• Hong Kong – The Peak

    They say if you go to Hong Kong and don’t see the view of the city from ‘The Peak’, you have not seen Hong Kong – although most visitors seem to spend more time looking at their own image as taken by someone else on an electronic device than they do at the actual view.(…)

  • New Zealand Organic Wine – Windrush Vineyard, Marlborough

    The Linklaters are a grape-growing rather than winemaking family in Marlborough’s Wairau valley. Their business, called Windrush Vineyard Ltd, comprises three separate vineyards within 2km of each other around Renwick. All three are certified organic. Owners Lyn and Bill Linklater were certified organic sheep, beef and cereal crop farmers in Otago until 2007 when they sold their land(…)

  • Organic Brunello di Montalcino–Mulching at Col d’Orcia

    Mulching – meaning covering bare ground with vegetation or compost – is a much under-used technique in wine-growing. It helps prevent soil – and the nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms it contains – being eroded away by the sun, wind or rain. It also cools the soil and therefore the vineyard temperature. This is useful in a hot(…)

  • New Zealand Biodynamic Wine – Churton, Marlborough

    New Zealand finds making wines with strong flavours so easy – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Otago Pinot Noir being notable examples – that producers focussing on bringing definition to their wine more by texture than by great blasts of fruit often slip under the radar. I believe Sam and Mandy Weaver’s Churton estate, in Marlborough’s(…)

  • New Zealand 2015–Kevin Judd on voluptuousness

    It’s not easy photographing people like Kevin Judd who are a)  naturally rather shy – despite in his case being arguably New Zealand’s most famous and most written-about winemaker*, both as founder-winemaker at Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, and latterly at his own venture, Greywacke b) brilliant photographers in their own right, of landscapes mainly in(…)

  • New Zealand Wine – 8 Ranges, Otago

    8 Ranges (Tussock Ridge), Pinot Noir Barrel Selection 2010 www.8ranges.co.nz 8 Ranges is a 3ha estate in the (very dry) Alexandra sub-region of Otago owned and planted from 2003 by business partners Mark Borrie and Trevor Deaker. Both have full-time jobs. Mark is the data-security expert for the local University of Otago. Trevor works for Sky Sports(…)

  • New Zealand 2015–Paraquat ban in NZ upheld

    I was a keynote speaker at the recent Organic and Biodynamic Wine Growing Conference in Marlborough, New Zealand and also gave the closing address. It was an inspirational conference in terms of tone, but based very much on science-based research in terms of content, as a succession of speakers outlined effective strategies to deal with weeds, pests, diseases, soil(…)

About Monty

This recent interview with Chris Scott of the UK Wine Show is a quick summation of bits of my career but is easier to digest than pages of online text. But in a nutshell I have been writing about wine – mainly Biodynamic, organic and what is now called ‘natural’ wine – since 1995 for various magazines including Decanter , plus various newspapers and journals in the UK and elsewhere.

I often speak about biodynamic wine (what is it, how to make it) and the next chance to hear me is at this event at Hawkwood College in Stroud, Gloucestershire on 16-18 October 2015. There will be some delicious organic and biodynamic wines to taste too.

I have written nine books, including on the Wines of South America, Bordeaux and Tuscany. In 2013 I became the Regional Chair for Tuscany at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

My main focus however has always been organic and biodynamic wine, although I have also written a detailed reference book on Biodynamic Gardening which was published in both e- and print versions by Dorling Kindersley in early 2015 (here is a review of the book). I wrote the first independent guide to organic wine in 1999. This was voted the UK wine guide of the year. I followed it with another award-winner, the first book on Biodynamic Wines which was published in 2003 but which is now way out of date.

A more up-to-date and comprehensive version is Monty Waldin’s Best Biodynamic Wines

If you are a wine-grower then Monty Waldin’s Biodynamic Wine-Growing: Theory & Practice – available in both print and electronic forms – might be of more use. This explains the background to biodynamics (the world’s first organic farming movement, and for me still the best), plus the practical nuts-and-bolts of biodynamic wine-growing, like making the biodynamic preparations, compost, and herb teas, plus suggestions as to which celestial cycles are worth farming to and why.

I also contributed entries on organics, biodynamics, cover crops, sustainable wine-growing and orange wine to the latest edition of Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW’s Oxford Companion to Wine (2015).

Wine has been seen by TV moguls as not being very TV-friendly, but I am one of the very few wine writers lucky enough to have had their own TV series (before me in the UK I think only Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson MW and Oz Clarke could make such a boast). My show, Chateau Monty, was a documentary made by TigerAspect for Channel 4 in the UK and subsequently screened in various markets worldwide. The series followed my journey to make a biodynamic red wine from a vineyard I rented in France’s Roussillon region in 2006-2008.

Since then I have advised wine-growers in both Europe (I speak French and Italian) and South America how to make the switch to more sustainable ways of growing grapes. I usually start by explaining how as a small boy and with my dad I’d make organic compost for our vegetable garden by collecting leaf mould and cow manure locally, turning a free natural resource into food.  The hardest part of organics is having an open mind. If you are well organised then doing it is child’s play.

My latest project in 2014-2015 involved making ‘Monty’s Pet Nat’, the first ever pétillant naturel in England, from Demeter-certified biodynamic Chardonnay grapes grown by Nick Wenman at Albury Vineyard in Surrey, England. A pétillant natural is simply a wine – white in this case – that is bottled whilst it is still fermenting, producing a slightly cloudy (due to the wild yeast) wine with a light spritz. The grapes were picked in autumn 2014 and the wine was released in May 2015 at the RAW fair in London. Ant Palmer of SeaBlueMedia, who directed the Chateau Monty TV series, filmed the Pet Nat story and the episodes (bite-sized at about 3-minutes on average) about are free-to-view here.

The easiest way to get hold me is via Facebook or Twitter.