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Moët UK's Sommelier Of The Year opens for entries

Published:  03 March, 2017

Moët & Chandon's Sommelier of the Year competition has returned for another year, once again looking to bestow the accolade on a shining star of the UK on-trade.

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Change of subsidiary ownership consolidates Hallgarten's B2B wine focus

Published:  02 February, 2017

Hallgarten (HDN) wines has announced a structural change of ownership with the company now owned directly by the Pieroth family of Burg Layen in Germany. The wine wholesaler based in Luton, was until December, a subsidiary of the Pieroth's family's holding company WIV Wein International.

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Guy Woodward: Seven things I hate about the wine trade

Published:  05 October, 2016
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Martin Willams' M Restaurants raises £900,000 of crowdfunding target in four hours

Published:  03 October, 2016

London restaurant chain M Restaurant has raised over half of its crowdfunding campaign target in under four hours, bringing the total up to £900,000.

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Martin Willams' M Restaurants to crowdfund group expansion

Published:  29 September, 2016

M Restaurant group is looking to add a third site called M SOCIAL as well as expand the use of the some of the current space at the M Threadneedle site and plans to finance the expansion by raising £1.5m on the Seedrs crowd-funding platform.

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Sherry is celebrated in UK on-trade at the annual Great Sherry Tasting

Published:  13 September, 2016

At yesterday's annual Great Sherry Tasting, the category seems to be making head way, particularly in the UK on-trade as sommeliers and Michelin starred chefs sampled nearly 200 Sherries being poured.

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Insights: The importance of a well-honed drinks list

Published:  31 August, 2016

With new openings driving fierce competition, hitting the ground running with a well-honed drinks list is key. But how is it done?

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WineTutor TV reaches 90% of the world's MW students

Published:  08 August, 2016

An innovative video learning platform for MW hopefuls has reached a global audience since being launched by Tim Wildman MW.

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First sommelier wine app preparing inaugural launch in London

Published:  03 August, 2016

The "world's first" wine app which sets out to put a "sommelier in your pocket" is launching in partnership with its first restaurant this week.

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Wines of Portugal Wine Quest winner talks Encruzado and Alvarinho

Published:  21 July, 2016

Lukasz Walkowiak, sommelier at Oxo Tower, has been named the Wines of Portugal Wine Quest winner 2016.

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Insights: Somms are in high demand during casual dining boom

Published:  14 June, 2016

The role of sommelier has fast evolved in our ever more competitive and casual dining era and are in high demand across the UK.

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New Zealand Winegrowers extends Sommelier Scholarship to the UK and Ireland

Published:  07 June, 2016

New Zealand Winegrowers is offering three sommeliers from the UK and Ireland the chance to take part in an invite-only sommelier scholarship event in New Zealand.

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London sommelier wins Moët UK Sommelier Of The Year 2016

Published:  18 May, 2016

Terry Kandylis from London's 67 Pall Mall has been awarded the 2016 Moët UK Sommelier of the Year title.

 

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A sommelier on Spain: Quality wines at value prices

Published:  19 April, 2016

Spain has become the country of choice for one Canadian sommelier working in the UK.

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Semi-finalists to go head-to-head in Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2016

Published:  06 April, 2016

The twelve semi-finalists who have made it through to the penultimate round of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition have been announced.

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Competition aims to boost sales of South African wines in the on-trade

Published:  06 April, 2016

Wines of South Africa's triennial Sommelier Cup competition is now accepting entries as the organisation strives to boost on-trade sales.

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Insight: The psychology of drinks selection in the on-trade

Published:  01 April, 2016

New research into the psychology of drink selection in the on-trade puts the focus firmly on customer needs

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Champagne Ruinart unveils 2016 sommelier Challenge

Published:  17 March, 2016

Champagne Ruinart has announced the details of its Ruinart Challenge 2016, aimed at identifying the most talented young sommeliers from around the world.

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The rise of the Drink's Consultant

Published:  10 February, 2016

Smaller drinks lists, coupled with the trend towards more casual dining, is favouring consultants over sommeliers

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Christopher Cooper: Bartenders versus sommeliers - who brings the 'cool' to the drinks industry?

Published:  08 January, 2016

Perception is everything in the battle of the elite drinks purveyors, so it's about time we factored "cool" into wine's appeal, says Christopher Cooper

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Insights: What will blaze the way for on-trade trends in 2016?

Published:  09 December, 2015

From sipping tequila to shorter wine lists, Douglas Blyde asked leading figures in the on-trade what trends they predict will lead the way in 2016

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Wines of Chile reveals annual Sommelier Challenge winners

Published:  21 October, 2015

The winners of the annual Wines of Chile Sommelier Challenge have been announced.

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Wines of Portugal reveals winners of annual sommelier competition

Published:  03 August, 2015

Wines of Portugal has announced the winners of its Wine Quest sommelier competition. First place went to Christophe Richelet of Taberna do Mercado with Maggie Mak of Maze by Gordon Ramsay named as runner up.

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The modern wine list is not 'dead', just evolving

Published:  09 June, 2015

Despite going through a significant evolution over the past 20-something years, the modern-day wine list is not 'dead' as some say, simply different.

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Analysis: Do you remember your wine epiphany?

Published:  05 June, 2015

Trade personalities tell Rosie Davenport and Nigel Huddleston about the life-changing moment when they realised a career in wine was their destiny

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The Harrow at Little Bedwyn appoints first sommelier

Published:  20 April, 2015

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn after 16 years has hired Marcin Oziebly to be the dedicated sommelier as well as the general manager for the Michelin Star restaurant.

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Anna Greenhous: Do different rice varieties effect different styles and flavours of sake?

Published:  16 April, 2015

Different grape varieties create distinctively different styles and flavours of wine, but can the same be said for different rice varieties with sake? Anna Greenhous investigates.

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Pierre Gagnaire: the chef other chefs want to be

Published:  10 April, 2015

oplePierre Gagnaire is one of the most admired and successful chefs in the world. James Steen talks to him about the Beatles, Beaujolais and the three Michelin stars he has held for nearly 20 years

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Chris Galvin and Fred Sirieix's "dream come true" to have cameo role in new James Bond film

Published:  01 April, 2015

Award winning chef Chris Galvin and his general manager, Fred Sirieix, at London's Galvin at Windows have had a dream come true with a surprise cameo role in the new James Bond film, Spectre.

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Mathias Camilleri named UK's Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier of the Year

Published:  23 March, 2015

Last week Mathias Camilleri from the Medlar was named UK's Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier of the Year.

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Spain and Argentina are the two big winners in the UK on-trade says new report

Published:  09 March, 2015

Spain and Argentina were the two big winners in the UK on-trade last year, according to the latest Wine On-Premise report from Wine Business Solutions.

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High dining in the "Walkie Talkie's" Sky Garden

Published:  06 March, 2015

Rhubarb, the south-west London-based caterer-turned-restaurateur has three venues atop the £200-million 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the "Walkie-Talkie" for its distinctive top-heavy shape. Together, the Sky Pod Bar, Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill are intended to form a "gourmet, garden oasis". And so they do, writes Douglas Blyde.

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Martin Williams: Ex-Gaucho boss on theatre of dining at his new 'M Restaurants'

Published:  06 March, 2015

Martin Williams caused a stir in the restaurant world when he announced he was leaving his top job at Gaucho Grill to go it alone in a 300-seat destination dining venue in central London. But he could not be happier following the opening of his new venture "M".

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How to drive a wine brand in the UK on-trade by Wine Business Solutions

Published:  27 February, 2015

Peter McAtamney, principal at research body, Wine Business Solutions, gives his personal assessment on how best to drive and build a wine brand in the UK on-trade with a particular nod to Kleine Zalze, which has been named number one South African brand in its latest 2014 Wine On-Premise report,and Matthew Clark which is reaping the rewards of an astute wine listing strategy

 

 

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Coravin takes on Nespresso boss as new chief executive to lead expansion

Published:  24 February, 2015

Coravin, the pioneering wine access system which allows you to pour wine from a bottle without removing the cork, has appointed former Nespresso boss Frédéric Levy as its new chief executive to lead its ambitious expansion plans in to new markets.

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George Clooney hopes to make a star out of his Casamigos premium tequila in the UK

Published:  23 February, 2015

 

George Clooney is the latest A list star to launch his own drink in to the UK as he looks to make a name for his ultra-premium tequila, Casamigos.

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SITT tastings for independents come to Manchester and London

Published:  23 February, 2015

Independent wine merchants are flocking to Manchester's Old Trafford today for the start of the Specialist Independent Trade Tasting (SITT).

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Monkey Shoulder sets off in search of the Ultimate Bartender

Published:  20 February, 2015

Scotch whisky brand, Monkey Shoulder, is launching a new competition to find the "Ulitmate Bartender" in the UK with a series of regional trials with the overall winner getting the chance to run their own pop up bar during London Cocktail Week.

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Q&A: Agustin Trapero, sommelier, Almeida

Published:  09 February, 2015

Fiona Griffiths talks to Agustin Trapero, sommelier at Almeida in Islington, about swapping the restaurant's printed wine list for a 'wine wall' and tasting table

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Harpers Awards 2015 promises to roll out red carpet for best in UK wine and spirits

Published:  26 January, 2015

Awards season is well and truly amongst us with seemingly not a day going by without a red carpet being rolled out for the great, good and glamorous. Harpers is giving you the chance to shine in your own industry with this year's entry process for the Harpers Awards well and truly under way.

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Harpers Awards 2015 are open for entry!

Published:  13 January, 2015

 The entry process for the Harpers Awards 2015 is well and truly underway with the opportunity for businesses and individuals from across the UK on and off-trades to receive recognition for their hard work and achievements.

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Q&A: Diego Muntoni, head sommelier, OXO Restaurant

Published:  12 January, 2015

From the whiff of fermenting grapes at his family's vineyard to his first job behind a bar, the OXO Restaurant's head sommelier guides us through his career so far

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Profile: Roka is on a roll

Published:  09 January, 2015

With its fourth and largest London restaurant to date, can Roka maintain its already high standards? Geoffrey Dean puts the kitchen through its paces

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COPY: Harpers new consumer report reveals key wine trends in the UK on-trade

Published:  10 December, 2014

In the second of our exclusive consumer reports, Harpers turns the spotlight on drinking trends in the UK on-trade and finds out what the average Brit thinks of the wine in their glass and what attracts them, or not, to ordering wine when out and out about compared to other drinks

 

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Chance for "Harpers Rising Stars" to win a grant for Wine Vision

Published:  30 September, 2014

Harpers is giving talented, rising stars in the global wine industry the chance to take part in this November's Wine Vision conference by applying for a special Harpers grant.

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Danilo Zilli, head sommellier at Novikov, talks about how he fell in love with wine

Published:  22 September, 2014

Danilo Zilli, talks to Harpers.co.uk about the how he fell in love with wine.  Like any relationship, it has its up and downs, but being head sommellier at Novikov offers Zilli a great perk- the opportunity to taste some amazing wines.

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Heston Blumenthal to open Melbourne version of Fat Duck on February 3

Published:  17 September, 2014

The Australian version of Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant is to open in Melbourne in February 3 2015 with reservations being taken from October 8.

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Jackson Estate's Matt Patterson-Green showcases his Kiwi wines at Chiltern Firehouse

Published:  17 September, 2014

"I believe Marlborough will be known for producing the best Pinot Noir over time," declares Matt Patterson Green, winemaker of Jackson Estate. In his glass is one expression, Vintage Widow 2012, named, he says, "after women who lose their men to the vineyards..."

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Last chance to vote in Harpers French Wine Awards

Published:  15 September, 2014

There is still time to vote and nominate the outstanding people and companies in the UK wine trade you think are doing the most to represent, promote and sell French wine as part of Harpers French Wine Awards.

