Former leading restaurateur and now wine critic and publisher, Neville Blech, has decades of experience of working with, supplying and writing about wine in restaurants that he encapsulates each year in his guide, Wine Behind The Label. He has now taken all that knowledge, including reviews of over 25,000 wines, to create a new wine app – Value For Money Wines Pro – that offers every day wine drinkers the chance to assess a wine for its quality and the value for money it is being listed at in a restaurant or wine merchants.
There must be times working for a major wine merchants when you feel you’ve left the core job you started out with well behind you and turned into all singing, dancing events organiser such are the opportunities now to get involved in sourcing and providing wine from everything from rock concerts, major sporting events, to finding the right wines for an around the world cruise. Welcome to the world of Olivia Marsh, catering and hospitality sales manager at Corney & Barrow.
The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships claims to be the only one of its kind in the world which puts every type of fizz to the test. It’s also the only judging event where all wines entered are tasted blind by the same three judges. Founder Tom Stevenson and co-judges Essi Avellan MW and Dr Tom Jordan. Helping them as order of ceremonies is Champagne expert himself, Simon Stockton. Here’s his ringside account of how the judging takes place…
Italy is blessed with both a bewildering array of indigenous grape varieties suitable for wine production and a vast number of local climates and soil types to provide specific terroirs’, each capable of influencing the taste and quality of the wines. But should it focus more on those unique grapes or, instead go for a region, terroir-first strategy? Gordon Stuteley of GS Wines sets out the arguments for each approach as he prepares for a tasting that hopes to address that exact issue in London on July 4.
Being successful in the modern wine industry is becoming more about the kind of business you run, the connections you have, the doors you can open up and opportunities you can create as well as having wines that consumers actually want to buy. In World Cup footballing terms it’s being that elusive Number 10, the creative, talented, all-seeing player that can play “between the lines” of the opposition’s defence and midfield, to carve open winning goal scoring opportunities for your team. It’s an approach that’s not lost on Paul Schaafsma and his new wine business, Benchmark Drinks.
There seems to be constant attempts to re-invent Rioja by breaking it down into a number of different parts. If the efforts of its Haro Railway District region are anything to go by then it is following the right strategy as it allows producers to shine both individually, but also as part of collective efforts to shine different lights on what innovations are taking place to bring fresh life to Spain’s most famous wine region, reports David Kermode.
It might be the biggest success story the UK wine industry has seen in a generation, but is there a more misunderstood wine category than Prosecco? For all the restaurants, bars and hotels that thrive on the back of Prosecco there are still many professional buyers in the trade who question its quality and value to the wine industry as a whole. So where better to go to challenge those perceptions than Venice and the surrounding Valdobbiadene wine region where Prosecco heralds from. Over the rest of this week The Buyer will be teaming up with leading premium Prosecco producer, Mionetto, and its UK partner, Copestick Murray to take a group of leading buyers and influencers and show them how local Venetians enjoy their greatest ever export.
By its very nature the craft brewing business attracts people who have followed very different careers before turning to beer. Few, though, can match the back story of trained marine biologist Greg Pilley who had spent most of his career in remote parts of Africa working as a conservationist trying to protect elephants, before turning to brewing. It’s a fascinating story that culminates in his Stroud Brewery becoming one of only five organic craft brewers in the country.
Now we might all like the idea of ordering an unusual aperitif on a night out, but how often does our mind go blank when we are asked what we want and we just go for a standard gin and tonic? Then when the bill turns up at the end of the meal £20 more than we were expecting, we blame it on the G&Ts and not the extra cheese or half bottle of wine we had. Kate Hawkings believes the time is right to honour, praise and celebrate aperitifs as a very special drink occasion in their own right.
We’ve had more than our fair share of Australians that, despite all the not so always friendly rivalry between the two countries, we have taken to our hearts in the UK. From Dame Edna to Kylie via Paul Hogan and Olivia Newton-John there is often more that connects than divides us. Other than when cricket bats or rugby balls are in our respective hands. But it also goes the other way and in the world of wine there is one Brit that can justifiably claim to be an Honorary Australian. Wine critic Matthew Jukes, who for the last 15 years has helped highlight, showcase and promote what Australian wine can do in his annual 100 Best Australian Wines report.