“I’ve got that ProWein feeling…!” It’s not the official strapline for the world’s biggest international wine & spirits show, but that’s how Kylie Minogue, iconic pop star turned wine producer, burst out singing when I asked her to describe what it was like to go to what was her first ever trade show. Not that I expected her to reply in full Kylie singing mode, or even see her take her place as one of the 6,000 plus exhibitors at the fair. But then it pretty much summed up the rollercoaster experience of ProWein and the chance to get back into the inner webbing of the international wine trade and the chance to better understand just where producers, importers and buyers are when it comes to putting trading, supply chain issues to one side and work out how to do effective business with each other going forward.
It’s understandable if your focus and interest in China has waned a little over the last few months as its on-going issues with Covid and travel has meant the imported wine market has taken a hammering. But China is not a market we can ignore for long and even if sales have slowed down considerably the potential and opportunity is still there. To get a true insider’s view of what is really happening we turn to Ian Ford, founding partner of Nimbility, and widely recognised as one of the most authoritative and important independent commentators and analysts on the Chinese wine market.
When you consider producing one litre of wine is the equivalent of travelling 400km in a car there was much to discuss, assess and evaluate at the recent Sustainable Development of Bordeaux Wines Forum held in the city. In her first article for The Buyer, Abbie Bennington, was on hand to hear what steps different wine bodies and sustainability experts are taking in order to help the wine industry as a whole be more sustainable and responsible in how it makes wine.
You only have to walk down any aisle at a major international wine fair to see producer after producer showing the medals they have won in different wine competitions. But how important are they to wine buyers tasting their wines? Do they make a difference in what wines they list? What makes one wine competition stand out over another? To help find out The Buyer teamed up with the IWSC to ask major wine buyers, who also invest a lot of time judging competitions themselves, why it is they take part, what they are looking for in a medal winning wine and what producers should be doing with any medal they do win.
There is now so much fierce competition within the fine wine market amongst brokers, wine importers and merchants to get fine wine buyers to buy through them. But what makes a fine wine buyer decide which business to work with? Wine Owners, which helps devise and implement the computer management systems many fine wine operators rely on, carried out a satisfaction survey with a sample of fine wine buyers to find out. Here’s what it found.
There is no shortage in producers, importers and buyers wanting to do business with each other the problem is how they do it. The on-going supply chain issues and constant increases in dry good costs for packaging, and the huge shortages in glass, screwcaps and labels means negotiating contracts between drinks producers and buyers has become far more complicated than just agreeing the price on grapes, or a bottle of wine and spirits. That’s why the first One Step Beyond webinar of 2023, organised by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, will look to tackle just how producers, importers, retailers and buyers are having to rewrite the rules of trading. Here’s who is taking part and how you can sign up for free.
The world of beers, wine and spirits has never been more of an open market with the opportunity to do business with drinks producers in any country. But it has also become increasingly complicated, costly and timely to send drinks around the world, particularly from so-called deep sea markets. Bevo Shelves hopes it can make importing beverages of any persuasion from Australia and New Zealand, in particular, far more straight forward with its new logistics and shipping support platform. Andrew Jones explains how it works.
Although Georgian wine is one of the most ancient viticultures, it is currently experiencing a renaissance with the number of wineries booming, investment increasing and red wine slowly elbowing its way into market dominance. Fresh from leading a delegate of wine experts to judge the latest Georgian wines for the IWSC, Sarah Abbott MW analyses the latest trends and points out some of the rising stars – some which are available in the UK and others which are still up for grabs.
A number of leading drinks can producers have come together today to launch what they are calling their ‘Canifesto’ to urge more operators and venues across the on-trade to both welcome cans into their businesses, but champion them for the quality of drinks they now offer, how easy they are for hospitality staff to use and handle and the positive impact they have on the environment. Here we share the ‘Canifesto’ that leading brands – MOTH, Longbottom & Co, The Uncommon, TRIP and Jukes Cordialities – have come up with.
Most high-end restaurants would not even list any Proseccos in the fear of sacrificing the profit on Champagne sales. But are there opportunities for Asolo to tap into the premium Prosecco category? In a revealing account, Leona De Pasquale explains what the differences are between Asolo and other wines in the premium Prosecco category, most notably Conegliano Valdobbiadene. And examines Asolo’s potential in both premium off and on-trade.
Considering Spain is by far the biggest wine export country in the world, it should be no surprise a large proportion of its wines comes to the UK. But what are leading importers, wine merchants and buyers looking to source for their lists? Is it the traditional, classic regions that still rule the roost, or are buyers looking to tap into more modern winemaking styles and going out of their way to discover new winemakers and producers to work with? To find out, The Buyer teamed up with Wines from Spain to host its latest zoom debate with a panel made up of some of the most influential buyers in the premium UK wine market.
