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    Covid-19 Hub June: CGA on on-trade’s return & CYT on wine in lockdown

    As the UK and the world slowly starts to look at how it can emerge from the other side of Covid-19 The Buyer has scaled up its rolling Hub and updates service to keep the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors up to date with what steps are being taken to help businesses not just survive, but regroup, relaunch and come out of this crisis with the tools and knowledge to grow. This is Part Four of The Buyer’s Covid-19 blog that starts on May 28 with all the latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.

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    Opinion
    anderson valley beer

    Kevin Shaw on how beer has been “giving him the eye” in lockdown

    As a top designer of wine bottles and spirits Kevin Shaw gets more than his fair share of samples to keep him going, but up to recently there has been a gap not only in his drinking but in the projects that his agency, Stranger & Stranger, has pitched to work on. Until he rediscovered his love and interest in beer. He had for years fallen out of love with what he felt was all uninspiring lager. But now he has once again seen the light. Here’s why…

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    Opinion
    Bordeaux 2016

    Liv-ex: Why now is not the time to release Bordeaux 2019 En Primeur

    Bordeaux En Primeur, arguably the most important date in the global fine wine calendar, should be postponed for the 2019 harvest, according to Liv-ex. Failing that, or only a dramatic move price-wise will be enough to justify it, according to the latest report from the global marketplace for the wine trade. Peter Dean highlights some of the key findings from Bordeaux 2019 – The Value of Time as the first chateaux release their 2019 En Primeur prices.

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    People People: Supplier
    mimu ordering

    Mimu: new ordering app helps bars & brands know what’s being sold

    Whatever social distancing rules are put in place, bars, pubs and restaurants won’t be able to return unless they have a contactless ordering and payment process in place that consumers can understand and easily use. The founders of Mimu believe they have not only got that, but can offer so much more by providing drinks brands and on-trade operators data and insights not available to them before by analysing what customers are buying, when, and what persuades them to change drink and food choices. The app is already proving a success in Australia and now hopes to find drinks and on-trade partners to work with in the UK, says founder Andrew Jones.

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    People People: On-Trade
    mark quick smiling

    Hawksmoor’s Mark Quick: how I won Best Restaurant Buyer 2020

    If you are going to win an award for being the best at what you do it might seem a bit bizarre to receive it at a time when you can’t actually do the job you are being congratulated for doing. It that at all makes sense. But that’s the situation that Mark Quick, head of wine at Hawksmoor, found himself in last month on finding out he had been named Restaurant Buyer of the Year in the inaugural London Wine Fair Wine Buyers Awards. It was, though, a massive boost for him whilst he tries to keep himself busy whilst, like thousands of others, he is currently on furlough due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Here he explains to Richard Siddle some of the ideas that helped him come away with the top prize.

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    People People: Producer
    virtual champagne

    How much real value is there in virtual Champagne tasting?

    With little to celebrate in the world right now and the on-trade dormant, sales of Champagne have been dealt a bitter blow. But, in some arenas, sales of prestige and vintage Champagne are witnessing sales at near-Christmas time levels. Sara Underdown looks at the ‘new normal’ of E-sales and virtual Champagne tastings, talks to growers, importers, and associations – plus the likes of The Finest Bubble and Tyson Stelzer who are finding successful new business models that are generated healthy sales.

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    Opinion
    writing novel books

    Anne Burchett: Chapter 1 of her new novel – Tasting Notes

    Anne Burchett will be well known to many people in the wine industry for her wide and experienced career that has seen her head up Castel in the UK, as well as the French PR agency Sopexa before setting out on her own as a freelance wine PR and marketing consultant. But for all her success, she has always had one ambition that she had not been able to achieve. Until now. That is to write and publish her own novel. Which she is now doing, during lockdown, as a serial, releasing the chapters weekly online of her debut novel, Tasting Notes, that charts the semi-autobiographical account of a female wine professional working in the UK wine trade. Why? Well, as she says: “I’ve always wanted to be is a writer.” Here we are pleased to publish her first chapter on The Buyer.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Ceretto

    How Ceretto shows Barolo 2016 is the vintage of a generation

    With Barolo 2016 it is a question of DO believe the hype. Almost as soon as the berries were picked, winemakers in Piedmont knew that 2016 was going to be ‘bellissimo’ with the region enjoying absolutely perfect weather conditions – benefitting from a rare confluence of the perfect amount of rainfall and the perfect temperatures. For a producer such as Ceretto, which has been championing single vineyard expressions of Nebiolo for three generations, this vintage is ideal for showing off the differences in its terroir. Peter Dean talks with Federico Ceretto, hears how 2016 matches up to other great vintages of the past 20 years and tastes the wines.

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    Opinion
    Kelby Russell from Red Newt Cellars was able to bring to life the excitement in New York State wines taking place in the US that he hopes can now come to the UK and Europe

    Red Newt: pushing the boundaries of New York wines

    “A serious producer of fine Riesling – very impressive” is how Jancis Robinson MW has described the wines coming out of the Red Newt winery on the banks of the Seneca Lake in New York State. Which as accolades go is a pretty good one to have, particularly as it now starting to ramp up its efforts to be as recognised outside the United States as it is at home. Here winemaker, Kelby Russell, a self confessed Riesling obsessive, explains the styles of wine he is trying to make in the first of a new series looking at different producers and winemakers across New York State.

