We’ve all been there. You arrive in a foreign city for the first time on business and you are looking for somewhere to go for a drink and something good to eat. Ideally somewhere that has an interesting and good value wine list. But where do you start? Well, that’s where Star Wine List comes in. Devised by Krister Bengtsson it works with sommeliers and local wine trade experts to compile lists of the best places to go and enjoy wine in any particular city. Here he explains how it all works.
The cancellation of next week’s ProWein has thrown the international wine trade up in the air. Whilst the decision not to run the event due to the impact of the coronavirus was clearly the right one, it does not make it any easier for the wine producers and buyers who were relying on the show to do business. But where there is adversity, the wine trade so often finds a way to get things done. It is in that spirt that respected wine consultant, André Ribeirinho, is next week going to host a two day online Portugal Wine Week and give producers the chance to still pitch their wineries and their wines to buyers – through live streams on the internet. Here he explains how it is going to work.
As we prepare for the One Step Beyond conference that takes in place in London on March 4 we turn to the event’s opening speaker, Wunderman Thompson’s Naji El-Arifi, to help set the scene and explain how it works with businesses of all sizes to help them create the right digital strategy that will help them grow, and target that growth in the right channels. The key, he says, is to commit fully to whatever digital strategy you decide on and help it drive the rest of your business forward.
Ten years ago Helen McGinn sat down to write her first blog as her alias ‘The Knackered Mother’ with no more intention of it being something to share with her family and some close friends. A decade later she is publishing the second edition of her award-winning Knackered Mother’s Wine Guide, that did so much to transform what wine means to so many everyday drinkers – both mums and dads – and is able to look back on countless TV appearances, being a regular on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, and having a long-standing column in the Daily Mail. Here she shares the highs of what it’s like being Helen McGinn and the ‘Knackered Mother’ at the same time.
You don’t need to have been in the UK wine trade for very long to know that Armit Wines is synonymous with Italian wine. It has long been one of the country’s most important and passionate importers of Italian wine with an almost unsurpassable list of producers and contacts it works with the length and breadth of the country. With a new management team and strategy in place, Italian wines are going to be even more key to its future growth and success in the on-trade, says brand manager Alex Hill.
Connecting the worlds of B2B publishing and events with the end consumer is a difficult balancing act to get right. But the new London Drinks Guide hopes to do just that by combining the knowledge and expertise gained from running a series of wine and spirits events and drinks competitions with offering consumers advice on the best beers, wines and spirits to buy and then where to buy them, initially in London, and then in other key cities around the world.
It’s a shame that when we are in our school days we are always thinking up new ideas, new inventions that we think are going to change the world, yet when we enter our working lives all that imagination goes up in a puff of smoke as we follow the set path we have chosen. So here’s a chance to dream a little and pick out the three things in drinks you wish you had invented or been part of creating. Next up is David Gill MW business sector controller at Kingsland Drinks…
If there’s a bigger (and more friendly) personality in the drinks industry than Illy Jaffar then I’ve yet to meet them. Even people who don’t know Illy Jaffar think he’s one of the biggest characters the sector is lucky to have. That’s the influence and impact he has. But with very good reason. For this is the man who can lay claim to bringing the phrase “experiential” to drinks before anyone knew what it meant. He even convinced his then employers, Pernod Ricard, to make him its Head of Experiential Marketing. A lot of experiences have passed by since then and he is now running his own drinks, management and brand consultancy, Kinetic Creative Communications, helping the likes of Iron Maiden along the way. But then he was once in his own rock band. He’s also one of our key panelists at March’s breakthrough One Step Beyond conference. Here’s the world of marketing according to Illy Jaffar and why we should never forget that if you work in drinks you are also in the entertainment industry.
“No French wine region has been revolutionised over the past two decades as dramatically as Champagne. And no appellation has needed it more desperately. Champagne is a very different place to what it was 20 years ago, or even five years ago.” That’s the view of Champagne expert, Tyson Stelzer, author of The Champagne Guide, and co-organiser of Taste Champagne, the international trade and consumer event that looks to bring the very best of what Champagne is doing to influential buyers at key events and tastings around the world. Which is good news for the UK as Taste Champagne is returning to London on March 25 for for what will be its second year. Here Stelzer explains, in depth, the challenges and opportunities he still sees for Champagne in what is such an important market.
“We have to evolve every year. If you are not developing, you’re in danger of being left behind. Having heritage doesn’t give you a licence to sit back…in fact you have to work even harder.” That’s very much the motto of James Davy, chairman of the now 150 year-old, and still family-owned, Davy’s Wine Merchants, that it is his turn to be in charge of. He talks to Richard Siddle why he is so proud to be leading the business through what is such a clearly important milestone for the company and how, in particular, its wholesale and distribution division has now grown in recent years to be on an equal footing to the wine bars and restaurants it has become so well known for. Sourcing and distributing the right wines for its growing customer base whilst gaining a reputation for efficiency, consistency and reliability is what still drives Davy and his team forward.
