If you are one of those in the drinks industry that currently gives the convenience store sector a wide berth, then you need to buckle up and read on. The world of corner stores and independent grocers that for so long has been what has gone on down the other end of the high street is, thanks to deals like Tesco’s acquisition of Booker, going to become far more important and significant to an increasingly constrained drinks supply chain. Richard Siddle explains why.
There is no doubting that Georgian wine is the wine of the moment: Exports are up a whopping 60%; a recent archaeological find now puts the existence of winemaking in Georgia back by half a Millennium to 6000 BC; plus the national wine body is doing a cracking job of telling its story to the outside world. But where does Georgian wine belong in the on-trade? Is it natural, orange, experimental or a replacement for more established food wines like Tempranillo? Emma Diggory visited Georgia and also talks to key industry experts about where Georgia fits on the wine list.
When tennis star, Rafael Nadal, is looking for some home comforts whilst competing in London he heads to Cambio de Terco, widely respected and coveted for creating some of the most authentic Spanish food in the city. That’s all thanks to Abel Lusa who has been pioneering the Spanish food and wine scene in the UK since he first arrived from his native Rioja in 2003. So who better to receive the “Outstanding Contribution” recognition at the recent Rioja Recognises awards from Wines of Rioja.
After Marco Pierre White had a pop at the English wine industry, saying that “only a numpty would buy English wine”, a comparative blind tasting was held in London, hosted by Steven Spurrier, the critic who famously held the Judgement of Paris 41 years ago. Anne Krebiehl MW attended this new event on behalf of The Buyer and, although some producers have subsequently trumpeted the results, Krebiehl believes that this Britannia vs Marianne tasting was an inconclusive beauty contest.
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.