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South Africa's Bruce Jack warns winemakers not to jump on "bandwagons"

Published:  11 September, 2014

One of the greatest challenges for a branded winemaker is not to jump on the latest "bandwagon" but remain true to your beliefs and make wines that are right for your company, according to Bruce Jack, leading winemaker at Accolade Wines.

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Myles Donneky on the high life at Hutong - 30 floors up in London's Shard

Published:  11 September, 2014

The 22 year-old bar manager of "Hutong" above Aqua on floor 31 of The Shard talks to Douglas Blyde about tea punches, pride in service, and competitive ping-pong...

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UK's top French wine experts lined up for October's France Summit

Published:  05 September, 2014

A line up of top speakers from across the UK wine trade, including Master Sommeliers, multiple buyers, restaurateurs and leading independents will all be taking part in the second Harpers France Summit taking place on October 21 at London's St Ermin's Hotel.

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Second Emerging Regions Tasting kicks off the 'Tasting Season'

Published:  04 September, 2014
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Sake Sommelier of the Year competition open for entries

Published:  03 September, 2014

The search to find this year's Sake Sommelier of the Year is now on with entries open to win not only a £5,000 prize but a trip to Japan to delve even deeper in to the world of sake.

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L'Enclume is number one is Waitrose Good Food Guide 2015

Published:  02 September, 2014

The Waitrose Good Food Guide has released its list of the Top 50 outlets in the UK which sees Simon Rogan's L'Enclume in the Lake District pip Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck to the top spot.

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Tom Conran to open a 12-month pop-up in Notting Hill

Published:  15 August, 2014

 

 

Tom Conran  is opening up a 12-month pop-up restaurant in London's Notting Hill on the former site of his Tom's Deli.

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Just A Minute: Charles Pashby-Taylor talks about finding a job he loves

Published:  15 August, 2014
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Harpers new consumer report reveals key wine trends in the UK on-trade

Published:  08 August, 2014

In the second of our exclusive consumer reports, Harpers turns the spotlight on drinking trends in the UK on-trade and finds out what the average Brit thinks of the wine in their glass and what attracts them, or not, to ordering wine when out and out about compared to other drinks

 

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Diageo names Charles Joly World's Best Bartender

Published:  05 August, 2014

Diageo's sixth annual global world's best bartender competition came to a close last week with Charles Joly from the US beating 47 other mixologists in a week long series of challenges held across London.

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Christine Parkinson on driving sake with customers and sommeliers at Hakkasan

Published:  01 August, 2014

Helen Arnold talks sake with Christine Parkinson, chief wine buyer at the 12-strong Hakkasan restaurant chain, the first company to put some of its sommeliers through a new WSET sake course.

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Skye Gyngell to open first standalone restaurant at Somerset House

Published:  22 July, 2014

Skye Gyngell, who made her name at the Petersham Nurseries Café, is to open her first solo venture,Spring, at Somerset House in London in October.

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Imogen Taylor on "exciting" white South African wines and making it as a young sommelier

Published:  18 July, 2014

Douglas Blyde talks to the 22 year-old sommelier of Greyhound at The Test in Stockbridge who says it was not her father of Stone Vine & Sun fame that inspired her to take up a career in wine, but getting her hands dirty out in wineries around the world instead.

 

 

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Gymkhana comes out top in the National Restaurant Awards

Published:  01 July, 2014

Premium London Indian restaurant, Gymkhana, has been voted the best restaurant in the UK in last night's National Restaurant Awards, run by Restaurant magazine, sister title to Harpers.co.uk.

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Alain Ducasse sommelier wins first Wines of Portugal Wine Quest competition

Published:  27 June, 2014

Dorian Guillon, assistant head sommelier at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, has won the inaugural Wines of Portugal Wine Quest 2014 competition set up to help spread the word about Portuguese wine amongst UK's leading sommeliers.

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Tengu Sake's Oliver Hilton-Johnson on driving sake sales in the UK

Published:  27 June, 2014

Anna Greenhous talks to Oliver Hilton-Johnson of Tengu Sake, shortlisted for the International Wine Challenge 'Innovator of the Year' 2014 award, about how he's made sake more accessible and the growing interest in sake in the UK.

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Valentino Monticello, sommelier and acclaimed artist, has died

Published:  26 June, 2014

 

Today marks the funeral of acclaimed artist and former head sommelier, Valentino Monticello, who took his love for wine and music to create a body of work depicting scenes from famous operas using only wine labels from where those operas were based.

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Douglas Blyde compares the culinary and wine delights of the Fat Duck and Fera at Claridge's

Published:  24 June, 2014

Occurring within days, I was lucky enough to experience arguably two of England's finest chefs calibrate dishes to complement complex ferment from noble estates. These were served in the presence of two of the trade's most celebrated raconteurs.

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Matthieu Longuere comes out top in Wine Australia's Tasting Blind Club

Published:  18 June, 2014

Master Sommelier, Matthieu Longuere, has been announced as the 2014 winner of Wine Australia's Tasting Blind Club.

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Michael Simms, head sommelier at Sartoria, on a life serving wine

Published:  05 June, 2014

Harpers.co.uk talks with Michael Simms, head sommelier at Sartoria in Mayfair about how he accidently fell into training to become a top sommelier.

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Harpers Awards 2014 winners announced at London's Hurlingham Club

Published:  02 June, 2014

Morrisons, Naked Wines, Bibendum, Corks Out, Vinoteca and the Chiltern Fire House were some of the big name winners announced tonight at the Harpers Awards at London's Hurlingham Club.

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France dominates the Sommelier Wine Awards 2014

Published:  29 May, 2014

France took home a total of 366 medals and commendations in this year's Sommelier Wine Awards, with nearly 100 more accolades than the runner up Italy, which took home 267.

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Final 12 sommeliers chosen to battle it out for Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2014

Published:  09 May, 2014

The 12 semi-finalists of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2014, organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service, have been announced who will now battle it out to go through to the grand final.

 

 

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Sake: hot or cold? Anna Greenhous on when it's right to heat things up

Published:  09 May, 2014

Whether sake should be drunk warm or cold is the subject of much debate. People unfamiliar with sake have often only experienced it warm, and so believe this is the way it should be served. Some sake fans claim good quality sake should always be served cold and that bad sake is warmed to hide its faults. However, it isn't that simple.

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Douglas Blyde unleashes his senses on José Sanfins' wines at London's Clos Maggiore

Published:  22 April, 2014

According to research recently published in journal, "Science", the average human is equipped to differentiate some one trillion odours (999,999,990,000 more than previously thought). Buoyed by these findings, I was keen to apply my apparently amazing snout to the finery at Clos Maggiore's wine club. Tonight's instalment was hosted by Matt Thomas. Formerly a store manager at Majestic Wines, Thomas joined Hallgarten Druitt, as account development manager six months ago. Despite Clos Maggiore's Covent Garden location, Thomas's territory, work-wise and residentially is Dalston where he secured accounts, White Rabbit and Jones & Son, which he highly recommends are worth a visit

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Get your five a day with new vegetable cocktail range

Published:  02 April, 2014

Those struggling to get through their five or seven fresh vegetables a day might want to try a new range of vegetable cocktails from mixologist Thomas Weinberger of Barschule München.

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Heston Blumenthal to take Fat Duck and Dinner to Melbourne

Published:  31 March, 2014

Heston Blumenthal is to close his three Michelin star restaurant, the Fat Duck, and re-open it in Melbourne, Australia as part of a six-month deal with the Crown Melbourne Resort. When it returns to the UK it will be replaced by his other UK Michelin restaurant, Dinner.

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Discover the Origin to hold two masterclasses with Gerard Basset

Published:  14 March, 2014

Discover the Origin, a campaign focused on Bourgogne Wines, Parma Ham, Douro Wines, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Port, is set to host two mastercalsses in May featuring award winning sommelier Gerard Basset.

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Q&A: Agustin Trapero, head sommelier at Michelin-starred Launceston Place

Published:  07 March, 2014
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Gerard Basset leads line up for Discover the Origin masterclasses around the UK

Published:  28 February, 2014

The UK on-trade is for the last time going to have the chance to literally Discover the Origin of some of the most iconic drink and food products produced in the European Union with a series of masterclasses featuring some of the trade's most well known figures including Gerard Basset MW, MS.

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Douglas Blyde hears history, gains insight and tastes wines at Fells first summit

Published:  26 February, 2014

Combine one part history lesson with another part insight into the runnings of five family businesses, with a final part of tutored wine tastings, and the first Fells wine forum would result.

Held at Embankment's five-star Corinthia, a hotel realised by the Libyan Investment Authority (vehicle for Colonel Gaddafi's state funds) proceedings began with a speech by Fells MD, Steve Moody. His message was: this time it's personal.

"Today we take a step in a slightly different direction," he said. "Over the last 10 years our portfolio changed dramatically. Now we're one of the most premium wine importers. Rather than a larger, generic tasting, this is more personal. We're in the business of selling stories - and I think we've some of the best in the trade."

The function room of about 40 attendees included "hand-picked" sommeliers João Pires (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal), Vanessa Cinti (Cut, 45 Park Lane), Jan Konetzki (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay) and Charles Pashby-Taylor (Dabbous). The latter (previously of Gaucho) very obviously connected with the event's message. Pashby-Taylor told host Gerard Basset OBE (who donated his fee to a Southampton-based charity for disabled children): "As a sommelier I can talk the hind legs off a donkey on closures and barrels, but nine out of ten guests will sit with blank expressions looking petrified. It doesn't matter if a wine costs £10 or £10,000 a bottle - what guests want to know is, has love and attention gone into it?"

Esoteric only?

Basset paraphrased Jancis Robinson in his address, who recently described how Robert Parker Junior was "annoyed" by sommeliers who "only list esoteric wines" and "forget beautiful wines from a classic region." "In London we're lucky to have very different restaurants. For example at the River Café, I know sommelier, Emily O'Hare will want to surprise me and give me a wine I probably never heard of. But if I were to go twice a month, I'd also want something classic."

Moody showcased five family-owned agencies, including Torres (who owns 10% of Fells) and Symington Family Estates (who own the remaining 90%). Paul Symington said: "I am chairman, but they don't even pay me. I don't even get lunch but some awful sandwich from down the road!" He justified his position: "I didn't buy in to make a profit centre; the only things I ask Fells is not to lose money."

Wearing a bright orange v-neck, Thomas Henriot of Champagne Henriot (1808), whose family also bought Bouchard Père et Fils and Domaine William Fèvre in 1995 and 1998 respectively was first to speak. "Any tradition is an innovation which has succeeded," he said.

Alongside his PowerPoint presentation which featured the amusingly-misspelled heading, 'Are we Dinausaures?' Henriot revealed his modus operandi: "The world is wild: I don't rely on the bank, and I don't imagine fashion will protect my legacy." He clarified the latter. "Putting Syrah in Montrachet wouldn't be re-inventing the wheel; it would be nonsense."

Next, Miguel Torres Maczassek, fifth generation of Torres (1870) showed slides of Torres' Spanish "Chablis" from 1940. "It was hard to sell Spanish wines until after world war two, when people became familiar with the Torres brand."

Unfazed by Pinochet

Torres Maczassek showed an elemental, juicy, fair-trade Chilean sparkling rosé made from the 'Pais' grape, the country's most planted and resistant grape, here found in earthquake-hit sites. I learned that as well as being pioneers (from 1966) in introducing international varieties and stainless steel tanks to Spain, Torres were significant in being among the first foreigners to invest in vineyards in Chile from 1979. "Others were scared by dictator Pinochet," said Torres Maczassek. The locals thought our stainless tanks looked like UFOs."

He also revealed the secret to success, which doesn't depend on automatic dynastical lineage. "We believe not everyone in the family should work in the company - only the people who can add value."

Barone Francesco Ricasoli was the most vigorous producer to speak. Representing the 32nd generation of his family, Ricasoli tends sites in Chianti Classico, a region defined by ancestor, Barone di Ferro (the Iron Baron) in the 19th century and "roughly the size of St. Emilion.'

