The growth of outstanding dry white wines from Tokaj has been just one of the many exciting developments from this Hungarian wine-producing region in the past two decades. But with it comes an agonising decision that has to be made in September by the winemaker – how much dry wine are they going to make and how much of the Furmint crop are they going to leave on the vine in the hope that botrytis will set in so they can produce Tokaji Aszu? Climate change means that the years where conditions are perfect for botrytis have been halved, which makes the decision even more of a gamble.
Two years ago Olivier Cuvelier, President of the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, told The Buyer of his plans to change key areas of the classification system – making the award stand for five years rather than one, and for three historical hierarchical levels: Cru Bourgeois, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel to be introduced. The changes were part of a campaign to simplify and clarify the Bordeaux classification to consumers and trade alike. But, just as these measures were being implemented in 2020, the roll-out was scuppered by Covid. Peter Dean hears from Cuvelier about how the global pandemic affected the Alliance’s work on the 2018 vintage programme and what is in the pipeline for 2021.
Talk about a baptism by fire. In her first year in charge of Beaujolais’ producers association, Inter Beaujolais, new managing director Cécile Bossan-Redon has overseen the region reinventing itself against the backdrop of a global pandemic and US tariffs. Despite that, exports are up and a whole raft of changes are in progress from various environmental projects to the official recognition of three new winemaking areas within the region.
It’s a pretty long road from starting out your career on the back of a degree in stage management to running your own UK blended rum business, but Philip Everett-Lyons could not be happier in not only making the case for the British rum sector with his own Hattiers rum brand, but also running a business that is based on achieving ambitious sustainable and environmental standards. So much so that it is one of the few drinks companies to achieve B Corp status and hopes to encourage others to follow suit. He shares his story with Richard Siddle.
Getting your channel management right is key for any wine producer looking to make inroads into the right segments of the UK on and off-trades, but in 2020 it has become paramount in how visible and successful your brands have been. For Chuck Cramer, director of European sales and marketing for Terlato Wines, producer and marketer of luxury wine brands in the US, it has meant having to refocus where many of its on-trade reliant wines now sit, which has seen him strike a new working partnership with ABS Wine Agencies to look after its key Rutherford Hill, Napa brand. Here Cramer and ABS’ Elliot Awin, explain to Richard Siddle how they were able to come together quickly and get sales moving through the specialist and premium retail channels.
Wine journalist – and regular Buyer writer – Chris Wilson has added another string to his bow as he launches his own urban winery in the heart of Cambridge. In the latest instalment of his column for The Buyer he extols the virtues of doing the bare minimum in a white jacket and reveals the details of a guerrilla rosé that’s crept into his cellar. To geek or not to geek? That is the question he is asking himself this month as the cramped space limits what science he can apply on site, and the wines themselves start to take shape – in thrilling fashion.
There will be baited breath in the global wine community on November 18 when the winners of the Wine Producer Awards will be announced. The highest-achieving wine estates from the IWSC have made it into the shortlist across five categories: Sparkling Wine Producer, Fortified, Sweet, Red and White Wine Producer with English wineries well represented in the Sparkling Wine category. Unlike the Spirits awards where William Grant & Son could win for the third year in a row, the Wine Producer Awards will have a new winner as last year’s most Outstanding Wine Producer did not make the cut.
Now in its 29th year the ¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction is a prime example of how a wine region can keep its key workers alive and well. Although the world sees many wine auctions, with exclusive cuvées and formats up for grabs in an auction setting, rarely is it tied into a free healthcare programme that is providing 2,500 vineyard workers and their families with the healthcare and outreach they need – especially important this year during the pandemic. LM Archer looks at this unique programme as well as picks out key wines from this year’s auction that is operating online until November 16 and gives a first look at the 2019 ‘throwback’ cool vintage.
November 18 is the date for this year’s IWSC Spirit Producer Awards, an entirely black tie or dressing gown affair. While Covid-19 has meant that the gala night has had to go online for the first time, there is no doubting the excitement of who will be crowned best producers across eight different spirits categories. Top spirits prize of the evening will be awarded to one company which will waltz off with the coveted title of Outstanding Spirits Producer – and for one company that could well be three years in a row…
If there was a competition for the most leftfield way someone has got themselves into making wine then Tim Ford would have a fighting chance of picking up a medal. For whilst he has more than made his home making wine at Domaine Gayda that he set up from scratch in the heart of the Languedoc Roussillon, it is a long way from where he first started his career as a horticulturist running what turned into a multinational flower business from the heart of Africa. It’s already been quite an adventure but, when it comes to wine, Ford believes he is only now ready to really capitalise on the strong reputation he has built up and take Domaine Gayda to the next level, as he explains to Richard Siddle.
