Such is the competition in the premium on-trade wine market that even distributors of the scale and reputation as Enotria&Coe need to be changing, adapting and moving not just with the times, but ahead of it. Which is why it is keen to push the credentials of its fine wine portfolio and the fact it has promoted Kathrine Larsen-Robert MS from her premium wine ambassador role to the head of its new fine wine division. Here she sits down with Richard Siddle to explain what her new position entails and how Enotria&Coe wants to work closely with its producers and restaurant buyers to develop a fine wine offer that allows them to sell the finest wines to as many customers around the country as possible.
The Listrac-Medoc is one of the smaller and less renown Bordeaux appellations and home to Château Clarke that is celebrating its 50th birthday by having a €18 million facelift funded by its owners Baron Edmond de Rothschild and the Edmond de Rothschild Heritage group. The results speak for themselves and put the estate in a position to fully maximise the potential of its land and the Rothschild name, according to Boris Bréau, managing director of Edmond de Rothschild Heritage Wines, who tells Abbie Bennington the work being done at Château Clarke reflects the strategy of the group at all its estates around the world.
Wine Scholar Guild is widely regarded as the pioneer in online wine education and the leading provider of specialised certification programs on the wines of France, Italy, and Spain. With a network of over 130 schools in 30 countries and an online community of over 10,000 alumni, it has set its bar to facilitate one of the highest qualified wine certifications in the world with an instructor/ contributor list that reads like a Who’s Who of wine educators. All the more impressive given Wine Scholar Guild has been going for less that 20 years after it was set up by a 23 year-old Frenchman, Julien Camus, living in the US. Despite this success, Camus has maintained a low profile, something Christian Holthausen wanted to set right when he sat down with him to discover more about the story of how it was set up, how it operates, the new website overhaul and where Camus sees wine education heading.
Whatever happens in the race one thing is for sure the Ferrari name will be celebrating on the winners’ podium at this weekend’s inaugural Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix. The event is arguably the pinnacle of the Lunelli Group’s bold decision to partner with Formula 1 and have its Ferrari Trento sparkling wine as the “toast” for every Grand Prix held around the word. Here Abigail Bennington sits down with the Camilla Lunelli, the producer’s head of communications, to look back on how the sponsorship has gone, and reflects on another major deal – the signing of Champagne winemaker, Cyril Brun to the group.
Try and name the wines of Piemonte and, after Barolo and Barbaresco, you might be scrabbling for names. And yet there are 60 denominations in the region with vinous treasures there often overlooked by wine buyers – be they red, white or sparkling wine. In a fascinating new book, The Wines of Piemonte, Italian wine expert David Way tries to set the record straight by examining this region of great diversity which is still remarkably unexplored. In an in-depth interview Way tells The Buyer’s Peter Dean why he is drawn to the region, what is new and exciting here and what are the under-the-radar producers that we should be keeping a close eye on.
It’s said getting wines listed in key restaurants is all about relationships, usually between the importer and sommelier or head of wine at any particular venue. But there are times when the usual rules of engagement go out of the window, particularly when you have the personalities of Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, that includes the Gaucho Group and M Restaurants, and Ken Forrester, founder of South Africa’s Ken Forrester Wines involved. They have formed a friendship as well as business relationship which has culminated in them working together on a bespoke wine that Forrester has made for Williams called ‘The Rare Barrel’ made from one of the few plots of Mourvèdre in South Africa.
It has been quite a month for Lanchester Group, and its founder Tony Cleary, scooping two major industry awards in recognition of the company’s pioneering approach to sustainability. The group, which includes Lanchester Wines and Greencroft Bottling, won the prestigious Green Wine Initiative trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s annual awards gala at London’s Roundhouse, while Cleary, who founded the company with wife Veronica in their living room more than forty years ago, was also personally recognised with an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) award from the LDC (a part of Lloyds Banking Group) for creating ‘a business driven to contribute to a more sustainable future’. David Kermode caught up with Cleary as he was still taking it all in.
South Africa is rightly praised and respected around the world for how far its wines have come in the last 20 years, but it is still not seen as a major fine wine producing country. Vilafonté is looking to change that. A high-end South African wine brand, based on premium Bordeaux-style blends that, in its own words, has “an uncompromising determination to produce wines which stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the great wines of the world”. To help prove the point, and to set the scene for the imminent release of the 2021 vintage, it recently held a 21-year vertical tasting of every vintage of Vilafonté Series C all the way back to 2003 at a special event in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The invited tasters could go at their own pace, aided and abetted by head winemaker, Chris de Vries. Malu Lambert was one of those invited to attend and here she catches up with Mike Ratcliffe, one of the co-founders and lead champion of the Vilafonté brand, where they discuss ancient terroir, new irrigation technologies, the state of fine wine in South Africa, and his 100-year plan.
A heritage Champagne producer with a history of family ownership dating back to the 17th century and a County Durham-based wine business, established in its founders’ front room 40 years ago, might not – at first glance – seem to have much in common, but a meeting at ProWein between Famille Moutard and Lanchester Wines has inspired a new partnership, built on a shared family ethos, which promises to surprise and delight in equal measure, with a distinctive and different range of top end Champagnes and on trend Pet Nats, as David Kermode reports.
