August 4, 2020

Kids learn about wine at a Dutch château

Filed under: Event,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:27 pm

In southern France’s Languedoc-Roussillon, Dutchman and owner of Château Canet Floris Lemstra is currently welcoming schoolchildren to teach them about winemaking, albeit without actually tasting any alcohol – they use soft drinks, sugar, salt and water to get the idea.

Wine museum Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, France is promoting wine education at smaller French wineries with free passes through the end of August to children under 18, and Lemstra thought it would be great for schoolchildren to learn all about viticulture.

Lemstra takes several groups of kids on an educational tour, teaching them about vineyard maintenance, harvesting and bottling, with plenty of time set aside to poke around in the vines and check out cool stuff like the stainless steel vats in the cellar.

“Teaching children about wine and alcohol is a little abstract at their age. However, we believe that demystifying wine and its consumption is important,” Lemstra said. He further added that although wine can be pleasant, it’s also an alcoholic beverage with its drawbacks.

Floris built up his wine career back in the early 1990s working for Boisset, one of the biggest wine companies in France. Buying Château Canet was quite difficult, as local government would have rather it was owned by card-carrying French people. Lemstra and his New Zealand wife Victoria whom he met in the Bourgogne region now run the place. Having read about it myself, I want to visit it as well.

(Link: , Photo: Château Canet)

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July 27, 2016

A wine glass for the great outdoors

Filed under: Design by Orangemaster @ 9:42 am


Designed by Dorine Vos, the Parqer glass is a proper wine glass with a sharp-ended aluminium stem instead of a glass stem and a foot you can plant into the ground, be it in a park, a beach or in the forest. This also means you can drink decent wine instead of some Château Migraine in a plastic cup.

A set of two glasses comes in a shockproof casing where the glasses don’t touch the sides, while the aluminium stems come in different colours like silver, gold, black and green. Vos came up with the design after her own experiences sitting in the parks of Amsterdam, which I can tell you means having to drink out of soft plastic cups.

Their instagram is fun, with people using their Parqers in all kinds of places.

(Link:, Photo

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June 28, 2016

Dutch language a poor choice to describe smells

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:45 am


According to linguists Ilja Croijmans and Asifa Majid of the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Dutch language is a bad choice for describing smells, and therefore not great for wine-tasting. However, Dutch wine experts are getting better at describing smells by using very colourful language, something the average person would not do. Then again, pointing out that experts are actually better than ordinary folks sounds odd, considering that’s usually the point of being an expert.

To drive the point home, ordinary mortals and wine experts tasted wine and coffee, to see which group used what kind of language in their descriptions of smells and flavours. The wine experts were better at describing both wine and coffee, although both wine and coffee experts were no better than novices at naming everyday smells and tastes, showing that the expertise benefits are limited to the specific smells and flavours used to train experts, and not to more general ones.

For anyone who sucks at finding words other than ‘fruity’ (calling wine ‘sweet’ is often a no-no) and ‘dry’, Dutch wine shops and even supermarkets sell wine by numbers, which represent some sort of range between ‘fruity’ and ‘dry’ for us plebs.

(Links:,, Photo of Arrogant Frog wine by Martin Ujlaki, some rights reserved)

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April 21, 2016

Shop experiment serving wine turns to sour grapes

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 10:06 am

Having a glass of wine at the hair salon and at some clothing shops in Amsterdam started as an experiment in January 2016. Rotterdam started in February and called it ‘Project Blending 010’ (why in English, don’t know – 010 is the area code for Rotterdam) and other places in the country called it ‘blurring’ (why in English, still don’t know) because the law says serving alcohol without a liquor license is illegal. So yes, the whole thing was illegal but tolerated – sound familiar?

The Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) kicked off the experiment, but the Union of Liquor Store Owners (Slijtersunie) recently decided they were done being tolerant and decided to officially report the VNG to the authorities for breaking the law. The VNG is ‘surprised’ because talking it out is usually the Dutch way, but you can imagine there’s a lot more selling of alcohol at salons and shops than there is selling non-alcohol related products at the wine store. The experiment let shops serve and sell alcohol, while establishments that usually sell alcohol could sell shop products.

A lot of us were already having a drink with the lovely people who patiently cut our hair before any of this became a thing. And yes, it would probably help to make any kind of shopping more enjoyable. Maybe it’s time to change the law instead of forcing one group of Dutch businesses to have their turf invaded by another.

Or they could have a drink and talk it out till the cows come home Dutch style, who knows.

(Links:,,, Photo of Hair salon by Travel Salem, some rights reserved)

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October 28, 2015

Spacious underground fridge shelter for your food

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:25 am


Dutch fridges are often small, with four shelves and a freezer section big enough to store ice cubes and a frozen pizza. The same goes for having an actual oven, bath and separate clothes dryer: it’s not the norm.

For folks rich enough to own land that you can dig into and hip enough to grow their own fruit and vegetables, there’s the Groundfridge designed by Floris Schoonderbeek. It looks like the coolest bomb shelter ever, and uses the ground temperature for isolation insulation, keeping your community backyard garden food fresh at 10-12 degrees Celsius without electricity.

