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    paul schaafsma
    People People: On-Trade
    lwf wine buyers awards

    Top restaurant names shortlisted in LWF’s first Wine Buyers Awards

    As we named this platform The Buyer, clearly what goes into being a good drinks buyer is a topic very close to our hearts. Which is why we not only welcomed the new Wine Buyers Awards from the London Wine Fair but were very pleased to be the media partner for its Restaurant and Wine Bar category. Now the judging has been completed it’s time to announce the shortlist in each of the categories. The winners will be announced on May 19 at a special session at the London Wine Fair itself.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Koshu

    How the Koshu wines of Japan are now daring to be different

    Just four years ago it was hard to tell most Japanese Koshu wine apart, writes Peter Dean. Subtle, sublime, delicate and highly uniform, Koshu could easily have become simply a category of curiosity. But this month’s Koshu of Japan trade tasting displayed how the wines are changing for the better. The increase in vine age and improvement in winemaking technique are resulting in seriously good wines – still, sparkling, orange and now reds – which are perhaps the most exciting development of them all.

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    People People: Producer
    chris davies famille helfrich

    Chris Davies on taking Famille Helfrich to buyers across the UK

    Famille Helfrich is as well placed as anyone to know what wines are best suited for premium restaurants and bars as it was set up to do exactly that as the dedicated premium on-trade and independent wine merchants’ arm of Les Grands Chais de France (GCF). Next week buyers from all over the country are invited to come to Birmingham and take part in its two-day annual portfolio tasting and the chance to taste over 300 wines from across France, but also GCF’s growing international range. Here Chris Davies, Famille Helfrich’s head of sales in the UK, marks your card for what to expect.

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    Opinion
    ross sleet talking

    Ross Sleet on creating Rascallion to appeal to millennials and Gen X

    There is so much research and analysis into the opportunities, but also the perils of creating a brand that is aimed directly at appealing to millennials. But it is a tightrope that Ross Sleet has been prepared to walk across by creating the Rascallion wine brand that deliberately looks to not only get millennials on board, but also connect with Generation X. In this fascinating piece he talks openly about the thought process involved and how travelling the world and talking, listening and seeing how people, young and old, connect with wine and brands in general has helped Rascallion become an international success.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Seresin

    How Seresin wines are progressing under Tamra Kelly-Washington

    It was just under two years ago that Tamra Kelly-Washington, former winemaker at Yealands, took over the reins at Seresin Estate – the Marlborough-based winery run by famed cinematographer Michael Seresin. With the wines now being distributed in the UK by Enotria&Coe, David Kermode aka Mr Vinosaurus, thought it was time to give the new vintages the once-over to see how they have progressed, looking at Leah Pinot Noir 2017, 2014, 2007 and 2004 as well as the 2018 whites.

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    Insight
    liberation group pub

    How Liberation works “as one” with Bibendum on its wine offer

    “It feels like we are working together as one business. Not like they are a supplier or operator working for us.” As compliments go for a national drinks distributor working with a new customer they don’t get much better than that. But that’s how Jayson Perfect, managing director for pubs and inns at the Liberation Group, particularly strong in the Channel Islands and the West Country through the Butcombe Brewing Co, describes its relationship with Bibendum since they first started working together in June last year.

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    Opinion
    Brexit

    Cramele Recas’ Philip Cox on Brexit nightmare for UK trade

    Although the Prime Minister boasts that he has ‘Got Brexit Done’, the hard work has only really just begun as the UK attempts to secure a trade deal with the European Union before its self-imposed deadline of December 31, 2020. As a director and co-owner of Cramele Recas, Romania’s largest exporter of bottled wine, Philip Cox has an unique perspective on these trade negotiations in a post-Brexit world. Given that Romania only joined the European Union in 2007, Cox has first hand practical experience of exporting wine to the UK both as a member of the EU and as a non-member. He is also English, understands the British psyche, and fears that the nation is sleepwalking into a restrictive trading environment that will severely hinder trade. In this insightful piece Cox details the many steps that Brexit will add to wine import and export – with VAT, customs declarations, labelling, Preferential origin certificates, VI1 forms – and which ones he believes the UK wine trade needs to actively lobby against now, or face a nightmare of added administration and costs.

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    People People: Producer
    chiara lungarotti

    Sangiovese RESET: Lungarotti on making classic Umbrian wines

    For all those that have travelled to Umbria, either to taste and buy wine or just to go on holiday, cannot have failed to have been captured by its sweeping hills and stunning scenery. The Lungarotti family has been at the heart of its fine wine scene thanks to the quality of the wines it produces at its Torgiano and Montefalco estates. Now the winemaking rests in the hands of Chiara Lungarotti, who works alongside her sister, Teresa, who handles the marketing and PR.

