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    Ines Salpico
    People: Producer
    Ayana Misawa

    Adjusting to the New Normal: with Ayana Misawa of Japan’s Grace Wine

    All eyes are on the Tokyo Olympics of course, which are coping with an unprecedented level of restriction, so now seemed as good a time as any to find out how Ayana Misawa, winemaker at Grace Wine, one of Japan’s leading wineries, is coping as a winemaker. The interview is the first of a new series The Buyer is running throughout the summer with key influential winemakers across the globe. We want to know from the people who actually make the wine how has their life been in the past 18 months? What additional challenges have they faced as winemakers? And how are they adapting to the new normal?

    Henry Kenyon

    Why David Kermode’s Drinking Hour is worth 60 minutes of your week

    Before picking up a pen, notebook, wine glass and spittoon for a living, David Kermode spent much of his career working in one of the most stressful jobs possible running live TV news and shouting instructions into the ears of highly paid news broadcasters, whilst desperately trying to keep to deadlines and keep the whole show on the road. As a drinks writer he has once again returned to his broadcast days by starting his own podcast – The Drinking Hour on Food FM – where he hopes to bring a fresh approach to wine and spirits on the airwaves. Here he shares some of the highs and lows from his high profile national TV days and just what he thinks makes a good podcast work.

    Tasting: Wine
    wine tastings

    How should physical wine tastings be run post-Covid? Chris Wilson reports

    Personal spittoons and personal sommeliers… it’s the return of physical wine tastings. Fifteen months on from attending a physical wine tasting, journalist and winemaker Chris Wilson headed to London for not one but two physical tastings – the Georgian wine trade tasting and the Wines From Spain annual tasting. Both events were run on entirely different models –a walkaround style close to ‘old school’ wine tastings and a sit-down style where personal sommeliers serve you. So what were the key benefits and disadvantages of both models?

    People People: Producer
    Folc rose's Elisha Rai tom cannon

    How Folc hopes to build a ‘tribe’ of followers for English rosé wine

    Elisha Rai and Tom Cannon are not the first to have enjoyed a successful career in the City before swapping careers to go into English wine, but Rai is one of the first to have done so from a BAME background. Here they explain how they are looking to bring a very different approach to English wine, by focusing on creating a rosé brand – Folc – using grapes bought by the best producers they can find in Kent and Sussex. A brand that was launched in lockdown and has already picked up medals in the IWSC and IWC awards – only one of two English rosés to have done so.

    Tasting: Wine

    Geoffrey Dean visits six leading Portuguese winemakers

    Managing to evade the rigours of Lockdown, quarantine and self-isolation, Geoffrey Dean travelled to the Wines of Portugal Challenge in Santarem. His job was to take part as a judge but he also managed to get out and about and get a snapshot of contemporary Portuguese winemaking through the eyes of six very different winemakers – from the small and unrepresented in the UK, right through to the second largest producer in Portugal. On top of getting an idea of what the challenges are facing the winemakers here, Dean also got a chance to try many wines and recommends the ones that stood out on the day.

    harry crowther plant

    Harry Crowther: what on-trade can learn from off-trade boom

    The last 15 months have polarised the on and off-trades like never before. Whilst retailers struggled to keep up with demand from customers holed up at home for much of the time, the on-trade has either been completely shut or operating on half measures, dictated to by the rule of six and social distancing rules. But rather than look enviously at what the off-trade has been able to do, Harry Crowther believes the best on-trade operators will be taking lessons, analysing what wines were actually sold and then use those findings in re-imagining the wine offers in their restaurants, bars and pubs. Here he explains why.

    People: Producer
    Condor Wines

    Discovering South American diversity through Condor Wines

    Since Condor Wines was established in 2011, it has carved a niche as one of the UK’s foremost importers of wines from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Condor’s founder, Lee Evans, hosted a day of webinar sessions with representatives from several of the really interesting wineries with which he works, comparing and contrasting their different regions and enlightening us on the challenges and opportunities they face now and in the future.

    People People: Supplier
    david tuffers good

    David Rowledge on building Alchemy Wines’ global success

    “We have had an exciting 12 months and been able to launch a whole number of concepts into the market,” is how David Rowledge, owner of Alchemy Wines, looks back at what he says has undoubtedly been the busiest and arguably the most rewarding year of his career in the wine and drinks industry, which has culminated in the community.co charity drinks range and a new wine brand with former England cricketer Phil Tufnell.

    Tasting: Wine
    Wines From Spain Annual Tasting

    Justin Keay: highlights of the 2021 Wines From Spain Annual Tasting

    After 18 months of Zoom tastings and mini samples, this July’s generic Wines of Spain tasting was an opportunity to experience the real live thing, albeit through Covid-safe protocol. Here Justin Keay found further proof that with closer attention to soil, climate, altitude and the nuances of individual grape varieties Spain is truly becoming one of the world’s most interesting producer nations. The tasting covered all of the country’s regions providing an exciting opportunity to taste lesser-known wines from increasingly-improving regions of Ribeiro and Txakoli. Afterwards Keay had an audience with Paula Fandino from Mar de Frades.

    The shadow of Brexit has brought a prolonged and dangerous period of uncertainty over the drinks industry and its supply chain. C&C's ownership brings new security to both Matthew Clark and Bibendum

    Cross-industry support sees government u-turn on VI-1 forms

    Breaking industry news does not normally happen on a Sunday afternoon, but just as many in the trade might have been thinking about what bottle of wine to open for Sunday lunch, news broke that would have got many reaching for a bottle of fizz to celebrate the surprise government u-turn that it was to scrap completely its intention to introduce what the wine sector saw as expensive and dangerous VI-1 forms on future wine imports from the EU. The Buyer looks back on the efforts made by so many in the wine industry, driven by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, to stand up to Whitehall bureaucracy which showed how strong the sector can be when it has the support of all its influential leaders and a sympathetic ear in the financial and business press.