Posted by: Alex | November 18, 2008

Beyond Winetraveller…

This blog was to be my record of my journey around the world, and my year away, making an easterly circuit of the Southern hemisphere may be over, but I’m still on the road, and before I even returned to the UK back in August, I had started planning a new site.

As ever though, I found myself exceedingly busy for the months of September and October working the harvest is Napa – a real mecca for winemaking and wine touring, which gave me more than enough material to be writing about, but not enough time to write!

Armed with a computer of my very own, and finding myself in New Zealand temporarily without a dayjob, I have begun the unexpectedly complicated business of getting the new site up and running..

With any luck though, as long as the internet behaves itself and lets me do what I want to do, the new site will be up and running soon – I intend to archive the winetraveller year on the site as well as add the odd post when time allows, so watch this space, and I’ll have the new site up and running as soon as I can work out all the gremlins in the machine…

Thanks for reading!


Posted by: Alex | August 12, 2008

Back in Blighty…but only briefly!

It was this week last year that I got on the plane and started my year away in the Southern hemisphere.
One year on and back in the Northern hemisphere!

One year on and back in the Northern hemisphere!

I can hardly believe I’ve been back over a week now, what with meeting up with friends and spending time with my family, I have hardly had a chance to reflect on the mountain of experiences I have had, the people I have met – and of course the wines I have consumed! I do at least have this blog to look back upon, with some parts of the trip better documented than others as my attentions were diverted elsewhere from time to time… So I intend to spend a few weeks now looking back over the written record of my year away, fill in the gaps, and if I get time, re-jig the layout of the site a bit. Read More…

Posted by: Alex | August 5, 2008

All change at Oddbins!

It’s been almost exactly a year since I quit my job at Oddbins wine merchants and left on my year travelling and working around the Southern hemisphere to learn more about the wine industry.

I’ve been back in the UK for a few days now after returning from Mendoza via Chile and Rio de Janeiro, and after getting over the jetlag and adjusting to the scorching British summer weather, I have been chatting to a few old friends back in Cardiff…

Well it seems as though the past year has been a busy one with one thing and another for Oddbins, while I was in the Barossa I heard that the head buyer Emma Nichols had left after returning from maternity leave, which in itself isn’t so surprising given the recent history of the buying team, losing senior buyers at the rate of at least one a year in the five years I worked for the company…

But now, on top of hearing rumours about goings on at my own branch in Cardiff, I have just learned about the surprise sale of the whole company yesterday! The French parent company Castel, have sold the Read More…

Posted by: Alex | July 21, 2008

Drinking at altitude

Leaving Mendoza behind, I started my way back over the Andes to Santiago, but with the mountains looking so spectacular blanketed in snow in the depth of winter, it seemed a shame not to stop on the way and spend some time at altitude. I was joined by Lukas, a German who was headed the same way and so we got the bus up to the tiny border town of ‘Puenta del Inca’ named after a natural and spectacular geological ‘bridge.’ In the Summer months, this small town is a pretty busy tourist town, the starting point for groups wanting to climb the 6,962 metre (22,841 ft) peak of Aconcagua. At this time of year, it’s pretty dead, and seemed to have only one place to stay – the Hostelria – which was full.

Puenta del Inca. and a gnarly old tree.

Puenta del Inca. and a gnarly old tree.

As we contemplated the rather chilly prospect of walking 6km back down the hill with great big backpacks, to the small ski resort of Penetentes, where we had been pointed by the not-so-helpful guy in the hostelria, we thought we’d ask in the shop if there was anywhere else. He was only slightly more helpful, suggesting the Army base that was over the road (and almost twice the size of the whole town!) as a possibility of Read More…

Posted by: Alex | July 18, 2008

The best of Mendoza

Last night we went along to the Hyatt wine awards, the annual medal dish-out here in Mendoza – well to be accurate, the actual gala-dinner awards ceremony thing is tonight, but for the last two nights there was a sort of mini consumer wine-fair with stalls from some of the wineries who had entered.

It was a fun evening, and a bargain at the price – just AR$25 (about 4 quid) to try wines from about twenty of the regions bodegas. After my fortnight of bodega-hopping, there were quite a few faces that I recognised too – and it was when chatting to Estefania from Finca Sophenia that she asked what my favourites have been in the last few weeks – and it got me thinking… So here is a hastily put together list of favourite bits from my month in Mendoza: Read More…

Posted by: Alex | July 15, 2008

still in Mendoza – but not for long!

The last few weeks, when not studying Spanish, I´ve been sampling plenty of the local wine, and this past week has been a busy one!

Armed with a list of contacts, mainly from Joe Fattorini, a British wine journalist whose article on Argentine wines inspired me to come here, I have been touring around visiting bodegas and trying their wines with John – a Californian winemaker who has been working here for the last few months. It has been great to be with a fellow wine geek – although we have managed to fill our schedule so full I’m not really left with any time to write – as ever! Read More…

Posted by: Alex | July 8, 2008

Starting from scratch at Decero

Armed with a list of contacts from Joe Fattorini and a basic grasp of the Spanish language, I was ready get out of the city of Mendoza and visit some bodegas.

The first appointment in my increasingly busy diary was with Stephanie Morton Small, Commercial Director at Finca Decero, and fellow MW student with Joe, and if you hadn’t guessed from the double-barrelled surname, fellow Brit – so my Spanish skills (or lack thereof) wouldn’t be needed just yet…

Looking out on Decero with Stephanie and John

Looking out on Decero with Stephanie and John

Posh but straight-talking Stephie, after very kindly picking us up at John’s house, gave us a quick tour of Read More…

Posted by: Alex | July 1, 2008

Spanish lessons and new friends (mendoza part 2)

After two weeks tearing around seeing the sights with Gordon and Katherine my friends from home, I slowed things down and decided to stay a while back in Mendoza to learn some Spanish before continuing on my way.

The best way to get around Argentina!

The best way to get around Argentina!

It had been really nice travelling as part of a trio, so I’d been sad to see them off from Buenos Aires before getting the overnight bus up to Mendoza myself. The coaches in South America, as I may have mentioned Read More…

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