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    Paul Mabray
    People People: Supplier
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    Miles Beale Interview Part 1: Challenges of tackling Brexit & Covid

    Being chief executive of a trade association is a stressful and responsible position at the best of times, but when the industries you are looking after are going through not just one national emergency, but two at the same time – in Brexit and Covid-19 – then it’s a wonder Miles Beale continues to look so young and fresh faced as he does. Here in the first of two in-depth interviews Beale explains what the Brexit deal actually means for the drinks industry and what businesses need to continue to do to keep themselves trading, and how the WSTA and its members have responded to the Covid-19 crisis. He also explains what it has been like for a trade body to be able to continue lobbying government ministers in lockdown and how collaboration across the industry has been vital. Next week the focus falls on the other big issues the wine and spirits industry need to tackle, including its role in driving better sustainable practices, and the need for practical and deliverable solutions on diversity and inclusion.

    Elizabeth Kelly has recently joined Majestic as part of its wine buying team

    Why top wine buyers want to take part in London Wine Competition

    The London Wine Competition prides itself on working with top level judges that each have direct buying responsibilities in their roles. The key individuals in the UK wine industry that collectively have the buying power to list wines from all over the world that are entering the competition. Buyers with the experience of assessing wines on their quality, their value for money proposition and how that is demonstrated through their packaging and design – the three key judging criteria.

    People: Producer

    Why 2020 was a challenging vintage for Hungary’s Tokaj wine region

    The growth of outstanding dry white wines from Tokaj has been just one of the many exciting developments from this Hungarian wine-producing region in the past two decades. But with it comes an agonising decision that has to be made in September by the winemaker – how much dry wine are they going to make and how much of the Furmint crop are they going to leave on the vine in the hope that botrytis will set in so they can produce Tokaji Aszu? Climate change means that the years where conditions are perfect for botrytis have been halved, which makes the decision even more of a gamble.

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    Bourgogne Debate: online is key for wine merchants & producers

    In the third of our debates, held in partnership with the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) to help mark Bourgogne Week, we look at the extraordinary rise in e-commerce during 2020 and how the impact of Covid-19 has been an opportunity like no other for independent merchants and wine producers to maximise their online sales. Richard Siddle helps chair a debate with John Townend, managing director of House of Townend, the Yorkshire based wine merchants, and Manoël Bouchet, director general of Maison Roche de Bellene the négociant business in the heart of Beaune, and vice president of marketing and development commission for the BIVB.

    Tom Surgery

    Tom Surgey launches new upbeat agency Glass Half Full

    We continue our Onwards & Upwards series featuring key figures in the drinks and hospitality sectors that are now embarking on new roles and opportunities in the industry with the highly experienced sales director, Tom Surgey. Most recently at Ridgeview and with live presenting gigs for BBC Good Food and Three Wine Men coming out of his ears, Tom’s work came to a crashing halt with the pandemic. Here he talks about how he coped and then hooked up with Tristram Coates –devising a new style agency called Glass Half Full, that aims to bring an innovative approach to the industry.

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    Bruce Jack on the devastating human and industry cost of Covid-19

    “The last 10 months have not been the cocktail- and cigar-fuelled haven I had planned, but rather a psychological assault course that has left all of us in this industry battered…and some of us already broken.” This is the deeply personal, and at times harrowing account, of what it has been like as a South African winemaker, producer and employer of 100s of desperate employees during the Covid-19 pandemic in a country that continues to ban the sale of any alcohol to devastating effect. We implore you to read Bruce Jack’s unique take on not just the impact of Covid-19, but what it means for the long term future of our wine industry, and us as individuals and human beings.


    Sebastian Thomas on climate change in Burgundy

    Villages like Saint-Romain and Saint-Aubin, Maranges and Marsannay were never that high up on the ‘must-have’ list of most self-respecting Burgundy buyers in the past, but how times are changing, argues Sebastian Thomas, director and buyer of Howard Ripley. These wines from more humble locations, and those from the Hautes-Côtes, can be quite brilliant and as generous and balanced as Premier Cru wines were 30 years ago. There are even signs that the hierarchy of classification is threatened, he says.

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    Bourgogne Debate: producers & importers working together

    The second of our three debates, held in partnership with the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB), to help mark #BourgogneWeek examines the relationship between key specialist wine importers and the producers they work with in such an important region as Bourgogne. To help us we turned to Jason Haynes, co-founder of Flint Wines, widely regarded as one of the most important Bourgogne players in the UK market, and Thibaut Marion, owner of artisan producer, Domaine Seguin-Manuel, in Savigny-lès-Beaune.

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    People’s Choice Wine Awards’ 2021 wine finalists

    The People’s Choice Wine Awards is the first competition out of the traps in 2021 to announce its finalists in this year’s competition. Once again the awards stand out as they include both everyday wine drinkers as well as professional trade judges in deciding who should be on the shortlists in each category. This year’s competition included both in person judging when it was possible and virtual judging. Here is event founder Janet Harrison to explain how this awards have gone with links to all the wine finalists and a chance for you to vote for the finalists in the Retail award categories.

    Tasting: Wine
    François Labet

    François Labet: a taste of iconic and affordable Burgundian wines

    LM Archer travels to Beaune to meet François Labet, one of the pioneers of organic viticulture in Burgundy, and the largest producer of Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. His two estates, Domaine Pierre Labet and Château De La Tour, are not just about making premium, iconic wines, however, his outstanding value Vielles Vignes Pinot Noir outsells the nearest other red Burgundy that Bidendum sells, by three to one. Archer hears first-hand about Labet’s minimalist approach to both viticulture and winemaking and samples a range of his wines, including the Corsican Pinot that he makes under his own name.