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    People People: Producer
    kevin white

    Washington State’s Kevin White and his ‘unsung hero’ story

    Washington State might be a long way from the Rhône Valley, but winemaker Kevin White is doing all he can to bring it as close to what he sees as being his inspiration for making wine. Which is why on his property he only grows and makes wine with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre and when he does it is very much a minimalist approach as he wants the fruit to shine rather than anything he does in the winery. You can taste his wines for yourself at next month’s Washington State Wine tasting.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bollinger LGA 2012 Launch - Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver

    How Bollinger La Grande Année 2012 is the heart of creaminess

    It is a year since Champagne Bollinger launched the monumental La Grande Année 2008 and between that vintage and La Grande Année 2012 it has bottled no other La Grande Année wines. The 2012 more than lives up to expectations, Anne Krebiehl MW writes, with the 2012s being hedonistic from the get-go in contrast to the 2008’s understated appeal. Iconic English St JOHN Restaurant was chosen for the UK launch because of its focus on craft, simplicity and the essence of ingredients – key tenets shared with Bollinger and the construction of these stunning wines.

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    Opinion
    jack merrylees

    Jack Merrylees on what it’s like to run Majestic Wine’s PR team

    “It’s not a career I ever sat down and chose, but it’s certainly a unique and exciting one to have ended up in. Particularly as I started out as a van driver in Majestic Swindon.” Now that could be a sentence to introduce any number of people in the wine trade, who have stumbled into the career they now have in wine. But this one belongs to Jack Merrylees who heads up the PR for Majestic Wine. Which is a job title that, as he explains, covers a lot of remits, from emptying spittoons at press tastings to handling urgent calls from the national press.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Davys 2

    How Davy’s is evolving in right direction, even after 150 years

    To celebrate 150 years of business in the wine trade James Davy uncorked an 1870 Madeira and an 1870 Port at its Old World Portfolio Tasting. Treating on-trade, consumers and the wine bars as one integrated business unit is one of the secrets of its success, says Davy. But so is its portfolio that covers all bases, argues Justin Keay. Davy’s focuses on small, almost boutique producers and has an impressive 90% exclusivity on its wines. Keay focuses on three producers in particular that highlight the direction Davy’s is headed in.

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    Insight
    london wine comp judges all 19

    Top judges on why London Drinks Competitions are different

    Looking at the past winners is one indication of a competition’s value, but arguably so are its judges. Who are the people tasked with making the decisions about which drinks win an award? It’s why the three London drinks competitions, London Wine, London Beer and London Spirits – only works with managers, buyers, sommeliers and bartenders that are professionally working in retailers, bars, restaurants and pubs.

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    People People: Supplier
    helen mcginn holly

    Helen McGinn on the highs of being “The Knackered Mother”

    Ten years ago Helen McGinn sat down to write her first blog as her alias ‘The Knackered Mother’ with no more intention of it being something to share with her family and some close friends. A decade later she is publishing the second edition of her award-winning Knackered Mother’s Wine Guide, that did so much to transform what wine means to so many everyday drinkers – both mums and dads – and is able to look back on countless TV appearances, being a regular on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, and having a long-standing column in the Daily Mail. Here she shares the highs of what it’s like being Helen McGinn and the ‘Knackered Mother’ at the same time.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Vinora

    Vinora: searching for the world’s most exciting volcanic wines

    The volcanic heartland of Central France was the setting for Vinora, a 3-day wine fair and conference focused on celebrating the volcanic wines of the world – with particular emphasis on the wines of the Côtes d’Auvergne AOC and Puy-de-Dôme IGP. David Kermode travelled to Vulcania, a theme park near Clermont-Ferrand that hosted the event; hears from geologist Patrick Marcel and author John Szabo MS, attempting to shed some light on the link between volcanic terroir and what we experience in the wines; Kermode also picks 10 volcanic wines that ‘blew him away’.

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    Insight
    lanchester boutique alfonso

    ‘Boutique’ bulk helps Lanchester push sustainability to suppliers  

    If Lanchester Wines was ever invited onto a corporate version of Mastermind then bulk wines would have to be its specialist subject. Perhaps alongside sustainability. For thanks to its parent company, Lanchester Group, which also includes the specialist Greencfroft Bottling business, Lanchester Wines is at the forefront of buying, shipping and packing wines in the market where they are going to be sold. It’s even now created a new ’boutique’ market for bulk wine that is allowing it to work with and source smaller parcels of premium and more eclectic wines that can still be sent in bulk and bottled in the UK. Richard Siddle talks to Lanchester’s Mark Roberts and Lesley Cook about what makes boutique bulk potentially so exciting.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bancroft

    Bancroft Wines portfolio tasting – 30 years and still going strong

    Solid bankers for every wine list, some personal favourites and a couple of oddball wines for the wine geeks amongst us – Mike Turner picks his Top 10 wines from the Bancroft Wines 30th anniversary tasting. What was most surprising, though, was the amount of organic, biodynamic and vegan wines that Turner discovered on the list – 40% of all the wines were certified organic – and a long list of other sustainability initiatives.

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    Opinion
    Joe Fattorini h

    Joe Fattorini: we’ve had enough…it’s time to cut back wine duty

    “Last year Yasmeen, Cathy, Brian, Imran and Sean had a wine tasting in Coronation Street. That didn’t make it to the papers. Because today wine is part of everyday life for people in every corner of the UK. What did make the papers was when Coronation Street’s script writers mistakenly suggested a large glass of red would cost just £3.00. Viewers knew that was a real piece of fiction.” Joe Fattorini on typically blistering form as he makes a passionate case for a cut in wine duties in the Budget.

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