Given the choice on-trade wine buyers would love to travel the world and source wines directly themselves. But few have the time to do so. Fortunately they are able to turn to those businesses that can in a market where companies of the scale of Lanchester Wines are able to source, ship, develop, bottle and deliver exclusive wines just for you. Richard Siddle travelled to Durham to find out how it works.
For the past four years Wine Australia has been running its Tasting Blind Club in which a wide variety of on and off-trade specialists meet every month to see if they deduce correctly a flight of high quality and unusual examples of Australian wine. The Tasting Blind Club winner for 2016-17 is wine educator Julia Lambeth, owner of the South London Wine School. We decided to ask her what is her knack? and how can other professionals improve their blind tasting skills?
Two years ago few people outside those wine suppliers and producers directly serving Bargain Booze or Wine Rack would necessarily have heard of Conviviality PLC. But now with the acquisitions of Matthew Clark and Bibendum PLB it is now turning over more than £1.5 billion a year. Richard Siddle looks at its first year of trading as a combined group and says the biggest worry for its competitors lies in the future synergies and cost savings it is down to make.
Last week Ben Walton of Ben’s Canteen hooked up with wine writer and PR consultant, Christina Rasmussen and regular contributor to The Buyer, to host a tasting with a difference: based on wines made by women winemakers. It proved a great success. Here we rewind the clock to when Christina and Ben first got to know each other whilst she interviewed him for an article looking at a business driven by burgers, wine and brunch. In that order…
Mike Turner puts aside his prejudices against Bag-in-Box wine and gets wowed by the bling-tastic and premium quality boxed wine from Platinum, a winery in Italy’s Abruzzo region. Not only does Mike think the wine delivers, but the concept has been devised to allow casual dining and food-focus chains to maximise its profit margins.
For all the gold medals and plaudits that English wines receive at international wine competitions it does not alway warrant them any more space more on premium on-trade wine lists. They still have to go up against the quality, and most of all price points, that wine buyers can get from rest of the world. To assess what buyers think of English wine and to compare different styles with their international peers, The Vintner hosted a special tasting and debate with The Buyer.
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Philip Hunter samples a range of craft beers from Birra del Borgo and Goose Island paired with a variety of different food dishes and muses about the success of beer pairing. Most of the matches were spot-on, especially a post prandial Imperial Stout clocking in at 15% ABV, but finding a beer that pairs well with rum baba proved elusive.
Justin Keay argues that the Jackson Family Wines portfolio of wineries in Oregon is a great help in understanding winemaking in this, the third most prolific wine-producing state in the United States. He samples and lists his pick of the wines from WillaKenzie Estate, Penner-Ash, Gran Moraine, Siduri and Zena Crown. Geoffrey Dean also talks to Barbara Banke and her team as to why now is the right time to start finding allocations of these wines before the Asian market does.