Ricasoli described the period from 1993 when he and his father, Bettino bought back the estate's name and re-launched the estate. "While everyone was hiding the name Chianti Classico I did the opposite, starting to work on Sangiovese and finding out why it was such a tough variety - almost as much as Pinot Noir. There are 70 different clones listed by the ministry of agriculture catalogue.

While Ricasoli takes a serious, reasoned approach to agriculture, he appeared interested foremost in "historical sustainability" (the estate was founded in 1141) than environmental "sustainability". Indeed, those terms appeared in that order in his presentation. He even denounced the nebulous definition of "natural" wines as "bullshit".

Wines shown, including 2010 Castello di Brolio, which Ricasoli defined as the "Lafite of Italy" were my favourites of the day.

Les Misérables

Penultimate speaker, Philippe Guigal of E. Guigal (1946) was sprightly despite a 3am start. "What is the Rhône valley today?" he asked. "It is France's second largest region after ...I forget the name... Bordeaux," he answered playfully. Guigal showed a rare picture of his grandfather, Etienne in the cellar of then boss, Monsieur Vidal-Fleury, which led to an ultimately uplifting narrative. "Etienne's father passed away when he was just two weeks old. At eight, he was told he was told 'you're the most dynamic of the three kids and must take care of yourself.'" Etienne subsequently toiled in vineyards from 14 to 18. "A Les Misérables start for the Guigal family!" he said. "At 19 the hard worker learned about vinification and a few years later became general manager. When he returned from the war he founded his own winery and vinified 67 vintages."

Following a special request from Moody to "please tell our guests some personal and private about the family that nobody knows" Guigal showed a picture of his mother, Bernadette and father, Marcel dressed for carnival (dad as Doge), then let slip that he and his wife, Eve are semi-pro ballroom dancers.

Guigal summed up his professional advantages. "We are in a world which goes so fast. The average stock of wine in the Rhône is 2.3 months, while we have the valley's largest stock - for 36 months in our three hectares of cellars."

Guigal also revealed while white wines only account for only 3.4% of the Rhône's output, they account for "precisely 25%" of their output. He showed Condrieu La Doriane 2012. "It's too easy with climate change to make ripe, rich, fat, explosive styles - we're moving to straight minerality."

Keeping it in The Family

Finally, Paul Symington confusingly defined himself by his accent. "I'm the only person who sounds British, but I only came to UK for the first time when I was 12 in 1965." He described his situation as privileged. "We don't have châteaux, but the most extraordinary valleys and the largest area of mountain vineyard one earth.

Symington talked of the Cockburn's project. "We rescued it from the hands of a multinational in 2006 and brought it back to its roots. Livery companies now buy it for first time in half a century."

Another positive piece of news involved Dow's 2011, which Symington described as the first port this century to get 100 points from Wine Spectator. "I must have got the right Swiss bank account for the man at Wine Spectator," he joked.

Apparently the last port company with coopers, Symington showed a single year Tawny. "Old Tawny is a complete mystery to the British. This Colheita was as much made by the team of coopers as the winemaker. Almost Cognac in colour, it's Port which adapts to the modern way of living." He told the sommeliers that there is no need to decant this style. "Don't need to disappear into the kitchen." Apparently six barrels or "pipes" of the 1982 were offered to mark for Prince William and Princess Kate "because that's when they were born."

Symington brought the summit to a close. "I had the misfortune of turning 60 in December, which was like falling into a big abyss. I believe in two distinct areas in wine: swathes as a commodity, being well-made but industrial, not speaking of anything other than being red or white. But the chances of having a survivable family business in that area are virtually invisible. Instead, broadly family businesses I think will have an incredible future because something protects us."

After the event Moody told me the event had not been rehearsed. "I don't mind admitting I was a little anxious about doing something so different for Fells. I do believe though that the day was a great success and it seemed to be enjoyed by our producers and the trade alike..."

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Moët UK Sommelier of the Year contest now open

Published:  26 February, 2014
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Getting ready for SITT : Spring clean your wine list

Published:  07 February, 2014

Ahead of this month's SITT tastings, Erin Smith talks to key suppliers about how they hope to help independents give their range a boost

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Douglas Blyde talks to Benoît Liébus about life as sommelier at Crillon le Brave, Provence

Published:  14 January, 2014

Benoît Liébus, chess fan and fast driver, is sommelier at Crillon le Brave, Provence. Crouching at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains among the Ventoux's vineyards, the Relais & Châteaux property opened 25 years ago, a cluster of derelict buildings converted into bedrooms.

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Review: Beard to Tail, Shoreditch, London

Published:  10 January, 2014

The Beard to Tail in Shoreditch is a new favourite, as a lover of all things grilled and whisky. The restaurant, which opened in late 2012, boasts a great selection of grilled meats, including some of the best ribs around, and an impressive list of rare whiskies and ryes.

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Rolling update: On-trade reports strong Christmas

Published:  08 January, 2014
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D&D London to list Baron Phillipe de Rothschild wines in new partnership

Published:  19 December, 2013

Restaurant group, D&D London, is to list a number of wines from the Baron Phillippe de Rothschild stable as part of a new partnership with its UK distributor,  Waddesdon Wine.

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Q&A with Yann Prigent, head sommelier, Sign of the Don

Published:  10 December, 2013

?Carol Emmas talks to Yann Prigent, head sommelier of the new operation from the Don and Bleeding Heart group, the Sign of the Don.

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Q&A with Yann Prigent, head sommelier, Sign of the Don

Published:  10 December, 2013

Carol Emmas talks to the Yann Prigent, head sommelier at Sign of the Don, which has opened on the site of the original Sandeman Port and Sherry cellar, alongside the original The Don  and Bleeding Heart restaurant and bars.

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Wine Business Solutions: UK On Premise Report 2013

Published:  09 December, 2013

Harpers.co.uk has linked up with the Wine Business Solutions to give you the chance to buy its 2013 report analysing the UK on-trade at a specially discounted rate of £299. Click on this link follow the details and a hard copy of the report will be sent to you by Express Post.

 

 

 

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Wine Vision News: On-trade needs big shake-up to boost wine sales

Published:  20 November, 2013

Restaurants should drop sommeliers and offer customers the chance to send bottles back if they don't like them, say on-trade experts.

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Rajan Rengasamy picks up inaugural Sake Sommelier of the Year award outside Japan

Published:  15 November, 2013

The first Sake Sommelier of the Year competition to be held outside Japan has seen Rajan Rengasamy of wine suppliers, Spinney in the UAE, pick up the award.

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Sotheby's to sell 100 cases of Opus One for $165,000

Published:  12 November, 2013

Sotheby's wine retail store is selling 100 six bottle cases of iconic Californian wine, Opus One, as a one off collection starting today for only the next four days, with vintages spanning from 1997 to 2005, for $165,000.

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Douglas Blyde explores Alsace wine with Etienne and Kaoru Hugel on their "working honeymoon"

Published:  05 November, 2013

I reflect, an hour afterwards, on the lightening that threatened to lash my City Jet's slim belly as it was hassled by turbulence heading back to London. Now, with every sip of soothing Alsace wine savoured in Hakkasan's dining room of ebony and Chinoiserie, tension steadily slips away.

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Bristol restaurant creates Moët Champagne bar

Published:  28 October, 2013

Bristol restaurant Casamia has teamed up with Moët & Chandon to create a Grand Vintage Champagne bar. The bar is made from solid French oak and it is to serve the 2004, 1999 rosé, 1990 Brut, 1952 and 1972 in Magnum - all of which will be available by the glass.

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Miguel Cruz Liljegren on a sommelier's life serving high rolling Chinese guests

Published:  18 October, 2013

What wines do the modern Chinese really like? Do they only buy what they enjoy the taste of, or are there other factors weighing in. What motivates or discourages the Chinese from a wine order is perhaps not well enough understood among the sommeliers serving them. Harpers had a chat with professionals active in the Maldivian wine trade to learn more, one of the fastest up and coming travel destinations for the young, wealthy and discerning Chinese.

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Sud de France crowns Sommelier of the Year 2013

Published:  25 September, 2013

Sud de France has announced the winner of its coveted Sommelier of the Year title - Adam Pawlowski of Michelin-starred restaurant Northcote.

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Enotria looks to drive its by-the-glass initiative with new winter selection

Published:  19 September, 2013

Enotria's 'Discover' campaign that aims to encourage the on-trade to increase its by the glass offering is seeing "significant" growth, according to its on-trade sales director, Fraser McGuire.

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Anna Greenhous looks in to the different types and styles of sake

Published:  10 September, 2013

Anna Greenhous continues her series looking in to the specialist Japanese drink: sake. This month she explores the many different styles of sake.

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Bibendum to host workshop on creating the perfect wine list

Published:  09 September, 2013
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Q&A: Jacques Savary de Beauregard, head sommelier, Home House

Published:  09 September, 2013

Helen Arnold talks to Jacques Savary de Beauregard, head sommelier, at the member's only and achingly cool media hangout Home House in London's West End.

 

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Gordon Ramsay to open Union Street Café in south east London

Published:  05 September, 2013

Gordon Ramsay is to open a new London restaurant, the Union Street Café, close to Borough Market focused on offering seasonal Meditteranean dishes specialising in Italian artisan producers.

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AFWS seeks out UK Sake Sommelier of the Year

Published:  08 August, 2013

The Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) together with the London-based Sake Sommelier Association is on the search for the UK Sake Sommelier of the Year.

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Entries open for UK Sake Sommelier of the Year 2013

Published:  07 August, 2013
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New gadget allows you to taste wine without opening bottle

Published:  06 August, 2013

Wine can now be tasted without opening the bottle, thanks to a new gadget.

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Dorchester hosts Louis X111 Cognac experience

Published:  27 July, 2013

Cognac lovers and aficionados should head to the Bar at the Dorchester hotel in London this week to see the Louis...

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Ceviche to open pop-up restaurant at Heathrow

Published:  26 July, 2013

Martin Morales of Peruvian restaurant Ceviche and Virgin Atlantic are joining forces to open the airline's first ever...

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Bobby Chinn to bring Vietnamese cuisine to Soho

Published:  26 July, 2013

Bobby Chinn will bring his acclaimed Vietnamese cuisine to London's Soho this autumn as he opens House of...

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Raymond Blanc: Blanc on Blanc

Published:  19 July, 2013

Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc is world famous for his skills in the kitchen. But here, in his own words, he talks about the equal passion he has for the wine ? particularly from his adopted shores of the UK ? that he chooses to go with his award-winning food

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L'Re Burger rediscovers the potential of South African wines at LIWF

Published:  27 June, 2013

South African producers at this year's London International Wine Fair were able to present wines that really showed off the potential of the South African terroir and the extraordinary wines being produced from these sites - including its rising star, Chenin blanc.

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Tim Hall experiences the launch of Dom Pérignon 2004

Published:  12 June, 2013

I love a good launch. And if you make the world's most famous luxury wine, go for it. Why should fashion, top cars, restaurants and watches have the launch pad to themselves? Last week Richard Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon's cellar master, was in London to strut his stuff about Dom Pérignon 2004.

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Katherine Canfield on the rise of rosé

Published:  07 June, 2013

In the midst of stagnant global wine production, rosé stands out as the only market segment that has shown significant growth since 2005, but its continued success depends on whether a collective definition on production can be made.

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Douglas Blyde peruses the sherry list at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

Published:  06 June, 2013

Meaning "dream" in Basque, "Ametsa" with Arzak Instruction opened two months ago in the site of what had arguably once been Europe's leading Thai restaurant - Nahm at The Halkin Hotel. Five employees made the crossover, joined by a full-time representative from Ametsa's triple-Michelin-starred Basque mothership, Arzak. Run by Juan Mari Arzak and daughter Elena, the latter maintained eighth position in Restaurant Magazine's World's 50 Best awards this year.

