CGA’s new ‘Overcoming Covid-19’ is the fourth and final edition of the 2021 series of Wine Insights Reports produced in partnership with The Buyer. It is arguably the most comprehensive analysis of the impact that Covid-19 has had on the on-trade, consumer spending behaviour and the performance of the wine category in particular in relation to all drinks categories across the last 15 months. It looks at the impact the pandemic has had throughout the 2020 lockdown on the on-trade and then sets out the roadmap the sector is likely to follow in the months to come as it plots its way out of social distancing, the rule of six and gets back to full on trading.
Millésimes Alsace, the biennial celebration of wines from Alsace, was another fair to go digital this year. There are certain signs, thinks David Kermode, that this could become a future format for the event – with talk about carbon footprint saved and ‘Digi-tasting’ being trademarked. So how did the tasting element work? Spread across three days, with 400 wines from 100 producers on offer, was this as good as the real thing? Kermode gives his views as well as picks out 10 wines that were showing particularly well.
We might have had our fill of 90 minute events come the end of the Euro 2020 football champions next month, but here’s news of an alternative way of spending 90 minutes with the second One Step Beyond webinar, co-hosted by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, to be held on July 12 that will once again share the insights and expertise of leading figures in consumer behaviour, technology and innovation, both in and outside the drinks, retail and hospitality sector. Here’s what to expect from those 90 minutes.
Wine snobbery is one of the reasons that rosé is still not taken seriously as a wine, argues Elizabeth Gabay MW. She confesses to initially keeping her distance but then a work assignment grew and grew until she has now become one of the world’s leading specialists in the field. In order to fill the void created by cancellation of wine shows she has just launched a ‘Buyer’s Guide to the Rosés of Southern France’ in which she blind-tastes over 1,000 rosés from over 35 different grape varieties. In an in-depth interview she tells Peter Dean the thinking behind the guide, which are the estates and grape varieties to keep an eye on, plus gives The Buyer readers a special discount.
If the Covid-19 lockdowns have taught us one thing it is the importance of being able to adapt a business to new circumstances and consumer behaviour shifts. That implies efficiently run operations, logistics and supply chains. How you are able to do that as effectively as possible has also, finally, opened the door for business management providers and their specialised computer systems that are designed to improve wine companies’ operations, improve visibility and transparency of their own drinks’ supply chain and open up business development opportunities. Quite how they do that and what potential benefits they can bring to the wine industry was the theme of a far-ranging debate with key operators at last month’s digital London Wine Fair, reports Richard Siddle.
Is it collusion between wine judges and producers? Shifting public taste? or Australian winemakers wanting to make wines in a style that speak more of their grape varieties and their ancient soils? These were some of the ideas posited during an illuminating and entertaining Wine Australia webinar entitled Ancient Soils – Contemporary Wines: Yarra Valley Chardonnay, hosted by Max Allen. Peter Dean had a virtual ringside seat and got to taste six of the best Yarra Valley Chardonnay, that reflect today’s more balanced, contemporary style.
“It’s an absolute joy to be involved in this. It’s one of, or maybe the best food and wine pairing competitions there is in the UK.” High praise indeed, but that’s how respected wine critic and broadcaster, Sarah Jane Evans MW, describes the international Copa Jerez Competition which has seen the chef and sommelier team from The River Café win the UK heat and go towards the grand final in Jerez later this year. Here Evans and fellow judge Matthieu Longuère MS describe how the competition works and you can look to make and enjoy the winning three course menu and sherry pairings for yourself.
A wine that costs £11 and has won the Tre Bicchieri award six times – sound too good to be true? That’s what Geoffrey Dean thought until he tried the Nero d’Avola Cartagho from Mandrarossa in a 6-strong wine tasting. A collaboration between Alberto Antonini, Mimmo De Gregorio and Pedro Parra, this Sicilian estate is just about to open its own winery 22 years after its first wine, as it moves from its cooperative origins to a wine producer focussed on single-site cuvées.
In just under 40 years the number of wineries in Washington State has risen from 20 to over 1000, with another four new wineries opening every month. The region now has 16 AVAs with three more in the pipeline which is resulting in new terroir and opportunities for winemakers, argues Justin Keay. Although Cabernet Sauvignon is still king here, white grapes are increasingly important, and new styles of winemaking are evident that is seeing a movement away from high levels of oak, tannin and alcohol.
Now the on-trade is back open again, albeit with the handbrake on held back by social distancing rules and rule of six, on-trade operators and their drinks suppliers can actually put hard plans in place to attract and keep customers in their outlets. Here we examine the latest findings from KAM Media and Zonal on what bars, pubs and restaurants are going to have to do to appeal to the switched on, digitally driven, happy at home consumer.