From modest beginnings in Tony and Veronica Cleary’s living room, the Lanchester Group of companies, which includes Lanchester Wines and Greencroft Bottling, has grown into a much-admired business with an enviable record on sustainability. A restless pioneer of renewable energy, with a proven track record for pushing at the boundaries of green technology, the County Durham-based group is investing in a new state-of-the-art, self-powered home for its Greencroft Bottling company that Tony Cleary believes will be ‘the most sustainable such building of its kind on the planet’. As David Kermode finds out, for Cleary, sustainability is about the head, as much as the heart.
If you want to sell wine in the on-trade then here’s some new wine research you need to read, digest and take action on. KAM, the consumer research analysts that usually focus their attention on the pub, bar, and convenience store sectors, has produced its first dedicated study that looks to better understand exactly what it is the average consumer wants out of wine when they are going out for a drink. Produced in partnership with Hallgarten & Novum Wines it is based on interviews with 500 wine drinkers at the end of February and clearly identifies which wine styles and price points are most in demand, but also shows just how important good customer service is when selling wine and, in particular, the need for staff to make the whole wine buying experience more relaxed and not intimidating. As Colin Cameron, marketing director for Hallgarten & Novum Wines says: “The reward is too big for pubs, bars, and restaurants to let these customers slip away. Life maybe too short for bad wine, but, in the eye of the customer, it’s also too short for bad service and bad experiences. Good wine and good experiences, however, could be the key to a very long, and successful life, for our venues.” Get it right and there could be at least £500 a year per customer, per venue up for grabs. Read Richard Siddle’s analysis of the KAM study here.
Despite shortfalls in supply created by the poor 2021 harvest and issues with shipping, last week’s New Zealand Wine event provided many reasons to be cheerful. Average bottle prices are up, Kiwi Rosé is booming, vineyard acreage is up, the 2022 harvest is back to normal levels and there’s a new trade agreement coming this year. Geoffrey Dean welcomed the event back after two years away, talks to NZ Winegrowers’ Chris Stroud and picks six wines that stood out at the tasting.
“Rather than have cellars full of wine ageing quietly in barrels, that tell you the plot, varieties, blend and vintage, why not bring them to life and include the name and a QR link to the back story of the customer or customers that have invested in it and become part of that producer and winemaker’s success.” That’s a vision of a genuinely consumer-first driven wine businesss that your customers are being offered – and are increasingly demanding – from the brands and companies they invest in. Richard Siddle explains why drinks producers need to wake up to the fact they no longer own the brands they produce – their target consumers do. And if they don’t those drinkers will vote with their feet and buy into brands that believe in them.
There’s a great deal of excitement about the wines that are coming out of the Agulhas Wine Triangle – South Africa’s southernmost vineyards. This is a region with ancient soils, extreme winds and a raw landscape that are producing cool climate whites and reds of remarkable quality and elegance. On a recent trip to South Africa, Geoffrey Dean visited the region, tasted the wines from the 10 wineries and talked with some of the key players – Bruce Jack, Dirk Human and Pierre Rabie about what makes this new frontier of winemaking so special.
In the first part of our New York Pitch project in partnership with the New York Grape & Wine Foundation we helped to bring producers looking to export to the UK together with leading buyers from key importers and the chance to hear about their wines. Here we dig a little deeper into what New York State can offer by picking out the wine styles that the buyers think have the most potential to do well in the UK and why the region has so much to offer in terms of cool climate, fresh, pure fruit forward, acid driven wines with low alcohols.
Most Champagne Houses released their 2008 vintages way too early. That’s the view taken by Mathieu Rolland-Billecart, the CEO of Billecart-Salmon which launched its dazzling new Louis Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs 2008 yesterday alongside older vintages and the new NV Blanc de Blancs. And good things do indeed come to those who wait as Peter Dean discovered.
Returning after two years away was the Australia Trade Tasting that was its customary mix of old school classics and young guns ‘going for it’. Wine scribe turned winemaker Chris Wilson was suitably impressed and picks out 15 new Australian wines that sommeliers should check out including a remarkable 11-year-old, unfortified 16% abv Marsanne that’s spent four years on ullage.
There are many ways for producers and buyers to meet. Be it at tastings, international trade fairs or personal visits to the winery. During the pandemic we also all went online to do business via zoom and found new ways of working together. Which is very much what The Buyer and New York Wine Grape Foundation wanted to do with our “New York Pitch” project and the chance for leading UK buyers to meet and hear the stories of a number of New York State wineries looking to find listings in the UK through a series of ‘Dragons Den’ style pitches via zoom. Here we look at the producers that took part and what potential UK buyers think New York as a region has in the UK and which wine styles and price points are best placed to do well in this market.