Fire and Rain

Our Shores: The Story of an Amazing Shipwreck

Art Trade

People have been trading goods along our island shores for over thousands of years, way before the Europeans ever got here.  The technologically advanced and sea worthy vessels of the Arabs carried goods manufactured (and specified to order) in China as early as the Tang dynasty (618 - 907) when there was an amazing explosion of "globalisation". We have always known about the robust overland trade along the Silk Road into Inner Asia, but never have we had the definitive proof that the maritime trade was as lively as the land trade during that period until the discovery of the...

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Five (5) You Don't Really Need to Know Facts About Cabernet Sauvignon


First off, almost all grape wine varietals in the world of which there are now about 1,400 (don't trust wikipedia's claims between "5,000-10,000" which, come on, is a bizarrely wide range), are made from the grapes of a single species called Vitis Vinifera. So how did all those varieties come about? Well, the Vitis Vinifera had been domesticated for thousands of years (earliest evidence is 6000 BC) so its cultivation meant there was a great chance for cross pollination.   One of the world's most famous cross pollinations is of the (Left pic) Cabernet Franc and the (Right pic) Sauvignon Blanc, producing...

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The Vintage Didn't Have Much Promise

wine winemakers

"Great terroir express their distinction and even their superiority in difficult years. This vintage didn't have much promise, although flowering had gone well. We had nothing but doubts except the fierce resolution that we would not give up and that we had to read the vines and understand their needs." -Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, Château Angélus For the French winemakers, the spring of 2014 had been tricky and the summer was wet with August rainfall. Then, as if the heavens looked kindly upon the worried hearts and hands of the growers, there was only day after day of lovely weather the rest of August....

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Vintner, Vintner, Where Art Thou?

"Sometimes, when you guide a tasting, you are asked several times, ‘Who is the winemaker?’ I tell them it is me. Then they ask, ‘Who is the other winemaker?’ Because they don’t believe you can be a winemaker when you are young, and a woman." - Vivien Újvári, Winemaker for Barta Wines in Tokaj, Hungary Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier

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Doing Things, Everyday Things, Lovely Things

books fashion stuff things

There's a rather unique and peculiar Japanese trait of dressing up books in cloth covers. Ostensibly, it is for reasons of modesty, to hide whatever they are reading from the general public.  This makes sense since Japan regularly churns out thousands of books per year and much of it is not for the faint of heart. Almost all of it is also produced in the same dimensions, because they know you want to use that same cloth cover whose worn out spots carry the indentations of your soul. Of course, the cloth cover is also very practical and protects the book while you're...

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