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Antiqua Tours in Tbilisi, Georgia

[nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”Antiqua Tours in Tbilisi, Georgia”][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”By Taste Georgia”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2207″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Photo courtesy of Anthony Swift at Wine Pleasures”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”At the end of March, I will be speaking at the 6th Annual International Wine Tourism Conference which will be held in the beautiful city of Tbilisi, Georgia 29-30 March, 2014. I will be speaking about the culture of wine, wine as culture, and the people who make the wine integral to this very special culture. I hope to demonstrate to my audience how people in wine tourism can/should include the overall history and culture of a region as a selling point for their wine tours, especially in unknown or unfamiliar regions. Wine-loving clients have often already been to wineries and want to experience something unique. After a while something many of us experience is something I call, “barrel overload.” Yes, technical questions are important, but what makes a winery special is often its relevance in the culture or its history. Except for a few tweaks here and there, most wineries start to look and feel the same. So what can we do differently?I am going to discuss these points and hope to relay the information as a Socratic seminar rather than lecture about what I think people should do. I plan to talk specifically about the region I am passionate about: Lazio as a wine region. Lazio has a wealth of indigenous grape varieties, terroir, and an incredible number of traditions surrounding wine. My talk will integrate points about both the culture of wine and wine as culture with Lazio epitomizing a region overlooked for its incredible wine potential and wine heritage for the sake of a major city, Rome.I am also excited to meet colleagues and learn how I can improve our services for Antiqua Tours guests. After all, our guests are usually on holiday and at the end of the day, all they want is to experience fantastic wine, food, and culture. If you are attending the conference, please stop by my seminar. From the conference programme:”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”Wine as CultureAn overview of the importance of local cultural heritage in visiting a wine region. Case Study of Lazio. We will discuss why the humanities and people of a region as important to experiencing a wine region as the vines and wines themselves. People as Terroir (wine makers, local farmers, visiting nearby towns) and as an example we will talk about the Lazio wine region and getting visitors beyond Rome for a well rounded cultural experience which includes people, wine, food and cultural heritage. Why wine is not enough in wine tours. Learn why cultural heritage can sometimes sell wine regions, especially in unknown regions. And most importantly: Be a cultural ambassador to your region! March 29, Session 1.4 at 16:00 in Queen Tamar”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″][nd_options_divider nd_options_align=”nd_options_text_align_left” nd_options_width=”30px” nd_options_height=”2px” nd_options_color=”#f1f1f1″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″]
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My Top 9 of 2013

