The biggest frustration drinks and wine companies are facing leading up to the vital festive months ahead is simply knowing whether they are going to have enough products and bottles in the right place at the right time to sell. The sudden post lockdown global consumer demand has put unprecedented demand on the world’s just-in-time supply chains. It means having back office and management systems that can give you accurate, real time analysis of just what is in your own supply chain is even more important than normal. For Nick Martin, managing director of Wine Owners, its essential drinks companies are capable of mastering their own sales and inventory data.
It has been an extraordinary coup for Veuve Clicquot to get endorsement from world-leading artist Yayoi Kusama for the new vintage of La Grande Dame 2012. But the relationship is a natural one, says Roger Jones, in that there are many parallels between the lives of Kusama and Nicole Barbe Ponsardin – both women setting out on individual paths that defied the cultural and sexual mores of their times. In an extraordinary tasting Didier Mariotti, Clicquot’s chef de cave, highlights the importance of Pinot Noir to the house and in particular La Grande Dame, tastes the new cuvée and then lets Jones loose in Mirror Infinity Rooms – the new, sold-out installation at London’s Tate Modern.
The Golden Vines initiative to help drive and make an effective change to diversity and inclusion in the wine industry could not have had a more dramatic start. Within months of being set up by Lewis Chester of Liquid Icons and Nina Basset, in tribute to her late husband Gerard Basset MW MS, the scheme has already raised £1.2m through a successful awards, auction and fund-raising night held earlier this month. Two of the standout prizes are the Golden Vines Scholarships – worth over £50,000 each – to help two people study for the Masters of Wine programme. Here in the second of our two profiles of the winners we talk to Angela Scott about her career in wine to date and what it means to her to have won one of the scholarships.
Bibendum’s first tasting in 18 months was called ‘This one’s on us’ and featured an embarrassment of riches, wines and spirits from both well-known estates and new acquisitions. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus was our man at the tasting, and highlights a fascinating Top 10 which includes controversial new English sparkler Harlot, a rare 100% Merseguera from Valencia producer Bodega Mustiguillo, a non-alcoholic range from Wild Life Botanicals and a terrific £11 Grüner from new-to-the-portfolio Weingut Huber.
It’s rare for one of the UK’s biggest national newspapers to go into the intricate details of how the British drinks industry is taxed outside of a debate about a potential duty hike in the annual Budget. So when the Sunday Times unleashed a full blown analysis into what could be fundamental changes to how our still and sparkling wines could be taxed in the future – with a big push for English wines in particular – it was received with some surprise by the drinks industry at large. Here Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirits Trade Association, responds and sets out what he thinks could – and could not – be in any proposed alcohol reform strategy.
Sugar levels are down and acidity levels are up in Britain’s 2021 grape harvest, which is fine if you’re making sparkling wine but not such good news if you are making still wine like Chris Wilson. Wine scribe turned winemaker, Wilson runs Gutter&Stars, Cambridge’s first urban winery and his nerves are jangling as the still wine harvest is running four weeks later than 2020. Will the grapes ripen in time? Will rot set in? And how will this change the style of wines he will be making in 2021? More news from the front in our continuing series on how one wine writer has put his money where his mouth is and started making wine… in a windmill.
The Bloody Big Drinks Summit is a new online business forum, that runs between October 25 to October 29, created by Australia’s leading publishing company, Food & Beverage Media that is designed to give drinks industry professionals all over the world the chance to hear from top industry experts on how to help grow your business. It includes over 50 talks, presentations and industry debates covering beers, wines, spirits, retailing, production, marketing and digital innovation. Delegates can either watch the sessions live, or watch them on catch up in their own time. Here’s what you can expect from this breakthrough event.
Hubert de Boüard is best known for being the co-owner of Château Angélus, where he was born and famously given a pair of secateurs on his seventh birthday. Always destined to be a winemaker, de Boüard also runs Château La Fleur de Boüard and Hubert de Boüard Consulting, his company consulting for 80 wineries, primarily in the Bordeaux region, making him a key player there. As part of The Buyer’s ongoing series on bouncing back from the pandemic, Peter Dean hears from him as to how life has changed post-COVID.
Such has been the pace of growth at Cramele Recas, now by far Romania’s largest exporter of wine, that co-founder Phillip Cox says it is struggling to keep up with demand and is having to turn back buyers and limit supply to some customers such has been the increase in demand for its wines. It is also a sign of just how tapped in Cox and the winemaking team at Cramele Recas are to the in demand styles of wine that are the most sought after amongst buyers, across all channels, around the world. Richard Siddle flew to Romania to see the Cramele Recas operation for himself.
