It’s been a tumultuous few years for wine consultant and event organiser Pancho Campo. In 2012 he felt forced to resign his MW after what turned out to be unfounded allegations about his code of conduct. Nearly seven years on he is about to host his second major global summit on climate change having bounced back in some style with an event last year that had President Barack Obama as its keynote speaker. This year the focus is all about wine in what is a return to the issue that he first championed with a series of climate change events in the late 2000s. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about those darker days and how he has brushed himself down and now hopes to play his part in making a real difference in how the wine industry tackles climate change by signing up to the Porto Protocol.
Piedmont is time and again one of the key wine regions that sommeliers are turning to for some of the most dynamic wines coming out of Italy. It is a reputation that the relatively new Réva winery in Langhe is certainly playing its part to live up to. Here winemaker, Giana Luca Colombo, shares his passion for what it is trying to do and why its Nebbiolo wines are so important to help build its own identity.
Sicily’s Mount Etna completely dominates the island’s skyline and its wines are increasingly having a similar impact, with its indigenous varieties winning acclaim around the world for their unique volcanic character. Christina Rasmussen meets passionate local producer Filippo Mangione and gets the chance to taste his ‘Ayunta’ range and find out how he creates fine, artisanal, vibrant wines on the slopes of an active volcano.
The Roundhouse has seen its fair share of talent from the edgier side of life. As one of London’s most iconic and popular live venues for bands from the more alternative side of the music scene, it also proved to be the ideal setting for Boutinot’s latest portfolio tasting that was very much focused on what it is doing to shake up its own range and offer more left field wine solutions for its broad church of on-trade customers. As Harry Crowther discovered…
Nebbiolo has been an integral part of the history of the Piemonte region in north west Italy ever since the Romans were picking the grapes. As part of our countdown to the second Nebbiolo Day tasting taking place in London on March 5 we talk to one of the producers taking part, Paolo Rovellotti, whose family have been making wines in the region for over 400 years. He explains why Nebbiolo is very much part of his and the region’s DNA.
When it comes to Hungarian wine February is all about celebrating Furmint and Wines of Hungary’s Furmint February promotion as the flag bearer for the country’s wine and, in particular, its journey into the UK market. But there are clearly so many more wine styles and varieties to discover. Here we talk to Hungary’s award winning and champion sommelier Szik Matyás about why he thinks Hungarian wines can be such a success on wine lists across the premium on-trade.
The beauty of working in such a unique restaurant as China Tang is that it attracts everyone from A list film stars, political leaders, the Royal family, through to loyal guests of the Dorchester Hotel above it. Which, in turn, gives head of wine Igor Sotric such an open playing field on which to source and sell interesting wines from all over the world. Here he explains what wines sell best and why iconic producers such as California’s Orin Swift are as much in demand as the classic names from Bordeaux and Burgundy.
There is so much talk and excitement amongst wine buyers, sommeliers and cutting edge importers about emerging wine regions and countries. But which ones are really suitable for the cut throat UK market? Ahead of tasting of Japanese wines in Bristol later this month, wine consultant, Sarah Abbott MW, explains the assessment process she goes through to work out how well placed a particular country is to work with and why she thinks Japanese wines and their producers are more than ready to make their mark in the UK and other key export markets around the world.
Last month we were able to take an in-depth look at just how seriously Bibendum PLB takes training, learning and development within the group, not only for its own staff, but particularly when offering added value services to its customers. Here we take a look on the other side of the fence and talk to Johanna Wimmer, head of training and development at The Ivy Collection, about the challenges it faces in training its own staff and how it works closely with Bibendum to offer specialised drinks and wine training and education.
Ask most wine buyers what would make their lives easier and somewhere near the top of their wish list would be able to work with fewer suppliers who could meet more of their needs. Which is very much what Famille Helfrich, the independent merchant and on-trade division of the Les Grands Chais de France group, wants to offer. It’s a message that Chris Davies and his team will be getting across to restaurant buyers, sommeliers and wine merchants at the company’s first standalone trade tasting later this month. Here he explains what else is going on at the group, including more wines from around the world and an exclusive new on-trade wine range from Calvet.
As we look ahead to next month’s second Nebbiolo Day tasting The Buyer will be profiling and talking to some of the key producers taking part in the event to find out how they are each working with this key grape variety that is attracting such interest around the world. We start with Franco Massolino, who with his Massolino Vigna Rionda wines is the fourth generation winemaker to make wines in the estate.
