Creative freedom, the Mediterranean lifestyle and an open mindset have attracted some of the world’s most exciting winemakers to IGP Pays d’Oc in Languedoc Roussillon. During an extensive tour of the wine region, Lisse Garnett drags two reluctant stars into the spotlight for in-depth wine analysis… Nathalie Estribeau, the wine director of the giant yet innovative cooperative Les Vignobles Foncalieu and Karen Turner, formerly of Hugel and Chapoutier, now the winemaker at newly-minted Domaine Uma. Both talk New World versus Old and express their love for the liberty of the Languedoc.
The wine agency model comes in all different sizes, with a whole range of operating models. From the big national players that have 100s of producers and 1000s of wines on their books, right through to the small independent boutique operators with a specific niche or speciality. But as producers and suppliers, alike, look to offer more personalised and bespoke agency services one of the fastest growing and seemingly successful ways of working is for producers to have a controlling stake in their distributor and work hand in hand with that supplier on more of a partnership basis. Which is very much the way that New Generation Wines has built up its business with a strong core of South African wine producer partners as its key point of difference. Richard Siddle sits down with managing director, James McKenna, to find out how it all works and why he thinks its partnership model offers its customers the best possible service.
Garda DOC is one of the youngest, most ambitious and fastest-growing wine regions in Italy. In six years, production of its approachable, well-priced wines has increased four-fold with yet more growth targeted by the appellation’s 250 wine producers over the coming years. Kate Hawkings travelled to Italy’s largest lake to see what all the fuss is about, met up with the Consorzio’s key movers and shakers and witnessed first-hand how they are setting out to emulate Tuscany’s success in having wine and tourism equally respected and revered.
Following this year’s education campaign to bring wine buyers up to speed about the quality and value to be found in the Rhône valley, Rhône wine body Inter Rhône invited The Buyer’s Geoffrey Dean to discover first-hand what winemakers are achieving in the region. In an extensive tour of the lesser known appellations of Rasteau, Lirac, Costières de Nîmes and Saint-Joseph, plus tasting wines from Côtes du Rhône, Dean met a large number of winemakers who are matching the diversity of soils with a wide range of grape varieties, many of them from old vines that are producing wines of both power and elegance.
This month’s new Louis Roederer Collection 244 gets released two years after the House bravely ditched its best-selling Brut Premier NV cuvée and replaced it with the Collection, a multi-vintage blend that uses both a string of reserve wines and a high proportion of solera-style Perpetual Reserve – created in 2012 and topped up after subsequent harvests. Underlying the move is cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon’s vision to cope with warming temperatures in the region and to create an unique NV that gets increasingly complex with each subsequent harvest. Roger Jones attended the launch of the new Champagne which he tasted alongside every iteration made, four of which were never given a standard release.
“Why do marketers and leaders in wine and spirits businesses so often assume that our consumers are like us?” That’s the view that Lulie Halstead believes holds so many drinks producers back when trying to engage with and market their products to their target audience. In her latest article for The Buyer she sets out why companies need to stop looking at the products they produce through their own eyes, but what they mean to the people they expect to buy them.
Grappa, the Italian spirit made from grape pomace, has a chequered history. The grappa that arrived on the shores of the UK was, for many years, an industrial product that often lacked the nuance and elegance of the finest grappa. Spirits lovers in the UK and across the world struggled to find an appreciation for these distilled grape skins. In recent years, however, a group of committed distilleries has been overseeing a resurgence in the quality and reputation of grappa. The Buyer’s Mike Turner recently visited one such distillery, Marolo in Piemonte, to discover its vision on how to make a truly great grappa.
“We wanted to create a competition which would be true to the two principles we had defined: ambition and sustainability.” That’s how Rodolphe Lameyse, chief executive of Vinexposium, the world leading events business behind shows such as Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris and World Bulk Wine Exhibition, introduces its new business awards – the V d’Or – to highlight and reward drinks companies that are excelling in the way they are driving their businesses forward. Here he explains how the V d’Ors are going to work.
It’s not only the sheer beauty of the island of Santorini that lures the cruise ships and the Instagrammers in. Its wines are now very much in demand the world over as awareness of their quality increases, and negative stereotypes about Greek wine are turned on their head. In fact, PDO Santorini’s growing number of producers can proudly claim to be at the forefront of what has been something of a revolution in winemaking across Greece in the past few years. So much so that its wines are highly coveted by leading sommeliers with Santorini, in particularly high demand. To assess its potential and to look at how the island can make the most of this demand, The Buyer teamed up with the Wines of Santorini campaign to host a panel debate and tasting with leading wine buyers across the UK wine market.
