Top 10 most popular Club Oenologique stories from 2020

Take a look back at the most-read articles and reviews from 2020, from grower Champagne and Rioja to whisky and fine dining...

Words by Club Oenologique Editors

Club Oenologique magazine issue 6
Champagne de Sousa

1. Tyson Stelzer: The era of grower Champagnes is over

In July 2020, a provocative, opinionated piece from Tyson Stelzer got you talking…

Champagne’s grower producers are under threat, Stelzer argued. Global economies, erratic harvests, incentives from négociants and the French taxation system are driving them to relinquish their status or sell up altogether. Are grower Champagnes on a path to extinction, asked the renowned chronicler of the region. Read more

67 Pall Mall Singapore

2. Inside 67 Pall Mall, the London wine club that owned lockdown

During the first London lockdown back in March, the private members’ club took virtual wine tastings to the next level, blazing a trail for online wine events, and even securing an IWSC Lockdown Legends award…

“It’s like Game of Thrones,” said 67’s chief as he considered his next move. Read more

Rows of Rioja Corks

3. Why isn’t Rioja considered a fine wine?

It’s one of the world’s most rewarding wine regions, capable of profound, ageworthy bottlings. Yet too many people dismiss it as a good-value glugger, argued veteran critic Tim Atkin MW. Read more

Screaming Eagle wine vineyard

4. Screaming Eagle: the original California cult wine

It’s the most inaccessible winery in California wine country, but Elaine Chukan Brown was able to pay a visit. Over 18 months later, this is still one of our most popular pieces. Read more

Tim Hayward

5. Coronavirus will kill off fine dining. It’s about time…

Renowned food writer Tim Hayward took to Club O to argue that the absurd world of gastronomy was already becoming irrelevant, even before the pandemic dealt it a fatal blow. Read more


6. Top ten new Champagnes: Essi Avellan MW’s verdict

There were several major Champagne launches at the beginning of 2020, from the likes of Krug, Bollinger and Charles Heidsieck. The 2012 vintage stands with the finest of the century so far, said our expert. Read more

Wine websites

7. Wine websites: which are worth paying for?

Online wine traffic surged during the first lockdown of 2020. So if you’re prepared to pay for wine recommendations, which site merits its subscription fee? Adam Lechmere peeked behind the paywalls. Read more

Cape Town South Africa

8. South African wine: does the government have a hidden agenda?

Ever since the pandemic began, South African wine producers have faced tougher measures than most, with its government first banning exports then banning domestic sales of alcohol – a situation that still persists.

Back in April last year, South African wine producers feared the government was using coronavirus to wage retribution on an industry that, according to their trade body, it ‘has not supported for many years’. Read more

Becky Paskin is shortlisted for IWSC Spirits Communicator 2020

9. Becky Paskin: A whisky’s true character comes from its social terroir

In December, the newly crowned IWSC Spirits Communicator told us to forget the nuances of yeast strains, barley types or local water supply. ‘Human influence – a spirit’s social terroir – casts more influence than any climatic factors,’ she wrote. Read more


10. Romania: a winemaking country in search of its identity

It has one of the world’s oldest winemaking traditions, but a 40-year hiatus during the Communist era means that, some 25 years later, Romanian wine is still searching for its identity. Read more

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