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    Insight
    iwsc trophy

    Around the world in 30 Trophy winners from IWSC 2020

    Wines from all over the world were willing to put themselves to the test in the hope of being selected as one of the top trophy winners in what is the IWSC’s 51st year. Here we reveal the Top 30 wines that the competition’s elite group of judges selected from the thousands of wines entered that they believe deserve a trophy of their own with particular standout wins for France, Australia, Hungary, South Africa and England.

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    Opinion
    Amber Gardner One (1)

    Amber Gardner on how (not) to nurture women in wine…

    “I still suffer from Imposter Syndrome. I often wonder why this is? I have a great job and get great feedback from guests and colleagues alike. I know that I have worked hard and deserve to be where I am. Yet I realise that I am not, and never will be, part of the inner club of wine – the boys’ club – that still dominates the wine industry.” This is just one of a number of hard hitting, and thought provoking sentences in this must read article from sommelier Amber Gardner who shares what it is like being a woman working in what she experiences as being very much a man’s world. She also questions what is being done to foster the talent and the hard earned skills being learnt by sommeliers and hospitality staff when they want to move on from the restaurant floor. Where can they go? What can the industry do as a whole to help not just women feel more comfortable, respected and wanted in this sector, but what opportunities are available for their male counterparts too that can keep them all in the drinks and hospitality sectors they have given so much time to.

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    Tasting: Spirit
    US gins

    Christy Pope: which brands of American Gin to experiment with

    So what can the North Americans teach us Brits about gin? Well, quite a lot as it happens, as Victor Smart found out when he tasted a range of contemporary American gins under the careful tutelage of top barkeeper Christy Pope. Juniper takes a back seat and other botanicals come to the fore like kumquat, cinnamon, nutmeg, bergamot oil and cucumber. Maize is often used as the base spirit and get the alcohol levels… a cool 92% abv in the case of one barrel-aged spirit.

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    Insight
    Screenshot 2020-10-09 at 11.43.56

    Digital Hub: Hospitality & tech; IGTV; Amazon targets luxury…

    As we all grapple with finding the right ways to talk about and sell ourselves online, The Buyer’s new Digital Hub looks to take a look both inside and outside the drinks industry to see what we can learn from others. This time round we look at the kind of technology that works and is needed in hospitality; why Amazon wants to attract luxury brands; how we can now sell on Instagram IGTV; and what we can learn from Walmart’s new digital-first store concept.

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    Tasting: Wine
    McLaren Vale Grenache

    5 reasons you need McClaren Vale Grenache in your life

    Grenache has never historically been a grape to hog the limelight as a monovarietal wine. There are exceptions, but it has mainly been blended with the likes of Syrah, Carignan, Tempranillo or Mourvedre to add acidity, colour and tannin to it, and has traditionally found its place in the Rhône, Rioja, California and Australia. But the McLaren Vale Grenache is challenging many preconceptions, argues Mike Turner, who tastes 12 of these 100% Grenache wines and gives two thumbs up to all 12. Here he gives the 5 reasons he thinks you should get McLaren Vale Grenache into your life and lists his Top 3 wines from the tasting.

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    Insight
    james harmer new

    James Harmer: why we all need to rethink packaging design

    One of the biggest trends that was on fast forward before lockdown, and been on triple speed throughout Covid-19, has been sustainability and what brands and businesses consumers are buying products from are doing to act more responsibly. One of the big areas that the drinks industry, and wine in particular needs to get right, is its packaging, design and supply chains. Ahead of this month’s One Step Beyond free webinar, James Harmer of Cambridge Design Partnership looks at how a new scientific approach, to packaging and design can help companies take sensible, incremental and effective steps towards full carbon neutral sustainability.

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    Tasting: Wine
    The Caley 2015

    Is Yalumba’s The Caley 2015 Australia’s greatest Claret?

    The Caley 2015 is only the fourth vintage of Yalumba’s super premium blended red, but already it is turning heads and getting wine buyers reaching for their allocations. One such buyer, Roger Jones, tasted the wine in the virtual company of Yalumba chief Robert Hill-Smith and compares it against the three other vintages. Not only is it a fitting tribute to Hill-Smith’s ancestor Fred Caley Smith but it could just yet be Australia’s greatest Claret.

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    People People: Producer
    james martin

    Calling California: Celebrating & supporting its wine community

    As if this year could not get any worse we have all been shocked to see the fires that have struck right through the heart of the wine communities in California’s famous Napa and Sonoma Valleys over the last couple of weeks. For those outside the US it is hard to know how to respond to such an emergency other than to continue to support by promoting and selling Californian wine. This weekend The California Wine Institute UK is urging us all to do just that and is also broadcasting a special ‘California Calling’ lifestyle show featuring Oz Clarke and TV chef, James Martin.

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    People
    IWSC

    IWSC Southern Hemisphere wine awards: lessons learned in 2020

    After a judging season like no other, thanks to the Covid 19 crisis, the International Wine and Spirits Competition has now revealed the results for its Southern Hemisphere wine awards. A total of 1,475 medals were awarded: 1,018 were bronze, 421 silver and 36 awarded prestigious gold medals. The IWSC’s chief executive Christelle Guibert reflects on this year’s competition, talks about the reforms she has introduced and looks to the future for the awards business.

