It might be Italy’s most planted grape variety, and one that has now travelled to all parts of the world for its ability to stand up to climate change that winemakers are increasingly facing, but how well do you know and understand what true Sangiovese should taste like? It’s a question that Italian wine expert, Walter Speller, and wine consultant, Jane Hunt MW, hope to answer with their breakthrough Sangiovese RESET tasting and event in London on March 3.
In advance of Armit’s en primeur tasting on January 15th Burgundy buyer Nicolas Clerc MS explains how a range rationalisation was an important part of increasing sales of Burgundy 2017 – concentrating efforts on the producers that they think are a better fit for their customers. Wines will be positioned in the market differently according to producer, price point, scarcity, vintage quality, as well as the wider conversations Armit has with their suppliers.
When the London Wine Competition launched in 2017 it was the first global event of its kind to not just judge the wines on their quality, but also how much they cost, and what they looked like. It was soon followed by similar events to cover beers and spirits to create a full drinks awards programme. Here’s details on how to enter the separate competitions for this year and the added benefits for doing so with publicity, partnerships and coverage at major trade fairs in Europe and the US.
Bourgogne Week is now in full flow with almost 20 tastings taking place in London this week, but how well do you know what the 2018 vintage is actually like? In this season-by-season snapshot Corney & Barrow’s Burgundy buyer Guy Seddon explains why the 2018 vintage is starting to reveal itself as one where “ripeness meets precision”. It was a warm vintage for sure – just for fun, Domaine Pierre Morey made a sweet late harvest Chardonnay from its Bourgogne Blanc parcels, picked on 25th October! – but Seddon explains why the heat does not necessarily equate to it being a ‘low acidity’ year across the board.
When Wine Paris opened its doors for the first time last February there must have been a mixture of excitement and apprehension about whether launching a new major wine show was what the trade wanted. The overwhelmingly positive response means there is real momentum going into the second Wine Paris event this year, particularly on the back of the news that its owners, Comexposium, has signed a new joint venture with Vinexpo, that is also launching its first Paris show alongside Wine Paris this February, to host future events together. So what can we expect from Wine Paris second time around? Here’s managing director, Pascale Ferranti, to tell us…
Just as the last drops of bubbles were drained from a zillion bottles of Champagne on New Years Eve, our roving reporter and sparkling wine expert Roger Jones unsheathed his laptop and sent in this report on the global rise and changing face of the sparkling wine industry and which are the names we should all be keeping an eye on as we head into 2020 proper. As ambassador to the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), and founder of Sparkling Sundays (held in Cape Town and Little Bedwyn) he gets his fair share of bubbles.
For the UK wine trade, January marks not only the start of a new year, but also when all our attention turns to Bourgogne Week and the chance for buyers, merchants, sommeliers and retailers to discover and taste the latest vintage available on the market. The encouraging news is that the 2018 vintage is one of those rare beasts in Bourgogne – good in both quality and quantity – which will allow the trade and consumers to experiment more with the ‘in-between’ appellations that offer great value for money but don’t always get the attention they deserve says Anne Moreau, Co-President of the communications commission for the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB).
Business is good in Burgundy, the first nine months of 2019 saw volume and value increase by 11% and 12% respectively and the 2018 vintage has managed to replenish stocks in the region. But life is never straightforward, especially for Louis-Fabrice Latour, one of the most powerful men in Burgundy, owner of Maison Louis Latour, VP of the French wine export association and co-president of Burgundy trade body the BIVB. The 25% US tariffs are already having an impact on French still wine, there is the possibility of this increasing to 100%, Brexit is looming and the result of the 2019 crop that is the smallest since 2003, is that prices look set to rise next year by at least 20%. In a candid interview Latour tells Peter Dean that it is the uncertainty of the US tariffs that is the biggest challenge as he spins a number if plates, including the final merger of Burgundy with Beaujolais.
This March’s breakthrough One Step Beyond conference hopes to tackle the most disruptive changes taking place in technology by assessing how they are changing every day consumer behaviour and, crucially, what the drinks industry needs to be doing to both understand what this new technology is all about, but which aspects of it are the most relevant and potentially impactful on our sector. But be careful not to rush into thinking simply applying the most disruptive elements of this new ‘biztech’ into your company will be the answer to all your problems, warns Joe Fattorini. Instead, he claims, in this thought provoking analysis, that what we really need to develop are new skills for thinking about technology, trends and innovations. That will be the key to really understanding what new technology is relevant to your business needs, but most of all how to introduce it in the most effective way possible.
The New Year is understandably the time of the year when it feels right to assess your own life and look back at your achievements and what goals you have for the year ahead. But if that all sounds a bit overwhelming, why not celebrate and admire the successes of others which is very much the spirit of The Buyer’s new series: The 3 Things In Drinks I Wish I’d Been Part Of. Which is what Nicky Forrest, managing director of drinks PR agency, Phipps Relations, is happy to do here.
