The Buyer
James Davy: exciting buyers’ senses at New World tasting

James Davy: exciting buyers’ senses at New World tasting

It’s a busy time for trade tastings and Davy’s Wine Merchants has certainly gone the extra mile in what it has planned for its special New World wine event on September 7 that it is hosting at its head office in Greenwich, London. James Davy, chairman and the fifth generation of the Davy family to run the business, says the team has worked hard to give buyers a fully immersive tasting that will use food pairings and bespoke music matches to heighten their tasting experience of wines from all its New World wine producers.

Richard Siddle
1st September 2022by Richard Siddle
posted in People,People: Supplier,

To find out more and to register for the Davy’s Wine Merchants Voyage to the New World tasting on September 7 click here.

James Davy, chairman of Davy’s Wine Merchants, explains why he is so excited about hosting next week’s New World wine tasting.

Can you tell us about your tasting on September 7 – what can people expect?

This year it is at our HQ and Cellars in Greenwich rather than our usual West End or City venues, which we feel is the perfect environment for our producers to share their knowledge, passion and wines in an informal and fun setting.

The Vintners Yard is situated a stone’s throw from Greenwich mainline station and only eight minutes by train from London Bridge.At the rear of Davy’s Wine Vaults and above our Victorian Cellars the courtyard is adorned with wine barrels, antique furniture and even an old basket press. It’s a unique setting to welcome 14 talented new world producers to show their wines from barrel top, encouraging interaction and fun with our guests.

On tasting are 70+ exclusive New World imports with wine, food and music “perfect serves”.

Davy’s Vintners Yard in Greenwich will host its New World wine tasting

Creating an experience to enhance the senses, and keen to show wines in context, we asked our producers to delve into their creative side, compiling personally curated playlists to accompany their wines. Each playlist will be available to download with tracks played at intervals throughout the day alongside ‘perfect serve’ food and wine pairings. The bite-sized food and wine matches were created especially for the event with a handful of local Greenwich food suppliers.

We are also hosting two trade and press masterclasses on the day with very limited spaces.

Are there are any particular themes or styles you are focusing on?

Yes, our focus is on our exclusive imports from the New World, showcasing wines from South Africa, Australasia and the Americas. Some of our highlights include:

Te Kano’s (Central Otago) new single vineyard wines including recent IWC gold medallist (95 Points), Northburn Chardonnay 2020 and their outstanding Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2019.

Sidewood Estate (Adelaide Hills) is another privately owned vineyard, nestled in the Adelaide Hills, the heart of Australian cool climate wines. The winery is focused on creating stylish and elegant styles underpinned by impeccable winemaking from internationally acclaimed winemaker, Darryl Catlin.

La Brune (Elgin) was created when multi-award-winning winemaker, Nico Grobler, of Eikendal wines in Stellenbosch, visited Burgundy and fell in love with Burgundian winemaking under the expert guidance of Bruno Lorenzon. Bringing this back to South African soil, he set up their vineyard in Elgin Valley with a focus on finesse, elegance, and purity of fruit.

Wine Time London’s Brad Horne will host a table featuring some back vintages, new exclusives and ‘allocation only’ releases including a first glimpse of our newest addition, iconic Waiheke New Zealand producer Stonyridge.

You are also looking to freshen up the tasting with some new features including food – what are you doing and why?

James Davy wants to test and stimulate buyers’ senses at its New World wine tasting

We know how important it is to find the perfect wine for a dish, and how food, music and environment all influence our enjoyment, appreciation and evaluation of wine – something that is often lost at large trade events. So, we are creating a tasting of wines in context, hoping to help both wine buyers and winemakers consider the role the wines might play both with and without food, to enhance their dining experience. With this in mind, we have created a selection of bespoke ‘perfect serves’ to pair with wines from five different wine producers.

We were also conscious that tasting events are often limited to wine buyers and key decision makers and we wanted to create a format that is accessible to all.Greenwich is a lovely area to explore, and we hope that our customers will see the tasting as an opportunity to get together with their teams and join us for the day.

You heard it here first – we reveal the proposed pairings for the event:

  • Mersea Island Oyster – Supplied by Oyster Brother’s with Bizoe Morningstar Sémillon 2019
  • Whipped Tor Goat’s Cheese Tartlet – Cheese supplied by the Cheeseboard with Te Kano Blanc de Noirs 2021
  • Keens Cheddar Gougère – Cheese supplied by the Cheeseboard with Catherine’s Block Sauvignon Blanc 2019
  • Bush vine or Tomato & Garlic Vegan Sausage – Supplied by Heap’s Sausages with Roodekrantz 1954 Cinsault 2018
  • Passion Fruit Macaron (Vegan) – Supplied by Arapina Bakery with Little Beauty Noble Edition Gewürztraminer 2015

You also have a musical theme – what is that about?

We wanted to create something unique, a full experience for the senses and somehow incorporate the pairing of music and wine.

