“This is very different to the other awards, there is an informality and a sort of ‘joy’ about it.” That’s how the Wine Society’s Ewan Murray described last year’s awards ceremony for the People’s Choice Wine Awards which has just kicked off the entry process for this year’s competition. Now Murray had just won a boot full of awards, but it very much sums up the trade’s reaction to this new breakthrough awards. Here founder, Janet Harrison, explains why she was so keen to get everyday wine drinkers involved in her new competition.
UB40’s song ‘Red, Red Wine’ has been a part of all our lives since 1983 – whether we wanted it or not. Played at discos, parties, weddings, conferences, and even funerals. It’s the song that made the band world famous. Fast forward to 2019 and the original UB40 has split up but lives on with two of its original members, UB40 with Ali (Campbell) and Astro. So when the chance came for them to turn what had always been an interest in wine into actually making a wine, they jumped at the chance. Alistair Morrell explains how it happened and why it is far more than just a celebrity wine brand.
Argentinian Malbec is the type of wine that if you pick it from a wine list the sommelier may well suggest you try something else. A victim of its own success? Perhaps. Suffering from an outdated perception? Very possibly. It is with these thoughts in mind that Justin Keay attended the Malbec Day tasting at the Argentinian Embassy in London and discovered first hand just how innovative the wines have become in a remarkably short space of time. No real fan of Malbec before the event, Keay comes away suitably impressed and picks out seven that you should try before you buy.
Such has been the surge in demand for imported wine in China, thanks to highly significant free trade deals with key countries such as Australia and Chile, it has also opened the doors wide open for the global bulk wine market. So much so that the World Bulk Wine Exhibition, that hosts the sector’s biggest and most important trade fair in Amsterdam every November, is now about to hold its first event in China. Here’s why and what we can expect.
Pinot Noir may have been the grape that helped Oregon gain international recognition, attract large scale investment and, arguably, punch well above its weight. But almost half of the state’s output are from 71 other different varieties. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, travelled to Portland, Oregon and discovered a thriving ‘garagiste’ winemaker scene, intent on proving that Oregon is no varietal monoculture – making small batch cuvées from dry farmed, own rooted, hand harvested ancestral varieties that trace back to the state’s earliest viticultural pioneers.
Over the coming weeks The Buyer will be running a series of articles, insights, profiles, and interviews on different aspects of the Californian wine scene in a new link-up with the Wine Institute of California. You can find out more about what the Institute is doing to promote Californian wines around the world as well […]
There was one very noticeable absence on the recent Wine Institute of California’s UK trade trip. Robert Parker. Not the great man himself. He wouldn’t have qualified. But his all pervading influence which normally dominates any debate about premium Californian wine. On my last trade trip to California some years ago much of the conversation amongst the UK visitors was about alcohol levels and wood. Not this time. California has moved on. This time the key theme was all around sustainability and the many initiatives, programmes and guidelines there are now to help growers and producers certify their vines and make wine in a sustainable way. Which, in turn, has encouraged, if not forced, producers to turn their focus away from their shiny wineries to what is happening in the vineyards.
Breathing new life into annual generic tastings is not an easy game, as anyone who organises these events knows all too well. With last Thursday’s The Big G tasting, Wines of Germany made it all look so simple, with an event that showed an entirely new perspective on German wine – and so very different from the oh-so-cool Vinyl Factory-staged G-String event last year. There were some great flashes of innovation and inspiration as well as a lot of talk about… Sekt. Peter Dean reports entirely without the use of double entendres.
The wine industry is often criticised for working inside its own bubble, only ever taking influences and inspiration from within the industry rather than naturally looking outside to other consumer food and drink sectors for ideas and a new perspective. It’s why the appointment of Rodolphe Lameyse as the new chief executive of Vinexpo is potentially so exciting. It is the first time the international exhibition business has gone outside the wine industry for its leader. Here Lameyse talks to The Buyer about how he hopes his experience as a specialist in organising leading trade shows around the world will help bring new ideas, and a fresh strategy for the group at a vital time in its history.
The en rama category was created by Tio Pepe just ten years ago with the launch of a raw sherry that was marketed by the company like a yoghurt – with a Best Before date and everything. At a special anniversary dinner, in which the company flew over its big guns and celebrity chef Nacho Manzano, David Kermode managed to taste all but one of the last 10 vintages, see how the Tio Pepe En Rama 2019 stands up to its predecessors, as well as get a revealing insight into the trepidation the company felt before launch and what has happened since.