[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2179″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”Well, another year has passed and it seems fitting to list some of my top wine, craft beer and food moments of 2013. Studies and the success of sites like BuzzFeed show that people respond positively to lists, so I have decided to end 2013 with a new feature on my blog, and that is The Top 9. Why 9 and not some other arbitrary number? The obvious reason is my love of cats and the fact that they have 9 lives, so 9 it is.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2185″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”A tasting of fortified wines during a WSET class”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”9. Discovering I actually love dry Sherries like Fino and Manzanilla. Actually considering my love of rotten, fermented food and my passion for Kombucha brewing, lacto-fermentation and yeast in general, it is no wonder I have a newfound appreciation for FLOR, which infuses wonderful nutty notes to these often salty wines that are perfect with olives (another lacto-fermented food I make).”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2186″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”GianMarco and his lovely dirt”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”8. Visiting one of my favorite Laziale wine producer’s for Katie Parla’s birthday. Gianmarco Antonuzi of Le Coste gave us an in-depth tour of his vineyards, showing us the health and life of the soil, the young bush trained vines and then taking us to the cellar where we tasted many different wines from the barrel for about two hours. Gianmarco can easily be described as a wine anarchist and a hardcore naturalist. No compromising, ever. Lazio is a region of incredible potential, and Gianmarco is the poster child of natural wine making in Lazio if not all of Italy. A true visionary.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2202″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Umbria wine Master class with Patrick Farrell, MD, MW”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”7. Participating in the first #winelover anniversary wine weekend over Valentine’s weekend in Umbria. We tasted some interesting wines and I met a great group of people that share a passion for wine. Cool wine friends are always welcome!”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2191″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Picking grapes, 2013″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”6. Participating in my third grape harvest and helping make Roèt. Since Roèt is essentially a field blend it is difficult to say how much of each variety is in the wine. This year, as I picked grapes, I got to know each grape and was able to identify them. This still doesn’t help me with my next-to-zero math skills.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2182″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Flora and my favorite beer”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”5. Finally getting over my hatred of hipsters in San Diego and embracing the craft beer scene thanks to my best friend Hanna. We enjoyed amazing raw, unfiltered sour beer from all over the West Coast. My favorites came from California wine making region the Russian River Valley and Oregon. Another thing I discovered- in beer- Brettanomyces is delicious. My favorite beer on sour beer night was the Logston Seizoen Brett Farmhouse Ale from Oregon. I could drink this beer for days.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2195″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”TRD at DWCC”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”4. Launching The Rome Digest in March with Gina, Irene, Katie and Hande. It has been an extremely positive experience and feedback from the community has been great. Along with launching TRD, we spoke on blog collaboration at the Digital Wine CommunicationsConference in Spain, which was, of course, a huge honor.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2196″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Soul mates?”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”3. Meeting and bonding with Dora and Patrizia of Poderi Sanguineto I and II. Not only do they make wonderful, earthy Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, they are real salt-of-the.earth people. They make honest, traditional Tuscan wines which are a rarity amoung today’s overly-polished wines of the region. They also have dozens of cats and Patrizia and I bonded over our great love of cats. She offered me a cat and introduced me to her favorite queen, a very”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2188″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”old and noble lady. I fell in love with these endearing women. Kopke’s 1940 Colheita Tawny Port2. Port wine. We were chosen to participate in a press trip host by Greengrape through the Douro Valley in October pre dwccwith some fellow delegates. What can I say? I fell in love. Vinho Verde, Port Wine, Douro Doc are all fantastic. The Douro Valley is a place of extreme beauty, ancient history, gorgeous wine and unique terrior. I had the opportunity to taste many different types of port from Vintage to Ruby to LBV to Tawny to the benchmark 2011. The look like jewels in a glass. The most incredible wine I tasted during our trip in Portugal was Kopke’s 1940 Colheita Tawny Port. (An entire post will be dedicated to this trip) This is a special edition wine to celebrate 375 years of the oldest Port Wine House. Only 375 bottles were produced. It was an ethereal and delicious moment.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2184″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”My love…”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”18″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”1. And last but not least, it should be no surprise for those who have joined the cult of Fiorano. My number one wine, food or beer moment of 2013 was at my birthday dinner. Ettore and I shared a 1975 Fiorano Semillon Vino da Tavola. These wines are the world’s greatest wines and fairly unknown except to a few crazy cultish people. Another great example of the incredible potential of Lazio as a wine making region. Let’s get beyond cheap Frascati in 2014!”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”35″]
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On Grapes and Grandfathers

[nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2170″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Damiano Ciolli in his element”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”I have not been a particularly active blogger in the past few months despite attending many interesting tastings, several visits to wineries throughout central Italy, participating in a press trip to Port and the Douro Valley and falling in love with the wines and people of Portugal (especially port wine!) attending and speaking on a panel at the Digital Wine Communications Conference in Logroño, Spain. What can I say? Paid work and real life have made time precious and stories and ideas fade. But there are themes. A lot of them have to do with the importance of wine grapes, biodiversity and people are important themes right now and many important and talented wine writers and bloggers have dedicated hours of research and time to them. At the dwcc I was fortunately enough to be able to attend the Native Iberian Varieties Grand Tasting led by Julia Harding MW and grape geneticist Dr. Jose Vouillamoz, co-authors-along with Jancis Robinson-of the wine tome, Wine Grapes.Like nearly any field on earth, the trade includes a lot of networking. I find this part of wine very tedious when not in the field or with wine makers. There are lot of people with a lot to say, but I think these old producers in out-of-the-way locations have the most to say, even if they don’t say a lot. Recently I attending a natural wine dinner with the rest of my colleagues at The Rome Digest and we ran into wine maker Damiano Ciolli. He is such a nice salt-of-the-earth guy and has the heaviest ciociaria accent I have ever heard. He makes two different types of wines, both made from Lazio’s autochthonousgrape Cesanese. To be honest, he looked kind of bored and a little bit like a fish out of water. I have seen this a lot lately. We take clients to small wineries, or I join a group of wine professionals and visit wineries or go to tastings and people are making a big fuss over the wine makers. Of course they merit a fuss. They make our beloved beverage. But I often see the confusion in their eyes. Eyes that say, “It’s just wine.” But perhaps they don’t understand how we can admire a person who didn’t rip out his grandfather’s vineyard of mixed local varieties to plant Merlot. I meet old farmers all the time who have no idea what is growing in their vineyard. They are just doing what has always been done in old communities. On our way out of the natural wine dinner, we ran into Damiano who seemed to be hiding outside despite the cold. I think he said one of the wisest things I have heard anyone say in the past few months:”][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”I am just doing what my grandfather did.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Indeed. More to come on that in the near future.”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2152″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text_align=”center” nd_options_text=”Local Laziale Wine Grape Cesanese”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_divider nd_options_align=”nd_options_text_align_left” nd_options_width=”30px” nd_options_height=”2px” nd_options_color=”#f1f1f1″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″]
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Roèt Vendemmia 2013

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Malvasia Puntinata is easily recognized by its lovely dots

Let me share with you how we roll in the Castelli Romani.  This is how the grapes get picked on a small farm to make a natural, organic wine for personal consumption.  We don’t have aprons.  And since we are organic, there are bees, wasps and mosquitoes who seem to be out with a vengeance. The sun burns the skin, we have to bend over backwards to make sure we do not miss one single precious grape.  And we get sticky.  It is gross.  Grape juice mixes with dirt and leaves to create a sort of sticky dirty film over the entire body.  Picking grapes is hard, back-breaking and sticky work.  Did I mention sticky?  Why anyone would volunteer to do this is beyond my comprehension.  I am picking this year because I will be paid in wine.  I feel so medieval, man.  Isn’t that, like, illegal?
We are picking now because the Malvasia Puntinata is ready.  It has good sugar levels and great acidity.  We are also picking Bellone and Trebbiano, but it is mostly a very juicy Malvasia Puntinata we are picking.  The sugar meter measures 18-19.  Not too bad for a homemade wine.  Due to cooler conditions this year the acidity is up, which is good for making a longer lasting wine.  But we don’t make a longer lasting wine, we make wine that we finish just when we are picking grapes again.
Tonight we are going to drink.  And we are going to drink a lot.  We have to drink the rest of last year’s wine to make way for the new.  And then we will rise early again tomorrow morning and do it all over again.  For the love of wine.

Buon Vendemmia a tutti!

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There are a lot of weeds in most of the organic vineyards in the Castelli Romani. This is because it was an extremely wet year and letting the grass and weeds grow helped the vines not get bogged down

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Malvasia Puntinata: Base grape of almost all Castelli Romani whites

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Roberto, the Ro of Roèt

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Destemming

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One of the oldest ways to make wine…

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A row of Bellone, it gives the Castelli wines softness.

p.s. Roèt is the combined efforts of ROberto and ETtore.  Made from Laziale grapes that are grown organicially and fermented with the skins with indigenous yeasts.  No sulphites added.  This is a traditional farmer’s wine, a pure natural wine made made with nature and hardwork.

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Back in a Few…

[nd_options_text nd_options_text_tag=”p” nd_options_text_weight=”normal” nd_options_text=”Sorry folks about the lack of posts. I have had two computer meltdowns in the past month and I am trying to reorganize files plus work. The good news is that I recently bought myself a present: a new DSLR camera! So my photos should improve. Like this awesome photo I took while eating in a town called Olevano Romano:”][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_divider nd_options_align=”nd_options_text_align_left” nd_options_width=”30px” nd_options_height=”2px” nd_options_color=”#f1f1f1″][nd_options_spacer nd_options_height=”20″][nd_options_image nd_options_align=”center” nd_options_image=”2126″ nd_options_width=”100%” nd_options_class=”adaptive_image_550″]