The Buyer
Buyer Restaurant Tour: Manchester buyers on potential for Gavi wines

Buyer Restaurant Tour: Manchester buyers on potential for Gavi wines

The Buyer was set up with one goal. To help bring drinks producers and buyers closer together so they can better understand each others goals and how they can work more effectively with each other. The Restaurant Tour concept was devised to do just that. To give busy wine buyers, importers and distributors the chance to taste and explore different wine regions in the environment in which they were meant to be enjoyed - in restaurants and with food. That’s why in order to help showcase the different styles of Gavi DOCG wines on offer The Buyer teamed up with the Consorzio Tutela del Gavi to embark on a bespoke restaurant tour that paired its wines against different styles of food. The Consorzio was also keen to hear the views of buyers from outside London and to find three venues in central Manchester that could offer local buyers different experiences and styles of food that could bring out the best in the Gavi DOCG wines available to taste. Here you can go on the tour with them and find out what key buyers, importers, distributors and local journalists thought of the Gavi wines on show.

Richard Siddle
29th April 2024by Richard Siddle
posted in Debates,

Click here to read the full downloadable report. All photography by Mark Waugh.

There are certain styles of wine, be it a grape a variety, or a specific region, from different countries that have developed a clear and simple relationship with consumers who immediately know what they are going to get when they order a bottle of wine. For Spain it is Rioja.

France it might be a Côtes du Rhône, or a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet. In Italy it is Pinot Grigio and Gavi that cuts right through to what a consumer is looking for.

But how often do you see those wines on lists in restaurants that are not normally associated with French, Spanish or Italian wines? How can a region such as Gavi, however well it might be known, get to expand and introduce its wines to buyers, sommeliers and restaurateurs working right across the premium on-trade?

That was the challenge the Consorzio Tutela del Gavi set The Buyer in finding three restaurants that could best showcase how well its Gavi DOCG wines can pair with food and then recruit a panel of leading buyers, importers, distributors and leading wine voices across the north of England to give their insights and share their experiences of working with Gavi DOCG wines.

The chance also for them to taste and explore Gavi DOCG wines in the way they were meant to be enjoyed - with food. The opportunity for buyers to see wines in a different, more relaxed context than a formal trade tasting.

The Restaurants

The Buyer was able to recruit three venues in central Manchester that covered three different types of cuisine: Spanish; Chinese; and Middle East. They were:

Salut Wines

Salut offers tapas style dishes in its central Manchester wine bar venue

11 Cooper Street, Manchester, M2 2FW
One of Manchester’s most established and respected independent wine merchants that has built up a strong local and regional following both for its wide wine selection, but also for its growing on-trade and bar offer at its central Manchester location. It specialises in bringing new wines and producers to the market thanks to its extensive by the glass programme and Enomatic machines.

Home Chinese

Home is situated in Manchester's thriving Chinatown

16 Chorlton St., Manchester, M1 3HW

Home offers authentic Chinese cuisine, from dim sum to specialist Sichuan, Cantonese and Cantonese-style roast dishes. It prides itself on offering “a fresh, creative and respectful interpretation of traditional Chinese cuisine”. It became an instant classic on opening in Manchester’s city centre. homechinejerestaurnat


Bab: Bringing a range of Middle Eastern dishes and cuisines to Manchester

14 Little Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1HR

Located in the Manchester’s creative Northern Quarter Bab has built a reputation for its unique Middle Eastern-themed kebabs and meze made using locally-sourced ingredients, vibrant flavours and homemade marinades and sauces. The open theatre-style kitchen allows diners to see the restaurant team creating dishes from scratch.


The Restaurant Tour Panel

The Buyer Gavi DOCG Restaurant Tour panel was made up of a wide selection of local wine merchants, regional importers, wine writers and consultants so that they could offer a diverse range of views and feedback on the wines tasted and their potential in the UK wine market. We also worked hard to make sure our panel were the sort of individuals who also did not mind being thrown together and were quickly able to get into the spirit of the day of meeting fellow, interesting peers in the trade - as well as being happy to share umbrellas and try and keep dry whilst walking through the Manchester rain in between the different venues.Our thanks go to all of them as well as the representatives from Gavi and the Consorzio. The panel included:

Noel Reid, founder, Rediscover Wines

Noel Reid of Rediscover Wines sees great potential for aged Gavi DOCG wines

Noel Reid has quickly built up a diverse range of producers from around the world for his new wine importer business. Each carefully hand selected in order to offer something specific and unique from key wine producing countries around the world that Reid has identified as being ideal for the premium UK wine market.

Phil Crozier, sales director north for Ucopia World Wines

Widely experienced across both the on and off-trades - particularly his time as head of wine at Gaucho - Phil Crozier is now heading up sales in the north of England for Ucopia Wines another strong new wine importer looking to handpick wines for the premium wine market.

