The three separate London Drinks competitions for wine, spirits and beer are all run on the same basis – to judge drinks in the same way that consumers do: by what they taste like; what the bottle or design looks like; and how much it costs. Having introduced the 2021 wine competition last week we turn our attention to the London Spirits Competition with details on how to take advantage of super early day pricing and the standards set in the 2020 awards.
For the final instalment in its current webinar series, trade body New Zealand Winegrowers explored the role that organic, biodynamic, sustainable, and natural wines could play in the future of the industry. While consumers already have a favourable view of New Zealand as a “green” land, panellists acknowledged the progress made by other nations, including Chile and Spain. But some radical ideas were discussed to capitalise on consumers’ growing interest in transparency, as Peter Ranscombe explains.
The Buyer introduced its ‘Raise a Glass To’ awards this summer to shine the light on individuals who we believe have gone the proverbial extra mile to help the industry we all work in. Today we shine the light on Katy Moses, managing director of KAM Media, who has helped share the views of leaders right across the hospitality and retail sectors in a series of video interviews from the moment we went into lockdown on March 23, as well as give her own expertise for free in countless webinars and reports she, and her team, have produced during Covid-19. For all your efforts The Buyer Raise a Glass to You.
To its credit the Austrian winemakers association, the Österreichische Traditionsweingüter (OTW), managed to keep Covid at bay at this month’s annual showing of the Erste Lagen (premier cru) wines. Not only was the event safely marshalled but conversation steered away from the pandemic and rightly concentrated on the 2019 Austrian vintage which is quite spectacular. David Kermode reports back on how the event was managed as well as picks out his 10 best wines you need to have on your buying radar.
If you are an experienced wine buyer, specialising in a particular country have you ever thought of making the most of your expertise by going it alone? It’s what James Hocking did when he moved on from The Vineyard Cellars, the business where he made his name, importing Californian wine for The Vineyard in Berkshire, at the beginning of 2019. Here he shares what’s its been like starting his own business and then having to deal with Covid-19.
The new Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2006 is only the sixth vintage of this wine to be released since 1983 and yet it has an identity all of its own. Made up equally of fruit from five crus in the Côte des Blancs, Charles Heidsieck cellar master Cyril Brun tells Anne Krebiehl MW how each of the villages plays a part, and how bitterness in the finished wine is increasingly becoming a key component as a result of climate change.
Hands up who has heard of Patreon? Keep them up if you have a few Patreon subscription accounts? If Patreon is something new to you then think back to when you first heard about Spotfiy and how much of a part of your life it is now. Patreon is essentially the new digital subscription model that an increasing number of businesses and individuals are using to raise money by building up a community of ‘users’ who are happy to pay them a small chunk of money a month for the content or services they are providing. It is also the model that Richard Hemming and Olly Smith are now using for their successful ‘A Glass With’ podcast series. Here Hemming explains why Patreon could be the breakthrough business model of our times.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As company statements go The Hidden Sea wine brand has got a lot to 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.
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
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.
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.
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.