Two and a half years after taking the job of CEO at the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Chris Yorke finally cut the ribbon on VieVinum 2022 last Saturday, the first of the influential wine fairs he has helmed. The three day wine fair, that first started in 1998, has been a key part of the internationalisation and premiumisation of Austrian wine and so it proved again with Yorke and his team riding the crest of a wave which has seen them successfully cope during the pandemic by boosting exports and keeping the domestic fires burning.
The countdown for arguably the most ambitious event to help the wine industry tackle climate change is into its final days with the event due to start on May 23. Green Wine Future by Wineally 2022 is set to take place across the world throughout next week, starting on Monday and running through to May 26, with a series of webinars, online debates, filmed reports and a whole lot more being hosted in different cities and countries across the four days. The Buyer is a media partner for the event and here we pick out some of the highlights of what to expect.
We’ve seen wines matured underwater, in deserts, old mines and now, with Pino 3000, there is a wine that is matured in barriques at 3048 metres up an Austrian mountain. Sounding like an 80s pop band, Pino 3000 is a wacky Pinot Noir blend of wines made in Germany, Italy and Austria which are then blended and left to mature in their lofty perch. EU legislation forbids it being called Pinot Noir (naturally) but the effect of making the wine has had quite an impact on the winemakers as Geoffrey ‘Broadsword’ Dean discovered when he took the cable car up the mountain to Das Central.
Tim Wildman MW is on a mission that pretty much lives up to his name. He is on the search for lost vineyards across the UK that he hopes to be able to bring back to life and replant with new, heritage grape varieties and create a whole new category of English wine. He has even set up his own cause to help promote and publicise his work – the Lost Vineyard Preservation Society, which he hopes can attract and build up its own community of like-minded souls who are truly interested in first saving vineyards and then making exciting, cutting edge English wines. He talks to Richard Siddle about his English vineyard adventures.
The three-strong winemaking team at Larrivet Haut-Brion are not from Bordeaux which makes it easier for them to make wines for today’s market – not stymied by tradition and preconceptions. A key change is the dialling up of Cabernet Franc in the blend of the grand vin, with this style reaching its apotheosis in the new 2021 vintage where Merlot has been ditched altogether. Peter Dean met managing director Bruno Lemoine and the rest of the winemaking team for lunch and a tasting of back vintages which showed how they are revolutionising the style of this historic Left Bank property.
It’s a mark of the new found confidence spreading through the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris trade show team, that it’s owners, Vinexposium, should announce new plans to switch its annual trade fair from Hong Kong to create a new Vinexpo Asia show in Singapore immediately on the back of the end of ProWein 2022 in Dusseldorf. Chief executive, Rodolphe Lameyse even talked about the end of a “cycle” in terms of what the future might mean for drinks trade shows and how he is increasingly confident about the international success of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris and the impact Vinexpo Asia can have on this still vital part of the global wine industry.
As the clock ticks down for the start of the 31 Days of Riesling campaign for 2022 in July, The Buyer looks back on last year’s competition that attracted over independent wine merchants, bars and restaurants to take part, who brought German Riesling to life in their outlets and venues. Here Helen Arnold talks to the overall on-trade winner, Tessa and Elliott Lidstone of the Box-E restaurant in Bristol.
Washington Wines prides itself on how it is breaking new ground. There are now 70 grape varieties planted, oak is on the retreat, new vinification vessels are de rigeur and there are three new AVAs to add to the 16 already mapped out across this second largest wine-producing region in the United States. Although his top 10 wines from the tasting reflects this diversity and innovation, Justin Keay had to seek these wines out from a tasting room that was Old World-centric, exhibiting perhaps too many examples of Bordeaux and Rhône wine styles.
Start-up wine importer business, Vida Wines & Spirits, has a very clear mission. To showcase lesser-known wines, producers and winemakers from countries across Central and Eastern Europe. With interest in the new, unusual and different at an all time high it arguably could not have chosen a better year to launch. Here breakthrough wine writer Natalie Wilson talks to Olivier Freymuth, Vida’s wine buyer and head of UK sales, about how it has built up a portfolio of wines it believes can start to fill a big gap in the UK wine market. Vida’s Olivier Freymuth explains what it is about wines from Bulgaria and Slovenia that excite him over wines from the all too familiar Old and New Worlds.
One of Robert Sinskey’s wines, an orange wine called Orgia, has a label design based on LSD blotters given out at Grateful Dead concerts. The wine was intended as a middle finger to the department of the US Treasury Department that looks after wine labels. This hip Californian’s white field blend, Abraxas, is named after the second album by Santana. So, it was only fitting that when Sinskey invited Victor Smart to try his wines the venue chosen was the London Electric Daisy Flower Farm – so that they could taste wines… at the same time as make bouquets of flowers together.
