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    Opinion

    Key influencers from inside and outside the trade

    Opinion
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    CA Grands Crus’ Thierry Budin: why quality has a cost in Burgundy

    Hot on the heels of this year’s record-breaking Hospices de Beaune auction, Victor Smart travels to Burgundy to find out how upwards spiralling prices are affecting winemakers who are not one of the ‘blue chip’ producers. Thierry Budin, managing director of CA Grands Crus shows Victor around one of its properties Château de Santenay and explains what they are doing to keep abreast of changes in Burgundy.

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    Opinion
    Nik Darlington and Charles Zotto at Wine Australia's tasting in January

    Nik Darlington: how Australia could be the long term saviour for Prosecco

    It’s not just Italy that has a claim over Prosecco, but it has also quietly been made by a growing number of producers in Australia. But now those Prosecco growers are under threat as Italian authorities could use their ongoing naming dispute as a bargaining chip in the EU’s free trade negotiations with Australia. Here Nik Darlington, of Red Squirrel Wine, makes the case that Aussie Prosecco can be a healthy partner to the Italian original – and how it could even be its saviour.

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    Opinion
    Barnier

    Why Jadot winemaker Frédéric Barnier doesn’t rock the boat

    Mike Turner attends a masterclass on Clos Vougeot through the years and discovers how head winemaker Frédéric Barnier steers the mighty helm of Louis Jadot, having taken over the reins from the legendary Jacques Lardière with a clear brief on maintaining the status quo. Most people would have got stuck into the 1979 and 1969 vintages, not our Mike who starts waxing lyrical about Beatles albums and such like. As is his wont.

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    Opinion
    There are winemakers and then there are what you might call soil makers like consultants Claude and Lydia Bourguignon

    Jane Anson on why quality wine owes a lot to earthworms

    Next time you have the chance to look around a top quality winery, then spend less time in the cellars, but ask to go and see the wormery, if they have one, for, according to Jane Anson, it is the quality and volume of a vineyard’s earthworms that can really make the difference in helping to have the right soils to make quality wine as she explains in this award winning article in the Born Digital Wine Awards.

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    Opinion
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    Keith Webb: MUP will be first of other revenue raisers

    The issue of a minimum unit of pricing of alcohol has been hovering over the UK drinks industry for almost the last decade, but is to become reality now that Scotland has the legal power to introduce it. Former Bargain Booze managing director, Keith Webb, who has long lobbied the government on how alcohol revenues and duty fraud can be managed better, assesses the likely impact of MPU and how wine in particular will be at the centre of alternative moves by the Treasury to raise income from alcohol other than through straight duty.

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    Opinion
    More US states are legalising the sale of cannabis and threatening sales of alcohol at the same time

    Bruce Jack: not climate change, dude…it’s all about the grass

    “Forget climate change, dude, this is probably the biggest threat to the wine industry.” Well, it is according to leading South African winemaker, Bruce Jack. In the second in his monthly series, The Bruce Juice, Jack examines the impact the continued legalised sale of cannabis in more American states, and potentially elsewhere in the world, is already having on the alcohol industry. Beer might be feeling the effects first, but wine sales, he warns, are also going to suffer.

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    Opinion
    Image licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 26/01/2017. Tesco shoot.  Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images Long Read

    Why drinks industry needs to push c-stores top of the agenda

    If you are one of those in the drinks industry that currently gives the convenience store sector a wide berth, then you need to buckle up and read on. The world of corner stores and independent grocers that for so long has been what has gone on down the other end of the high street is, thanks to deals like Tesco’s acquisition of Booker, going to become far more important and significant to an increasingly constrained drinks supply chain. Richard Siddle explains why.

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    Opinion
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    Brewdog’s founders on what makes a craft beer

    In boardrooms across the drinks industry there will be a noticeboards with the word “craft” written on them, quickly followed by a question mark. Craft beers and spirits might be all the rage, but how do you define them? Who better to ask than the founders of Brewdog, arguably the most famous craft beer brewers and now global bar operators, James Watt and Martin Dickie. In this extract from their new book they give their definition of what they think “craft” really means.

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    Opinion
    Co-op

    Mike Turner debunks the myth of the French co-operative

    Mike Turner puts in a good word for wine co-operatives – big operations that tend to get bad press. Slowly but surely the image of the big, bad, uncaring co-operative is being dispelled from Mike’s mind as he talks to grape growers that have no intention whatsoever, or the wherewithal, to make wine of their own.

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    Opinion
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    Biodnaymics debate with winemaker James Millton

    For James Millton it is one thing to look at your soils, your terroir for the inspiration of how to make wine in a particular vineyard or another. But to really create a wine that is true and in balance to the nature around it then you have to look upwards as well as downwards. Upwards to the sky and the stars and the moon and the seasons that dictate how vines, the weeds and insects that live around them all live and interact. That’s what biodynamics is all about.

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