When the organic wine fair Millésime Bio started 25 years ago there were 10 exhibitors and a dog. In 2018 the fair had over 1000 exhibitors, filling three giant hangar-like halls of Montpellier’s Expo Park. Mike Turner talked to the fair’s creator Jacques Frelin about why he started Millésime Bio in the first place, and talked to a number of exhibitors about what made them take the plunge and started turning their winery into an organic one.
Anyone lucky enough to have seen the latest West End version of Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet’s cutting portrayal of US real estate salesman down on their luck, would have had so many memorable lines washing around their head. Like the most important sales skill they need to have: the ABC. “Always Be Closing!” But to do so you need to know exactly what you are negotiating for and why. New regular columnist, Alistair Morrell, gives his take on what are the most important negotiating skills you need to get the best deal for yourself, but most of all your company.
Now we might have been fortunate enough to taste the finest wines in all their glory at a select wine masterclass or tasting, all fitted out with tasting sheets, spittoons and sommeliers on hand to pour the next offering. But there is an alternative way of drinking wine that is just as memorable. That’s drinking wine out of a bottle going between winery visits on a study tour in a far away land. Here Canadian wine buyer, Brad Royale, introduces the concept of “Bus Wines” which is essentially drinking on the move….
Over the years wine generic bodies and regional groups have tried every which way and the other to try and promote their wines, growers and producers to the biggest voices in the trade in the hope they will spread the word to their customers – the actual consumer. New Zealand is faced with the same task, but as Chris Yorke, its global marketing director explains, it finds trying to convert key wine buyers, sommeliers and merchants on a personal basis, ideally by taking them to the country itself, is the best way to create life-long ambassadors for your wines.
The Wine Show, which is currently running weekly on Channel 5, is proving to be a bit of a Marmite programme amongst the chatterati of the wine trade. Some love its “wine for all the people” approach and the fact there is an hour dedicated to wine on prime time TV. Others feel its’s an opportunity lost and is as much a travel show as a chance to explore the world of wine. But that’s the point, argues Joe Fattorini, the main wine presenter on the show. This is wine TV made for the masses, the average folk out there who like wine, but are not infatuated or obsessed by it. The skill is to create an entertaining programme in its own right, that might help people enjoy their glass of wine a little more.
It’s one thing being described as an A-list wine buyer, it’s quite another to be invited to Australia for an all expenses paid trip to go on what has been billed as one of the most unique and exciting wine visits ever held to the country. At least that’s how Tim Wildman MW, founder of the James Busby Travel tours to Australia, is describing the “Beyond Busby” tour organised with funding and support of Wine Australia. He explains what’s in store for the lucky line up of top international buyers.
Has a non-alcoholic drinks brand made more of a stir or an impact on the traditional drinks industry than Seedlip, famously the first non-alcoholic spirit? What started out as the ultimate in craft products, developed and created by Ben Branson, using herbal remedies and distillation techniques that date back to the mid-16th century, it has now become very much part of the mainstream following its tie-up with Diageo and news a whole raft of Seedlip non-alcohol products are to be developed. But is it any good? Former drinks inventor, David Gluckman, bought himself two bottles and tested them on both himself and his friends. To say he was disappointed is a bit of an understatement.
“You think I’m funny? Funny how?” That famous exchange between two gangsters in Goodfellas must have been going through Joe Fattorini’s mind as he was thrown into the deep end and asked to perform a turn as a stand-up comedian whilst filming for the new series of The Wine Show (Friday nights, Channel 5, 7pm). His biggest concern was that he could only make jokes about wine, which proved even harder than you might think…
The very best red wines from 2016 are on a par with the 2015s claims Adam Bruntlett, Burgundy Buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd while the whites are fresher and have a more classic feel than the richer 2015 counterparts. But with quantities of Burgundy 2016 so low, now is the time to be looking at lesser-known villages within Burgundy and other areas such as Beaujolais where interesting developments are taking place.
Last week PR guru, Nicky Forrest, who heads up Phipps PR, shared her memories of how she and her team decided to insure the taste buds of the then head wine buyer of the Somerfield supermarket chain, Angela Mount, to try and create good publicity leading up to the Christmas of 2003. Today it’s the turn of Angela Mount to give her side of the story and how it was a PR campaign that she still lives with today.