The clock is ticking for those producers, importers and brand owners that want to put their wines to the test in the 2022 London Wine Competition – the only global wine awards to judge on quality, value for money and packaging and design. Entires are open for all three London Competitions for wines, beers and spirits with the chance to get a discounted fee for anyone entering by December 10. Here’s how to enter and the Top Gold Medal wines from the 2021 London Wine Competition.
“We need to break out the defibrillator on our digital skills,” is how Simon Huntington describes the need for the drinks industry, across all channels, to really take digital marketing seriously and understand it is now a vital part of how any company should now be operating. But what exactly is digital marketing and what do you need to concentrate on to get it right? Here Huntington sets out his vision for effective drinks digital marketing.
“If you think Ribera is all about power and extraction, then think again, because it absolutely is not.” So said Tim Atkin MW at the launch of his Top 100 Ribera Del Duero wines which went some way to prove why this is a region on the move and one that wine buyers would be wise to keep an eye on. Village and vineyard specific wines are becoming more common, and there is a new breed of winemaker keen on making contemporary wines that express the high altitude terroir of the region. David Kermode was our man at the Top 100 tasting and the lunch to launch the event – picking 10 of Atkin’s wines to reflect the quality and variety on show.
Regulars at The Birley Group, The Ivy Collection, Chiltern Firehouse, Park Chinois and Aqua Shard are amongst the growing number of premium on-trade customers turning to CBDs and other wellbeing products that offer just a little something more than an average glass of Sauvignon Blanc or gin and tonic. Adam Feldheim is one of a number of new players in the drinks market that are bringing business and finance skills, as well as the ability to create new health and wellness products, to a fast growing community of consumers, as he explains to Richard Siddle.
When Ramón Bilbao devised its premium Lalomba wines it concluded that the best material for vinification and ageing in was concrete. The material is like steel in that it does not impart any aromas into the wine and it is like oak in that it has a high porosity – the end result is wines with finer tannins, better balance and an approachability at a younger age. But concrete also has a terroir story, just as much as where the grapes are sourced from, as Sarah McCleery explains.
“We aim to have the largest and most ambitious environmental conference ever for wine, unifying the entire trade around the most pressing issue that our society and our sector are facing.” That’s the ambition and goal that Pancho Campo has set for next year’s Green Wine Future event that will take place in different continents over a four day period in May. The opportunity for each part of the world to take a serious look at the local challenges they face and what they are going to do to tackle it.. Here he explains how Green Future is going to work and what you can do to get involved.
Eighteen months since the devastating blast in Beirut harbour, Lebanon is still reeling from crisis after crisis. That hasn’t dampened enthusiasm within the country’s wine industry, however, argues Etienne Debbane, head of IXSIR, the company whose winery was named as one of the greenest buildings in the world – in fact wine is one of the few industries that is helping people make ends meet. In a revealing interview with Justin Keay, Debbane explains why he has halved the price of his wines to the domestic market and has focussed his energies on planting more hectares of vines including Pinot Noir and Assyrtiko. Keay also picks out three IXSIR wines that he recommends for quality and value.
The role of a wine buyer may never have been as challenging as it is right now. With the on-going problems with Covid-19 and Brexit and continued shipping crisis, the poor harvests in the Northern Hemisphere could not have come at a worse time. Not least as the industry was already feeling the effects of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc shortage after the low-volume harvest there earlier this year. The problems in Europe have seen a stampede to the Southern Hemisphere, where demand is driving a rise in prices.
A wine producer is nothing without great quality wines. That’s a given. But having great wines is not going to make you a successful wine producer. For that you need brands. But what comes first? Here Tim Ford, co-owner of Domaine Gayda, the independent winery in the heart of the Languedoc Roussillon, talks to Richard Siddle about how having a carefully thought-through brand strategy has allowed it to make wines that reflect and tell stories of the land it makes wine from – spread across four distinct terroirs in this diverse, wine-producing region.
At a tasting to highlight top end Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, Christo Le Riche, chair of the Cabernet Collective explains how the historical wine producers of the Cape are trying to focus worldwide media attention on South African Cabernet Sauvignon in order to underline the region’s ability to make premium and ultra-premium red wine. Le Riche and his fellow members of the Cabernet Collective believe that Cabernet is the grape for South Africa to hang its hat on – that the message from the industry should be specialisation rather than diversification, and that big brands should carry this message to the outside world to allow South Africa to ride bumps in the road more smoothly.
