Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Most Important Wine Thingy
What is the most important factor in making good wine? One person’s viewpoint is that of Ric Einstein of TORBWINE who has written a rather lengthy piece explaining Einstein’s Wine Theory which is Good viticultural practices are the roots of fine wine(TM). Or A Dummies Guide to the Most Important Wine Thingy.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Ric’s artcle, from my perspective, are the comments of Cecilia Schubert of Schubert Estate in the Barossa Valley. She noted that “the human resource firm, Morgan & Banks, interviewed 7,000 Australians and asked them where they would like to be in five years time and 3,150 chose owning a vineyard.” ……….and

“Temptations to experience living in wine country have come from many sources including Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence,” lifestyle television programs; or the musings of feature editors describing the pleasures and delights of country living, regional cuisine and fine wine. Before you are seduced to an epiphanous experience - take heed. Enjoy the pleasures, but before investing your money make sure you have stacks of it. We are not talking hundreds here; we are talking thousands, stacks and stacks of thousands. With good backing, you’re guaranteed of having a chance of actually enjoying those promised pleasures.”

A similar perspective guided my wife, Miranda, and I to purchase a small home in the little township of Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley. When we decided to buy an investment/retirement property in Australia’s wine country a few years back we began looking at places like Orange, Swan Valley, Mudgee, (even Dubbo) and finally settled on the Barossa. Over the three or so years that we took to do this the dream went from a small property that we could grow things on (including vines) to the reality of a simple 3-bedroom house close to vineyards. In essence the change was made due to the realization that growing things and especially making wine is not something for the faint of heart, and not a good idea if you truly want to retire. I would much rather spend my retirement visiting with winemakers and drinking their wines.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Wine and Women
“While many still imagine men in the role of wine connoisseur, it is women, in fact, who have long been the leading wine purchasers and wine drinkers in the United States.” This is a quote from a piece in the Fashion Monitor of Toronto. The article comments on Leslie Sbrocco and her book Wine For Women.

Some of Sbrocco’c comments include "Women are adventurous when it comes to buying wine and are willing to try new varietals, regions and producers if they offer top quality and value," Sbrocco says. "It's not about making wine different in the bottle for women. The point is to make wine a regular part of any lifestyle."

"That includes offering ease and convenience with things such as unique bottle sizes and screwtops."

An example is the Lindemans Mini package format which the article notes - Women who've tried the new 187-ml bottle appreciate not having to open an entire standard-sized bottle of wine to have one glass, are happy to dispense with the troublesome corkscrew, and say they value the serving options that the unique bottle size offers.

Troublesome corkscrew? Screwcaps? Oh dear, Roger Scruton is unlikely to be pleased if ease and convenience end up consuming all his female wine drinking companions!

And I wonder if Jeni Port of the Sydney Morning Herald will write about the sexism involved in this pandering to the female wine drinker and whether Annie Rankin of Chalice Bridge will be quoted again.

Joking aside, it quite obvious to me that if you are part of a very competitive market that you will try to appeal to the most influential group in your market, and as Sbrocco notes “women account for sixty percent of high-end wine drinkers in the United States” and "Women focus more on the taste and style of wines rather than ratings," Sbrocco said. "But, women also tend to listen to recommendations from others, so if a wine catches on with one woman, there's a good chance her friends will at least give it a try."
Tasting Notes Has Categories
There is probably a way to make categories in Blogger but I’m simply too busy to figure it out. So I have put up a post on Tasting Notes which lists the wine categories. I’ll keep that post at the top of the page and add new categories as I taste more wines (actually that should be as I find time to add tasting notes).

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Screwy Scruton – Put a Cork In It
Roger Scruton, that philosopher extraordinaire, thinks that screwcaps on wine “encourages the quick fix, the hasty glug, the purely self-centred grab for a slug of alcohol. It reduces wine to an alcopop and shapes it according to the needs of the drunkard.” In contrast wine with a cork is opened “with a slow and graceful movement while the guests watch in awed silence. The sudden "pop" that then occurs is like a sacramental bell, marking a great division in the scheme of things, between a still life with bottle, and the same still life with wine.”

