The second of our three debates, held in partnership with the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB), to help mark #BourgogneWeek examines the relationship between key specialist wine importers and the producers they work with in such an important region as Bourgogne. To help us we turned to Jason Haynes, co-founder of Flint Wines, widely regarded as one of the most important Bourgogne players in the UK market, and Thibaut Marion, owner of artisan producer, Domaine Seguin-Manuel, in Savigny-lès-Beaune.
We mark the start of Bourgogne Week with a key industry online debate hosted by The Buyer and the BIVB (Bourgogne Wine Board) with leading importers and key figures in the UK wine industry, who discuss the key issues facing Bourgogne going into 2021 with BIVB president and producer, Louis-Fabrice Latour. In this wide ranging discussion the panel looks at how they responded to the challenges of Covid-19, the steps they took to continue working with their key Bourgogne producers and how this classic French region goes into 2021 with the UK as once again its number one export market.
The world of wine is not just complex, it can be baffling and difficult to enter. There are many and diverse barriers to entry, so how can we share knowledge and access to people – and their businesses – that can help newcomers build a career? As The Drinks Trust rolls out its new mentor programme as part of its Drinks Community initiative, Pauline Vicard looks back on a debate she held late last year with Areni Global on the steps you need to take to be a good mentor.
Xinomavro is the Greek grape variety on everyone’s lips at the moment and that is not just a passing fad, argues Justin Keay. Greek wine is definitely one of THE wine trends that we can look forward to in 2021. Greek wine ticks most of the boxes for supplying the on and off-trade with well-made, contemporary wines: it’s made mainly with indigenous grapes; the terroirs are some of the best in the world and hugely varied; the climate supports widespread organic, traditional winemaking techniques; and the wines are stunning value. In a fascinating A-X of Greek wine, Keay picks out his top wines and producers, as well as talks to some of the UK’s key importers of Greek wine for their views on how to tap into one of next year’s big things.
Yesterday’s news that Jascots Wine Merchants has been rescued from administration by Freixenet Copestick is not just good news for all the staff and management involved, but is a big fillip for the wine industry as a whole. After such a tumultuous year, where many have predicted the demise of a number of on-trade suppliers, this is a move that feels like a shot of adrenaline for a sector that has been thrown to the wolves since the outbreak of Covid-19. Here Richard Siddle analyses what all this means for Freixenet Copestick, but for the sector as a whole.
The role of social media and how you can stand out in the digital world was the subject of the recent Bordeaux Means Business webinar held by The École du Vin de Bordeaux. Here one of the three keynote speakers, Helena Nicklin, shares her experiences of nearly 20 years in the wine trade where she has made her name, and created a following through her own social media network, and in her role as one third of The Three Drinkers.
This time last year and the US bulk wine market was in a bad way. You might expect things to look even worse after Covid-19, the largest bush fires in history in California, and the ongoing trade war with China. But according to Greg Livengood, partner of global wine broker Ciatti, the bulk market has managed a 180 degrees shift in the past 12 months, as he explains to Robert Joseph as part of the online debates he is hosting for WBWE Connect.
In our second deep dive into the highlights of the recent One Step Beyond webinar, organised by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, we turn the focus on voice search and the power of our own voices in how we live our lives – and run our businesses. James Poulter, co-founder of specialist voice and conversational AI agency, Vixen Labs, explains how Covid-19, lockdowns, switch to online and desire for touch free retailing has seen the demand for voice search fast forward the equivalent of years in roll out.
Even if Tom Cruise and his Mission Impossible team had been available I’m not sure even they could have solved the challenge of “How To Future Proof the South African Wine Industry” in the hour debate that was held online earlier this month as part of Wines of South Africa’s Insider Sessions designed to throw the spotlight on different challenges and opportunities facing its industry. Here Richard Siddle, who helped chair the session, summaries the key solutions of the panel of leading South African winemakers and producers.
While human intervention can correct all manner of issues in a vineyard, the one that is increasingly having the greatest impact is climate change. That cannot be combatted… or can it? Wine expert Michelle Williams spoke to growers in Australia, Spain, Austria, and the USA to learn about their efforts to do just that, through vineyard biodiversity. From grape variety selection, cover crop practices, biodynamic farming and encouraging Mycorrhizal fungi, winemakers are finding that when you are faced with a complex problem – using complexity does help.
