With less than four weeks to go before the UK is supposed to be leaving the EU on March 29 we still don’t know what is going to happen. The only good news is that we should at least know where we do stand by March 14 as a series of MPs votes in the House of Commons next week will determine whether we accept the Prime Minister’s proposed EU deal, accept leaving on a no deal, or ask the EU for an extension to the leave date. Here we set out what a no deal Brexit will mean – and cost – in terms of importing wine from the EU.
Private label, own label, retailer exclusive, store brands, proprietary lines – such has been the explosion in the number of products that are now sold without any brand influence at all that there are so many different ways of describing what is essentially a way for a retailer, restaurant group, or pub chain to put their own name on a product and convince their customers to buy it because they like all the other services it provides. But how do you create a winning private label line? Next month’s IBWSS event in London, dedicated to private and bulk wine, will offer some of the answers, but in the meantime Richard Siddle picks out what he sees as being the Top 5 things to consider.
If you only had a couple of days to get your head round Australian wine then you could do worse than head to the Barossa Valley. For it really does have something for everyone. It’s home to the country’s most famous wine brands like Jacobs Creek and Wolf Blass – or its most iconic like Penfolds Grange. It also has some, it not the oldest, vines in the world…and that’s before you get the chance to discover all the new ‘cool cat’ varieties from around the world that are giving its winemakers a whole new set of tools to play with. There was certainly enough to fill Richard Siddle’s notebook…
If you are in the business of buying and selling wine then going to international trade shows is very much part of your job. That does not mean we can’t moan about it and let’s face it we do however beautiful or enchanting the city we might be in. So it was a very welcome surprise to go to Wine Paris last week and be met with almost universal approval for this inaugural show which is effectively France – and a few other European power houses – under one roof, with the hope of attracting other countries from the New World once word of the show, where the focus was very much on tasting, discovery and doing business, spreads. Oh and it’s also in Paris. That helps – a lot.
Ask the average sommelier, restaurant or bar group to list the wines they are selling the most of then time and again it is the lighter, fresher, easy drinking approachable red and white wines from Italy that are being increasingly asked for by their customers. So it should really come as no surprise that for the first time ever Italy – officially – has more listings on UK restaurant wine lists than France. At least according to new research released by Sydney-based on-trade specialists, Wine Business Solutions. Helen Arnold caught up with its principal Peter McAtamney to find out why Italy is enjoying such success, which styles of Italian wines are finding more room on wine lists and what it has meant for the wines from France, and other leading countries, that have lost their way in the UK on-trade as a result.
New York is often cited as one of the most exciting and dynamic markets for wines with producers the world over hoping to get their wines noticed by the city’s legion of hip sommeliers. But it is a lot less known for the wines made in New York State and it has only been recently that New York’s top restaurants have woken up to what they have on their door step and started listing them. Which makes them potentially very interesting to sommeliers and buyers in the UK looking to catch the next wave of interesting wines from the US, some of whom were able to find out for themselves in The Buyer’s latest trade debate.
With so much uncertainty surrounding future wine buying and sourcing there is even more pressure on buyers to pin down their wine supply for the rest of 2019, which is why bulk wine deals and an on-going move over to private label are two of the main driving forces within the UK and global wine industry. All of which will be top of the agenda at the second International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show being held in London in March. Here’s what you can expect…
As Enotria&Coe unveils its new portfolio for the year ahead at its annual showcase tasting today, we take a closer look at what the company is doing to help drive its already impressive spirits range in the second half of our interview with the business’s two new managing directors for the on-trade, Ants Rixon and Sam Thackeray. They also look at how it is preparing for Brexit and the work being done to keep on top of new wine and spirits trends for the year ahead.
The Australian wine market may not be quite as hot as the incessant summer the country is currently suffering from, but it is in a far better place than it was five years ago when all the indicators and rates of growth were all heading in the wrong direction. But thanks to a sector changing free trade agreement signed with China and an industry-wide wake-up call that it needed to stop flooding the market with cheap wine and turn up the dial on its premium wines then it goes into another Ashes year in a very different place to where it was even four years ago.
Sorry to labour the point but tomorrow the UK wine industry will wake up having to deal with yet another duty rise. It might have been a while since the last increase due to the change in when the Budget is held, but the increase could not come at a worse time as buyers, importers and the drinks and hospitality industries gird themselves for whatever Brexit we end up having. Here Bordeaux wine producer Gavin Quinney of Chateau Bauduc has crunched the numbers not only of this duty rise, but at the wider tax implications across Europe to produce this invaluable guide to what this duty hike really means and the vital messages we should be telling our customers about why it makes sense for them to spend a little more to get a much more value for money and quality wine.