There has been a lot of debate recently about whether wine should have a screwcap, especially premium wine. The science suggests that screwcaps offer a more uniform method of reducing exposure of wine to oxygen during cellaring. While the problem of reductive characters in some wines with screwcaps is still to be solved there seems little doubt that it is not a problem of the screwcap itself. Corks appear to be more variable in the amount of oxygen that they allow to pass into the wine, and they are also a major cause of 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole (TCA) contamination that results in a wine being described as corked.

For Scruton “the risk of corking is essential to the ritual” of opening a bottle of wine. You have got to be kidding me! The idea that a contaminant, that we know how to avoid, should lurk in the background and plague the opening of every wine is faulty thinking of the highest order. But then philosophers are not known for their practicality.

Scruton’s ritual of opening a bottle of wine is as follows. “The bottle is retrieved from some secret place where the gods have kept it guarded; it is brought reverentially to the table, dusted off and uncorked with a slow and graceful movement while the guests watch in awed silence. The sudden "pop" that then occurs is like a sacramental bell, marking a great division in the scheme of things, between a still life with bottle, and the same still life with wine. The wine must then be swirled, sniffed and commented upon, and only when all this is duly accomplished can it be poured with ceremonial priestcraft into the glasses.”

If you replace uncorked with uncapped, and “pop” with “snap” you have a description of the opening of a screwcapped wine. A ritual that, in time, will convert all but the most fanatical and backward thinking of wine drinkers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wine Fans Take Heart: Smells Differ in Nose, Mouth
A piece in All Things Considered by Jon Hamilton (NPR or National Public Radio) talks about new research showing that the brain perceives an odor differently if it arrives through the nose (orthonasal) rather than through the mouth (retronasal). The work is described in an article in the journal Neuron where the authors conclude “The main finding of this experiment is that the same odor may produce differential brain responses depending on whether it is sensed orthonasally and experienced as coming from the nose or retronasally and experienced as coming from the back of the mouth.” (Differential Neural Responses Evoked by Orthonasal versus Retronasal Odorant Perception in Humans. Small DM, Gerber JC, Mak YE, Hummel T. Neuron. 2005, 47:593-605.)

Short review of the concept.

The most fascinating aspect of the study was that the odor of chocolate showed the greatest effect on route of delivery. This suggests that differences in “response to retronasal versus orthonasal perception is influenced by whether an odor represents a food item”. The interpretation is that sensing of odor orthonasally may help indicate the availability of food while retronasal identification may signify receipt of food. However its early days yet because the study only used one food odor (chocolate) compared to three none food odors (lavender, butanol, farnesol). More food odors need to be studied to see if they give the same result as the chocolate odor.

One interesting point from the NPR audio piece is that if you want to increase your ability to detect non-food odors retronasally then you need to ingest something with that odor. Anyone for a drop of cat pee on their tongue?
Site Meter
Like most bloggers I like to keep track of who visits my eBlogs. There are numerous ways to do this. I use Site Meter, mainly because it is free but also because it has a number of useful features. A feature they have recently introduced is the Visitor World Map. It plots the locations of site visitors on a live push-pin map of the world. The map updates itself automatically. Clicking on a pin point will drill-down to the visit and provide details of the location and IP address. Today SHIRAZ has had visits from Australia, Israel, Italy, the UK and the USA. BTW the map image you see is not for SHIRAZ.
An Apology to The Wine Doctor
I received an email today from Chris Kissack of The WineDoctor.com commenting on my posts about decanting and wondering about one in particular. It was the March 22, 2005 post entitled Decanting – Day 7 which was a little tongue-in-cheek comment on one method of decanting. What’s to apologize about? Well the link I provided was to Chris’s web site when it should have been to DamnGoodWine.com.

Chris, while you didn’t ask for this to be done so publicly, my sincerest apologies for any problems my error might have caused. I have no explanation as to how the error appeared other than a mix-up between the sites I had collected that have comments on decanting. But I really have no excuse as I am responsible for checking my links to make sure that they not only link to a site but that the site is correctly quoted.

One thing I am sure about is that Chris was very gracious in his email when it was not necessary for him to do so. In fact more than gracious, because he provided me with a piece on information on aeration of wine that I was not familiar with.

Work done by Kari Russell of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and reported in the New Scientist, looked at the concentration of phenolic compounds in a Merlot as it sat in three different glasses: a flute glass, a Martini glass and a wide Bordeaux glass.

