Wine Travel

The wine scene in Cornwall

The wine scene in Cornwall

Taking another bend, the road narrows further. The beech trees bow together to enclose us in an emerald tunnel and the hawthorn growing out of the walled hedges starts to scrape at the wing mirrors. Trying not to think of the insurance excess on the rental car, I exhale and guide the vehicle down the potted road, round another bend and up a steep hill, praying all the while I don’t meet another tractor. At the crest, the trees thin, and through gaps in the old stone walls we can glimpse the blue-grey Atlantic glinting under the spring sunshine beyond a wrinkled landscape of pasturelands, hamlets and gnarled, windswept oaks…

A masterclass in Georgian winemaking with Giorgi Dakishvili

A masterclass in Georgian winemaking with Giorgi Dakishvili

I’m standing in the middle of a broad valley floor in eastern Georgia, contemplating the immense wall of cloud-strewn peaks to the north. Chilly winds wrinkle the surface of the Alazani River in front of me and ruffle the manes of the wild ponies grazing on its bank. However, the scent of spring is in the air, the vines are beginning to flower and the oenophile part of me feels I’ve come home. For this place – Kahketi, at the foot of the Caucasus mountains – is not only the home of Georgian wine: it is the home of all wine...

Orange, NSW: the hottest spot in cool-climate Australia

Orange, NSW: the hottest spot in cool-climate Australia

I like a technical winery visit as much as the next wine geek, but this was something else. Peter Hedberg was up to his chest in an excavated pit in the ground of his own vineyard, Hedberg Hill, gesticulating enthusiastically at the layers of vermillion soil using the depth indicator staked to the wall to make his points. The bases of vine trunks and net-ensconced autumnal foliage framed his head, while the lateral roots of these vines poking through the quarried earth were cause for additional indications. He emerged from the earth, kicked soil off his boots and led us over to the tasting shed...

Welcome to Orange, New South Wales.

Wines of Banks Peninsula

Wines of Banks Peninsula

The road begins to wind and wend its way round the volcanic spurs. The car ascends the ridge and the vague nausea of travel sickness from the bending roads abates as you meet with the view at the top. Long fingers of lava, long since cooled, extend from the summit ridgelines and inch their ways into the South Pacific, whose turquoise waters fill myriad bays below. Golden tussocks stretch along the hills, with patches of native bush enclosing pastureland for sheep. Cottages, huts and houses populate the steep inclines leading down to the waters, and yachts, dinghies and motorboats sleep in the bays. Incongruously, an enormous ocean liner is parked offshore in the centre of Akaroa Harbour.