The UK’s fascination with wines from Portugal continues to rise. With exports to the UK already growing in the first half of 2023 by a confident 18% in volume and an impressive 44% in value, Portuguese wines are clearly showing their qualities and no longer stuck with the historic reputation of cheap and cheerful and made to a price point. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner to the Wines of Portugal tasting earlier this month in London to find out why so many are keen to add Portuguese wines to their shelves and wine lists.
The 2023 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction that takes place on October 6, will be the 39th since the cream of the South African wine industry decided to club together and make special, one-off wines that showcase the depth and breadth of Cape wines to an international audience. To date the auctioned wines have become collectors treasures and have also showed up on the secondary auction scene. To give potential bidders the inside track on this year’s event, South African wine expert Roger Jones flew back from his Rugby World Cup antics to London to join CWG chair Gordon Newton Johnson and others for an exclusive tasting of 40 of this year’s top wines.
The world over winemakers are increasingly turning to the benefits of working with old vines helped enormously by the research, insights and leadership of initiatives like the Old Vine Project in South Africa and the Old Vine Conference. One of these winemaking pioneers is Derek Mossman Knapp and his Garage Wine Co in Maule in Southern Chile who is taking the old vine movement one step further by not just reviving old vineyards, but doing so in a way that ensures the local rural community also has a long term source of sustainable income. He explains to Richard Siddle why working hand-in-hand with old vines and local communities are ineluctably entwined.
It is one thing wanting to source wines from a particular target country or region, it can be quite the challenge to find the right producer with the right wines for your business and customers. Particularly when looking at a developing wine country for the first time. Like Greece. Here we talk to Antonis Sioulis, managing partner of Reco Exports, that specialises in putting Greek wine producers together with the right overseas partners, about its new bespoke service it hopes to offer UK importers and wine buyers in finding the right Greek producer for their needs.
UK wine drinkers have a distinct thirst for the sparkling wines of Italy. Whether from the juggernaut of Prosecco, the luxury of Franciacorta, or even the critically acclaimed Trento DOC, Italian bubbles are a seemingly permanent fixture on the wine lists or shelves up and down the country. The Buyer’s Mike Turner argues that Alta Langa DOCG, producing high quality sparkling wine from the famed hills of Piemonte, deserves to join in the fun. He visited Carlo Galliano at Borgo Maragliano to find out more about some of Italy’s oldest sparkling wines.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Distill Ventures. It is no exaggeration to call its inception, development and progress one of the more remarkable stories of the last 10 years in the drinks industry. Perhaps the reason it is remarkable is that at the heart of Distill Ventures you have a compelling idea: a partnership between non-corporate entrepreneurial minds and Diageo, the biggest drinks corporate of the lot; one side looking for funding to develop their ideas and create a brand – the other looking for the next big thing to fuel organic growth. And while a slow burn, there are signs of success. To assess how Distill Ventures builds on its first decade Adam Withrington sits down with its new chief executive, Heidi Dillon, who has been promoted after years with the business, to see what new drinks trends we can expect in the future.
A Col Fondo served straight from a 20-litre keg, in which the secondary fermentation took place, was one of the many highlights of the annual WineGB tasting that gave Justin Keay an opportunity to feel the pulse of the British wine industry. Producers are bullish, with more of them smiling now about the 2023 growing season after a warm September… and there are plenty of newcomers showing impressive wines, 10 of which Keay picks out to put on your buying radar.
For a region as big and as important to the overall French wine industry it is surprising the AOP Languedoc has not had a major generic trade and consumer advertising campaign to promote what it does. Until now. In fact it is about to move into the fast lane of wine communications with a comprehensive campaign that looks to capture the unique qualities of a region synonymous with making wines for all price points with large scale producers, working alongside smaller, niche, independent players. Richard Siddle talks to Olivier Legrand, director general of marketing at AOP Languedoc.
Think of quality Pinot Noir wine regions and you could be forgiven for thinking of Burgundy, California, Germany and New Zealand before you think of the South of France. So the chances are you might not think immediately of the Languedoc-Roussillon where IGP Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir comes from because of the heat. And yet the variety of soils, micro-climates and lay of the land in the region and the freedom of expression that is allowed with IGP Pays d’Oc has resulted in a vast choice of high-quality Pinot Noir at barely credible prices. Which is why Peter McCombie MW called his recent masterclass on the subject – ‘IGP Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir – the great alternative’. Peter Dean reports.
“We must not be afraid of the word ‘bulk’…for me, bulk means creativity. It is the foundations of the house on which you can choose to build one way or another.” That’s the open minded approach that the World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE) wants to take when providing the global wine industry the platform to buy and sell wine and do business, says Cristina V Miranda the event’s marketing and communications director. Here she explains what to expect at this year’s event.
