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    london wine competition
    Sommelier
    Arnese

    Vincenzo Arnese’s formula for NoLo pairings at Raffles London

    Vincenzo Arnese took on the role of director of wine at Raffles London at the OWO in 2023, curating the wine list for the renowned Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco. With numerous accolades, including Taittinger’s UK Sommelier of the Year in 2022, Arnese and his team orchestrate an impressive wine-pairing tasting menu at the restaurant, seamlessly integrating wine, vermouth, and sake. What adds to the allure is the team’s exceptional non-alcoholic pairing. Leona De Pasquale speaks with Arnese to delve into the intricacies of the thought process behind these remarkable pairings.

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    Insight
    Being known as the easiest and most seamless wine supplier work with as a key point of difference for Jascots, says Miles Platt

    Miles Platt on trying to make Jascots the ‘easiest’ wine supplier

    If there is one business lesson anyone wanting to forge a long term career in the wine industry needs to learn is don’t burn your bridges when you move on from a particular role. It’s an adage Miles Platt can certainly attest to having twice worked for Bibendum in his career, and now Jascots Wine Merchants having recently returned to lead the business as part of his wider role as head of on-trade for its parent business, Freixenet Copestick. He explains to Richard Siddle why he is delighted to be back heading up a business with a clear goal of doubling Jascot’s current size of around £10m turnover to £20m in the coming years. To do that he wants Jascots to be the “easiest and most seamless” wine supplier to work with in the premium on and off-trade. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Tedeschi

    Geoffrey Dean on enduring vision of Veneto’s Tedeschi family

    Since the early Seventeenth Century the Tedeschi family has been making wines that showcase the unique terroir of northern Italy’s Veneto wine region. Although it produces a wide range of wines, Tedeschi is most famous for its Amarone della Valpolicella, produced using the traditional appassimento method. A winery committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly winemaking practices, Sabrina Tedeschi was in London to host a lunch, explain the estate’s vision for making single vineyard wines and allow The Buyer’s Geoffrey Dean to taste through and recommend his favourite wines.

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    People: Producer
    Sicily

    Best of new Sicily: Montecarrubo, Planeta, Feudo Maccari & Giasira

    Most wine buyers know that Sicily is one of the most exciting wine regions in Italy right now. If they don’t they should, argues Geoffrey Dean who visits Montecarrubo, Planeta, Feudo Maccari, Giasira and Zisola to discover a range of exciting wines, 10 of which he highlights for your list. Whilst in Sicily Dean meets up with wine aristocracy in the form of Peter Vinding-Diers and Alessio Planeta who was named winemaker of 2023 by Wine Enthusiast.

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    Insight
    Screenshot 2024-01-24 at 13.47.15

    How Punch Pubs supports staff and Licensed Trade Charity

    Punch Pubs & Co has long supported the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) and its work to help head office employees and publicans, both past and present, and those working across the on-trade who have fallen on hard times. Laura Cavendish, Punch’s HR director, explains to Helen Arnold why the company is such an advocate for the charity, and how this aligns with its HR and ESG strategies. She also sets out the various ways in which Punch works with the LTC to help promote its work and the services it provides. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bottega

    How Bottega proves quality Prosecco can stand test of time

    Smart wine buyers know that you don’t always have to splash the cash to get great quality wine – one of the points that Bottega Prosecco attempted to prove with a 10-vintage vertical of its Il Vino dei Poeti Prosecco DOC cuvée in a masterclass led by Susan Hulme MW. Victor Smart was The Buyer’s man at the tasting, who also sampled Bottega Gold and a fascinating new wine called Bottega Ancestral

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    Insight
    California

    Allison Jordan: how California leads the world on sustainability

    Talk to winemakers across California and they don’t see anything special or unusual about being organic, biodynamic or sustainable. That’s just the way they make wine – and always have done. It’s also why the state is arguably leading the rest of the world with how far its growers and producers have come to farm sustainably. Here we talk to Allison Jordan, executive director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, about the work it is doing to champion and take sustainable winemaking to the next level to hopefully help and inspire other wine regions around the world.

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    Insight
    Unico 2014

    Why Unico 2014 is a masterpiece and insight into its making

    Last night Vega Sicilia launched Unico 2014 to the UK trade in the Spanish Room at London’s National Gallery as a way of marking 160 years of winemaking. Honoured guests were treated to an unforgettable evening of wine, art and culture as importer Berkmann also celebrated 60 years in the business (in the year that the National Gallery is also celebrating its double centenary). The new releases rubbed shoulders with older vintages, paired with a banquet served in a room dripping with priceless art. Our very own Peter Dean was granted a golden ticket and uses this historical occasion to examine what goes into making these wines as he recalls a visit to Vega Sicilia to discover just that.

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    Insight
    simon huntingdon good

    Marasby’s Simon Huntington’s three big English wine trends

    With 70% of English vineyards planted in the last 10 years, the UK is home to one of the wine world’s newest and fastest-emerging regions. As a result, it can be difficult to keep up with events. Vintage variation in England is significant, and there are constantly new producers coming on stream. Simon Huntington, co-founder of Marasby, the specialist English wine retailer, is as well placed as anyone to know what is really going on with growers, winemakers and producers. Here are his top three English wine trends that will drive the market in 2024.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Yangarra

    Meeting Yangarra’s Peter Fraser: Rhône ranger of South Australia

    Retired Michelin star chef Roger Jones gets up close with Peter Fraser, winemaker and general manager at Yangarra, McLaren Vale to discover his love of Rhône Valley wines, hear how US Jackson Family transformed the winery’s fortunes with a similarly held belief in old, bush vine Grenache, and to taste through the newly-released wines.

