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    Insight
    City Harvest schemes operate all over the world

    Covid-19 Live Blog: Off-trade boom; C&C’s LOCAL app & other initiatives

    The situation surrounding the impact and spread of Covid-19 in the UK and around the world is changing so fast The Buyer has set up this rolling updates service to keep you abreast of the latest official guidelines and recommendations from the government, but also the individual steps that businesses are taking to keep trading and help their customers do the same. Today we turn the focus on latest off-trade sales, Bibendum’s LOCAL app to help home deliveries, The Drink Trust’s Emergency Fund and Louis Latour Agencies’ Banfi webinar amongst others.

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    Insight
    drinks trust your round

    How you can help The Drinks Trust Covid-19 Emergency Fund

    The impact of the Covid-19 virus continues to wreak havoc across the drinks and hospitality sectors as 1000s of individuals and 100s of companies have seen their world turned upside down in a matter of weeks, if not days. To help those most in financial need The Drinks Trust has set up an emergency Covid-19 relief fund. Here’s how you can help by donating money, how the scheme is going to work and what individuals can do to apply to receive grants from April 6.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Armit

    How Armit’s Italian portfolio is going from strength to strength

    Held in London just as the travel ban started to take effect in Northern Italy, but just prior to full lockdown, Armit’s Italian tasting displayed many of the crown jewels of the Italian wine scene, even though many winemakers could not make the trip. Armit’s new managing director Brett Fleming is bullish about the company’s future, aiming to take it from £20m to £30m turnover over the next few years, and he sees the Italian wines as key to this growth along with boosting the importer’s profitability. As well as the on-trade, Fleming will be looking to prioritise the private client and off-trade side of the business, seeing opportunities for some of Armit’s premium producers. Justin Keay was there for The Buyer who tasted his way round the room and picked eight producers that shone on the day.

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    People: Producer
    treasury michelle brampton

    Treasury’s Michelle Brampton: skills needed to manage multiple markets

    “We have become a net exporter of talent because the market here is so competitive.” That’s the view of Michelle Brampton, managing director of Treasury Wine Estates not just for the UK, but also for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Her predecessor, Tom King, is now heading up Treasury’s business in Asia. Here in the first part of an extensive interview, conducted before the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak hit Europe, Brampton explains to Richard Siddle the demands there are on her role to manage Treasury’s major power brands across multiple markets and how as a business it is also focused on improving, challenging and building the skills sets of its people.

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    Tasting: Wine
    larder

    Time to take on the ‘Lockdown larder’ wine-pairing challenge

    Most readers of The Buyer will have a pretty good idea of the basics of wine-pairing. It’s a skill isn’t it, picking the right colour, variety, style, producer (even vintage) to go with a variety of dishes… in the hands of the right sommelier it is almost an art form. But put aside for a minute the fresh goat’s cheese salad, rib-eye and poached rhubarb crumble, how good are you at picking the right wine to go with what you only just managed to find at the back of the decimated supermarket shelves during lockdown? So what wine do you think sir or madam would like to complement the delicious umami succulence of their Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodles?

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    Opinion
    img_7266

    Rewind: Why Ramsay’s Culinary Genius was a Kitchen Nightmare

    With the news that Gordon Ramsay laid off 500 staff this week, we thought it would be a good time to re-run this gem of a feature. Because he’s game for a laugh, our drinks editor Peter Dean decided to apply to be a contestant on ITV ‘s Culinary Genius, the new Gordon Ramsay cookery show. Six weeks after learning how to do almost anything with a knife, the big day arrived and our intrepid chef headed to ITV Studios for his chance to show he could do much more than just put a Pop Tart into the toaster. We couldn’t possibly comment on how Ramsay treats his staff but the way contestants on Culinary Genius were treated left a lot to be desired.

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    Insight
    shipping containers

    Hillebrand’s global shipping report in response to Covid-19

    For all the efforts everyone in the drinks industry is taking to do what they can to keep sales going and products flowing they all rely on the smooth running of the global drinks distribution business. With so many lockdowns in countries across the world, the situation is becoming more complex to keep on top. To provide the trade with the latest information, global logistics provider, Hillebrand has released the latest data on the supply chain conditions in all the main countries around the world.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Flint

    Flint draws what’s left of the crowds with epic masterclasses

    A who’s who of the UK sommelier scene showed up for the Flint portfolio tasting, one of the last to be held before lockdown. The reason? The day had been specially curated with the sommelier in mind – wines that are just right for the on-trade, and a set of masterclasses that offered genuine practical help. The one compered by Ronan Rayburn MS and Stefan Neumann MS on blind tasting was the best masterclass that Mike Turner has ever attended, and he has attended a few let us tell you. Other subjects covered included the cutting edge of sustainable practices in Europe and America, and an in-depth look at the white wines of Italy. In addition to reporting on the day Turner also picks 6 of the Best – the pick of the wines which he thinks will work best for sommeliers.

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    Insight
    ronan sayburn ms

    How sommeliers are coping and helping during Covid-19

    As the on-trade has effectively shut down across large parts of Europe, South America and now the United States, in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, it has left thousands of restaurant staff, sommeliers, and bartenders in limbo and stuck at home. The latest online Real Business of Wine Forum talked to senior sommelier figures to see what advice they had to keep their colleagues active, occupied, or, better still, to help find new ways to make money.

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    Tasting: Wine
    California

    Classic California Cabernet and Chardonnay can be keenly priced

    Peter Ranscombe goes back to school during four masterclasses in London to learn why California’s wide variety of terroirs and blending options allows it to produce competitively priced wines below the £50 mark without compromising on quality. From larger American Viticulture Areas like the Central Coast and Sonoma County through to pockets including the Alexander Valley, Carneros and Mendocino, the sheer scale of The Golden State allows suppliers to find wine-by-the-glass candidates that won’t break the bank.

