To cap off the year—our first full year publishing Sprudge Wine, now a babbling, toddling 18-month-old baby publication—we’re looking back at a handful of stories that inspired, delighted, and challenged us in 2018. And over the holiday break we’ll be re-running a few of these favorites before returning with original content in January 2019.

We hope that you’ll use the next few weeks break to drink some lovely wine, relax from sales madness (if you’re in the trade), and check back in with some of our favorite stories from the year. Thank you, as always, for reading Sprudge Wine, and for supporting original natural wine journalism from around the world. Cheers!

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Wine Fair A-Go-Go

Wine fair coverage is some of our very favorite content here at Sprudge. We attended and covered a clutch of North American natural wine fair events in 2018, and produced long-read recaps from events from the best of ’em. Read on for Sprudge founder Jordan Michelman’s boots-on-the-ground take from Third Coast Soif 2018, Grape Witches co-founder Nicole Campbell’s stirring and immersive study on the first-ever RAW Wine Montreal, Jenny Eagleton’s favorite pours at the great Brumaire 2018 in Oakland, and Aaron Ayscough’s scene-y, insider tour of Festival Dézing in the Beaujolais.

Fine Wine Shops Worldwide 

In 2018 our coverage took us to some of the very best natural wine shops in the world. Visits included the likes of Vinovore in Los Angeles, Vineyard Gate in San Francisco, Outland in Napa, The Punchdown in Oakland, the great Henry’s of Brooklyn, a world-first look inside Psychic Wines in LA, and that’s just the selects. We drank a lot of wine; we bought a lot of wine. You do those things well and you wind up in great shops like these!

Epic Producer Visits 

We visited a clutch of maker heroes this year, and built glorious profiles of each one to live forever on the site. Top visits included Emily Dilling’s choice hang with Mr. Hurluberlu himself, Sébastian David; Dylan Rupert’s evocative portrait of Sonoma’s Scribe Winery; Luc Revel’s date with Texas wine iconoclast Lewis Dickson of La Cruz de Comal; Christina Rasmussen’s journey to Swartland with winemaker Even Sadie; Eileen Kenny’s trip up them hills with Anton van Klopper of Lucy Margaux; Alexander Gable’s survey of today’s must-drink Lambrusco producers; Kate Robinson going back to nature with Cyril Zangs; and Edouard Thorens’ unforgettable day spent with Cidreie du Vulcain. That’s not all the stories—there’s even more. This is some of the content we’re the most proud of here at Sprudge Wine and we can’t wait to keep bringing you more stories in this style in the years to come.

Wine Interviews That Matter

They say don’t meet your heroes, but how about an interview? This year we sat for a chat with wine heroes from up and down the producer chain, from makers to shop owners, bar purveyors, and journalists. This is maybe the hardest category to narrow down, but standouts include Kara Fowler’s interview with Adam Hatch of Starline Social Club; Dylan Rupert’s LA-centric interviews with Randy Clement of Highland Park Wine and Kris Yembamroong of NIGHT+MARKET; Michael Light’s Seattle chill session with Rita An of Vita Uva; Zachary Carlsen’s sit-down with Bon Appetit wine editor Marissa Ross; Michael Alberty on Southern Oregon wine legend Herb Quady; Anna Brones with Amy Bess Cook of Women-Owned Wineries; Aaron Ayscough with the next generation L’Anglore legend Thibault Pfifferling; and Luc Revel with Lisa Bauer of Yamakiri Wines.

Original Reporting and Personal Essay

We’re trying to create a home for all kinds of wine writing here at Sprudge. That means occasionally running stuff that feels more personal, or approaching wine as a starting point for wider inquiry about the world and life itself. Wine has a way of inspiring these kinds of things, after all, and so in 2018 we were proud to run stories that don’t fit in any easy category box. These include Jenny Eagleton’s inspiring and original visit to Renaissance Winery in Yuba County, where in the 1970s the Fellowship of Friends established what would become a highly influential winery; Sprudge co-founder Jordan Michelman’s personal essay on life, death, wine and cancer, which is now in development for a book; a wide-ranging and highly delicious lunch of wine pairings at Portland favorite Kee’s Loaded Kitchen; Juliana Ganan’s provocative exploration of the quasi-legal state of natural wine in Brazil; and Laura Jane Faulds’ singular vision of shipping grape varieties as personal expression of wine soul, focused on Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

Thanks again for reading and we’ll be back in 2019 with more Sprudge Wine! Cheers [clink].