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Restaurant review: The Five Arrows

Published:  06 June, 2013

The Five Arrows, Waddesdon, Aylesbury HP18 OJE

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Geoffrey Dean reports from the annual Feria de Manzanilla

Published:  05 June, 2013

Those soothsayers who predict an uncertain future for sherry ought to have been in Sanlucar de Barrameda this week, where local consumption of it had to be marvelled at.

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John Shearlock: Gisborne ? what's the story?

Published:  04 June, 2013

I like to think that I am a fairly good barometer for the popularity of New Zealand wine regions. I lived here for two years, have studied wine extensively and am equally open to both the marketing ploys of regional bodies and the seductive charms of the lesser-known boutique vineyards. However, and I feel a touch ashamed to say this, Gisborne had never really appeared on my radar. So what's the story?

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Anna Greenhous: an introduction to sake

Published:  31 May, 2013

Sake is possibly the most misunderstood drink, both in the trade and by consumers. So to try and help remove misconceptions and demystify the world of premium and not-so premium sake here is my introduction to what sake is.

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Douglas Blyde discovers joy of Japanese wine, Koshu, at SeeSushi

Published:  30 May, 2013


Opened in 2006, Japanese-inclined, SeeSushi unites a modern version of flock wallpaper, high, curtained ceiling and glass walls overlooking the rippling waterway.

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Anastasiia Burakovskikh analyses the key consumer trends in the Russian wine market

Published:  27 May, 2013

The Russian market is often regarded as unsophisticated by the international wine business media. But what if the reality is more interesting and complex than it seems?

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Anne Krebiehl: A new dawn for South African Chenin Blanc?

Published:  22 May, 2013

Leading South African Chenin Blanc producer Kleine Zalze of Stellenbosch convened a "Chenin Blanc Style Council" over dinner at the Orrery last week.

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Christina Pickard: There's something wrong with my palate

Published:  21 May, 2013

Being a new arrival in an industry, let alone a country, can be an isolating boat to be sailing in. And while I have been welcomed with open arms into a wine industry full of kind and generous people here in Western Australia, I'm feeling slightly like a fish out of water.

 

Everything I've learnt about wine has been in London, one of the most globally focused wine cities in the world. In a normal work week in London town, I frequently tasting-hopped from, say, Argentina to Bordeaux, to Sicily to Lebanon. I tasted wines from a vast number of countries and regions on a weekly and often daily basis. I'm only realising now that I'm away from it, what a unique opportunity that was (although admittedly all that choice was exhausting at times!).

 

Now, well, let's just say the wines in my world have narrowed. Unsurprisingly, here it is all about Western Australia (and occasionally other parts of Oz).

 

I made it a goal when moving to Australia, to spend the next few years here learning as much as possible about Australian wine. One of the downsides to having the wines of the world at one's disposal is that, while a decent overview of most regions is formed, more often than not, it is merely surface-scratching at the best of times. So even though it's a massive change, it'll be good for me to focus on one region and one winemaking country for a while.

 

So I'm not complaining about the fact that Aussies are so, well, Aussie-centric. Australia has a booming wine industry it deserves to be proud of, and supporting the locals is certainly a good thing. Plus, it's not like the same mindset doesn't exist in other winemaking countries.

 

The problem is, my palate isn't yet used to Australian wine.

 

We become accustomed to taste, like we do with so many things. Like muscles that stretch and coil around certain flavours and textures, we are drawn to wines that bring us pleasure. But those pleasure-bringing wines change as we change. Like a person, our palate is rapidly and persistently in flux in the early years when wine is new and ripe for exploring. The wines I was drinking when I first started in this industry are not the same that now grace my dinner table.

 

However, there comes a point when your palate grows up, and while evolution still takes place - new boundary-pushing wines will continue to be made to challenge even the most grown-up of palates - I know there are some elements to a glass of wine that I will always crave, always derive pleasure from (and equally, elements I will always get displeasure from).

 

I drink a lot of natural wines, made with very low levels of sulphur, native yeasts, and minimal additions or manipulations. Part of what initially drew me to natural wine - and still does - is that they are different. They push the envelope of winemaking and challenge my palate. But drink enough "challenging" wines and they become the norm.

 

These wines have made me sensitive to sulphur as well as to the false flavours imparted by some cultured yeasts and other additives and "procedures" in the winery, not to mention the overuse of oak. At tastings here in WA, I will often berate a wine that seems to me too "fussed with" - pushed into being by force and plenty of winemaking "tricks of the trade". I am met with blank stares by my fellow tasters.

 

The wines drunk in my home back in the UK were mostly European, and if they weren't they were made in a similar vein, namely with fresh acidity, little to no oak influence, textured with pure bright fruit but often focused more on savoury qualities like earth and stone, smoke and sea salt. These are the wines that bring me the most pleasure. Of course, I, like any sane human being, go weak at the knees over the complexities of a top-of-the-line aged wine - a Gran Reserva Rioja, a Gran Cru Burgundy, or even at 20-year-old Margaret River Cabernet, but, like most of us, I cannot afford to drink these with any regularity. I am therefore speaking of everyday wines, the bottles that get sipped over supper, or tipped back on a Friday night with friends. My wine choices are generally rustic and gluggable but also expressive of place and grape. I am easily bored by wines that focus primarily on rich ripe fruit and oak and could come from anywhere.

 

I can hear some of you argue that, as wine styles of the world become more and more homogenous, plenty of European wines taste like a tree and a berry had a baby. And plenty of Australians are far from being the jam-on-toast wines they once were, particularly lately as the trend for leaner styles (often criticised as "anorexic" here in Oz) takes hold. But there is still something Australian - in the modern sense - about most of the wines I taste. It's a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Despite some of the stylistic changes here, it still seems ingrained in the Aussie psyche that wine must have fruit flavours - lots of them - and as ripe as possible. I asked several well-reputed wine writers and restaurateurs here in WA about whether wines focused more on tertiary characters (what we would call "terroir-driven") would sell here. Their answer was a resounding "no". "People here want wines with fruit. They're not interested in dirty wines," one told me.

 

And so at weekly tastings here in Perth, where, after each flight, we go round the room and read out our scores for each wine (they are very into scoring wines here in Oz - wine competitions are an institution here - but we'll save that subject for another post), I started to think something was wrong with my palate. Wines that were being given top marks by the rest of the table were barely making the grade for me.

 

Then one week a young winemaker from Burgundy, apprenticing with a wine shop here in Perth for a few weeks, joined us at a tasting of nearly 30 Shiraz. In the first flight, the two of us were alone in scoring nearly all of the wines very low. The second flight was the same. By the third there was one wine that stood out to me among the sea of peppery oaky spice, ripe berries and chunky tannins. It was smoky and meaty, with the fruit like a supporting character rather than a leading role. It was restrained, elegant, and exceptionally food friendly. The entire table gave it mediocre scores, but the young Burgundian and I showered it with praise and high numbers. "This is just like a northern Rhône," the Burgundian whispered to me, as if it were a swear word not to be uttered in the home of Shiraz. Just what I was thinking. It was very European indeed. It became clear that day that there is nothing wrong with my palate. It's just tuned to a different station, like realising one is on FM radio when everyone else is on AM.

 

And now for my disclaimer.

 

I have only scratched the surface of the sheer volume of Australian wines out there. Attending Rootstock, Australia's first natural wine fair in Sydney a few months ago (which was sold out weeks before and bursting to the gills with curious excited punters) confirmed what I already knew; that there are a rapidly growing number of Aussie wines being made with a gentle touch and a focus on expressing terroir as honestly as possible. They are complex and wonderful and totally unique in the land of Oz. And there are plenty of others outside Rootstock who are working in a similar spirit. Western Australia admittedly seems to be slow to the pitch. It's a famously conservative wine region, but even here there are a handful of young upstarts bravely marching to their own beat and making cracking wines in the process. A lot of the bigger names are also upping their game, and restrained winemaking is most certainly on the rise (even if backing off the chemicals to get more terroir-expression still seems a ways off). However, these winemakers are still very much in the minority... for now anyway.

 

Will my palate start to change the longer I am in Australia?

 

I doubt I will every have a truly "Australian" palate. I'll always love a classically European style of wine, however, kicking and screaming, I may become more tolerant to certain flavours and styles. In the meantime, I will keep tasting and learning as much as I can about this nation and its wines, for it deserves my full attention.

 

But boy is it a relief to know there's nothing wrong with palate.

 

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Allan Cheesman on LWF 2014

Published:  20 May, 2013

Just received the latest Harpers and the review of changes for the LWF 2014. Great stuff and a real attempt by Ross and the Brintex team to rejuvenate, invest and bring the fair to the new era - whatever that may be.

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Harpers Design Awards 2013

Published:  17 May, 2013

Design is a key element of brand development and awareness. If you have recently redesigned or launched your drinks brand or you are a design agency representing a great product, enter the Harpers Wine & Spirit Design Awards and gain the recognition you deserve.

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Mike Matthews on Stevens Garnier's Portuguese portfolio

Published:  17 May, 2013

Portuguese wines are good, fact! I'm not entirely sure why I tend to ignore them at trade events.

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Miguel Cruz Liljegren: Why sommeliers need to raise their PR online

Published:  17 May, 2013

Why sommeliers need to raise their PR online

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Jenny Mackenzie on the Co-op's 'eclectic' wine range

Published:  16 May, 2013

At the Co-operative Food's wine press tasting at the ICA in London this month and just six weeks into his new role as the Co-operative's wine category trading manager, Simon Cairns described the supermarket's wine range as "eclectic".

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Jenny Mackenzie reports from Majestic's summer tasting

Published:  10 May, 2013

Despite its size - 193 stores and counting - Majestic manages to retain a personal touch, with a biannual magazine written by its "graduate staff" and autonomous tweeting from each branch.

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Douglas Blyde gets to know the Martini at Duke's Hotel

Published:  08 May, 2013

Claire Smith, global ambassador for super-premium Polish vodka brand Belvedere, co-hosted a Martini masterclass at Duke's Hotel with head barman Alessandro Palazzi. Amid oils of shiny horses and brass-buttoned riders, Smith preceded proceedings with: "It's not a hard sell to hang out with Alessandro at Duke's..."

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Gilbert Winfield on the intricacies of the new "Chianti Classico Revolution"

Published:  07 May, 2013


Albert Eistein, a man who knows a thing or two about the difference between complication and simplicity, once said: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." This was brought to my mind last month when the great and the good of the wine writing world (and I) gathered in a packed room in Somerset House for a press conference to introduce the 'Chianti Classico Revolution" at the combattantly named 'Tuscany Strikes Back' tasting. Perhaps the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico could take Einstein's message to heart, too.

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Justin Keay meets the Californian winemakers who are throwing away the rulebook

Published:  01 May, 2013

For UK consumers tucking into a bottle of wine from California's Central Coast, chances are that it will be from Monterey County, lying just south of San Francisco.

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Douglas Blyde takes a trip to the wineries of Slovenia

Published:  30 April, 2013

Klemen Mle?nik fleetingly casts eyes to a clearing high in the densely-forested hills. There, a five metre high inscription made of stones proclaims 'TITO' in capitals. "Older people maintain it"...

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Jenny Mackenzie on Marks & Spencer's spring tasting

Published:  29 April, 2013

A key focus of M&S's spring press tasting was to show the 'major refresh' of the Italian range, overseen by winemaker Jeneve Williams, working with buyer Emma Dawson.

 

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Douglas Blyde enjoys a night out with Beringer wines and premium US cuisine at CUT, Park Lane

Published:  15 April, 2013

Laurie Hook, Beringer's seventh winemaker since the winery was founded in 1896, hosted dinner at Wolfgang Puck's first European restaurant, CUT, Park Lane recently to showcase its range of premiuim Californian wines.

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The List: The Providores

Published:  05 April, 2013

Anne Krebiehl navigates the 99% Kiwi wine list at London's Providores and Tapa Room

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Sommelier's view: Cedric Beaumond, Bo

Published:  05 April, 2013

The newest addition to Bo London's team is Cedric Beaumond, previously head sommelier and wine manager at what he describes as the "relatively comfortable" Savoy Grill.

