Paul Mabray and Polly Hammond have been banging the drum for digital and e-commerce in the wine industry for years. For much of that time they have been left frustrated by the unwillingness of so many wine companies to take online seriously. Not any more. The Covid-19 lockdown has forced consumers and drinks businesses online like never before, opening the way for Mabray and Hammond, through their respective digital businesses, Emetry and 5Forests, to be able to offer their services and work with wine producers, to act fast to try and make the most of the Covid boom in online sales. In the latest The Buyer video interview, Richard Siddle talks to them about what they actually mean by making the most of digital and how they hope to work together and combine their data analysis and brand marketing skills to offer more wine and drinks companies the advice, support and action they need.
One of the most memorable – and inspiring – aspects of the Covid-19 crisis is how individuals and businesses have responded and, in many cases, gone way beyond the norm to not just look after themselves at this time, but rather think of others and go to extraordinary lengths to help them. It’s why The Buyer has started its new ‘Raise A Glass To’ series to shine the spotlight on the people we think deserve particular praise. Today we salute the amazing efforts of Graft Wine’s Nik Darlington. Here’s why…
It’s a sign that things are starting to get back a little more towards normal when the various drinks competitions start to open their doors for new entries for their 2021 events. The Buyer is once again very pleased to be the business media partner for The People’s Choice Wine Awards which is about to go into its fourth year. Still the only major competition that includes consumers in the judging process. This year’s awards are also being extended to include a number of spirits categories for the first time. Here are all the details.
American viticulture has the ability to deliver fantastic mineral-driven, complex, refined, long-ageing, and refreshing white wines that remind one of great Old World regions such as Burgundy, Mosel and the Loire. But in the past two decades a new breed of winemaker is ensuring that American AVAs are developing their own, unique characteristics. Nowhere is this more true than Finger Lakes in New York State, whose cool climate Rieslings have been going through a Renaissance in the past eight years – switching from a semi-dry style to dry and starting to reap the benefits.
The Covid-19 crisis has seen a number of major grocery and FMCG brands launch their own direct to consumer websites in a bid to stay close to their usual customer base who were stuck at home, not willing to venture out, who had switched in their millions to buying their favourite products online. Truth be told most had been planning and proposing setting up their DTC sites for some time. Like Treasury Wine Estates, which next week pulls back the curtain on its own first venture into DTC in the UK, aimed at promoting its premium and luxury wine brands. Richard Siddle talks to Ben Blake, Treasury’s European head of marketing, about why now and how it is going to work.
With the South African government banning all domestic sales of alcohol for a second time, what was already a tough lockdown has become even harder. There have been numerous charity drives and initiatives worldwide to encourage people to buy South African wine – to give wine producers a financial lifeline. The latest move sees CAPREO backing the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund that is, in turn, helping restaurants get back on their feet.
As the drinks supply chain looks at how it can start to bring its people back together again Richard Siddle talks to Craig Durham, head of Buckingham Schenk, about how it has managed to keep the majority of its team working through Covid-19, and how, as the UK arm of the Schenk Group, the major international producer, it has worked with the company’s teams across Europe to give its customers the best service it can and is very much on the front foot coming out of lockdown.
The dearth of quality still wines made in England, compared to sparkling wine, is down to which varieties were planted early on and which clones, argues Lyme Bay Winery’s managing director James Lambert. There are signs that is changing with winemakers looking much closer at clone selection, however, with the cost of making all English wines so expensive, the industry needs to work together to ensure that the end product is priced sustainably and able to offer genuine value in the marketplace.
When the invite came through to help take part in the judging and blending of the new La Única project from Felix Solis I took a double take. The time and date was for an actual venue alongside other people, rather than sit in on a Zoom tasting. But when I nervously arrived at Camino in Kings Cross to take part there, as well as my fellow real life tasters, was a large screen with not just one Zoom tasting taking place, but five others simultaneously happening in China, Germany and Spain. Welcome to the new normal of virtual, and actual wine tastings. Here Richard Cochrane, head of Félix Solís in the UK, explains how La Única concept works and why it wanted to make it a global online event.
Too many people pigeonhole Argentinian wines as being just about Malbec and Torontes, says Matias Riccitelli, who tells Justin Keay that his winemaking philosophy is driven by the need to show off a different face of his country’s viticulture. Through the 25 wines he makes in Mendoza and the few in Patagonia, including a superb old vine Semillon, Riccitelli is being recognised as a great alchemist, working with a wide range of varietals, vessels and techniques to make some of Argentina’s most exciting new wines.