A year on the Hill of Corton

Archive for September, 2013

More Charity

More names to conjure with are helping out The Ground Foundation; Bonneau du Martray and Chandon de Briailles. Thanks to both, more news next week I hope.

I would like to pass on this link to those who drink French wine and can read a little French


I wonder what your reaction will be…


Well its been a quiet day on the donations front apart from:
Bouchard Pere et Fils who are selecting bottles as I write.
Turns out a lot of people started picking today or even yesterday, Domaine Leroy ( always aim high!) and Comtes Lafon among them. Others will no doubt be sharpening secateurs, washing buckets and preparing for an influx of pickers from heaven knows where.
Locals no longer seem to be interested in the back-breaking grind that is their harvest heritage and the young find its not worth getting up for. Probably a generalisation but I’ll see for myself in 10 days time when I get back to Corton. A large bus next to the vineyard tends to indicate imported labour.
A string of white Europcar hired vans is a much better sign.

I extended my vocabulary today. “Et hop !” seems to be another, more interesting way of saying “voila”, a word I don’t use because I try to use the right accents in my French correspondence and I can’t find the grave accent on my keypad, plus I’d probably use it far too much…
It looks like further additions to my French will be necessary as I look forward to a fortnight with the pickers. Still its better than trying to speak Polish or Portuguese. The phrase “comme un vache espagnole” comes to mind….

Wine photographers

Just had a brief online chat with Matt Wilson http://www.mattwilson.cl/
He had kindly emailed good wishes after the Roederers where he had also been shortlisted. Its great to discuss what we do with photographers who have different experiences and another approach.
Claes Lofgren http://www.winepictures.com is another I respect a great deal, a very helpful guy. We all have to take in what others are doing and look at our own stuff with that in mind, otherwise we are just heading down a cul de sac.
Charles O’Rear http://www.wineviews.com is still my hero and it was amazing to meet him by chance in California while I was shooting there. When you have spent 25 years shooting for National Geographic and still have your feet on the ground its to be admired. I asked him the secret of his success.
“Two Nikons and a working wife”. ( Too right mate !)
That is a lesson in not taking ourselves too seriously.
Perhaps you won’t know he shot the “Bliss” landscape, the Microsoft screen saver.
After the Roederers this year you realise how many great wine photographers there are around the world.
Pity we can’t put our best work together for a book. Problem is, who’d buy it….?
Its the writers who are the stars.

Charity begins at the cellar door ?

I’m all for supporting good causes, especially if wine is involved, so why not take a look at this: http://www.thegrapefoundation.com and go buy some unique wines in a good cause. It should be one auction with no fakes around !
I have spent part of the day ringing and emailing winemakers I have photographed in Burgundy and await the results…
Current total is 1

Erwan Faiveley

Erwan Faiveley

Erwan Faiveley scored with a Jeraboam of 2001 Clos de la Marechale that Faiveley used to farm. Bless you Erwan, that is spectacular !
What will tomorrow bring I wonder….

September, but a little off subject.

It seems I am slow at beating my own drum. OK just so you know, on Sept 12th I won the Roederer award they call “Artistry in Wine”.  I’m happy to say it was against a far stronger field than the first two occasions.

The reality is I had a client, Fine Wine Editions, who has given such wonderful opportunities over the last few years working on their “Finest Wines Of …. ”  book series. This gave the chance to get the pictures.

I have to say that so much affects the success of pictures you take. The whole thing starts with good organisation that leaves the photographer with nothing else to worry about other than getting the pictures and allows adecent amount of time to do it in.

Three of my four images submitted for the award were from Germany and I have to thank the VDP for there planning and support as well as the growers who received me so well and with such patience.

Overall The series of seven books has given me the chance to meet and photograph over 350 winemakers in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and California, from the famous to the almost unknown. With that opportunity and experience anyone should win something !  The kudos wanes but the experience stays with you, that is the real reward.




Into every vineyard a little rain must fall…. So on a saturday morning, with there being little work on the Hill, I trekked up to the Hautes Côtes de Nuits to see a photographic exhibition at Villars-Fontaines. The good thing was that Roumier@VillarsFontaineI found the Auberge de Côteau and was able to book a table for that night before the crowds descended. Just the place for a meal out, on an autumnal evening especially, but fine in summer too I’d guess. A grillade and proud of it with a log fire and wine list not dressing to impress but good value.
NB I am not a restaurant critic, or an art critic come to that…
The exhibition certainly brightened up the streets and the subjects, the great and good of the area, may well like their portraits. Anne-Claude Leflaive looked fine but poor Christophe Roumier sported a black eye…VillarsFontainePhotos
The vivid colours reminded me of the work of an artist who painted huge chunks of cork oak in the colours, that to him, represented the flavours of a particular producers wine. Not content with selling these pieces to the winemakers concerned, he then published them all in a book of hernia inducing proportions. Mine of course will not be as big, or as expensive. But as impressive as befits a site containing so many Grands Crus!


Charlemagne is quite steep on a hot afternoon

Charlemagne is quite steep on a hot afternoon

I hope you’re getting the idea that this book is as much about the people as the landscape.
Their work, their dedication and the demands of both. I want to bring you into their lives as much as possible so that we can see beyond the label to those whose life brings us such great wine. Bit of a mission really….