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    People People: Producer
    Vintrigue is able to combine bringing in wines direct from producers but also working with them to create exclusive brands for independent wine merchants

    Steve Machin on Vintrigue Wines’ bespoke service for independents

    As a bulk wine pioneer with an enviable reputation for thinking big on sustainability, Lanchester Wines has come a long way from its founder Tony Cleary’s living room 40 years ago, but its latest project is deliberately small-scale. Vintrigue Wines is a bespoke brand, focused exclusively at independents, with a determination to support the sector. David Kermode spoke to Steve Machin, its national account controller, to find out what makes it different.

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    Opinion
    Donald Edwards

    La Trompette’s Donald Edwards on Radical Wine Pairings: Salsify

    Face it, Lockdown has been shit in so many ways, but if you’re a keen cook like La Trompette’s head sommelier Donald Edwards then it has been a rewarding time in the kitchen. Not only has he been experimenting away with cooking food but he’s also been into ‘radical wine pairings’, his new food-and-wine project that is captured on his personal blog. Here we re-post an excellent piece he’s written about that curious root vegetable, salsify.

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    Opinion
    Screenshot 2021-02-25 at 19.37.04

    Giles Cooke MW Quarantine Diaries: the light at the end of the tunnel

    The end is in sight for Giles Cooke MW as he about to enter has last weekend in quarantine in a hotel room in Adelaide as he awaits to be released so that he can rush to go and help take part in the vintage and harvest at Thistledown Wines. But meanwhile it is a few more seemingly endless days when one hour blurs into another, the food does not get any better and those remote Spanish lessons are not getting any easier.

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    People People: Supplier
    Daniel Lambert receives his IWC Small Agent of the Year award from Peter McCombie MW

    Daniel Lambert on steps needed to build a successful agency business

    When he is not fielding off calls from the national press bogged down in trying to understand Brexit red tape, Daniel Lambert is busy running his successful wine agency and distribution business. Over nearly the last 20 years he has built up a strong network of customers, particularly amongst independent wine merchants, who have been drawn to his work ethic of seeking out the kinds of producers and their wines that work so well on premium wine lists and for consumers looking for something new and exciting to drink. Richard Siddle talks to him about how he has pulled it all together.

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    Tasting: Wine
    A.A.Badenhorst

    When Roger met Adi – tasting A.A.Badenhorst then and now

    For chef and wine consultant Roger Jones, visiting A.A.Badenhorst back in 2014 was the first South African winery he and his wife Sue had ever visited. The Joneses were bowled over by Adi Badenhorst’s 2012 White Blend, despite having showed up unannounced in a ‘limo’ and dressed in Henley Regatta finery. Seven years later and Jones is tasting the same wine again, but this time in chilly Wiltshire, alongside a sumptuous selection of Adi’s new wines. After the tasting Jones sits down with Robin Davis, head of importer SWIG, to ask him about the value of these Zoom tastings.

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    Opinion
    Jackie Fast
Rebel Pi
2018

    Jackie Fast: why we need a new set of rule breaking leaders

    “It is clear we are all sick of hierarchical, traditional, old-style (read: pale, male, stale) leaders who haven’t done much for pushing the needle forward for everyone… ‘Rule Breaker’ is a manifesto for how to lead now.” That’s how Jackie Fast introduces her new book that claims any successful business leader needs to be willing to break the rules, rip up the old ways of doing things and truly lead with a spirit that anything is possible and I’m here to help us make change happen.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Sassicaia 2018

    Sassicaia 2018 celebrates its 50th year firing on all cylinders

    8 has always been Sassicaia’s lucky number and so it has proved once again with the spectacular 2018 vintage, writes Peter Dean. To make it even better Sassicaia 2018 is the 50th anniversary release. But although 2018 was a cool ‘classic’ vintage in Bolgheri it was by no means easy, as Tenuta San Guido’s Priscilla Incisa della Rochetta explains live and direct from Tuscany. Full tasting notes plus Guidalberto 2019 and Le Difese 2019.

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    People People: Producer
    Eugeni Protons Wine Future

    Wine Future ’21: Marketing challenges with Gonzalez Byass

    When Wine Future last took place in Hong Kong 2011 you had to be there to hear what was said. This week the 2021 revamped online version of the four day conference is available to us all from the comfort of our own homes. Here Gonzalez Byass’ global marketing director, Eugeni Brotons, explains some of the branding and marketing challenges that he will be covering during today’s digital and social media session.

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    Opinion
    sumi 3

    Sumita Sarma: what wine can do to be proud of its diversity

    “My reflection, as an outsider who has struggled hard to find a suitable role in this industry…is it is too white, too male oriented and males who look, act and behave exactly like one another. Where do the rest, a huge chunk of us fit in? We are like little flies trying to find an anchor to rest. And if we do find a spot, we are shooed off.” This is the damning conclusion that Sumita Sarma has felt after eight years trying to make a career in the wine industry. But she is not giving up. Far from it. As she explains in this hard hitting, challenging, deeply personal, but also inspirational article, she is determined to play her part in getting the industry to open up to people of all backgrounds so that it can be proud, rather than ashamed of how diverse and inclusive it is.

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    Opinion
    Innocente Nardi Long Read

    Innocente Nardi on Conegliano Valdobbiadene’s future

    There is more than one President who’s hung up his spurs this year – and in the case of Innocente Nardi, he is going out in a blaze of glory. Nardi’s tenure as the president of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG has been an unqualified success: two years ago the Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene hills were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, controversial pesticide glyphosate has been banned making his region the largest agricultural area in Europe to have banned the use of this product and he has helped the region achieve two record-breaking years in 2019 and 2020 with 92 million bottles produced. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements has also been putting Prosecco Superiore ‘on the map’ – with consumers finally getting the message as to what the difference is between this and Prosecco DOC.

