“It is clear we are all sick of hierarchical, traditional, old-style (read: pale, male, stale) leaders who haven’t done much for pushing the needle forward for everyone… ‘Rule Breaker’ is a manifesto for how to lead now.” That’s how Jackie Fast introduces her new book that claims any successful business leader needs to be willing to break the rules, rip up the old ways of doing things and truly lead with a spirit that anything is possible and I’m here to help us make change happen.
8 has always been Sassicaia’s lucky number and so it has proved once again with the spectacular 2018 vintage, writes Peter Dean. To make it even better Sassicaia 2018 is the 50th anniversary release. But although 2018 was a cool ‘classic’ vintage in Bolgheri it was by no means easy, as Tenuta San Guido’s Priscilla Incisa della Rochetta explains live and direct from Tuscany. Full tasting notes plus Guidalberto 2019 and Le Difese 2019.
When Wine Future last took place in Hong Kong 2011 you had to be there to hear what was said. This week the 2021 revamped online version of the four day conference is available to us all from the comfort of our own homes. Here Gonzalez Byass’ global marketing director, Eugeni Brotons, explains some of the branding and marketing challenges that he will be covering during today’s digital and social media session.
“My reflection, as an outsider who has struggled hard to find a suitable role in this industry…is it is too white, too male oriented and males who look, act and behave exactly like one another. Where do the rest, a huge chunk of us fit in? We are like little flies trying to find an anchor to rest. And if we do find a spot, we are shooed off.” This is the damning conclusion that Sumita Sarma has felt after eight years trying to make a career in the wine industry. But she is not giving up. Far from it. As she explains in this hard hitting, challenging, deeply personal, but also inspirational article, she is determined to play her part in getting the industry to open up to people of all backgrounds so that it can be proud, rather than ashamed of how diverse and inclusive it is.
There is more than one President who’s hung up his spurs this year – and in the case of Innocente Nardi, he is going out in a blaze of glory. Nardi’s tenure as the president of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG has been an unqualified success: two years ago the Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene hills were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, controversial pesticide glyphosate has been banned making his region the largest agricultural area in Europe to have banned the use of this product and he has helped the region achieve two record-breaking years in 2019 and 2020 with 92 million bottles produced. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements has also been putting Prosecco Superiore ‘on the map’ – with consumers finally getting the message as to what the difference is between this and Prosecco DOC.
Tonight the results of the inaugural UK Wine List of the Year Awards were presented as part of a live streaming event to recognise some of the best wine driven restaurants and bars in the UK. The finalists were selected from entries from all over the country by a panel of some of the most awarded sommeliers in the world. The event is the first to be held in the UK and is jointly hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List.
For a wine producer getting your wines into the ultra competitive UK market has been one of the hardest challenges they face around the world. Such is the sophisticated and long standing network of wine agencies, distributors and wholesalers it’s hard to know where to start. The pressure on those agencies and importers has never been greater such has been the impact of Covid-19 and all the subsequent lockdowns, closure of the on-trade and the knock-on effects they have had. Jamie Wynne-Griffiths believes he has come up with a new distribution model that really puts the needs of wine producers first and is ideal for the uncertain times we are living in. His new Propeller business allows producers to ship, store and only sell their wine on consignment in the UK, with a model that gives them control over the relationships they build up with UK retail and on-trade customers.
Hotfooting it back from South Africa before quarantine came into effect, Geoffrey Dean reflects on his experiences there. One winery he visited, Babylonstoren, in the Simonsberg-Paarl ward, represented some hope amongst the troubles in the country. Throughout the pandemic the estate has managed to keep all of its 300 staff, and sales are up 20-30%, despite the lack of international visitors to its acclaimed gardens. Dean talks to cellar master Charl Coetzee about how they have achieved this.
Tonight is the night when the winners in the first UK Wine List Awards – co-hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List – are announced. To help set the scene we talk to three of the awards’ partners who also work with Star Wine List on its global awards series: Austrian Wine; Côtes du Rhône; and SoWine. Together they look at the steps they have taken to support the on-trade in lockdown around the world and what the new UK awards can do to help outlets return when they can.
So what have you got up to in the last week? Even in our own national lockdown it would have been more than Giles Cooke MW who remains confined to a hotel room in Adelaide, as he continues his two-week self-isolation just so he can be freed to go and work on the harvest and 2021 vintage for his Thistledown Wines in McLaren Vale. Here he continues his Quarantine Diary covering days five to seven.
