Growing up in New Zealand, I was exposed to a great variety of both Australian and New Zealand wines. However, it wasn’t until I moved to Oxford to pursue a doctorate in biophysics that I discovered the huge variety of wine the world has to offer.
I joined the Oxford University Blind Tasting Society and became enamoured with the art and science of blind tasting. Along the way, I was twice awarded the ‘top taster’ award at the annual Oxford-Cambridge tasting match, helped Oxford to victory over a number of European university teams in the prestigious SPIT competition, and was even mentioned by Jancis Robinson in the Financial Times.
This has fueled my passion for wine education. I firmly believe that the best thing a wine writer can do is to educate the public on how to develop their own tastes. While I do include tasting notes and my own impressions of wines in this blog, I like to focus on general wine information and specifically the skills for how to taste wine. This approach guides my own tasting courses, and is my underpinning philosophy in The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting, which I co-authored in 2014. This book is a labour of love borne out of my studies for the WSET Diploma. It is a survey of the world’s major wine regions with a particular focus on how the differences in variety and terroir can be discerned through blind tasting.
This blog is not currently updated; however you can find me, more wine essays, and news of my tastings over on jamesflewellen.com.