If you had told Rodolphe Lameyse at the end of Vinexpo Bordeaux in mid May 2019 that he could proudly claim to a press conference in January 2020 that he was now part responsible for steering what could be the biggest trade exhibition organiser for wine and spirits in the world then he probably would not have believed you. Vinexpo, as a trade event, was probably at its lowest ebb. But now thanks to a new joint venture with Comexposium, one of the world’s biggest exhibition companies, he can now lead his team into next month’s first Vinexpo Paris event full of renewed vigour and confidence.
When new fine wine merchants, OenoTrade, is looking to work with a new premium on-trade customer it will ask them for their “wish list” of wines and then go out and try and source them. It’s a business model that is already enjoying breakthrough in what is already a fiercely competitive market place. Here head of wine for OenoTrade, Olivier Gasselin, explains the company’s strategy and also what we can expect at its inaugural trade tasting on February 26.
The Côte de Beaune is still relatively under-rated compared to the Côte de Nuits, says Mentzendorff managing director Andrew Hawes, who argues that it is still possible to find great and specific terroir, coupled to availability, at prices that have not yet experienced the dramatic escalations experienced in the Côte de Nuits. Key signature wines continue to be in short supply, however, which forces buyers to explore the region looking for an alternative which, in turn, leads to lesser known appellations deservedly receiving more attention.
While demand for the classics and the upper tier of Burgundy remains as strong as ever – often outstripping supply – it is the bread-and-butter wines that consumers open every day that is key to the region’s success argues Bibendum Burgundy buyer Robert Mathias. In the on-trade the by-the-glass offering is key with top quality Bourgogne Aligoté or Mâcon Villages from serious addresses being behind this success. Bibendum is concentrating its tasting efforts on its on-trade customers this year which is why it will also be showing 2017s at events.
A little bit of stardust at an affordable price, an entry point to a quite prestigious domaine, a little extra ‘plus’ if the wines are hand-sold to an engaged customer – these are just some of the benefits of buying Bourgogne wines from Bourgogne and Mâcon appellations plus a Geographical Denomination – in this case the Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits. Many more good tips from Fields Morris & Verdin in this fifth part of a series in which The Buyer is interviewing a number of leading fine wine merchants to get their feel on how this vital region is doing and what the 2018 vintage has in store when the annual Bourgogne campaign comes to a head with Bourgogne Week.
Better quality and consistency, great QPR, an introduction to a grower’s style… a bottle at this level will encourage customers to try wines further up the scale; these are the wines to be drunk while waiting for the grander ones to come round says Sebastian Thomas at Howard Ripley. This, and many more good tips about Régionales wines + a Geographical Denomination in this fourth part of a series in which The Buyer is interviewing a number of leading fine wine merchants to get their take on how this vital region is doing and what the 2018 vintage has in store when the annual Bourgogne campaign comes to a head this week with Bourgogne Week.
Kingsland Drinks has been willing to cast its wine buying net out far and wide over the last 12 months in order to find wines it believes can have genuine stand out on shelf or on a back bar. It has taken its buying controller, Adam Marshall, as far as India and Moldova as he has looked to add even more value and interest to the range of European wines he mostly looks after. Here in our latest look back on 2019 we ask him to share his Buying Year.
“Innovation, and pushing boundaries, asking different questions of both the buyer and consumer is what we need. Standing still is walking backwards and I find that tricky at my age.” As a business strategy it’s hard to argue with such a straightforward approach as Danny Spencer has for his growing East Street Wine Co distribution business. Well known in the trade for his many years with Boutinot, Spencer is now well on the way to establishing a wine import business that is 100% a reflection of his friendly, infectious personality. Here he looks back on his buying year for 2019 and what he expects to happen in 2020.
We continue our series of articles interviewing leading buyers for key importers for the premium on-trade with a look behind the scenes at the buying criteria used by Matthew Cooper at Ellis Wines when taking on new producers. We also ask him to look back on 2019 and pick out his highs and lows from his Buying Year, which was a good one for regional Spain and Sicily, but less exciting for Chile. He also looks ahead to 2020 and why he has high hopes for Swartland-style wines from Australia and New Zealand.
Buying wine for the ever-growing Lanchester Wines is a little more complicated than the average wine supplier, for as well as looking to source the best quality wine at the right price, there is also a need to look at the type of packaging formats the wine could be used for, be it in a keg, bag in box, a can, or straightforward bottle. We continue our look back at 2019 by asking Lanchester’s director of purchasing, Lesley Cook, to share her buying year.