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Alvin Cheung: searching for perfection at Bo London

Published:  05 April, 2013

The self-dubbed 'Demon Chef', Alvin Leung does not do anything by halves, as Douglas Blyde discovers while delving...

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Jenny Mackenzie finds much to discover at Wine Society tasting

Published:  02 April, 2013


The Wine Society held its spring tasting last week showing 60 wines new to the list in 2013. The long-standing loyalty and affection from the UK wine press saw "94% attendance" and plenty of enthusiastic tweeting, encouraged along by PR manager and social media supremo, Ewan Murray.

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The List: Enoteca Turi

Published:  15 March, 2013

Owner Guiseppe Turi tells Bernadette John why Italian wines triumph over all on the list at Puglia specialist Enoteca Turi

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Round table: Vinho Verde uncovered

Published:  15 March, 2013

Harpers and Vinho Verde hosted a round table to assess the region's potential as a producer of food-friendly wines

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It's all meat and drink to Hawksmoor

Published:  15 March, 2013

There has never been a better time to go out for a steak in London and you would struggle to find a place superior to Hawksmoor. Dominic Midgley discovers the chain is as proud of its drinks offer as it is its rib eyes and sirloins

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Heather Dougherty on the Wine Society's French outpost

Published:  14 March, 2013

The withering of the presence of UK supermarkets across the Channel has left The Wine Society and Majestic as the last redoubt of the English wine trade in and around Calais. While Majestic, as a publicly listed company, must show that there is a commercial imperative for the continued presence of its two stores in Calais, The Wine Society, as usual, has a rather different perspective.

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Douglas Blyde discusses the world of Prosecco with winemaker Primo Franco of producer Nino Franco

Published:  05 March, 2013

Primo Franco, of Prosecco producer, Nino Franco, marked 30 years since he produced his first vintage by hosting a lunch at Hawksmoor restaurant, Air Street, Mayfair. Franco mentions that his choice of restaurant - the latest in the clubby Hawksmoor quartet, and first to offer dishes devised by celebrity fisherman, Mitch Tonks alongside signature steak - happens to lie close to the recently-refurbished five star, Café Royal. It was in those kitchens during the early 1970s, explains Franco with a wry smile, that he toiled as a kitchen porter. After his first shift, during which he confronted "an endless seeming conveyor of dishes", the disorientated, young navvy found himself spending the bulk of his earnings on the taxi home to Acton.

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Restaurant review: Guillaume Glipa Coya Restaurant & Bar

Published:  01 March, 2013

In the aftermath of International Pisco Sour Day, Douglas Blyde talks to Guillaume Glipa, general manager of Coya, London's latest Peruvian restaurant.

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Introducing the new breed at MASH

Published:  01 March, 2013

Douglas Blyde learns how the founders of the Modern American Steak House are training up a new wave of sommeliers

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Mike Matthews discovers the diversity and flavours of vermouth at Mele e Pere

Published:  22 February, 2013

What does vermouth mean to you? What images does this fortified wine conjure? It's hardly what we'd call a fashionable drink now is it!

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Chance to win Best Drinks Offer at Harpers Awards 2013

Published:  07 February, 2013


Restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels are all invited to enter the Best Drinks Offer of the Year category as part of the Harpers Awards 2013.

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On-trade appointments

Published:  06 February, 2013

The latest appointments see Maxxium UK strengthen its spirits and cocktails training scheme, and Le Cercle in Chelsea gets a new head chef.

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Douglas Blyde has a taste of Croatia at the Cuthbert Pub & Kitchen, Brighton

Published:  06 February, 2013

Pacta Connect's Trevor Long and Judith Burns, enthusiastic importers of quality Croatian wines from Umag to Pula, and also Slavonia and Dalmatia, invited Harpers to taste a tailored menu of British food and Croatian wines at the Cuthbert Pub & Kitchen, Brighton.

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Restaurant openings

Published:  06 February, 2013

The latest openings include a new Champagne venue aiming to become one of London's most exclusive celebrity haunts; a makeover for Fulham Road's the Goat in Boots; and a pop-up venture for Yalla Yalla.

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Wine and cider go head to head at Thatchers Arms

Published:  25 January, 2013

Wine and cider are to go head-to-head in a food and drink matching competition to be held at foodie pub, The Thatchers Arms, near Colchester in association with DrinkBritain.com.

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Pubs and restaurants "slightly" up on Christmas and New Year 2012

Published:  25 January, 2013

Britain's pub and restaurant groups reported better Christmas and New Year trading than a year ago, but the increase was marginal, according to Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

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Koshu of Japan launches search for brand ambassador

Published:  25 January, 2013

Wine industry professionals including sommeliers are being called to enter a competition to find the first Koshu of Japan UK Brand Ambassador.

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NRB announces strongest chef line-up to date

Published:  25 January, 2013

The north's hospitality trade show, Northern Restaurant & Bar, has announced its strongest line-up to date of chefs who will cook in the Chef Live theatre at its event in Manchester Central in March 2013.

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Call for entries to Moët UK Sommelier of the Year

Published:  25 January, 2013

The Academy of Food & Wine Service is calling for entries to the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2013.

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Douglas Blyde visits the Luggage Room, Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square

Published:  25 January, 2013

Luggage porter, Dan, leads me to a small, unmarked door flanked by flames. "You'll be impressed by the first sight you see," he says. "Some places have women. But we have goddesses."

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UK Sommelier Association (North Area) rolls out fast-track course

Published:  25 January, 2013

The UK Sommelier Association (North Area), is to roll out one of the only northern-based fully accredited sommelier courses from February 2013.

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How will you be changing your wine list this year?

Published:  24 January, 2013

As we go into 2013, we ask three industry sommeliers from Sketch, Coq d'Argent and Launceston Place how they'll be looking at changing their wine lists this year.

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Restaurant openings to begin the year

Published:  24 January, 2013

Openings for February include one all-British, a Brazilian-Japanese, and a Japanese restaurant aiming to venture beyond sushi and sashimi.

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How will you change your wine list in 2013?

Published:  22 January, 2013

As we go into 2013, we ask some industry sommeliers how they'll be looking at changing on their wine lists this year.

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At Your Service events - January

Published:  22 January, 2013

Wine Australia shows its "artier" side, Oregon and Washington state show their "most comprehensive" line up, with Bibendum it's all a Matter of Taste at the following trade tastings.

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At Your Service events - January

Published:  22 January, 2013

Wine Australia shows its "artier" side, Oregon and Washington State shows its "most comprehensive" line up and with Bibendum, it's all a Matter of Taste at the following January trade tastings.

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Tour de Belfort opens Manchester wine and cookery school

Published:  18 December, 2012

French winemaker Muriel Lismonde, owner of Tour de Belfort, has opened wine and cookery school Le Vin La Table in Hale, which aims to offer variety of wine tastings, cookery classes and workshops.

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Hospitality Show

Published:  17 December, 2012

The Hospitality Show, which takes place in January, is offering a one-to-one business mentoring service from operators which have excelled in their field and want to pass on their experience to others.

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Manchester to boost fine-dining reputation in 2013

Published:  17 December, 2012

The year 2013 could be the one that Manchester "eventually" becomes a top culinary destination, according to Harden's Restaurant Guide co-owner and editor Richard Harden.

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Simon Rogan to bring luxury dining to Manchester

Published:  17 December, 2012

Chef and restaurateur Simon Rogan is aiming to set the trend for luxury dining in Manchester, by taking on two Manchester restaurants within the Midland Hotel.

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Northern Restaurant & Bar 2013 calls for registration

Published:  17 December, 2012

The north's hospitality trade show, Northern Restaurant & Bar, has announced it will be 20% larger on its return to Manchester Central in March 2013.

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Winter restaurant openings in Bath, Manchester and Notting Hill

Published:  14 December, 2012

Find out more about winter openings, including the third Graze Bar in Bath, a £3.5-million refurb in Manchester and a ping-pong pop-up, in London's Notting Hill.

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Harpers catches up with Boundary's Christopher Delalonde MS

Published:  14 December, 2012

There's no standing still for Christopher Delalonde MS, who was named UK Sommelier of the Year in 2010. We find out what he's been up to at Boundary Restaurant.

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Sommeliers Marcin Oziebly and Agustin Trapero with their Christmas recommendations

Published:  14 December, 2012

We spoke to Marcin Oziebly, sommelier at the new Albert Square Chop House, and Agustin Trapero, head sommelier at Launceston Place, about their recommended wines this Christmas.

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At Your Service events - Burgundy focus

Published:  14 December, 2012

It may be a quiet month in December, but there's a host of Burgundy tastings come January 2013. Here are just a few:

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Trade events November

Published:  26 November, 2012

Wednesday, November 28

Goedhuis & Co annual press and trade portfolio tasting and Rhone 2011 En Primeur tasting

 

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Newman Street Tavern looks to celebrate British produce

Published:  26 November, 2012

Celebrating the very finest seasonal, specialist and wild produce from around the British Isles, the Newman Street Tavern in the street of its name in London aims to be a traditional kitchen in its fullest sense.

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Simon Hall, Simple Simon Design, on getting the most out of on-trade design

Published:  26 November, 2012

You can have the best chefs and the finest wines known to humanity, but you are not going to get people coming to your restaurant if it looks awful. Restaurant design is often overlooked as one of the key ingredients in a restaurant's success. Here we talk to Simon Hall, managing director of Simple Simon Design, who has projects on the go such as the River Cottage canteen Bristol, due to open next year, about what he sees as the key trends in restaurant design.

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Nuno Mendes on Viajante and his wine and food philosophy

Published:  26 November, 2012

Since opening in 2010, Viajante in Bethnal Green, East London, received a Michelin star within just nine months and was voted number 80 in the San Pellegrino's World's Best Restaurants 2012. We take a quick look at chef Nuno Mendes' philosophy.

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Romanian-backed Italian restaurant group opens in London

Published:  26 November, 2012


Il Calcio is a new Italian restaurant set to open in London's North Audley Street, which has its roots in Bucharest, Romania.

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New London Italian restaurant gets boost from Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood

Published:  26 November, 2012

Rolling Stones fans that missed out on seeing their heroes at the O2 in London this week should book a table at new Italian restaurant, Primo, on London's Shaftesbury Avenue, next month, where they can see original paintings from guitarist Ronnie Wood.

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Fulham's White Horse gets a facelift

Published:  26 November, 2012

The White Horse in Fulham, west London, has just re-opened after an extensive refurbishment, which includes the revamping of the upstairs restaurant and private dining room, as well as the introduction of a new menu.

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Promoting responsible drinking with Drinkaware and Cellar Trends

Published:  26 November, 2012


The role of the on-trade and in particular how individual bars, restaurants and pubs handle the responsible drinking message is, once again, very much under public scrutiny. Earlier this month, Drinkaware linked up with Cellar Trends to take the responsible drinking message direct to consumers in bars and nightclubs across the country. Here Laura Robertson of Cellar Trends and Emma Healey, campaign manager for Drinkaware, give their take on what happened.

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Wines of Chile holds second sommelier challenge

Published:  02 November, 2012

Wines of Chile has held the second Sommelier Chile Challenge in a bid to illustrate the country's value-for-money on-trade offering.

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Port begins to shed its stuffy image

Published:  19 October, 2012

Port is beginning to shed its stuffy image and is appealing to a younger, more female-led market, according to Fells marketing controller Mark Symonds.

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Sampling machines see uplift in on-trade demand

Published:  18 October, 2012

Demand for wine sampling machines is growing as businesses outside traditional wine shops and restaurants look to expand their offer.

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Sommelier Spotlight: Romain Audrerie, Lutyens

Published:  17 October, 2012

I started the role at Lutyens three months ago, it's the second generation of staff since its opening in 2009, that also includes a new general manager and head chef.

