Most UK wine suppliers and distributors spend the majority of their time based in Britain from where they can co-ordinate shipping wine from all over the world. But for Giles Cooke MW things are a bit different as he spends a fair bit of it overseas actually helping to make the wine that Alliance Wine then ships and sells here. Here’s how his year has been so far…
When he’s not globetrotting the world Alliance Wine’s Giles Cooke MW is quite happy finding the time to relax in his newly renovated home, listening to a bit of…well you’ve had to read on to find out.
We are well in truly in the second half of the year how has 2017 gone for you so far?
In a blur! I can’t believe where the year has gone so far. Two trips to Australia have dominated proceedings. Harvest was more strung out this year which posed a few challenges but I learned so much along the way as well.
Best moments of the year so far – business wise and personally?
After a year which was dominated by stressful and disastrous house alterations, it’s been a joy to occasionally be at home with everything finished. The work revolved around making our kitchen the centre of family life and it’s worked really well.
Business wise it’s been great to see sales in growth in the UK despite all the pressures. The list gets better and our teams stronger. Our sales both in Australia and in Asia doubled over the course of the year so I was delighted to finish the financial year with positive results.
Most challenging moments of the year?
As ever, balancing travel, work and family is very challenging. Though, after the last few years, I think I can handle pretty much anything.
Business wise the pressures applied by poor exchange rates have challenged us all though my most perplexing and as yet unresolved issues has been designing labels for Chinese clients over WeChat!
What are you big goals for the business for the rest of the year?
Alliance has ambitious targets for the year which will require us all to pull together. It’s never been more important to be creative, flexible and listen to customers.
In Australia I’m continuing to work on becoming the benchmark producer of Grenache. We took on nine Grenache vineyards this year and really pushed some boundaries. So far the reception is great and I’m looking for more sources for next year. What we’re doing to raise the profile of Grenache and support the growers who have faithfully kept it in the ground is something that I’m a bit obsessed about.(You can read Giles’ views on the potential of Australian Grenache here).
What do you see as being the big trends/ influences on your part of the industry?
We’re finally seeing more thirst, understanding and a less binary approach for wines that are not necessarily “natural” or biodynamic but nonetheless have all the attributes of artisan, handmade, cared for, quality, fun and genuine. We’ve moved on from the rather simplistic approach to a more nuanced position which puts us in a stronger place to counter the craft movement seen in other categories.
Currency will continue to determine many decisions and, when coupled with falling consumption, high duty and the health lobby, the clever money will be on premiumisation.
What are your plans for your summer holiday?
Sadly I’ve already been. Ten days in a rather windy bit of the Algarve
What did you read?
Nothing. I was on strict orders to put the phone away and play with the kids who are five and seven.
What did you eat and drink?
Vinho Verde from Anselmo Mendes was the go to bottle while on holiday. Back home, in the festive yet grey skies of Edinburgh, it’s probably some Sancerre rosé to pretend that summer hasn’t already been and gone.
Favourite place for a sunset drink?
Anywhere warm and by the sea and preferably with the kids tucked up in bed.
What would you be drinking?
Do you expect me to say anything other than Grenache?
What’s your ultimate summer movie?
Summer is so brief that I don’t watch movies much but the one that still reminds me of summer holidays is Grease – god I’m old!
And finally, your favourite summer song?
Hotel California which reminds me of my first summer holiday away from parents in California and Mykonos by the Fleet Foxes which my wife and I listened to a lot in the summer we got together.
- If you would like to share your year so far and your plans for the summer on The Buyer then answer the above questions and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.