The world of oligarchs and super yachts might sound a glamorous industry to serve, but it presents its own particular challenges as wine suppliers Ed and Jess Dunnett of Antibes-based Onshore Cellars discovered when they set up their own specialist business to bring wonderful wines from around the world to match the jet set lifestyles of the rich and sometimes famous.
Since 2012 life for winemakers in Turkey has become increasingly difficult with the industry unable to promote or market itself. Muslim staff can refuse to taste the wine, traditional winemaking skills are hard to find and then there is the climate and the challenges of working with indigenous grape varieties. On top of that consultant winemaker Daniel O’Connell appointed a woman as one of his senior winemakers which, in itself, posed complications with a largely older, male workforce. But, as Justin Keay discovers first hand on a recent visit, many of the wines are now world class.
Where would we be without Prosecco. As the rest of the wine category is flat or in declining sales, Prosecco continues to defy the odds recording year after year of double digit growth. Yet there are many restaurants and sommeliers who actively go out of their way not to list it. Sarah Abbott MW believes they are wrong to ignore a whole category on the basis of some cheap wines, but should, instead, embrace and delight in a category that still has so much potential.
With so many premium Champagnes to choose from how do you pick out the ones that are right for your outlet and your customer? The level of competition is only getting harder even for Champagne Gosset, the oldest Champagne house in the region that dates back to 1584, and its UK importers, Louis Latour Agencies. Here Will Oatley, Louis Latour’s UK managing director, explains the steps it is taking to keep Gosset very much front of mind with top sommeliers and its target customers.
We are well and truly into awards season with seemingly gongs being handed out for everything from wines, to global song contests, to footballers of the year. Today it’s the turn of sommeliers and the finals of the Best UK Sommelier competition organised by, who else, the UK Sommelier Association in association with Villa Sandi. Leading sommeliers from all over the country will be competing to find out who is going to walk away with the overall crown.
A good deal of the recent media headlines about South African winemaking have been reserved for the New Wave producers as well as the established names that keep delivering the goods year after year. Geoffrey Dean has been visiting the country for the past 25 years and, on a recent trip, decided to visit a large number of wineries that are still under the radar – new wineries that we haven’t yet heard about or ones that are making giant strides forwards.
The demand for and interest in independent, niche and artisan winegrowers and producers across Europe continues to rise as sommeliers, restaurateurs and specialist wine importers alike look to find something new, original and interesting for their customers. On May 16 they will have the chance to taste the wines from across 11 countries and the members of the European Confederation of Independent Winegrowers (CEVI) at what will be its first main UK tasting held in London.
How is it best to promote English and Welsh sparkling wine in a restaurant? Do you align it with champagne? Serve it as an alternative to prosecco? Are the prices seen as too high by the customer? All these questions and more are answered by Sue Jones co-owner of Michelin star restaurant The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, that has regularly won awards for its innovative and extensive wine list. In charge of the wine list and front-of-house team at The Harrow, Sue, together with husband and chef Roger, has been an early adopter of English and Welsh sparkling wine.
With the dust settling on the financial woes of Conviviality, it is back to business for both Bibendum and Matthew Clark, the latter unveiling its business goals in the on-trade cocktail market. Victor Smart witnessed the final of Stir It Up, a cocktail competition that, along with countryside workshops and an online advice portal is spearheading the company’s summer cocktail communications.
Think back five years ago and the UK wine industry is in a completely different place now to what was even then a good British success story. The big difference now is it not only has the confidence of year in year out international rave reviews for its top sparkling wines, but all the hard administrative work behind the scenes to bring all the various facets of English and UK vineyard associations together under the umbrella brand of WineGB now means, says marketing director, Julia Trustram Eve, it is ready and able to drive the UK wine industry on to a completely new level.