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    Tasting: Wine
    Hugh Johnson ©Esa Korjula (1)

    Hugh Johnson: What 10 wines we should be drinking in 2021

    Hugh Johnson OBE is the world’s best-selling wine writer with the publication of new editions of his Pocket Wine Book more consistent than a Port declaration. As the 2021 edition is released we caught up with him for a virtual coffee and chat to find out how he has been during the pandemic, what unexpected benefits there have been and which new winemaking countries have been impressing him… including Belgium. He also goes into some detail about which are the top 10 wines we should be trying in 2021

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    People People: On-Trade
    onwards upwards cloud

    Onwards & Upwards: Drinks people looking for new roles

    Last week The Buyer launched its ‘Onwards & Upwards’ initiative to provide a platform for anyone in the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors who has lost their job, or is looking for a new start due to the impact of Covid-19. Today we introduce a new series that features a round up mini profiles from individuals who are keen to tell their story, share their experiences and explain what their next dream job would be.

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    Insight
    shipping containers

    VINPay: fast track payments for producers, buyers’ 150 day terms

    It is testimony to the expertise within the global wine industry that throughout the Covid-19 pandemic it has not had an impact on the movement of wine around the world. But what it has done has put enormous pressure on cash flow as both producers and buyers have had to move fast to find new channels where they can sell wine. VINEX, the online trading platform for bulk and bottled wine, has launched a new fast track payment service – VINPay – that it hopes can go a long way to addressing those issues. In a nutshell it has set up a fund through which it can guarantee to pay wine producers up to 80% of a buyer’s invoice within three days of them shipping the wine, and then give buyers terms to repay the money up to 150 days. Hopefully freeing up cash liquidity up and down the global wine supply chain.

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    Insight
    Screenshot 2020-09-10 at 12.16.49

    Digital Hub: What to learn from Davy’s & Lloyd Cole

    From a business point of view 2020 will be remembered as the year that we all went online both to do business and stay in business. The Buyer’s new Digital Hub has been set up to provide a regular series of updates looking at the latest initiatives companies are taking in digital and the online trends that are shaping how they might need to do business in the future. This week we look at a number of new initiatives including how Davy’s is using audio tasting notes to bring its wines to life, what we can learn from how singer Lloyd Cole is using Patreon to get far closer to his fans…and earn some money when he can’t perform.

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    Opinion
    edf Long Read

    Anne Krebiehl MW: Why German wine has an exciting future

    Last night Anne Krebiehl MW won the prestigious International Wine Book of the Year award for The Wines of Germany at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards, her definitive and much-needed book on German wine. Here we re-run an interview she did with The Buyer when the book was launched. To buy a copy there is a hot link at the end of the feature.

    For the past two decades German wine has been on a roll with the country housing one of Europe’s most vibrant, creative and progressive wine industries. And yet the wines of Germany are some of the most misunderstood on the planet. In an in-depth and wide-ranging interview German wine expert Anne Krebiehl MW explains about the full trajectory of the German wine industry – early success, then doldrums, its current state of health and its direction – and why now is the right time for re-evaluation. She explains why there is currently an unprecedented density of quality production and a new generation of winemakers who are re-defining what German wine can be in the 21st century. Grape varieties have changed as have wine styles – with grace and elegance favoured over power – all the result of a new-found, more self-confident identity that was almost obliterated by two world wars and the disastrous legal framework of the 1970s.

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    People: Producer
    Anthony Hamilton Russell

    Anthony Hamilton Russell: how South Africa is alive and kicking

    2020 is the 40th vintage for Hamilton Russell Vineyards, the pioneers of the cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in South Africa’s Cape. But there will hardly have been a more challenging year than this one. The pandemic and the government’s response to it have hit the hospitality and wine businesses hard. In an in-depth and revealing interview Anthony Hamilton Russell opens out about the impact on his business, what strategies he is employing to help speed his own and the on-trade’s recovery and what he believes the coming months will bring, in this, his 30th year at the helm.

