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    Rob Seddon: from BBC reality TV to wine with Jackson & Seddon

    The first thing that strikes you about Jackson & Seddon is what a great name it is. Like a forgotten 1970’s TV detective partnership. If it was then it would bound to win the hearts of millions of viewers as it would be all about how Rob Seddon and his dog Jackson go about catching criminals. Only in real life it is how they travel to the deepest parts of Italy in search of independent, artisan winemakers they can work with for their slowly growing UK importers business. Richard Siddle wanted to find out more.

    Tasting: Wine

    Roger Jones highlights Yalumba as a star of the Fells tasting

    Last Spring Fells took over the distribution of Yalumba and a few key wineries from the Negociants portfolio. What are the key changes and how are the new vintages tasting? On one of those beautiful summery days in February we sent Roger Jones along to the Fells annual tasting at the Riverside Rooms, Savoy Place to find out and, not only did he catch up with Yalumba’s Robert Hill-Smith but also many other top winemakers, keen no doubt to see how the Fells portfolio was changing with the new additions.

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    Best sub-£50 Californian wines revealed at Essential California

    Let’s face it with so many major wine tastings taking place every week it can be had to find and justify the time to go to even the most worthy. So how do you stand out from the crowd, even if you are much sought after wine region such as California? Well the answer is to put yourself into the minds of your target buyers and customers, says California Wine Institute UK and Ireland’s Damien Jackman and Justine McGovern, and that means having an event that really is Essential to attend. Which is why its March 12 tasting is focused entirely on wines that cost up to £50.

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    How Central Otago got Burgundy to open its closed doors

    Burgundians have got a reputation for keeping themselves to themselves – even when it comes to getting along with their immediate neighbours. So how come that the only official exchange programme they have run with another wine body is with the wine region furthest from them – in New Zealand’s Central Otago? 12 years on Peter Dean listens to what has been learned from the Central Otago Burgundy Exchange programme and why Aubert de Villaine says “it has started a sparkle that has not stopped”?

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    Il Collettivo keeps pace with the dynamic Italian wine scene

    It seems Italy can do no wrong in the UK premium on-trade at the moment. Last month The Buyer reported how Italy had replaced France as the country with most listings on wine lists, which will probably come as no surprise to the specialist importers that are doing such a good job sourcing new exciting, and dynamic wine to bring back for restaurants and bars to sell. All of which is very much the theme of next week’s Il Collettivo tasting which will be a chance to taste the best of some of those importers Italian ranges.

    Central Otago

    How well is Central Otago coping with huge pressures of change?

    In the past 40 years the most Southerly of New Zealand’s wine regions, Central Otago, has proved it can make world class Pinot Noir despite the harshness of its environment, this is winemaking on a knife edge. Today it is at the confluence of a number of key changes – climatic, socio-economic and stylistic – with vineyards being targeted here as ripe for large and small-scale investors. In the first of a series of articles on New Zealand wine, Peter Dean examines how the region is coping with these changes and how the resolve of a tight-knit wine-making community will be tested to the full in the very near future.

    Some own label wine brands have ruffled feathers by bearing a remarkable similarity to the original brand. Here, Sainsbury's private label Camino Del Angel sits side by side with Concha y Toro's best selling Casillero del Diablo.

    IBWSS London: 10 reasons for rise in private label wines

    Private label is a sector that is growing around the globe as consumers are increasingly seeking out value without sacrificing the quality they have come to expect from the big brands. In fact private label and exclusive retailer lines are often now beating major FMCG in the Top 10 sales charts. Ahead of next week’s IBWSS show dedicated to bulk and private label wines being held in London on March 11-12, we look at 10 key reasons why private label needs to be part of your sales and ranging strategy.

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    Nebbiolo Day: Sandro Fay on keeping 1,000 years of tradition

    Producing your own distinct style of wine in an area that is famous for just producing one grape variety is hard, but for the Sandro Fay family it is all about putting the focus on developing Nebbiolo grapes that are as sustainable as possible and using the individual characteristics of single vineyards to really make your wines stand out from even within their own estate. Find out for yourself at today’s Nebbiolo Day tasting in London.


    Final Countdown: what no deal Brexit means for wine industry

    With less than four weeks to go before the UK is supposed to be leaving the EU on March 29 we still don’t know what is going to happen. The only good news is that we should at least know where we do stand by March 14 as a series of MPs votes in the House of Commons next week will determine whether we accept the Prime Minister’s proposed EU deal, accept leaving on a no deal, or ask the EU for an extension to the leave date. Here we set out what a no deal Brexit will mean – and cost – in terms of importing wine from the EU.

    People: Producer

    10 years of Kevin Judd going it alone at Greywacke

    He is one of the most influential winemakers in New Zealand, put Cloudy Bay and Marlborough on the map in the 1980s, and was making single vineyard and oaked Sauvignon Blancs before ‘Class of 2019’ was out of kindergarten. A man of few words but many ideas, Kevin Judd opens up about how the past 10 years have been making wines for his own label Greywacke, and why he has stopped wearing a watch. Peter Dean is all ears and tastes through a decade of Greywacke.

