Forgotten Varieties, Ponzi schemes and what the OIV got up to

Apologies are appropriate, I believe, for a break that was necessary for both personal and professional reasons, which even made me miss two wine events I’d love to go to. Among the professional reasons was another stint at the Weinakademie for the Diploma course and you’ll hear more about that (again) over the coming weeks, but today let us focus on the latest news from the world of wine in this week’s edition of the JollyCellarMaster Weekly:

Lost Treasures and Challenges Past and Present

The Loire just got more difficult

This headline is obviously made from the perspective of a wine student, while it makes a very interesting region even more intriguing. The Loire valley certainly is one of the most diverse wine regions of the world.

We tried to summarise the key facts in a cheat sheet for everything you must know, but obviously there is much more to learn. In terms of grape varietals, even the most important ones (Chenin, Sauvigno, Melon de Bourgogne, Cabernet Franc and so on) is more challenging here than elsewhere, but there is so much more. And if that wasn’t enough, there is another one to try: Thierry and Zoë Puzelat of Clos du Tue-Boeuf have decided to add an almost forgotten red grape variety to the mix by planting 82 young vines of Lignage. Almost wiped out by a virus a few years ago, it has according to the Wine Searcher has a long history in the region, going back as far as 1427 when it was first mentioned. Generally found in the region around Blois, it is similar to Pinot Noir in that it produces a relatively lightly-colored red wine and can even be made as a white wine. But as a wine relatively little is known, though Lignage is supposed to make a fine, delicate, lightly colored red wine with fine aromas and a low alcohol content. Certainly more to come…


If it is too good to be true…

…it probably isn’t. Several outlets reported last week that two British men have been charged with wire fraud and money laundering after allegedly conning US wine investors out of almost $100 million dollars in a Ponzi scheme.

Decanter explains that the two set up a company called Bordeaux Cellars to conduct the alleged scam. It offered investors the chance to earn high returns by making collateralised loans secured against rare bottles of the world’s finest wines. At as the saying goes, while the promised returns were too good to be true, the company did not actually hold many of the wines.

If the two men are convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail. Yet, that is likely to be of little consolation for those that have been duped as it is more than doubtful that they will see their investments returned. So, always remember, if something sounds too good to be true… right!

A year in review

Luigi Moio probably has seen a lot in his long career in the wine industry, but as the newly elected President of the OIV, he explained in the foreword to the latest activity report of the organisation summarised the challenges the sector has had to face in the last year and those to come: to deal with climate change, guarantee sustainable development, introduce and oversee new eco-agricultural approaches together with new viticultural and oenological strategies that have a low environmental impact, and a transparent protection of both producers and consumers. No small feat.

The report highlights the key activities of the OIV in the past twelve months. From the partnership with renowned producers, the adoption of the Russian language as well as the welcoming of the UK as a new member and the move to the organisation’s new headquarter in Dijon – it’s been a busy year. And with the above mentioned tasks – not to mention real and trade wars as well as the growing concern on alcohol and its health impact that affects wine, too – the next one is not likely to be any easier. Best of luck!

Well, that’s all for the week but I promise to be back as usual next week. In the meantime, if you have an interesting story to tell or simply want to chat about wine as a guest on the Podcast, connect on Twitter or drop me a line. And if you want to stay in the loop about things happening at the JollyCellarMaster and the world of wine, make sure you sign up to our newsletter.

Disclaimer: As always, I’d like to be completely transparent about affiliations, conflicts of interest, my expressed views and liability: Like anywhere else on this website, the views and opinions expressed are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. The material information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. I endeavour to keep this information correct and up-to-date, I do not accept any liability for any falls in accurate or incomplete information or damages arising from technical issues as well as damages arising from clicking on or relying on third-party links. I am not responsible for outside links and information is contained in this article nor does it contain any referrals or affiliations with any of the producers or companies mentioned. As I said, the opinions my own, no liability, just thought it would be important to make this clear. Thanks!

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