Despite the on-going war with Russia, Ukrainian winemakers are continuing to brave missile attacks and do all they can to work in their vineyards in order to make the quality wine they know have to make in order to provide for their future and ensure its winemaking sector can still prosper against all adversity. Here Victoria Makarova looks at what the current situation is for winemakers and their families and local communities and examines the new opportunities now opening up across Europe – in key markets like Estonia – for its wines.
As Albariño from Rías Baixas becomes increasingly scarce with rising demand from the UK and other key international markets, Amanda Barnes explores why Uruguay is poised to help fill the gap with its own unique style of this sought after variety . You can also find out for yourself what Uruguay has to offer at a breakthrough Uruguayan wine tasting in London on March 6. Barnes also highlights some of the key producers to keep an eye on.
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.
The Roussillon is ‘the last frontier of France’ – a region that’s been making wine for millennia but is only today being rediscovered as a source of fine wine. So says Steve Daniel, Hallgarten & Novum Wine’s head of buying, who has made it his mission over the next five years to give the region the attention it fully deserves, and the kind of focus he has brought to bear on Greek wine. On the eve of Hallgarten’s annual portfolio tasting in London, Peter Dean caught up with Daniel and tasted through the wines from the six producers he has chosen to spearhead this new project.
With a growing middle class and increasing appreciation for premium drinks, the Asia-Pacific region continues to present strong opportunities for wines and spirits brands. This expanding market, however, remains a complex one and can be hard to navigate and requires strategic partnerships and a deep understanding of the local market to get right. Which is where Nimbility, a specialist market builder for drinks companies across the region, hopes it can offer a targeted route to market and has worked with a number of brands and producers including Maison Mirabeau, Sagamore Spirits, Rathfinny Estate, Journey’s End, Klein Constantia, Trinity Hill and Bertinga. Here Nimbility’s founding partner, Francesca Martin, explains how it can help wine producers find the right import and distribution partners in the APAC region.
To best understand the key trends, opportunities and pressure points across the super competitive UK on-trade sector, Wine Business Solutions has for over 15 years analysed and tracked up to 300,000 different wine listings on wine lists in venues across the country. Here its founder, Peter McAtamney, sets out some of the key lessons to be learnt from its latest Wine On-Premise UK 2024 report, shares his thoughts on what areas he thinks UK importers are doing well and where they need to quickly improve on – and what it was that made Boutinot stand out as its leading supplier of the year.
The concessions made to demonstrating French farmers over ‘green regulations’ was a setback for biodiversity but a timely reminder during the second Vignoble & Biodiversité conference, of the need for strength in adversity. The French government backtracking on its Ecophyto programme which would have massively reduced the use of pesticides in French agriculture coincided with the conference getting underway in Avignon. Ben Bernheim was there for The Buyer to hear why biodiversity matters, particularly in viticulture, and what is being done in the field to promote it.
“Greek wine has come a long way over the past years. I believe that in today’s rapidly evolving global wine scene, an annually updated Greek wine report has become indispensable.” Which is why Yiannis Karakasis MW has pulled together arguably the most comprehensive guide to Greek wines in his new 116 page report – Greek Wine Explained. Here he sets out why he thinks Greek wines deserve their place in the premium and fine wine market and what to expect in his new report.
For 10 years Coravin has allowed ‘accessed’ wine to have a life above and beyond the limitations of its closure – whether that be cork or skrewcap. Since inventor and founder Greg Lambrecht introduced us to his revolutionary gadget quarter of a billion glasses of wine have been served with Coravin and extensions been developed for sparkling wines, Vinolok closures and 100ml sample bottles. Lambrecht was in London to show how the device can also be used for No/Lo, fruit juice and fortified wines – and put Victoria Sharples’ tasting to the test with a 15 year-old bottle of Barolo that has been ‘accessed’ multiple times over the past decade.
“There is a whole generation of people working in hospitality who grew up through Covid and don’t have that ‘pub or going out culture’…We cannot continue to assume knowledge that just isn’t there.” That’s how Bob Davidson puts into context the work that Veraison, the wine training arm of Berkmann Wine Cellars, is doing to help connect with the new and next generation of hospitality staff that the on-trade is going to rely on to make the most of the wine category in restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels. Here Jonathan Caswell talks to Davidson about the work it is doing and what impact it hopes to make.