According to the New Scientist “Russell found that the concentration of a phenolic compound called gallic acid increased, presumably because the action of pouring triggered reactions that converted gallic tannins in the wine into gallic acid.”

“Russell thinks this is because a higher surface area of the wine is exposed to air in a Bordeaux glass. Oxygen drives the formation of compounds called catechin-gallate esters from the gallic acid. When esters pass your lips, they precipitate the proteins in your saliva, making the wine taste dry.”

After pouring the wine back into glass beakers a panel of tasters, mostly students, tasted the wine that had sat in different glasses. With one exception they did not notice any difference.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Wine and Sexism
I recently posted on the sexist comment made by Trevor Croker (Foster Wine Estate’s marketing director). In introducing the Early Harvest wines through a press release Mr Croker commented that “For women, wine is not an intellectual pursuit.” In an article by Jeni Port in the the Sydney Morning Herald Annie Rankin, at Chalice Bridge in the Margaret River region of Australia, commented "Apparently, we need our very own wine because we are all a little simple and don't need too much mental stimulation thinking about wine."

Ms Rankin has replied to the post and again stated her position. As I noted originally I’m sympathetic to Ms Rankin’s dismay and I can appreciate her “umbrage at the ‘gross generalizations’ that women don’t want to be intellectually challenged and think about wine!” But I also still believe that her umbrage is better directed at Mr Croker than the wine. After all the Early Harvest wines may have been designed for women but there is no way that Foster’s can limit access to only women. Its possible that the wine, unlike Mr Croker, may end up being quite palatable “especially if it provides the sort of enjoyment that women (or men) seek”!

Now the interesting bit! In trying to chase down a little more information on the wines I paid another visit to the the Early Harvest web site. The media release (and therefore Mr Croker’s comment) that was associated with the Early Harvest web site has gone the way of the dodo. Is this a victory for the recent negative publicity? Unfortunately not, delving a little further I found in the Q & A section the question “Why did you develop early Harvest wine?”

Part of the answer is “We started the project on the basic premise of asking young women (27-40) to design the perfect wine for themselves.

We had no pre-conceived idea of what this may be, and from this we learnt that for them wine is not an intellectual pursuit, wine is meant to be fun and enjoyed with friends – and of course it has to taste great.”

Oh dear, here we go again!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Geoff Merrill Reserve Shiraz 2004 Wins Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy
The Geoff Merrill Reserve Shiraz from the 2004 vintage has been awarded the 2005 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for best one-year-old red wine at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show. Based in McLaren Vale, Geoff Merrill Wines has vineyards in three of Australia's viticultural regions, "Pimpala vineyard" McLaren Vale, "Graymoor vineyard" in Coonawarra and the "Pogue" vineyard in the Goulburn Valley.

Produced since 1994 the Reserve Shiraz is from fruit from McLaren Vale vineyards. The aim is to produce a limited production of the best Shiraz of the vintage. The juice is fermented and aged in French and American oak casks for 24 months before selecting superior barrels for blending and bottling. The wine is then bottle aging in the winery cellars prior to release. The current release is the 2000 wine so don’t expect to see bottles of the 2005 for some time to come.
Armed Corkscrews - Making Your Life Easier
British product consultancy User Vision asked 500 consumers to rate in terms of usefulness a range of everyday products and services developed over the past two decades which have made difficult, inefficient, inconvenient or time-consuming tasks easier. On top of the list of 50 items were armed corkscrews, voted by 57% of respondents as in the top five most useful innovations.

Personally I prefer the Screwpull when I want to remove a cork as the armed corkscrews tend to breakdown when I use them.

I wonder if in 20 years we will see screwcaps on wine bottles in the list?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Rosemount/Mondavi Connection
I don’t really take much notice of what the Mondavi empire does. So I was a little surprised when I tasted a bottle of Kirralaa Bushvine Shiraz recently and found the name Mondavi on the label. Kirralaa, pronounced KEERA-lah which is Australian aboriginal for star, is a joint effort between Robert Oatley, founder of Rosemount Estate and Robert Mondavi, founder of Robert Mondavi.

The aim of the partnership is to make California wines using Australian winemaking philosophy and Australian wines employing a California approach. For the Kirralaa wines this means trying to express the terroir that influences Californian single-vineyard wines. A lofty aim one might think, but there is plenty of single vineyard Shiraz in Australia. What is so special about the Kirralaa Bushwine Shiraz? Maybe the description of the vineyard might help?

