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    michelle smith

    Onwards & Upwards: Michelle Smith on looking for her next buying role

    We continue our Onwards & Upwards series, that is looking to help anyone in the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors looking for a new role, with an interview with senior grocery wine buyer, Michelle Smith, formerly of Sainsbury’s, who is moving on from her role as head of wine at South African supermarket chain, Pick n Pay. The Covid-19 crisis continues to impact all our lives, right around the world, but it is also shaking up the status quo and opening up new opportunities for people. Here we talk to Michelle Smith about her career to date and the skills she believes she can offer in her next role.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Penfolds Grange 2016

    Roger Jones tastes Penfolds Grange 2016 & co. with Peter Gago on Zoom

    It is one of the highlights of the year, of course, when Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago launches the new Penfolds Collection, and takes the floor in front of hundreds of journalists, showing that, if he hadn’t become one of the world’s top winemakers he could easily have cut it on the standup comedy circuit. Yesterday’s launch of Penfolds Grange 2016 was a little different – six wine writers in London’s 67 Pall Mall club with Gago beamed in live on Zoom. The wines were all present and correct and were showing well. Our man at the tasting was Australian wine expert and chef Roger Jones who assesses each wine in full.

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    People People: Supplier
    From A to B: the key thing to get right when running events and hospitality is having the right amount of wine in the right place at the right time.

    Tim Wheeldon: how Corney & Barrow has ‘weaved’ its way through Covid-19

    Like the rest of the drinks industry, Corney & Barrow had the proverbial rug pulled from under its collective feet with the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown that saw the on-trade close and with it a large chunk of its daily business. But thankfully having its eggs placed in a number of different trading channels has meant Corney & Barrow has been able to adapt, divert resources and find new and innovative ways of selling and distributing its range of wines. As Tim Wheeldon, on-trade sales manager, explains.

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    Insight
    Competition organiser Sid Patel explaining the judging process to the judges

    London Wine Competition opens for entries with early day pricing offer

    For all the wine trade’s love of terroir and sense of place the average wine consumer chooses what bottle to buy primarily on how much it costs, what it looks like and what it tastes like. Not always in that order, but there or thereabouts. It’s why the London Wine Competition uses those three criteria to choose the medal and trophy winners in its competition. Here’s how you can enter its 2021 competition and take advantage of super early day pricing if you enter by September 30.

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    People: Producer
    Gutter & Stars

    Chris Wilson’s latest adventures from his Gutter & Stars winery

    Wine journalist – and regular Buyer writer – Chris Wilson has added another string to his bow as he launches his own urban winery in the heart of Cambridge this autumn. In this instalment of his column for The Buyer he goes into more detail about the type of wines he’d like to make this year and unravels some of the red tape involved in setting up a winery from scratch.

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    People People: Supplier
    miles beale good at camera 2

    Miles Beale on standing up to “not good enough” government

    No matter how bad your nightmares might have been in recent weeks they would have to be pretty awful to beat the living drama we are all having to go through with the impact of Covid-19 on all our working lives, and – as we have been reminded of so bluntly by the shenanigans in the House of Commons this week – the impending deadline of January 1 when the UK formally leaves the EU. It’s a situation that Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, summed up perfectly in the speech he gave yesterday to kick off the WSTA’s online summit. Here’s his take on the dangers that lie ahead and why as a sector we all need to be batting as one to get as good an outcome from Covid-19 and Brexit as we can.

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    People People: Producer
    joe fattorini malartic screenshot

    What we can learn from ‘Le Grand Voyage’ video project

    Two of the big breakthroughs we have seen during the Covid-19 crisis have been the big swing by businesses to digital and the need for companies, and individuals, to collaborate more effectively with each other. Both of which were exemplified by the recent Le Grand Voyage project that saw Bordeaux producer, Château Malartic-Lagravière, team up with wine and brand communicators, Robert Joseph and Polly Hammond and the new The Wine Show Creative team, to create a series of three minute YouTube vignettes that each tell a different story about the history, culture, art, politics and food and drink of Bordeaux, hosted by Joe Fattorini. Here, in the latest The Buyer video interview, Richard Siddle talks to them all, including Severine Bonnie from Malartic-Lagravière, about how the project came together, what it wanted to achieve and why it potentially offers so much for other drinks producers and businesses to learn from, and why a creative team all pulling in the right direction can produce genuinely ground-breaking work.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Tinwood

