In terms of growth in sales in the UK wines from Argentina had the most outstanding year compared to any other country in the world with sales up 32%, to just over 20 million litres, or 27 million bottles, worth £155 million, according to the WSTA. Which meant for a particularly good festive break for Andrew Maidment, the UK and European head of Wines of Argentina. Here he looks back on a record breaking year and forward to hopefully more of the same in 2017.
Andrew Maidment looks back on a year which included the ambitious Barullo tasting event which brought two star Michelin Argentine food and award winning wines to London for four nights in October.
How do you look back on 2016 for Wines from Argentina?
First things first, I think everyone will agree that 2016 has been one hell of a year! No need to go into the details on that though…Business wise for us it’s also been one of the very best, especially in the UK where we ended the year almost 40% up on 2015 (which was 30% up on 2014)! The good news is that the stats are showing the growth has no signs of slowing down. So we had a nice excuse for multiple toasts over the holidays.
What were the biggest highlights?
On a general level it’s the overall performance we’re experiencing in the UK – the vast majority of our wineries are in growth which gives us a lot of confidence for the future despite the challenges that exist within the market.
On a more personal level, there was a point at about 10pm on the first evening of our recent Barullo event in London – when all 120 dinner guests had moved on to their deserts and the room buzzed with the energy and contentment that comes from a great evening of food and drink – when I was reminded of just why we work in this industry. We’re so lucky to work in a field that at its heart is about bringing people together to share wonderful moments.
And the biggest challenges?
The whole Barullo event. Serving a two star Michelin quality meal for over 200 people a night over four nights. Not easy (but damn good fun!).
What are your key goals for the first six months of 2017?
This year is all about innovation, keeping the momentum going and breaking new ground. Also maybe getting out on my bike more than I have this year.
What did you do for Christmas?
This year we had a joint Christmas in Nice with the families of my wife and I. So a big family get together – exactly what Christmas calls for.
What did you eat on Christmas Day?
We enjoyed a great hybrid French and English menu. So a plateaux aux fruits de mer, gratinated oysters, Guiness lamb hank (thanks to Jamie Oliver), and trifle (to keep my dad happy).
Anything special to drink?
We had some mega wines lined up. Krug Grand Cuvee, Domaine d’Auvenay Bourgogne Aligoté ’11 andChateau Rayas ’06. Plus a great selection of Argentine wines that I can’t name for impartiality reasons.
If money no option what would be your ideal Christmas
No different to the one we’ve just had.
What would you be drinking?
Just even better wine. I was looking through Neal Martin’s list of his 25 wines of the year and there’s a few on there that would make the dinner. A 1999 Romanée- Conti please next year, Santa!