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    People People: On-Trade
    geranium three gold

    Star Wines from Bangkok, Barcelona, Denmark & Finland

    We might all be struggling to travel, visit and explore the best restaurants and wine lists in the world, but that does not mean they are not there for us to discover when we can. Which is why Star Wine List is continuing to roll out its new ‘Best of’ wine list guides for different countries and cities. Here we look at how it has pulled together the best wine restaurants in Barcelona and Bangkok and which outlets won Wine Lists of the Year in Denmark and Finland.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Arras

    Assessing the new sparkling from Tasmania’s House of Arras

    So impressed was Roger Jones with the sparkling wines of Tasmania’s House of Arras that, when he ran a Michelin-starred restaurant, he had the Arras Grand Vintage as his house pour. Ed Carr, winemaker at Arras, was awarded a lifetime achievement award at last year’s CSWWC awards, for which Jones is a judge, and for the new releases it was only natural that Carr took Jones through the new wines including a 13 year-old Rosé and the Arras Late Disgorged.

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    People People: Producer
    wine gb awards loos

    WineGB Awards: social distance judging; portaloos; & the results

    We are all having to find new ways of working to fit in with the social distancing rules, including the usually very hands on business of judging for major wine competitions. It has certainly thrown up fresh challenges to those tasked with putting such events on. Here Belinda Mercer, competition manager for the WineGB Awards, takes us behind the scenes to explain for how she and her team were able to put on this year’s awards thanks to the efforts of just three judges – Susan Barrie MW, Oz Clarke and Rebecca Palmer. We have now updated this article to include the highlights of the winners of the 2020 WineGB Awards.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Langham

    Discover ‘New England’ sparkling: 4 counties, 4 wineries, 4 wines

    Unable this year to visit the far-flung wine-producing countries that tickle his palate, Justin Keay decided to set himself a challenge. Pick four different English wineries, that each have to be in different counties, and then pick one wine from each. And, rather than the larger estates and household names, he decided to visit the smaller wineries that may well be flying under your radar. Four Counties, Four Wineries, Four Wines Part 1 – Langham Wine Estate and Black Chalk Wine.

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    People: Supplier
    Keen amateur wine drinkers are at the heart of the People's Choice Wine Awards

    People’s Choice Wine Awards: bursaries to help those entering

    Entering major international drinks competitions is an important part of any producer, importer or retailer’s marketing budget. But it’s going to be harder than ever to find the resources to enter your products with all the other costs and issues that Covid-19 has thrown up. Which is why The People’s Choice Wine Awards has introduced new bursaries, with the support of Wines of Portugal and Smurfit Kappa, to help with entries to three of the categories in its 2021 competition.

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    Tasting: Wine
    BC 1

    New ‘pop-up’ cuvée series: Rendez-Vous de Billecart-Salmon

    Limited edition cuvées are all the rage these days in Champagne, the latest in the fold being Billecart-Salmon which has just launched a new series of ‘pop-up’ cuvées called Les Rendez-Vous de Billecart-Salmon; wines where ‘when they’re gone they’re gone’. First in this series is No.1 Meunier Extra Brut which is a 3-crus 100% Meunier that is largely from the 2014 vintage and has spent 52 months on its lees – a wine that has come straight out of the House’s penchant for experimentation.

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    People: Producer
    Pouilly-Fuissé

    How Pouilly-Fuissé got Premier Cru recognition

    22 climats in Pouilly-Fuissé have just been given Premier Cru status. The wines of Pouilly and Fuissé have long been recognised as “first class,” in fact at the start of the Nineteenth Century scholars put the wines on a par with other great wine regions like Meursault and Montrachet. But, until this week’s decision, the Mâconnais was still the only region in Burgundy that did not have vineyard hierarchy. Before lockdown LM Archer travelled to the region to find out how the thirteen-year application for Premier Cru status was progressing for a number of climats, a process that had been temporarily closed down because of the virus.