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    People People: Producer
    Raul Perez

    The future of Bierzo: Raúl Pérez on Godello, Mencía and old vines

    We have heard a lot about the so-named New Old World in recent years. Which is usually used to talk about emerging wine countries from Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. But there are also good examples of ‘New” worlds being created in classic old wine countries like Spain. The New Spain movement being driven by charismatic and influential winemakers like Raúl Pérez who has made his home in Bierzo. Anton Moissenko travelled to meet and share his story.

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    People: On-Trade
    Milos Danihelka

    The L’Fleur bartender starts a grower revolution in Prague

    In this first in a series of reports from Prague, drinks consultant Harry Crowther finds that if you scratch beneath the surface of ‘Stag Party central’ you will find a buzzing drinks scene with awesome bars and a new wine scene heavily influenced by Austrian and Hungarian vignerons. In this post, Crowther meets up with Milos Danihelka bartender from the L’Fleur whose love of Champagne has started his very own grower revolution. Listed as one of the world’s Top 50 Discovery bars, L’Fleur has an exciting range of cocktails but it is the wine list that now boasts 120 Champagnes with over 70 lines coming from the grower circuit, that has really got tongues wagging, and helped him set up his own on-trade importing business Terroirs Champagne.

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    Opinion
    Brexit

    Cramele Recas’ Philip Cox: Covid-19’s impact on global wine supply

    As Romania’s largest wine exporter Cramele Recas, with customers in most major wine markets around the world, is well placed to be able to assess what impact the Covid-19 outbreak is having on the global supply and movement of wine. Here its owner, Philip Cox, gives an open and frank account of how hard business has become and what it’s like just trying to get wine moved from what is a landlocked country to his key global customers.

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    People: On-Trade
    The Harrow

    David Kermode: ‘The Last Hurrah’ of the Harrow at Little Bedwyn

    Saturday night saw the final service at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, the Wiltshire-based restaurant run by Roger and Sue Jones for 21 years, which had become a favourite haunt for the wine industry – tickets for final sittings were selling faster than hand sanitiser. One of the final lunches was a classic, hosted by Vranken Pommery, keen to pair its top cuvées from the 2002 vintage with Jones’ faultless eye for culinary detail. David Kermode was there for The Buyer who reports that even with the disaster of the Coronavirus looming ever closer, it could not detract from a meal of truly epic proportions.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Cava Spiliadis

    Justin Keay on how Cava Spiliadis is filling the Greek wine void

    Greek wine is on a surge of popularity in the UK right now – sommeliers can’t get enough, it seems, of Assyrtiko, Xinomavro, Mavrodaphne, Malagousia, Moschofiliero and Agiorgitiko – in many cases quite literally. There is a shortage in supply of quality Greek wine in the UK, writes Justin Keay, with most large importers not yet on the bandwagon. There are a couple of exceptions with Cava Spiliadis being the most notable. At its second UK tasting, this New York-based importer showed over 100 quality wines with the least well known being the most popular.

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    Opinion
    troy christensen black and white

    Covid-19 we need urgent action: Enotria & Hallgarten chiefs

    As the Covid-19 situation escalates across the UK on-trade and hospitality sectors, and more restaurants and bars are forced to close, the industry’s senior figures are calling out for more urgent action to be taken by the government to protect jobs and help all businesses including the suppliers that help keep those outlets going. Here Enotria’s Troy Christensen and Hallgarten’s Andrew Bewes explain the measures they are taking and what support they want to see from the government.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Chateau de Pommard x 67 Pall Mall-35

    Why Château de Pommard is Michael Baum’s obsession

    Silicon Valley entrepreneur Michael Baum is a self-avowed disruptor, and a biodynamic evangelist, who sees sommeliers as key to the success of Château Pommard, the prestigious Burgundy estate he acquired six years ago. At an exclusive lunch he tells Victor Smart how he intends to get from a direct-sales model to 25% of production channelled through restaurants and bars. As well as opens the latest releases including the sought-after ‘Simone’ which has a trade price of a cool £300 a bottle.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Syrah

    Why Syrah is the unsung hero from Washington State

    While Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling may continue to grab all the headlines, Syrah was Peter Ranscombe’s pick at last week’s ‘Unsung Heroes’ tasting, hosted by Washington State Wine. He finds out that – thanks to its complex mix of soils, warm summers and cooler autumns – the state can produce wines that have the ripe fruit flavours of the new world alongside the structure and the freshness of the old world. Apart from reporting on the two Jamie Goode masterclasses, Ranscombe also picks his Top 10 Syrahs from the tasting.

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    People People: On-Trade
    kate-hawkings

    Kate Hawkings: how restaurants are coping with Covid-19

    “The rituals of eating and drinking together are at the heart of our civilisation, of our very humanity, yet now they are what make us all most vulnerable.” In just one sentence Kate Hawkings, a former restaurant owner herself, captures the dilemma we are now faced with. The desire on one hand to support our local on-trade, but the knowledge we might be putting each other risk if we do go out eating and drinking. Here she shares her personal feelings towards coping with Covid-19 and talks to her contacts and friends in the restaurant trade about what impact it is having on their businesses.

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    People People: Producer
    Reka and Pier Haros have been putting a brave face on their situation and informing as well as entertaining the wine industry with their daily social media posts

    Reka Haros: what life’s like in the Covid-19 lockdown in Italy

    As we all come to terms with what impact Covid-19 is going to have on our personal lives as much as our work and business, we can only learn from those who are already having to live directly with the outbreak of this virus. Like Reka Haros and her husband, Pier, and young children, who have been cut off from normal life at their Italian winery, Sfriso, in Veneto in northern Italy. Here she shares what life really is like when you have to go into lockdown.

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