Our 2002 really speaks to its South Australia, (and largely Barossa), provenance. Despite their age and often weary appearance, our bushy old vines in the Barossa delivered in a very, very big way. Smaller parcels of carefully-farmed 50 year old Shiraz in McLaren Vale and Shiraz from the cooler districts of Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills balanced the power of our Barossa valley Shiraz with mid-palate structure, distinctive spiciness, acidity and considerable length.

Hang on! That does not sound like a single vineyard wine. Just what is in the mix? The 2002 Kirralaa Bushvine Shiraz is a single varietal blend of 38% Barossa Valley, 28% Eden Valley, 18% Adelaide Hills, and 16% McLaren Vale fruit. The 2001 wine is even more diverse being a blend of Coonawarra 53%, Barossa Valley 24%, McLaren Vale 13% and Margaret River 10%. About the only wines in the Kirralaa range that are single vineyard appear to be the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon (McLaren Vale). The premium wine is the Indelible Reserve Shiraz which is a blend of grapes from Victorian vineyards and so some might argue its “provenance” is as an expression of Victorian terroir. But overall these wines are not single vineyard expressions of terroir, nor they examples of regional terroir. They look more like mixing whatever fruit you can get so that you can put wine in bottles!

The other wines in this partnership are the Talomas (pronounced tah-LOW-muss) wines. Talomas is an indigenous Californian word meaning wildcats. And no prizes for guessing that these are wines made in California in an Australian style. And that simply means blending different varietals. Again the fruit for these wines comes from different vineyards. The 2000 Cabernet/Syrah blend is Cabernet Sauvignon 67% and Syrah 33% with the fruit mix being Santa Barbara 35%, Mendocino 26%, Paso Robles 19%, Napa Valley 15% and Monterey 5%. The Talomas wines also include a Basket Press Reserve Syrah.

The Talomas wines sound more like a true expression of the Aussie philosophy of blending to produce a better quality wine. They might be worth seeking out, if only to see whether the blending works.

Oh, one final thing. Its only a small thing I know, but what’s with using Syrah for wines made in the Aussie tradition of blending? We call it Shiraz!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Terroir 2006
During March 19-22, 2006 the University of California at Davis will host Terroir 2006, A Dialogue Between Earth Scientists and Winemakers.

The meeting is introduced by the following paragraph:
“Terroir” refers to the influence of the natural environment on the growing of grapes and the production of wine. This conference will explore how aspects of terroir can be studied scientifically in ways that are of use to the wine industry. The conference is conceived as a dialogue between individuals who do research on aspects of terroir, and grape growers and winemakers who can make use of the insights gained from that research.

The Program is quite expansive with a Keynotes address by Jancis Robinson and talks by Australia’s James Halliday of Coldstream Hill Winery, Richard Smart of Smart Viticulture, and John Gladstones, Honorary Research Fellow (Viticulture), University of Western Australia. There are even a few Americans as well as experts from other countries. And what meeting of wine experts is complete without a free viewing of Sideways!
And Just How Many Varietals Have You Tasted?
Most of us have heard of the De Longs' grape varietal table. I posted on it some time ago, and I’ve seen other wineblogs note its existence. The De Long’s have now begun The Wine Century Club. If you've tasted wine from 100 different grape varieties, you're qualified to become a member. On a quick run through the list I could identify about 40 varieties that I have tasted either as single varietals or in blends. If I thought about a little more I’m sure I could come up with a few more (where are my notes on that Spanish tasting) but I doubt that I could get to 100. Getting to 100 is not a common achievement as only about 3% of the applicants have done it. But it does seem like a fun way to learn more about different grape varieties and the qualities of the wines made from them.
Sexism or Snifferati
Like the majority of bloggers I spend a little time each day looking through a number of web sites for interesting articles on wine and wine-related subjects that might form the basis of a post on this blog. Today two pieces have caught my eye. The first is an article by Jeni Port in the Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald. It seems that Trevor Croker (Foster Wine Estate’s marketing director) in introducing new wines targeted at female wine drinkers has gotten himself into trouble. The Early Harvest wines were created after Foster’s polled women aged 27-40 about what they wanted in a wine. In introducing the wines through a press release Mr Croker commented that “For women, wine is not an intellectual pursuit.” This has caused Annie Rankin, at Chalice Bridge in the Margaret River region of Australia to commnet "Apparently, we need our very own wine because we are all a little simple and don't need too much mental stimulation thinking about wine." She went on to say "I love sharing good wine, as it brings together bright people and often leads to some lively discussions. So if anyone tries to bring a bottle of this new dumb wine to my dinner party, I'll Kafka them."

