French wine trade tasting, VIN 2024, returned to London earlier this month hosted as usual by Business France. Exhibitors included 39 producers seeking distribution and four importers looking to attract a host of sommeliers, retail buyers and consultants to the quality of the wines on show. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner along to understand why this means so much for the producers involved, and which producers really shone through on the day.
The need for all drinks businesses, particularly those of a certain size, to be putting in place appropriate and effective steps to make them more sustainable is greater than ever. But the help, support and advice to help them do so is a more tricky area, with lots of companies claiming they can help, but not a clear path forward for which routes a particular wine, beer or spirits company should take. The new Sustainability in Drinks exhibition and conference to be held in the UK in October hopes to provide some of those answers. One of its founders, Janet Harrison, explains what it hopes to achieve.
The wines of Boekenhoutskloof are some of South Africa’s finest and best value on the market. From the same team responsible for the phenomenon that is The Chocolate Block and also top-end Côte-Rôtie lookalike Porseleinberg, the Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, Syrah and two Cabernet Sauvignons from Marc Kent and his team are good when young but sensational with age – wines that once bought will be on repeat allocation. Abbie Bennington caught up with Marc at London’s Spring restaurant to hear how the spring-like conditions at harvest have helped turn in wines that are as magnificent as those made in 2015 and 2017.
No matter how good a country’s wines are and how prepared its producers are to do business in any given market, they will only succeed if busy buyers are prepared to give their time and attention to taste, analyse and potentially put some wines on their list. If that was the target of the Borsa Vini Italiani Dublin tasting then it was a great success, at least in terms of getting a large proportion of the country’s senior buyers to attend. One of Ireland’s senior and most respected wine writers, Martin Moran MW, was also there for The Buyer to assess the opportunities for the Borsa Vini producers in Ireland.
Situated in the heart of the Bolgheri DOC appellation with Ornellaia to the right and Sassiscaia to the left, Orma is a 5.5ha estate that has ambitions to leave an indelible mark on winemaking in the region. Run by the Moretti Cuseri family which owns Tenuta Sette Ponti, amongst others, Orma was in London to show off the latest 2021 vintage alongside museum wines to show how the wine ages and is a good match for hearty Italian cuisine.
There was very much the sense of being in the right place at the right time at last week’s Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris. An event that has, in the last two years, fast tracked its way into the hearts and minds of even the most jaded wine trade producer, or buyer, beaten down by years of trudging to and from international trade fairs. There was a collective excitement about being part of a show on the up. In a city that simply does not care there is a major wine event going on. But that is also part of Wine Paris’ appeal. The chance to experience and enjoy one of the world’s greatest cities whilst getting down to the business of buying and selling wine and spirits. Richard Siddle reports back from the buzz of Wine Paris and examines what it is the show is doing right, and will need to do more of in order to keep its momentum going.
Tim Atkin MW’s The Best of Rioja tasting in London last week delivered the very finest of fine wines to enraptured city mouths without missing a beat. Terroir-focused beauties dominated the proceedings with whites making an indelible mark on Lisse Garnett and the many educated savvy consumers she met. This was a far cry from the “Rioja is in crisis” headlines that have been regularly appearing in the wine press of late – with splits within the regulatory council, high profile bankruptcies, overstocks and poor grape prices all causing turbulence in the region.
If you are looking to enter the London Competitions for wine, beers or spirits then you need to get your skates on to get your entries in by February 22. Here we set out what the awards offer, how medals are awarded and then promoted, and who is responsible for making the judging decisions. The London Competitions are unique amongst international awards in that they judge products for their quality (blind), and then their value for money and what their packaging and design looks like.
The finalists in what will be the fourth Star Wine List of The Year UK with The Buyer have been announced, picking out the very best restaurants and bars that have wine as a central part of their offer. The chosen venues will now go forward to the final to be held in London on March 4 and the chance to network with fellow finalists and the drinks partners for the competition. Here we reveal who will be competing for the overall winners.
Although its original vineyard was planted 130 years ago it wasn’t until 1980 that Elderton Wines really started – when a real estate agent offered Neal and Lorraine Ashmead 72 acres of vineyard for free if they bought the farmhouse. Having brought the vines back from the brink, the couple won Australia’s top wine trophy 10 years later and have never looked back. Now under the ownership of sons Cameron and Allister, Elderton is on an ambitious growth programme, changing the style of the wines, and looking to invest in its future. The good news is that the wines are back in the UK. Peter Dean caught up with Cameron and tasted through the new vintages.