It might seem a bit upside down to be introducing a new major Champagne tasting event in the UK that is actually an Australia affair, organised by the Australian double act of leading wine critic, Tyson Stelzer and events organiser, Jody Rolfe. Together they have been hosting a series of successful Champagne events in Australia and Hong Kong for the last six years through their Wine Press business that has helped bring a new, look and feel to Champagne Down Under. They are now looking to do the same in Europe with their first event in London on June 12. Here’s what to expect.
It is an indication of how big the turnaround in Californian wine has been over the last few years that a number of the dynamic, disruptive and award winning wine importers that have come into the market over the last three to four years have identified California as a key area to go and source exciting, cutting edge wines that can help give them a point of difference. Like Wanderlust Wine. Its founder, Richard Ellison, explains why California has become such an important country in his search for esoteric and different wines from around the world.
From scrubbing fellow wine critic Charles Metcalfe naked in the showers at Oxford University, to still being the most respected, loved, and recognised person talking about wine on our TV screens – Oz Clarke is a one off. A personality of the highest order, always a regular at every major, and minor trade wine tasting, still eager to learn, share and talk about his passion for wine – or beer, or music, or Gillingham Football Club. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about his life in wine and why like Peter Pan he has no intention of growing up and taking the world too seriously.
“This is very different to the other awards, there is an informality and a sort of ‘joy’ about it.” That’s how the Wine Society’s Ewan Murray described last year’s awards ceremony for the People’s Choice Wine Awards which has just kicked off the entry process for this year’s competition. Now Murray had just won a boot full of awards, but it very much sums up the trade’s reaction to this new breakthrough awards. Here founder, Janet Harrison, explains why she was so keen to get everyday wine drinkers involved in her new competition.
Such has been the surge in demand for imported wine in China, thanks to highly significant free trade deals with key countries such as Australia and Chile, it has also opened the doors wide open for the global bulk wine market. So much so that the World Bulk Wine Exhibition, that hosts the sector’s biggest and most important trade fair in Amsterdam every November, is now about to hold its first event in China. Here’s why and what we can expect.
The wine industry is often criticised for working inside its own bubble, only ever taking influences and inspiration from within the industry rather than naturally looking outside to other consumer food and drink sectors for ideas and a new perspective. It’s why the appointment of Rodolphe Lameyse as the new chief executive of Vinexpo is potentially so exciting. It is the first time the international exhibition business has gone outside the wine industry for its leader. Here Lameyse talks to The Buyer about how he hopes his experience as a specialist in organising leading trade shows around the world will help bring new ideas, and a fresh strategy for the group at a vital time in its history.
They say in the world of journalism that a photograph is worth a 1,000 words and here’s a story to prove it. Clean and simple. This is the winning photograph taken by Jon Wyand which has earned him the prize of Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year, part of the overall Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2019 competition. What’s more it is the second time that UK photographer Wyand has picked up the award. A picture that tells its own story…
We’ve all heard the comparison that passing the Masters of Wine exam is the wine industry’s equivalent to climbing Everest. But it is one thing knowing everything about what goes into making a glass of wine, that all falls by the wayside if you don’t then have the personal and commercial skills to go out and make the most of having those two big letters after your name. That’s where MW Access comes in. A new match making service if you like that hopes to give wine businesses the world over the chance to tap into the international MW talent pool and be potentially connected with the right MW who can help them fix a particular problem or come up with a new way of working for their company. It has been set up by three MWs, Tim Wildman, Barry Dick and Michael Palij, to find the right MW, with the most relevant commercial and technical experience who is tailor made for whatever business challenge or opportunity a particular business might have. Here Richard Siddle catches up with the founders of MW Access.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.