It has always been true that the best way to learn about wine is to taste it — as broadly and as often as possible. The hallmarks of a good wine tasting are: wines suitable for comparison, a knowledgeable oenophile leading the way, and your own thirst for learning more about wine.

Whatever your preferred venue for tasting was before the pandemic, your options are limited by social-distancing concerns these days. …

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Champagne But Were Afraid to Ask

Is all Sparkling Wine Champagne?

Photo by Steve Daniel on Unsplash

Champagne is a sparkling wine produced in the Champagne wine region of France using the Methode Champenoise (as defined below).

In America, many people use the word Champagne to describe any sparkling wine. The Comité Champagne fiercely defends the name, so when you see bubbly wine in America that isn’t from Champagne, it isn’t labeled as Champagne — it’s labeled as Sparkling Wine or with one of a number of other terms.

How Does Champagne Get Its Bubbles?

There are different ways to get bubbles into wine to make it sparkling, but Champagne…

Gnarly old vines with mustard cover crop

Organic Terms to Know

As climate change concerns and health information become ever more prevalent, the choices we make about what we put in our bodies and how it was produced become more complicated.

When it comes to how wine is produced, you have choices. Organic, biodynamic, and sustainable farming pertain to the grapes used to make the wine and are related but not the same. These concepts refer to the environment, not your health.

Organic wine is primarily concerned with how the grapevines themselves are managed. Note: standards are different for US-made wine vs wine made in European Union countries, most importantly around…

What Natural Wine Is and How to Spot It in the Wild

Dry-farmed, organic grapevines at Chateau de Beaucastel in the Rhone Valley. Photo by Jessyca Frederick.

What is Natural Wine?

Natural wine, to most of its fans and proponents, is made with organic or biodynamic grapes, utilizes native yeasts, is unfiltered, and has no additives (including sulfites). The idea here is that the grapes themselves are the truest expression of terroir, that the wine basically makes itself, and that no wine could ever be better than the grapes that went into it.

The extended definition, as provided by RAW Wine (a self-determined but widely regarded authority on this subject), is that natural wine: is made with organic grapes, grown without the use of artificial chemicals; is prepared by hand using…

Jessyca Frederick

Writer of Useful Wine Guides at

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