It is a mark of the impact E&J Gallo has had on the global wine market in recent years that its recent $1.7 billion deal to buy a large chunk of wines and spirits from Constellation Brands was seen as just the latest in a series of acquisitions by the Californian wine giant that has seen it spend $1 billion on fine wine deals in the last five years alone. But this is not a big corporate waving its cash, but still a 100% owned family wine business, however big it has become. Richard Siddle reports back from California on the impact Gallo’s strategy to grow by investing in largely premium to fine wine is having on the global branded wine market.
Everything but everything it seems has its own Awareness Day. #SauvBlancDay on May 3, for example, comes just after National Richter Scale Day and just before Donkey Awareness Week. Seriously. This year’s international celebration of the Sauvignon Blanc grape, however, has been given a new spin by having one foot in the Old World and one foot in the New – in a bid to show it off as a grape that has a sense of place and range of styles. #SauvBlancDay is different from previous years because, for the first time, New Zealand Winegrowers and two Loire Valley wine bodies are joining forces to broaden the message and the appeal. Peter Dean joined Jancis Robinson MW, Steven Spurrier and many more to hear Rebecca Gibb MW and Jamie Goode at last week’s official launch.
It’s one thing tasting wine professionally it is quite another to go on an eating and tasting tour of top London restaurants to experience food and wine in the same way your customers do. Which is what The Buyer’s most recent restaurant tour was all about as we were able to introduce different styles of Vouvray wine to a tour of buyers covering wine merchants, sommeliers, importers, consultants and journalists. As we publish our full report from the event, Richard Siddle picks out the highlights.
Whisper it gently but Lodi, so long the distant cousin to the more illustrious members of the Californian wine producing family in Sonoma and Napa, is no longer just the home for mass market fruit to go into California’s major supermarket wine brands, but it is also increasingly being seen as the test bed for Californian winemakers to go and trial different, often Mediterranean, grape varieties, in a region where land is so much cheaper and the climate and soils are ideal for also making premium and super premium wines.
No matter how confident we are of the kinds of wines our customers like to buy, it’s always reassuring to see what your peers in the trade also think. Particularly for a country like Germany where are there are so many different styles and regions where we can all still learn so much about what is really happening in this exciting wine country. Which is what Wines of Germany’s Top of the Crops competition is all about. Asking experts buyers to taste, assess and pick out the wines they think will shine in different sectors of the trade.
We hear and read a lot about the power of peer to peer recommendations, so it follows that we are far more likely to respect the opinion of someone doing the same job as ourselves when it comes to exploring and understanding different wine countries and styles. Which is very much the approach Wines of Germany is taking with its new series of training and education events, the Somm Sessions, which bring together sommeliers across the country to look at different styles and aspects of German wine, all of which are hosted by the award-winning sommelier, Jan Konetzki. Helen Arnold went along to the first Somm Sessions held recently at Hide in London where Konetski and his panel of sommeliers delved into the myriad world of German Riesling.
What happens when you take heat-loving grapes and plant them somewhere cool? Or when cool-climate regions start to get warmer? Christina Rasmussen takes us on a tour of rotundone in cool-climate pockets around the world, and delves into the wine growing and winemaking techniques that could help us combat the effects of global warming.
If you take a walk down the average supermarket aisle then you will easily recognise all the household brands we have grown up with from Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Heinz Tomato Ketchup to Persil washing up powder, but what you probably won’t realise is the vast majority of those brands are all owned by an increasingly smaller group of giant, all encompassing brand owners. It is also slowly happening, but to much less of a degree, in wine. Like the recent takeover of Spain’s Freixenet by Germany’s Henkell & Co to create at a stroke the world’s biggest producer of sparkling wine. Richard Siddle looks at why the deal came together and what it means in the UK for Henkell’s UK business, Copestick Murray and the newly formed Freixenet Copestick.
Following the success of last year’s series of on-trade reports The Buyer is once again working in partnership with hospitality and drinks research specialists, CGA, to produce four more reports on key aspects of the restaurant, pub and bar sectors over the rest of the year. What makes these reports stand out is that they have been specifically tailored to tackle and analyse four of the key areas of growth and opportunity for the drinks and hospitality sector, with a particular focus on the wine category. The series starts with casual dining and what impact changes in the dynamics of the high street is having on this vital area of growth. This will be followed by further reports analysing changing consumer demand for different styles of wines, countries and price points; the biggest threats to wine from other drinks categories; and what are the key future trends that the industry needs to be on top of. The first report is available to buy now and the following editions will be released over the next three quarters of 2019. These can either be bought individually or as a money saving subscription bundle of two, three or all four. Here Richard Siddle explains what you can expect.
