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.
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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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. Today we look at how wine distributors Berkmann, Corney & Barrow and The Vintner are looking to help them and their customers, the chance to enjoy some #Socialdistancing ads, and the latest in online tastings.
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.
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, Gewürtztraminer 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.
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.
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?
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.
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?