The conundrum facing many drinks brands is whether or not to use social media influencers in your marketing – and if you do, who are the most, well, influential to use for your products? It’s not a problem, however, for Katherine Jones. Not only does she run her own successful influencer marketing business – generating over £20m in sales for brands in only four years – she is using her influencers to help promote her new low sugar, vegan Prosecco brand, ThinK Wine, as she explains to Richard Siddle.
Wine Australia has used its Connect website to focus on Riesling throughout the month of July. Our contributing editor, chef and New World wine specialist, Roger Jones, tastes his way through six top Clare Valley Rieslings, with food-pairing suggestions for each. He also explains the thinking behind a new series of videos made for Wine Australia that showcases the versatility of Australian Riesling, especially when it comes to matching them with food.
If you were looking to hold a buyers’ debate and tasting of Beaujolais and Centre-Loire wines your immediate assumption would be looking at red wines for Beaujolais and whites for the Centre-Loire. Not this time round. For both regions are also producing a diverse range of quality wines that you would not normally associate coming from those appellations. To help explore and assess just what sort of white wines are being made in Beaujolais and red wines in the Centre-Loire, The Buyer teamed up with Inter Beaujolais and Centre-Loire Wines to bring together a leading panel of buyers, wine importers, sommeliers and restaurateurs to taste a selection of wines and then analyse just how suited they might be for different channels of the UK market in our “The Secret Gems of Beaujolais & Centre-Loire debate’. In part one of our report we explore what the two regions can offer for reds and whites and then delve more deeply into diversity and quality of Beaujolais white wines. Part two of our analysis, later in the week, will focus on the red wines from the Centre-Loire.
The Roussillon region of South West France, is a vinous treasure trove with many exciting wines to discover, argues Justin Keay. As a region it was only officially uncoupled from the Languedoc five years ago, and its identity as a producer of quality table wine has only really taken place in the past 20 years. But its roots as North Catalonia, with its rich historical and cultural past run much deeper. So too do the wide variety of winemaking styles, benefitting as they do from a patchwork of micro-terroirs and a multitude of different soil types. At a press and trade tasting, Keay explores the wines of 12 different producers and recommends which wines need to be on your radar.
Ask any business leader what the most important aspect of their company is to get right and ‘our people’ will often be first or very high on their agenda. Yet the attrition rates for staff continue to go up and the reality is somewhat different on a day-to-day basis. How companies can really put their people first will be a key aspect of next week’s One Step Beyond webinar, co-hosted by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, as we hear directly from Steve Ingham, chief executive of PageGroup one of the biggest and most respected recruitment consultancies in the world.
With the Tour de France riders passing over the Hors Catégorie climb of Mount Ventoux this week, our drinks editor and cycling nut Peter Dean looks at the psychology of why you would willingly cycle up a mountain that is ‘beyond category’ and why Castelnau has chosen this as the concept for its top Champagne. C.M. 1993 – as it is called – is the third in an adventurous series of prestige cuvées that is inspired by cycling to the highest level, and allowing the winemaker to break all the rules.
To help increase diversity within the drinks industry, Distill Ventures, the brand development and start up investment arm of Diageo, is launching what it is calling a new ‘Pre-Accelerator Programme’ dedicated to early stage founders from underrepresented groups that often are overlooked for corporate funding and private investment. It is pledging to invest $5 million in drinks entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds over the next 12 months. Here Distill Ventures’ portfolio director, Ara Carvallo, explains how the scheme is going to work and how it is part of its overall commitment to drive diversity and inclusion.
Offering customers exactly what they want is a key aim of everyone in hospitality. But, in order to achieve that, we need to understand more fully how the brain works in its connection to the perception of flavour and eating behaviour argues Dr Qian Janice Wang who uses wine as the medium through which to study the human mind. Restaurateur, wine consultant and importer, Mike Turner, had an audience with Janice at the Somms’ Edition of the Spanish Wine Academy initiative operated by Ramon Bilbao. Here he learnt why people will pay more if they eat with heavier cutlery and why even the most hardened wine critic can still be fooled by fake rosé.
The flagship wines from House of Arras, Houghton, Grant Burge, St Hallett and Hardys made up the tantalising selection of prestige wines from Accolade Fine Wines, that were showcased at its second Pre-Release Introduction tasting. Part of Accolade’s Global Vintage Release Programme for 2021, the tasting allows key buyers and selected press to assess and confirm their allocation ahead of the release of the wines later in the year. Roger Jones, our retired Michelin Star Chef and Aussie wine lover tastes through the full portfolio.
We might have had our fill of 90 minute events come the end of the Euro 2020 football champions next month, but here’s news of an alternative way of spending 90 minutes with the second One Step Beyond webinar, co-hosted by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, to be held on July 12 that will once again share the insights and expertise of leading figures in consumer behaviour, technology and innovation, both in and outside the drinks, retail and hospitality sector. Here’s what to expect from those 90 minutes.