Disruptive technology is increasingly ripping up the traditional rule books of how companies across all sectors do business. And the wine industry is no different. In the years to come it is going to be paramount for everyone, no matter your line of work, to be on top of the latest technological changes and what they mean for you and your business. Future Wine Expo is a new, breakthrough US trade show that looks to bring together the most innovative, dynamic and disruptive technology companies with some of the most influential and leading players in the global wine industry. Richard Siddle explains what it is about, how you can get involved and why The Buyer has signed up as the UK’s exclusive media partner.
With over 60,000 visitors squeezed into 16 halls and three days there is nothing quite like ProWein in the global wine calendar. But whilst it might be tough on the feet and constitution, it is also a unique melting pot to get on top of what are the key trends, issues and driving forces that are dictating how wine is being bought and sold around the world. Richard Siddle reports back on what was being discussed both inside the exhibition halls and outside.
Over the last five years Vinexpo has worked hard to re-invent itself as a brand that covers not just trade shows, but can also be very much part of the industry it serves through a series of new initiatives like specialist buying trips to key parts of the world. But essentially it is judged on how good it is at running wine and spirits exhibitions which is why all eyes will be on how well it does with its new revamped show that is moving from its traditional home in June, to, hopefully, a more temperate May in Bordeaux.
In the first part of our report from Margaret River we looked at how well not only is the whole region doing in terms of producing quality, premium wines, but how it has become one of Australia’s key calling cards for Cabernet Sauvignon. But it does have another hand to play with its slow ripening, luscious Chardonnays also picking up more than their fair share of global awards. Richard Siddle looks at just what makes Margaret River Chardonnay so distinctive from the rest of the country.
Marketing can be a big scary beast, especially if you haven’t had much success with it before. You will have to spend time and invest money to get it right. But before you commit to anything, it’s best to do your research first to put yourself on the best footing possible. What is often missed as the first step of any marketing is working out who you should target and what you want to get out of it, but this can be easily fixed by creating some target personas and proper goal setting. Jeremy Thomson, the founder of Common Collective, takes us through how to define your audience and setting marketing goals.
The wine industry takes all sorts to make it work. If it was all about fine wines, terroir and vintage tastings then it would not be the global industry it is. For that we have the bulk wine sector to thank. That’s what really makes the international wine market tick. At the same time bulk wine is also helping to drive the demand in and success off private label which is now becoming such an important part of any wine retailer, supermarket or restaurants’ offer. As Richard Siddle discovered at the second IBWSS conference and exhibition held in London last week.
If you like to keep track of how many steps you do a day, then can I introduce you to ProWein, the world’s biggest international wine and spirits show that this week celebrated its 25th anniversary. It has come a long way in that time. In fact if you came to ProWein in 1994 you would not have got many steps up at all as it was all held in one hall. Twenty five years later and you could beat all your personal bests trying to keep up with events across some 16 halls and 6,500 exhibitors. Not that we counted them all…
If Australia could only pick one wine region to showcase the very best wines it can produce it would be wise to single out Margaret River. For it might only be responsible for 2% to 3% of the country’s overall wine production, the wines being made there are amongst the best in the country. Richard Siddle continues his journey around the main wine regions of Australia with the first of a two part review that looks back on the history of Margaret River and how it is now as famous for its winemakers as it once for its surfers and hippies. Although there’s no reason why you can’t be all three.
It did not need the tub thumbing, gravitas of former US Vice President Al Gore to drive the sustainability message home at last week’s Climate Change Leadership event in Porto, but it certainly helped. His rip roaring address was, though, only a reflection of the hard yards, and pioneering steps being taken by many companies right across the global wine industry to do what they can to tackle climate change. It was an inspiring two days of talks and debates with the underlying message that we must all collectively do more than we currently are if we are to make any real impact.
In the past 40 years the most Southerly of New Zealand’s wine regions, Central Otago, has proved it can make world class Pinot Noir despite the harshness of its environment, this is winemaking on a knife edge. Today it is at the confluence of a number of key changes – climatic, socio-economic and stylistic – with vineyards being targeted here as ripe for large and small-scale investors. In the first of a series of articles on New Zealand wine, Peter Dean examines how the region is coping with these changes and how the resolve of a tight-knit wine-making community will be tested to the full in the very near future.
Private label is a sector that is growing around the globe as consumers are increasingly seeking out value without sacrificing the quality they have come to expect from the big brands. In fact private label and exclusive retailer lines are often now beating major FMCG in the Top 10 sales charts. Ahead of next week’s IBWSS show dedicated to bulk and private label wines being held in London on March 11-12, we look at 10 key reasons why private label needs to be part of your sales and ranging strategy.