“I have been given the keys to the car and it’s up to me now to drive it.” That’s how Michael Saunders reflects on the chance he has been given to take back his old job as chief executive of Bibendum-PLB as its new owners, the C&C Group, look to kick on from the disaster of Conviviality PLC, and find a safe pair of hands to not only bring much needed stability to the business, but push forward and drive margins and profits through the company.
If you take a walk to your local bookies you can find some very long odds for all kinds of unlikely and far-fetched possibilities. But imagine the odds you would have got at the start of the year if you had placed £100 on Michael Saunders being back as chief executive of Bibendum-PLB and Conviviality being disgraced as a failed PLC business, all before the London Wine Fair. But that’s just where we are at as C&C announces its plans to run Matthew Clark and Bibendum-PLB as separate drinks distributors with Michael Saunders back at the helm of his old business.
As soon as the hot weather hits us we all check to see how much rosé is in the fridge. Or head to the nearest bar to while away the evening in front of an ice bucket or two. But have you ever noticed how poor the rosé selection is on most wine lists? That has got to change says our resident MW Anne Krebiehl who looks at the skill required to manage rosé on wine lists. Too often rosé is subjected to tokenism on the average list, but by carefully choosing a wider range, and focusing on what customers are really looking for means that rosé could become a significant new revenue driver for a bar or restaurant. This is one of our most-read features and was first posted in 2017.
New Zealand may not be able to boast the longest history of winemaking, but that does have its advantages in that the family winemakers working today at the oldest and most pioneering producers are able to tell first hand how their immediate predecessors made the wines that we are still able to enjoy today and into the future. Harry Crowther shares fascinating insights from David Babich as he looks back on the styles of wine being made now that are testimony to the wines that have come before them at the country’s oldest family run winery.
You really have to be sure you know what you’re doing to launch a €11 global campaign, releasing billboards, and advertising across 11 of your most strategic international markets, all in your native Spanish language, using nothing but esoteric illustrations, with paint made from the wines you make and a left field tagline ‘Saber quién eres’. But that’s what Rioja is doing, and the signs are it’s going to work.
And then there were three…well there will be if the competition authorities wave through Sainsbury’s proposed £13 billion deal to acquire chief rival Asda creating the biggest UK supermarket business with some 31% total market share. Big figures also mean big ramifications, so what would this deal mean for the rest of not just the grocery sector, but wider retail sector and UK on-trade and the brands, distributors and producers that supply it.
In the first part of our on-trade analysis we looked at the market dynamics that are dictating the way drinks and wine suppliers are having to behave in order to provide the right kinds of wines to their varied mix of customers. Here in our second part Helen Arnold assesses the countries, the regions and the grape varieties that are earning their place on wine lists and what they need to be doing to ensure they stay there next year.
It’s said success in business is all about timing. Having the right concept and offer at the right time. Well if that is the case then the one sector where you would not be looking to start a new company is in the UK restaurant and bar business. At least not with headlines of “restau-pocalypse” causing havoc across the high street. But for all the clear economic, cost and consumer issues facing the on-trade, there are still huge opportunities for those that can get their business models right according to leading industry figures.
The second in our new Friday series, Dinner and a Movie, sets us all up for the weekend with a behind the scenes look at the importance food and drink played in the making of The Godfather trilogy. Wherever you look, the biggest scenes in these cinematic masterpieces are being played out across dining tables, in restaurants, kitchens and bars – the backdrop for many a family drama. Especially those in the Mafia.
Some of the most ambitious, important and challenging work into the rescue, and re-emergence of old, traditional, indigenous grape varieties is being done by the world’s largest wine producers. Not only do they have the resources to do so, but they also have the land, the vineyards and the history to be able to go back in time to re-plant vines for the future. One such producer is Torres which for the last 30 years has been looking to revive ancestral varieties dating back to pre-phylloxera of the late 19th century.