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About…

About Bill Nanson & Burgundy Report:

DSC05471I sampled wine direct from the barrel for the first time in Autumn 1997 – in the village of Chardonnay – and even bought some recently bottled 1996s for my Christmas lunch, but for the next three years I managed to average only about 3 visits every 2 years. After moving to Switzerland for my job in 2000, I was able to travel to Burgundy much more often as it was just 2h40 away in the car – if I was good – more like 2h30 if I was bad!

I eventually set up this website in 2002 – it was a hobby, to expand on some of the contributions I made to various online forums and to write the stories that I would have loved to read but couldn’t find, either in print or online.

Over the years, visiting Burgundy more and more often simply seemed natural, and every year since 2004, I was enthusiastically ‘doing’ the harvest because I really believed (and I still do!) that having each vintage’s grapes in my hands brings an added dimension to my positioning of those vintages – and let’s not forget that producers talk about the grapes being 95% of the vintage quality. Of-course any potential value that accrues from that is quickly discounted by those writers that don’t do it – yet the producers hold it in as high a regard as I do, plus it’s a great, mutual, point of contact when meeting with them!

Without any active marketing, the Burgundy Report quickly grew to a daily audience of about 2,000 visitors per day – though of-course there are now Twitter feeds and hundreds of other/newer online resources – it was a stable audience for a few years. Those last (free) Burgundy Reports, when published, regularly achieved more than 10,000 visitors in their first day of publication! Of-course the site’s stats went down about 30-40% once, in 2014, those reports converted to ‘subscription’, but the number of viewers is once-more increasing due to the ‘free stuff‘ – more on that below.

At the start of 2012 the publishers of (undoubtedly) the finest wine magazine in the world, The World of Fine Wine, published ‘The Finest Wines of Burgundy’ – written by yours truly – which turned out to be the biggest selling publication in their series! Of-course it already needs a spring-clean of an update, but I remain proud of that finished article. It also seems they were vindicated in ‘taking a risk’ in commissioning their author!

Beginning in 2014, after choosing to decline ‘the package’ for a business relocation from Switzerland to Germany, I took an apartment in Beaune and decided to concentrate on my Burgundy Reports and, to help pay the bills, also began wine tours for enthusiastic visitors to Chablis and the Côte d’Or. I’ve met some great people who I keep in regular touch with! BUT I am principally a chronicler of, rather than a guide to, Burgundy, so limit the number of days per month where tours are available – 5 days per month. Since then, I become an occasional contributor to publications such as wine-searcher.com, the UK magazine Decanter, and the Hong Kong-based magazine Le Pan – now already dead – and hopefully not my fault!

The previously free, 3x per year Burgundy Reports, stopped at the end of 2013, replaced by the subscription Burgundy Report – so that I could continue to eat! The subscription report is, of-course, today’s de-facto Burgundy Report, and is published 11 times per year, because there’s nobody to visit in August! However, I dislike people (producers mainly) giving up their time for something that will, forever, stay behind a pay-wall, and that’s because burgundy is for sharing. So the subscription reports eventually become free for everyone, but only once they are 18 months old – of-course it’s important to keep subscribers interests to the fore, so that 18 months head-start, means that they get the inside-line on vintages, new producers and hopefully many other items of interest!

Burgundy Report from September to February cover the harvest followed by; Côte d’Or whites, Côte d’Or reds, ‘Grand Maisons,’ Chablis and Beaujolais. This is really the content intensive period with as many as 50 domaines per month being visited to asses the new vintage – north to south. March to July is a more ‘freestyle’ and less intense period (fewer words!) with verticals, horizontals, vineyard or even village profiles – anything can happen!

NB: I am independent of the merchanting/selling of wine. I have, necessarily, many contacts, but write as I see fit, not how they might prefer. I derive all my income from writing and tour-guiding, there are no complicating revenues from advertising – I did try it a few years ago, but a) felt that it jarred with the independence of Burgundy Report, and anyway b) it made the site look untidy 🙂 Also note, I’ve never been ashamed to accept lunch with a winemaker, even when they are paying, it is simply part of the culture of getting to know the people. I do not believe that it has ever affected my notes – and anyway, it typically follows a tasting – so the notes are already written at that stage!

I think longevity is something of a rarity for an online presence, but having completed my first 14 years, I’m looking forward to seeing 20 and then 30!
Cheers, Bill Nanson
1st January 2017

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