From Iron Maiden to Chivas Regal, Illy Jaffar has been at the forefront of developing new marketing and communications strategies for some of the world’s biggest names, be they brands, individuals – or rock stars. He says the impact Covid-19 has had on how we all now live our lives has been so deep rooted we need a fundamental ‘reset’ in how we now think about still making our drinks brands relevant and exciting, but with very different ways of marketing and bringing them to life. Here he shares some of his ideas.
A new vintage tasting of Torres’ top estate wines is an exploration of terroir, climate and viticulture – along with some world class wines, of course. In addition to showing the wines – including the new Milmanda 2017 and a spectacular Grans Muralles 2016 –Miguel Torres Maczassek revealed Torres’ new projects and pledges.
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Chemin de Moscou
Romanian wine producer, Cramele Recas, stands out from its competition for a number of reasons. Most notably for being its country’s largest wine exporter. It can also lay claim to be a vegan wine producer, on the verge of becoming organic and capable of making a vast swathe of different styles of wine from orange to natural wines, through to supermarket best sellers and Gold medal winning wines in the major international wine competitions. But as we discover, in the latest The Buyer video interview, its owner Philip Cox, has a 100% market-driven focus that allows him to keep at least one or two steps ahead of what its customers might ask for next. He is joined by Matt Johnson, head of his UK team, who explains how going direct to consumer is one of the biggest lessons they have both learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. Together they are prepared to take on the Covid-19 and Brexit challenges that lie ahead, as Richard Siddle reports.
Fifth generation family member and director of Pol Roger, Hubert de Billy, has been spending time recently on the bottling line sticking labels on bottles. Unglamorous work for the company ambassador but morale-boosting and a reflection of how tight this family-owned house is run. On the eve of the launch of the new Pol Roger Vintage 2013, Anne Krebiehl MW talks to de Billy about how they achieved balance in the wine in such a difficult year and why 2013 could be likened to Paris’s Pompidou Centre.
South Africa has been hit particularly badly by the Covid-19 crisis with a series of lockdowns and bans on alcohol putting many wine companies out of business and the loss of many jobs. Including some of the most prominent winemakers in the country. Here the highly respected Johan Delport shares his story and why he is now looking for a new winery or winemaking role, both in South Africa and around the world, having lost his job at Waverley Hills in the latest in our Onwards & Upwards series.
Piedmont and Tuscany will always command the most attention when it comes to putting an Italian wine on your list – these are ‘must haves’ – but Campania, Sardinia, Veneto and Alto Adige are regions that also feature wines of stunning quality that can be a fraction of the price. Peter Dean picks out seven red wines from Enotria&Coe’s extensive Italian portfolio which features wines from all seven of these regions.
The Buyer’s new ‘Digital Hub’ has been set up to provide a regular series of updates looking at the latest initiatives companies are taking in digital and the online trends that are shaping how they might need to do business in the future. This time we look at why the likes of Apple and Nike are investing so much in new fitness and lifestyle apps and what it can help them understand about what their consumers want. Plus we look at why going direct to consumer makes increasing sense for brands but only if they invest in search and support services that can make them invaluable.
The three separate London Drinks competitions for wine, spirits and beer are all run on the same basis – to judge drinks in the same way that consumers do: by what they taste like; what the bottle or design looks like; and how much it costs. Having introduced the 2021 wine competition last week we turn our attention to the London Spirits Competition with details on how to take advantage of super early day pricing and the standards set in the 2020 awards.
For the final instalment in its current webinar series, trade body New Zealand Winegrowers explored the role that organic, biodynamic, sustainable, and natural wines could play in the future of the industry. While consumers already have a favourable view of New Zealand as a “green” land, panellists acknowledged the progress made by other nations, including Chile and Spain. But some radical ideas were discussed to capitalise on consumers’ growing interest in transparency, as Peter Ranscombe explains.
