The Benevolent is making big strides to widen both its awareness as the drinks charity for those in the industry who fall on hard times, but also as a support association for those who have issues with their physical or mental health, championed by its award winning #notalone campaign and its new It Could Be Me initiative. But such efforts take up a lot of its resources which is why The Benevolent’s new chairman, Michael Saunders of Bibendum PLB, has made fundraising a key part of his two year tenure and, in particular, quick, practical and simple steps that everyone and anyone in the trade can do to donate small amounts, like the equivalent of a drink a month. Here he explains why.
March has seen some incredible Italian wine tastings in London, both large generic and merchant-led. Suddenly it seems us Brits can’t drink enough of the stuff, with Italian wine knocking French off the top on-trade spot. Il Collettivo, now into its third year, was a bit of both – a focussed event that showcased the best and most interesting Italian wines from five of Britain’s most innovative wine importers – Astrum Wine Cellars, Flint, FortyFive10°, Sommelier’s Choice and Swig. Chris Wilson tasted his way through the wines and turns the spotlight on six of the most exciting producers he feels belongs on your list.
If you like to keep track of how many steps you do a day, then can I introduce you to ProWein, the world’s biggest international wine and spirits show that this week celebrated its 25th anniversary. It has come a long way in that time. In fact if you came to ProWein in 1994 you would not have got many steps up at all as it was all held in one hall. Twenty five years later and you could beat all your personal bests trying to keep up with events across some 16 halls and 6,500 exhibitors. Not that we counted them all…
With the rise of our homegrown fizz making such a big splash, our very own globe-trotting Chef Editor, who is also the Ambassador for The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships takes a global look at the Sparkling Wine industry. The use of the term Non Vintage, pricing, the disregard for Cava and MCC, the rise of ‘new’ countries like India and China, and where Champagne sits… all this and much more in an insightful report from a man who used to drink Dom Perignon while his rugby teammates were drinking pints.
“Our family estates couldn’t be anything but organic. These are our family values and they’re not negotiable.” So says the straight talking Claude Vialade, owner and founder of Domaine Auriol in the heart of the Languedoc Roussillon, who is not only driving organic winemaking on her own estate, but offering financial support to local growers willing to move their own production over to organics and will then pay a premium for their grapes. Now that really is walking the walk.
Whitehaven’s first vintage of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc sold a total of 5,000 cases in the United States. It was the first in a 14-year relationship with E&J Gallo that has seen it become America’s top-selling by-the-glass Sauvignon Blanc with sales for the 2018 vintage up to a tidy 350,000 cases. So what is the secret of its success? What flavours are Whitehaven going for? How does it achieve year-on-year consistency and how does a Marlborough-based estate manage growth from not owning any winery or land in 2000 to being one of the biggest players in the US? Peter Dean met up with Whitehaven chief winemaker, Sam Smail to get the lowdown.
If Australia could only pick one wine region to showcase the very best wines it can produce it would be wise to single out Margaret River. For it might only be responsible for 2% to 3% of the country’s overall wine production, the wines being made there are amongst the best in the country. Richard Siddle continues his journey around the main wine regions of Australia with the first of a two part review that looks back on the history of Margaret River and how it is now as famous for its winemakers as it once for its surfers and hippies. Although there’s no reason why you can’t be all three.
The equivalent of 1.4 million punnets of fresh table grapes are discarded in the global supply chain each year – a significant waste that is being addressed by the launch of HYKE a new premium English gin. HYKE is produced by Foxhole Spirits, which three years ago launched a gin made from by-products from the English wine harvest, and is being launched on March 18 – Global Recycling Day. Emma Diggory went to the launch at Spring in Somerset House and reports back on what makes HYKE so unique.
Director of Purchasing
Director of Sales
Director of Quality
Director of Planning and Procurement
Director of Operations
+44 (0)1207 52 1400
Get in touch
Before the en primeur tastings have begun in Bordeaux, the first taste of the new vintage takes place in London every year through the 134-member Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux. Geoffrey Dean tastes a wide variety of Bordeaux 2018 and gets a vintage overview from the president of Grand Cercle. 2018 was a challenging year, with powdery mildew and a blistering hot summer being two key factors, but there are some good wines and some very good wines produced, particularly from the Right Bank.
It did not need the tub thumbing, gravitas of former US Vice President Al Gore to drive the sustainability message home at last week’s Climate Change Leadership event in Porto, but it certainly helped. His rip roaring address was, though, only a reflection of the hard yards, and pioneering steps being taken by many companies right across the global wine industry to do what they can to tackle climate change. It was an inspiring two days of talks and debates with the underlying message that we must all collectively do more than we currently are if we are to make any real impact.
For further information please contact:
Cristina Villar Miranda
The Lanchester Group has long been at the forefront of running its bottling, packing and wine development businesses on a strict sustainability agenda – like the wind turbines and solar panels that produce enough energy to power its site as well as supply electricity for thousands of home through the National Grid. It is now unveiling pioneering, heat pump technology, that will allow it to generate more energy by pumping flood water out of disused coal mines on its sites in the north east to power its new bottling site facilities that will double its capacity and, it believes, puts it at least 10 years ahead of its competition.
Brilliant organisation and wines that were firing on all cylinders made this year’s Nebbiolo Day the best and most educational one yet, argues Justin Keay. Fearing the worst from over 500 young, highly tannic wines, Keay came away enthusing about the potential of Nebbiolo’s lesser known regions of Valtellina, Alto Piemonte and Carema where higher altitudes mean crisper, lower alcoholic reds. Keay picks his favourites as well as shares his tips on what to buy from Barolo and Barbaresco.
If you are heading to Prowein next week then you might want to get yourself there on time on the last day in order to hear leading wine critic and commentator, Tim Atkin MW, revisit for the first time the subject that helped him become a Master of Wine, and his dissertation on the intricacies of Hungary’s iconic wine region, Tokaj. Here Atkin shares just what it was – and is – that has enchanted him so much over the years.
Although we in the trade know of four distinct styles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, customers are less aware, even though they definitely know what they like and what they don’t like. A recent study supported by the Institute of Masters of Wine that is a collaboration between Saint Clair Family Estate and yeast producer Lallemand makes for fascinating reading. Wine expert Jamie Goode, who took part in the research, argues that the report is far from conclusive but does give winemakers and everyone in the trade a revealing look at what styles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc customers prefer and why.
The New Zealand wine industry has been dominated by the global phenomenon of their zingy, tropical fruit-heavy Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs for decades. On a recent trip around New Zealand’s wine regions, The Buyer’s Mike Turner discovered why it’s time that other grapes and regions in this beautiful country take centre stage, and none more so than the wonderful Syrahs coming out of Hawke’s Bay.
“We like to offer things that go beyond the usual suspects. We’re led more by what tastes lovely in the glass than ticking the grape variety boxes.” Welcome to the wine buying strategy – and philosophy – of bar owner and wine buyer, Kate Hawkings, who has helped pioneer and drive the wine scene in Bristol with first, Bell’s Diner where she helped shape the wine list and then Bellita, which only champions female winemakers. Hawkings has a fresh, straight forward approach to wine buying which is 100% focused on putting wines she knows her customers will want to have in their glasses.
Bibendum and its independents division, Walker & Wodehouse, might be about to unveil its latest wine ranges to customers and buyers at a series of regional tastings this week, but the real work for what we are about to see actually started way back last summer when buying director, Andrew Shaw and his team first started going through where it needed to strengthen, adapt and extend its range in order to keep up with the latest drinking trends and demands from customers and buyers about which wines they would like to see them carry. Richard Siddle talks to Shaw about the series of steps he and his buyers go through.