Rioja Wine UK invites the UK trade and press to the first Rioja Residency – an immersive, educational journey around Rioja without leaving London. It all takes place on June 21 at London’s five-star boutique hotel, The Ned, which will be Rioja’s home for the day where guests can enjoy the region’s rich culture and heritage including the chance to taste wines from 20 visiting winemakers. The day will also include masterclasses from Spanish wine experts and masters of wine. Here’s what is in store.
Understanding terroir and how it can be expressed in wine is one of the key priorities at family-owned, Tokaj-based winery Harsányi, as the trend towards dry wine continues in this region of Hungary. Robert Mason talks to head of the estate, Gábor Harsányi, tastes through the range and discovers how key the conversion to organic winemaking is as it embraces the new, as well as endorsing its historic past.
German wines are renowned for pairing well with food and to help prove it, Wines of Germany is hosting a series called #SommSessions – a masterclass in German wine exclusively for the on-trade and sommeliers from around the UK, hosted by acclaimed, award winning sommelier, Jan Konetzki, four times winner of ‘UK Sommelier of the Year’. Here, Helen Arnold sits in on the first #SommSession held recently at the Mei Ume restaurant in London’s Four Seasons Hotel which specialises in traditional Chinese and Japanese dishes. How did the German wines pair with its cuisine?
It might have taken a (very long) time for Georgian wines to really find their place in the UK wine market, but with sales booming year-on-year there is much to talk and get excited about. As well as showing a wide selection of its wines at this week’s London Wine Fair, Wines of Georgia is also holding a separate portfolio tasting in London on May 23. Here Sarah Abbott MW helps set the scene for both with her take on why she thinks serious wine lists should always have room for Georgian wines.
Was Bike to Care Bordeaux a ride or a race? No-one seemed quite sure but the lube was guaranteed to fly when you put 100 riders from hospitality worldwide on the back roads of Bordeaux – especially with the new arrival of a semi-pro team from the Low Countries. After Louis Jadot and fellow winemakers from Burgundy put charity ride Bike to Care on the map last year, it was up to the Bordelais to ‘go one better’ … or was it?
“Our work in the Aventura Winery will allow us to innovate at speed” and help it “be at the forefront of future trends.” It’s a bold statement and an impressive ambition but one that leading Chilean producer, Morandé Wine Group, has made possible by investing in and building a new state-of-the-art winery equipped with the latest vinification technology and ageing vessels – from concrete to qvevri – so that it can both develop its own ideas and brands, but also be a “one stop solution” for projects and opportunities for potential customers around the world.
“Tejo produces some of the freshest, most vibrant and affordable wines in Portugal today.” That’s the view of wine consultant Dirceu Vianna Junior MW on a region that might be Portugal’s oldest but has still so much to offer and discover. Here ahead of Wines of Tejo showcasing its wines at next week’s London Wine Fair we also talk to Luís de Castro, president of the regional wine commission of Tejo and Wine Intelligence consultant, Brian Howard, about what makes the region so special and why buyers should check out its wines at the fair.
Know your Albariño from your Alicante, Garnacha from Graciano and Verdejo from Viura? Ramón Bilbao is giving you the chance to prove it by entering the Spanish Wine Master, the latest initiative from its Spanish Wine Academy educational programme. The Spanish Wine Master is open to anyone who works in the UK trade and is pitched at the equivalent of WSET Level 3 (and above) knowledge. Here Rodolfo Bastida, chief winemaker and Kirsty Loftus, UK and Ireland area manager for Ramón Bilbao explain what the competition is all about and why education is such a key part of what the winery is about.
Edinburgh-based subscription wine club Wine52 claims to be a cut above the competition, describing itself as the UK’s largest wine discovery club and offering its members wines from new, emerging regions and countries. Helen Arnold catches up with head wine buyer, Thomas Sanetra, and talks to him about how a business that started out in craft beer – with Beer52 – has taken the same concept into wine to great success.
Earlier this year Pol Roger Portfolio announced the addition of the fabulous wines of famed Barolo producer Luciano Sandrone to its range of fine wines for the UK trade. Built on the success of the eponymous Champagne brand, Pol Roger Portfolio continues to include some of the most celebrated names in wines and spirits. Earlier in the spring The Buyer’s Mike Turner sat down with Pol Roger Portfolio’s James Simpson MW, to discuss the recent additions and future opportunities for this premium drinks’ agency. This was followed a couple of weeks later with a visit to Barolo to meet Barbara Sandrone to discuss their hopes for this exciting new partnership.