The first source of inspiration came from Krug and its project Echoes, in which it has a song paired with each of its Champagnes. We found Susan Boe’s article ‘What does music taste like?’, highlighting the scientific study that music affects the perception we have of the wine we are drinking. We found a brilliant article by Jancis Robinson MW, ‘Music and Wine – some reflection’ which lists some interesting pairings, from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney accompanying a Cabernet Sauvignon, to Blondie, Robbie Williams or Mozart complementing a Chardonnay!

We contacted our producers inviting them to pair each one of their wines with a song. At the event, each pairing will be listed on the tasting booklet with a QR code, allowing you to download the tracks which will also be playing throughout the day.We also created a playlist on Spotify available for download if you want to tune in before or after the event, just follow Davy’s Wine Merchants on the app.

Any masterclasses people can sign up for and how have you chosen those to focus on

We are preparing two masterclasses – one from Central Otago and one from South Africa.

11am: Te Kano, Central Otago’s Rising Star

Te Kano estate in New Zealand will be showing some of its wines at the tasting

A masterclass and tasting of award-winning Te Kano Estate including a first glimpse of single vineyard releases from Northburn and Bannockburn with the general manager and viticulturist, Nick Hunter. Hosted by Anne McHale MW.

3pm: New Wave South Africa

A masterclass with two of our new wave South African winemakers, Nico Grobler (La Brune) and Rikus Neethling (Bizoe) with Brad Horne, Wine Time London

Will you have new producers and vintages there for people to taste?

As a result of the travel restrictions of recent years, this will be the first opportunity for several years for many of our New World producers to visit the UK.We’re really excited to welcome them back and taste all their latest vintages. Te Kano GM and conservation specialist Nick Hunter is visiting for the first time alongside Burgundy inspired La Brune winemaker Nico Grobler.We look forward to providing both producers with an additional platform for their respective wineries during our masterclass events. Hot off the press a preview of our next exclusive import from Columbia Gorge in Oregon – Phelps Creek Vineyards.

How many producers are coming over and any highlights for buyers?

We will be showcasing over 70 wines from 14 producers. We’re a small team so in limiting the number of principals visiting we ensure that we put together a full calendar of tastings and events to make the most out of their trips.

There are a number of highlights to look out for:

New releases from Rikus Neethling’s exciting Semillon project, coupled with the opportunity to follow the progress of the back vintages of these wines which are built to last for decades, rivalling some of the great wines of the Hunter Valley.

A first glimpse of our newest import, iconic Waiheke stalwart Stonyridge who historically offered wines only direct to consumer.Allocations will be strictly limited.

Phelps Creek wines from Oregon will be available to taste

First airing of single vineyard expressions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Te Kano Estate, Central Otago. Plus a preview of our next exclusive import from Columbia Gorge in Oregon, Phelps Creek Vineyards

What has been happening at Davy’s over the last couple years – any major development andchanges in how you run your business?

Over the last few years, we have faced many challenges. During the lockdowns we had to change our business model overnight. Despite this, we kept our whole team onboard to maintain sales, and we supported our on-trade customers through on-line wine clubs and on-line sales to reach their customer base.

We significantly increased the number of independent retailers we work with and subsequently the volumes through that channel. Maintaining communications and relationships with all our wholesale customers was key to the strong bounce back we have had since trade opened up.

We have invested in our team in all areas to enable our service standards to continue to rise and have many IT and warehouse projects underway to strengthen the business. Whilst doing all that, our fine wine division has gone from strength to strength, both with record breaking En Primeur sales and attracting many new ‘Cellar Plan’ customers.

It’s been a very difficult, very busy and subsequently very motivating few years.

What are the key targets: goals for this year?

Our focus is on maintaining and furthering our reputation as London’s finest boutique wine supplier. Improving in any areas we feel we can and adding great producers to our portfolio as and when opportunities allow. Our continuing goal is to be able to get back the rhythm of the business that was so upset by the pandemic

What are your biggest challenges and how are you overcoming: tackling then?

Even disregarding Covid, you can take your pick from any number of cost pressures, stock pressures, shipping pressures or vintage pressures. All these difficulties are part and parcel of running a wine business and we are dealing with everything as best we can. A vast increase in stockholding has helped mitigate a lot of those areas and guarantee smooth onward supply.

Proudest achievements in the last couple of years?

The way in which the team came together when the world was looking like a very bleak place. To the benefit of our business and our customers alike.

Any new opportunities to work at Davys: skills you are looking for?

Over the last year, we have expanded our team in pretty much every area of sales, support, shipping and stock management, but with the continued growth we are seeing in sales we may be looking to further that area even more in early 2023.

What can we expect from the company in the year ahead.

Steady and managed growth in our portfolio, our sales and the number of events we put on for our customers. Despite all the excitement, we still aim to keep it simple and do it well.