The percentage of sustainable wineries in Bordeaux has nearly doubled in the last six years as more producers see both the environmental, but also commercial advantages in switching their production. The region is now on course to have 100% of its wineries running some sort of certified sustainable scheme by 2030. For a region that is so often celebrated more for how well its different appellations are performing this is a case of individual steps for collective gain, as Jessica Broadbent finds out in this analysis of what other steps Bordeaux is taking to safeguard and grow its future.
If we did not appreciate China’s influence on the global wine market before 2020 then Covid-19 has changed all that. As it was the first country to be struck with the virus, it was also the first to close its borders and go into a nationwide lockdown sending ripples across the international wine trade as producers suddenly had mass volumes of wine they needed to find a home for. Thankfully China was also the first major nation to seemingly get a grip of Covid-19 and is now in a fast recovery mode. But what is the real situation on the ground and what impact has it had on imports? Jessica Broadbent tuned into the recent online Vinexpo Shanghai debates to find out.
We’ve seen wine businesses enjoy incredible success online during Covid-19 as wine drinkers stuck at home had no choice but to turn to Google to find the wines they like. But how much of that increase in sales was down to luck and how much of it was due to the digital expertise of the individual wine companies involved? Digital marketing consultant, Brooke Herron sets out five areas where wineries in particular, but any drinks business looking to sell online, need to get right in order to make the most of their ecommerce opportunity.
If you look at any consumer or drinks analyst report for 2020 they will all talk about the trends that were rife pre Covid-19 have all accelerated during it. But it’s not just industry trends we need to be on top of, but also our personal ones, with issues around wellness, diversity and inclusivity coming to the fore during lockdown. That’s why The Drinks Trust, the charity that has done so much to help individuals across the drinks industry during Covid-19, is conducting its first national industry survey so that it can assess just what it needs to be doing and investing its resources in so that it can help drinks people in the future.
If there is any consolation from the fallout of Covid-19 across the hospitality sector is that we are all in this together – right around the world. Any experiences we have in any particular country can potentially be shared with other wine and drinks teams and restaurateurs in other cities. This was very much the spirit of the recent debates held by Areni Global with fine wine players from four different markets that saw them sharing their stories and solutions. Here Pauline Vicard, Areni’s executive director, summarises what was said.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley might be best known for its Pinot Noir but few may realise how diverse its winemaking community is. Celebrating Hispanic Roots was an event aimed at setting the record straight with six Latinx winemakers from Atticus Wine, Beacon Hill Winery, Cramoisi Vineyard, Gonzales Wine, PARRA Wine and Valcan Cellars telling their stories and showing their wines, the best of which LM Archer tastes and recommends. Not only are the six speakers leaders in their own right but they are also advocates for the Latinx community, particularly for those who work on vineyards.
When we held the first One Step Beyond event in early March to analyse the growing trends and advances in technology that were changing the way we as consumers behaved, the world was a very different place. Even though Covid-19 was rampaging across Europe, in the UK it still felt very much at arm’s length. Seven months on and so many of those emerging, ‘about to happen’ trends discussed at the conference are now very much part of our daily lives shaping the way we live and dictating what businesses need to do to survive. To help assess what changes in consumer behaviour the drinks industry needs to be on top off now and in the months ahead, The Buyer is teaming up again with Sophie Jump to host a special free One Step Beyond webinar with the same experts and panelists from the inaugural conference. Here’s how you can take part.
Wines from all over the world were willing to put themselves to the test in the hope of being selected as one of the top trophy winners in what is the IWSC’s 51st year. Here we reveal the Top 30 wines that the competition’s elite group of judges selected from the thousands of wines entered that they believe deserve a trophy of their own with particular standout wins for France, Australia, Hungary, South Africa and England.
As we all grapple with finding the right ways to talk about and sell ourselves online, The Buyer’s new Digital Hub looks to take a look both inside and outside the drinks industry to see what we can learn from others. This time round we look at the kind of technology that works and is needed in hospitality; why Amazon wants to attract luxury brands; how we can now sell on Instagram IGTV; and what we can learn from Walmart’s new digital-first store concept.
One of the biggest trends that was on fast forward before lockdown, and been on triple speed throughout Covid-19, has been sustainability and what brands and businesses consumers are buying products from are doing to act more responsibly. One of the big areas that the drinks industry, and wine in particular needs to get right, is its packaging, design and supply chains. Ahead of this month’s One Step Beyond free webinar, James Harmer of Cambridge Design Partnership looks at how a new scientific approach, to packaging and design can help companies take sensible, incremental and effective steps towards full carbon neutral sustainability.