When Kim Wilson and Joy Edmondson left their established roles at one of the country’s leading wine importers they hoped to make their own mark on the UK wine industry. They did not expect that five years later they would already by shipping 1 million 9 litre cases and with a expected turnover this year of £18m. The Buyer talks to co-founders, Kim Wilson and Joy Edmondson, about how they are looking to bring producers and customers together with their multi-channel distribution strategy.
If the drinks sector really is the people industry that everyone says it is then Enotria&Coe has been on the front foot over the last 18 months on a major recruitment drive to attract and bring in some of the best talent there is, particularly at sales, buying and now senior management level. Last autumn it hired two new managing directors for its on-trade division, Ant Rixon and Sam Thackeray, poached from arch competitor Bibendum. In the first of a two part interview Richard Siddle caught up with them to assess just what they have in-store for the company and its customers.
Paris might not be famous for producing any wines of its own, but it has always been a magnet for wine lovers all over the world looking to experience the best French wine in some of the most iconic and romantic brasseries, bars and restaurants in the world. It’s appropriate, therefore, it should have a major wine fair of its own. Building on the success of last year’s VinoVision is February’s inaugural Wine Paris event. Show organiser Pascale Ferranti explains what international buyers can expect.
Lee Evans and Condor Wines sees the wine industry very differently from everyone else. Rather than worry about what is happening with producers and wine styles in all areas of the world he only has eyes for South America. But his dedicated focus is paying off with a wine import and distribution business that is bringing new, niche, interesting and independent wine producers to the premium on-trade.
After the success of the inaugural Nebbiolo Day in 2018, it’s back in 2019 with a bigger tasting and focus on these ever intriguing and popular styles of Italian wine that are the beating heart of the Barolos and Barbarescos so loved by buyers and sommeliers alike. Who better to explain what is in store for this year’s event, and to give his own personal take on why he thinks Nebbiolo deserves such focused attention, than Italian wine specialist and founder of Nebbiolo Day, Walter Speller.
2018 was an incredibly busy year for Ben Walgate, winemaker and co-founder of Tillingham. They launched their first wines onto the UK market, planted 10,000 vines by hand at their farm in Peasmarsh near Rye in East Sussex (the fruits of which will see the light of day in 2021), took part in the biggest and best harvest probably in UK history, and began work on converting the farm outbuildings into a fully functioning winery, rooms, restaurant and shop (amongst other things). Here Doug Wregg from its UK distributor, Les Caves de Pyrene, reports from his latest visit to the winery.
The whole movement towards premium Prosecco got a shot in the arm three years ago when Canevel Spumanti sold 60% of the company to Valpolicella giants Masi Agricola. The joint venture is a smart commercial move in that it enables useful synergies for both parties but it has also led to an impressive array of innovative production techniques from two companies that are renowned for making quality wines with maximum respect for the land the grapes come from. With the release of three of Canevel’s wines into the market three months ago, Peter Dean caught up with Carlo Caramel, chief executive of Canevel, and Andrea Dal Cin, technical director and winemaker of Masi, to find out what’s happening in the hills of Valdobbiadene and how the JV is faring now it’s had time to bed down.
As one of the country’s oldest and most influential wine wholesalers, Davy’s Wine Merchants is very well placed to plot a route for the rest of the industry for the year ahead. Ahead of its annual portfolio tasting next month, operations and purchasing director, Andrew Chudley not only looks at what buyers can expect to taste from its range, including
a number of new producers, but also looks at the opportunities and challenges the on-trade faces in the year ahead and the role suppliers and wholesalers have in addressing them.
The news yesterday that Gerard Basset had died after his short illness with cancer was met with great sadness, but also an outpouring of admiration, memories and tributes to one of the most respected, influential and clearly loved wine figures in the world. He was also one of the most decorated and unique in being able to have MW, MS, MBA and even an OBE after his name. Here, in our own personal tribute to Gerard, we share the interview we did with him in the late summer of 2017 that at the time marked 10 years since he and his wife, Nina, opened Hotel TerraVina. We also looked back over such a memorable life that touched and influenced so many people. Here’s to you Gerard…You’ll Never Walk Alone.