This is an indispensable tool for those who want to follow, in English, what really goes on in the world of Spanish and Portuguese wines – lively, informative and, most important, first-hand, on-the-scene knowledge!
Victor de la Serna

Tag Archives: Wine Education

What Did I Learn from My Spanish Wine Certification Course?

In the beginning of June, when our eyes were all glazed from dreams of days spent lounging along the coast, drinking a glass of cava, Catavino announced an opportunity for 8 bloggers across the USA to attend a Certified Spanish Wine Course for free. Taught by the Wine Academy of Spain, this 3 day course was an incredible opportunity for any wine lover to receive a crash course in Spanish wine by learning about: its vast indigenous grapes; its numerous and varied wine appellations; its eclectic styles ranging from bone dry to sweet, dark purple to pale yellow in color, and heavily structured to light and fresh in the mouth; its long and dramatic history, its delicious and ample gastronomy, […]

Best Catavino Photos of 2008 – Which is your favorite?

I both love and hate Flickr. Some of the censorship issues have wavered my confidence in staying with them, while at the same time, the desire to upload my favorite pictures, and photos, gives me a great vision of the past year. After glancing through my photos from 2008, it seemed ludicrous not to share some of them with you. However, there are 219 in total, even after I went through the set with a fine tooth comb. I hope you enjoy the slideshow, as they’re a great reminder of all the fond memories we have from last year! Cheers, and here’s to even better pics in 2009! Ryan Opaz PS PS: the photo in this post is hands down […]

How to Reuse Old Oak Barrels While Practicing Sustainability

Although I am no John Radford, I’ve toured a few Iberian wineries in my day, and have always pondered if there was a sacred oak barrel cemetery for all those great wooden vats that have dedicated their lives to a wine’s evolution. For those of you that aren’t familiar with how a wooden barrel is made, allow me to give you a very brief intro. Let’s call it “Wine Barrel Making 101″. A large slab of wood is delicately cut into staves (the pieces you see in the picture to the right) and allowed to season in the bare elements over the course of 10-36 months, which allows the tannins from the wood to slowly leach out onto the ground […]

The Opai Christmas Contruction Company: Building Gingerbread Houses Since December 24, 2008

That’s right, with the economy being what it is, we thought we could create another source of income by founding the Opai Christmas Construction Company, building Gingerbread houses for one and all. For a very reasonable fee, much less than those ridiculously priced Gingerbread Kits, the Opai Christmas Construction Company can build custom homes within a day! Incredible! Three story castle complete with a princess in distress? No Problem! Small two bedroom bungalow complete with elves and a toy working bench? No Problem! Gigantic edible life size  house to live in when you’re laid off work? No Problem! With a little dough (literally) and a lot of creativity, we can put up your walls, adhere roof tiles and landscape the […]

Catavino’s Favorite Trips of 2008 – It’s been a great Iberian Wine Year

At the end of the year, I can’t help but look back and ask myself, “Have I done enough in my life? Have I truly accomplished the goals I’ve set out for, or have I let them slip to the wayside getting snug and comfortable in my safe daily routine”? If I’ve fallen in the latter, I give myself a quick kick the keister and start taking more risks. This precious gift called “life” isn’t something to be messed with, and for me, one of the best ways to celebrate it, is by getting uncomfortable through travel. By stripping away normalcy and accepting the odd and unpredictable, I change, grow, evolve and see both life and myself differently. And as […]

Part 2: Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant Continued – “The Vinous Bafflement”

Continued from yesterday: Fast forward to December 2008: there is now more retail here, albeit on a limited scale; and wine clubs of various sizes are sprouting for Beijing‘s wealthy (focus Bordeaux). Wine lists are becoming more exciting too with less evidence of wayward persuasion by strong-arm importers. Mercifully, tasting opportunities are more frequent and more inviting with new importers coming on the scene (The Wine Republic), some of whom have done well elsewhere in China or in Hong Kong/Macau (Watson’s, Links Concept). At the same time some of the more distinctive Shanghai importers (like Ruby Red Fine Wines and Globus Fine Wines) are sending their wines to Beijing and the traditional players here (Aussino, ASC, Torres China, Summergate) are […]

Part 2: Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant

Editor’s Note: Edward Ragg comes to us today with yet another two part series on the day and life of a Chinese wine consultant. And as much as it may seem like Catavino is slowly becoming an East Asian wine blog, with posts from both India and China, rest assured that we’re still Iberian focused. However, we all need to glean experiences from others in the world, and with China becoming a hot spot for Iberian wine exports, it makes sense to touch base with an expert. Enjoy the post, and stay tuned for the second part coming up tomorrow! Last month I began Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant: what I hope will be a series of posts devoted […]

Part 1: Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant

Editor’s Note: As many of you know, we diverge from Iberian wine every now and again to give you new perspectives and experiences on wine from abroad. This week, our Chinese correspondent, Edward Ragg, of Dragon Phoenix Fine Wine Consulting gives his the first installment of his series on how he became a Chinese wine consultant in Beijing. First off, a few qualifiers: I am not Chinese nor am I a consultant to Chinese wineries; although, for better or worse, I have tasted my way through multiple Chinese wines, if only a handful overall from a country that boasts several hundred wineries in Shandong province alone. Sadly, I’m not a master of Chinese either; and currently grasp only enough of […]

Vinho Verde RED, Reexamined

“Red? You sure that’s what you mean?” said the salesclerk looking at me dubiously. “Yes, I do”, I responded. “Sim, Vinho Verde TINTO“, I repeated to each and every retailer in various wine shops while hunting for this infamous red counterpart of the popular Portuguese white wine, Vinho Verde. What surprised me during my quest, for this apparently unpopular style of wine, is that almost a third of the wine produced in the region of Vinho Verde is red. So why is a Vinho Verde Tinto such a bizarre and foreign idea? After trying a few bottles in the past, and literally spitting them out and dumping the rest down the drain, it is not difficult to understand people’s apprehension! […]

Wake Up Spanish Wineries! Wine Pleasures is Here!

A bit of self promotion coming up. Ryan here, and come the last week in January, I will have the pleasure of speaking to a crowd of wine industry professionals about the Internets and wine, and more specifically, how to use the Interwebs to promote oneself to drum up some business. From the Wine Pleasures website: 1ST INTERNATIONAL WINE TOURISM CONFERENCE & WORKSHOP Port Resort Sitges 24th – 27th January 2009 The first Wine Pleasures International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop in Sitges next year promises to be very exciting. We plan to provide you with a Catalan flavour and a very memorable experience. I’ll be focusing on some of the ABC’s of wine and technology. Here in Spain, we […]