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At Your Service events - October and November

Published:  17 October, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade events in October and November.

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Roast creates Shard-inspired cocktail

Published:  16 October, 2012

Roast restaurant is celebrating the opening of The Shard with a new cocktail and the chance to win one of three pairs of evening tickets for the opening of its viewing gallery.

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Got Juice gives tips on how your restaurant can improve online reviews

Published:  16 October, 2012

Got Juice gives eight easy and valuable tips for hotels, pubs and restaurants to improve online reputation and gain positive reviews.

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Find out more about all the latest on-trade openings this autumn

Published:  16 October, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade openings this autumn.

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D & D London launches New Street Wine Shop

Published:  07 September, 2012

Sommelier Nicolas Clerc, is to head up D & D London's newest venture; its New Street Wine Shop, alongside the drinks offering at Old Bengal Warehouse's four other new spaces.

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Restaurant openings this autumn

Published:  07 September, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade openings this autumn.

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Whisky brands recommend food pairings

Published:  07 September, 2012

With Bowmore teaming up with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage to launch a series of recipes to match its range, we ask a handful of whisky brands to tell us what food works well with their wee drams.

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Sustainability - how your restaurant can benefit

Published:  07 September, 2012

Mark Linehan, managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, gives the At Your Service newsletter tips on how your establishment can benefit from operating in a more ethical way.

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At Your Service events - September and October

Published:  06 September, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade events for September and October.

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Husband and wife chef/sommelier team open Bubbledogs

Published:  06 September, 2012

London's newest niche venue, hot dog and Champagne restaurant Bubbledogs, has opened with the aim of providing guests with a new "experience".

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Sherry Institute of Spain announces Great Sherry Tasting

Published:  06 September, 2012

The Sherry Institute of Spain has announced its Great Sherry Tasting - designed to showcase the largest collection of sherries in the UK - will be held in September.

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Douglas Blyde: living the high life with Yvonne Cheung, sommelier, Café Gray Deluxe, Hong Kong

Published:  03 September, 2012

"I get nervous if I see a client with no beverage in front of them," says sharp, chic sommelier, Yvonne Cheung, as she rectifies abstinence with Cédric Bouchard's 'Inflorescence'. The clean Champagne represents "a single variety (Pinot Noir), single area (Côte de Val Vilaine, Aube), and single year ('08)," she says.

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Suppliers see benefits in increasing services to on-trade

Published:  10 August, 2012

Suppliers have to work harder to increase services to pubs restaurants in these cash-strapped times, but rather than being viewed as a hinderance, it is seen as an all-round benefit.

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Niche restaurants on the rise, says Fluid Movement director

Published:  10 August, 2012

The trend towards restaurants and bars serving niche products is in growth due to the likes of social media, according to Tristan Stephenson, co-director of Fluid Movement.

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How can suppliers get their foot in the restaurant door?

Published:  09 August, 2012

For on-trade suppliers, getting a restaurant buyer to taste your wines can be difficult. We ask five wine buyers to tell us the approach that works best for them.

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Taking wine that little bit further with the Vineyard at Stockcross

Published:  08 August, 2012

Yohann Jousselin MS, who, alongside executive head chef Daniel Galmiche (formerly of Le Gavroche), has moved the traditional goal posts to make wine the central part of the dining menu rather than the other way around. He tells us why.

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At Your Service events - August and September

Published:  08 August, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade events for August and September.

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Restaurant openings September

Published:  08 August, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade openings for September

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Bibendum's Richard Cochrane offers Olympic support and advice

Published:  13 July, 2012

1. Focus on key wines

Unless you are the sort of venue that is known for an extensive wine list with pages and pages of choice, think about using a short, more focused list during the games.

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Sommeliers fear Olympic transport 'chaos'

Published:  13 July, 2012

London sommeliers gearing up for the Olympics are concerned about how traffic congestion may not just affect deliveries, but bookings as well.

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London's first 24/7 restaurant opens in August

Published:  13 July, 2012

London's first 24-hour restaurant the Duck & Waffle will be aimed at bankers who work unsocial hours, the art community of Shoreditch and people wanting quality food after a night on the town.

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Santa Rita's Terry Pennington looks at the Irish on-trade

Published:  12 July, 2012

Terry Pennington, commercial director for the UK and Ireland at Santa Rita, talks to Harpers about how the on-trade is coping in Ireland amid the euro crisis and on the back of the fall of the Celtic Tiger.

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Wines of Roussillon dessert competition calls for entries

Published:  05 July, 2012

For the fifth year running, UK sommelier and pastry chef teams are being challenged to find the ultimate pairing of a Roussillon Vin Doux Naturel with their own dessert creation.

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At Your Service events - July and August

Published:  05 July, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade events for July and August.

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Restaurant openings - July and August

Published:  05 July, 2012

Find out more about all the latest on-trade openings for July and August.

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Jan Konetzki, Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2012

Published:  08 June, 2012

The Sommelier of the Year competition is a great platform for sommeliers to demonstrate their skills.

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English wine prices could be hiked to stem demand

Published:  07 June, 2012

Prices of English wine could begin to rise as producers attempt to stem the flow of demand on the back of celebrations.

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Sake Sommelier Association launches London Sake Challenge

Published:  07 June, 2012

Matching sake with the likes of foie gras and caviar is one of the areas the Sake Sommelier Association is trying to promote at the London Sake Challenge to be held in August.

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June tasting events

Published:  07 June, 2012

June 12-14

Stevens Garnier Trade Tasting Roadshow

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At Your Service winners announced at Harpers Awards

Published:  07 June, 2012

Emily O'Hare, sommelier at the River Café and restaurant 28º-50º Wine Workshop & Kitchen were just two of the winners in the At Your Service category at the inaugural Harpers Awards.

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Restaurant and bar openings

Published:  07 June, 2012

Graze Bar, Brasserie & Chophouse

 

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Kornicis chief executive on how to run a successful wine bar

Published:  07 June, 2012

After expanding its estate with the opening of its eighth Jamies Wine Bar in London, Kornicis Group chief executive Nick Tamblyn chats to Harpers about his methods behind running a successful wine bar.

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At Your Service blog

Published:  30 May, 2012

Bargain-basement branding and boredom blog by Christopher Piper, chairman of Christopher Piper Wines in Ottery St Mary, Devon.

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Wine law solicitor Andrew Park advises importers on how to legally protect themselves

Published:  09 May, 2012

It seems odd in an era where the wine industry is increasingly competitive and professional that contractual agreements with producers are still relatively rare.

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May tasting events

Published:  09 May, 2012

May 9 - Bibendum Bordeaux En Primeur Tasting, 3pm-8pm

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Moët UK Sommelier of the Year gets tough on entrants

Published:  08 May, 2012

Organisers of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition 2012 have taken a tougher stance with this year's entrants in order to bring it in line with its European counterpart.

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Tim Wildman MW blogs about profitability and opportunity

Published:  08 May, 2012

An Easter cycling trip to Cornwall gave me the excuse I needed to finally visit the Eden Project.

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Restaurant and bar openings

Published:  08 May, 2012

Birmingham

Aalto Restaurant at Hotel La Tour
Albert Street, Birmingham B5 5JT

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Sparkling focus at new Urban Leisure Group venue

Published:  08 May, 2012

Urban Leisure Group is to open Central & Co, a brasserie and bar that aims to focus on sparkling wine.

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UK restaurants lose interest in fine dining, says Harden's

Published:  08 May, 2012

Restaurants are becoming less interested in fine dining and moving towards simplicity, according to owner and founder of Harden's Restaurant Guides, Peter Harden.

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Vinoteca unveils new head chefs

Published:  26 April, 2012

Vinoteca has announced two new head chefs for its Marylebone and Farringdon operations, as well as a opening date for Vinoteca in Soho.

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Chefs to showcase talents in Eat Drink Bristol Fashion

Published:  25 April, 2012

Leading chefs and restaurants in Bristol are to showcase their talents in a two week pop-up food and drink event, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion.

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Vinoteca to open third London site

Published:  15 March, 2012

Vinoteca is to open its third wine bar, dining room and wine shop in Soho, in mid April.

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AFWS calls for entries to Sommelier of the Year competition

Published:  23 February, 2012

The Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS) is seeking entries to its 2012 UK Sommelier of the Year competition.

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Pawel Gruntowski - freelance sommelier South America

Published:  17 February, 2012

Living and travelling in South America can give a very valuable perspective to a European used to small scale of things, short distances and in general having everything at a hand's reach.

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Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar to open at London's County Hall

Published:  16 February, 2012

A specialist gin bar hosting 33 English gins, will be one of the attractions at Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, when it opens at London's County Hall, at the end of March.

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Mariano Braga - sommelier based in Buenos Aires

Published:  08 February, 2012

I'm a sommelier, from Argentina with a personal challenge: I had to taste 2,011 wines over 2011.

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Thierry Tomasin, head sommelier, Angelus

Published:  08 February, 2012

Surprisingly despite the economic doom and gloom, Champagne was one of the biggest sellers here throughout Christmas and New Year.

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Crewe wholesaler Rodney Densem acquires Telford Wines

Published:  18 November, 2011

Crewe-based Rodney Densem is to ramp up its coverage across the country with the purchase of Shropshire wholesaler Telford Wines.

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Jascots to offer 24/7 delivery during Olympic and Paralympic Games

Published:  18 November, 2011

Independent wine merchant Jascots is to offer a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, delivery service to its clients throughout the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Don't miss - Copa Jerez and Sud de France Festival

Published:  03 August, 2010

The Sherry Institute of Spain has announced the 4th International Copa Jerez competition is open for entries.

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Take 6 Ardbegs

Published:  03 August, 2010

Ardbeg 10 Year Old
(46% abv; rrp £37.95)
The backbone of the brand. The fresh, delicate nose belies the peaty beast beneath. Waxy, with aromas of gentian violets, citrus, pepper and wood smoke, giving way to a complex sea-spray and salt, molasses, asphalt, strong coffee and a tobacco palate that somehow manages to delicately pack an almighty punch.

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UK wine in need of high profile sponsor

Published:  02 August, 2010

A high-profile sponsor is needed to help English wine continue to grow its reputation, according to Mike Roberts, chairman of English Wine Producers and director of the West Sussex winery Ridgeview Wine Estate.

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Breaking the mould - the first in a new series looking at the opportunities around key grape varieties

Published:  02 August, 2010

In the first of a new series looking at the opportunities around key grape varieties, Carol Emmas focuses on Riesling

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Laurent Richet - sommelier and head barman/cocktail specialist - Hotel TerraVina

Published:  02 August, 2010

Laurent Richet - sommelier and head barman/cocktail specialist - Hotel TerraVina

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South Africa overtakes France

Published:  25 February, 2010

South Africa's recent success in the UK off-trade is not merely the result of favourable currency movements, according to the country's generic body.

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Don't Miss - Academy of Food & Wine: An Introduction to Sommellerie

Published:  25 February, 2010

The Academy of Food & Wine (AFW), the foodservice industry's professional front-of-house training body, has announced the dates and venues of its next Professional Connoisseur Series, 'Senses, Service & Skills'.

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This issue: South Africa

Published:  25 February, 2010

Looking for a new wine to plug a regional or stylistic gap on your shelves?

The IWC's Discovery Tasting features the best new wines looking for representation in the UK. This week, South Africa

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Discounts threaten Champagne market

Published:  25 February, 2010

Supermarket discounts are a bigger threat to Champagne sales than the booming Prosecco market, retailers at the Harpers Champagne Summit agreed.

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Sam Harrison, owner, Sam's Brasserie & Bar & Harrisons

Published:  25 February, 2010

It's been an interesting month so far with the weather causing havoc. Nevertheless this has not dampened our spirits at Sam's Brasserie + Bar or over in Balham at Harrison's

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Wine duping practices may happen regularly

Published:  25 February, 2010

Gallo's Red Bicyclette fiasco may not be a one-off in the wine trade, some industry insiders believe.