All week The Buyer has been working with the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships to help announce the winners in all its categories. So far we have been able to reveal the 56 Best in Class winners, the 13 Regional Champions, 12 National Champions and here today everything comes to a head with the announcement of seven World Champions, the supreme world champion, the Tony Jordan Rising Star Award and the Chairman’s Trophy.
Sparkling wine has been made to play second fiddle to Champagne through the years, in terms of critical appreciation and ‘column inches’. The tables are turned, however, in Fizz! Anthony Rose’s brilliant new book that focuses more on sparkling wine and the exciting developments that are taking place in wine regions across the world with the likes of English sparkling wine, Prosecco, Cap Classique, defectors from Cava and cool regions like Nova Scotia and Hokkaido. In an extensive interview Rose does cover how climate change is affecting Champagne, why they will cope and the future of the NV blend, as well as reveal how his mis-spent youth included making towers of lead capsules from the oceans of Cava he drank. Rose picks out his Top 10 desert island sparkling wines and there is an exclusive 40% discount for readers of The Buyer.
Steve Daniel has been buying Californian wine for longer than some Californian producers were actually ready to sell it. That was back in his Oddbins days when he was responsible for bringing wines – like Frog’s Leap – to the UK long before they had made their name in California. Fast forward to 2021 and Daniel is still, in his role as head of buying for Hallgarten & Novum Wines, looking to promote and showcase what California does best, which brings us to its recent partnership with Terlato Wines to introduce iconic producers, Sanford and Chimney Rock to its fine dining customers. Here Daniel and Chuck Cramer, Terlato’s UK and European sales & marketing director, explain to Richard Siddle why they think there are so many more opportunities for premium Californian wine in the UK.
You know you are in the heart of winter when your mind turns to pulling together a nice, hearty meat pie, so for all you pie lovers out there here is a treat for you – a new pie recipe that comes all the way from Chile. That’s thanks to Chilean Raul Diaz who continues his monthly food and wine pairings with his take on a classic Chilean dish – the Pastel de Choclo. Otherwise known as corn pie. A pie that Diaz believes is the perfect accompaniment to a quality Cabernet Sauvignon.
Today’s spotlight in the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships turns to its National Champion award winners that picks out the best wine out of all those entered in any particular country. It is the award that producers looking for local bragging rights want to win and identifies those players that are leading the way in their respective countries. The CSWWC is announcing different sets of results each day this week in partnership with The Buyer.
When Italian wine ‘Bible’ Gambero Rosso announced Gianni Doglia as its winemaker of the year for 2022, there were many in the wine trade who were delighted that this visionary winemaker from Piemonte was finally getting the critical acclaim he has deserved. Doglia’s wines, including the game-changing Moscato D’Asti Casa Di Bianca, have won the prestigious Tre Bicchieri awards in the past, but being made Italy’s winemaker of the year also takes into account his commitment to sustainability as both a founding member of The Green Experience and as a follower of Italy’s SQNPI protocol. For wine expert Mike Turner it was an added bonus – Doglia was the person who converted him from drinking ‘snakebite’ into appreciating great wine, and is now a personal friend.
The Regional Champion awards in the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships have been given to the best performing sparkling wine and Champagnes in four of the world’s leading wine producing countries: the United States; Spain; France; and Italy. They are the latest awards to be presented as part of the week long celebrations by the CSWWC team and follow the Best in Class medals announced on Monday, writes Richard Siddle
Judging for the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships is a little bit more committed than turning up for a day shift of tasting. It involves taking four lead judges, a reserve judge and a full administration, logistics and PR support team to Champneys in Kent and going into a strict isolation for two full weeks. There are concessions, however, with full access to the health and spa treatments and heated outside pool. Here Roger Jones, ambassador for CSWWC and reserve judge for 2021 awards, takes us behind the scenes to share what it is like being in a 14-day bubble for judges.
It’s been two years since the Alliance of Crus Bourgeois du Médoc has staged a tasting event, last week’s London tasting being the first anywhere since Covid. In that time it has implemented a new 3-tier quality classification, got Latour’s ex assistant winemaker as its new president, and is set to host Good Wines Only, a tasting-music festival with 6,000 Parisians invited – to help prove that Bordeaux can be fun as well as simply traditional.
Tim Adams is not the only Australian wine producer to be chomping at the bit. Stuck in Australia, unable to travel for months on end, but keener than ever to do business and open up new markets around the world. He is particularly keen to widen his existing business in the UK, a market he loves and knows well, particularly for the new Mr. Mick wine brand that has done so well in Australia and other key export markets around the world. Here he is joined by his business development director, Andrew De Zolt, as they talk about their international plans and in particular the opportunities for its Mr. Mick brand.