The UK regained some of its independence on Saturday, July 4, as bars and restaurants re-opened but how is it going in Italy? Italy eased out of Lockdown seven weeks ago and is now slowly counting the cost of the pandemic. The drop in restaurant turnover this year is €34 billion, and Italy’s wine tourism business worth €2.4 billion has been severely hit. Just as tourists start returning and many businesses put a brave face on proceedings, Italian food and wine expert Michèle Shah talks to producers in Lombardy, Tuscany, Sardinia, Veneto and Sicily to find out what the ‘new normal’ means to them.
Ben Riccardi was born and raised in the Finger Lakes, the heartland of winemaking in New York State. Whilst he is quickly making his own name for himself in the state as a cutting edge winemaker, producing low intervention, terroir-driven wines, it’s his experiences travelling the world in working with prestigious winemakers in France (Domaine Blancardy), New Zealand (Craggy Range and Muddy Water) and Sonoma County (Williams-Selyem) that has helped shape the winemaker he has now become.
Running a business through Lockdown is hard enough in the UK but how does it work if you are an Englishman running a large wine business in France? Tim Ford, managing director of Languedoc estate Domaine Gayda explains how he has handled télétravail (working from home) and Chômage Partiel (furlough), keeping his export markets open and working on the new harvest. And also how impressive and fast the help has been from the French government.
The news today that Sogevinus has acquired historic estate Quinta da Boavista from Lima Smith further strengthens its position on still Duoro wines and exports. The wine group has long had a strategic focus on still wines – arguing for Portuguese wine producers to market with an united front and around a single grape – and the Boavista deal follows a long line of interesting acquisitions and product launches. Justin Keay spoke to Sogevinus CEO Sergio Marly Cominal and the rest of the team about what the plans are post-Covid.
The combination of strong winds coming in off the ocean, with quality soils helps the Wölffer Estate Vineyard produce its signature, balanced, elegant, and age-worthy wines – with a particular focus on making premium rosés. As we continue our series profiling leading New York State wineries we talk to Roman Roth, winemaker at the estate, about being able to make food-friendly, accessible wines that also have the ability to age and improve with time.
Today Pol Roger Ltd celebrates 30 years of trading in the UK as primarily a business to promote, distribute and sell the famous Champagne house, but over the years it has also built itself up to be a highly respected agency representing premium, family, independent producers from across the world. It had hoped to pop some bottles of Pol Roger in much better times, but, as managing director, James Simpson MW, explains, it’s also about raising a glass to all the customers it serves and hopes to be working with for many years to come.
It was a belief in British still wine and the potential of the variety Bacchus within that which spurred Tom Denning on during his MSc in Viticulture & Oenology at Plumpton College. In order to assist winemakers in really poor years, and also to help winemakers produce wines with a lower ABV, Denning investigated whether the addition of an enzyme to juice pre-inoculation can increase the volatile thiol aromatic profile of early harvested Bacchus.
Australia’s wine-producing regions may be spread across an area larger than Europe, but some common themes still emerged from the winemakers who took part in industry body Wine Australia’s maiden international webinar. Winemakers at Vasse Felix, Yalumba and Yarra Yering explain how lower yields were the story of the day, leading to more gentle winemaking techniques and the use of less new oak, as Peter Ranscombe reports.
Italy has re-opened its borders and permitted travel after a restrictive lockdown. So what has it meant for Italian wineries across the country – how have they coped and what hopes and prospects do they have as the country enters Phase Two of battling the pandemic? Sommelier Mattia Scarpazza talks to six winemakers from Principiano, Piero Busso, Adami Spumanti, Tenuta La Torretta, Gianni Masciarelli and Tenuta di Fessina to see where the greatest challenges lie and what they will be doing differently going forwards.
You can’t get much more of a New York State producer than Red Hook Winery. It’s situated in the heart of Brooklyn, across the bay from Statue of Liberty, and buys in grapes from every region in the state capable of growing them. It then has three experienced winemakers to craft their styles of wine from a wide range of white and red grape varietals that are true to the plots of land where they came from. Here owner, Mark Snyder, explains what New York wines mean to him.
It says a lot about the ascending status of Château Lafleur that to date it is the only Bordeaux château to release 2019 en primeur wines at the same price as 2018. So why is it the exception to the rule? With the release of the six new wines of Lafleur and sister estate Grand Village, winemaker Omri Ram takes time out to discuss the turning point of the Pomerol estate’s 3-terroir Grand Vin project, how to make a great white wine on the Right Bank, why droughts make for top vintages, the inside track on Bordeaux 2019 and how Lafleur, Cheval Blanc and Ausone are the only three estates with ‘the magic ingredient’ that makes the finest Pomerol.
