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    Michael Saunders: donate a drink a month to transform Benevolent

    The Benevolent is making big strides to widen both its awareness as the drinks charity for those in the industry who fall on hard times, but also as a support association for those who have issues with their physical or mental health, championed by its award winning #notalone campaign and its new It Could Be Me initiative. But such efforts take up a lot of its resources which is why The Benevolent’s new chairman, Michael Saunders of Bibendum PLB, has made fundraising a key part of his two year tenure and, in particular, quick, practical and simple steps that everyone and anyone in the trade can do to donate small amounts, like the equivalent of a drink a month. Here he explains why.

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    Lanchester Group: our sustainability plans put us 10 years ahead

    The Lanchester Group has long been at the forefront of running its bottling, packing and wine development businesses on a strict sustainability agenda – like the wind turbines and solar panels that produce enough energy to power its site as well as supply electricity for thousands of home through the National Grid. It is now unveiling pioneering, heat pump technology, that will allow it to generate more energy by pumping flood water out of disused coal mines on its sites in the north east to power its new bottling site facilities that will double its capacity and, it believes, puts it at least 10 years ahead of its competition.

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    Tim Atkin on success of Rioja's wines

    Tim Atkin MW: Prowein Tokaj talk like being “with an old friend”

    If you are heading to Prowein next week then you might want to get yourself there on time on the last day in order to hear leading wine critic and commentator, Tim Atkin MW, revisit for the first time the subject that helped him become a Master of Wine, and his dissertation on the intricacies of Hungary’s iconic wine region, Tokaj. Here Atkin shares just what it was – and is – that has enchanted him so much over the years.

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    Andrew Shaw: what it takes to assemble Bibendum’s new range

    Bibendum and its independents division, Walker & Wodehouse, might be about to unveil its latest wine ranges to customers and buyers at a series of regional tastings this week, but the real work for what we are about to see actually started way back last summer when buying director, Andrew Shaw and his team first started going through where it needed to strengthen, adapt and extend its range in order to keep up with the latest drinking trends and demands from customers and buyers about which wines they would like to see them carry. Richard Siddle talks to Shaw about the series of steps he and his buyers go through.

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    Rob Seddon: from BBC reality TV to wine with Jackson & Seddon

    The first thing that strikes you about Jackson & Seddon is what a great name it is. Like a forgotten 1970’s TV detective partnership. If it was then it would bound to win the hearts of millions of viewers as it would be all about how Rob Seddon and his dog Jackson go about catching criminals. Only in real life it is how they travel to the deepest parts of Italy in search of independent, artisan winemakers they can work with for their slowly growing UK importers business. Richard Siddle wanted to find out more.

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    Il Collettivo keeps pace with the dynamic Italian wine scene

    It seems Italy can do no wrong in the UK premium on-trade at the moment. Last month The Buyer reported how Italy had replaced France as the country with most listings on wine lists, which will probably come as no surprise to the specialist importers that are doing such a good job sourcing new exciting, and dynamic wine to bring back for restaurants and bars to sell. All of which is very much the theme of next week’s Il Collettivo tasting which will be a chance to taste the best of some of those importers Italian ranges.

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    Pancho Campo on clearing his name and climate change

    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.

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    Harry Crowther’s Top 10 from Boutinot’s Roundhouse tasting

    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…

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    Sarah Abbott MW believes there is great potential for Koshu alongside other  Japanese wines and is hosting a standalone   tasting on Japanese wines, including Koshu on February 28 Long Read

    Sarah Abbott MW on emerging countries & wines of Japan

    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.

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    The North South Wines team has grown considerably in under five years: Picture Sarah Plater

    North South Wines puts itself on map of key buyers’ suppliers

    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.

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    Enotria&Coe's two new on-trade MDs, Sam Thackeray, centre, and Ants Rixon, right with Jon Pepper MW Long Read

    Enotria&Coe sets out strategy to attract premium on-trade buyers

    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.