“We discovered stories that seem to be forgotten, not for lack of narrative, but for a lack of storytellers. I’m truly excited to have a chance to finally tell those stories.” That was the starting point for Simon Woolf and Ryan Opaz when they decided to join forces to produce a book that really gets to the heart of what it means to make wine in Portugal through the eyes of the people that make it. Here they both explain how the book has come together, but also how you can help bring it to life by taking part in a publishing crowdfunding campaign.
“It’s great to be able to recognise the fantastic work done in the on-trade and all the hard work that goes into putting together a wine list and offering a truly unique experience to the guests.” That might be the reason why Nigel O’Sullivan, founder of Fine Wines Direct UK, wants to support the new UK Wine List Awards, but it also very much sums up the approach he and his team take when helping restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels put together their wine lists. Here he explains why working in long term partnerships with its customers and producers is key to its success.
At home or at work, finding the perfect wine to match a dish is a fine art – in his latest book Wine & Recipes, wine consultant Raul Diaz uses his Chilean heritage and experience of visiting over 100 countries to inform a colourful and insightful look at wine-and-food matching. Apart from featuring some dazzling recipes the book attempts to lead you into making some smart pairing choices, advice which can be used as a basis for on-site training.
The finalists in the inaugural UK Wine List of the Year awards, co-hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List have been announced. These awards have been introduced to recognise the work that goes on behind the scenes to reward and recognise the sommeliers and buyers responsible for working with their suppliers to compile the most dynamic wine lists in the country. What’s more the finalists are decided by the all sommelier judging panel featuring former Best Sommeliers in the world. The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony at 6pm (GMT) on February 22.
“Yes, brewing kombucha in East London in a converted car garage whilst DJs played house music probably meant we were hipsters – but don’t hipsters deserve to live a balanced lifestyle too?” That’s how Adam Vanni and the team behind the kombucha brand, Jarr, believe they have created a hip and happening style of kombucha that takes it out of the health shops, yoga classes and into the hands of those who are looking for a cool alternative to alcohol or sugary soft drinks that they can feel proud to be seen drinking. Here he explains why and how kombucha is tapping into a new insatiable thirst from a new generation of drinkers.
There are many in the wine industry prepared to go to great lengths for the chance to work on a harvest, but few would perhaps go quite as far as Giles Cooke MW. For not only has he flown to Australia in the middle of lockdown, he is now holed up in a hotel room in Adelaide for the next couple of weeks serving his quarantine before he is released to go out and work the harvest on his own wines for Thistledown Wines and Alliance Wine in the McLaren Vale. Here’s the first of the diaries he is planning on writing to help him through his confinement.
Taylor Fladgate delayed the release of its new vintage ports including the Taylor’s Vintage Port 2018 until now to respect hospitality. It has maintained pricing on the Taylor’s, and the Croft and Fonseca are both ‘early-drinking’ which suits the UK market where we are drinking more port than ever. But what is also out of the ordinary is to get a third-in-a-row Taylor’s classic vintage – in a year when the drought was so bad that the source of the Douro actually dried up. Peter Dean got the story and gives full tasting notes.
The one thing the UK has not lost its thirst for despite all the Covid-19 lockdowns is its passion for sparkling wine, in all its shapes and forms. Even with the on-trade closed for much of the last year, sales of Champagne, Prosecco and sparkling wine have continued to drive sales in the UK wine industry. But what can we expect in the future? How can the sparkling category maintain that momentum? For the answers you can turn to CGA’s latest Wine Insight Reports, in partnership with The Buyer, that looks at all aspects of ‘The Future for Fizz’.
The millions of people who took part in Dry January did so for a myriad of reasons, from looking after their health to raising money for charity. But the fact there are now still millions of people now also not drinking in February just because they want to is a statistic the drinks and hospitality sectors need to wake up to. In fact such is the demand for credible, good tasting, non-alcohol drinks and alternatives to major brands, then Dan Hooper, of drinks marketing agency YesMore, believes we soon won’t need a Dry January.
The release of Saffredi 2018, the 31st vintage of the flagship wine of Fattoria Le Pupille, is further testament to the brilliance of Elisabetta Geppetti and her team who had the foresight and instinct to envision a Super Tuscan coming from the then unfashionable slopes of Maremma. Following on the back of the 2017 – the estate’s 30th anniversary vintage – Saffredi 2018 is also another example of how individual each of the flagship wine’s vintage are. In addition to full tasting notes on the 2018, Peter Dean looks back over 31 years of Saffredi and tastes 21 vintages to assess its evolution.