Interview with Jamie Goode
Jamie Goode has a PHD in plant biology and worked for science editor. He is the founder of wineanorak.com the most influential wine blog. Since 2005 he is the wine columnist for The Sunday Express. He also writes regularly for various publications. He is a panel chair for the International Wine Challenge and he judges for other competitions around the world.
Your Wine Science book has been very helpful for me; I have to thank you personally. Unfortunately I could not find an original copy, when will the new addition be published?
It will publish this year by Mitchell Beazley.
What do you think about homogenization of wine styles?
I think the time in the world of wine you’ve got more diversity than ever before. So, what we’re finding is the lots of new regions now making good wine before making just rubbish wines. Because of demand increased, demand for interesting wines increased. So at one level the world of wine is interesting but at the same time in lots of regions the style has become a little bit more similar. If producers realized that it seems like wines with sweet fruits, they’re often picking a bit later and they’re using new oak and particularly for red wines. So you’re finding a lot of homogenization in red wine styles. So, you can try a range of top end red wines around the world and it’s very hard to place where they come from. They all make the similar style, so this is the bad thing. I think the other bad thing is when cheap wines are dressed up to taste like more expensive wines through winemaking trickery. I think cheap wines should be honest. They should taste like cheap wines; they should taste like where they come from.
I like that, I don’t like it when winemakers are trying to make them more expensive than they really are by using oak or staves, or manipulative winemaking techniques. So, at the same time we have an opportunity in the world of wine and at the same time we have threats which are top end wines are converging in pretend of a style.
Do you see yourself as a part of natural wine movement? Do you feel close to Carlo Petrini, the leader of the Slow Food movement?
I admire the natural wine movement and I love a lot of the wines. But I am not the true believer. I like other wines as well. I like interesting wines however they made if they are interesting and they’ve got some character. It’s great if they’re made naturally but if they are not made naturally it would still be quite interesting. So, I am not an ideal logical person like that. I think natural wines have been a very important movement but the world of wine is bigger world than just natural wines. I don’t find myself just drinking natural wines.
According to Decanter Magazine, May 2013, pesticides found in 90% of French wines tested-some from certified organic vineyards-and scientists are worried about the cumulative effect of chemicals on drinkers. What are your thoughts about this issue?
That suggests the guys who say they farm organically, they are not farming organically which would be quite depressing really because that’s lying.
If I found the organic guys were using pesticide then I would be quite depressed. Exactly that would be disappointing.
There are safe levels for use of agrochemicals and I know there have been a lot of articles about the use of pesticides in wine and if you’ve analytic equipments very sensitive, they’re always looking up traces. The question is the traces below in safe level, if they are then it is not the safety issue. It is just the issue of whether or not you like these pesticides. The levels are quite strict. I know there is an article in few years back, people find pesticide residues, agrochemicals residues in wines and I think it was a scare story. Because if you looked at the actual levels they are quite low levels. It showed that the rules have been hit to people who are using them more than they should, if that’s below certain level then you are talking safe, so it is not safety issue. The issue is; is it good for the environment? That is more important. The issue is what damage to agro-eco system is being forced by the use of agrochemicals. I don’t know if the human safety is necessary as the biggest issue, because I think the levels are set. If they are hit to, then you are safe.
You have won number of prizes with wine anorak such as best overall wine blog in the Wine Bloggers Awards(USA) in 2012 and Gonzales Byass Blogger of the year trophy for the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2012. How do you cope with this huge work and how do you find this energy? How is your family and kids taking this busy life?
I think for me it is fun. If it wasn’t fun I wouldn’t be out to do it. Because it takes up a lot of time and a lot of thinking space. So, for me the key thing is keeping it fun. Because of that I like to do it. It is like a hobby still. So, I spend my best energy doing it because I enjoy it so much.
The other key is I write fast. If you write fast then you can get more done in short amount of time and it is not so distractive. And I am very lucky because I am a freelancer. So, I give all my attention to wine. Before when I started out I was full time employed. So, I was doing the wine anorak on a train, at home on the evenings. So it was much more distractive than it is now.
So you say it is very easy now?
Yes it is quite easy, I work hard but it is quite easy.
What are your thoughts about where to position Turkish wine industry? Is it logical to position it at the premium price levels?
At the moment there is nothing insensible to be in the premium price levels because at the bottom end in the market, very recently has been flooded. There’s been an excessive supply over demand. So, if you were selling cheap wine in the past, you were competing against lots of other people with cheap wines to sell. That was no profitability at all. I think things are changing now. The thing is if you are competing in premium end it is quite difficult. You can be at the top but you need a big base to be in the top. If Turkey just tries to go in the premium end it will be quite difficult because most people don’t realized that Turkey makes wine. You need to have a presence in the market place with affordable Turkish wines. So, people will try that and realize that Turkey actually makes good wine. And once you’ve got the base of inexpensive and affordable Turkish wines then you can support the expensive Turkish wines. If you just try to go to support expensive wines it would be very difficult.
You should choose where to play, you want to play at the premium end because you can make money there. But I am not sure that you can play at the premium end without playing at large base with less expensive wines that supporting that. The thing all the countries they’ve got very expensive wines in the market place, they also have affordable wines in the market place as well. What Turkey does need to do is not to get subtend into providing discounted wines, being cheap wine player where people only go to Turkey because it is good value for money. You need to establish a reputation which will take a lot of time of being somewhere that produces wines that are interesting in their own rights not because they are cheap. Portugal is being a good example to this. Portuguese wines is used to known to be very cheap and they worked very hard trying to establish a reputation for Portuguese wines at the high end to the market. I think they do that now.
You are a fan of Manchester City. When Aquero found goal at the last minute in 2012, what did you feel? How was your day after that score?
It was incredible, it was an amazing moment. If you wrote a book or a film that was the blast. Everyone could think it is too corny, no one would believe you but it was truly amazing.
It was an amazing day to watch the highlights in the evening which was one of the most enjoyable things I did last year.
United was winning the premiership at the last 2 minutes in the season as well. One of the best things is watching the look on the faces of Manchester United players and manager when they realize, they thought they won the premiership and then they realize they lost it, all in the space in two minutes in the end of the day. So, watching their faces was great.
The technical director was jumped on by the assistant director. Did you jump on someone also?
Yes, I was with a friend of mine and we hugged each other.