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Academy announce Sommelier of the Year semi-finalists

Published:  25 February, 2010

The Academy of Food & Wine's 2010 Sommelier of the Year competition has announced its semi-finalists.

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Breaking new terroirs

Published:  25 February, 2010

If you're visiting Terroirs for the first time, the thing to do when you turn into the road it's on is to look out for a blackboard with an eccentric slogan.

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The Griffin In, Fletching

Published:  25 February, 2010

I had a vision for our weekend away in the country. It involved the perfect country pub in the perfect English village, muddy walks, a roaring fire, hearty fare and plenty of good quality liquid nourishment. On all counts, the 16th century Griffin Inn, in the idyllic village of Fletching, hit the mark.

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This month - PeterHorton, wine consultant, Smiths of Smithfield & the Luxe

Published:  17 December, 2009

Peter Horton - wine consultant Smiths of Smithfield and The Luxe

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Fiona Sims examines the wines at the Galvin brothers' new London eaterie

Published:  17 December, 2009

Fiona Sims examines the wines at the Galvin brothers' new London eaterie, La Chapelle.

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Don't Miss - New Zealand Winegrowers Annual Trade Tasting

Published:  17 December, 2009

New Zealand Winegrowers are urging the trade not to miss out on the fabulous array of New Zealand Wines, Kiwi winemakers and other exciting initiatives this year

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Raising the Bar in Excellence Awards

Published:  17 December, 2009

The UK has arguably the most exciting restaurant wine and spirits lists in the world, yet the efforts of those who create them is frequently overlooked. It often seems it's the chefs who get all the glory in terms of awards and press, and the sommeliers, restaurant owners and buyers who work so hard to create the drinks offer are forgotten.

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Wine fair dismisses biennial show idea

Published:  17 December, 2009

The London International Wine Fair will not be going biennial, organiser Brintex has pledged.

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Hedge your euro rate

Published:  17 December, 2009

Wine importers should expect to see sterling maintain its current level against the euro in 2007, according to a leading currency expert.

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Tuscan wine illegally blended

Published:  17 December, 2009

Reports in the Siena edition of La Nazione and Corriere della Sera stated that 17 people and 42 companies are currently under investigation for falsifying public documents with the intent to commit fraud and blending wines of an inferior quality.

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Moët prices lead restaurants to boycott agencies

Published:  17 December, 2009

Importers have reacted angrily to plans to put up the trade price of Moët & Chandon and Vranken-Pommery Monopole by 5% next year. Small and medium-sized agencies, which cannot compete with supermarket deals, including Moët at just over £14, claimed they were effectively subsidising such deep discounts.

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My Taste - up-and-coming wine regions in Chile

Published:  17 December, 2009

Spier is releasing a range of premium wines to the UK after pulling out of supermarkets in favour of a push in the on-trade and independent merchants.

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The George of Stamford wins award

Published:  18 November, 2009

The overall winner of the Condé Nast Johansens Champagne Taittinger Wine List Awards 2010, for the best individual establishment in UK and Ireland, was The George of Stamford in Lincolnshire.

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D&D plans to build luxury hotel

Published:  18 November, 2009

D&D London, formerly known as Conran Restaurants, has agreed plans to develop an 80-bedroom luxury boutique hotel in Moorgate.

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Don't miss - whisky tastings at Tsuru

Published:  18 November, 2009

Tsuru, a Japanese restaurant behind the Tate Modern is to host a tasting of Japanese whisky on Tuesday November 24. Jen Dickson, an expert in Japanese whisky will guide guests through a range of whiskies from world-renowned producers Nikka and Suntory.

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Luca Gardini wins the Best European Sommelier 2009

Published:  18 November, 2009

Luca Gardini from Ristorante Cracco, Milan is the winner of The Best European Sommelier Competition 2009- organised by the Worldwide Sommelier Association.

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The IWC's Discovery Tasting New Zealand medal winners

Published:  18 November, 2009

Port house Quinta Do Noval is releasing the latest vintages of its still red wines through Gonzalez Byass UK.

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Spier pulls out of multiples

Published:  18 November, 2009

South African producer Spier is pulling out of multiple retailers, saying they are "detrimental to the long-term ambitions of the brand."

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Australia addresses oversupply problems

Published:  18 November, 2009

At least 20% of Australia's vineyards are uneconomical and producers need to take "tough, informed decisions" if the country is to end its over-supply crisis, according to a new study.

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Patricia Langton looks at the emergence of sherry-specific bars

Published:  18 November, 2009

Let's not lament the declining sales figures for sherry. This classic wine's future lies in smaller volumes and higher quality wines and encouragingly more people are getting behind serious sherry, especially in the on-trade. Indeed, a closer look at current trends could reveal where sherry is headed and, hopefully, how to win the customer over.

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Published:  09 November, 2009

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Olivier Gasselin, head sommelier, Bluebird, Chelsea

Published:  04 November, 2009

I know the whole organic and bio-dynamic thing a bit of a trend at the moment, but still my philosophy is to be conscious of producers who respect their terroir and don't use chemicals and pesticides.

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Don't miss - Whisky Tutorial & Sommeliers for Spain Tasting

Published:  04 November, 2009

The Academy of Food & Wine is holding its first ever whisky tutorial at the Renaissance Chancery Court, London, November 23, it is also holding a 'Sommeliers for Spain' tasting on November 21.

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Jury's out on the miracle vintage

Published:  04 November, 2009

Everyone and everything is pointing to a near perfect Bordeaux harvest, but as Richard Siddle discovers it is too early to say what effect that will have on UK prices for the 2009 vintage or eventual quality and styles of the wines

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Olivier Gasselin, head sommelier, Bluebird, Chelsea

Published:  03 November, 2009

I know the whole organic and bio-dynamic thing a bit of a trend at the moment, but still my philosophy is to be conscious of producers who respect their terroir and don't use chemicals and pesticides.

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Andrew Catchpole reviews this year's WOSA Mega Tasting

Published:  03 November, 2009

This year's WOSA Mega Tasting behind the art deco façade of Earl's Court Exhibition Hall was a calm and focused affair, perhaps reflecting the country's cautious optimism as it approaches the FIFA World Cup year.

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IWC medal winners looking for representation in the UK - this week, Portuguese reds

Published:  03 November, 2009

Looking for a new wine to plug a regional or stylistic gap on your shelves? The IWC's Discovery Tasting medal winners feature the best new wines looking for representation in the UK. This week, Portuguese reds (non-fortified).

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President of Irish Guild of Sommeliers disputes news article

Published:  03 November, 2009

The president of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers disputes a recent article that implied French and international sommeliers attracted to the country during the boom were leaving Ireland.

The president of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers disputes a recent article that implied French and international sommeliers attracted to the country during the boom were leaving Ireland.

The article printed in the Independent on October 18, said: "sommeliers are also no longer arriving in Ireland as job opportunities have almost totally dried up." It further named a number of sommeliers that had left Ireland to go elsewhere.

President, Simon Keegan said: "It was a silly article written by a doom and gloom journalist.

"Yes, the Irish economy is under some strain and yes, drinking habits have changed, just as we see in reports from the UK.

Keegan says, tradition sees many young French Sommeliers come over to Ireland to work, practice their English, wine skills and either go back to France, or carry on with their wine travels to different countries around the world.

"Young people are much more transient today. My Hungarian assistant took up an opportunity to gain further experience by going to work in Dubai."

"Competing in our Best Sommelier of Ireland Competition 2009 on November 2, we have two Polish sommeliers, two French, and a German contender alongside our Irish entrants. This is this diverse nature of the hospitality trade that we deal with now," says Keegan.

"We do have an overall problem in that the wine and restaurant trade here is still lagging behind in understanding the concept of a sommelier, and it's difficult to break the perception that a sommelier is a revenue centre and not a cost one."


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Sparkling wine from the sea

Published:  03 November, 2009

The ?rnko winery near Maribor, Slovenia, has produced the European Union´s first sparkling wine to undergo maturation in the sea.

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Terroir looks to open sister branch

Published:  03 November, 2009

The much-lauded wine bar Terroirs has revealed it hopes to open a second site in central London next year.

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Rosé port made an official category

Published:  03 November, 2009

The Port Wine Institute has made rosé port an official category following the high-profile launch of Croft Pink last year.

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Regionality is the only solution, warns Tyrell

Published:  03 November, 2009

Regionalist Bruce Tyrell is the latest high profile Australian winemaker to return to the UK to make his case for the country's focus on regionality and re-assure buyers that it is listening to their needs.

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Don't miss

Published:  08 October, 2009

Borsa Vini- The Excellence of Italian Wines
London, Thursday October 8, 10-5pm
The Dorchester, Park Lane, London W1K 1QA

The Italian Trade Commission will be hosting a one day show where over 40 regionally diverse producers will gather to present their classic wines and talk about new developments and most recent vintages.

On the same day a seminar on the high quality of sparkling wines & tutored tasting will take place at 9.45am. This will be jointly presented by Giuseppe Martelli, president of the National Wines Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture of Italy and also the director general of the Association of Italian Oenologists, and wine writer Robert Joseph.

For further information contact tina@huntandcoady.com or jane@huntandcoady.com

Morgenrot Group Plc and The Purple Wine Company Manchester are holding their Annual Trade Tasting at Bolton Wanderers football ground, where they are official match day sponsors.

The event will also showcase their wines to customers and clients of The Purple Wine Company from Liverpool, with whom they now have a new business partnership.

The tasting takes place October 27, from 11.00 to 5.00, at the Reebok Stadium, Horwich, Bolton and will feature over 200 quality wines beers and spirits.

Morgenrot will be showing many new products from their agency portfolio of Spanish, Italian, French and German wines, backed by their overseas suppliers and winemakers. Also in attendance will be Awin Barratt Siegel, Barrels & Bottles, For the Love of Wine, HispaMerchants, International Wine Shippers, Stevens Garnier and Stratfords - whose wines are listed by Morgenrot.

Also available at the event will be a selection of fine Spanish foods and oils, specialist gift packaging and a range of bottled beers imported from around the world.
Admission is strictly by ticket only. Contact Sue Mason on 0845 070 4310 or enquiries@morgenrot.co.uk


Read more...

Review - The Forge

Published:  08 October, 2009

Hiding discreetly in the basement in Covent Garden's popular, The Forge, is a recently opened small "but perfectly formed space" offering a selection of modern European quality food for competitive prices and a wine list boasting over 500 wines.

Read more...

New Taste

Published:  08 October, 2009

First taste presents medal winners from the International Wine Challenge's Discovery Tasting.
The competition features the best new wines from around the world that are looking for representation in the UK. This week we look at Italian reds.

Read more...

Peter Avis wins Dalmore Award for Excellence

Published:  08 October, 2009

Peter Avis, restaurant manager of Babylon Restaurant at the Roof Gardens, London as winner of the Dalmore Award for Excellence.

Read more...

'Facebook is free market research'

Published:  08 October, 2009

The future is already here with regards to new media, and it's very easy to promote businesses freely online, said media consultant, Ryan Opaz at the seminar Social Media in Action, held at the Boutique Wineries Tasting.

Read more...

Some Italian producers face ruin

Published:  08 October, 2009

Vineyards in some of Italy's most famous regions could face ruin due to a collapse in the price of grapes, the Italian Farmers Confederation has warned.

Read more...

Trade looks to push low-alcohol wines

Published:  08 October, 2009

Trade and consumer interest in low alcohol wine is soaring, the organisers of a major forum on the rapidly emerging category claimed this week.

Read more...

Ronan Sayburn - The Greenhouse, Mayfair

Published:  08 October, 2009

After a quiet August most of London was on holiday so it was a bit scary, but as soon as we hit September we were back on form, that has carried on strongly into October.

Read more...

