Washington State wines are a bit like the Robert Duvall of the wine world. Highly respected, always classy and just does things in the right way, but an actor who was never really the star of the show. But great as a supporting actor. Which is not too dissimilar to how Washington State wines continue to build their reputation. Ahead of next week’s Oregon and Washington State tasting Richard Hemming MW explains why he thinks Washington has so much more to offer.
It’s hard not to descend into cliche when talking about sherry, or immediately imagine the poshest of posh folk crying out for a “SHERRY!” as they embrace each other at a spiffing drinks reception. Thankfully, for the category at least, its recent revival as one of the fastest selling drinks sectors is being driven by the young and happening rather than the old and has-beens. Helen Arnold talks to Bibendum’s Christina Schneider about how it is the hipsters that are helping drive more sherries onto the back bar.
We know how busy you all are on a weekend morning – how many bottles hit the dust last night? Will the bus come in time for service? Who’s going to be named in the team? – so we have condensed everything you need to know about ViniSud, the Mediterranean wine fair that took place in Montpellier last week all in an 80-second read.
With the UK wine industry in such a state of flux, who better to give an outside, independent view on where it sits in relation to the growing wine markets around the world, particularly the increasing influence of China and the US, than Guillaume Deglise, chief executive of not only the world wine trade show, Vinexpo, but also one of the sector’s leading trade analysts and commentators. Here he shares his views with wine consultant Alistair Morrell.
For those on the buying side of a tasting table, how often do you stop and think why it is that particular producer has given up half their week to fly to the UK to show you their wines? Yes, you might think you’re worth it, but for the winemakers and wineries they too need to be sure they are going to be able to show their wines to key buyers. Here we ask Astrum Cellars and two of its producers, Serafini & Vidotto and Francesco Rinaldi, why it is they are so keen to support next month’s Il Collettivo specialist Italian wine tasting event.
You can have drinks buyers with the finest palates and the best negotiation skills to drive the right deal with producers around the world, but all of that can stand for nothing if your consignment of wine, beer or spirits is stuck on the wrong side of the world whilst your customers desperately need it on their back bars or retail shelves. Getting your supply chain partner right is becoming increasingly vital in running a successful drinks distribution or import business, says JF Hillebrand’s Marc Graham.
The problem of mental health is finally on the national agenda, providing a much needed platform to raise awareness and funding to help tackle this growing people. To help play its part the drinks industry charity, The Benevolent has launched its own campaign, #NotAlone, to encourage a more frank and open conversation about mental health within the drinks industry, offering practical and emotional support to those who are struggling.
Unless you are a real Top Gear fanatic what people most value in their car is not how fast it can go from 0 to 60, or how it handles corners in the rain, but the fact it is reliable, comfortable, and you don’t have to think twice about it. Much the same could be said about a trusted, dependable drinks distributor that knows your business inside out and makes your life as a buyer so much easier. That’s the challenge, motivation and inspiration for James Franklin, head of merchant and on-trade sales at Corney & Barrow, and his team when building up long-term partnerships with its growing number of customers.
Sorry to put the image of Billy Ocean into your heads, but when you take a considered view of the premium on-trade in 2018 then his 1980s vision that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” does seem as relevant today. Particularly when comparing the different skill sets of our major national drinks distributors upon whom the majority of the sector relies on to get things right. As we await its portfolio tasting next week, Enotria&Coe’s Jon Pepper MW looks at the challenges it is having to overcome in order to deliver the savings, and added value services on-trade buyers are still going to expect no matter how tough trading is.
There are times when writing about the latest wine tasting makes you wonder if you have morphed in to an old school NME music journalist writing about the latest new wave, off-beat, funky, dangerous, dynamic, independent combo that has a new album out. At least that is when we are talking about the latest combined tasting put together by independent wine importers like next month’s Il Colletivo that promises to be a NME-style collection of maverick wine producers making some of the most exciting wines coming out of Italy. Here’s Flint Wines’ Italian buyer, Philippa Saunders, take on the Italian wine scene.