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    Opinion
    fine wine hong kong

    Wine Owners’ Nick Martin: on meeting new fine wine dynamics

    Any student of economics would be well served by analysing the ups, downs and dynamics of the fine wine market over the last 40 years, for it is a classic case of how supply and demand works, and how too much of the latter means the traditional ways of doing business are thrown up in the air. It’s an area that Nick Martin, founder of Wine Owners, is particularly fascinated by because of how his industry specific business software manages different approaches to independent wine retailing. Here he makes the case for why the fine wine retail market is changing so fast.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Oak Reserve NV

    How Roberts has raised the bar with Ridgeview Oak Reserve NV

    To mark its Silver Jubilee, Ridgeview winemaking director Simon Roberts, knew he had to craft something very special indeed. That he has with a one-off Blanc de Blancs called Oak Reserve NV made from three cracking vintages with the wine part-fermented and aged in oak. A fan of subtly-oaked fine wine, Roberts has raised the English sparkling wine bar with this cuvée and found true harmony between English freshness and confident oak integration. Peter Dean talked to him on the day of the wine’s release – Ridgeview’s first new cuvée in a decade.

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    People People: On-Trade
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    Onwards & Upwards: Toby Sigouin on looking for a new start

    Like so many of his peers in the wine trade Toby Sigouin first started out on a shop floor working at his local Fuller’s making ends meet as a student. But whilst he first discovered a passion for wine, re-stocking shelves and hosting in-store tastings in a subsequent role as a store manager for Oddbins he also realised if he was to have a serious career in wine he needed to widen his experience. So he was brave enough to step outside the sector and learn the skills you need to succeed in sales by joining Landrover where he was soon one of their top 10 best sales specialists in the country. On returning to wine he joined Forth Wines and following the acquisition by Inverarity Morton he progressed to the senior wine buying role where he has enjoyed considerable success. He has, though, due to Covid-19 now been made redundant and is looking for a new start. Here he shares his experiences and story in wine and how he hopes he can now help others with his new wine consultancy business whilst he also looks for a new senior buying role.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Untouched

    Tasting Untouched by Light – the world’s first ‘light-free’ wine

    Grapes picked at night by harvesters wearing night-vision goggles is one of the lasting images behind the making of Untouched by Light, the world’s first wine to be harvested, produced, aged and packaged completely in the dark. It is the brainchild of Slovenian winery Radgonske Gorice with the inspiration coming from a paper written by Professor Ann C. Noble, the creator of the wine flavour wheel. But does this elaborate process make a difference? Anne Krebiehl MW was at the virtual tasting and tasted (in the dark obviously) along with winemaker Klavdija Topolovec Špur.

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    Insight
    Moldova

    Rewind – How Moldova is putting itself on the world wine map

    TV’s Jack Whitehall and his father have done more for the Moldovan wine industry than any number of government marketing campaigns could have. The scale of Moldovan wine is fast getting appreciated (it has the highest number of vines per capita worldwide) and the former Soviet state has every right to become a major world wine player if it plays its cards right – and that means bringing much-needed quality control to its wines, both international and a plethora of ‘native’ grapes. To coincide with Moldova’s National Wine Day we are re-posting this popular feature.

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    People People: Producer
    gigglewater imagery Long Read

    How Gigglewater is being built using DTC & traditional channels

    Gigglewater has become a fascinating brand to watch. Launched initially to tap into the phenomenal success of Prosecco, it has carefully moved and adapted to position itself as an umbrella brand that carries the principles of authenticity, wellness, ethics, yet it is also looking to have fun, inspire and raise our spirits at the same time. Attributes that tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people. Here Catherine Monahan, founder of Gigglewater, sets out in detail how she has developed the brand, on her own, with no sales teams, by using social media, experiential marketing and following a direct to consumer strategy that dove tails with her grocery and trade distribution model.

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    Opinion
    Can 4

    Don’t waste the moment & the trend – stick better wine in cans

    Wine in cans is becoming increasingly popular and could be a significant segment of the future wine market – both off-trade and on trade – so long as we don’t throw away the opportunity, argues Mike Turner. Overcoming prejudice amongst wine drinkers will not happen, though, unless we start putting better wine in cans and not just marketing it as ‘party wine’. Aside from listing companies that are starting to import quality canned wine, Turner looks at the benefits and pitfalls of cans as a format for selling wine in.

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    Insight
    Screenshot 2020-09-16 at 11.20.49

    WSTA Summit: Top business leaders on dealing with a crisis

    How you deal with a crisis has been the subject of business self help books for years.The impact of Covid-19 will no doubt result in a few more book shelves being filled up with pandemic ‘how tos’ for years to come. But those taking part in the WSTA’s online summit last month were treated to the advice and experience from a number of leading business chiefs, both inside and outside the drinks industry, on how they have coped with Covid-19. Richard Siddle assesses what we can all take out of the management and leadership challenges that the last six months have thrown up.

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    People: Producer
    Delamain Pale & Dry

    Why Delamain Pale & Dry has intensified for a new generation

    Since its launch 100 years ago Delamain Pale & Dry XO has become a classic cognac for the on trade as well as aficionados worldwide. Its conception and success owed as much to the horrors of the First World War that preceded its launch as it did to the creative explosion of the Roaring Twenties that followed. To celebrate its first century and to reinterpret Pale & Dry for another 100 years meant changing very little. But what Delamain has changed says a lot about how the house sees the development of the cognac market.

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    People People: Producer
    care for wild main

    Care for Wild wines hopes to help rhinos & South African wine

    You could probably make a team out of the number of former English cricketers who now have their own wine brands, but Darren Gough’s wine project is a little different. For a start his name does not appear on the label, and he does not claim to be involved in any part of the winemaking. But he 100% believes in what it stands for. As the the new Care for Wild wine range, launched last week by Freixenet Copestick, shares the name of the South African rhino sanctuary that Gough has been involved with since his playing days. Here Geoffrey Dean shares the story of how Care for Wild wine came about and how it hopes to boost sales of South African wine and help save and protect its endangered rhinos at the same time.

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