“Online shopping has its acronyms, technologies, and innovation. But at its heart it digitises the human experience of walking into a wine shop. In a shop or restaurant you’d listen. Online you just have to use different sorts of ears.” That’s how the team at Pix, the new online wine discovery and search platform, analyses its users and consumers to work out what they are looking for from wine online. In the first of what will be a regular series of insights, Pix suggests four online tools that can help you analyse your own traffic data on your site to create more effective content and lists of wines that your consumers are wanting to buy. From Google Trends to Google Ads there are free existing tools out there that can unlock your online sales data and help you make more informed decisions about the wines you source, list, promote and sell.
Although many Barolo and Barbaresco wines are true icons, they are largely still flying under the radar, argues Peter Mitchell MW, Jeroboams’ wine director, who believes they offer an opportunity to the on-trade to start replacing Burgundy on wine lists. Sarah McCleery talk to Mitchell at Festa Piemontese, the company’s Barolo and Barbaresco tasting, and discovers key wines from Castello di Verduno, Ciabot Berton, Amalia and Ceretto.
As Prowein 2022 gets set to return after two years absence, Caroline Gilby profiles Château Purcari, the Moldovan estate that is exhibiting with the aim of bringing more of its wine to the UK. Purcari is at the forefront of reviving Moldova’s indigenous grape varieties, such as Rara Neagra which is a key part of the iconic Negru de Purcari cuvée, as well as producing Freedom Blend, the wine aimed at raising money for refugees that have flooded across the border since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Although it makes ports – both red and white – the winemaking team at Quinta da Pedra Alta in the Douro Valley is saving its greatest enthusiasm for the new table wines it’s producing. Its philosophy is to make fresh, approachable, contemporary wines using indigenous varieties like Viosinho, Rabigato, Sousão and Gouveio. Winemaker João Pires takes Victor Smart through the wines who is suitably impressed.
It was Bordeaux winemaker Gavin Quinney of Chateau Bauduc who once coined the phrase “Twitter is for show, but email is for dough,” when talking about how to build up an online wine retail business. It is very much the approach that Eamon FitzGerald has taken in setting up his own e-commerce platform, WineSpark, which has borrowed a few tips and techniques from his days at Naked Wines to build up a strong email database that is now driving his move into online wine retailing.
What started as a Louis Jadot employee brainwave has now grown into a major international event. Bike to Care en Bourgogne has just successfully wrapped with €230k raised for hospitality charities with Château Haut-Bailly agreeing to stage the event next year in Bordeaux. Our drinks editor Peter Dean went along for the (long) ride.
“As South Korea’s cultural economy firmly imprints itself across the globe, another phenomenon is building within South Korea itself – a rapidly expanding market for imported wines.” That’s the view of marketing and trade agency, Nimbility, that specialises in distributing and building drinks brands across Asia. It sees South Korea as the key market to watch as trends that have blossomed in lockdown, including a big demand for drinking wine at home, are now helping to open up the international wine market for wine producers and brand owners alike.
Casanova di Neri is a Montalcino producer famed for helping pioneer single vineyard expressions in the region – including the mighty Cerretalto whose 2016 vintage is tasted alongside Tenuta Nuova 2017, ‘Etichetta Bianca’ 2017 and two Rosso di Montalcinos, as part of a lunch to celebrate the estate’s entry into Pol Roger Portfolio. Sarah McCleery reports.
From modest beginnings in Tony and Veronica Cleary’s living room, the Lanchester Group of companies, which includes Lanchester Wines and Greencroft Bottling, has grown into a much-admired business with an enviable record on sustainability. A restless pioneer of renewable energy, with a proven track record for pushing at the boundaries of green technology, the County Durham-based group is investing in a new state-of-the-art, self-powered home for its Greencroft Bottling company that Tony Cleary believes will be ‘the most sustainable such building of its kind on the planet’. As David Kermode finds out, for Cleary, sustainability is about the head, as much as the heart.
If you want to sell wine in the on-trade then here’s some new wine research you need to read, digest and take action on. KAM, the consumer research analysts that usually focus their attention on the pub, bar, and convenience store sectors, has produced its first dedicated study that looks to better understand exactly what it is the average consumer wants out of wine when they are going out for a drink. Produced in partnership with Hallgarten & Novum Wines it is based on interviews with 500 wine drinkers at the end of February and clearly identifies which wine styles and price points are most in demand, but also shows just how important good customer service is when selling wine and, in particular, the need for staff to make the whole wine buying experience more relaxed and not intimidating. As Colin Cameron, marketing director for Hallgarten & Novum Wines says: “The reward is too big for pubs, bars, and restaurants to let these customers slip away. Life maybe too short for bad wine, but, in the eye of the customer, it’s also too short for bad service and bad experiences. Good wine and good experiences, however, could be the key to a very long, and successful life, for our venues.” Get it right and there could be at least £500 a year per customer, per venue up for grabs. Read Richard Siddle’s analysis of the KAM study here.