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    Where better in the world to drink wine than in a classic Parisien wine bar?

    Wine Paris’ Pascale Ferranti on being France’s capital for wine

    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.

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    Condor Wines’ Lee Evans’ love for South American wines

    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.

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    Duvel’s John Wood: Belgium beer has a long way to go in UK

    Premium Belgium beer has long been a go to category for beer aficionados, in fact, they have arguably played an important role in creating demand for the boom in craft beers that we have seen from so many different countries. But for Duvel Moortgat the challenge is to keep pushing the boundaries on what Belgium beer can offer, and in particular for its two flagship brands, Duvel and Vedett. Here John Wood, UK managing director, assesses the premium beer opportunity.

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    Sir Ian Botham’s wines are “better than a century at Lord’s”

    Has Sir Ian Botham ever done anything half-heartedly? In some ways it is not a surprise that the first range of wines he has produced under his own name are already selling out on allocation. But then this is not a celebrity putting their name to a collection of pre-ordained wines. It’s a hobby that has potentially morphed into what he hopes could be a career that he becomes equally if not more well known and respected for what he did with a cricket bat and ball. As its the New Year we thought we would revisit this interview Richard Siddle had with Botham where he shares his passion for wine that has seen 40 years of friendships and relationships with winemakers turn into what he can proudly call the Botham Wines series.

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    Sorcha Holloway looks back on Christmas and an eventful 2018

    It has been an eventful year for wine writer and communicator Sorcha Holloway. Her breakthrough Twitter forum #ukwinehour has gone from strength to strength and has brought wine conversation and debate to a huge international audience. Hear she shares the highs and lows of the last 12 months and also looks back on an important week for her close family and how they all spent Christmas together.

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    Giles Cooke MW believes in Grenache so much he went and got the T-shirt

    Alliance Wine’s Giles Cooke shares his Xmas & 2018 memories

    Giles Cooke has had a busy 2018, dividing his time between his growing Australian wine business, Thistledown Wines, and the UK wine importing and distribution business, Alliance Wine, that he is probably more well known in the drinks trade for. So spending time at home in Edinburgh with his family is even more special, particularly for Christmas. Here he shares what he got up to this year as well as looking back on what has been an eventful 2018.

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    Richard Ellison believes investing in technology as much as the wines he has is crucial to the success of the business

    What Wanderlust Wine’s Richard Ellison is up to at Christmas

    There are many ways to spend Christmas Day, we will all have our own traditions and ways of doing things and our own personal guilty pleasures, but most of all it is a time to hopefully take a collective deep breath and enjoy great food, wine, spirits and friends and family. In the first of our festive Q&As we ask Richard Ellison, founder of Wanderlust Wine, to share what he will be up to on Christmas Day, and some of his own personal festive favourites, which means spending time with an alternative Royal family.

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    How blockchains have a major role to play in the drinks industry

    Step forward anyone who can give a two minute talk on exactly what blockchain technology is all about, and why it has been heralded as the next big thing in business? Thankfully there are specialist blockchain experts out there to do that for us. Like the new team behind start up blockchain business, Chac, that believes blockchain technology could have major benefits for the drinks industry. James Aufenast, one of the four partners in the business, and a former drinks journalist with his own specialist knowledge of the drinks industry, explains why we should all take notice of what blockchains can do for our own companies.

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    WC and Red Squirrel have worked together from the day it opened in Clapham

    Quickfire Q&A with Nik Darlington of Red Squirrel Wine

    In the first of a series of quick fire Q&A interviews with leading wine buyers, sommeliers, importers and distributors on how they work, what sort of wines they are looking to buy and the opportunities and challenges they face in their respective businesses we start with Nik Darlington, founder of Red Squirrel Wine, that even in its short time of importing wine has built up a strong reputation for being one of the most astute and innovative distributors in the UK where alternative varieties are very much to the fore. Here’s how he sees the world through Red Squirrel’s eyes.

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