No matter how established your wine region is, every year is a battle not just to make the wines, but to then have your share of voice to sell them. For a region like Luberon, nestled in between the powerhouses of the Rhône to the north and Provence to the south, it can be hard to get the attention it deserves in France, never mind the UK. That was the challenge Wines of Luberon came to The Buyer with and, in particular, its desire to showcase its wines in an innovative and memorable way amongst key buyers, wine importers, merchants and sommeliers. It was proposed we did that by giving buyers the opportunity to taste, talk and discuss a wide number of Luberon wines together. But not just around one roundtable. But three of them. In different restaurants. Each with their own cuisine and food styles and flavours that would allow Luberon and its wines to show how they perform against a myriad of textures, spices, herbs and ingredients. Here is what the buyers discovered and got up to on The Buyer Luberon Restaurant Tour. Download the full PDF report below.
The Herculean efforts of Ben Stokes and his team on the field on Sunday, when England won the T20 World Cup, were matched just as well by the ICC catering team at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Getting the mix right to cater for a thirsty Barmy Army while respecting the Muslim fans that made up almost 75% of the crowd was no mean feat as The Buyer’s man on the ground, Geoffrey Dean, discovered when he talked to John Hutchinson, the ICC’s national catering manager.
The 17th edition of Matthew Jukes’ 100 Best Australian Wines was back with a bang last week after a two-year absence. Held at Australia House, the London tasting showcased wine critic Jukes’ top wines that are available in the UK, across a range of categories from sparkling to fortified. Fellow Aussie wine expert, Roger Jones, was there for The Buyer and picks out his selection of wines that categorically have to be on your radar.
It’s a conundrum for any wine merchant, wine bar or restaurant business that is expanding well away from the initial sites and venues that helped make their name. How do you keep that culture and identity that made you popular in the first place? Well, here’s a new idea from Charlie Young and Brett Woonton, co-founders of Vinoteca, who have introduced a new mobile experience that allows you to “carry Brett and Charlie” around in your pocket, and ask them wine questions from your phone. It then uses breakthrough digital technology – dubbed as conversational commerce – to offer pre-recorded answers to cover the vast majority of questions that might come up. Make sense? Read on to find out more.
Rioja is one of the most changed global wine regions with increased emphasis on terroir, altitude, elegance… and white wines. The latest producer to introduce a major new white wine is top-end producer Bodegas Roda which unveiled its Roda 1 Blanco at an exclusive trade lunch. The reds were showing magnificently, particularly the Roda 1 2007, but for Justin Keay it was the Roda 1 Blanco that stole the show.
The second edition of the Wine Pinnacle Awards that took place last week in Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa was the chance to reward and shine the spotlight on some of the world’s leading producers and their wines. In all 18 awards were presented at the Gala Dinner, which was the culmination of five days of debates, conferences, masterclasses and special Michelin star dinners. Here we reveal the winners of the Wine Pinnacle Awards 2002.
All eyes have been on J Vineyards’ head winemaker Nicole Hitchcock last week when she was crowned Winemaker of the Year by influential magazine Wine Enthusiast. J Vineyards is one of the top wine estates in California’s Sonoma County, renowned for making top sparkling wines. Here we sample some of Hitchcock’s wines, what their USPs are and how they fit into the UK on-trade, plus wines from Louis M Martini and Frei Brothers, which also show the versatility of Sonoma as America’s viticultural cornucopia.
You only have to spend half an hour on “wine Twitter’ to see there is a lot of “chattering” going on around a number of subjects. But for the most part that is where those debates stay – on social media. Not this week. A number of businesses working with alternative wine formats, along with leading figures and commentators across the wine industry have come together to publish an open letter to the government in The Times that calls for action to be taken on promoting non-glass wine packaging under the deliberately provocative collective name of WTAF – Wine Traders for Alternative Formats.
The history of the Armagh vineyard is a fascinating one and the Shiraz that hails from it is iconic even amongst the pantheon of great Australian reds. To celebrate 50 years of Armagh Shiraz, an extraordinary 12-vintage vertical of the wine was hosted by Sam and Tom, the grandsons of winery founder Jim Barry, allowing experts to taste the new vintage, The Armagh 2018 Shiraz, alongside the 1989. Roger Jones reports
The great and good of the Champagne and sparkling wine world gathered in London last week to mark the 2022 CSWWC Awards Dinner and the chance to celebrate as well as reward the very best in the sector. In all there were eight World Champions, 10 National Champions and 13 Regional Champions who were all presented at a global ‘who’s who’ gathering of over 150 international winemakers, producers, leading industry figures, and journalists at London’s iconic Merchants Taylors Hall.