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    Opinion
    Chardonnay

    Why Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are NZ’s ‘most successful grapes’

    Down on ‘the other 45th parallel’, New Zealand’s cool maritime climate, long sunshine hours and varied soils are producing Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that in one breath emulate Burgundy yet in another plough a furrow all of their own. In the second in a series of four webinars, trade body New Zealand Winegrowers brought together four master sommeliers to take a deep look at the two noble varieties. Can the grapes ever escape Sauvignon Blanc’s shadow – and would the sommeliers want them to?

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    Insight
    bruce jack screenshot

    Covid-19 Hub May: Jack on wine’s future; 100-day recovery plan

    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. This is Part Three of our Covid-19 blog that starts on May 1 with latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.

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    Insight
    mcdonalds safe distancing Long Read

    Covid-19 April: Post-lockdown fears; consumer confidence dips

    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. This is Part Two of our Covid-19 blog that starts on April 8 with latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.

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    Insight
    The

    One Step Beyond: Download the full landmark conference report

    When The Buyer came together with Sophie Jump to organise and hold the inaugural One Step Beyond Conference in early March the focus was 100% on analysing the most disruptive changes in consumer behaviour and technology. Little did we know that just over two months on so many of those changes have now been put on fast forward because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Here is the full report from what was a breakthrough conference for the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors. A day that brought experts from outside the industry’s comfort zone and gave them the platform to set out what we can all expect from consumers and technology in the future. Predictions that are already being seen in how fast businesses and consumers alike are responding to the challenges of Covid-19.

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    People: Producer
    EQUIPE DANS LES VIGNES DE CHOUILLY Long Read

    Champagne AR Lenoble: trying to celebrate 100 years in a pandemic

    The global pandemic COVID-19 has changed life for all of us, of course, but for Anne Malassagne and her brother Antoine, owners of AR Lenoble, it has been doubly galling because 2020 is the year they were going to celebrate the Champagne house’s centenary. Here, in an in-depth and colourful piece, Christian Holthausen retraces the family history through 100 years of hardship, puts COVID-19 into a global and historical perspective and brings us bang up to date with the last 25 years during which Anne and Antoine set out a gameplan on how to remain independent and ensure at least another century of great Champagne while many houses around them were selling up.

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    Opinion
    kevin shaw eureka

    Kevin Shaw and his “Eureka” moment for the UK wine industry

    You may not know Kevin Shaw personally, but you will know what he does – even if you don’t realise it. He and his team at Stranger & Stranger have designed some of the most iconic and influential wine and spirit bottles and label designs across the world’s biggest supermarket shelves and the hippest back bars in the world. Shaw also likes to disrupt, to shake things up, to borrow ideas from history, culture, music and the arts and use them to create something new that can stop people in their tracks and force them to pick up his latest bottle and label design. Here he throws down the gauntlet to the wine industry to look at a completely different category for inspiration and to help drive innovation and ideas – yes perfume. It is, as he explains, his Eureka moment for wine.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Las Fincas Rosado

    Julián Chivite on lockdown & new wood-aged Las Fincas Rosado

    As life slowly returns to normal in Spain, Julián Chivite speaks about how Lockdown affected his wine empire in Navarra, how the local workforce got them through and export markets are just beginning to come back to life. He also gives the back story to his innovative two new wines – the wood-fermented Las Fincas Rosado and Las Fincas Blanco, 2 Garnachas, that are the latest wines to come out of his collaboration with chef Juan Mari Arzak. Made with premium on-trade in mind, the wines are distinctive and trend-setting and undeniably Spanish.

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    People People: Producer
    bouchard

    Bouchard Finlayson’s Judy Bakker on life in lockdown

    As we all come together today to celebrate South African wine and the #SpectacularSouthAfrica initiative organised by Wines of South Africa, it is also timely to reflect on the scale of the impact the country’s lockdown, to try and contain the spread of Covid-19, is having on its wine industry. Here Judy Bakker, general and financial manager at Bouchard Finlayson, one of the country’s most historic estates, assesses the steps it has taken to adapt to life during Covid-19.

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    People: Producer
    73CC1418-66A6-43CE-976A-EB8AC8DB9889

    Late English frost: how Ambriel, Flint and Harrow & Hope coped

    May 13 was unlucky for some English winemakers. That was the stark reality of a late frost last week that saw 25 vineyards suffer frost damage across 90-100% of its vines. The effect of the frost was also seemingly arbitrary – Breaky Bottom which is close to the sea in Sussex had almost total damage, while Rathfinny which is also close had none. Our ‘retired’ Michelin Star restaurateur Roger Jones reports back from Harrow & Hope, Flint Vineyard and Ambriel to see how it affected them and also to see how they prepare themselves for the worst.

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    Insight
    Another of the social media adverts that have been created to encourage #safedistancing

    Covid-19 Hub Part 1: Drinks trade reaction to crisis & UK lockdown

    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. This is Part One of our Covid-19 blog that records the events and trade reaction over the days in March leading up to the closing of all bars and restaurants and subsequent national lockdown in the UK

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