An Awesome Wine Blog

Reign of Terroir was a wine blog with the theme "From the Vineyard to the Glass, Winemaking in an age of High Tech." The blog had group authorship from several author. A little bio for each is included below:


Donna Thirkell
An avid proponent of wine. She changed careers at age 37, realizing she needed to pursue a life with her love affair of wine versus continuing with what she thought she ought to do or what her peers recommended.  She turned the corner from starving student to educator the past year and has multiple certifications and credentials including International Bordeaux Tutor and Spanish Wine Educator but thinks it’s terribly boring to list them all. Just suffice it to say, if she finds out about a certification, she’s usually in attendance. She has a big smile, an infectious laugh, and loves nothing more than sharing a nice bottle of wine with good friends, chatting about everything life and wine late into the night.

Karl Laczko
Born and raised in the UK with a mix of British and Central European ancestry. Educated in Science, trained in Genetics and since 1995 working for a BioScience Systems company traveling the world and, along the way, learning and appreciating global cultures and people. Interests, other than food and wine, include History, Popular science & technology, with light-reading and entertainment focusing on Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Currently living in the North of England with partner and 2 teenage kids, which makes me wonder how I have time for any of this!

Brandon Miller
Growing up in a house hold where wine was part of every day life only enhanced a passion early in life. In college most of friends were into micro-brews while I was trying to get my hands on Heitz. Adoration for Pinot Noir reigns in my every day drinking but my curiosity for all varietals in multiple styles is what gratifies my wine intellect. With a degree in Marketing I enjoy writing descriptive tasting notes and when in the wine country photography is a must. Living and working 90 minutes from the Napa Valley, monthly weekend getaways are essential to my sanity. My wife and I enjoy our two children and staying close to family and friends. Charity and humanitarian work coupled with technology are also very important in our lives.

Ken Payton
Ken was the blog's administrator as well as a frequent author.

Favorite Articles

Some of the blogs most popular and commented articles included:

HAC(k)ing a Wine, The New Science Of Cork Taint
For many years now since the discovery of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), whenever one encountered a wine exhibiting a moldy basement and wet dog nose, and fruit muted or altogether absent, with a shortened finish on the palate, one said the wine was ‘corked’. A cliché fixed in the popular imagination, the term ‘corked’ naturally has led the uninitiated and the expert alike to believe only corks are responsible for this specific constellation of descriptors. But this is a very small part of the story and, more importantly, only partially correct. Recent scientific studies have revealed other active agents — along with TCA, all haloanisoles — are also directly responsible for the fault. And among the agents most deserving of our critical attention is 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA). It is for this reason I am here proposing the replacement of the term ‘cork taint’ for HAC or HAlonasiole Contamination. In this computer-savvy era, it is hoped that we might now begin to refer not to a corked wine, but to a HAC(k)ed wine. Let me try to explain....

Mythopia, An Experimental Swiss Vineyard
Several years ago, when researching the relation between the composition of various vineyard soils and terroir expression, I happened upon the concept of biochar. Simply put, biochar is charcoal put to a biological use, in connection with my discovery, as a soil amendment. The use of it has a long history, research strongly supports, dating back to pre-Columbian Amazonians. All of us are by now familiar with the irreversible loss of vast tracts of the Brazilian Rain Forest due not only to the irresponsible and often illegal harvesting of hardwoods but also to the agricultural needs of 1000’s of subsistence farmers. The trouble is that the biodiversity of life of the rain forest is nurtured in the canopy while the soils are poor. A few crop harvests from a plot is all you get before the soil’s nutrients are exhausted. The pre-Columbians knew this and so hit upon biochar as a solution: the so-called Terra Preta soils they left behind more than a 1000 years ago....

Carbon Sequestration in Vineyard Soils
Biochar is simply the production of charcoal from a biomass. It is resolutely not the equivalent of a fireplace, though it shares a kinship. Biochar is produced by pyrolysis, the thermochemical decomposition of organic material in the absence of oxygen. But this definition requires significant qualification. Biochar made of wood, what we commonly call ‘charcoal’, has been produced for centuries in the limited presence of oxygen. Traditional methods might include burying wood over which one would then build a fire to char the wood below. Not only was the resulting charcoal used in cooking, still is today, it was also used as an amendment for poor soils. But this is not the same as the ’slash and burn’ method employed by ancient cultures up to the modern farmers along I-5. We are not talking about additions of a transitory ash. Biochar is different....

Les Terroiristes Du Languedoc, The Movie
At long last, the premiere of Les Terroiristes du Languedoc is coming into sharp focus. After more than a year of struggle, setback, joy and triumph, on January 27th in the Diagonal Cinema located in the historical section of the city of Montpellier, France, the lights will go down. The fruits of our labor will unspool upon the silver screen to the world – or at least 250 of its citizens. And I could not be happier. Located in the south of France, the Languedoc has long been in the shadow of far better-known and celebrated international wine regions such as Napa, Bordeaux and Burgundy. The reasons for this include the Languedoc’s history as France’s largest bulk wine producer, hence its oft-cited description as a ‘wine lake’. But such a cliché blunts professional and consumer curiosity and interest....


Thanks to the Reign of Terroir authors for years of great reads and increasing the collective knowledge of the wine making community.