As the UK and the world slowly starts to look at how it can emerge from the other side of Covid-19 The Buyer has scaled up its rolling Hub and updates service to keep the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors up to date with what steps are being taken to help businesses not just survive, but regroup, relaunch and come out of this crisis with the tools and knowledge to grow. This is Part Four of The Buyer’s Covid-19 blog that starts on May 28 with all the latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.
This Finger Lakes winery has been recognised for the last nine years as one of the world’s Top 100 Estates by Wine & Spirits Magazine; Wine Spectator listed the winery on the top 100 Wines in the world in 2010; and critics and connoisseurs such as Robert Parker and Eric Asimov, consistently mention Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard as the top Riesling producer in the US. Here Jennifer Menges, director of operations for Hermann J Wiemer Vineyard and Standing Stone Vineyards looks at the reasons behind its on-going success and why it’s still keen to grow its exports in our on-going series profiling different New York producers.
The release this week of new vintages of Kali Hart and Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot, marks five years since E&J Gallo bought Talbott Vineyards with the aim of broadening the regional diversity of its burgeoning premium portfolio. Instead of parachuting in a Napa hotshot, Gallo made the wise move of giving David Coventry the chief winemaker job – a man who had made wine in Monterey County for over 20 years and has his very own way of doing things. David Kermode met up with him and Gallo’s Edouard Baijot MW to hear how Talbott’s cool climate style wines offer on-trade and off-trade a real point of difference.
As the mindset across the on-trade and hospitality sectors changes from bunker and survival mode, to recovery and potential re-launch it’s even more important that bars, pub groups and restaurant operators are up to speed with the latest insights, trends and consumer research during the Covid-19 lockdown. That’s why The Buyer has teamed up with on-trade drinks analysts, CGA, to provide a new monthly, free Wine Trade Bulletin to help you keep on top of the situation.
We might not be able to travel to Sonoma County at the moment, but that does not mean you can’t access some of the most exclusive wines available in the county. For the first time the annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction is going online this year to allow wine buyers to bid from anywhere in the world for never to be seen again wines from the region’s top producers. The auction takes place between June 16 to June 18 and the chance to bid for “Never Before, Never Again”. Here’s how it’s going to work…
For most of us 2020 will go down in history as our annus horribilis. For Bernard Retornaz, who has been heading up Louis Latour’s operation in California for almost three decades, this year is one he really wants to see the back of. Quite apart from Covid which has hit 48% of his business, Trump’s tariffs on French wine have meant price hikes of 30-34%. Then there are the differing lockdown-easing scenarios which means it is like doing business with 50 different countries. In a sobering and insightful discussion, Retornaz tells David Kermode how he has boxed clever this year, unable to deal direct with the consumer and seeing a future where he predicts 30-40% of the on trade will not reopen.
As a top designer of wine bottles and spirits Kevin Shaw gets more than his fair share of samples to keep him going, but up to recently there has been a gap not only in his drinking but in the projects that his agency, Stranger & Stranger, has pitched to work on. Until he rediscovered his love and interest in beer. He had for years fallen out of love with what he felt was all uninspiring lager. But now he has once again seen the light. Here’s why…
Bordeaux En Primeur, arguably the most important date in the global fine wine calendar, should be postponed for the 2019 harvest, according to Liv-ex. Failing that, or only a dramatic move price-wise will be enough to justify it, according to the latest report from the global marketplace for the wine trade. Peter Dean highlights some of the key findings from Bordeaux 2019 – The Value of Time as the first chateaux release their 2019 En Primeur prices.
Whatever social distancing rules are put in place, bars, pubs and restaurants won’t be able to return unless they have a contactless ordering and payment process in place that consumers can understand and easily use. The founders of Mimu believe they have not only got that, but can offer so much more by providing drinks brands and on-trade operators data and insights not available to them before by analysing what customers are buying, when, and what persuades them to change drink and food choices. The app is already proving a success in Australia and now hopes to find drinks and on-trade partners to work with in the UK, says founder Andrew Jones.
If you are going to win an award for being the best at what you do it might seem a bit bizarre to receive it at a time when you can’t actually do the job you are being congratulated for doing. It that at all makes sense. But that’s the situation that Mark Quick, head of wine at Hawksmoor, found himself in last month on finding out he had been named Restaurant Buyer of the Year in the inaugural London Wine Fair Wine Buyers Awards. It was, though, a massive boost for him whilst he tries to keep himself busy whilst, like thousands of others, he is currently on furlough due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Here he explains to Richard Siddle some of the ideas that helped him come away with the top prize.