One of the keynote talks at last year’s first IBWSS London event saw Morrisons’ Clive Donaldson set out quite clearly how the major multiples now think private label and exclusive brands first when they come to deciding what wines to list. They give them the opportunity to be different and offer something new to their customers. It’s why the growth and importance of private label, and the bulk wine that supplies it, will be a key feature of the second IBWSS London event in March, as Helen Arnold explains.
Even for a wine region that is as relatively small as Spain’s Ribera del Duero it’s important to taste as many wines as possible if you are going to truly understand, experience and enjoy its enormous diversity, says wine writer and critic, Tim Atkin MW. To help do just that, but also debate and share what leading UK buyers think of Ribera del Duero, The Buyer teamed up with the region’s generic body, a panel of top wine merchants and Atkin himself to see what opportunities there are in the burgeoning independent retail and wholesale sector.
It’s quite understandable that the UK drinks, restaurant and retail sectors are consumed every waking hour by Brexit and what it could mean for how everyone involved in those sectors can do business come March 30, 2019. Imagine what it must be like for those looking in around the world who must be finding it even harder to remain patient with the UK when you have other fish to fry in far more reliable and profitable international markets. But they would be wise to watch closely for whatever eventually happens with Brexit will have a knock-on effect with how they can trade around the world, particularly for those outside the EU, explains Richard Siddle.
When Australia’s annual tasting falls towards the back end of January you know it’s time to stop hankering back to the festive break and what happened in 2018, but get yourself focused on the challenges and opportunities for the year ahead. For we all have to take Australia seriously and give it our fullest attention. It’s still the number one wine country that supermarket shoppers turn to in their droves. It’s position in the premium on-trade is less advanced, but it’ll be those wines that will be on show this week looking to demonstrate what Australia can do at all price levels and step points in quality.
It’s one thing being one of Australia’s oldest wine producing regions, with vines first planted there in the 1830’s, what makes the McLaren Vale such an important and increasingly influential winemaking area are the styles of wine it is able to make thanks to the combination of millions of years old soils and terroir, and the cooling, refreshing and maritime influence of the sea. It’s an area where Grenache is now making a claim for being the region’s most distinctive wine variety as well as being a test bed for alternative Mediterranean grapes from the likes of Italy and Greece, as Richard Siddle discovered on his recent Australian tour.
With already arguably too many wine events, conferences and exhibitions taking place in the world, hats off to the organisers of next month’s Wine Paris that in itself might be a new name, but is actually bringing two already established and respected trade fairs into one – Vinisud, that celebrates Mediterranean wine, and VinoVision, the international cool climate wines exhibition. Here we take a closer look at just what is in store at Wine Paris which is taking place between February 11-13.
Let’s face it we all have a cupboard, or a drawer in our office, that is full of old training manuals from some management course we have been on in our time. But how often have you ever opened it since coming back from that course? It’s a challenge that faces the training team at Bibendum PLB every week, but as they explain designing and delivering an effective training programme requires as much thought and planning as might go into creating a wine list and then selling it to your customers.
After a week where the wine trade’s focus has been just over the other side of the Channel in Burgundy, this week it’s time to turn our attentions a little further afield. To New Zealand and the first of the major New World generic tastings of the year. To help mark your card for what you can expect and what sort of year New Zealand had in 2018, here’s Chris Stroud, New Zealand Winegrowers’ marketing manager for Europe, to take you though next week’s tasting at a time when the county is taking a long hard look at how it is preparing itself for the future.
Now if you were given the choice of only being able to visit one winemaking region in Australia how many of you would opt for Canberra? It’s hard enough to get people to go and see what is after all the capital city of the country, never mind its wine producers. But those that do will be in for a very welcome surprise. Not only is Canberra producing some of the country’s most exciting wines, but winemakers are queuing up to go and make wine there. Richard Siddle reports back on his recent visit there.
We have all probably heard enough of our politicians talking about “taking back control” of our decision making power and factors that determine our economic futures. But when it comes to business, having complete control of all aspects of your supply chain and cost base is vitally important. As we sleepwalk towards Brexit, that need is going to be even more paramount. This March’s International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show hopes to provide the platform for the industry to come together and address both the challenges and opportunities ahead.