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    Insight
    bruce dickinson 2

    Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on turning customers into fans 

    The business conference circuit is made up of professional keynote speakers able to turn their hand to any industry and share their wisdom on how that sector and its company leaders could do better. But there are not many on the speaking circuit who are also used to fronting a heavy metal band and playing to tens of thousands of adoring fans. That, though, was the theme that Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, drilled down on in his inspiring talk at last year’s Wine Future event in Portugal. How do you turn your customers into loyal, adoring fans? Without slipping into spandex, or whirling an electric guitar around. 

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    People: Producer
    Sugrue South Downs

    The rebirth of Dermot Sugrue – Britain’s finest winemaker

    With the purchase of Bee Tree Vineyard in East Sussex, new financial backers and a whole range of new projects afoot, 2024 will be the year that Sugrue South Downs will finally and indelibly be put on the map. Run and co-owned by Ana and Dermot Sugrue – the most famous and finest winemaker in the history of English winemaking – the team are turning their backs on contract winemaking and concentrating on their own portfolio which will include Dermot’s first still wine, a Pinot Noir from Essex fruit, a first Blancs de Noirs, a gin and a perpetual reserve with an undisclosed gameplan called Bonkers. But first, there’s the no-small matter of expanding a very muddy building site into a fully-functioning winery.

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    Insight
    worried about drinking

    Lewis Perdue’s analysis of Dry January & alcohol cancer claims

    If you are in the midst of Dry January here is a sobering analysis by US wine and medical writer, Lewis Perdue, into the scientific and medical research and health claims made by certain US government regulators and alcohol control organisations about how damaging drinking alcohol is and in particular the supposed threat of the acetaldehyde compound commonly found in alcohol beverages that is claimed to be linked to cancer. Research and evidence that Perdue believes is far from proven. Here he explains why. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Spier Wine Farm

    Lisse Garnett puts South Africa’s Spier wines to the taste test

    As one of the oldest Cape wine farms, Spier has its share of controversial history but for the past five decades it has been at the forefront of enotourism, sustainable viticulture and social innovation in South Africa. By seeing to the needs of workers and practising regenerative farming, Spier has generated positivity in the local community and even abroad, where they’ve won many accolades for this work. In her second piece about the estate Lisse Garnett met up with Frans Smit in London to taste through Spier’s latest vinous offerings.

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    Conference
    Die ProWein in Düsseldorf ist die international führende Fachmesse für Weine und Spirituosen. Vom 19. bis 21 März 2023 präsentieren sich über 6.000 Aussteller aus mehr als 60 Nationen. 
ProWein in Düsseldorf is the world’s leading trade fair for wine and spirits, and is the largest industry platform for professionals from viticulture, production, trade and gastronomy. From 19 – 21 March about 6,000 exhibitors from over 60 Nations showcase their products.

    What to expect as ProWein prepares for pivotal 2024 show 

    It looks like ProWein will have to do without an appearance from Kylie at this year’s show, but for thousands of wine buyers and producers Dusseldorf still remains the place to be seen and to do business. Richard Siddle catches up with the show’s new director, Peter Schmitz, to find out how seriously it is taking competition from Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, and what steps it is making to build on its status as the number one global wine fair. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Jean Leon

    Jean Leon – schmoozing Marilyn and Bordeaux wines in Penedès

    Few wine estates are like Jean Leon that can boast a founder who was a Hollywood actor, then a restaurateur who schmoozed Marilyn and James Dean, and then returned home to Penedès and uprooted Spanish varieties in order to plant Bordeaux vines. Victor Smart takes up this fascinating tale and tastes through the range of new wines with Mireia Torres, yes that Torres, who is now tasked with taking the estate along the next stage of its journey into a somewhat uncertain future.

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    Opinion
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    WSTA’s Miles Beale: how you can fight against duty changes 

    “This time last year alcohol inflation was 3.5%. We told the HM Treasury that its plans for the duty system would push up inflation. Now alcohol inflation is almost three times the rate a year ago.” That’s how Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirits Trade Association, kick starts a campaign starting today to get the government, the Treasury and the Chancellor to think again about its new damaging alcohol duty regime that is, as warned, sparking inflation with spirits up 8.9% on a year ago, wine up 7.8% and fortified wine up 18.7%. Here he sets out what the industry can do together to get the government to change tack. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Beautiful Chaos

    Michael Seresin on taking a new direction with Beautiful Chaos

    Celebrated film and winemaker Michael Seresin is not a man to stick with the status quo and the launch of three new natural wines under the sub-brand Beautiful Chaos witnesses him showing the world another angle to Marlborough wines. Peter Dean caught up with him and runs the rule over the three new wines.

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    Opinion
    richard shotton screengrab

    Richard Shotton on using simple storytelling to sell brands

    We’ve all seen the power of the stand-up comedian that can have an arena full of thousands of people enthralled just by talking about the simple, everyday things we do in our lives. But there is a scientific reason why we love them so much. We can see ourselves in the stories they tell, visualise ourselves doing the very same. That’s the power of using simple, storytelling techniques copied by brands and marketing teams all over the world. Here behaviour scientist expert, Richard Shotton, explains the other powerful steps drinks brands and businesses can take to tell their stories and connect with their customers.  

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    Tasting: Wine
    Pugnitello

    San Felice’s Pugnitello: forgotten Tuscan grape with ‘The X Factor’

    Pugnitello is an ancient Tuscan grape that has been rising in significance over the past 40 years in Chianti-shire. From an experimental planting by the University of Florence in the 1980s, it was championed by San Felice as a blending component for Sangiovese, then replaced it in the estate’s SuperTuscan blend Vigorello. It is now used by 20 producers in the region, with its own Pugnitello community formed. To hear this remarkable story, and to taste the grape in a blend and as a single varietal wine, Leona De Pasquale hooked up with winemaker Leonardo Bellaccini.

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