November 2023 Newsletter
I recently returned from Armenia. A brief and yet remarkably intense trip at the same time. Unusually for a press trip, I visited on my own rather than as part of a group. As expected, this proved immensely beneficial. A week of travel translated into a whole notebook worth of material and over 1,500 photos. While there, I gained deep insights into not only the ancient yet dynamic and innovative world of Armenian wine (and brandy) but also into the country's wider culture, history, and society.
I was there as Armenia grappled with the arrival of over 100,000 refugees fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh (or Artsakh, as it’s known in Armenia), a historically contested region that was recently claimed by Azerbaijani forces. These delicate circumstances helped me appreciate how the Caucasus’ geopolitical struggles significantly impact all aspects of people's life, including Armenia’s vibrant wine industry. It's a narrative I’m keen to explore – assuming editors will be willing to hear it…
Switching to recent articles, you did hear from me fairly recently but some of my stories managed to get published in the interim nevertheless.
For the Wine Scholar Guild, I wrote a blog – with my own photography – delving into the contemporary role of sommeliers. To unravel this question, I travelled to London to meet with three close friends, each representing a distinct approach to sommellerie.
On SevenFifty Daily, I continued my exploration into yeast and fermentation, this time focusing on flor yeast. I returned to Harper's writing about the collaborative efforts of leading wine retailers aiming to significantly reduce the weight of 750ml still wine bottles across their portfolios; while Good Beer Hunting showcased some of my Iceland trip photographs as part of my latest B-Roll. As part of my regular Canvas8 industry reports, I researched the British flavoured cider market, and examined why the US is falling in love with its lesser-known wine regions.
In other news, I’ve embarked on a new collaboration with the American Distilling Institute, publisher of Distiller Magazine. I am now overseeing their monthly European newsletter. If you have any news relevant to the European craft/independent distilling industry, from notable launches to regulatory developments, trends, or any other newsworthy stories, please do share them with me, I’m all ears!
While I’ve got no international travel in the pipelines until Christmas, domestic adventures abound. Next week, I'll be in London for the launch of House of Rum, a UK-based rum bottler I've been consulting for since earlier this year. During the event, I’ll be leading a tasting of some of their inaugural releases, all single-cask, single-vintage, cask-strength, unadulterated rum. It’s great stuff. Following that, I'll be in Norwich for Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards and back in London for the British Guild of Beer Writers’ annual dinner. Surely I’ll cross paths with some of you at these events.