anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘wine

Alice Feiring

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“Writers and other artists give voice to what others cannot or will not articulate.”

-Alice Feiring

Writer and journalist Alice Feiring stands for what she believes in.

Her focus is wine, interested in the stories of the art and craft that goes into making the drink that we have been consuming for centuries, and in turn, advocating for a better wine world, not just for the consumer, but producers and the land. She runs the natural wine newsletter The Feiring Line and is the author of several books. Her latest is Natural Wine for the People: What It Is, Where to Find It, How to Love It, an excellent resource for anyone diving into the natural wine world.

An early supporter of the natural wine movement, she’s not afraid to criticize it either. “But any successful movement, whether in politics or viniculture, is vulnerable to corruption. Just as it is reaching peak fame, the previously innocent world of natural wine is coming under threat by opportunists and big business. Natural wine isn’t dead, but something has been lost,” she recently wrote in The New York Times.

Whether you drink wine or not, Feiring stands an excellent example of what it means to take a stand for something as a woman, and the consequences that can ensue. In challenging conventional wine norms, she has faced criticism and scrutiny. In reading opposition to her work, it’s clear to see that satire can quickly turn into misogyny. As she points out in this Q&A, “Men speaking out against the mainstream are often heroes, women are seen as troublemakers or voices to silence. No matter what I say, it seems it’s controversial doesn’t it?”

Thank you to Alice for taking a little time to answer a few Women’s Wisdom Project Q&A questions.

What does wisdom mean to you?
A perfect balance of good judgement, proper boundaries, compassion and a sense of humor.

Is there an influential woman in your life who passed along a piece of wisdom to you? Who and what?

I’ve always been such a loner and longed for a mentor. I came close to it once, Beverly Russell. Beverly hired me to work at Interiors Magazine a million years ago but she was unceremoniously stabbed in the back and was let go, subsequently I was as well. On our last breakfast together she gave me two pieces of advice, “It’s not how good you are but who you know, and then how good you are helps you stay. The other warning was that if you’re good, someone will always want to knock you off and take your place.

What drew you to the world of wine? What has kept you in it?
At first the taste. Then its connection to place. Then the people. Then the issue of natural wine and its place in the world. Then the land, the vines and nature. Finally, it is the way it all complexly comes together in a perfect symbol of humanity.

What is the Alice Feiring definition of natural wine?
Start with organic viticulture and then nothing added or taken away, except maybe a bit of So2.

You are considered a controversial figure by some. Why do you think that your writing and work draws such controversy? Do you think that you would draw such controversy if you were not a woman?

Now, that’s a great question. Men speaking out against the mainstream are often heroes, women are seen as troublemakers or voices to silence. No matter what I say, it seems it’s controversial doesn’t it? So why? I have often said things that the industry didn’t want to hear. Without a doubt, women are held to different standards.

You’re known as a wine writer, but from reading other interviews with you, it’s clearly the written word and the craft of writing that you’re drawn to. What about writing feels so powerful to you?

Writers and other artists give voice to what others cannot or will not articulate. When I disparage what I do as self-indulgent, I try to remember that there is a greater purpose other than I just love disappearing into a piece and losing myself. It’s the best drug.

What wisdom would you share with your younger self?

I’d get tutoring for my dyslexia—but I’m not sure that would have been wisdom, though it would have been life changing. Okay, here’s one; I’d have made sure to become fluent in French.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

January 7, 2020 at 08:21

Champagne Champagne Natural Wine Bar (and Shop) on Orcas Island

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“I want to be as serious as I need to be to run this place. Otherwise I don’t give a shit about being serious.” – Amelia Carver, co-owner Champagne Champagne.

My profile of Carver and her partner Brian Crum went up recently on Sprudge Wine. The two run a super cool natural wine bar on Orcas Island in Washington State. In my opinion you never really need an excuse to take a ferry ride, but if you did, this is a good one.

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Written by Anna Brones

September 14, 2018 at 05:47

Refilling Your Wine Bottle at a Different Kind of Wine Bar: En Vrac, Paris

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The first time I went to En Vrac, I immediately fell in love. You come here not just to buy wine, but to enjoy a different kind of wine buying experience. Because here, you fill your wine bottle from a stainless steel tank. Yes, wine in bulk.

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Written by Anna Brones

March 10, 2014 at 10:09

Food Waste: Creative Solutions to a Big Problem

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regrained

Did you know that about 40% of the food produced in the US goes uneaten? Food waste is a serious issue.

I was happy to contribute a piece to one of my favorite food sites Civil Eats on the topic, profiling different businesses and organizations that are putting food waste to use in interesting ways. My favorite? A company using beer grains to make granola bars and another making brownies out of leftover grapes from the winemaking process:

4. If you’ve ever brewed your own beer, you know that it takes a lot of grain. And what happens to that grain once the beer is done? Some brewers compost with it, some (of the very committed) bake with it, but most often it gets thrown out. That’s why Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz launched Regrained, a business that makes granola bars out of spent malted barley. According to the pair, “only 10 percent of the ingredients used to brew end up in your glass.”

5. In winemaking, all the leftover stuff that comes after the grapes have been crushed is called pomace. More often than not, it’s destined for the compost or the dump. But Whole Vine Products takes a different route, using this byproduct in baked goods. In fact, they work with a local mill to turn the pomace into a gluten-free flour. They also make culinary oils from the grape seeds. Anyone care for a Cabernet brownie?

Read the full article and learn about the other projects, including making jam from food waste, here.

Image: Regrained

Written by Anna Brones

February 20, 2014 at 09:00

The Paris Roaster That’s Making Coffee Blends Named After Wine

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My latest on Sprudge, all about one of my favorite Parisian roasters Cafe Lomi and their Burgundy and Bordeaux blends.

If you know anything about Paris, you know that it’s not acclaimed for its coffee culture, and what makes Café Lomi special isn’t just the fact that it serves good coffee, it’s the fact that it’s on a mission to educate people about coffee.

“Today the trend is acidic coffee,” says Cafe Lomi founder Aleaume Paturle, “but the French don’t like that.” With a history of importing from its colonies, and largely serving robusta beans, paired with the tendency towards supermarket coffee purchasing, Paturle points out that the French coffee palate is for a darker stronger brew. While cafes in Australia, England, the United States and especially Scandinavia might be serving lighter, fruitier roasts, that doesn’t always work with the French crowd. “For me, it shows a lack of personality to not adapt to the French,” says Paturle. “It’s up to us to adapt to the customer.”

That means that Café Lomi roasts on both angles of the coffee spectrum. You can get lighter more acidic tastes as well as the more well-rounded, full-bodied brews. But for a culture that for so long hasn’t embraced the nuances of coffee, there’s a learning curve in understanding beans, which is why Paturle has launched two particular blends that are seemingly very French: Lomi Blend Bourgogne and Lomi Blend Bordeaux.

Yes, that’s a wine reference, because if there’s anything the French know, it’s certainly wine.

Read the full article here

Written by Anna Brones

January 18, 2014 at 00:01

The Beauty of Eating Outdoors

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Mediocre wine is excellent if you have a view, coffee is exponentially more delicious when brewed after a night in a tent, and trail mix can compete with the fanciest hors d’oeuvre when you’re in the middle of a hike. It’s simple: food always tastes better outdoors.

I was thinking of this in the process of drinking a mug of wine, overlooking a horizon of red rock formations last week. Dirtbags, sunsets and merlot do go hand in hand after all.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 5, 2012 at 13:50