The Buyer introduced its ‘Raise a Glass To’ awards this summer to shine the light on individuals who we believe have gone the proverbial extra mile to help the industry we all work in. Today we shine the light on Katy Moses, managing director of KAM Media, who has helped share the views of leaders right across the hospitality and retail sectors in a series of video interviews from the moment we went into lockdown on March 23, as well as give her own expertise for free in countless webinars and reports she, and her team, have produced during Covid-19. For all your efforts The Buyer Raise a Glass to You.
To its credit the Austrian winemakers association, the Österreichische Traditionsweingüter (OTW), managed to keep Covid at bay at this month’s annual showing of the Erste Lagen (premier cru) wines. Not only was the event safely marshalled but conversation steered away from the pandemic and rightly concentrated on the 2019 Austrian vintage which is quite spectacular. David Kermode reports back on how the event was managed as well as picks out his 10 best wines you need to have on your buying radar.
If you are an experienced wine buyer, specialising in a particular country have you ever thought of making the most of your expertise by going it alone? It’s what James Hocking did when he moved on from The Vineyard Cellars, the business where he made his name, importing Californian wine for The Vineyard in Berkshire, at the beginning of 2019. Here he shares what’s its been like starting his own business and then having to deal with Covid-19.
The new Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2006 is only the sixth vintage of this wine to be released since 1983 and yet it has an identity all of its own. Made up equally of fruit from five crus in the Côte des Blancs, Charles Heidsieck cellar master Cyril Brun tells Anne Krebiehl MW how each of the villages plays a part, and how bitterness in the finished wine is increasingly becoming a key component as a result of climate change.
Hands up who has heard of Patreon? Keep them up if you have a few Patreon subscription accounts? If Patreon is something new to you then think back to when you first heard about Spotfiy and how much of a part of your life it is now. Patreon is essentially the new digital subscription model that an increasing number of businesses and individuals are using to raise money by building up a community of ‘users’ who are happy to pay them a small chunk of money a month for the content or services they are providing. It is also the model that Richard Hemming and Olly Smith are now using for their successful ‘A Glass With’ podcast series. Here Hemming explains why Patreon could be the breakthrough business model of our times.
We continue our Onwards & Upwards series, that is looking to help anyone in the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors looking for a new role, with an interview with senior grocery wine buyer, Michelle Smith, formerly of Sainsbury’s, who is moving on from her role as head of wine at South African supermarket chain, Pick n Pay. The Covid-19 crisis continues to impact all our lives, right around the world, but it is also shaking up the status quo and opening up new opportunities for people. Here we talk to Michelle Smith about her career to date and the skills she believes she can offer in her next role.
It is one of the highlights of the year, of course, when Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago launches the new Penfolds Collection, and takes the floor in front of hundreds of journalists, showing that, if he hadn’t become one of the world’s top winemakers he could easily have cut it on the standup comedy circuit. Yesterday’s launch of Penfolds Grange 2016 was a little different – six wine writers in London’s 67 Pall Mall club with Gago beamed in live on Zoom. The wines were all present and correct and were showing well. Our man at the tasting was Australian wine expert and chef Roger Jones who assesses each wine in full.
Like the rest of the drinks industry, Corney & Barrow had the proverbial rug pulled from under its collective feet with the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown that saw the on-trade close and with it a large chunk of its daily business. But thankfully having its eggs placed in a number of different trading channels has meant Corney & Barrow has been able to adapt, divert resources and find new and innovative ways of selling and distributing its range of wines. As Tim Wheeldon, on-trade sales manager, explains.
For all the wine trade’s love of terroir and sense of place the average wine consumer chooses what bottle to buy primarily on how much it costs, what it looks like and what it tastes like. Not always in that order, but there or thereabouts. It’s why the London Wine Competition uses those three criteria to choose the medal and trophy winners in its competition. Here’s how you can enter its 2021 competition and take advantage of super early day pricing if you enter by September 30.
Wine journalist – and regular Buyer writer – Chris Wilson has added another string to his bow as he launches his own urban winery in the heart of Cambridge this autumn. In this instalment of his column for The Buyer he goes into more detail about the type of wines he’d like to make this year and unravels some of the red tape involved in setting up a winery from scratch.