With little to celebrate in the world right now and the on-trade dormant, sales of Champagne have been dealt a bitter blow. But, in some arenas, sales of prestige and vintage Champagne are witnessing sales at near-Christmas time levels. Sara Underdown looks at the ‘new normal’ of E-sales and virtual Champagne tastings, talks to growers, importers, and associations – plus the likes of The Finest Bubble and Tyson Stelzer who are finding successful new business models that are generated healthy sales.
Anne Burchett will be well known to many people in the wine industry for her wide and experienced career that has seen her head up Castel in the UK, as well as the French PR agency Sopexa before setting out on her own as a freelance wine PR and marketing consultant. But for all her success, she has always had one ambition that she had not been able to achieve. Until now. That is to write and publish her own novel. Which she is now doing, during lockdown, as a serial, releasing the chapters weekly online of her debut novel, Tasting Notes, that charts the semi-autobiographical account of a female wine professional working in the UK wine trade. Why? Well, as she says: “I’ve always wanted to be is a writer.” Here we are pleased to publish her first chapter on The Buyer.
With Barolo 2016 it is a question of DO believe the hype. Almost as soon as the berries were picked, winemakers in Piedmont knew that 2016 was going to be ‘bellissimo’ with the region enjoying absolutely perfect weather conditions – benefitting from a rare confluence of the perfect amount of rainfall and the perfect temperatures. For a producer such as Ceretto, which has been championing single vineyard expressions of Nebiolo for three generations, this vintage is ideal for showing off the differences in its terroir. Peter Dean talks with Federico Ceretto, hears how 2016 matches up to other great vintages of the past 20 years and tastes the wines.
“A serious producer of fine Riesling – very impressive” is how Jancis Robinson MW has described the wines coming out of the Red Newt winery on the banks of the Seneca Lake in New York State. Which as accolades go is a pretty good one to have, particularly as it now starting to ramp up its efforts to be as recognised outside the United States as it is at home. Here winemaker, Kelby Russell, a self confessed Riesling obsessive, explains the styles of wine he is trying to make in the first of a new series looking at different producers and winemakers across New York State.
Down on ‘the other 45th parallel’, New Zealand’s cool maritime climate, long sunshine hours and varied soils are producing Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that in one breath emulate Burgundy yet in another plough a furrow all of their own. In the second in a series of four webinars, trade body New Zealand Winegrowers brought together four master sommeliers to take a deep look at the two noble varieties. Can the grapes ever escape Sauvignon Blanc’s shadow – and would the sommeliers want them to?
The situation surrounding the impact and spread of Covid-19 in the UK and around the world is changing so fast The Buyer has set up this rolling updates service to keep you abreast of the latest official guidelines and recommendations from the government, but also the individual steps that businesses are taking to keep trading and help their customers do the same. This is Part Three of our Covid-19 blog that starts on May 1 with latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.
The situation surrounding the impact and spread of Covid-19 in the UK and around the world is changing so fast The Buyer has set up this rolling updates service to keep you abreast of the latest official guidelines and recommendations from the government, but also the individual steps that businesses are taking to keep trading and help their customers do the same. This is Part Two of our Covid-19 blog that starts on April 8 with latest insights, stats, and drinks trade reaction.
When The Buyer came together with Sophie Jump to organise and hold the inaugural One Step Beyond Conference in early March the focus was 100% on analysing the most disruptive changes in consumer behaviour and technology. Little did we know that just over two months on so many of those changes have now been put on fast forward because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Here is the full report from what was a breakthrough conference for the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors. A day that brought experts from outside the industry’s comfort zone and gave them the platform to set out what we can all expect from consumers and technology in the future. Predictions that are already being seen in how fast businesses and consumers alike are responding to the challenges of Covid-19.
The global pandemic COVID-19 has changed life for all of us, of course, but for Anne Malassagne and her brother Antoine, owners of AR Lenoble, it has been doubly galling because 2020 is the year they were going to celebrate the Champagne house’s centenary. Here, in an in-depth and colourful piece, Christian Holthausen retraces the family history through 100 years of hardship, puts COVID-19 into a global and historical perspective and brings us bang up to date with the last 25 years during which Anne and Antoine set out a gameplan on how to remain independent and ensure at least another century of great Champagne while many houses around them were selling up.