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    Anne Krebiehl MW
    Opinion
    Most major companies will have a Diveristy  - like this picture taken from Amazon's

    How wine needs ‘multi strand’ action to tackle racial diversity

    “This change has to come from the top. You can’t just talk the talk, you also have to walk the walk. If you keep doing the same things, hiring the same people, using the same methodology, you will continue to get the same outcomes.” Hard but fair words from Kirsten MacLeod who examines the issue of racial diversity and inclusion in the wine industry and says it has a very long way to go and many lessons to learn, and actions to take.

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    People: Producer
    Sogevinus Long Read

    What Boavista acquisition says about Sogevinus strategy

    The news today that Sogevinus has acquired historic estate Quinta da Boavista from Lima Smith further strengthens its position on still Duoro wines and exports. The wine group has long had a strategic focus on still wines – arguing for Portuguese wine producers to market with an united front and around a single grape – and the Boavista deal follows a long line of interesting acquisitions and product launches. Justin Keay spoke to Sogevinus CEO Sergio Marly Cominal and the rest of the team about what the plans are post-Covid.

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    People People: Supplier
    me and troy

    Troy Christensen: digital has to be part of Enotria&Coe’s future

    It’s been fascinating to see how over the last couple of months how different business leaders across the drinks and hospitality sectors have responded to the Covid-19 crisis that has hit them all both as individuals and heads of the companies they manage. Troy Christensen, chief executive of Enotria&Coe, brought a fresh perspective to the situation when The Buyer interviewed him earlier this month. On the one hand he faced up to the nightmare scenario that has meant 90% of its usual revenues have been put in the deep freeze, due to the on-trade being closed, in typically bullish manner. But he also demonstrated how, as a company and as a sector, the drinks distribution network can recover, by how quickly it has turned its focus to growing the digital side of its business, through its own retail arm, Great Western Wines, and by linking up with the vast number of B2B turned B2C platforms that have emerged over the last three months.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Cramele Recas Long Read

    Why the wines of Romania’s Cramele Recas work so well

    You might not know at the time that you are drinking a wine from Romania’s Cramele Recas, but chances are that at some time or other you will be. The country’s largest winery is responsible for many of the UK’s best-selling wines with a unique and effective consumer-centric approach – they make wine with the right quality level, attention to detail and price then ensure it reaches its target market with packaging that is bespoke for every on and off trade customer. Peter Dean travelled to Romania to see the set-up first hand, and also picks some standout wines and how they work with a range of dishes.

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    Opinion People People: Producer
    Wollfer Roman Roth in cellar

    Roman Roth & the quality wines at New York’s Wölffer Estate

    The combination of strong winds coming in off the ocean, with quality soils helps the Wölffer Estate Vineyard produce its signature, balanced, elegant, and age-worthy wines – with a particular focus on making premium rosés. As we continue our series profiling leading New York State wineries we talk to Roman Roth, winemaker at the estate, about being able to make food-friendly, accessible wines that also have the ability to age and improve with time.

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    People People: Supplier
    family watching tv

    Quintessential’s Neil Anderson: responding to consumer trends

    There are not many people in the drinks industry who are at their happiest when they have their head down drilling through the latest Kantar or Nielsen consumer trends research. But Neil Anderson is very much one of them. Yes, he loves his wines, spirits and beers and all the stories behind them, but it’s what makes consumers tick that really gets Anderson excited and passionate about his role as retailer brands marketing director at Quintessential Brands.

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    Tasting: Wine
    post-Covid

    Peter Dean: How was the UK’s 1st post-Covid real life wine tasting?

    While the global wine industry agonizes about how to conduct safe wine tasting, a small car park in the London Borough of Fulham gave us all a glimpse into how the ‘new normal’ might work. Wine tasting, whether that be generic or by importer portfolio, is the lifeblood of the industry, of course, and Peter Dean went along to the event to see how public relations company R&R Teamwork had tackled the UK’s first post-Covid real life wine tasting. It’s one small step for wine…

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    Insight
    jason atherton looking away

    Flint’s on-trade debate: Jason Atherton & top restaurateurs

    The fact bars and restaurants now know they can re-open at one metre (plus) social distancing rules in a week or so is a massive relief to all involved in the premium on-trade. But it is only one part of an increasingly complex set of factors that will determine which outlets and operators can return and when they can re-open. That was very much the conclusion of a wide ranging debate held online by Flint Wines recently with leading restaurateurs, including Jason Atherton, and top Master Sommeliers on how they see the premium on-trade re-opening.

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    People People: Producer
    pol roger chief Long Read

    James Simpson MW on driving Pol Roger Portfolio forward

    Today Pol Roger Ltd celebrates 30 years of trading in the UK as primarily a business to promote, distribute and sell the famous Champagne house, but over the years it has also built itself up to be a highly respected agency representing premium, family, independent producers from across the world. It had hoped to pop some bottles of Pol Roger in much better times, but, as managing director, James Simpson MW, explains, it’s also about raising a glass to all the customers it serves and hopes to be working with for many years to come.

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    Opinion
    post-Covid

    How New Zealand could navigate its way in a post-Covid world

    Exports play a huge role in New Zealand’s drinks industry and attracting wine tourists to visit the islands has been a mainstay of the country’s economy. Short of exporting clones of popular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, how can the nation rebuild its economy following its short but strict coronavirus lockdown? Last night’s New Zealand Wine Diaries webinar explored the roles that grape varieties, emerging sub-regions and sustainability could play in the recovery, as Peter Ranscombe reports.

