Category Archives: Wine Production

Vegan Wine


Posted by Michael Dorf on March 28, 2013.

As an ethical vegan, I am often asked strange questions.  “Would you eat roadkill?”  “If you were in a lifeboat with a cow, a chicken and Dick Cheney, which one would you eat first?”  Etc.

These questions are not silly merely because they are hypothetical.  Lord knows that as a law professor, much of what I do is ask my students hypothetical questions, often quite bizarre ones.  I do so to test the principle that a court or a student has espoused (e.g., “the federal government lacks the power to regulate inactivity”) by exploring circumstances in which the intuition underlying the principle appears to break down (e.g., “can federal labor law forbid secondary boycotts?”). Continue reading

Understanding Champagne

Posted by Lesley Underwood on February 18, 2013

Champagne has been produced for hundreds of years, and despite a few modern variations, it is still primarily made using the same process devised by Christopher Merret in England in 1662 and improved in the 1700s by Dom Perignon, a French monk.  Champagne is the name of a cold continental region of France and the sparkling wine made there.  Although sparkling wine is produced around the world, Champagne producers strictly enforce laws and international treaties that prohibit labeling a wine “Champagne” if it is made in any other region.1  Despite this labeling restriction, other regions strive to emulate the quality of Champagne by following the traditional method used to make this wine, Méthode Champenoise.2

This labor of love starts by hand picking whole bunches of three types of grapes: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.3  The grapes are first pressed very gently to extract the juices, making sure there is no contact or minimal skin or stem contact to avoid astringent flavors.  Juices of the different grape varieties are fermented separately, then blended together.  This usually produces a neutral wine, like a blank canvas before a work of art.  Crafting the end product of each Champagne will depend on winemaker trade secrets and techniques, length of time in barrels, sourcing premium grapes, and personal touches at each step of the wine making process. Continue reading