This month has marked a breakthrough moment in the wine industry’s challenge to drive more inclusion and diversity in the sector with the first Golden Vines events, set up in memory of the late Gerard Basset MW MS. The first Golden Vines Awards ceremony and auction helped raise a vital £1.2m to invest in future diversity projects. One of which is the Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships to help fund two people to study for the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier programmes. Here in the first of two profiles of the winners, Dr Erna Blancquaert from South Africa and Angela Elizabeth Scott from the US, we talk to Dr Blancquaert about her background in wine and her studies and research at Stellenbosch University.
Sara Pérez is a winemaker that is at the vanguard of the quiet revolution that has been taking place in the Spanish region of Priorat over the past 20 years. Long lauded as ‘a talent to watch’, the wines she makes at Mas Martinet put a new perspective on Priorat – terroir-driven, elegant and wildly original. Every grape is foot-trodden and such is her low intervention approach that she has done away with the sorting table altogether – “I make the perfect harvest in the vineyard and then I put it in the tank” she tells Peter Dean, who confesses to being totally bowled over by the quality and style of the wines which include the first orange wine to be listed by Justerini & Brooks and a Ranci Dolc that has to be tasted to be believed.
The relationship between James Bond and Champagne Bollinger is a long-standing one that goes back to the original books by Ian Fleming. Although 007 drinks mainly spirits in new movie No Time To Die, Bollinger has appeared in 15 of the Bond films, a fact that Justin Keay could clearly not get out of his head when he attended the Mentzendorff autumn portfolio tasting. Apart from an overview of the sparkling and the fortified at the event, Keay recommends seven still wines that he thinks will cut the mustard in the on-trade this autumn. Spoiler alert: this feature includes MANY Bond references.
On the face of it there is not a massive difference between the new Vintner and old The Vintner business. Other than losing a ‘the’ along the way. But scratch below the surface and it is actually an entirely different company that has been transformed from a traditional on and off-trade wine supplier, to a full blown business to consumer e-commerce operator. Richard Siddle sits down with Julia Beran and Hamish Kirwan, who have made the move possible, about their plans to make wine easy for consumers to buy online.
The Dirty Dozen are twelve small, specialist importers who see themselves as complementary to one another and not competition in what they offer the trade. It has been two years since we last saw Astrum, Carte Blanche, Clark Foyster, FortyFive10, H2Vin, Howard Ripley, Maltby & Greek, Swig, Wine Treasury, Ucopia and Yapp all together under one roof but here they were, back for another tasting of epic proportions. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, was our man with the tasting glass.
Brandy finished in casks that have contained Sauternes and also dark Barbados rum, are the two latest additions to St-Rémy’s Cask Finish Collection which is an attempt to court the younger spirits drinker, but also to allow master blender Cécile Roudaut the opportunity to be creative and just a little daring, writes Victor Smart. So how do they taste and what do you pair them with?
If your mind is turning to Friday night and the weekend ahead well here’s some food and wine inspiration for you from Raul Diaz and his monthly wine and food recipe on The Buyer. This month he is turning his attention to Pinot Gris, this increasingly popular planted grape variety that Diaz believes is ideal for food pairing thanks to its “amazing honeyed personality with lush fruits and spicy accents”. HIs perfect choice to pair with Pinot Gris is a plate of spiced aubergine. Here’s how to pull it together.
The clock is ticking down for entries into what will be the first standalone People’s Choice Spirits Awards that is being run as an event its own right for the 2022 awards. Here Janet Harrison, founder of the People’s Choice Drinks Awards, explains the latest developments with both the spirits and wine competitions and the introduction of a new Independent Bar awards in partnership with Master of Malt.
For a variety of reasons Grenache has had a reputation of being a grape that’s only good as a blending partner – on its own it has traditionally been seen as a grape that makes high alcohol, structureless, fruit-forward wines, prone to oxidation. But how times have changed. Single-varietal Grenache could not be more on-trend as winemakers across the world use modern, more sympathetic winemaking styles that best suit the grape. A masterclass from the Spanish Wine Academy earlier this year, that focused on Spanish Garnacha, predicted even greater popularity for this category and to prove the point sampled seven very different styles of how winemakers in Spain are approaching the grape. Peter Dean reports.
“Brixton is a million things to a million people. That’s what makes it special.” So says Andrew Murray-Watson and Calandra Smith, the partners and team behind Brixton’s very own gin brand. Appropriately named Brixton Gin. It is also a brave call to be the ones to try and encapsulate all that Brixton stands for in your own gin brand. But Murray-Watson is as well placed as anyone to give it a go having lived in Brixton since 2004 and started his own deli and drinks shop, Guzzl, in 2017. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about what why he thinks Brixton Gin truly captures the spirit of this unique part of London.