The wines of Pouilly and Fuissé have long been recognised as “first class,” in fact at the start of the Nineteenth Century scholars put the wines on a par with other great wine regions like Meursault and Montrachet. But the Mâconnais is still the only region in Burgundy that does not have vineyard hierarchy. Before lockdown LM Archer travelled to the region to find out how the thirteen-year application for Premier Cru status was progressing for a number of climats, a process that has been temporarily closed down because of the virus.
All over Europe wineries are slowly coming out of lockdown, relieved they can finally start getting back to some sort of normal business, but with the reality of having thousands of litres of wine sitting in tanks to sell. Like Pier Sfriso and Reka Haros of the Sfriso Winery in Treviso, northern Italy. They, though, have come up with a novel way of making the most of a bad situation by starting a competition, open to all designers, to help create a new wine label from scratch for up to 6,000 bottles of unsold Prosecco. Here’s what they have in mind…
This Finger Lakes winery has been recognised for the last nine years as one of the world’s Top 100 Estates by Wine & Spirits Magazine; Wine Spectator listed the winery on the top 100 Wines in the world in 2010; and critics and connoisseurs such as Robert Parker and Eric Asimov, consistently mention Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard as the top Riesling producer in the US. Here Jennifer Menges, director of operations for Hermann J Wiemer Vineyard and Standing Stone Vineyards looks at the reasons behind its on-going success and why it’s still keen to grow its exports in our on-going series profiling different New York producers.
We might not be able to travel to Sonoma County at the moment, but that does not mean you can’t access some of the most exclusive wines available in the county. For the first time the annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction is going online this year to allow wine buyers to bid from anywhere in the world for never to be seen again wines from the region’s top producers. The auction takes place between June 16 to June 18 and the chance to bid for “Never Before, Never Again”. Here’s how it’s going to work…
With little to celebrate in the world right now and the on-trade dormant, sales of Champagne have been dealt a bitter blow. But, in some arenas, sales of prestige and vintage Champagne are witnessing sales at near-Christmas time levels. Sara Underdown looks at the ‘new normal’ of E-sales and virtual Champagne tastings, talks to growers, importers, and associations – plus the likes of The Finest Bubble and Tyson Stelzer who are finding successful new business models that are generated healthy sales.
The global pandemic COVID-19 has changed life for all of us, of course, but for Anne Malassagne and her brother Antoine, owners of AR Lenoble, it has been doubly galling because 2020 is the year they were going to celebrate the Champagne house’s centenary. Here, in an in-depth and colourful piece, Christian Holthausen retraces the family history through 100 years of hardship, puts COVID-19 into a global and historical perspective and brings us bang up to date with the last 25 years during which Anne and Antoine set out a gameplan on how to remain independent and ensure at least another century of great Champagne while many houses around them were selling up.
As we all come together today to celebrate South African wine and the #SpectacularSouthAfrica initiative organised by Wines of South Africa, it is also timely to reflect on the scale of the impact the country’s lockdown, to try and contain the spread of Covid-19, is having on its wine industry. Here Judy Bakker, general and financial manager at Bouchard Finlayson, one of the country’s most historic estates, assesses the steps it has taken to adapt to life during Covid-19.
May 13 was unlucky for some English winemakers. That was the stark reality of a late frost last week that saw 25 vineyards suffer frost damage across 90-100% of its vines. The effect of the frost was also seemingly arbitrary – Breaky Bottom which is close to the sea in Sussex had almost total damage, while Rathfinny which is also close had none. Our ‘retired’ Michelin Star restaurateur Roger Jones reports back from Harrow & Hope, Flint Vineyard and Ambriel to see how it affected them and also to see how they prepare themselves for the worst.
Craft beer drinkers have had it their own way for too long. That’s the view of drinks industry veteran Karen Hardwick who believes that the moment in time for quality wine in a can has finally arrived. Zeitgeist Ünion – or ZÜ for short – is her company and its debut wine is Grüner Veltliner, a wine that is loved by Anne Krebiehl MW, who caught up with Hardwick to find out more about ZÜ and how the project came about and why we will all be drinking wine from a can in the not too distant future.