The London Wine Competition does things differently from the majority of its competitors. It does not just award medals to wines and producers based purely on the quality of the wine – usually only tasted blind. It bases its medal winners using the same criteria as wine buyers and sommeliers do when choosing which wines to list. By quality and what it tastes like, its price point and whether it offers value for money, and what it looks like and whether its packaging and design matches the quality and value of the wine. Here are the results and winners of the 2021 London Wine Competition.
It’s time to raise a glass or two to all the medal winners in the 2021 London Spirits Competition, the only event of its type that rewards distillers and spirit brand owners for making products that tick all the boxes when it comes to how a professional bartender, or spirits drinker, decides which product to buy. By its quality, what it tastes like, how much it costs and what it looks like on a back bar.
The Austrian winegrowing region of Carnuntum hosted Explore Carnuntum, an online wine fair for importers and retailers from around Europe, in late March. Each estate in this small, quality-focused Austrian wine region, hosted its own one-hour online tasting, to present itself, its production, its focuses in export and distribution and its approach in the vineyards and cellar. A guided flight of six wines was shipped out in advance to each interested party with potential business ‘break-outs’ originating from those tastings. Lilla O’Connor, lately the UK head of Wines of Hungary, took part and tells us what it was like and what she discovered.
Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc is the wild garlic of the wine world. So says La Trompette’s head sommelier Donald Edwards who argues that both seem to be ‘one-note’ products that offer far more diversity than at first appears, and are only limited by how we approach them. Always one to take a new angle on wine, food and often radical wine pairings, we reproduce here another instalment of Donald’s excellent blog that looks at that most prolific of wild, free food – wild garlic.
Henners head winemaker Collette O’Leary says what keeps her awake at night is also one of the best things about the job: wondering what her wines are doing in their tanks. There is arguably no conventional route into English winemaking, but if there is, O’Leary didn’t take it. She started in corporate PR, but is much more content over in East Sussex making wines by the sea. Jessica Broadbent caught up with O’Leary about Henners’ exciting expansion and new branding, making wine with the French, and surviving the pandemic.
Canned wine is a genuinely exciting new format and the predictions are that this will be the year when finally there is a real breakthrough. It raises a number of issues against bottles, however: sustainability, parity of quality, image, role in restaurants and format size in general. So what has Mike Turner learned from 12 months of selling canned wines to consumers?
The best restaurants and bars don’t just pick their drinks supplier by the quality of their beers, wines and spirits. That’s a given. It is now increasingly all the extra added value support, insights and consultancy service that national suppliers in particular can provide that sets one operator apart from another. It’s where Bibendum has worked hand in hand with its customers to help them come out of lockdown in as strong a position as possible, as its senior management team explains to Richard Siddle in part two of The Buyer’s analysis of Bibendum’s lockdown performance.
It feels like just a few weeks ago that wine journalist Chris Wilson proposed setting up a new winery, Gutter & Stars, and suggested a monthly feature so that The Buyer could follow its progress. And already his first wine, ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ Bacchus 2020, is bottled and up for sale. In addition, Wilson has linked up with an urban brewer, making beer out of the fermented skins and is already thinking about this year’s harvest.
Each year, the E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Women Behind the Wine Educational Fund in collaboration with the Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation awards 24 women in the wine trade an educational scholarship totalling $80,000. The scholarships, which will empower and support the professional development of the next generation of women in the wine industry are supported by an annual donation by E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Women Behind the Wine platform. Richard Siddle sat down with Florencia Gomez, the winner of the $10,000 Master of Wine Scholarship.
Normally the first quarter of the year sees Louis Latour Agencies show off its portfolio in the flesh, something that obviously could not happen this year because of Covid. So, instead, the importer enlisted the services of wine expert Oz Clarke to pick six innovative wines that he thinks are ‘unexpected’ and break away from the norm. The six innovative wines show off the pioneering side of Louis Latour – both as an eleventh generation wine producer in Burgundy – and the agencies for which it sells and distributes wines in the UK.
“We know where we have come from – and that’s serving the on-trade,” is how Nigel O’Sullivan, founder and managing director of Fine Wines Direct UK, sums up the last 12 months that has seen this almost exclusive Welsh on-trade distributor diversify into retail and e-commerce for the first time. For whatever new business it has been able to achieve, the company’s heart, soul and DNA lies in the on-trade. Here Richard Siddle catches up with O’Sullivan and sales director Bastien Martinole, to look back on 2020, but assess where Fine Wines Direct UK goes from here.
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Cap Classique, South Africa’s traditional method, premium sparkling wine, is neatly positioned between Prosecco and more expensive English Sparkling Wine or Champagne. As the category celebrates 50 years of production this year, South African wine expert Roger Jones looks back at the wine, the value it affords and picks a ‘magnificent 7’ that you should put at the top of your shopping list.
Are you reading this sitting at home, on a bank holiday, toying with the idea of going for a run, getting outside and doing some exercise, but lacking the motivation, the inspiration to do so? Well, here’s a warning for you. Read this and you will have your running shoes on before you have finished it as Jerry Lockspeiser explains why running has become so important in his life that he has co-written a book that shares the experiences of a rich tapestry of people and what running has meant to them…and their lives. Please read on…it’ll be good for you.
Over a year on from when most of us went into the first lockdown, online tastings have become a strange new norm in the drinks industry – particularly so for the global whisky community. Brands and clubs worldwide have managed to find their feet and make the best out of the situation by creating new ways to manifest online whisky discovery, and it’s paid off. But as restaurants and bars in the UK get the go ahead to open this month, and with many hospitality venues already opening up elsewhere in the world, will online learning continue post-pandemic? That was the subject of the latest Distill Ventures industry debate headed up by Becky Paskin.
Not ones to be dissuaded by a pandemic, Tuscan estate Fattoria Le Pupille launched its new white wine Piemme 2018 and second vintage of its outstanding Syrah Le Pupille 2016 last night, accompanied by a Michelin-starred meal delivered from the Maremma. In an event that simply oozed class, estate owner Elisabetta Geppetti gave the virtual stage to two of her children, Clara and Ettore, who are the next generation of winemakers at the iconic estate and are looking after these outstanding boutique wines.
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The stakes were raised at the OenoTrade at Home portfolio tasting with the most elaborate tasting kit of the past 12 months, bar none. A chauffeur-delivered box that almost required two people to carry, arrived with 13 of the choicest wines from the OenoTrade’s portfolio including a new Liber Pater cuvée, a first vintage of an excellent new Spätburgunder from the Mosel and the 2018 Dominio De Es. Peter Dean picks out his top 8.
Covid-19 has had both a collective and individual impact on everyone working in the drinks, retail and hospitality industries. Whatever your role very few people, if any, have come out of the last 12 months unaffected by the slings and arrows that the pandemic has thrown at us. Throughout The Drinks Trust has stood firm providing front line support for those who needed it most. It has now set up The Drinks Community to act as an online support platform open to anyone in the industry to share experiences, advice and act as a networking service to help us all for the long term. The site’s community manager, Millie Milliken explains how it works.