If you look back over the Top 10 selling wine countries in the UK over the last 10 years then Australia is like Bryan Adams of summer 1991 – always at number one. But it is one thing selling the most wine in the UK, it is quite another making any money from it, which is what made Negociants UK recent industry debate assessing Australia’s position now and in the future such an important event. Here The Buyer presents part one of our two part analysis of some of the important lessons for Australia to enjoy a more profitable future in the UK.
Over its 155-year history Martini has made a name for itself by constantly diversifying its drinks portfolio. Its vermouth helped the company become synonymous with an entire cocktail category, although since 1901 its sparkling wines – Asti Spumante and Prosecco – have been a major part of its output. Justin Keay travelled to Pessione, North Italy, to discover first hand the thinking behind the November launch of Martini Vintage Prosecco and see whether the sparkler has the chops to make it in the premium on and off-trade.
The first meeting of the Pinot Noir Alliance was an opportunity by five the world’s top winemakers to work out what Pinot Noir is, dispel some of the many myths about how and where it can be made and also try to nail down that most difficult of questions – what exactly makes a good Pinot Noir? Self-confessed Pinot junkie, Anne Krebiehl MW also found it was a great opportunity to taste a range of top Pinot.
It might only currently make up 4% of plantings in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay but Syrah is the variety that will become synonymous with the region in years to come argue two of NZ’s top winemakers John Hancock from Trinity Hill and Steve Skinner from Elephant Hill. They demonstrate the role played by soil structure, altitude and proximity to the sea in three sub-regions: Bridge Pa, Gimblett Gravels and Havelock Hills & Maraekakaho.
Next week sees the return of Wines of Argentina’s Barullo consumer and trade event and the chance to see first hand the huge changes and developments that continue to take place in the Argentine winemaking scene. But in keeping with Wines of Argentina’s reputation for groundbreaking tastings it will also include a pop-up shop, a virtual vineyard to walk through and some of the best street foot straight from Buenos Aires.
The theme of last week’s California tasting was to “Dream Big” which is certainly what Sonoma County Vintners did when it teamed up with The Buyer to take a group of leading buyers, sommeliers, wine merchants and consultants on a tour of London restaurants to showcase their different styles of wines and how their producers paired against different food styles. If only all wine tastings can be this fun, if perhaps not such a logistical challenge.
Nobody could accuse the Chinese of being unambitious. Since they have made their taste for wine felt across the globe the Chinese have started a major programme of cultivating vineyards in their own country, re-orientating middle class drinking habits and putting in place systems that they hope will ensure the wine they produce is not only best in class but is universally acclaimed as such. Victor Smart travelled to Ningxia to see first hand the scale of Chinese ambition.
Like the proverbial London bus wine tastings in September don’t just come in their ones or twos, with some days five or six events competing for our attention. So it was fascinating to see Negociants UK take a very different approach to this week’s tasting. It asked buyers from Chiltern Firehouse and Reserve Wines to select the wines from its range they would potentially stock and at what price, both on the list and by the glass, and what GP they could demand.
Last month we introduced Enolytics, the new Big Data services and insights company for the wine industry. Its mission is to help businesses make more strategic decisions based on quantitative and objective consumer data that is available to us more than ever. But how does a business actually put that information to use? Here we analyse how Enolytics has been able to work with Freixenet USA to better understand how consumers are shopping the cava category and how it can use data-driven consumer insights better in its strategy.
Go back 10 years ago and although hundreds of thousands of litres of wine were being shipped in bulk in huge containers all around the world, in an industry worth tens of millions of pounds a year, it was not a part of the sector that you would find discussed at major international conferences, or publicly at all. Now bulk wine is fundamental to the success of the global wine industry illustrated by the stellar line-up of speakers for next year’s inaugural International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in London.