Initially I had sympathy for both sides in this argument. I'm sure Mr Croker did not seek to denegrate the audience he wants to buy Early Harvest wines, nor do I believe that women are any less serious in their mental gymnastics over wine than men. But then I read Karen Breytenbach's piece in the Cape Times entitled “This wine festival is for everyone - not just the 'snifferati'”. The Breytenbach piece is on the South African Stellenbosch Wine Festival. The intent of the festival was summed up by noted wine connoisseur and author John Platter. "This is a festival, feast and celebration. Not a wine contest. Not one of those beauty pageants to find winners and losers by committee, and then dispense gongs and curious baubles like double golds, which, as we've come to know, can dull the diamonds and shine the pebbles ...

"This festival is where wines and their makers can present themselves, make their own case, where punters can try the wines without formality," he said.

It seems everyone is catered to at this festival. "We really have something for everyone, from the connoisseurs and 'snifferati' to families who want to have a fun day with their children. We're also offering free Wine Masters Classes and a historical tour of the town.

"We have everything from wine to food to art. Parents can even leave their children in the care of Paul Roos school teachers while they're busy tasting," said Nicolette Waterford, chief executive of Stellenbosch Wine Routes. They will even erect a large television screen so that festival goers can see the Saturday rugby.

After reading the article I began to think that maybe the 'snifferati' play too much of a role in wine appreciation. Mr Croker’s comment may be insensitive, but Ms Rankin is equally insensitive in calling the Early Harvest wines dumb. After all dumb has a specific meaning to the 'snifferati'. It means that a wine is going through a phase where the fruit begins to decrease before the complexities of maturity have fully developed. It can also be called flat spot or the awkward, transformational, or adolescent phase. I doubt that is Ms. Rankin’s intellectual analysis of the Early Harvest wines. In fact I’m at a loss to understand why the wine is being faulted at all. It was Croker’s comment that was the problem not the qualities of the wine. The wine may actually end up being a success especially if it provides the sort of enjoyment that women (or men) seek. And that equates to 90 per cent of women saying that a low calorie wine would be desirable as long as they did not have to sacrifice taste. I’m betting that there is a good chance that the Early Harvest wines will not pass the smell test of the 'snifferati'. But then I’m equally sure it wasn’t made for them. It was made for those of us who enjoy a nice quite day with a bottle of wine and a little bit of jazz, or maybe some cricket on a large screen!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Wine Judging – A Real Lip Peeler
"Once, I had to taste so many wines at a show, the tannins reacted with the proteins in my mouth and my lips peeled," was how Judging chairman Chris Pfeiffer described wine judging. Let’s hope his lips survive the 4,389 entries that are in this year's Royal Melbourne Wine Show, conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. Apparently Australia’s largest wine show The Royal Melbourne Wine Show is home to Australia’s most sought after wine award - the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy. The award was established in 1962 by friends of the late Jimmy Watson as a recognition of his services to the advancement of the Australian wine industry. Funding of the trophy was achieved through public donations made to Jimmy Watson's Wine Bar in Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria.

The trophy is awarded to the Best Red Beverage Wine of the Vintage Year prior to the Current Vintage Year (i.e. a one year old dry red wine). The 2004 winner was the Premium [yellow tail]® Cabernet Sauvignon 2003. Saltram’s 2002 "The Eighth Maker" Shiraz won in 2003. The 2002 Jimmy Watson Trophy Winner was the 2001 Rosemount Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot or Rosemount Estate Traditional. Pepper Tree’s 2000 Grand Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon won in 2001. Pepper Tree claims this as the first for a winery in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. This is somewhat disingenuous as the fruit came from South Australia's Coonawarra. A quick check shows that NSW has won the award twice before. Once in 1981 for Lindemans Wines 1980 Dry Red Claret and again in 1986 when Lindemans Wines again scored with their 1985 Coonawarra Premium Claret Blend. Since 2000 wines from the Coonawarra have won the trophy 12 times and have been a part of the regional blend of two winners. But the big winner has been South Australia with 29 wins. Victoria has claimed the trophy six times while New South Wales and Western Australia have won twice.

