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March 20 2019

    Covid Hub Part 2: All Together CEO scheme; & industry response updates

    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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    People People: Supplier
    Robin Copestick is a wine and business man through and through

    Robin Copestick: its a time to be creative, proactive & on the front foot

    We don’t need Charles Dickens to tell us we are all living through the “worst of times” but equally we can only do what is possible in our own personal and business lives to make the most of this extraordinary situation we all find ourselves in. It’s an approach, that typically, Robin Copestick is taking as he and the rest of the Freixenet Copestick team are taking to use this moment to get on the front foot, be creative, act differently and actually turn what we can into the “best of times” when it comes to new product development, ideas and team building.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Pedro Parra

    Why Chile’s Pedro Parra is the winemaker version of Indiana Jones

    When you visit Pedro Parra at his disheveled winery in the South Chilean region of Itata, do not be surprised to see him emerge from out of the ground with a pickaxe in his hand. And don’t be alarmed if you hear the Indiana Jones theme tune in your head. The oenologist dubbed ‘Dr Terroir’ has also been compared to Indy – for his helter skelter career, and his penchant for digging large grave-like holes to inspect the granitic soils his 100 year old-plus bush vines excel in. David Kermode takes up the story.

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    Opinion
    ross sleet 2019

    Ross Sleet: we’ve all been rocked – it’s time to prepare for a different future

    It’s been just over two weeks since the formal lockdown in the UK to help stop the spread of Covid-19. In other countries it is a month or closer to two – like Italy. But it feels far longer such has been the dramatic change to all our lives. So much so that our old way of doing things, be it in business or socially with friends, is likely to have changed forever, says brand consultant Ross Sleet. He says we need to be thinking positively now about how we are going to run and change our businesses in the future in order to be not just relevant and profitable, but be a place where people actually want to work.

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    People People: Producer
    derek and pilar screenshot matt wilson

    Garage Wine’s Derek Mossman on building a brand on Instagram

    As countries all over the world go into lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown, wine producers are having to turn to social media and online even more than normal in order to talk and tell their stories to their customers, both in the trade and their end consumers. It’s giving those winemakers who have already built up a strong social media profile a head start, like Derek Mossman of Garage Wine Company in Chile, who has more people following him on Instagram than the cases of wine he sells.

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    Insight
    Bordeaux Long Read

    Jane Anson: the ‘Inside’ track on Bordeaux and the En Primeurs

    With the cancellation of the En Primeur campaign and a recent cold snap that included snow, Bordeaux is having its fair share of issues right now, quite apart from the Covid-19 tragedy being played out across France. From her Lockdowned base, world Bordeaux expert Jane Anson speaks to The Buyer at length about the current climate as well as the scope of her new, eagerly-awaited book Inside Bordeaux which, clocking in at 700 pages with 60-plus maps, many of them gate-fold, is one of the most comprehensive books ever written on the region. What makes Bordeaux tick; the under-the-radar estates that sommeliers should make a beeline for … plenty of terrific insight in this revealing, in-depth interview.

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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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    Opinion
    The Zoo Biscuits is a group of South Africa's most exciting alternative winemakers many of whom who also rely on buying and selling wines on the bulk and high volume market both for cash flow and to help access fruit to experiment with

    How experimental bulk wine can be the other secondary market

    Hands up who comes out in a cold sweat every time the phrase ‘bulk wine’ is mentioned, but immediately perks up when they hear about wines being made with basket presses and open top fermenters? Well, have we got news for you. The two worlds are actually intertwined with each other, particularly for those who know what they are doing, and where to get their hands on the sort of high volume, low priced grapes that they know are going to be ideal to help them embark on the kind of winemaking experiments they simply could not afford to do with their main, primary fruit. Winemaker Oliver Styles lifts the lid on bulk wine, but not as we know it – the other secondary market.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Alsace

    Spurrier, Palmer, Stevenson, Jones: the 12 best wines of Alsace

    If ProWein had gone ahead this year one of the many highlights would have been the presentation of the 12 most exceptional wines from Alsace as judged by an august group of experts, Steven Spurrier, Rebecca Palmer, Kelly Stevenson and our own roving editor in chief Roger Jones. 120 wines were tasted over the course of two days in Alsace, the focus being on Crémant, Gewurtztraminer and Riesling – the style and varieties which are currently the focus of the Alsace wine body’s marketing campaign for 2020. In this, the first of two parts, Jones sets up the tasting and reveals which 12 wines were unanimously judged to be Alsace’s finest.

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    People People: Supplier
    lauren bowery

    Plumpton’s Lauren Brewer: from selling wine…to making it

    There are many circuitous routes into the wine trade, many of which include a stint working at either Majestic or Oddbins. It was during her time working in a Majestic store that convinced Lauren Brewer that wine could be the career for her. In the first of a series of articles profiling students from Plumpton College, the UK’s main viticultural and wine business education centre, she explains what her course entailed and how it has set her on the way as a winemaker.

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    People: Producer
    Banfi

    Banfi’s Jgor Marini: the lessons learned under Italy’s lockdown

    It is reassuring to hear someone say “we can see the light at the end of the tunnel” during the Coronavirus catastrophe, especially when they are based in Italy. Jgor Marini, regional manager for Castello Banfi says that unofficially the government is saying that lockdown will be partially lifted there on May 4. So how has Banfi been operating under strict lockdown, how will it continue to do so and what lessons has it learned about making and selling wine during a pandemic?

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    Opinion
    Illy Jaffar helped pioneer a different way for wines and spirits to connect directly with consumers

    Illy Jaffar: thinking differently & preparing for life after Covid-19

    It does not matter how many “How to succeed in…business…or life” books you’ve read, no one knows what is going to happen to the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors we all rely on for our careers and livelihoods in the weeks and months that lie ahead of us. But what we can do is try and remain positive and, according to brand consultant Illy Jaffar, make sure any new habits, changes in behaviour and ways of working all prepare us for how to do business when we come out the other side.

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    Insight
    edelman lead trust

    Edelman Covid-19 Report: brands’ response will dictate their futures

    The actions you take now as a brand, retailer or drinks business will have a long term impact on how you are regarded as a company to trust by your customers, according to the latest findings in the highly respected global Edelman Trust Barometer report. It asked 12,000 consumers in 12 key markets to assess their attitudes and responses to what steps brands and companies are taking to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. It makes for fascinating reading. How does your business stand up to what consumers might expect from you?

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    Opinion
    running+a+restaurant Long Read

    Mike Turner: we need banks and insurance to turn taps on NOW 

    The on-trade is in a cash flow crisis right now and banks and insurance companies need to alleviate the pressure by turning on the taps immediately, writes restaurateur Mike Turner. A co-owner of French restaurant La Ferme in London’s Primrose Hill, Turner shows how the devil is in the detail of recent financial promises – both by the government and by financial institutions. Although he is optimistic that his business is eligible for financial aid, there is plenty of room for pessimism – the rateable value ceiling of £51k, banks looking for personal guarantees, and insurance companies trying to default on technicalities, is detracting from where our real focus should be, which is on helping people cope with the virus.

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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 Brampton: the skills needed for 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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