“Every restaurant wants a Gavi on their list.” That quote from Holly Sharpe, head of London on-trade at Alliance Wine, pretty much summed up the overall feeling of the buyers, importers, sommeliers, wine merchants and restaurateurs who took part in The Buyer’s latest Restaurant Tour. This time the focus was on Gavi wine, thanks to a partnership with the Consorzio Tutela del Gavi, to showcase the potential of the region and its wines to senior players across the premium UK wine market. The opportunity for them to also spend time with their peers and fellow wine buyers to share their experiences and better understand what opportunities there are for Gavi wines in the UK. A tour that took in four venues across central London in a bid to show how Gavi wines perform against different styles of food. The four restaurants were: Vinoteca, Kings Cross; Arabica, Kings Cross; Gaucho, Charlotte Street; and Lucy Wong dim sum and cocktail bar in Fitzrovia. Here’s our behind the scenes report on the day.
“Having the chance to pair styles of Gavi wine with different types of food shows how versatile it is,” is how John Graves, wine development director at Enotria&Coe summed up the Gavi Restaurant Tour.
The Buyer’s Restaurant Tour, in partnership with the Consorzio Tutela del Gavi, was designed to give busy buyers, importers, wine merchants and sommeliers the chance to assess wines from across the Gavi region in the way they are made to be enjoyed – with food. A chance to see how its styles of wine perform when paired against a range of dishes from across the world taking in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, South American and South East Asian.
The buyers had both the chance to taste each wine individually and then pair them with different dishes in each venue. The one caveat being the tour did not involve an Italian restaurant, home of Gavi wines.
By assessing the wines in each restaurant, it is hoped the buyers were able to taste the wines in the context in which they are meant to be served whilst also opening up new distribution routes and opportunities for the Gavi wines in their ranges.
Sara Repetto, brand manager for Consorzio Tutela del Gavi said it was keen to hear directly from leading buyers and key figures in the UK wine industry about how it can improve its position in its number one export market. The key next steps for Gavi, says Repetto, is to get more listings across a wider base of restaurants for “different levels of Gavi”. “We want to be in the market and have restaurants with different levels and styles of Gavi,” she adds.
It’s why the Consorzio was keen to work with The Buyer to organise this Restaurant Tour so that it had the chance to show key buyers the “different expressions” there are of Gavi so that it can secure “different positions in the market”.
Restaurant Tour Panel
Our thanks go to the panel of buyers who took part that included:
Richard Dennis, commercial director at Watermill Wines
Richard Dennis has enjoyed a wide career working for Sainsbury’s, and leading wine distributors Ehrmanns, Benchmark Drinks and now Watermill Wines which specialises in private label relationships with major retailers.
Lisse Garnett, wine writer
Lisse Garnett is an experienced journalist and has the rare ability to be able to work working across specialist trade titles, national newspapers and consumer magazines. She is also now a specialist wine writer and regular contributor for The Buyer.
Clara Rubin, group wine buyer, Hawksmoor
Clara Rubin has worked across multiple channels of the wine trade including specialist retail at Majestic Wine, premium wine distribution at Berkmann Wine Cellars and Graft Wine Company. She now heads up the wine buying at Hawksmoor, the still growing premium steak restaurant chain.
Dan Whine, head of drinks at Zapp
Dan Whine has recently returned to work at the on demand grocery app, Zapp, as its head of drinks buying for wines, beers and spirits. He was previously head of buying and operations at Petersham Cellar and enjoyed spells at Liberty Wines and Borough Wines.
Harry Hunt, director H&K Wine Agencies
Senior PR and marketing executive, turned winemaker, turned wine importer, Harry Hunt is well placed to assess the merits of a particular wine and sits in the market. He has teamed up with Michael Karam to start a new wine broker business, H&K Wine Agencies that specialises in sourcing wines from across the Mediterranean and finding partners for them with importers and retailers in the UK.
Sophia Longhi is wine writer who has fast become one of the most influential new voices in the sector, both through the work she does with The Wine Collective, but also under her own digital and social media activity with Skin + Pulp.
John Graves, wine development director, Enotria&Coe
John Graves heads up wine development at Enotria&Coe building close relationships with leading on-trade players. He has held a similar role during an extensive career across a number of senior and development roles at Bibendum.
Harriet Kininmonth, wine trading director, C&C Group
Harriet Kininmonth is responsible for managing all the wine that passes through the C&C Group’s separate trading divisions including Matthew Clark, Bibendum, Bibendum Off-trade and Walker & Wodehouse. She was previously director of wine buying at Enotria&Coe and spent some time with independent wine merchant, The Sampler.
Giles James, founder, ID Wines
Giles James has over 20 years experience in wine covering distribution, brand development and international sales including spells at Mission Estate Winery, Yealands, Corney & Barrow, Bibendum. He now runs his own wine consultancy business, ID Wines, and is responsible for managing the wine list at Soho’s famous Groucho Club.
Matt Paice, operations director at Enoteca du Luca, partner at Chishuru
Matt Paice is in charge of managing Enoteca da Luca’s three restaurants in the City of London. He is also a partner in Chishuru, a specialist west African restaurant in Brixton. He was also founder of Killer Tomato Restaurants that was born out of an initial street food business.
Holly Sharpe, head of London on-trade, Alliance Wine
Holly Sharpe heads up Alliance Wine’s on-trade team in London and is responsible for both managing the team and building sales and relationships. Having trained at Majestic Wine she has held senior trade account and sales roles at Bibendum, Armit Wines and Justerini & Brooks.
Chris Wilson, wine writer, English winemaker
Chris Wilson trained to be a winemaker at Plumpton College and worked as communications manager at Hallgarten Druitt. He now runs his own independent English winery, Gutter & Stars, and is a respected wine writer and regular contributor to The Buyer.
Gavi in facts and figures
- Gavi region covers 1,600 hectares of vines in south-east Piedmont and enjoys a mostly continental climate with long winters and hot and sunny summers.
- It stretches from the Po Valley to Piedmontese Apennines 30km from the sea and the coastal Marin breeze helps cool the vineyards and grapes and helps to generate acidity and flavour.
- It has mainly red clay in the northern vineyards which has the warmest climate and produces Gavi wines with more body and structure.
- The central strip has white clays and alternating layers of marl and sandstone, producing balanced Gavi wines structure and flavour.
- It has 11 separate municipalities in province of Alessandria with around 500 families involved in making Gavi DOCG wine.
- Gavi is a 100% Cortese wine, an indigenous grape variety of millenary appropriation in the production area.
- 13 million bottles produced with 85% exported to over 100 countries generating €65m in revenue.
- Consorzio Tutela del Gavi was formed in 1993 to “promote, enhance and protect the Gavi DOCG in Italy and around the world”.
- It has 190 companies associated with the Consorzio.
- You can find out more about Gavi and its wines at the Consorzio’s website here.
- The Gavi Restaurant Tour was organised in partnership with the Conzorzio and the European Union. Our thanks also go to our restaurant partners: Vinoteca; Arabica; Gaucho; and Lucy Wong.