The tour included a chance to pair Gavi wines with Spanish, Middle Eastern and here Chinese dishes

Paul Caputo, founder of Vinorandum

Paul Caputo is widely experienced wine writer, judge and consultant with a specific focus on Old World and Italian wines who also runs his own wine search engine and media platform, Vinorandum, and is a contributor to The Buyer.

Kelly Bishop, wine educator, food and wine writer

Kelly Bishop runs her own educational wine tours in Manchester

Kelly Bishop is very well known across the Manchester and North west food and drinks scene both for her drinks and food writing, but also for running her Manchester Wine Tours and taking introducing wine enthusiasts to great bars, restaurants and wines. She also teaches wine courses at the Manchester Wine School.

Jo Browning, Chesters Wine Merchants

Chesters Wine Merchants has quickly emerged as one of the UK’s brightest and most innovative wine merchants and can can lay claim to be Abergavenny’s only independent wine retailer with a growing list of awards to its name. Jo Browning has been a key part of the team for the last three years.

The panel had the chance to enjoy three different styles of food as part of the tour

Jane Clare, journalist, wine writer, educator

Jane Clare is a highly respected consumer wine writer and journalist based in Liverpool who writes columns for regional newspapers syndicated across the country. She also runs her own WSET wine courses and training programmes and writes her own blog, One Foot in the Grapes.

Matt Monk, store manager, The Whalley Wine Shop

Matt Monk is store manager at Whalley Wine Shop in Ormskirk, one of the north west’s most accomplished and influential wine merchants and regional wholesaler. One of Harpers’ Top 50 Independent Wine Merchants it aspires to be one of the ‘new generation’ of wine merchants bringing more accessible wines and spirits to a wider audience.

Richard Bracken, on-trade sales at Milestone Wines

Richard Bracken of Milestone Wines said it was good to see such a diverse range of Gavi DOCG wines

Founded in 2017 by Miles Corish MW Milestone Wines has built up an extensive, diverse portfolio of wines from both the New and Old World which are targeted at its strong customer base, particularly in the premium on-trade across the north of England which is headed up by Richard Bracken.

Shirley Kumar, Eat North

Shirley Kumar is a leading business journalist with extensive experience working on titles across the retail and wine and spirits sectors, including Harpers Wine & Spirit. She has now launchd her own breakthrough website, Eat North, focused on sharing stories about the food, restaurant and drinks scene across the north of the country.

Click here to read the full downloadable report.

Through the wind and the rain...

Buyers' Views

To find out what each member of the tour thought of the wines and how well they worked with the tour you can read the full report. But here are a few highlights.

Richard Bracken, Milestone Wines

What stood out was how the styles varied from the stereotypical fresh, grassy and fruit forward to something with real richness and complexity. I’d not normally gravitate toward putting a Gavi on a tasting menu as a pairing, but the visit to Home showed that some of the wines showed incredible versatility with often difficult to match dishes, especially some with a little spice.

Paul Caputo, Vinorandum

Paul Caputo checking his phone: How far is to Home?

It was a reminder at how consistently good Gavi can be. There wasn’t one bad wine on show.

Jane Clare, One Foot in the Grapes

It’s a brilliant concept. Not just for the wines but to be able to talk about the wines with fellow wine people and to learn and compare notes on the day. To have a wine region expert on hand was great to be able to ask questions and to feel and understand the region more.

Noel Reid, Rediscover Wine

The tour confirmed the continuing quality you would expect from the wines of Gavi with their bright elegant style. There were some very interesting variations from my expectations with what became a broader knowledge of the soils of the regions and what broadly we could expect from both the red and white soils.

Gavi's Sara Repetto explaining its wines to Jane Clare and Matt Monk

Phil Crozier, Ucopia Wines

I liked the idea of the sub-regions, especially when it comes to the red and white soils, or mixed. I think this is a very clear point of difference. They should stay away from producing ‘riserva’ wines, but there is a potential for ageing which we could see.

Matt Monk, Whalley Wines

It was great, in particular, to understand the soil types in relation to the region and the impact and influence they then have on the wines. It was also good to hear and see its ageing potential.

Getting down to debate at Home

Jo Browning, Chesters Wine Merchants

I think the restaurant tour was a great concept as it gives you the opportunity to try the different styles of wine with different foods that you may not necessarily think would pair well. It was a valuable learning experience. I loved the whole thing.

Sara Repetto, Consorzio Tutela del Gavi

Among the many promotional activities in which I participate as a wine ambassador, the restaurant tour remains, without a doubt, among my favourites. The practical, concrete and informal approach certainly represents the strengths. And then there is the time to establish a relationship with the participants, with due calm, tasting Gavi DOCG with many dishes from world cuisines, having the time to share and discuss what people think. In the end, what else is wine about other than sharing good times with people?

Click here to read the full downloadable report.