The pivotal World Bulk Wine Exhibition is the key time of the year for global wine producers and their most important international wine buyers to come together and do business. But with Covid-19 still preventing major trade fairs to take place this month’s show is going online with a new format – WBWE Connect – that will still allow producers to trade their bulk wine with the world’s most influential retail and on-trade wine buyers. Here’s how it is all going to work.
While winemakers the world over plant on higher ground for insurance against climate-change, Le Soula already made that move 20 years ago. The mixture of old vines grown at altitude on poor granitic soil in the harsh climate of the foothills of the Pyrenees was irresistible to Gérard Gauby, the Roussillon’s most respected vigneron; he suggested to his importers Roy Richards and Mark Walford that they farm it and in 2001 Le Soula was born. Peter Dean paid them a visit last month, met up with Wendy Paillé, the new (ish) estate manager and tasted through the new wines, just taken on by Thorman Hunt, a range with remarkable freshness and vitality.
The wine regions of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Colorado are the real frontier of American winemaking and a sommelier’s perfect new hunting ground. Although it wasn’t until the 1970s that the modern wine industry of the American Southwest was born it was in New Mexico that the first Vitis vinifera vines in the United States were planted. Talking about her latest book The Wines of Southwest USA, Jessica Dupuy tells Peter Dean about a fascinating region full of diverse terroirs, wines from over 700 wineries and indigenous grape varieties …Blanc Du Bois from Texas, or Chambourcin from Colorado anyone?
If there is a more respected and liked figure in the global wine industry than Laura Catena then I am yet to meet them. If her father, Nicolás, is widely regarded for putting Argentine wine on the world map, then Dr Laura Catena is more than ready to take it to the next generation. She has already established herself as a leading voice not just on Bodega Catena Zapata wines, but on exploring, investigating and finding the most sustainable and climate proof places to make wine for all producers across Argentina. Here in this wide ranging video interview Richard Siddle talks to her about her vision and plans for Catena, helping to raise the quality and prestige of Argentine wines internationally and managing a business through Covid-19.
Wine journalist – and regular Buyer writer – Chris Wilson has added another string to his bow as he launches his own urban winery in the heart of Cambridge this autumn called Gutter & Stars. In the third instalment of his column for The Buyer the Pinot Noir and Bacchus have arrived at the windmill-based winery, Chris puts his DIY cellar tools to the test and the stereo is turned up to 11.
Whether he’s plunging his arm into a just-fermenting open barrel of bubbling Grenache, bounding across the arid La Roque vineyard where his beloved 80 year-old Carignan vines grow, or pouring samples of the seven wines he produces under the Domaine of the Bee label, Justin Howard-Sneyd is a man with boundless enthusiasm – a Master of Wine who’s found his ultimate vocation. Peter Dean popped down to meet him for lunch in the Roussillon town of Maury to find out how the year’s been and how he’s getting ready for harvest.
“We refer to our wines as ‘Next World’ as they are somewhere in between the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ world in style with tremendous elegance and distinctiveness.” That’s how Paul Beavis the new head of Iconic Wineries of British Columbia describes the unique styles of wine being made by the shores of the lake that dominates Canada’s Okanagan Valley. Beavis will be well known to the wine trade for the 20 years he spent steering Champagne Lanson’s success in the UK and internationally, but, as he explains, the draw of this wonderful, and largely undiscovered, part of the world was a new challenge he is so excited to take on.
As if this year could not get any worse we have all been shocked to see the fires that have struck right through the heart of the wine communities in California’s famous Napa and Sonoma Valleys over the last couple of weeks. For those outside the US it is hard to know how to respond to such an emergency other than to continue to support by promoting and selling Californian wine. This weekend The California Wine Institute UK is urging us all to do just that and is also broadcasting a special ‘California Calling’ lifestyle show featuring Oz Clarke and TV chef, James Martin.
Gigglewater has become a fascinating brand to watch. Launched initially to tap into the phenomenal success of Prosecco, it has carefully moved and adapted to position itself as an umbrella brand that carries the principles of authenticity, wellness, ethics, yet it is also looking to have fun, inspire and raise our spirits at the same time. Attributes that tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people. Here Catherine Monahan, founder of Gigglewater, sets out in detail how she has developed the brand, on her own, with no sales teams, by using social media, experiential marketing and following a direct to consumer strategy that dove tails with her grocery and trade distribution model.
Since its launch 100 years ago Delamain Pale & Dry XO has become a classic cognac for the on trade as well as aficionados worldwide. Its conception and success owed as much to the horrors of the First World War that preceded its launch as it did to the creative explosion of the Roaring Twenties that followed. To celebrate its first century and to reinterpret Pale & Dry for another 100 years meant changing very little. But what Delamain has changed says a lot about how the house sees the development of the cognac market.