Whatever happens in the race one thing is for sure the Ferrari name will be celebrating on the winners’ podium at this weekend’s inaugural Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix. The event is arguably the pinnacle of the Lunelli Group’s bold decision to partner with Formula 1 and have its Ferrari Trento sparkling wine as the “toast” for every Grand Prix held around the word. Here Abigail Bennington sits down with the Camilla Lunelli, the producer’s head of communications, to look back on how the sponsorship has gone, and reflects on another major deal – the signing of Champagne winemaker, Cyril Brun to the group.
Try and name the wines of Piemonte and, after Barolo and Barbaresco, you might be scrabbling for names. And yet there are 60 denominations in the region with vinous treasures there often overlooked by wine buyers – be they red, white or sparkling wine. In a fascinating new book, The Wines of Piemonte, Italian wine expert David Way tries to set the record straight by examining this region of great diversity which is still remarkably unexplored. In an in-depth interview Way tells The Buyer’s Peter Dean why he is drawn to the region, what is new and exciting here and what are the under-the-radar producers that we should be keeping a close eye on.
Greek wines are very much the talk amongst discerning wine buying circles with enterprising and ambitious wine merchants, sommeliers and importers alike all looking to seek out new and interesting wines to take on. Which is where the 50 Great Greek Wine Awards can help identify the producers to be targeting. Here event organiser, Yiannis Karakasis MW, explains how it works and how he hopes it can play an important part in spreading the increasingly good news about Greek wines.
It has taken a decade for Ricasoli’s new baby San Barnaba – a white wine made from 100% Trebbiano – to reach commercial standards. And sommeliers should be welcoming it with open arms, writes Peter Dean, who heralds it as yet another great new Italian white wine – and one that proves the Trebbiano naysayers as wrong. In a tasting at Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner with Ricasoli chief Francesco, Dean also tastes the full range of premium reds from this estate that is the fourth oldest in the world
Whether you’re from retail or the on-trade, you will have heard one phrase coming up again and again when South African wine is discussed: “Bang for buck!” South Africa has long sealed its reputation for value for money, particularly at entry level. That, we can all agree on. But, things get more divisive when we start discussing quality at a premium level: can South Africa compete on a world stage with the greats? After a six-day trip to judge more than 560 wines in situ from across the country, the IWSC team of judges were more than impressed at their findings. One of those judges, Sophia Longhi, shares what they learnt and picks out some of the highlights from the IWSC South African wine awards.
The Languedoc Tour was the latest event held by trade body CIVL to shout about the uniqueness of the Languedoc, its history, its terroirs and the personalities making the wines. Rupert Millar took part, talked to producers and tasted through their ranges – six of which he turns the spotlight on and explains what makes them so special. With so many sub-regions vying for attention – which could be the next Picpoul de Pinet?
It’s said getting wines listed in key restaurants is all about relationships, usually between the importer and sommelier or head of wine at any particular venue. But there are times when the usual rules of engagement go out of the window, particularly when you have the personalities of Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, that includes the Gaucho Group and M Restaurants, and Ken Forrester, founder of South Africa’s Ken Forrester Wines involved. They have formed a friendship as well as business relationship which has culminated in them working together on a bespoke wine that Forrester has made for Williams called ‘The Rare Barrel’ made from one of the few plots of Mourvèdre in South Africa.
As climate change continues to alter the way in which wine is produced across the world, wine regions that had previously been on the edge of the climatic range for viable grape growing are now enjoying greater recognition for high quality and consistency. To that end, the winemakers of New Zealand and the state of Oregon on the USA’s North-West coast believe themselves kindred spirits. Both sets of wines were on show together earlier this month at the Wines From The Edge tasting in London. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner along to find out why these two distant regions consider themselves close neighbours and pick some of his favourites from the fine line-up on show. The Buyer’s Roger Jones, who was also at the tasting, picks the wines that floated his boat.
If you compared the competitive world of national wine and drink distributors to the grid of Formula 1 teams then Enotria&Coe, by its own admission, would not be in pole position. In fact, it could be said to be taking a quick pit stop, according to its new chief executive, Julian Momen, as it looks to regroup, retune, and upgrade its engine to help regain its leadership position. Here, in his first major set piece interview, he sits down alongside chief financial officer, Steven Lindsay, who joined the company in February, to set out their new vision for the business and how they hope to re-energise Enotria’s people, products and processes to ensure its customers and producers receive the level of service and support they need and deserve. It makes for a fascinating insight into the new strategy, driven by business management disciplines picked up from other FMCG and industry experiences, that they hope will positively enhance the way Enotria&Coe operates.
That was the week that was – Sherry Week, of course – and to help celebrate and discover how one restaurant approaches this international event we sent Victor Smart along to live through the Ibérica Sherry Experience – where every style of sherry is matched with different tapas. But would the staff get the level of education right? After all nobody wants to go back to class on a Saturday night… and how were the sherries tasting and what were the key standout moments?
