As the UK and the world slowly starts to look at how it can emerge from the other side of Covid-19 The Buyer has scaled up its rolling Hub and updates service to keep the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors up to date with what steps are being taken to help businesses not just survive, but regroup, relaunch and come out of this crisis with the tools and knowledge to grow. This is Part Four of The Buyer’s Covid-19 blog that starts on May 28 with all the latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.
With Barolo 2016 it is a question of DO believe the hype. Almost as soon as the berries were picked, winemakers in Piedmont knew that 2016 was going to be ‘bellissimo’ with the region enjoying absolutely perfect weather conditions – benefitting from a rare confluence of the perfect amount of rainfall and the perfect temperatures. For a producer such as Ceretto, which has been championing single vineyard expressions of Nebiolo for three generations, this vintage is ideal for showing off the differences in its terroir. Peter Dean talks with Federico Ceretto, hears how 2016 matches up to other great vintages of the past 20 years and tastes the wines.
“A serious producer of fine Riesling – very impressive” is how Jancis Robinson MW has described the wines coming out of the Red Newt winery on the banks of the Seneca Lake in New York State. Which as accolades go is a pretty good one to have, particularly as it now starting to ramp up its efforts to be as recognised outside the United States as it is at home. Here winemaker, Kelby Russell, a self confessed Riesling obsessive, explains the styles of wine he is trying to make in the first of a new series looking at different producers and winemakers across New York State.
Down on ‘the other 45th parallel’, New Zealand’s cool maritime climate, long sunshine hours and varied soils are producing Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that in one breath emulate Burgundy yet in another plough a furrow all of their own. In the second in a series of four webinars, trade body New Zealand Winegrowers brought together four master sommeliers to take a deep look at the two noble varieties. Can the grapes ever escape Sauvignon Blanc’s shadow – and would the sommeliers want them to?
The situation surrounding the impact and spread of Covid-19 in the UK and around the world is changing so fast The Buyer has set up this rolling updates service to keep you abreast of the latest official guidelines and recommendations from the government, but also the individual steps that businesses are taking to keep trading and help their customers do the same. This is Part Three of our Covid-19 blog that starts on May 1 with latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.
When The Buyer came together with Sophie Jump to organise and hold the inaugural One Step Beyond Conference in early March the focus was 100% on analysing the most disruptive changes in consumer behaviour and technology. Little did we know that just over two months on so many of those changes have now been put on fast forward because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Here is the full report from what was a breakthrough conference for the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors. A day that brought experts from outside the industry’s comfort zone and gave them the platform to set out what we can all expect from consumers and technology in the future. Predictions that are already being seen in how fast businesses and consumers alike are responding to the challenges of Covid-19.
The global pandemic COVID-19 has changed life for all of us, of course, but for Anne Malassagne and her brother Antoine, owners of AR Lenoble, it has been doubly galling because 2020 is the year they were going to celebrate the Champagne house’s centenary. Here, in an in-depth and colourful piece, Christian Holthausen retraces the family history through 100 years of hardship, puts COVID-19 into a global and historical perspective and brings us bang up to date with the last 25 years during which Anne and Antoine set out a gameplan on how to remain independent and ensure at least another century of great Champagne while many houses around them were selling up.
You may not know Kevin Shaw personally, but you will know what he does – even if you don’t realise it. He and his team at Stranger & Stranger have designed some of the most iconic and influential wine and spirit bottles and label designs across the world’s biggest supermarket shelves and the hippest back bars in the world. Shaw also likes to disrupt, to shake things up, to borrow ideas from history, culture, music and the arts and use them to create something new that can stop people in their tracks and force them to pick up his latest bottle and label design. Here he throws down the gauntlet to the wine industry to look at a completely different category for inspiration and to help drive innovation and ideas – yes perfume. It is, as he explains, his Eureka moment for wine.
As life slowly returns to normal in Spain, Julián Chivite speaks about how Lockdown affected his wine empire in Navarra, how the local workforce got them through and export markets are just beginning to come back to life. He also gives the back story to his innovative two new wines – the wood-fermented Las Fincas Rosado and Las Fincas Blanco, 2 Garnachas, that are the latest wines to come out of his collaboration with chef Juan Mari Arzak. Made with premium on-trade in mind, the wines are distinctive and trend-setting and undeniably Spanish.
As we all come together today to celebrate South African wine and the #SpectacularSouthAfrica initiative organised by Wines of South Africa, it is also timely to reflect on the scale of the impact the country’s lockdown, to try and contain the spread of Covid-19, is having on its wine industry. Here Judy Bakker, general and financial manager at Bouchard Finlayson, one of the country’s most historic estates, assesses the steps it has taken to adapt to life during Covid-19.
