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.
In part one of our report on The Buyer’s debate with key importers, sommeliers and retailers on the opportunities for Beaujolais white wine and Centre-Loire red wines, in partnership with Inter Beaujolais and Centre-Loire Wines, we analysed what the buyers thought specifically of Beaujolais’ less well known white wines. Here we turn the spotlight on the Centre-Loire and look at the styles, the producers, and the price points that our panel feel have the best opportunity to do well in the specialist retail and premium on-trade.
If you were looking to hold a buyers’ debate and tasting of Beaujolais and Centre-Loire wines your immediate assumption would be looking at red wines for Beaujolais and whites for the Centre-Loire. Not this time round. For both regions are also producing a diverse range of quality wines that you would not normally associate coming from those appellations. To help explore and assess just what sort of white wines are being made in Beaujolais and red wines in the Centre-Loire, The Buyer teamed up with Inter Beaujolais and Centre-Loire Wines to bring together a leading panel of buyers, wine importers, sommeliers and restaurateurs to taste a selection of wines and then analyse just how suited they might be for different channels of the UK market in our “The Secret Gems of Beaujolais & Centre-Loire debate’. In part one of our report we explore what the two regions can offer for reds and whites and then delve more deeply into diversity and quality of Beaujolais white wines. Part two of our analysis, later in the week, will focus on the red wines from the Centre-Loire.
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.
We are all now (finally) living in the ‘Golden Age’ of wine online, where the opportunities are enormous for those operators prepared to invest and put digital at the top of their agenda. That was the stand out message from Paul Mabray’s inspiring talk at the first One Step Beyond webinar for 2021 held in April where he also cautioned the wine, retail and hospitality sectors about how to make the most of the universal switch to digital during Covid-19 and that sales won in lockdown won’t necessarily be there long term without a real understanding of what you are doing online, reports Richard Siddle.
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.
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.
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.
It’s hard to think of a wine region that has enjoyed better success than Provence in the last 10 years. The region has experienced consistent double digit growth year in year out as more of the world has woken up to the charm, elegance and quality of its rosé wines. In that time, major brands have emerged and have helped drive Provence’s unique message and image. Here, Richard Siddle talks to Jeany Cronk, founder of Mirabeau and board member at the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), and Caroline Benetti, communications manager at the CIVP about the Provence success story and how the generic body works with Provence’s winemakers to drive the region forward.
Australia, along with neighbouring New Zealand, have arguably been the most successful countries in the world in being able to control, contain and keep its borders as safe as it can from Covid-19. But it also means its people are effectively grounded for the short to medium term at least. Which means no Australian winemakers roaming the world telling their stories for months to come. Which is why Wine Australia has set up Connect, a new platform to essentially take its producers, its stories and its wines around the globe through a new 12 month digital platform. It’s as ambitious as it sounds as Richard Siddle finds out from Stuart Barclay, general marketing manager.
As the UK’s on-trade starts to put the final lick of paint on its preparations of finally re-opening bars, restaurants, pubs and hotels inside next week, industry leaders have shared both their excitement at the demand there is amongst customers to enjoy a night in hospitality from next Monday, but also their fears that for many it will only be putting some Polyfilla on cracks that are too big to fix overnight. Richard Siddle reports on the last month’s London Wine Fair on-trade debate.
We might not have physically gone very far in the last year, but as people and as consumers we are all very different in what we want and expect from our favourite brands and businesses than we did before March 2020. Just how far we have changed was at the heart of the first One Step Beyond webinar for 2021, organised by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, that attracted delegates from 24 countries around the world. In the first write up from the event Richard Siddle looks at the big changes in consumer behaviour that Alex Ririe, director of The Collaborators, the brand consultancy business, thinks we need to be on top off coming out of lockdown.
To an untrained eye a bar full of people is exactly that. Everyone there for the same reason. To have a drink and a good time. But to an experienced sommelier, bar manager or waiting staff team every customer is different and needs to be handled with care and a clear strategy on how to serve them, what drinks to suggest and how much information to give them. Knowing how to read your customers is one aspect of Harry Crowther’s new Grain to Grape training series designed to motivate all levels of on-trade sales teams.
There’s nothing new about an April frost in France, but precocious ripening of vine buds earlier on in the growing cycle is becoming increasingly common due to global warming. Combined, the two have had a devastating effect on wine producers throughout France. From Bourgogne to the Sud de France, vine growers grapple with the catastrophic effects of this frost event which began on April 5 and lasted up to three days. LM Archer talks to winemakers through the country and gets a snapshot of how some of the major wine regions have been affected, as they count the cost.
“There is an unbelievable excitement amongst our customers. It’s gone completely nuts. I can feel the adrenaline surging through the industry again.” That’s how Michael Saunders, chief executive of Bibendum, the national on-trade distributor, describes the response it is seeing from its customers as we count down the days before the on-trade can finally re-open, initially outside on April 12. Here Richard Siddle talks to Saunders and members of the senior Bibendum management team – John Graves, on-trade channel director, and Richard Hayhoe, group head of marketing – about how excited they are in showing the new food and drink offers they have been developing with their customers during lockdown.
All three of the panelists that took part in the diversity debate at last month’s Wine Future said they wished there would be a time in the near future that holding such discussions would not be necessary as the wine industry would have lived up to its pledge of having a workforce that is truly wide and diverse. But they were equally sceptical of how fast that change will actually come. Richard Siddle reports on a wide ranging and much needed debate that really got to grips with what a truly inclusive wine sector might look like.
Azeri wines, like Azerbaijan itself, are a confluence of East and West – unique wines that use both indigenous varieties such as Madrasa and Bayan Shira, along with international grapes and knowhow. Although they do not come from the largest wine-producing country, Azeri wines are a serious proposition and warrant discovering, especially as the UK is one of the key markets targeted for expansion. Simon Field MW positions the wines within their historical, cultural and geopolitical context – all necessary to fully understand their unique characteristics – and tastes a selection.
With international travel banned major wine regions have had to rethink how they get their message out to their key audiences and markets around the world. Whilst online has been the saviour of wines sales during Covid it has also given wine bodies, such as the Washington State Wine Commission, the opportunity, and platform, to go out and tell the stories of its producers in different ways. Here’s how it has been able to tap into the enormous demand and growth in podcasts over the last year and reach out to a new audience.
So what sort of business world are we going to return to when we can? Will it mean going back to the office, or will we want to carry on travelling the world via video conference? In part two of our analysis of the Wine Future 2021 event held online at the end of last month, Richard Siddle examines just how different the wine industry is going to be in the months ahead and the positive lessons we have all learnt from the Covid pandemic.
The One Step Beyond initiative, introduced last year in a joint partnership between The Buyer and Sophie Jump, is back. Its aim is to give the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors insights into the latest trends in technology and innovation and how they impact on consumer behaviour and expectations. This is your chance to keep up to speed through quarterly online webinars starting on April 14. Here’s what to expect.