The Cape Wine Auction is the third major South African auction to be held by the wine industry and it is carving out a niche for itself as being the most philanthropic. This year, only its fourth, the auction raised R22.3m and 100% of the money is given to needy causes. The Buyer was there and talked to the auction’s creator, Mike Ratcliffe about his vision, how it works, past successes and hopes for the future.
Plaimont Producteurs has just hosted the annual blending of their flagship cuvée, Le Faîte, with guest blenders Olly Smith, wine writer, columnist and TV presenter and Serge Dubs, world’s best sommelier 1989 and head sommelier of l’Auberge de l’Ill (three Michelin stars for the past 50 years). Giles James, of Noble Inns, accompanied the group from the UK on-trade side.
Davy’s Wine Merchants are now the oldest family merchants with both their own shops and bars in London. Dating all the way back to 1870. But for James Davy, who is guiding the business through its fifth generation, that is very much in the past, his drive and ambition for the business is to make it viable and exciting and different for what it is going to achieve rather than rest on any laurels.
Hawksmoor has arguably done more than any other restaurant group in the last 10 years to change the face of the London dining scene with its premium steak restaurant chain. It is soon to put the Hawksmoor concept under its most fiercest test by opening up a restaurant in New York. We talk to co-founder, Will Beckett, about what he thinks has helped Hawksmoor succeed where many others have failed.
The wine trade is full of characters, but none more so than Ted Sandbach, the driving force behind his own Oxford Wine Company business. As it celebrates its 25th anniversary we paid him a visit and found him in a typically upbeat, controversial yet enthusiastic mood. Not surprising with a successful retail, wine bar and wholesale business to run.
A Movember tasting was the perfect opportunity for The Buyer to catch up with Greg Andrews, who has turned his wine bar Cellar SW4 and independent shop D Vine Cellars, into a treasure trove of small production, artisanal wines that are sustainable, organic or biodynamic. But how does he manage the operation of on-trade with off trade and what are his inspirations?
Hot, spicy Indian food is notoriously hard to match and enjoy with wine. Which is a bit of a challenge for Valentin Radosav, head sommelier at Michelin starred Gymkhana and this year’s Sud de France Sommelier of the Year. He talks to The Buyer about how he finds wines to match with every dish, and why Sud de France wines do particularly well
One of Paul Robinson’s biggest decisions when taking on responsibility for wine at his family’s brewery business was choosing the right wine buyer. With Noel Reid they have together helped transform not only the company’s wine offer for its own pub estate, but proved to be a benchmark for quality and value wine buying anywhere in the UK.
In Paris Les 110 de Taillevent has the city to itself when it comes to being a fine dining restaurant specialising in wines by the glass. In London. It is just one of many. But its unique approach of offering a choice of 110 wines by the glass means it is in a field of its own.
The Abbey Hotel in Bath has been a landmark for generations. But with its Allium restaurant and commitment to fine dining and wine it is starting to gain a reputation as a destination way beyond finding a smart room for the night. We talk to the management team behind putting The Abbey on the map.