“The South America Wine Guide is the culmination of my decade or so living there and is the sort of book I would have loved to have had when I arrived.” This is how Amanda Barnes describes her new book that encapsulates all her experiences of living and working in a continent where she has seen huge advances in winemaking, not just in the main Argentine and Chilean wine producing countries, but across the continent and into Peru, Bolivia and beyond. Here she shares a few of those experiences and how she went about creating a book that is already being seen as the definitive guide for South America.
It’s not just the excuse to transport yourself to the iconic world of Californian wine that has made the California Wine Institute Somm Sessions such a success over the long months of lockdowns, it has been the consistent high quality of the wines, winemakers, producers and sommeliers involved in the events. The recent Trinchero Family Estates tasting, in association with Lanchester Wines, was a case in point. The chance, as David Kermode explains, to see just how far Californian wines have come in recent years and why sommeliers are increasingly turning to them as ideal gastronomic wines.
Picking top 10 wine lists is never an easy task, especially when there are 146 wines to taste from 25 producers at an event covering Provence, Champagne, Beaujolais, Languedoc, Rhône and the South West. But that was the brief for Justin Keay who went to discover new Organic wines from France and new Rosés at ‘Tastin’ France French Rosé & French Organic’ – the latest tasting organised by Business France, an organisation that showcases solid, often family-based wine producers with a good following at home but lacking name recognition abroad and wanting to grow their market. There were many new grape varieties that even Keay hadn’t tried before, unexpected blends and cuvées that were delightful ‘curve balls’.
High street retailing and the internet have been the two channels that have kept the global drinks industry moving over the last 15 months with record sales online and Christmas-level trading in the major supermarkets. Which has been particularly good news for those preferred retail suppliers that the big chains rely on when their demand goes up. But it is only good news if you are capable of stepping up to the mark, which has been the challenge and opportunity Off-Piste Wines has grabbed with both hands throughout the pandemic.
125 years after it was made, Taylor’s has released a 1896 Single Harvest Port, the third in a thrilling series of very old tawny ports from the Nineteenth century. 1896 was one of the greatest-ever vintages, and has historical significance for Taylor’s on a number of fronts. But how does the company prepare such an old port and, most importantly, what does it taste like? Peter Dean was one of the lucky few to receive a vial of this priceless liquid and has an audience with Taylor’s managing director Adrian Bridge and its head winemaker David Guimaraens to explain the thinking behind its release. Caution! this feature may contain a few superlatives…
Selling and distributing wines into the premium on-trade is as much about the relationship a producer has with its importer as it is the quality of wine being sold. Only when both have the full confidence of each other can they build on that relationship and introduce more wines and increase their footfall together. This is very much the case between Chuck Cramer, who heads up California’s portfolio from Terlato Wines in the UK, Europe, Middle East and ABS Wine Agencies, who first started working together at the end of 2020 when ABS took on Rutherford Hill, Napa and has now gone up a gear by taking on The Federalist and Dueling Pistols wines too.
Italian fine wine may be at the top of the investment pyramid right now, but have consumers and critics started to tire of the Super Tuscans? Justin Keay seems to think so, arguing that wine drinkers are moving away from varieties and styles that are concentrated and oaky. Just as he was putting that theory to bed along comes the wines of Tenuta Sette Cieli, made by the talented winemaker Elena Pozzolini, that illustrates how the Super Tuscans can bring a new freshness to their wines – and a sense of cool – even when climate change is making this increasingly difficult.
With a life story that runs like a Netflix box set, Daniel Daou has finally found his true vocation – making the Bordeaux-style wines that his Lebanese father treasured so much… in the Californian region of Paso Robles. Just don’t ask him whether the area is too hot or not – he prides himself on having found ‘European’ soil with altitude, where the nearby Pacific breezes help to make the DAOU wines some of the most sought-after in the Golden State. To celebrate the release of the new crown jewel of the estate, Soul of a Lion 2018, Daniel Daou hosted a real life mini-vertical tasting of the wine as well as a horizontal tasting of portfolio highlights. David Kermode was one of the lucky ones at the event.
The London Wine Competition goes into its fifth year very much on the front following the 20% increase in entries for the 2021 awards, with entries coming in from 36 countries around the world. It is now looking to specifically target the UK supplier base for entries with special early bird pricing for any supplier, distributor, importer or branded drinks company that enters before August 31, 2021. Here’s how to enter.
“Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies…” This now famous line line from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens also works very well when getting to the heart of good restaurant wine training and helping staff understand what is expected of them when trying to sell wine to a room full of customers, each with very different needs and tastes when it comes to buying wine. In his latest wine training column, Harry Crowther, looks at the importance of building an immediate rapport with customers by asking them the right questions.