Georgia Panagopoulou is one of a new breed of digital marketing experts that are helping wine producers and brand owners tell their stories to a wider audience. Here she explains how she has created her own Wine Gini digital marketing agency and what she sees as the steps needed to have an effective digital strategy. She also looks ahead to next month’s Wine Future conference and the talk on digital comms she is presenting there.
Lawrence Francis has been at the forefront of digital and audio communications for the wine industry primarily through his breakthrough podcast, Interpreting Wine, that has recently celebrated its 200th episode. He is now looking to take audio comms to a new level by offering producers a new service whereby they can take part in Virtual Wine Fairs and share their unique stories through recorded audio descriptions of their wineries and wines. Recordings interested buyers can then use to find out more about the producer whilst tasting their wines. Here’s how it is all going to work.
As spirits go Calvados is as sustainable as they come as it only requires apples, water and bees for pollination. A drink that stretches back to the 16th century from the rolling hills of Normandy, France, where apple orchards stretch as far as the eye can see and wooden barrels await to turn those bountiful apple harvests into Calvados, the world’s favourite apple brandy. As we look to celebrate World Calvados Week here’s what you need to know about what Calvados is all about.
“I’d advise anyone wanting to get into the business now to be a nice person. It all starts and ends with a smile.” It’s an approach that has served Nicolas Clerc well in a career that has seen him rise to become a Master Sommelier during his time working at some of France and the UK’s top end restaurants, before making the switch to the supplier side where he is now heading up portfolio management at Armit Wines. Fresh from winning the Caterer Gérard Basset award for services to the wine trade, he sits down with Helen Arnold to share what he sees as being the key to having a successful wine career – which bring us back to being the kind of person that producers and customers want to spend time and do business with.
There have been many estates in recent years that have tried to push rosé into the premium category, but few have been as successful as Château D’Esclans, Sacha Lichine’s Provence estate that is in the final throes of a takeover by LVMH. To try and unravel some of the secrets of its success, both with Whispering Angel and its super-premium wines including Rock Angel, Château D’Esclans, Les Clans and Garrus, The Buyer’s Victor Smart travelled to St Tropez to meet up with global marketing director Paul Chevalier and taste and rate the new wines.
Les Grands Chais de France certainly lives up to its name when you consider it has producers and vineyards in every major region of France and can supply buyers with every possible style of French wine. But it does not tell the full story. For this is a still very much a family business that is becoming a “Grands” player in an increasing number of countries around the world, including South Africa, Chile, Spain, Germany and Hungary. Here we talk to Chris Davies, UK sales director for the on-trade and independents, about how it hopes to bring all aspects of Les Grands Chais de France to what is its third Private Wine Day and a chance to wines from across its growing portfolio in London on October 17.
It’s nearly 40 years since the Tua Rita brand and estate was founded on the back of just two hectares of vineyards in the heart of Tuscany. It’s now in a position that it has to release its wines en primeur into key markets around the world – most noticeably the UK through Armit Wines – as demand for its high 90+ Super Tuscan wines increases every year. Richard Siddle talks to owner Stefano Frascolla about how far Tua Rita has come and what he hopes its wines can offer the premium on-trade in the years ahead.
“Fakes, fraudsters, and grape crusaders have shaped the world of wine…” As blurbs for a new wine book go it definitely grabs the attention. It also sets the scene for Rebecca Gibb MW’s deep dive into the murky side of the wine industry and her new book Vintage Crime – A Short History of Wine Fraud. In it she explains how wine fraud has been an unseemingly part of the sector ever since people have been making wine – be it in ancient Rome or modern California. It also claims to “introduce us to lesser-known industry figures: the scrupulous merchants, honest growers, and cutting-edge scientists who have led the fight against fraudsters”. Here Gibb talks to The Buyer about why she wanted to capture the world of wine fraud in her new book.
Finding unique wines with a story to tell is the meat and drink of the on-trade. Few, though, are as good as Bibendum, argues Lisse Garnett, in unearthing idiosyncratic winemakers who like to push boundaries to the limit. To prove the point, the importer invited Garnett to visit one of the many jewels in its crown – the 13th Century estate of Alois Lageder, who is making biodynamic mountain wines in the fairytale world of Alto Adige, complete with Alpine cows in the vineyards and barrels of wine being played the music of Bach, from a wind-powered sound system no less.
Ben Franks is “a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit, which defines those who subscribe to the motto ‘Follow your dreams’.” That’s how Angela Mount describes the steps that Ben Franks, chief executive and founder of multi-award winning Novel Wines, and specialist importer of south and East European wines, has already achieved in such a short period of time. As he announces he is to step away from Novel Wines in the new year to concentrate full time on the Canned Wine Co, which he also co-founded, as chief commercial officer, Mount catches up with him to see where his wine dreams are going to take him next.
Inspired by tasting Michel Chapoutier’s biodynamic wine at ProWein in 2019, Ukrainian winemaker Ihor Petrenko set out to make his own biodynamic wines at the Biologist winery close to Kyiv. He has followed a hard but hugely rewarding winemaking journey since. His conversion to biodynamics is a story that is also the inspiration for this award winning article by Victoria Makarova in the biodynamics category in the WebWineWriting competition organised by Hungarianwine.eu. A story we are pleased to share for you on The Buyer.