    7 magnificent English wineries that need to be on your radar

    With his wine explorer wings clipped by Covid, Justin Keay set about trying to discover in England the four best wines from four wineries he picked from four counties. In this piece he visits Greyfriars in Surrey and Tinwood Estate in West Sussex, a winery that is probably the largest English producer you’ve never heard of. After picking his four wines, Keay then went on to explore five more wineries including Litmus Wines, Cottonworth, Danebury and Kingscote Estate and recommends which wines are the ones you should be buying.

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    People People: Producer
    hidden sea wine

    Hidden Sea wines helps take plastic out of the sea

    As company statements go The Hidden Sea wine brand has got a live up to: ‘One Wine. One Mission. To remove plastic from the oceans’. But by linking up with the ReSea environmental project, which was set up to trawl the oceans picking up plastic as it goes on behalf of sustainably focused businesses all over the world , it is helping to do exactly that. In 2019 Resea removed 426 ton of plastic from the sea and it has a goal to reach 3000 tons this year. Here Peter Fairclough and Jo Taylorson, of its UK importer Kingsland Drinks, explains how the brand lives up to its claims and also makes good quality, value Australian varietal wine.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Hugh Johnson ©Esa Korjula (1)

    Hugh Johnson: What 10 wines we should be drinking in 2021

    Hugh Johnson OBE is the world’s best-selling wine writer with the publication of new editions of his Pocket Wine Book more consistent than a Port declaration. As the 2021 edition is released we caught up with him for a virtual coffee and chat to find out how he has been during the pandemic, what unexpected benefits there have been and which new winemaking countries have been impressing him… including Belgium. He also goes into some detail about which are the top 10 wines we should be trying in 2021

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    People People: On-Trade
    onwards upwards cloud

    Onwards & Upwards: Drinks people looking for new roles

    Last week The Buyer launched its ‘Onwards & Upwards’ initiative to provide a platform for anyone in the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors who has lost their job, or is looking for a new start due to the impact of Covid-19. Today we introduce a new series that features a round up mini profiles from individuals who are keen to tell their story, share their experiences and explain what their next dream job would be.

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    Insight
    shipping containers

    VINPay: fast track payments for producers, buyers’ 150 day terms

    It is testimony to the expertise within the global wine industry that throughout the Covid-19 pandemic it has not had an impact on the movement of wine around the world. But what it has done has put enormous pressure on cash flow as both producers and buyers have had to move fast to find new channels where they can sell wine. VINEX, the online trading platform for bulk and bottled wine, has launched a new fast track payment service – VINPay – that it hopes can go a long way to addressing those issues. In a nutshell it has set up a fund through which it can guarantee to pay wine producers up to 80% of a buyer’s invoice within three days of them shipping the wine, and then give buyers terms to repay the money up to 150 days. Hopefully freeing up cash liquidity up and down the global wine supply chain.

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    Insight
    Screenshot 2020-09-10 at 12.16.49

    Digital Hub: What to learn from Davy’s & Lloyd Cole

    From a business point of view 2020 will be remembered as the year that we all went online both to do business and stay in business. The Buyer’s new Digital Hub has been set up to provide a regular series of updates looking at the latest initiatives companies are taking in digital and the online trends that are shaping how they might need to do business in the future. This week we look at a number of new initiatives including how Davy’s is using audio tasting notes to bring its wines to life, what we can learn from how singer Lloyd Cole is using Patreon to get far closer to his fans…and earn some money when he can’t perform.

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    Opinion
    edf Long Read

    Anne Krebiehl MW: Why German wine has an exciting future

    Last night Anne Krebiehl MW won the prestigious International Wine Book of the Year award for The Wines of Germany at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards, her definitive and much-needed book on German wine. Here we re-run an interview she did with The Buyer when the book was launched. To buy a copy there is a hot link at the end of the feature.

