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    Roger Jones
    Tonya Pitts

    Areni Global: how fine wine buyers have coped with Covid-19 globally

    If there is any consolation from the fallout of Covid-19 across the hospitality sector is that we are all in this together – right around the world. Any experiences we have in any particular country can potentially be shared with other wine and drinks teams and restaurateurs in other cities. This was very much the spirit of the recent debates held by Areni Global with fine wine players from four different markets that saw them sharing their stories and solutions. Here Pauline Vicard, Areni’s executive director, summarises what was said.

    Aidy Smith, The Three Drinkers.

Byline John Nguyen/JNVisuals

    Helena Nicklin: why she loves judging People’s Choice Drinks Awards

    The People’s Choice Drinks Awards prides itself on thinking and acting differently. Particularly in how it uses every day drinkers, alongside professional industry judges to help pick out the winning brands. Helena Nicklin is one of those trade judges who is uniquely positioned in that she is writing about wines and spirits predominantly for consumers through her Three Drinkers collaboration on Amazon Prime and regular newspaper columns. Here she explains why she thinks the awards stand out and tells us about her own background in the drinks industry.

    People: Supplier
    Damien Barton

    Why Bordeaux’s Damien Barton is now working with Borough Wines

    At first it looks like an unlikely collaboration – between a wine company that started life as a market ‘stall’ in London’s Borough Market and the new generation of Bordeaux ‘aristocracy’. But that’s what makes Borough Market’s Refill Bottle scheme all the more interesting and, with Damien Barton’s input and connections, could give its Zero Waste strategy all the more impetus. Now in charge of the direction of Château Langoa Barton in Saint Julien, Damien Barton has a number of projects on the go, including his own wine sales and distribution company, 225, but what they all have in common though is a drive to put sustainability at the heart of each company’s modus operandi. Peter Dean talked to him about how the wine industry can take sustainability more seriously on the day that Borough Wines’ new Refill portfolio is launched.

    Tasting: Wine
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    Why the new Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs 2012 is a class act

    At the launch of the new Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs 2012, Alice Paillard likened 2012 to the classic 2002 vintage, stressing that in 2012 the base wines (strangely) had both higher acidity and maturity. This Champagne is a ‘survivor’ of the weather that spring – the resulting wine ‘compact’ and with long-ageing potential. Anne Krebiehl MW talks to Paillard and is smitten with the wine.

    People: Supplier
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    Onwards & Upwards: Martin Litt on helping with digital needs

    Probably the most transformative change during Covid-19 has been how quickly people have gone online and embraced ecommerce. It has opened up huge new opportunities to those drinks and hospitality businesses able to capitalise with effective ecommerce platforms. Martin Litt is here to help companies make the most out of online with his new business – Quaff Digital – that he has set up on being made redundant during lockdown. He shares his story as part of The Buyer’s ongoing Onwards & Upwards series.

    People: Producer
    Gutter and Stars

    Building a winery from scratch: Chris Wilson & Gutter & Stars

    Wine journalist – and regular Buyer writer – Chris Wilson has added another string to his bow as he launches his own urban winery in the heart of Cambridge this autumn called Gutter & Stars. In the third instalment of his column for The Buyer the Pinot Noir and Bacchus have arrived at the windmill-based winery, Chris puts his DIY cellar tools to the test and the stereo is turned up to 11.

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    Graft’s Nik Darlington on running a portfolio tasting in Covid

    For years the wine trade has collectively trudged along to Lindley Hall and other traditional wine tasting venues across London to attend the latest major generic or distributor portfolio event. In recent years there have been an increasing number of dissenting voices questioning whether this is the most effective use of our time, and to taste potentially 100s of wines. Covid-19 has ripped up the old tasting routine and given the sector a blank piece of paper on which to re-invent the trade tasting. Here Nik Darlington, co-founder of Graft Wine explains how it has just hosted a month long range tasting – online.

    Robert Parker was one of the big attractions for the 2011 event in Hong Kong that even included a tasting by him by over 1000 paid guests

    WineFuture 2021: back to address global wine issues

    The world has moved on a great deal since the inaugural WineFuture event was held in Rioja in 2009. At the time it was the first of its kind. An attempt to bring the global wine industry’s most prominent and influential figures together, from producers, brand owners, importers, retailers to critics and media. The event was repeated in 2011 in Hong Kong, but not since. Until now with the news it is to return in a new online webinar format in February 2021. Here’s what to expect.

    Celebrating Hispanic Roots Long Read

    Celebrating Hispanic Roots: Oregon’s Latinx wines

    Oregon’s Willamette Valley might be best known for its Pinot Noir but few may realise how diverse its winemaking community is. Celebrating Hispanic Roots was an event aimed at setting the record straight with six Latinx winemakers from Atticus Wine, Beacon Hill Winery, Cramoisi Vineyard, Gonzales Wine, PARRA Wine and Valcan Cellars telling their stories and showing their wines, the best of which LM Archer tastes and recommends. Not only are the six speakers leaders in their own right but they are also advocates for the Latinx community, particularly for those who work on vineyards.

    The closing panel of the day included Lucy Auld from Freixenet Copestick, Robert Joseph, Rollo Gabb and

    One Step Beyond Webinar on consumer & tech changes

    When we held the first One Step Beyond event in early March to analyse the growing trends and advances in technology that were changing the way we as consumers behaved, the world was a very different place. Even though Covid-19 was rampaging across Europe, in the UK it still felt very much at arm’s length. Seven months on and so many of those emerging, ‘about to happen’ trends discussed at the conference are now very much part of our daily lives shaping the way we live and dictating what businesses need to do to survive. To help assess what changes in consumer behaviour the drinks industry needs to be on top off now and in the months ahead, The Buyer is teaming up again with Sophie Jump to host a special free One Step Beyond webinar with the same experts and panelists from the inaugural conference. Here’s how you can take part.