Whilst much of the wine producing world will go into 2018 scratching its collective head worrying about whether it has enough wine to supply its growing markets, and at the prices they want, New Zealand is looking to build on what has been an impressive 2017 with hopes of another good harvest ahead. All of which sets up Janaury’s annual tasting very nicely indeed, as Chris Stroud, marketing manager for UK and European for New Zealand Winegrowers explains.
Although sherry is having a moment right now, many customers would still opt for the safety of a G&T or Prosecco as an aperitif and always wine with the meal. But the versatility and quality of sherry make it a natural for food pairing as we found when Andrea Briccarello, group sommelier for Galvin La Chapelle and Giovanni Ferlito, head sommelier at London’s Ritz shared some secrets on how they prepared for the bi-annual Copa Jerez competition. They each had to come up with an Inspiration menu that searched for the best harmony of food and sherry, competing against teams of chef and sommelier from seven different countries.
With supplies of the big French classics at a premium this Christmas, both in terms of availability and price, restaurant buyers and suppliers are having to be far more flexible about what they offer their customers. Which, for some restaurateurs and distributors, is opening the door quite nicely for the tried, trusted and ever so reliable Rioja. Here we talk to a number of leading on-trade figures to see why Rioja is becoming a bigger part of their festive wine list.
It might initially be a bit disheartening to be passed an envelope as your main Christmas present from under the tree, but you might be one of the lucky ones that gets given an “experience” this year rather than another ill fitting jumper. Yes, “experiences” are all the rage, both in our personal lives, but also what we increasingly expect from our high street retailers and most definitely if you expect people to turn up for something as mundane as a wine tasting. Richard Siddle looks at how not only is the high street being transformed, but also the hospitality and event sectors as people look to save up and spend big money on what they hope will be memorable “experiences” to tell their friends about.
Outside of the natural wine debate is there a more contentious issue than the one that surrounds the type of closure you have in your bottle of wine? To assess what leading on-trade buyers and sommeliers now think about closures we teamed up with Vinventions, one of the biggest suppliers of all types of closure from cork to screwcap, to make the issue of closures the latest topic in our Buyer Debate series.
Every wine as soon as it is made puts its self up for judgement. Be it the end consumer who wants to drink it with their dinner, or the trade buyers and wine critics looking to score, assess and adjudicate on whether it is suitable for listing in the first place. But nothing ventured, nothing gained and Castelnau Wine Agencies was happy to put its range of wines from producers all over the world up to the test in our latest Buyer’s Case project with leading on-trade buyers and influencers in the trade.
The Buyer has been set up to help drinks producers and leading on-trade buyers better understand their needs and where possible work closer together. This is best demonstrated by The Buyer’s Case initiative where we link up with a wine producer or importer and ask leading buyers to taste, assess and offer professional feedback on their wines. Here we turn to the Languedoc-Roussillon and present wines from leading producer, Cave de Vignerons de Saint-Chinian to leading on-trade decision makers.
France might be the best selling country in the UK on-trade, but that does not mean it could not sell. To help better understand the opportunities and challenges facing French wine in the premium on-trade, The Buyer linked up with Les Vignobles Foncalieu and leading buyers from the different types of operator, including high end restaurants, independent wine merchants and national wholesalers all working the French category in the north west of the country.
New Zealand’s enormous success in the UK off-trade, where its Sauvignon Blanc has created a category of its own, has not always been reflected in how many of its wines are on premium on-trade wine lists. The Buyer teamed up with Villa Maria, and its UK partners, Hatch Mansfield, to ask a panel of leading UK buyers to set out the challenges and opportunities for New Zealand in the premium on-trade
The Buyer’s Case is a new initiative that gives producers the chance to show specific drinks to key buyers in target channels of the on-trade. For our first Buyer’s Case we teamed up with Les Vignerons Foncalieu and selected key buyers in its main distribution areas in the UK on-trade to show their wines. Here are the results.
The Buyer teamed up with Virginia Wine and some of its key producers to help them better understand the needs of the UK premium on-trade and how buyers might relate to their wines with both a business roundtable debate with key players and a study tour of leading London restaurants, wine bars and merchants to see the kind of offers they have and where their wines might fit in.