“Crete has grape varieties that nowhere else on Earth has. It has altitude and it has great limestone soils. This is a fantastic combination that gives the island such unique characteristics.” That’s the view of Steve Daniel, head wine buyer at Hallgarten & Novum Wines, who has arguably been the UK’s biggest champion, supporter, buyer and importer of Greek, as well as Crete wines. Here Justin Keay gives his take on an island that is attracting serious wine buyers as well as thousands of tourists.
Last month The Buyer teamed up with Business France to host a special tasting showcasing what is happening right across France in terms of switching winemaking over to organics and what steps, challenges, opportunities producers are seeing as a result. The event also featured a debate featuring leading UK wine industry experts on what they see as the potential for organic wines in the competitive UK market and whether the commitment to produce wines organically also needs to be matched with a move towards more overall sustainable wine practices that cover all aspects of how wine is being made, bought and distributed.
Thinking and acting sustainably has always been a key part of how Kingsland Drinks operates, but with a business of its scale and depth, there was a need to keep on top of initiatives and give this area its own trajectory within the company operation. Which is why it has introduced its Thirsty Earth programme to help manage, co-ordinate and also track and record what steps the company is taking to implement sustainable measures right across its business. Richard Siddle finds out more.
In part one of our buyers debate with the Bordeaux Wines we focused on what different operators felt the opportunities and challenges were for Bordeaux Wines overall in the UK. In part two we look at three case studies from producers operating in different appellations – Médoc, Côtes de Bordeaux and Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur – who are looking to embrace the modern Bordeaux and look at their vines through fresh eyes. The buyers had the chance to taste their wines and assess the styles they felt are the most suitable and relevant for the UK market.
Behind the scenes in Bordeaux there are huge changes taking place as producers, particularly new generation winemakers, look to introduce new ideas that are potentially more in keeping with the styles of wine that the modern wine consumer wants to drink, as well as to adhere to consumer’s interest in sustainable winemaking methods. To get a better understanding of what is really taking place across the region, The Buyer teamed up with Bordeaux Wines to host a debate between leading UK wine buyers, merchants and importers and representative producers from the Médoc, Côtes de Bordeaux and Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur AOPs so they could show their wines and demonstrate what is happening in this still hugely influential and important French wine region.
This week’s One Step Beyond webinar is the chance to once again step outside the day-to-day of running of drinks companies and look for some inspiration from others. Be it other leaders in beers, wines or spirits, or voices and influences from other sectors that can help us look at our own companies in a different way. The theme for July 6’s One Step Beyond is ‘How to be loved online’ and what brands, businesses and individuals can do to tell their stories, build their profiles and create their own communities using all the various digital tools available to us. It also features an interview with Luke Boase, the charismatic founder of Lucky Saint, the fastest growing alcohol-free beer brand in the UK, about how he has built the brand from scratch, transformed it in lockdown from an on-trade brand to a massive success online and now has major distribution across multiple retailers.
On the one hand the wine industry is, arguably quite rightly, falling over itself to become more sustainable, both in the vineyard and also at the point of sale with more environmentally friendly packaging, yet it’s also clear the consumer is not as ready to buy into alternative packaging, or even see heavy glass bottles on shelf and on restaurant lists as being a problem. That was the conundrum being discussed at the recent Vinexposium ‘Act For Change’ Symposium in Bordeaux, as Richard Siddle reports.
You can have all the zooms in the world but when it comes to discussing, analysing and digesting some of the biggest issues facing the global wine industry nothing quite beats having those debates face to face. Which is why last week’s Symposium ‘Act for Change’, organised by Vinexposium, at the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, was so welcome and turned out to be an important opportunity for both the industry’s leading establishment figures and new disruptors in the sector to come together and plot a path for the rest of the sector to follow. Be it with the major issues such as sustainability, climate change, global economics, supply chain, or the the actual nitty gritty of sourcing, distributing and selling wine, be it through traditional retail routes, or increasingly through ever more personalised and recommendation based wine e-commerce platforms. That’s where our first analysis from the Symposium is focused. Just what does the boom in e-commerce mean for the wine industry and how well equipped is it to make the most of it?
If you want to build a successful brand or consumer facing drinks business you need to get your digital and social media strategy right. At least that’s what all the management consultants will tell you. But what does that actually mean in reality and how much money does it cost to build a brand online, and which social media platform should you be investing in. The next One Step Beyond webinar, hosted by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, looks to bring together digital and brand experts from both inside and outside the drinks industry to give an insiders view on what it takes to succeed in the digital world.
In part two of The Buyer’s debate, in partnership with Raventós Codorníu and Raimat, the panel of leading buyers had the opportunity to taste through a selection of Cavas to examine the quality and the step changes at differences price points and to examine where they might sit in the UK market. It was also an opportunity to examine the sustainability steps being taken with Cava and how important sustainability now is in the buying decisions being made by the panel of buyers.