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    People People: Supplier
    stone-vine-and-sun-160

    Stone Vine & Sun’s Simon Taylor: Online has been our saviour

    Simon Taylor is now in a position to look back on the last three months of lockdown with a sense of satisfaction that he had a business model in place that allowed Stone Vine & Sun to switch from being an on-trade wholesaler and wine merchants to becoming a 100% e-commerce and delivery company. Its already strong online sales have proved to be its saviour as it has kept its local customers happy, but also gained many more from right around the country.

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    Tasting: Wine
    English sparkling

    English Wine Week celebrates the growing diversity of styles

    With lockdown measures easing, and secondary vine growth making up for some of the frost damage that hit just four weeks ago, it finally looks like there are some things to raise a glass of bubbly to. But it is not just English Sparkling wine that is being celebrated and consumed in this week’s re-scheduled English Wine Week, writes Sophie McLean, but a whole host of wines that include red, white and rosé still wines with an increasing array of styles. 

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    People People: On-Trade
    bintwo mike boyne smiling Long Read

    Mike Boyne and his ‘anything goes’ attitude to wine at BinTwo

    “There are no right or wrong answers for us when it comes to wine.” That’s the refreshing attitude that Mike Boyne has brought to his BinTwo wine bar and merchants business in Padstow, Cornwall that has made it such a success over a small period of time both with his customers and the suppliers who are happy to travel to meet him and show him ever more adventurous wines. Here he talks about what life has been like in lockdown in one of Cornwall’s most famous tourist towns, but most of all he shares his uplifting views on what wine means to him and the kind of service he wants to give his customers.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Ojai Vineyard

    Ojai Vineyard recreating Old World wine in Santa Barbara

    When Adam Tolmach left Au Bon Climat, just nine years after having founded it with Jim Clendenen, to the Californian wine community it seemed a curious decision. But, with Ojai Vineyard now over 30 years old, Tolmach has totally vindicated that decision. He is still the consummate craftsman, keeps a hands-on vigneron approach, and continues to craft world class wines that speak of his passion for the wines of Burgundy and the Rhône. David Kermode attends this first in a weekly Sommelier Sessions series run by the California Wine Institute, and tastes three of Tolmach’s wines.

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    People People: Supplier
    Richard Siddle was able to spend some time with Oz Clarke on Zoom last week for The Buyer's latest video interview

    Oz Clarke’s on lockdown & passion for his English wine book

    Spending any time with Oz Clarke is valuable, but being able to share an hour on Zoom chatting about our respective lives in lockdown before diving into the new book he has written on English wine was particularly special. In this wide ranging conversation we also talk about what motivates him still to discover new wine regions, different producers and their wines, and then have the energy to write about them all. Most of all, though, as we move into English Wine Week, it shows the love and passion he has for English wine and how much he has enjoyed being able to tell the stories about the people as much as the individual wines that are now becoming the envy of so much of the rest of the world.  

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    Tasting: Wine
    Journey's End

    Tasting the ‘Precision’, ‘Tails’ and ‘V’ ranges from Journey’s End

    Lockdown has been a busy time for wine consultant and writer Harry Crowther: first he ran a series of Instagram Live sessions on ‘Tasting Skills’ then came his ‘Supermarket Series’ picking out the best value wines from the top supermarket chains. Crowther also managed to hook up with Tom Hanson-Smith from Stellenbosch’s Journey’s End to hear how Rollo Gabb’s winery has fun, sustainability and local community as key drivers; and also to work his way through three of their wine ranges ‘Tails’, ‘V’ and ‘Precision’ to pick out the wines that you should have on your buying radar.

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    People People: On-Trade
    me and heath

    Heath Ball on keeping Red Lion & Sun going through lockdown

    Pubs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can cater for all our needs on a night out. From the good ol local that is the hub of the community, to destination gourmet pubs that are more like fine dining restaurants. The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate village, north London, probably sits somewhere in the middle. A pub that has a wine list that would be the envy of any master sommelier, and you’re likely to bump into Liam Gallagher ordering another pint of Guinness. Whilst 1000s of pubs have been shut over the last three moths, the Red Lion & Sun has really come into its own thanks to the drive and imagination of its larger than life owner, Heath Ball, who has made it the go to place for Highgate locals looking for fine food and wine to deliver or collect and enjoy an escape from lockdown.

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    Opinion
    The lakes of New York State are not only beautiful to look at but have such an influence on the styles of wine being made

    Jamie Goode: 10 things you need to know about New York wines

    Jame Goode first visited New York State’s wine regions in 2018, and he was also able to go back again the following year. He quickly became impressed with the range and diversity of wines being made across its two main wine growing regions of the Finger Lakes and Long Island. It’s time, he says, that the evolution of these two regions needs to be told to a wider audience. So here are the 10 things that he thinks you should know about New York State wine.

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    Tasting: Wine
    IGP Pays d’Oc

    Elizabeth Gabay MW picks her Top 20 from IGP Pays d’Oc

    As the price of Provence rosé wines increases and as demand outstrips supply, so canny buyers should be looking to the Southern French wine region of IGP Pays d’Oc, for value, variety and quality, writes Elizabeth Gabay MW. Here she picks out her Top 20 rosés starting with the most popular variety – Grenache-based wines – then Cinsault, unusual varieties, and more gastronomic wines featuring darker grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon.

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    Insight
    Basic RGB Long Read

    Covid-19 Hub: Matthew Clark e-commerce; Off Piste’s DTC gin

    As we all look at how we call slowly emerge from the other side of Covid-19 The Buyer continues to update its rolling updates service with a new Hub covering the very latest activity, trends and insights across the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors as the momentum shifts towards how businesses can now look to regroup, relaunch and come out of this crisis with the tools and knowledge to grow. This is Part Five of The Buyer’s Covid-19 blog that starts on June 9.

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