BAFTA was the place to be last Tuesday where new cuvée, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2012, was launched in style. Clovis Taittinger, cellar master Alexandre Ponnavoy and Hatch Mansfield chairman Patrick McGrath MW provided the background to the 2012 vintage, with Clovis Taittinger explaining the four key elements that makes this such an iconic Blanc de Blancs. Anne Krebiehl MW took notes and tastes and rates the new Champagne.
The UK can proudly boast to have some of the most innovative and leading bars in the world, led by super talented bartenders who, in many cases, have come from around the world to make the most of the opportunities there are in the UK bar scene. But would they be as successful without the efforts of leading spirits distributors such as Mangrove that have equally travelled the world to find the best spirits for those bars to sell? Here founder, and managing director, Nick Gillett explains what he thinks a good spirits distributor is all about, what makes Mangrove take on a new spirits brand and the efforts it is taking to offer as sustainable range of spirits as possible that both support those distillers and brand owners looking to make a difference with the products they make and help its customers offer more of the kind of products their consumers want to drink.
As the entry process for the 2023 London Wine Competition gets under way we take a close look at the line up of judges that have been invited to take part in assessing, scoring and potentially rewarding the medals in next year’s awards. As this remains the only international wine competition based on judging wines blind, but also for their value for money, price position and packaging and design only professionals with direct buying experience working in the wine trade are invited to take part, alongside Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers.
Moldova used to be the main source of wine for Russia with the country housing famously large cellars, some of which you need a car to get around in. But in a dramatic U-turn and a snub to Russia, Moldovan wine is now primarily aimed at the EU wine markets with the quality improving in leaps and bounds. Wine expert Justin Keay explores this complex history, discovers new Moldovan wine from Purcari, Crama Ceptura, Divin Bardar and Angel’s estate in Thrace, and looks at an unique way that the country is siding with Ukraine in the current war.
As buying co-ordinator and logistics manager for Flint Wines, Edward Beresford-Jones knows first-hand how hard the challenges of the past three years have been. In this thoughtful opinion piece he explores where the key challenges have been, how they have arisen and then looks at possible solutions – alternative shipping methods, consolidated buying and possibly changing freight forwarders and/ or partners.
The Circumstance Distillery has looked to push the boundaries of craft distilling ever since its co-founders Liam Hirt and Danny Walker first started investing in making their own craft spirits – they even sell their some of their brands through the blockchain with their own crypto currency. Now they want to address diversity and inclusion within the distilling sector by starting a female only work experience and intern programme. Here head of operations, Stephanie Peck, explains how it is going to work and how to apply.
The Pays d’Oc vineyard of southern France is a treasure trove for sommeliers and wine buyers. With 58 different grape varieties allowed and winemakers’ freedom of expression positively encouraged so in Pays d’Oc one can find wines to suit every taste – made with traditional southern grapes and international varieties to more offbeat wines such as Alicante-Bouschet, Nielluccio and Mareslan, wines that turn to gold in a sommelier’s hands. As the quality in the region has improved over the years so the wines’ notorious value for money is even keener, especially against a backdrop of rising costs.
This week, Bordeaux Wines was in the UK showcasing the art of blending wines in a series of immersive sessions titled Bordeaux Blend. In this series of trade and consumer masterclasses, participants were guided through the basic premise of how and why the vignerons of Bordeaux blend their wines before they were unleashed on test tubes and pipettes to produce their own special cuvée. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner, himself a certified Bordeaux Educator, along to find out why blending is so key to the wines of Bordeaux and also if his own blending skills were up to scratch…
It is two years since China imposed huge tariffs on Australian wines effectively ending what had been a boom period for Australian producers across the country. To mark the occasion Ian Ford, co-founder of Nimbility, the specialist Asian marketing, branding and trading agency, analyses just what impact the tariffs have had and says if you look hard enough there are still “abundant” volumes of Australian wine – particularly Penfolds – still on sale in China. But how can that be? Ford unravels the Australian, Chinese conundrum.
Feteasca Neagră has had mixed fortunes in the past but its future as Romania’s leading grape variety looks assured, argues Caroline Gilby MW. Previewing a special upcoming masterclass into the unique qualities of the grape, Gilby demonstrates how Feteasca Neagră is showing exciting quality and a sense of place as winemakers have learned how to work with it.