    For the past two decades German wine has been on a roll with the country housing one of Europe’s most vibrant, creative and progressive wine industries. And yet the wines of Germany are some of the most misunderstood on the planet. In an in-depth and wide-ranging interview German wine expert Anne Krebiehl MW explains about the full trajectory of the German wine industry – early success, then doldrums, its current state of health and its direction – and why now is the right time for re-evaluation. She explains why there is currently an unprecedented density of quality production and a new generation of winemakers who are re-defining what German wine can be in the 21st century. Grape varieties have changed as have wine styles – with grace and elegance favoured over power – all the result of a new-found, more self-confident identity that was almost obliterated by two world wars and the disastrous legal framework of the 1970s.

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    People: Producer
    Anthony Hamilton Russell

    Anthony Hamilton Russell: how South Africa is alive and kicking

    2020 is the 40th vintage for Hamilton Russell Vineyards, the pioneers of the cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in South Africa’s Cape. But there will hardly have been a more challenging year than this one. The pandemic and the government’s response to it have hit the hospitality and wine businesses hard. In an in-depth and revealing interview Anthony Hamilton Russell opens out about the impact on his business, what strategies he is employing to help speed his own and the on-trade’s recovery and what he believes the coming months will bring, in this, his 30th year at the helm.

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    People People: On-Trade
    geranium three gold

    Star Wines from Bangkok, Barcelona, Denmark & Finland

    We might all be struggling to travel, visit and explore the best restaurants and wine lists in the world, but that does not mean they are not there for us to discover when we can. Which is why Star Wine List is continuing to roll out its new ‘Best of’ wine list guides for different countries and cities. Here we look at how it has pulled together the best wine restaurants in Barcelona and Bangkok and which outlets won Wine Lists of the Year in Denmark and Finland.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Arras

    Assessing the new sparkling from Tasmania’s House of Arras

    So impressed was Roger Jones with the sparkling wines of Tasmania’s House of Arras that, when he ran a Michelin-starred restaurant, he had the Arras Grand Vintage as his house pour. Ed Carr, winemaker at Arras, was awarded a lifetime achievement award at last year’s CSWWC awards, for which Jones is a judge, and for the new releases it was only natural that Carr took Jones through the new wines including a 13 year-old Rosé and the Arras Late Disgorged.

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    People People: Producer
    wine gb awards loos

    WineGB Awards: social distance judging; portaloos; & the results

    We are all having to find new ways of working to fit in with the social distancing rules, including the usually very hands on business of judging for major wine competitions. It has certainly thrown up fresh challenges to those tasked with putting such events on. Here Belinda Mercer, competition manager for the WineGB Awards, takes us behind the scenes to explain for how she and her team were able to put on this year’s awards thanks to the efforts of just three judges – Susan Barrie MW, Oz Clarke and Rebecca Palmer. We have now updated this article to include the highlights of the winners of the 2020 WineGB Awards.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Langham

    Discover ‘New England’ sparkling: 4 counties, 4 wineries, 4 wines

    Unable this year to visit the far-flung wine-producing countries that tickle his palate, Justin Keay decided to set himself a challenge. Pick four different English wineries, that each have to be in different counties, and then pick one wine from each. And, rather than the larger estates and household names, he decided to visit the smaller wineries that may well be flying under your radar. Four Counties, Four Wineries, Four Wines Part 1 – Langham Wine Estate and Black Chalk Wine.

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    People: Supplier
    Keen amateur wine drinkers are at the heart of the People's Choice Wine Awards

    People’s Choice Wine Awards: bursaries to help those entering

    Entering major international drinks competitions is an important part of any producer, importer or retailer’s marketing budget. But it’s going to be harder than ever to find the resources to enter your products with all the other costs and issues that Covid-19 has thrown up. Which is why The People’s Choice Wine Awards has introduced new bursaries, with the support of Wines of Portugal and Smurfit Kappa, to help with entries to three of the categories in its 2021 competition.

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