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.
“This isn’t a romantic approach to wine training, instead an unashamedly commercial one that nurtures company profit, team confidence and happy customers.” That’s how Harry Crowther sums up his new Grain to Grape wine training programme that he has devised after years of experience selling wine and creating wine lists for a wide range of restaurants, bars and pub groups. Here he sets out some of the steps that all operators should be looking to take in order to maximise their wines sales and profits when they finally get to re-open their doors, back gardens and front terraces next month.
A year ago, when the 2020 Essential California annual showcase was being held, no-one could have foreseen that the 2021 instalment would have been a two day event held online. And few could have believed that, in such a short space of time, the industry has adapted so quickly and so expertly to the current restrictions. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, polished his Zalto and his shades, clicked Play on Brian Wilson and co and got engrossed in what was one of the most ambitious online wine events ever.
“There is an unbelievable excitement amongst our customers. It’s gone completely nuts. I can feel the adrenaline surging through the industry again.” That’s how Michael Saunders, chief executive of Bibendum, the national on-trade distributor, describes the response it is seeing from its customers as we count down the days before the on-trade can finally re-open, initially outside on April 12. Here Richard Siddle talks to Saunders and members of the senior Bibendum management team – John Graves, on-trade channel director, and Richard Hayhoe, group head of marketing – about how excited they are in showing the new food and drink offers they have been developing with their customers during lockdown.
Most American winemakers who claim that their new wines ‘outdo’ Burgundy would simply be trying to wind up the French. But when the team at Oregon’s Nicolas-Jay do it, it’s worth taking notice. For its winemaker is none other than Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Vosne-Romanée and he is more than qualified to make the comparison. Peter Dean listened in to Méo and partner Jay Boberg and tasted two of their extraordinary new wines Bishop Creek Chardonnay 2018 and L’Ensemble Pinot Noir 2018. You know, they could be right…
A new agency specialising in Indian wines – appropriately called ‘Wines in India’ – has been launched in the UK with the hope it can shine a concerted light on what is a growing and increasingly dynamic wine scene. Sumita Sarma takes a look behind the scenes and highlights the six top ranking Indian wine producers that have been brought together as part of this new exclusive range.
On the surface, you might not expect Hungary to have so many women winemakers. But, in the Tokaj region, there is a much higher percentage than in other parts of the country; not only winemakers but also women owners of wineries. World expert on Hungarian wine, Caroline Gilby MW, digs a little deeper into the subject, talks to some of the top winemakers to see if she can uncover the reasons why this region is so much further ahead.
If you have been to South Africa then one of the most striking differences is the vast array of flowers, fauna and the distinctive fynbos that you can’t find in any country. Local drinks company Geometric Drinks hopes to capture the unique flavours, spices and aromas to be found in all that wildlife in its range of products that includes the Symmetry collection of natural botanical distillates that have been turned into three tonic essences. Here James Thomas of UK wine importer, Tiger Vines, explains why he is so pleased to be able to bring the brand to the UK.
The interest in Greek wine continues after a decade in which wineries here have almost tripled in number. It has been the switch to championing indigenous grapes and the improving quality of the wines that have been the main drivers. As the standard-bearers start getting into their Sixties so a new generation is taking over with firmer financial footing and a healthy appetite for pushing the envelope. Justin Keay talks with leading producer Stellios Boutaris, who heads up Ktima Kir-Yianni in Macedonia, northern Greece and last year took over the running of Domaine Sigalas in Santorini.
Remember the time when you had ‘heard’ of Facebook or Twitter but did not really know what they were about? Only to find a few weeks later you were spending countless hours on both. Well if you have not heard of the new social media phenomenon Clubhouse you have now. The only snag is you need to be invited to join. How anti-social is that? Stevie Kim, managing director of VinItaly, is one of the many 100s of wine and drinks industry professionals who are being ‘invited’ and joining Clubhouse by the day. Here’s her take on what you will find when your invitation does come…