The situation surrounding the impact and spread of Covid-19 in the UK and around the world is changing so fast The Buyer has set up this rolling updates service to keep you abreast of the latest official guidelines and recommendations from the government, but also the individual steps that businesses are taking to keep trading and help their customers do the same. This is Part Two of our Covid-19 blog that starts on April 8 with latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.
May 13 was unlucky for some English winemakers. That was the stark reality of a late frost last week that saw 25 vineyards suffer frost damage across 90-100% of its vines. The effect of the frost was also seemingly arbitrary – Breaky Bottom which is close to the sea in Sussex had almost total damage, while Rathfinny which is also close had none. Our ‘retired’ Michelin Star restaurateur Roger Jones reports back from Harrow & Hope, Flint Vineyard and Ambriel to see how it affected them and also to see how they prepare themselves for the worst.
The situation surrounding the impact and spread of Covid-19 in the UK and around the world is changing so fast The Buyer has set up this rolling updates service to keep you abreast of the latest official guidelines and recommendations from the government, but also the individual steps that businesses are taking to keep trading and help their customers do the same. This is Part One of our Covid-19 blog that records the events and trade reaction over the days in March leading up to the closing of all bars and restaurants and subsequent national lockdown in the UK
A communal shrugging of shoulders and scratching of heads must have been the order of the day when 30 year ago Maison Latour bought delapidated vineyards half an hour’s drive from St Tropez to plant… Pinot Noir of all things. Surely this most fickle of grapes would never be able to stand the baking Provencal sun? But yesterday saw the apotheosis of Latour’s vision with the launch of Bellevue Domaine de Valmoissine 2017, the first vintage of a ‘Grand Vin’ after three decades of investment, trial and error. This new top cuvée was tasted alongside the fourth vintage of Les Pierres Dorées, Latour’s ‘entry level’ Pinot from Beaujolais that has also been undergoing some fine tuning.
You might not know Wine Owners, but you will be familiar with all the prestigious wine names, merchants and fine wine brokers that it works with, beavering away behind the scenes providing the type of software and the management systems that have quietly, but crucially had a near revolutionary impact on how fine wine can now be traded instantaneously between companies and customers anywhere in the world. Nick Martin, co-founder of Wine Owners, explains what it is actually doing behind those scenes and what potential businesses benefits, synergies and efficiencies it can bring any wine business.
In the first part of our report on the debate we held – pre lockdown – with leading importers and buyers on the prospects of New York State wines in the UK, we took an overview of the region and what makes its wines potentially unique, before assessing what the UK panel’s initial impressions were of the state’s wines. In this second part we look at the recommendations they would give producers on how best to promote their wines here, as well as hear their thoughts on the styles of wines that they think are most likely to make it big in the UK as well as back home in New York and the US.
Craft beer drinkers have had it their own way for too long. That’s the view of drinks industry veteran Karen Hardwick who believes that the moment in time for quality wine in a can has finally arrived. Zeitgeist Ünion – or ZÜ for short – is her company and its debut wine is Grüner Veltliner, a wine that is loved by Anne Krebiehl MW, who caught up with Hardwick to find out more about ZÜ and how the project came about and why we will all be drinking wine from a can in the not too distant future.
Always outspoken, the maverick winemaker that is Jonathan Maltus gives his verdict on Bordeaux 2019 and much more besides. Since 2004 Maltus has championed single vineyard winemaking in Bordeaux, imitating the Napa direct-to-consumer wine club model, and pulling back from 200% oak as a winemaking style. With ambitions to get Le Dôme classified status in 2022 he was in top candid form, speaking direct from his chateau in St-Emilion.
The last two months has seen a whole range of businesses from across the drinks and hospitality sectors having to rip up what were successful business models to find new ways just to trade and stay in business. For some drinks suppliers that relied 100% on the on-trade for its sales it has meant transforming themselves into completely different companies overnight. Like Jascots Wine Merchants. But before we get into the ins and outs of how and why Jascots has become an online direct to consumer operator during Covid-19, its managing partner, Miles MacInnes, is keen to stress this is a move it had to take in order to return at full strength as a key London on-trade supplier once restaurants start to re-open. Its new e-commerce arm, he says, can only make it a stronger, better and more efficient on-trade supplier in the future.
As the lockdown continues in South Africa, that prohibits the sale of any wine domestically, the impact on the country’s wine industry worsens by the day to the extent that 10s of producers are said to be close to collapse. But now that exports are allowed we can all do our bit to support South Africa at this time by simply drinking and promoting its wine. Next weekend sees two interlinked campaigns. On March 22 Wines of South Africa is urging us to get involved with its Spectacular South Africa campaign and then over the weekend Nik Darlington explains why he has created the ‘Great British Braai Off’ to help celebrate all that South Africa means to us, by doing what they do best – coming together over a braai with beers and bottles of wine.