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    Gavin Quinney’s long weekend with Rick Stein & David Pritchard

    If you have grown up enjoying the many adventures of chefs Keith Floyd and Rick Stein (and many others) on TV then we all have the producer behind the camera to thank for making those programmes possible. Sadly David Pritchard died in January from cancer, but he leaves hours of wonderful TV moments behind him. In a personal tribute Bordeaux winemaker, Gavin Quinney, recalls many years of friendship and making films with Pritchard and Stein, including their most recent outing to his home and winery at Château Bauduc where he ended up acting as their local tour guide, setting up shots and arranging which restaurants and vineyards to visit. It’s just a pity the final meal of roast lamb, courtesy of Gavin himself, did not go quite as well as the rest of the filming. Here’s to you Mr Pritchard.

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    Nebbiolo Day: Alessandro Cerreto on biodynamics and terroir

    It might look like a space ship hovering over the vines, but it is actually the rather novel way of feeling as though you are part of the vineyard as you taste wine at Ceretto Wines in Alba. Ahead of next week’s Nebbiolo Day tasting in London we talk to owner Alessandro Ceretto, part of the third generation of the family that is looking to make wines true to the region. Which for Alessandro means not just a heavy focus on Nebbiolo, but a dedication to biodynamic winemaking as well.

    Tasting: Wine
    Dom Pérignon Rosé 2006

    How Dom Pérignon Rosé 2006 moves in a dark direction

    With a new Dom Pérignon vintage technical perfection is a given, what matters most to chef de cave Vincent Chaperon is projecting the lifestyle values of Dom Pérignon – achieving harmony in the wine that plays on the emotions of the consumer. In order to achieve that his job is to “organise diversity” namely, dealing with every element of variation that will end in the vision he has of the finished Champagne. Anne Krebiehl MW attended yesterday’s launch in London and explains how Dom Pérignon Rosé 2006 drives you into a “dark and profound direction.”

    People: Producer
    Grapes waiting to be sorted at Banfi

    Castello Banfi: star of the show at Louis Latour Agencies tasting

    Harry Crowther reports back from Louis Latour Agencies annual portfolio tasting in London where he had the chance to escape to Tuscany thanks to a special masterclass from Castello Banfi where he was able to taste for himself the fruits of all the hard work that goes into the handling, picking and sorting of the right fruit for each of its classic wines. He also picks out some of the highlights from the new range of wines launched at the tasting.

    Tasting: Spirit

    Bar legend Jason Scott creates a night of Rare quality with J&B

    With a cocktail of: one measure of sleek bar, a slice of good company and a chance to blend your own whisky the result was bound to be interesting, it turned out to be a Rat Pack riot of an evening with bar legend Jason Scott at the controls. Neil Hennessy-Vass was there for The Buyer to see if he could do what J&B Rare has managed to do for all these years, namely craft a perfect blend from 42 different malt and grain whiskies.

    Tasting: Wine

    7 magnificent finds from this year’s Wines of Portugal tasting

    Portuguese wine has a strange capacity to surprise and delight you – just when you think you can pigeonhole it or you feel that there is nothing left to discover. Portugal is a multi-trick pony, argues Justin Keay, who found at the 2019 Wines of Portugal tasting that there are still many producers new to him, producing world class wines. Here he reviews this year’s event plus picks out seven producers he was unfamiliar with and who he thinks are good tips for wine buyers everywhere.


    MUST – Fermenting Ideas


    2019 Speakers
    Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
    Eric Asimov
    Paul Mabray
    Felicity Carter
    Miguel A. Torres
    Gaia Gaja
    Isabelle Legeron MW
    Lenz M. Moser
    Pedro Parra
    Pedro Ballesteros MW
    Rodrigo Sepúlveda Schulz
    Simon J. Woolf
    António Graça
    Valéry Laramée de Tannenberg
    Rui Falcão
    And more

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    berry bros own label spirits

    IBWSS 2019: 5 ways to introduce a successful private label range

    Private label, own label, retailer exclusive, store brands, proprietary lines – such has been the explosion in the number of products that are now sold without any brand influence at all that there are so many different ways of describing what is essentially a way for a retailer, restaurant group, or pub chain to put their own name on a product and convince their customers to buy it because they like all the other services it provides. But how do you create a winning private label line? Next month’s IBWSS event in London, dedicated to private and bulk wine, will offer some of the answers, but in the meantime Richard Siddle picks out what he sees as being the Top 5 things to consider.

    Opinion Tasting: Wine
    Delas Frères

    Iconic Delas Frères unveils a new cuvée from Hermitage

    At the recent Maison Marques et Domaines portfolio tasting in London, senior winemaker at Delas Frères, Claire Darnaud unveiled a new Hermitage cuvée not yet commercially released. As a matter of urgency, The Buyer sent its intrepid Rhône specialist Bart Feys to sample this latest expression from the fabled Hermitage hill and to ponder the virtues of single site versus blended Hermitage.

    People People: Supplier
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    Pancho Campo on clearing his name and climate change

    It’s been a tumultuous few years for wine consultant and event organiser Pancho Campo. In 2012 he felt forced to resign his MW after what turned out to be unfounded allegations about his code of conduct. Nearly seven years on he is about to host his second major global summit on climate change having bounced back in some style with an event last year that had President Barack Obama as its keynote speaker. This year the focus is all about wine in what is a return to the issue that he first championed with a series of climate change events in the late 2000s. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about those darker days and how he has brushed himself down and now hopes to play his part in making a real difference in how the wine industry tackles climate change by signing up to the Porto Protocol.