In Part One of our sommelier panel debate with Wynns Coonawarra Estate it was clear there is a lot of love, respect and potential support for Coonawarra as a wine region. The challenge is getting enough wines in to the UK market for sommeliers to be able to list and support them and what efforts are being made to promote Coonawarra’s unique story to wine drinkers and enthusiasts. In Part Two the sommeliers share their views on the Wynns range of premium wines, assess their place in the UK market and also examine the opportunities and challenges for premium Australian wine in their restaurants and venues.
In 2015, the Wines of Alentejo launched an ambitious Sustainability Progamme. Aimed at giving one of the oldest wine regions in the world a future in the face of a changing climate and society, it has grown to include over half the vineyard space in the region in just seven years. Mike Turner recently attended the official UK launch of their Sustainably Produced Certification Scheme to find out more about the initial successes and future hopes of what is fast becoming a benchmark in wine industry sustainability.
It has long been the mission for Australian wine producers to sell more of their premium wines in leading restaurants around the world. But are wine buyers and sommeliers listening? To assess the potential for premium Australia in the UK market, The Buyer teamed up with Wynns Coonawarra Estate, part of Treasury Wine Estates, to show a range of its wines, and ask leading sommeliers what they see as the key opportunities and challenges for premium Australian wines in their venues. It was also the chance to shine the spotlight on the region of Coonawarra, home for Wynns and other leading family producers in Australia, and explore the distinct styles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz it is producing, and the influence and impact of its unique terra rossa soils.
Moët Hennessy’s first World Living Soils Forum held in Arles in the south of France recently was billed as a “catalyst for action” in how the wine industry treats and looks after the soils that are at the heart of winemaking all over the world. It was a chance for some of the world’s leading voices and influences on climate change to come together and explore how we as a sector can do more to understand our soils and protect them. Rupert Joy had a ringside seat to all the action at this breakthrough event.
“New York finds itself well positioned for the zeitgeist, with the right vinifera varieties for fresh, taut, mineral-driven wines, a loyal fan base, room for expansion, a reasonably ready supply of water, no wild fires, and solid foundations to withstand the pressures of global warming.” That’s why an increasing number of buyers are looking to start their journey into US wine on the east rather than more familiar west coast and see what the buzz about New York State wines is all about. David Kermode helps set the scene…
In part one of our buyers debate into the possibilities for Victoria wines in the UK our panel was united not just in their praise for the state’s quality of wine, but for its diversity, value for money and the fact it is effectively 21 mini regions all wrapped into one. For the second part of our report we open up the conversation to look at how Victoria compares and contracts to what is available across the rest of Australia and what our panel think our the country’s main opportunities and challenges.
“Victoria is my ‘Desert Island’ wine region.” That’s according to Victoria Sharples, founder of London’s Swains Wine Bar and Store. It was a view part shared with other leading wine buyers who took part in The Buyer’s latest online debate in partnership with Wine Victoria. It was a chance for them to discuss what they see as the opportunities – and potential challenges – for the region in the UK as well as taste through a selection of wines that represent what are some of the most diverse terroirs and micro climates to be found anywhere in Australia. In the first part of our report we look at what it is about Victoria that makes it stand apart from other regions and the fact it is the strength of some of its 21 sub-regions that has given it so many talking points. In the second part of our report published later in the week our panel looks at where Victoria sits within Australia as a whole.
Set within a natural amphitheatre created by mountain ranges, the ancient Southern French wine region of Roussillon is a land of diverse wines made by a rising tide of pioneering winemakers keen on making their mark organically and sustainably. In this first part of a 2-part series Sarah McCleery travels to the region to discover first hand how the region is changing. In Part 2 she picks the wine estates that need to be on your radar. Here she gives an overview of what makes the Roussillon such an unique and special region.
Two and a half years after taking the job of CEO at the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Chris Yorke finally cut the ribbon on VieVinum 2022 last Saturday, the first of the influential wine fairs he has helmed. The three day wine fair, that first started in 1998, has been a key part of the internationalisation and premiumisation of Austrian wine and so it proved again with Yorke and his team riding the crest of a wave which has seen them successfully cope during the pandemic by boosting exports and keeping the domestic fires burning.
“Online shopping has its acronyms, technologies, and innovation. But at its heart it digitises the human experience of walking into a wine shop. In a shop or restaurant you’d listen. Online you just have to use different sorts of ears.” That’s how the team at Pix, the new online wine discovery and search platform, analyses its users and consumers to work out what they are looking for from wine online. In the first of what will be a regular series of insights, Pix suggests four online tools that can help you analyse your own traffic data on your site to create more effective content and lists of wines that your consumers are wanting to buy. From Google Trends to Google Ads there are free existing tools out there that can unlock your online sales data and help you make more informed decisions about the wines you source, list, promote and sell.