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    Insight
    wosa good screenshot Long Read

    Debate: What South Africa needs to do to future proof its wine industry

    Even if Tom Cruise and his Mission Impossible team had been available I’m not sure even they could have solved the challenge of “How To Future Proof the South African Wine Industry” in the hour debate that was held online earlier this month as part of Wines of South Africa’s Insider Sessions designed to throw the spotlight on different challenges and opportunities facing its industry. Here Richard Siddle, who helped chair the session, summaries the key solutions of the panel of leading South African winemakers and producers.

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    Insight
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    Building vineyard biodiversity to combat a climate emergency

    While human intervention can correct all manner of issues in a vineyard, the one that is increasingly having the greatest impact is climate change. That cannot be combatted… or can it? Wine expert Michelle Williams spoke to growers in Australia, Spain, Austria, and the USA to learn about their efforts to do just that, through vineyard biodiversity. From grape variety selection, cover crop practices, biodynamic farming and encouraging Mycorrhizal fungi, winemakers are finding that when you are faced with a complex problem – using complexity does help.

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    Insight
    Bruno at Ch Carsin

    Jessica Broadbent on Bordeaux’s push to a more sustainable future

    The percentage of sustainable wineries in Bordeaux has nearly doubled in the last six years as more producers see both the environmental, but also commercial advantages in switching their production. The region is now on course to have 100% of its wineries running some sort of certified sustainable scheme by 2030. For a region that is so often celebrated more for how well its different appellations are performing this is a case of individual steps for collective gain, as Jessica Broadbent finds out in this analysis of what other steps Bordeaux is taking to safeguard and grow its future.

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    Awards
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    London Spirits Competition: why early bird pricing makes sense

    The world’s best spirits will once again be battling it out and vying for attention in the London Spirits Competition, which goes into its fourth year on the back of record entries for the 2020 event, increased recognition around the world and a new consumer website, The London Drinks Guide, that has been launched by its organisers to help promote the brands, distillers and their importers who pick up medals and trophies in the event.

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    People People: Supplier
    digital support

    Wine Owner’s Nick Martin: transform your business with digital support

    The pace at which the wine industry has had to respond to seismic change during 2020 and get online just to do business has been unprecedented. It has also stretched to breaking point many of the existing legacy management computer systems out there that aren’t flexible nor built for a digital era. Here Nick Martin, co-founder of Wine Owners, sets out what he sees as being the sector’s biggest technical challenges and how having a wine industry specific digital operating system running everything from your ordering, stock management, brokering through to e-commerce and other sales channels can be a real game changer.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Barbadillo Long Read

    Manzanilla & beyond with Tim Holt & Bodegas Barbadillo

    Bodegas Barbadillo is one of the founders of the modern sherry business, with important historical claims throughout history. It was the first producer to name a Manzanilla, the first to bottle it, and the first to pioneer ‘en rama’ as a modern sherry category. Jessica Broadbent heard from Barbadillo’s Tim Holt about the real importance of the bodega design, the stories behind five of its sherries plus a remarkable discovery that has led to a new sherry-based vermouth being released that is like a ready-made negroni.

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    Opinion
    Code of Conduct Text written on notebook page, red pencil on the right. Motivational Concept image

    Tom Lewis on a diversity & inclusion code of conduct

    With a background that covers diversity and inclusion, behaviour change and various forms of regulation, chartered accountant and chief financial officer Tom Lewis, who also writes about wine as The Cambridge Wine Blogger, outlines how to take the discussion around industry representation and behaviour standards forward with some practical steps, particularly around sanction and reward, that have worked in other sectors.

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    Awards
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    CSWWC’s record year as it announces medal winners

    2020 will not go down as a year for anyone to be doing much celebrating, but it has not dampened the spirits of the Champagne and sparkling wine world with a record number of entries into this year’s Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships with producers from up to 30 countries competing for the event’s top awards. Today The Buyer reveals the winners of what are a total of 128 Gold and 237 Silver medal winners with the trophy results to be released next month.

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    Tasting: Wine
    sparkling wine

    Why global sparkling wine is catching up with Champagne

    Greece, Spain, New Zealand and England are just some of the countries that are producing sparkling wines that match, if not beat, the wines from Champagne on quality and undercut them on price every time. That’s the view of wine consultant Robert Mason who highlights seven wines that he believes will work well in the on-trade (when it gets back up to speed). He also investigates the use of bentonite, the artificially reduced yields during 2020, vintage wine release patterns and price and wonders whether status is over-playing its part in the Valée de la Marne.

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    People People: On-Trade
    roger and sue masks

    Raise a Glass To: Roger and Sue Jones for all their Covid efforts

    When Roger and Sue Jones announced they were to close their much loved and celebrated restaurant, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, there was a rush to book a table before their final service in March. In the end the outbreak of Covid-19 meant they had to close their doors before their final date. Rather than enjoy an early retirement, the couple have never been busier launching a series of initiatives to first cook and feed hundreds of vulnerable people in their local community, before switching to running a gourmet takeaway service which it is now using to raise money for a series of charities in December. For all their efforts during Covid-19 The Buyer salutes Roger and Sue and we’re sure you will join us in Raising A Glass to them.

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    People People: On-Trade
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    Onwards & Upwards: McLaughlin on her trade experiences

    Fiona McLaughlin has enjoyed a wide and impressive career that has seen her rise through the ranks at Majestic before switching over to the on-trade to head up sales in the south west for Enotria&Coe. She is now looking for her next role in the wine industry and hopes to be able to find the right company to share her experience, and passion for working with and developing teams.