Following the announcement by Chateau Ste Michelle that it is cutting its grape supply by 40%, many growers in Washington State are facing a dilemma – start winemaking themselves or turn to another crop. Given that Chateau Ste Michelle accounts for over half of Washington State’s production, the news has thrown into sharp relief some of the fundamental issues facing North America’s second largest wine region. In her first feature for The Buyer Heather Dougherty reports from a recent visit to the Evergreen State.
The Buyer continues its series talking to some of the keynote speakers taking part in this November’s Wine Future conference taking place in Coimbra, Portugal that hopes to tackle some of the biggest issues facing the global wine industry, by giving the floor to Don St Pierre, co-founder of ASC Fine Wines, one of the most important and influential wine importers, distributors in China. He explains why he thinks there are still so many untapped opportunities in the wine industry, particularly at the fine wine and luxury end of the market.
Ribera del Duero is now established as producing some of Spain’s highest quality wines. Since the DO was announced in 1982, the number of wineries has boomed from just eight at inception to a healthy 311 by 2023. Initial pacesetters have been joined by locals, large brands and high-quality merchants from the likes of Rioja, Catalunya and even France to join the critical acclaim attached to some of the finest red wines being produced anywhere in the world. But why this region? The Buyer’s Mike Turner looks at what makes Ribera del Duero so special and highlights one trait in particular that stands tall above the rest.
Zuccardi is quite simply one of the finest wineries in the world. Every year the winery wins major awards with its premium wines also picking up major gongs and 100-point rosettes with an almost embarrassing consistency. The main reason for this is the vision of its third-generation winemaker, Sebastián Zuccardi, who places vineyard above winery, and makes wines that are inextricably linked to where they come from. In a revealing and lengthy tasting session from the Uco Valley he explains to Peter Dean his ‘mountain wine’ philosophy, why he avoids ‘old school’ Argentine Malbecs, how the sheer diversity of the region shapes the wines, and tastes through a selection of his top wines including Finca Canal Uco 2020, which is due for release via La Place de Bordeaux in September.
Journey’s End is now operating under full solar power. This estate on South Africa’s Western Cape made the decision and investment based on the increasing problem of ‘power outages’ and is one step towards becoming fully ‘off grid’. Geoffrey Dean talks to Mike Dawson about how this affects a winemaker, along with the other initiatives Journey’s End is undertaking in its drive to become fully sustainable – then runs through the estate’s latest wines.
South African wine producers are renown for doing things differently which is very much the spirit that Museum Wines wants to capture with its new so-called South African En Primeur Campaign which is its way of shouting out loud about all the new releases it is bringing into the UK wine market from not just the producers it works with directly but other landmark South African wines. Managing director, Daniel Grigg explains how it is all going to work.
Anyone working in or around the hospitality sector in the last five years will be only too aware of how hard it has been hit by the pandemic and now the cost of living crisis, with an estimated 250,000 people believed to be in need of financial support. Which is exactly what the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) is there to provide. Yet despite its 230 year history there are many in the hospitality sector who are unaware of its existence, or its work. This is something that its new awareness-raising campaign aims to address. Helen Arnold met head of marketing Paula Smith to find out more.
The interest in and demand for wines from Central and Eastern Europe were given a boost this month with the results of the Winelovers Wine Awards in Budapest that looks to highlight and reward the best wines from across the two regions. A leading panel of international wine judges were given the task of assessing the 840 wines entered. Here we go behind the scenes to see which wines came out on top.
Traditional grocery and drinks categories are dead. Instead we need to start thinking about connecting with an ever changing and demanding consumer by organising brands into ‘Arenas’ – products that connect with core human needs and desires. Get it right and brands can play in multiple ‘Arenas’ at once. This is all according to Interbrand’s new Breakthrough Brands report which identifies the products, retailers, services and brands that are shaking up and challenging category and cultural norms and pushing innovation to new and unexplored areas. Read on to find out which are the Breakthrough Brands to keep an eye on.
What do you do when you’ve made a mint from the soundtrack of The Matrix and are unsure about what to do in the future? Why, buy a run-down winery in the Languedoc and bring it back to one of the hottest properties in the South of France. This is what ‘Clubbed to Death’ composer Robert Dougan did with La Pèira in the Terrasses du Larzac, as Victor Smart discovered when he met Dougan for lunch at Corney&Barrow HQ and tasted through a wide selection of his remarkable wines.
With so many international drink competitions it can be hard to work out which ones are going to really make a difference to your brand, turn the head of all important trade buyers and the consumer wandering up and down the drinks aisle. So here’s the case for entering the three London Competitions for wine, beers and spirits which claim to judge and assess products in the same way that consumers do.