and its vineyards. "It's really well thought out for making wine and that's what attracted me to it," Beckstoffer told Wine Spectator. "They have already proven that high-scoring ...



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Giesen Wines announces internship winner 23February 2016 – Blenheim born Andrew Jeffries, 21, is nostranger to working in vineyards, and it’s this experiencethat has helped him to win the inaugural graduate internshipat Giesen Wines.

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Andrew, who attended LincolnUniversity, studying for his Bachelor’s degree inViticulture and Oenology, has just begun work with thefamily owned producer, working at Giesen’s premium organichigh-density vineyards in Marlborough.

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He is alreadywell versed at working in vineyards as his parents own asmall 22ha block in Marlborough, and as a teenager Andrewwas busily employed during the holidays. For the past twoyears, he has been in a technical support role for GiesenWines.

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Back in 1981 I got a giggle out of a movie called “Body Heat,” wherein Kathleen Turner and William Hurt steamed up the screen in a sweltering Florida town that didn’t appear to have any air conditioning.

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In fact, if it was hot during the holidays, then and now, I would turn my AC down to frigid, build a tiny fireplace fire, break out a bottle of port, the quintessential cold-weather tipple, and have a pleasurable sip or three.

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When it was too cold for a picnic, I would plop a checkered tablecloth onto my living room floor, photocopy pictures of ants to scatter, make fried chicken and potato salad, pop a chilled bottle of bubbly and have a cozy indoor picnic.

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