Wines of South Africa’s Sommelier Cup competition is not just an opportunity for leading sommeliers around the world to showcase their skills and their knowledge of South African wine, it has proven to be a melting pot of sommelier talent that has helped them hone their skills, as many of the past winners and finalists have gone on to become their own country’s national sommelier winners with the overall 2016 winner, Marc Almert, going on to become the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019. Here’s how you can get involved in this year’s competition.
With a further 90,000 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines planted last week to take the total acreage to 200, Rathfinny Estate in Sussex is on course to have 350 acres under vine by 2021. At today’s London launch of its third Sussex Sparkling, a Blanc de Noirs, Anne Krebiehl MW believes that it is the dry, restrained style of the estate that has already become Rathfinny’s signature style. That, and the very ripe hedgerow fruit and spice, that marks it out as being unmistakably English.
For the first time two classic Italian wine regions, Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino, joined forces to present a unified front to UK trade and consumers allowing us to really get under the skin of the two most revered Italian red wines, and understand the varying components of their single grape varieties, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. Titled Barolo and Brunello: The Two Italian Kings, the event had focussed tastings run by Sarah Abbott MW in which she extolled the benefits of tasting the two wines side-by-side and drew out what makes them so distinct and enthralling.
They say in the world of journalism that a photograph is worth a 1,000 words and here’s a story to prove it. Clean and simple. This is the winning photograph taken by Jon Wyand which has earned him the prize of Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year, part of the overall Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2019 competition. What’s more it is the second time that UK photographer Wyand has picked up the award. A picture that tells its own story…
The results of the second London Wine Competition are in and they are a resounding success for Australia, which picked up a staggering 31% of all the medals that were handed out. What’s even more impressive is that the bar was raised significantly in the awards’ second year with more entries, more medals and more judges taking part. The awards were introduced to represent how consumers buy wines, based not just on their quality, but what they look like on shelf, and what value for money they offer.
The Majestic Wine saga continues to throw up twists and turns as chief executive, Rowan Gormley, looks to reshape and rebrand as a strong and sustainable Naked Wines business into the new financial year. Discussions will be ongoing and the future will likely be uncertain for employees up until, and even potentially after, the investor presentation on June 13. Mike Turner experienced first hand during his days in the City the plight as an employee seeing his livelihood discussed and deliberated in the press, and offers some well meant advice to Gormley and Naked Wines about how it handles its communications and support to its staff during this time of uncertainty.
With so many spirits brands competing for space any premium back bar how do you choose one vodka, or gin, or whisky, or mezcal over another. Well the medal winner in the second London Spirits Competition could be the place to look for not only is it judged by leading bar tenders and managers, but it judges products for their quality, what they look like and, vitally, for their value for money. Here are all the highlights from the 415 medals awarded in the 2019 competition.
At the launch of #SauvBlancDay Dr Jamie Goode included one of the Sauvignon Blancs of Denis Jamain from Domaine de Reuilly in a blind tasting, extolling the virtues of both the wine as great value, and of the winemaker as one of the grape’s early pioneers. Reuilly ofter gets overlooked in favour of its more illustrious Central Loire neighbours Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé and yet it is producing world class wines at amazingly good value. Peter Dean visited Denis Jamain and was equally impressed by what he tasted.
We’ve all heard the comparison that passing the Masters of Wine exam is the wine industry’s equivalent to climbing Everest. But it is one thing knowing everything about what goes into making a glass of wine, that all falls by the wayside if you don’t then have the personal and commercial skills to go out and make the most of having those two big letters after your name. That’s where MW Access comes in. A new match making service if you like that hopes to give wine businesses the world over the chance to tap into the international MW talent pool and be potentially connected with the right MW who can help them fix a particular problem or come up with a new way of working for their company. It has been set up by three MWs, Tim Wildman, Barry Dick and Michael Palij, to find the right MW, with the most relevant commercial and technical experience who is tailor made for whatever business challenge or opportunity a particular business might have. Here Richard Siddle catches up with the founders of MW Access.
The Okanagan Valley. The name alone certainly has a ring to it. Jump on a plane (or two) to get there and you won’t be disappointed. At least not according to Janet Harrison, founder of the People’s Choice Wine Awards, who not only enjoyed a memorable trip to Canada’s British Columbia, home of the Okanagan Valley, but has come back keen to get as many people in the trade to go and discover its beauty and exciting and dynamic winemakers for themselves.