2023 could go down as a pivotal year in the long history of Vinexpo, and the still very short story of Wine Paris – for there is now no doubt this has come a must attend trade show for a growing number of wine producers and major wine buyers, distributors and wine merchants from across Europe and around the world. The lure of Paris, combined with a super efficient and organised wine exhibition, means Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris is ticking more boxes every year as it attracts more producers and buyers from outside France eager to do business in the country’s capital city. Richard Siddle gets feedback from producers, buyers and importers and gives his personal take on this year’s show.
You would struggle to find a more resilient and innovative business sector than the UK hospitality and on-trade industry. No matter what challenges are thrown at it, restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels find a way to not just keep trading, but push forward with new concepts, and opportunities for the drinks producers, winemakers, importers and distributors that supply them. Here Wine Business Solutions’ founder, Peter McAtamney, reveals the top line insights from its Wine On-Premise 2023 report.
“I have never had the chance to taste so many English Pinots side by side. There are opportunities here, and I would definitely buy some wines for my list.” That’s the kind of response you want to hear if you have decided to put on an experimental tasting and debate to assess the potential of English Pinot Noir wines. But that was the response of Medlar’s head sommelier, Melania Battiston, had to the English Pinot Noir event hosted by Marasby’s Simon Huntington. Here he explains why he wanted to host the event in the first place and what his key takeaways were.
I have to ask, has anyone ever actually met an unpleasant New Zealander? Kiwis are just so, well… nice. There is a classic Alan Partridge sketch that sees him tell the Irish what they are known for, “Leprechauns, shamrocks, Guinness, horses running through council estates, toothless simpletons..badly tarmacked drives (in this country), men in platform shoes being arrested for bombings, lots of rocks and err Beamish.” He’d probably have ridiculed the Kiwis for their weapons grade niceness; “Sam Neil, hobbits, a young breast-feeding ex PM, sheep, Middle Earth, purity of absolutely everything, humbleness, godliness and rugby.” But how does the real and cliché-free New Zealand translate into our glass and what have they been up too whilst ‘the way’ was shut? Lisse Garnett attended the culmination of New Zealand Wine Week’s 3rd showing for The Buyer to find out.
The annual Wine Australia trade tasting returned to its former glory in London last week, following Covid’s interruptions. Visitors to the Lindley Hall venue were welcomed by a huge array of the great and the good of Aussie wines from across all the major UK importers. Some producers had even braved the jet lag and the joys of a cold British winter to attend. While wine buyers tasted the latest vintages and cuvées Mike Turner used the event as an opportunity to catch up with a number of producers who have signed up to the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia initiative to see how this young program is progressing for them, and how it is fast becoming an integral part of the Australian winemaking scene, and a key part of growth. In just four years the number of members has swelled to 250 (with 1000 in the pipeline) in what is a major opportunity for Australia to prove its sustainability credentials to the world.
We continue our series helping to promote new voices in the Australian wine scene with this fascinating examination by Max Brearley on the changing face of Western Australia’s ‘unassuming’ Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends and how producers are increasingly succeeding in making dynamic, age worthy and beguiling expressions not normally associated with the region. He also looks at how producers are now looking to make Semillon, in particular, “the star of the show” and not one of the supporting cast.
Whisper it quietly but the world of wine is waking up to the idea of doing business in Paris, in February thanks to the fast growth of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris which goes into only its fourth show promising to be 25% bigger than 2022, of which 35% of visitors will come from outside France, up from a quarter last year. Here Helen Arnold assesses what it is that has made the trade fair connect so quickly with the global wine industry and what to expect at next month’s show.
We are not even at the end of January and the trading challenges facing the wine industry for the year ahead look like some of the hardest it has ever had to overcome. It feels like producers, buyers, importers, suppliers and retailers alike are standing in front of a croupier in a casino not sure whether to stick, twist or place another bet. Be it the problems up and down the supply chain getting wine from A to B, to the increased packaging, dry good and glass costs, through to the shortage of staff on the front line of hospitality and retail to sell it. Here Phoebe Phillips talks to major producers, suppliers, importers and buyers to understand the challenges they are facing and how they are innovating to stay relevant, competitive, solvent – and hopefully profitable.
“We have never been able to buy Bordeaux with the consistency of quality that we are doing at the moment…Bordeaux has never been so good.” That was the verdict of Bordeaux wine educator, Laura Clay, after taking part in a tasting of Right Bank Bordeaux wines that asked our panel of leading importers, wine merchants and educators to assess wines from 2018, 2010 and 2012 vintages to see what developments there have been across the region’s main appellation as part of a link up with Union of Syndicates of St Emilion which covers 10 appellations: Lussac Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Montagne Saint-Emilion, Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac and Canon Fronsac.