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    People People: On-Trade
    Mattia Scarpazza

    Mattia Scarpazza: how it’s been for sommeliers back at work

    Doesn’t time fly. We are now two months on from when restaurants, bars and pubs were able to re-open and allow customers back into their outlets across England, with Scotland and Wales following a little while after. So how has it been like for those tasked with working on restaurant floors? Here Mattia Scarpazza, head sommelier at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, south London, shares not just his experiences over the last two months, but those of fellow sommeliers working at leading restaurants across London and the steps and changes they have had to make in order to keep everyone safe.

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    People People: Supplier
    jon clement

    Onwards & Upwards: Jon Clement on looking for next role

    You don’t have to look very far to see what a difficult time this is for so many individuals, never mind businesses, in the hospitality sector and all the companies that supply it. There is an even bigger concern that the situation is going to get a whole lot worse once the stabilsers of the furlough system are taken away in the autumn. It’s why The Buyer is today starting a new series – ‘Onwards & Upwards’ – where we give a platform to those in the restaurant, bar, wine, and drinks industries, who are looking for a fresh start, to explain who they are, their background and what sort of opportunity they are looking for. First up is Jon Clement who is looking for a new challenge on leaving his position at The Big Table Group.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Czech

    Justin Keay: Which are the best Czech wineries to look out for?

    Following last month’s successful insight into the Czech wine revolution, Justin Keay here looks at how the Czech wine industry is at a fascinating crossroads – between catering largely for the home market and following Hungary and Austria’s example of successfully exporting to international markets. There is also a huge range of different styles of wine made from a very large number of grape varieties – both international and indigenous – that collectively reflect one of Czech wine’s main strengths, namely, producing highly drinkable wines with a high degree of freshness. Keay is a fan and picks out the wineries that you should be keeping an eye on.

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    Insight
    The

    One Step Beyond Webinar on Covid consumer & tech changes

    When we held the first One Step Beyond event in early March to analyse the growing trends and advances in technology that were changing the way we as consumers behaved, the world was a very different place. Even though Covid-19 was rampaging across Europe, in the UK it still felt very much at arm’s length. Six months on and so many of those emerging, ‘about to happen’ trends discussed at the conference are now very much part of our daily lives shaping the way we live and dictating what businesses need to do to survive. To help assess what changes in consumer behaviour the drinks industry needs to be on top off now and in the months ahead, The Buyer is teaming up again with Sophie Jump to host a special free One Step Beyond webinar with the same experts and panelists from the inaugural conference. Here’s how you can take part.

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    Tasting: Wine
    La Dolce Vite

    How Enotria&Coe celebrated La Dolce Vite without Vinitaly

    Vinitaly is the key date in the diary for all those in the trade responsible for buying and selling Italian wine. But with the Verona-based fair cancelled this year, Enotria&Coe decided to celebrate La Dolce Vite in the only way it could – sending a case of their best Italian wines to key personnel with a mini film of each producer introducing their wines.

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    People People: Supplier
    Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 10.53.59

    Wanderlust Wine: technology gives us an edge on competitors

    Of all the new entrants into the wine sector in recent years Wanderlust Wine has stood out as it came into the industry with a new business model. One focused on a technology and distribution solution that meant from day one it could offer same, or next day delivery, for direct to consumer, the off-trade and on-trade at the same time. It’s a model that has served it well during Covid-19 with a boom in online sales, where its range of eclectic and exclusive wines from experimental winemakers around the world, have been in high demand. For our latest video interview Richard Siddle talks to its founder Richard Ellison, and its new head of trade Françoise Mathis, who left Roberson Wine last month, about what they see as the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for smaller, niche importers, and how new equity funding raised during lockdown will help Wanderlust take its digital first – ‘Vintech’ – business model to the next level.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Zweigelt

    Why Austrian Zweigelt is changing to a more serious wine

    Zweigelt is Austria’s most widely planted red grape: famously fruity, seductively spicy, with a name that many find unsavoury because of who created it. Until now, the variety has been celebrated as a relatively simple, crowd-pleasing bistro wine, but if the producers from the Lower Austrian region of Carnuntum get their way, that perception is about to change, as we get to know the variety’s serious side.

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