Grape varieties: to capitalize or not to capitalize?

Is it merlot or Merlot? Grenache or grenache? And is it sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon blanc or Sauvignon Blanc? As a language professional, it is my job to know: are the names of wine varietals capitalized? Admittedly, I have tried to find the rule many times, but have never come up with a satisfactory answer. So it’s time to set the record straight once and for all by summarizing my research and issuing my professional recommendation.

Image: Brodie Vissers
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Top wine gifts for the holidays and beyond

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Well, it’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us, and as usual, I am behind on my Christmas shopping. Today, the cashier at the grocery store asked me if I was getting excited for Christmas, and I was surprised that my response was a scowly face. Let me explain: I do like Christmas. I love spending time with family, eating delicious food and splurging a little on fancy wines. I love the uplifting smell of a pine tree in our living room. I love walking through our neighbourhood at night and seeing all the pretty lights shimmer against a fresh dusting of snow. I love hearing Christmas songs everywhere I go, especially now that it’s December (any stores that played Christmas music in November got blacklisted). What I do NOT love is the consumerism associated with Christmas. Continue reading