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    Opinion
    Cloudy Bay 2020 Long Read

    Peter Dean on his ups and downs with Cloudy Bay

    Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Bay used to be regularly consumed in the Dean household, with a 12-bottle case bought every vintage. But in 15 years not a bottle has been purchased. So what changed? And what would the new vintage Cloudy Bay 2020 taste like in the company of winemaker Daniel Sorrell? Despite the problems associated with running a winery in a pandemic, the harvest was thankfully spectacularly good and all the signs pointed to the new wine being a corker, but would that end up in the glass?

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    People: Producer
    Gutter & Stars

    How Chris Wilson’s Gutter & Stars wines are starting to take shape

    Wine journalist – and regular Buyer writer – Chris Wilson has added another string to his bow as he launches his own urban winery in the heart of Cambridge. In the latest instalment of his column for The Buyer he extols the virtues of doing the bare minimum in a white jacket and reveals the details of a guerrilla rosé that’s crept into his cellar. To geek or not to geek? That is the question he is asking himself this month as the cramped space limits what science he can apply on site, and the wines themselves start to take shape – in thrilling fashion.

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    Awards
    iwsc awards live

    IWSC announces its 20 wine & spirit trophy winners

    As the closing credits on the first online ceremony for the IWSC awards have just finished The Buyer releases the results of the 20 most coveted trophies in its 2020 competition. Producers, distillers, suppliers, retailers and leading figures across the wine and spirit sectors have all had the chance to watch the first virtual pre-recorded awards ceremony – hosted by David Kermode and Joel Harrison from the Ridgeview winery in East Sussex. Here’s who the trophies were awarded to…

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    Conference
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    How wine2wine will put diversity & inclusion centre stage

    If you want to keep on top of the latest global trends in wine and the digital community that supports it, then you might want to cancel any Zoom calls next Monday and Tuesday. Unless they happen to be part of the wine2wine event that is going online between November 23-24 to give anyone in the world the chance to watch and take part in what will be over 50 sessions all beamed out online. Two of the key themes this year are diversity and inclusion with a number or keynote speakers from around the world. Here are some of the highlights.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François 2007

    How Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François 2007 delivers

    The Champagnes of Billecart-Salmon have always been a connoisseur’s favourite, but the reputation of one of its top two wines Cuvée Nicolas François was sealed in 1999 when the 1959 vintage was declared to be ‘Champagne of the Millennium’. As if that wasn’t enough the same wine in the 1961 vintage was declared the runner-up! Anne Krebiehl MW talks to CEO Mathieu Roland-Billecart and cellar master Florent Nys about this extraordinary cuvée, why 2007 is such an energetic vintage and, of course, tastes Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François 2007 with full tasting notes.

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    Opinion
    iwsc david kermode standing

    David Kermode on presenting the IWSC’s virtual awards

    Tomorrow’s IWSC awards ceremony will be like nothing we have seen, or experienced, before. Rather than put on our Sunday best and head to London’s grand Guildhall we are all invited to instead slip into something a bit more comfortable and enjoy the presentation online. The Buyer’s David Kermode – aka Mr Vinosaurus – was chosen to co-present the ceremony alongside spirits writer Joel Harrison, with the ambitious virtual ceremony directed by experienced film and documentary maker, Matt Longfellow, with a full film crew, at Ridgeview, the acclaimed English winery in East Sussex. Here Kermode gives us a tour behind the scenes of what the filming was like and what we can expect.

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    Tasting
    Classic Method

    What GB hallmark ‘Classic Method’ does for sparkling wine

    English and Welsh sparkling wines that are fermented in bottle now have a new official hallmark, Classic Method. But what does this new initiative from Wine GB mean for the future of our sparkling wines? Will it increase exports, be understood by customers abroad and even be understood by customers on home soils? Justin Keay ponders all of the above while tasting eight top examples of Classic Method – some well known and some new to him – and providing an update on how the 2020 harvest has gone in relation to the previous two vintages.

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    Conference
    one step beyond screenshot

    One Step Beyond: Dos and don’ts of ecommerce and DTC

    We might have spent a lot of the last eight months at home, sitting still, but all around us the world has been moving at record pace. All the trends we were struggling to keep up with going into Covid-19 have all been on fast forward as we have, as a global population, had to get used to a completely different way of living…and doing business. It has meant we have all had to go online like never before. How you adapt your company to meet the challenges of a digital age is what the One Step Beyond initiative, introduced by The Buyer and Sophie Jump earlier this year, is all about. Following an inaugural conference held just before the first UK national lockdown, here is the first part of an analysis of a follow up webinar, held last month, featuring the same expert speakers who were able to share their insights into the impact Covid-19 has had on consumer behaviour and expectations. First up Naji El-Arifi of Wunderman Thompson Commerce sets out the rights and wrongs of running a successful DTC and e-commerce website.

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    Awards
    78% of bars now have a cocktail list up from 66% the previous year

    London Spirits Competition looks to connect with bar community

    Spirit producers and distillers the world over are fixated on creating the best styles and blends of gins, vodkas, rums, whiskies or whatever. But however hard they work to get their products right it will all come to nothing unless they can find bar tenders and bar managers who can equally believe in what they are making in order to use and sell them in their outlets. It’s that connection between award winning spirits and the bar community that the London Spirits Competition works so hard to foster, as Richard Siddle explains.

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