Cristián Le Dantec
Marcela Burgos Abad
Telephone 01582 722538
VSPT Wine Group
Telephone 01582 722538
Director – Regional Sales
Sales Director – National Accounts
Head of Buying
“The quality is better than ever…there are more whites than ever, so don’t miss those…but it’s the reds that are the stars of the line-up. I really like 2021 as a vintage and it’s good to see a few older wines in the Top 100. The diversity is growing exponentially. There really is a Ribera del Duero for every palate.” That’s how Tim Atkin MW sets the scene for next week’s Ribera del Duero D.O. Top 100 Tasting based on his recent visit to the region and which wines and producers he thinks are setting the standards for the rest to follow.
New Zealand’s Valli Wine is one of those producers you may be reluctant to recommend – for fear of losing an allocation or sending the prices skywards. In a very short space of time Valli has started making Pinot Noir that rivals some of the very best sites in Burgundy, and wine that has earned winemaker Jen Parr the New Zealand Winemaker of the Year Award. On an early Monday morning tasting in London, with the room full of the sweet smell of Pinot, Peter Dean met up with Parr and masterclass chair Matthew Jukes to discover how Valli’s wines flips the New World/ Old World paradigm on its head.
Silverhand owns the largest vineyard in the UK at a colossal 500 acres; it has already been producing a Prosecco-style sparkling called Bramble Hill for M&S. So what does the future hold? The Buyer’s Victor Smart tasted through the new range of its wines including the still white Solaris, a Blanc de Blancs, another Prosecco-style wine, Silver Reign, and the Traditional Method fizz called KYNG that retails for a cool £249 a bottle or £395 with Norman Foster-designed packaging.
Juggling a number of balls simultaneously comes naturally to Adrian Bridge, managing director of the Fladgate Partnership – responsible for Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft – Portugal’s third largest port producer. His military training has helped him run Fladgate as well as mastermind the building of the Yeatman hotel and the World of Wine museum in Porto, projects which have helped oil the cogs of the Douro’s all-important tourism industry, as well as earn him the city’s highest civic honour. Now a hike in UK import duties, which adversely affects fortified wines, is another hurdle in an already complex trading environment that Bridge must overcome. Geoffrey Dean travelled to the Douro, met up with Bridge and David Guimaraes, head technical director, to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of one of the world’s most respected producers.
“The wine industry is innovating too slowly. Spirts and other beverages are leaving the wine business behind by recognising the need to shift their strategies and tactics.” That’s the challenge that Michael Wangbickler, president of Balzac Communications & Marketing that works with leading wine brands and producers on their communications strategies, hopes will be addressed at the Wine Future conference that is taking place in Coimbra, Portugal this week.
It has been quite a month for Lanchester Group, and its founder Tony Cleary, scooping two major industry awards in recognition of the company’s pioneering approach to sustainability. The group, which includes Lanchester Wines and Greencroft Bottling, won the prestigious Green Wine Initiative trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s annual awards gala at London’s Roundhouse, while Cleary, who founded the company with wife Veronica in their living room more than forty years ago, was also personally recognised with an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) award from the LDC (a part of Lloyds Banking Group) for creating ‘a business driven to contribute to a more sustainable future’. David Kermode caught up with Cleary as he was still taking it all in.
The once booming Chinese and Asian wine markets are still in a sustained period of upheaval and turbulence as the region continues to struggle post-Covid to re-gain economic and consumer confidence. All of which is bad news for wine producers that had built up a significant presence in these once fast growing market places. To help mark the scene for this week’s analysis of the Chinese wine market at Wine Future in Portugal, Ian Ford and Nichole Mao, partners in Nimbility, the specialist Asian business marketing and support agency, give their latest comprehensive update on the current state and future prospects of China and Asia’s wine markets.
“There are sadly far more leaders and chief executives across the combined drinks, retail and hospitality sectors that choose to stay quiet and work away behind the scenes than there are those willing to speak out and risk opening themselves up to publicly scrutiny – and all three sectors potential for future growth are harmed as a result.” Harsh but fair? The Buyer’s Richard Siddle thinks so and here explains why in all his years covering the grocery and FMCG sectors, in particular, and their long and winding supply chains, he can’t think of a time when there is a real lack of leadership clout and individuals with the personality to inspire and motivate the industries they work in. It’s ironic that in a time when there have never been more ways to communicate so many of our so called leading supermarkets, drinks companies, brand owners and their suppliers choose to hide behind sanitised corporate social media feeds and anodyne public statements. The good news is the stage is clear for any businesses, brands or individuals to stand up and make a difference. You will quickly earn the respect of your peers if you do.