France’s Pays d’Oc has long been the go-to region for those in search of ripe, comforting reds at keen prices. But in the last 20 years the gauge has shifted: total wine production has increased, but IGP Pays d’Oc rosé has gradually eaten away at red’s share, now representing 30% of total wines produced here – with giant leaps in both quality and innovation.
In 2021 Languedoc producer, Katie Jones, looked to give her customers and members of the wine trade a unique opportunity to “Adopt an Old Vine” that allowed them to go online and pick out a vine, each given a name and their own back story, and claim it as their own. Now two years later she is re-opening the scheme again and making further vines available on an ongoing basis. Here we re-publish the article with Jones we ran in 2021 where she explains how she came up with the idea and how she hopes it brings her loyal customers even closer not just to her wines, but the actual vines that produce the grapes that go in them.
Rioja was officially split into three zones in 1976 but since then a number of law changes have affected these Vinos de Zona and how they can be produced and marketed. In the second part of this 4-part series, Rioja wine educator Mike Turner explains how a real terroir-led revolution has sprung from the DOCa’s introduction of new geographical wine categories in 2017. Wines can now officially be labelled as being from a specific zone, municipality, or even from a registered single vineyard. Here Turner investigates the idea of wines coming from one of the three specific zones and how robust the ‘borders’ are.
Visit any major wine producer and as well as the chance to buy their flagship wines there is usually a hefty tome all about its history sitting proudly in reception. Some of which, it is fair to say, are better than others. So when, in late 2019, John Stimpfig left his role as the content director of Decanter, he looked to start a fledgling business producing bespoke books that potentially take the quality of producer books to a whole new level. First Press Editions was created the following year, in 2020, with his business partner Ian Mitchell. Here Richard Siddle catches up with Stimpfig to see how it all works and how things are going.
A limited edition 19 year-old English Harbour rum and boutique gin distiller are two major discoveries when Geoffrey Dean visits the Caribbean island of Antigua. The rum is to mark the 90th anniversary of Antigua Distillery, whose Calbert Francis gives the back story to this very special spirit. By contrast Dean also visits the much smaller distiller on the island, Antilles Stillhouse, where David Murphy is producing two gins using local, unique botanicals, a ‘fevergrass’ spirit as well as an Antiguan pastis.
Babylonstoren’s famous garden at its estate tells the story of the people of South Africa’s winelands, their Cape Dutch heritage and the sheer joy of gardening, so what better way to celebrate all three than to showcase not only their historic beautiful farm but also their wines at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Our retired Michelin star chef, South African wine explorer and amateur gardener, Roger Jones, spends the day with the team at the show ground.
“We believe that building long term relationships between our producers and customers is the key to success and place a big focus on spending time in market with our producers.” That’s how Andrew Chudley, Davy’s Wine Merchants’ managing director and head wine buyer, describes the company’s strategy that has served the business well for over the last 150 years. He also marks your card on what to expect at its portfolio tasting in London on June 6.
“Marketing is often not top of mind in many wine organisations and typically is the last cab out off the rank when it comes to budgets and mental resources.” That’s the view of Lulie Halstead, founder of Wine Intelligence, who sets out why she thinks the wine industry needs to take marketing more seriously, or risk falling further behind other drinks categories that do prioritise and invest in marketing themselves to target consumers in ways they want to be spoken to.
The unique properties of old vine wines, how vines manage to survive for over 150 years and what they can tell us about the future of viticulture in the face of climate change, were just some of the topics discussed at the Old Vine Conference 2023 held in Campania. Hosted by Feudi di San Gregorio, leaders in the Italian movement to protect, preserve and make wines from old vines, this second Old Vine Conference brought together leaders in the realm of ancient Italian vineyards to discuss and examine best practices for growing, protecting and promoting old vines and their wines. The Buyer’s Lisse Garnett was there to hear from Professor Attilio Scienza, vine master pruner Pierpaolo Sirch, Feudi di San Gregorio chairman Antonio Capaldo, Sarah Abbott MW and Basilisco winemaker Viviana Malafarina. Garnett also tastes and evaluates 12 old vine wines from across the globe to evaluate their unique properties.
Rioja Wine UK invites the UK trade and press to the first Rioja Residency – an immersive, educational journey around Rioja without leaving London. It all takes place on June 21 at London’s five-star boutique hotel, The Ned, which will be Rioja’s home for the day where guests can enjoy the region’s rich culture and heritage including the chance to taste wines from 20 visiting winemakers. The day will also include masterclasses from Spanish wine experts and masters of wine. Here’s what is in store.