According to Schoonderbeek, winemakers have shown interest in having a Groundfridge, as well as people who build hurricane shelters and probably any big cheese fan. Check out the Dutch video with English subtitles, although they are too small for me, a bit like my fridge, although I do have an oven.

(Link and photo:

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January 21, 2014

HEMA caught plagiarising French wine label

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 1:58 pm

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 1.02.41 PM

It looked to many as if La Tulipe wine was available at the HEMA chain stores, but no, it was just a bottle of South African wine that had a very similar logo.

Coincidence or done on purpose who knows, but Dutch winemaker Ilya Gort cried sour grapes and wanted to take HEMA to court over it. In the meantime, HEMA has agreed to change the labels on the cheap South African wine which Gort gladly spits out on television right outside HEMA being the showman that his is (see Telegraaf link below).

If you want some cheap red wine with a very silly pun from the HEMA there’s always Chat-en-Oeuf .

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And some tips again on wine tasting for cheap bottles, Dutch-style by Ilya Gort himself:

– Look at the wine.
Take a few seconds to actually look at the colour of what you’re drinking. Someone worked very hard to get it that way.

– Smell the wine.
You smell your food before you eat it, give your wine the same courtesy.

– Respect the wine and use a proper glass.
I almost can’t drink from my tumbler glasses anymore, it doesn’t taste the same.

(Links and screenshot:,

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December 26, 2013

Alcohol regulation hurts fair trade shops

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 11:06 pm

fairhills-fair-trade-wine-branko-collinA recent tightening of the Dutch law regulating the sales of alcoholic drinks in supermarkets has affected fair trade stores, Volkskrant reports.

Another victim of the law are tourist information offices who often sell regional beers as part of their services. The new law states that a store needs to have a floor space of at least 15 square metres and needs to sell both pre-packaged and unpackaged food. Fair trade shops tend to fall short of this regulation.

Huub Jansen, spokesperson for Wereldwinkel (the Dutch fair trade chain), called the regulation “strange, because we are still allowed to sell wine through the iInternet and in Christmas packages.”

Junior minister Martin van Rijn hopes the new rule makes it harder for youths to purchase alcohol. “Producers in developing countries are hurt by this regulation”, parliamentarian Vera Bergkamp of D66 countered. She feels Van Rijn should see if a solution can be found for Wereldwinkel.

Jansen added: “Most of our customers are middle-aged women. Our wine turnover is 250,000 bottles a year. That is a substantial hit for wine producers in Chili and South Africa.”

See also: Botox voucher in employees’ Christmas package

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October 5, 2011

Red wine doesn’t reduce blood pressure

Filed under: Food & Drink,Science by Orangemaster @ 5:42 pm


A recent Dutch study led by Ilse Botden, MD and PhD student at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, claims that the polyphenols found in red wine don’t promote a healthy heart by reducing blood pressure, as previous studies have held. She recently presented the findings at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2011 Scientific Sessions in the US.

Health news website WebMD reported that red wine’s heart-healthy benefits have often been attributed to antioxidants called polyphenols. While expert opinions have varied on polyphenols’ effect on the heart, Dutch researchers have discovered that polyphenols don’t seem to promote heart health by reducing blood pressure.

What ordinary folks like me will find on the Internet is that red wine in moderation helps you relax, but what do I know.

(Links: dutchdailynews, Photo of Arrogant Frog wine by Martin Ujlaki, some rights reserved)

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April 3, 2010

Wine rack by Robert Bronwasser

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 4:21 pm

This polypropylene wine rack was designed by Robert Bronwasser from Amsterdam.

His distinctive style and high output make it so you can easily combine it with lots of his other designs, such as the Stack side-table, the Bo comfy chair and the Light-ball lamps.

The wine rack is 62 euro and can be bought at Goods.

(Link: Bright. Photo:

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January 6, 2010

Gay wine: bad taste or good marketing?

Filed under: Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 4:17 pm

Slowly but surely Dutch consumers are grasping the idea of enjoying wine and matching it up with food, wine fans keep telling me. Despite the lack of proper tasting and buying wine by numbers instead of actually being interested in pesky details like regions and vines, Dutch business people have tons of creative ways to get people drinking wine without thinking too hard.

That said, the idea of a ‘Chardongay’, which isn’t even a Chardonnay but a mix of Chenin Blanc and Colombard, while the red version (getting confused now) is straight Cabernet Sauvignon, pun intended, just sounds, well, blah. Vinamis, the company who thought this up apparently couldn’t find an acceptable cheap Chardonnay (bless you). And since we’re driving through cliché-ville, what about a rosé? It’s coming out later, as well as the bubbly.

I think it’s a slightly funny idea that is akin to drinking Arrogant Frog wine (see photo). It leaves lesbians out in the cold because hey, they don’t drink anyways (cliché) and the wine is going for the funny name. But, OK Arrogant Frog isn’t that bad and it’s cheap.

(Link:, Photo of Arrogant Frog wine by Martin Ujlaki, some rights reserved)

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