10 things worth knowing about wine growing in Argentina

I am writing this blog entry at London Heathrow Airport. I shouldn’t be here. I should be in Argentina, sitting in a wine bar in Buenos Aires rather than on a bench in Terminal 5 listening to a voice very similiar to ex-Spice Girls’s Mel C reminding us that unattended luggage will be removed and destroyed. Good to know.

The Regent variety. Soon to be ready for harvest.

But British Airways didn’t want to take me on their flight last night and rebooked me on today’s flight. Therefore, I have plenty of time to read about wine growing in Argentina and share the most important facts and figures with you. So, let’s read and learn a little. Continue reading

My first visit to Istanbul

Getting lost, finding back and plastic birds

(this text is a translation of the German entry)

I arrive at the Otogar, Turkey’s biggest bus station. It is my first visit to Istanbul. I have never seen anything like that and think to myself: „This must be the biggest bus station in the whole world!“ It stretches over several floors, every floor is home to many little shops, where you can by pretty much anything you need. For example, you can get shoes (because that’s what you buy when you change buses, right?). Or medicine in one of the many pharmacies. Or food in supermarkets or restaurants. Or you can buy tools or whatever you need to build your house. Or you can buy car parts. This I do understand looking at all the buses. Every floor is like a city in itself. The basement, several floors in the middle, the upper floor. Many little cities on top of one another. The only thing that makes them different is the degree of light that reaches down to them.


The Otogar bus station in Istanbul. Photo: wikipedia.org

Let’s go and find Kadiköy

My bus struggles through the narrow and winding roads to reach the top floor which greets us with warm sunshine. I get in a small shuttle bus, it brings me to the ferry in the middle of the city, to the ferry terminal which will bring me to the Asian side of the city, to Kadiköy. It is supposed to be more quiet, a little more relaxed, a little more gemütlich, as we Germans like to say. Continue reading

Zum ersten Mal in Istanbul

Vom Verlieren, Finden und Plastikvögeln

(for an English version click here)

Ich komme am Otogar, dem größten Autobusbahnhof der Türkei, an. So etwas habe ich noch nie gesehen und denke sofort: “Das muss doch auch der größte Autobusbahnhof der Welt sein!”  Er erstreckt sich über mehrere Etagen. Auf jeder dieser Etagen befinden sich kleine Geschäfte, Geschäfte des alltäglichen Bedarfs. Wie zum Beispiel Schuhgeschäfte (denn Schuhe kaufen, wenn man ein- um- oder aussteigt, das macht man doch!). Oder Apotheken. Oder Restaurants. Oder Minibaumärkte, die Keramikplatten in unterschiedlichen Größen verkaufen. Oder Autozubehör. Das macht wiederum Sinn an einem Busbahnhof. Jede Etage ist eine Stadt für sich. Untergeschoss, mehrere Mittelgeschosse, Obergeschoss. Jeweils viele kleine Städte unter- und übereinander, die sich nur in einem unterscheiden: dem Grad an Licht, welches durch dringt.


Otogar Istanbul. Quelle: wikipedia.org

Auf nach Kadiköy

Mein Bus kämpft sich durch die engen Trassen von unten nach oben und kommt im hellsten Sonnenschein im Obergeschoss an. Ich steige in einen kleineren Shuttlebus um, der mich zum Fähranleger mitten in der Stadt bringt. Und zwar an den Fähranleger, mit dem ich auf die asiatische Seite Istanbuls komme, nach Kadiköy. Ruhiger soll es dort sein, etwas entspannter, gemütlicher als auf der europäischen Seite. Continue reading

Let’s get chemical!

Brix, PH, Titratable acidity – things to do in the lab before harvest

View over the vineyards to the Marmara Sea.

View over the vineyards to the Marmara Sea.

I am currently spending some time working at the Chateau Kalpak in Turkey where we wait for the harvest to start any minute. While waiting we enjoy the nice view out of our window but cannot help asking ourselves: What goes on in the lab down in the cellar and what implications does it have for the harvest? And, above all, for the wine? Continue reading

Bulgarian wine cocktail

When I worked with Ani and Boyan, who sell locally grown and produced products, in Sredno Gradishte, Bulgaria, we worked a lot but we also shared great times together. These great times were accelerated by the wonderful wines that Boyan made in his home. One day, lying in the vineyards after some heavy harvesting in the hot sun, we decided to make a cocktail with Boyan’s wines as the main ingredient. See here what we came up with!

The Bulgarian wine cocktail – this is what you need:

All the ingredients you need. Continue reading