For a Champagne house so in love with Pinot it is curious that it has taken 42 years for Champagne Bruno Paillard to release a new Blanc de Noirs since its first one way back in 1981. “You have to start somewhere'” Alice Paillard tells Peter Dean, as she explains why she eschewed opulence and sweetness in the Bruno Paillard Blanc de Noirs MV and opted instead for refinement with a very low dosage – a true sommelier’s cuvée if ever there was one.
As India’s first Master of Wine Sonal C Holland is well placed to assess both the huge opportunities there are to grow wine consumption in India, but also the challenges the sector has to make a major breakthrough. She will be sharing her insights at Wine Future in Coimbra, Portugal in November and is the latest speaker at the event to give their views on the state of the global wine industry.
The release of a new Kumeu River vintage is always an event. One of New Zealand’s finest and most sought-after producers, this legendary estate is best known for its Chardonnays which give many a 1er and Grand Cru white Burgundy a run for their money. Located 20 km northwest of Auckland, the estate now boasts two Pinot Noirs, one of which comes from its youngest vineyard, Ray’s Road, purchased from Trinity Hill six years ago. To launch the Kumeu River 2022 vintage, marketing director Paul Brajkovich was in London to host an in-depth tasting of the wines. Sophia Longhi hooked up with him to get the back story of the vintage.
There are all types of managers, chief executives and business owners. If they are successful and well liked then their unique personality and way of working will be a large reason for their success. But there are also great swathes of business leaders who are not good managers and even worse at looking after their most important asset – their people. It’s why every book store in the land is packed with management support books and advice on how to be a better boss. Ade McKeon is well placed to know what it takes to be a good boss – having held senior roles right across the drinks and retail sector including Cobra Beer, Asda, Mumm Champagne, Courvoisier, Jim Beam and Accolade Wines. He is now looking to share his experiences of what it takes to be a not just a good business leader, but how to get the most of your teams, through his executive coach business, Triade Consultancy. Here are his 12 rules that will give the business framework for your staff to shine.
“What gives me the most satisfaction is seeing the progress of individuals and teams. It’s all too easy to focus on the P&L neither giving the time nor the investment to the needs of the team.” Here’s Ade McKeon’s 12 steps to business success.
‘The new luxury’ is the tack being taken by LVMH to make sustainability synonymous with desirability – ensuring that its luxury goods will be lapped up by eco-savvy millennials. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the thinking behind Galoupet, the ultra-premium Provence rosé brand it acquired four years ago. Victor Smart travelled to rosé country, talks to managing director Nadine Fau-Santucci about the changes since the buy-out and samples both the new 2022 vintage and the just-pressed juice of the 2023 wine.
France’s Rhône Valley, whether we’re talking about the narrow gorges and hillsides of the Northern Rhône or the rolling hills and mountainous peaks of the Southern Rhône, has been synonymous with some of the finest red wines in the world. In recent years, however, a growing number of producers have reassessed their terroir and portfolios and added increasing numbers of white wines across these iconic AOCs. This summer, the inter-professional body, Inter-Rhône, have been highlighting this growing trend with a series of white wine specific events, culminating in the Rhône White Party in London, showcasing over 100 white wines. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner to find out more and pick a few favourites for us to keep our eyes on.
If you are looking to shake up your Italian wine list and introduce new wines to your customers then put October 4 in your diary for Borsa Vini Italiani 2023 – your true one stop shop for all things Italian. Organised by the Italian Trade Agency it will feature producers from most of the major wine regions, many of whom are seeking distribution for the first time, alongside UK importers showing wines from their ranges. Here’s what to expect.
Winter rain and warm summer months, without any heat spikes, have helped Erràzuriz’s Francisco Baettig turn in three outstanding premium wines in the shape of the new 2021 Seña, Viñedo Chadwick and newcomer Rocas de Seña. Although not truly cool as in a Bordeaux vintage of old, 2021 has the Médoc all over these wines with the vintage set to be a classic in Chile, as Baettig explains. Heather Dougherty listens, tastes, evaluates and provides some fascinating insight into the background of the wines.
Mark Squires is an attorney turned respected wine critic and journalist whose blog caught the attention of Robert Parker, inviting him in 2006 to become a key part of the Wine Advocate team, covering initially Portugal and the Port, Greece, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia and Cyprus before he left the title earlier in the summer. He is the latest high profile figure to share his thoughts on the challenges facing the wine industry in the build up to the Wine Future conference in Portugal in November.
Launching a new brand into such a competitive market as the drinks industry takes some doing, but when you find out a former colleague has come up with virtually the same idea makes you think you might be on to a winner and becomes a little less daunting to embark on. That was the case for Laura Riches and Laura Rosenberger when they saw the gap for a premium boxed wine brand and Laylo was born. Here Laura Riches explains how they have made their idea such a success.