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    Awards
    Screenshot 2021-02-22 at 18.56.11

    Winners of The Buyer & Star Wine List UK Wine List Awards

    Tonight the results of the inaugural UK Wine List of the Year Awards were presented as part of a live streaming event to recognise some of the best wine driven restaurants and bars in the UK. The finalists were selected from entries from all over the country by a panel of some of the most awarded sommeliers in the world. The event is the first to be held in the UK and is jointly hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List.

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    People People: Supplier
    jamie wild ferment bottles

    Jamie Wynne-Griffiths on a wine distribution model for our times

    For a wine producer getting your wines into the ultra competitive UK market has been one of the hardest challenges they face around the world. Such is the sophisticated and long standing network of wine agencies, distributors and wholesalers it’s hard to know where to start. The pressure on those agencies and importers has never been greater such has been the impact of Covid-19 and all the subsequent lockdowns, closure of the on-trade and the knock-on effects they have had. Jamie Wynne-Griffiths believes he has come up with a new distribution model that really puts the needs of wine producers first and is ideal for the uncertain times we are living in. His new Propeller business allows producers to ship, store and only sell their wine on consignment in the UK, with a model that gives them control over the relationships they build up with UK retail and on-trade customers.

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    People: Producer
    Babylonstoren

    How Babylonstoren shows a way out of South Africa’s gloom

    Hotfooting it back from South Africa before quarantine came into effect, Geoffrey Dean reflects on his experiences there. One winery he visited, Babylonstoren, in the Simonsberg-Paarl ward, represented some hope amongst the troubles in the country. Throughout the pandemic the estate has managed to keep all of its 300 staff, and sales are up 20-30%, despite the lack of international visitors to its acclaimed gardens. Dean talks to cellar master Charl Coetzee about how they have achieved this.

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    Awards
    Austrian Wine's Chris Yorke

    Austria, Côtes du Rhône & SoWine on UK Wine List awards

    Tonight is the night when the winners in the first UK Wine List Awards – co-hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List – are announced. To help set the scene we talk to three of the awards’ partners who also work with Star Wine List on its global awards series: Austrian Wine; Côtes du Rhône; and SoWine. Together they look at the steps they have taken to support the on-trade in lockdown around the world and what the new UK awards can do to help outlets return when they can.

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    Opinion
    Screenshot 2021-02-21 at 11.07.34

    Giles Cooke MW Quarantine Diaries Down Under: Days 5-7

    So what have you got up to in the last week? Even in our own national lockdown it would have been more than Giles Cooke MW who remains confined to a hotel room in Adelaide, as he continues his two-week self-isolation just so he can be freed to go and work on the harvest and 2021 vintage for his Thistledown Wines in McLaren Vale. Here he continues his Quarantine Diary covering days five to seven.

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    People
    woolf opaz

    Simon Woolf & Ryan Opaz on telling Portugal’s real wine story

    “We discovered stories that seem to be forgotten, not for lack of narrative, but for a lack of storytellers. I’m truly excited to have a chance to finally tell those stories.” That was the starting point for Simon Woolf and Ryan Opaz when they decided to join forces to produce a book that really gets to the heart of what it means to make wine in Portugal through the eyes of the people that make it. Here they both explain how the book has come together, but also how you can help bring it to life by taking part in a publishing crowdfunding campaign.

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    Awards
    picture from Wales Online

    Fine Wines Direct UK on UK Wine List Awards & helping restaurants

    “It’s great to be able to recognise the fantastic work done in the on-trade and all the hard work that goes into putting together a wine list and offering a truly unique experience to the guests.” That might be the reason why Nigel O’Sullivan, founder of Fine Wines Direct UK, wants to support the new UK Wine List Awards, but it also very much sums up the approach he and his team take when helping restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels put together their wine lists. Here he explains why working in long term partnerships with its customers and producers is key to its success.

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    People: On-Trade
    Raul Diaz

    How TV’s Raul Diaz mastered the fine art of wine and food pairing

    At home or at work, finding the perfect wine to match a dish is a fine art – in his latest book Wine & Recipes, wine consultant Raul Diaz uses his Chilean heritage and experience of visiting over 100 countries to inform a colourful and insightful look at wine-and-food matching. Apart from featuring some dazzling recipes the book attempts to lead you into making some smart pairing choices, advice which can be used as a basis for on-site training.

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    Awards
    Fine Wines Direct UK will be part of the online awards ceremony for the first UK Wine List of the Year awards on February 22 at 6om

    UK Wine List of the Year: 2021 finalists announced

    The finalists in the inaugural UK Wine List of the Year awards, co-hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List have been announced. These awards have been introduced to recognise the work that goes on behind the scenes to reward and recognise the sommeliers and buyers responsible for working with their suppliers to compile the most dynamic wine lists in the country. What’s more the finalists are decided by the all sommelier judging panel featuring former Best Sommeliers in the world. The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony at 6pm (GMT) on February 22.

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    Opinion
    The success of Jarr's kombucha bar in Hackney Wick shows there is a real demand for non-alchol

    Jarr’s Adam Vanni on making kombucha hip & happening

    “Yes, brewing kombucha in East London in a converted car garage whilst DJs played house music probably meant we were hipsters – but don’t hipsters deserve to live a balanced lifestyle too?” That’s how Adam Vanni and the team behind the kombucha brand, Jarr, believe they have created a hip and happening style of kombucha that takes it out of the health shops, yoga classes and into the hands of those who are looking for a cool alternative to alcohol or sugary soft drinks that they can feel proud to be seen drinking. Here he explains why and how kombucha is tapping into a new insatiable thirst from a new generation of drinkers.

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