Following the very sad announcement today that the much loved and highly respected Hazel Murphy has died of cancer we pay tribute to the impact she had on the wine industry around the world, particularly during her time at Australian Wine Bureau in the 1990’s, when she did so much to promote and support what was then still an emerging wine country. So much so that Rosamund Barton of wine PR agency, R&R Teamwork, chose the work she did to take leading UK wine figures to Australia as the best campaign she has seen during her career in wine.
It’s certainly the time of the year – and decade – to look back on some of the key moments and changes that have taken place in our industry over the last 12 and 120 months. Which has also been our festive challenge for some key figures in the industry to pick out three things in drinks that they wish they could have had a part in. Be it making a particular wine, hosting an event, creating an advertising campaign, writing a book and so on. Next up to share his “3 Things” is Bibendum’s on-trade channel director, John Graves.
We are always looking at The Buyer for new ideas to delve into the world of wine and spirits. So how about this new feature we are introducing to add to the festive cheer. We have asked some key figures in the industry to share some – well three – of the things they most admire in drinks that they wish they had played a part in. It could be a bottle of wine, an advertising campaign, a book, a restaurant or bar. The choice is theirs. First up we turn to the ever creative Joe Fattorini. What are the three things in the drinks industry he wishes he could have been involved in?
As we head into the festive break our minds will soon to be turning to what is around the corner in 2020, but before we do there is still time to look back and reflect on the highs and lows of 2019 through the eyes of some of the sector’s top wine buyers. In the first of a series of buying reports where we ask major buyers from leading importers and distributors to assess the key trends and what impact the global wine market has had on the wines they have been able to buy and bring into the UK over the last 12 months we turn to Paul Braydon, buying controller for Australia, New Zealand and the US at Kingsland Drinks.
Appellations such as Marsannay, Fixin, Saint-Aubin, Auxey-Duresses, as well as the Côte Chalonnaise provide ever-increasing quality, with better availability than the more established appellations, says Corney & Barrow. Many more good tips in this third part of a series in which The Buyer is interviewing a number of leading fine wine merchants to get their feel on how this vital region is doing and what the 2018 has in store when the annual Bourgogne campaign comes to a head with Bourgogne Week.
The book ‘That S*it Will Never Sell’ by David Gluckman is not just for Christmas, although now is as good a time as any to buy a copy of a book that is a fascinating glimpse into the world of drinks brand invention and development – in an era when you could pretty much make up the rules as you went along. Gluckman invented, amongst other things, Baileys Irish Cream, one of the world’s most popular and enduring drinks brands. But it is also in the drinks that never won acclaim that there is so much valuable insight into what it is that makes people buy a particular brand of drink… on a regular basis.
Forget the Robert Parker-influenced over-oaked and over-ripe monsters of the 1980s and 1990s, Australia is now producing fresh reds and crisp whites to match its coastal cuisine. Its new breed of winemakers and producers that are appearing in all its major wine producing regions may have finally won wine writer and critic, Peter Ranscombe, over to the so called ‘natural wine’ category following his recent tour of the country’s cooler climates.
For the past two decades German wine has been on a roll with the country housing one of Europe’s most vibrant, creative and progressive wine industries. And yet the wines of Germany are some of the most misunderstood on the planet. In an in-depth and wide-ranging interview German wine expert Anne Krebiehl MW explains about the full trajectory of the German wine industry – early success, then doldrums, its current state of health and its direction – and why now is the right time for re-evaluation. She explains why there is currently an unprecedented density of quality production and a new generation of winemakers who are re-defining what German wine can be in the 21st century. Grape varieties have changed as have wine styles – with grace and elegance favoured over power – all the result of a new-found, more self-confident identity that was almost obliterated by two world wars and the disastrous legal framework of the 1970s.
On the face of it organic wines can do no wrong. They tick all the environmental, sustainable and health boxes that we are told that consumers are looking for. Or do they? Miles MacInnes of Jascots Wine Merchants, which is committed to listing sustainable wines, believes anyone listing organic wines needs to have a clear reason and purpose for doing so and that often it is not the environmental credentials of organics that consumers are interested in. Here he explains the background to the boom in organic wines and how to make the most out of listing them.
We all have our views about wine from the USA – but are they accurate and are they based on a wide base of research? This was the premise of a fascinating wine tasting event sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture called From Sea to Shining Sea which was a series of three ‘seminars’ themed as ‘Journey through the regions’, ‘Uncovering value’ and ‘Sustainability’ all hosted by Victoria Stephens-Clarkson MW – accompanied by tastings encompassing the top four of the USA’s wine regions. David Kermode was our man at the event and here he sets the scene and picks 10 of the 24 wines on show as wines which may well challenge your preconceptions about American wine.