If there is one business lesson anyone wanting to forge a long term career in the wine industry needs to learn is don’t burn your bridges when you move on from a particular role. It’s an adage Miles Platt can certainly attest to having twice worked for Bibendum in his career, and now Jascots Wine Merchants having recently returned to lead the business as part of his wider role as head of on-trade for its parent business, Freixenet Copestick. He explains to Richard Siddle why he is delighted to be back heading up a business with a clear goal of doubling Jascot’s current size of around £10m turnover to £20m in the coming years. To do that he wants Jascots to be the “easiest and most seamless” wine supplier to work with in the premium on and off-trade.
Punch Pubs & Co has long supported the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) and its work to help head office employees and publicans, both past and present, and those working across the on-trade who have fallen on hard times. Laura Cavendish, Punch’s HR director, explains to Helen Arnold why the company is such an advocate for the charity, and how this aligns with its HR and ESG strategies. She also sets out the various ways in which Punch works with the LTC to help promote its work and the services it provides.
Talk to winemakers across California and they don’t see anything special or unusual about being organic, biodynamic or sustainable. That’s just the way they make wine – and always have done. It’s also why the state is arguably leading the rest of the world with how far its growers and producers have come to farm sustainably. Here we talk to Allison Jordan, executive director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, about the work it is doing to champion and take sustainable winemaking to the next level to hopefully help and inspire other wine regions around the world.
Last night Vega Sicilia launched Unico 2014 to the UK trade in the Spanish Room at London’s National Gallery as a way of marking 160 years of winemaking. Honoured guests were treated to an unforgettable evening of wine, art and culture as importer Berkmann also celebrated 60 years in the business (in the year that the National Gallery is also celebrating its double centenary). The new releases rubbed shoulders with older vintages, paired with a banquet served in a room dripping with priceless art. Our very own Peter Dean was granted a golden ticket and uses this historical occasion to examine what goes into making these wines as he recalls a visit to Vega Sicilia to discover just that.
With 70% of English vineyards planted in the last 10 years, the UK is home to one of the wine world’s newest and fastest-emerging regions. As a result, it can be difficult to keep up with events. Vintage variation in England is significant, and there are constantly new producers coming on stream. Simon Huntington, co-founder of Marasby, the specialist English wine retailer, is as well placed as anyone to know what is really going on with growers, winemakers and producers. Here are his top three English wine trends that will drive the market in 2024.
The business conference circuit is made up of professional keynote speakers able to turn their hand to any industry and share their wisdom on how that sector and its company leaders could do better. But there are not many on the speaking circuit who are also used to fronting a heavy metal band and playing to tens of thousands of adoring fans. That, though, was the theme that Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, drilled down on in his inspiring talk at last year’s Wine Future event in Portugal. How do you turn your customers into loyal, adoring fans? Without slipping into spandex, or whirling an electric guitar around.
If you are in the midst of Dry January here is a sobering analysis by US wine and medical writer, Lewis Perdue, into the scientific and medical research and health claims made by certain US government regulators and alcohol control organisations about how damaging drinking alcohol is and in particular the supposed threat of the acetaldehyde compound commonly found in alcohol beverages that is claimed to be linked to cancer. Research and evidence that Perdue believes is far from proven. Here he explains why.
The Institut Regional de Sommellerie Sud de France is a spanking new €9m facility close to the city of Perpignan that is an immersive regional sommelier school with international associations and ambitions. As it opened its doors for the first time we sent Victoria Sharples to the Roussillon to see how a range of flexible and tailor-made courses offer insight and practical experience to sommeliers and wine trade professionals both in France and further afield.
If you are looking to expand or liven up your French wine range going into 2024 then Business France has two dedicated opportunities for you. First is its Marketplace platform that allows buyers to access thousands of wines from producers who are looking to export and get a listing in the UK for the first time. Broken down by a variety, AOC or region it truly is a one stop shop for French wine. Then there is its VIN wine tasting event taking place in London on February 1 featuring around 50 producers. Here’s how to take advantage of both.
Even if you have not met Daniel Lambert personally, chances are you will feel like you have. Particularly if you are a regular follower of social media where you will find Lambert constantly sharing his views on the performance of the government and sticking up for the wine industry with the powers that be. Which has continued over the festive break and the fall out from government plans to introduce pint sized bottles of wine. So who better to look back on the highs, lows and challenges of 2023 and help set the scene for what we might expect in 2024. Take it away Daniel…