“The scheme is open to anyone who is starting in their career in wine but who has had a barrier to going further, whether financial, social, or based on your background.” That’s how Jane Anson describes who the Bordeaux Mentor Week, that she set up last year, is aimed at. As she looks to host the second Mentor Week in Bordeaux later this year she explains what she hopes the initiative can do to get more people from diverse backgrounds into the wine industry.
With canned wine sales in the UK now close to £15m and an estimated global value of over £160m it is quietly moving from a niche to mainstay of the overall UK wine market, particularly as its sustainability credentials tick so many boxes for businesses looking to hit their environmental and carbon net zero targets. Any growing sector, though, needs pillar brands and businesses to set the standards and show the way forward for smaller players to follow. Which is what the Canned Wine Co now believes it is in a position to do, particularly with last week’s acquisition of The Copper Crew canned wine brand. The Buyer talks to Ben Franks, co-founder and wine buyer for Canned Wine Co about why it decided to buy a rival brand and what he sees as the future for the overall canned wine market.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural Bike to Care event, which took place in Burgundy, the wine industry is once again taking to its bikes this May in Bordeaux, hoping to overtake last year’s impressive €250,000 money raised for hospitality charities. The Buyer’s Peter Dean joins the Hatch Mansfield team, gives a taster of what’s in store with Bike to Care Bordeaux, and explains how you can help by giving.
Les Caves de Pyrene has long been a trailblazer for low intervention and natural wines from across Europe and around the world, encapsulated with its annual Real Wine Fair. It is now looking to shine the light on English low intervention wine producers and the wines they are producing with its first Real Wines in the Vines trade tasting that takes place next month. Les Caves’ Doug Wregg explains what it hopes to achieve.
Both Richard Leaver and and Domingo Miguel are well versed in knowing how to source wines and create brands for the countless retailers and buyers they have worked with over the years. They are now ready to use those skills and network of producers to create their own, appropriately named, brand – Savvy Pair – that is focused on bringing “bright, fresh fruit forward wines” to the market from multiple markets. Or as Leaver puts it: “It is unequivocally about us and our experiences, travels, loves and failures!” They talk to Richard Siddle about how they are going to do it.
“What I saw wasn’t a derelict vineyard, what I saw was the chance to create something different: something delicious.” In one sentence Nic Peterkin captures the spirit of innovation and willingness to be brave and different that is very much what the modern winemaking scene is like in Australia’s Margaret River. Julian Tompkin talks to Peterkin about his LAS Vino business and Richard Burch of Burch Family Wines about how they are following their families into wine, but taking winemaking in a whole different direction.
“In the current climate The Drinks Trust’s work has become increasingly vital and we believe supporting its work is crucial.” That’s the reason why Alliance Wine has pulled together a team from across the business who are willing to put the trainers on, and the miles in, to run the Edinburgh Marathon next month and help raise money for the drinks industry’s charity. Here’s how you can help them make their efforts worthwhile.
Five guys go into a sauna… Sounds like a joke right? but the success and ambitions of Kyrö Distillery Company are deadly serious. Not content with the fact that Finns didn’t make malt rye whisky, Miika Lipiäinen and his four co-founders set up a distillery to set the record straight. They are also producing rye gin with Dark and Pink variants, there’s also a Rye Whisky Cream not unlike Bailey’s. Peter Dean caught up with (a fully clothed) Lipiäinen after Kyrö has secured a major supermarket listing and got the lowdown on their on-trade ambitions in the UK and US.
“We are keen to find people who can look at things differently, who see things from a fresh angle and can challenge us to ensure we have a fully informed and well-rounded view of the issues facing our industry.” That’s the challenge that Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, has set itself in its bid to bring four new board members into the organisation. Here he explains in more detail the kind of person it is looking for and how to apply if you are interested.
It can be hard to describe what potential breakthrough new technology does when it has not existed before. But here goes. Welcome to the Wine & Food Matcher, a new white label software solution for the wine industry that claims it can do three things at once; help consumers choose best matching wines to their food, at home or in restaurants; give restaurants the chance to raise revenues and cut staff costs; and allow distributors and importers to see their on-trade customers wine inventory. Sounds too good to be true? Wineally founder, Ole Nielsen, explains how it works.