A Growing Champagne Trend Is Uncorking More Ways To Celebrate


There are two trends NPR readers should know about when it comes to Champagne. First, that French sparkling wine is not just for special occasions anymore. Most people know this, but it’s a worthy and fun reminder that popping some bubbly on a Tuesday night is just as fun as popping it during a wedding celebration. The second, and one I’m a little more excited about, is introducing them to Grower Champagnes (see what I did there with the word “growing” in the headline?).

Grower champagnes are smaller producers who grow their own grapes and produce their own wines, unlike the big Champagne houses (think Dom Perignon, Krug, Veuve Cliquot, etc.) who usually purchase and blend grapes from different vineyards in order to create a consistent product from year to year.

To effectively tell this story, I interviewed  David White (of Terroirist.com fame) about his new book But First, Champagne. The book pairs the history of Champagne, with easy-to-understand explanations of how its made and how to drink it, while profiling important producers in the region. As he told me about the grower champagnes:

“Most of these growers, who only account for about 5 percent of overall Champagne sales, eschew consistency in favor of singularity.”

That 5 percent statistic astounds me. The way the wine community talks about a lot of these producers, it feels like that number should be bigger. Instead it underscores how niche those of us obsessed with wine can be. And all the more reason, a broader audience should learn about these delicious wines.

Read the rest of the interview, perhaps while sipping some bubbly, or perhaps as a friend did while listening to the latest Tiny Desk concert with Joshua Bell (which surprisingly sounds better in this video than it did in person).


To Learn About Wine, Focus On Building Your Confidence | Napa Valley Wine Academy

New blog post alert! I originally started writing this for this blog after a couple friends asked me how I know so much about wine. But then the kind folks at the Pouring Points blog at the the Napa Valley Wine Academy liked the idea – so I expanded it and voila!


The truth is – I’m still learning. But I discovered through reading, being active on social media, finding like-minded friends and ultimately building my confidence levels, it wasn’t too difficult to do. So here are some of the tricks and resources I’ve used to jump start my journey. If you’re just starting out, I hope they’re helpful to you, too!

( Read it here: To Learn About Wine, Focus On Building Your Confidence | Napa Valley Wine Academy.)



The State of Virginia Wine | Napa Valley Wine Academy

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Here’s a little more on Virginia wine. (In case you missed my thoughts from the Virgnia Wine Summit I posted yesterday, it’s right here).

One of the amazing outcomes of the Wine Writers Symposium I attended in February was getting to know fellow talented editors and writers. Among them was Jonathan Cristaldi, the editor in chief of the Napa Valley Wine Academy. He wanted more content for the Academy’s Pouring Points blog and asked me to write a few posts, including this one about Virginia wine in honor of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

So go ahead and read the piece here: The State of Virginia Wine | Napa Valley Wine Academy.

Happy Birthday to Thomas Jefferson, who is not only our nation’s third president, but a fellow wine-o who spent 30 years trying to bottle a Virginia-made wine. Cheers!