The varietal make-up of the winning wines is a little harder to pin down as up until 1984 most wines were simply described as Claret or Burgundy. A Shiraz has won the trophy on at least 10 occasions.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Big Ad Makes the CG Society Pages
Fossies will be pleased that their ad for Carlton Draught is receiving accolades from the CG Society. As is fairly obvious the ad was shot in Queenstown, New Zealand. And even though thousands of CG human extras constitute all the large crowd shots the ad looks as though every backpacker in town was included. "We had over 300 extras on the ground.” said Director Paul Middleditch. God that’s BIG!
Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine Limited-Edition Guide
As has been noted by a number of WineBlogs the wine auction house of Langton’s has updated their Classification of Australian Wine. Reviewed every five years the 2005 Classification comprises 101 wines: 11 Exceptional, 22 Outstanding, 34 Excellent and 34 Distinguished. This an increase of 12 from the 89 wines listed in the 2000 Classification, with 67 wines of the 2000 Classification included in the 2005 Classification. The criteria used for selection have not been clearly enunciated by Langton’s but a wine must have 10 vintages to be considered for inclusion. Other criteria include bidding activity, price realizations and volume of wine sold for all wines and vintages sold by Langton’s. Importantly the classification is not based on tastings or show results or even the pronouncements of wine critics or writers.

With a five year cycle interest in the Classification really only peaks when a new classification is announced. This time Langton’s has teamed up with Range Rover and Gourmet Traveller WINE to release the classification as a limited-edition guide book with the August/September 2005 issue of GT WINE. The booklet contains notes on all 101 wines together with the top vintages for each wine. A very useful little guide.

But Langton’s also has other wine lists – Cult and Emerging. The wines in these lists are on the Langton’s website but not in the limited-edition booklet. Revision of these two lists does not appear to have a time scale, but Langton’s note “A number of wines included in the emerging category are wines that missed the cut in 2000 for Langton’s Classification III.” So can we expect these two lists to be updated now that the 2005 Classification is out? Almost certainly, particularly as Andrew Caillard MW Director of Langton’s Fine Wine Auctions has a piece in the GT WINE entitled “Class Acts”. Here he talks about new cult and emerging Aussie wine. Cult wine of the moment? Glaetzer Amon-Ra Shiraz closely followed by the Kalleske Greenock Shiraz. Other cults include the Two Hands Ares, Henry’s Drive Reserve Shiraz, Shrivington’s Cabernet and Shiraz, and the Mitolo GAM among others.

The emerging category comprises mostly wines from the Margate River of Western Australia, the Barossa Valley and Coonawarra regions of South Australia and the Victorian areas of Heathcote and Beechworth. In Caillard’s opinion the emerging wine scene is not easily defined, although regional provenance is important. This means Shiraz from the Barossa and Cabernet from Coonawarra and Western Australia. Interestingly Caillard thinks that the next step in the appeal of Barossa Shiraz will be subregional wines. With the number of single-vineyard Shiraz wines currently being produced this is almost a sure bet.
Trying To Be In The 13%
From the Sydney Morning Herald, August 4th, 2005.

The blog-tracking site Technorati counted more than 14.2 million blogs last month, compared with 7.8 million in March. That's 80,000 new weblogs being created every day, said Dave Sifry, the company's chief executive. But only about half of all blogs are active - updated in the past three months - and just 13 per cent are updated every week.

More from the Technorati Blog. And a bit from BBC News.

What they don’t focus on is why 87% are not active weekly. My own excuse is that my real job keeps me too busy to post daily. But I think I can keep in the 13%!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Need a Book on Wine?
Last Friday Miranda and I visited the University of California at Davis. As a graduate of the Veterinary School she was keen to show me her old stomping grounds. As a wine geek I was keen to see one of the premier enology schools in the USA. After visiting the Vet School we didn’t have time visit all the other places we would have liked, but we did get to the main book store. There I was confronted with the largest array of books on wine and winemaking I have ever seen. It simply was not possible to purchase all the books I wanted, but I did get a number that I’ll comment on over the next few weeks. Meanwhile why don’t you peruse their shelves online. I’ll bet you can find something of interest.