Delving into the Wine Seller

Published:  08 October, 2009

One effect the recession has had in the restaurant trade is to force businesses to be leaner but also more dynamic in a bid to survive the tough times and hold their own in an increasingly competitive industry.

Read more...

Phil Crozier reviews Argentina at Lord's

Published:  23 September, 2009

The cricket ground is a good venue for the tasting, with plenty of natural light. And it's nice for the Argentinians to see a bit of cricket - although they probably know as much about it as we do about polo!

Read more...

Romain Henry winner of the inaugural Sud de France UK Sommelier of the Year

Published:  23 September, 2009

The last month has been very busy with the preparation of the Sud de France Sommelier of the year. I have also been building the Languedoc Roussillon wine list up for the Maze Grill which was timed quite well as it gave me a great opportunity to taste all the wines from the region.

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South Africa - Growth Spurt

Published:  23 September, 2009

With the WOSA Mega-Tasting days away Andrew Catchpole asks if South Africa can keep its enviable recession-beating momentum going.

Read more...

Maidment takes on Forbes' role

Published:  23 September, 2009

Focusing on Malbec and Torrentés are the main objectives for Andrew Maidment as he replaces James Forbes at the end of October as the UK presence at Wines of Argentina.

Read more...

High hopes for 2009 vintage across Europe

Published:  23 September, 2009

Early reports that 2009 could turn out to be a star vintage in many regions across Europe are providing a much-needed boost for the beleagured wine trade.

Read more...

Briccarello moves to Galvin

Published:  23 September, 2009

Galvin Restaurants has appointed sommelier of the year Andrea Briccarello in time for its new restaurant launch this autumn.

Read more...

New investors see Beaujolais potential

Published:  23 September, 2009

Plans to create Beaujolais's first premier cru classification have been unveiled by a major family company which is producing its first vintage from the area.

Read more...

New Taste

Published:  23 September, 2009

New from the south of France is a super-premium French "brand" called Chêne Blue. The range, imported by Winelife Ltd, is the result of a decade's hard graft to transform the vineyards of Domaine de la Verrière in Provence, which were bought by Nicole and Xavier Rolet, president of the London Stock Exchange.

Read more...

Don't miss - Be a Saké Sommelier

Published:  23 September, 2009

Become a Saké Sommelier

The Saké Sommelier Association is holding the Certified Sake Sommelier Course on February 1-2, 2010, at the WSET tasting rooms in The International Wine and Spirit Centre.

The two-day course will be priced at £230 per person and is the first professional certified saké sommelier qualification in the UK.

It will cover all aspects of interest to sommeliers, drinks professionals, and Saké lovers, including production, tasting, food pairing, and service. The elusive concept of Umami will also be explored using the association's revolutionary 'spoon taste' tool.

To register, please contact:
Gilbert Winfield
Course Coordinator
gilbert@sakesommelierassociation.com

The Sake Sommelier Association is a not-for-profit association formed to promote the understanding, education, and appreciation of Japanese Sake. The Association offer Sake courses for professionals in the drinks industry, as well those who are just interested in learning more.

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Liberty Wines scoop top award

Published:  14 September, 2009

Liberty Wines has won best on-trade supplier at this year's International Wine Challenge awards held at London's Grosvenor House.

Read more...

Murano voted London's best new restaurant

Published:  09 September, 2009

Murano - the Gordon Ramsey group restaurant has been voted London's best new restaurant according to a new survey carried out in association with Rémy Martin.

Read more...

Don't miss - Sherry Tasting & Boutique Wineries Tasting

Published:  09 September, 2009

Join the Sherry Institute of Spain in a new initiative exclusively developed for top on-trade professionals, press and buyers, giving you the opportunity to taste a range of top Sherries on 21 and 28 September.

The Boutique Wineries Tasting, September 22, offers on and off trade buyers, along with press visitors, the opportunity to taste outstanding wines that are available in limited quantities.

Read more...

A month in the life of Gaucho head sommelier Jessica Closs

Published:  09 September, 2009

My life's a little different as at Gaucho we don't have traditional sommeliers as our waiters don't just take food orders, they are all trained in advising about wine.

 

 

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Australian Wines

Published:  09 September, 2009

Looking for a new wine to plug a regional or stylistic gap on your shelves? Taste aims to help, by featuring medal winners from the International Wine Challenge's Discovery Tasting.

Read more...

Artisan- Lewes' restaurant with an arty slant

Published:  09 September, 2009

Artisan is a café and restaurant that caters towards the arty people of Lewes, of which there are a fair few in the quaintly alternative town that nestles on the South Downs.

 

 

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Champagne in turmoil over new harvest

Published:  09 September, 2009

The Champagne trade is wrestling with a vital decision about fixing the maximum permitted yield for the 2009 harvest against a background of collapsing export sales in the first half of the year, mounting stocks and falling prices.

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PLB pledges smooth takeover of HwCg

Published:  09 September, 2009

PLB has pledged to make its purchase of HwCg's assets as smooth as possible for customers and staff of the failed agency.

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VIA Wines

Published:  02 September, 2009

Established in 1998, VIA Wines is based in the San Rafael sub-region of Chile's Maule Valley. VIA Wines produces innovative wines with good expression of terroir, targeted at international consumers. VIA Wines currently owns over 1000 hectares of vineyard in the Maule, Curicó, Colchagua, and Casablanca valleys.

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Keelung

Published:  02 September, 2009

As a backlash against the movement towards the Pan-Asian food culture Geoffrey Leong is on a quest to bring the true taste of Taiwan to London with his newest venture, Keelung.

Read more...

Laurene Amiet

Published:  01 September, 2009

Much has happened since joining One Aldwych in 2007. The first objective I set for myself was to completely review the wine lists in all the hotel's outlets, namely its two restaurants Axis and Indigo, as well as the Lobby Bar and room service. I created new, separate lists for Axis and Indigo with a vision to be modern, innovative and approachable.

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Australian generic pushes premium

Published:  01 September, 2009

Twelve of Australia's top wineries have banded together in a world-wide marketing effort to buff up the country's tarnished image in the wine trade.

Read more...

Montana focuses on key varieties

Published:  01 September, 2009

Pernod Ricard New Zealand, owner of the Montana brand, is turning its back on buying Chardonnay grapes due to a slump in demand, the company has confirmed.

Read more...

Sud de France launches UK Sommelier of the Year competition

Published:  01 September, 2009

Umbrella brand Sud de France has launched a new competition to find the Sud de France UK Sommelier of the Year.

Read more...

The Gospel According to St John

Published:  01 September, 2009

Anyone who is anyone in the drinks or restaurant trade has been influenced by St John. But, as Terry Gulliver tells Gavin Haynes, wine is as much of a passion as food is for him and his co-founder Fergus Henderson, the men behind HG Wines.

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A month in the life of Neleen Strauss

Published:  11 August, 2009

The highlight of the month was undoubtedly the sale of four half-bottles of Chåteau d'Yquem to one table. The bottle price ranged from £300-£600 depending on the vintage. The guests couldn't agree on which vintage they preferred - so they chose four different ones.

 

 

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Lutyens Restaurant

Published:  11 August, 2009

Sir Terence Conran may have sold his interest in Conran Restaurants, but his latest venture with Peter Prescott in their new mini-empire of two features a couple of familiar faces.

 

 

 

Read more...

Innovation in wine closures

Published:  11 August, 2009

A flurry of activity, mostly generated by customer demand for innovation, has seen several new closures on the market, both for premium and high volume wines. TCA has given way to OTR, new stoppers have been brought out for sparking wines, and marketeers are getting back on the act as closure choice becomes a way to differentiate brands.

 

Read more...

The Harpers Wine Seller arrives

Published:  11 August, 2009

Harpers Wine & Spirit is launching a major new on-trade initiative at The Restaurant Show 2009.

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European winemakers 'unprepared' for EU reforms

Published:  11 August, 2009

The most radical reform of EU wine law for more than a generation came into force this week amid widespread concerns that European winemakers and governments are unprepared to take full advantage of the new legislation.

Read more...

The Pink Pound

Published:  11 August, 2009

With rosé in double-digit growth and bucking the general slowing-down of wine growth in the UK, it seems everyone is keen to jump on the pink bandwagon. Producers are speedily bringing out new wines, and both the on and off-trades are cashing in on the public's seemingly insatiable demand for the stuff.

Read more...

New Taste: all the latest product launches

Published:  27 July, 2009

New Taste: Keep your finger on the pulse of what's new out on the market

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Austrian IWC medal winners that are perfectly placed to fill a gap in your shelves

Published:  27 July, 2009

Looking for a new wine to plug a regional or stylistic gap on your shelves? First Taste aims to help, with the first in a series of features looking at medal winners from the International Wine Challenge's Discovery Tasting. The competition features the best new wines from around the world that are looking for representation, with each undergoing a rigorous tasting by an expert judging panel. First up, a focus on Austria.

Read more...

A month in the life of Adrian Comesana of Iberica

Published:  27 July, 2009

The summer has supposedly arrived but to me it seems like we are in February. Like the famous Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: "We miss the sunshine". Anyway, we have two months ahead of us and in those we can sell a range of marvellous white and rose wines. Rosés are growing so fast and every summer more and more clientele are asking for summery and fresh wines.

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Hilary Armstrong assesses the wines and food at London's Trishna

Published:  27 July, 2009

For the well-travelled gourmet, the name Trishna is synonymous with great seafood. The Mumbai destination restaurant is held to be one of India's - indeed the world's - best seafood restaurants.

 

 

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Eamonn Houston explores three different tapas menus at El Pirata Detapas

Published:  27 July, 2009

El Pirata Detapas, 115 Westbourne Grove,London W2 4UP

Tapas. Such a sweetly varied way to dine and Notting Hill's El Pirata Detapas is poised to treat fans to three months of regional tapas specialities from Spain's northern Navarra, Catalunya and the Basque regions.

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A new closure that keeps the sparkle

Published:  27 July, 2009

Adding to the ever increasing choice of wine closures, a new aluminium screwcap specifically designed for slightly sparkling wine has been launched.

Read more...

Leiths' top students announced

Published:  27 July, 2009

Leiths School of Food and Wine has announced its award-winning students from the 96 who recently completed the Diploma in Food and Wine.

 

 

Read more...

On-trade slashes orders as downturn continues

Published:  27 July, 2009

As Britain's recession continues to deepen on-trade outlets are slashing the size and frequency of their orders according to a drinks market report.

Read more...

Andrea Briccarello tastes his way through Burgundy

Published:  27 July, 2009

Burgundy has always attracted me more than any other region in France because of it's rural heritage and stunning wines. After years of opening gracious and velvety Pinot Noirs and creamy sumptuous Chardonnays, I was very excited to join a small group from Les Caves de Pyrene to visit this promised land.

Read more...

Gallo's NZ venture

Published:  16 June, 2009

E&J Gallo is hoping to cash in on the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc phenomenon with its first wine from New Zealand going on sale in the UK.

Read more...

Romania zeros in on UK market

Published:  16 June, 2009

Romanian wine producers have joined forces in the country's most concerted bid to crack the UK market.

Read more...

Tastings: Simon Woods gets his lips round eight new releases and suggests where they could fit into your wine line-up

Published:  16 June, 2009

Simon Woods gets his lips round eight new releases and suggests where they could fit into your wine line-up.

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Producers celebrate U-turn on rosé

Published:  16 June, 2009

Rose wine producers in France and Italy are toasting a victory after the European Union made a U-turn over plans to allow the popular wine to be made from blends of red and white wine.

Read more...

Comment: Andrew Catchpole documents the rise of the super sommelier

Published:  16 June, 2009

A new breed of wine expert has transformed the traditional role of sommelier, says Andrew Catchpole.

Read more...

Profile: Hamish Anderson, the Tate's wine buyer on earning what all businesses strive for - respect

Published:  16 June, 2009

Hamish Anderson has what many in business strive for - respect - and has spent the past 11 years buying wine for the Tate.

Read more...

Sticking with wine prices pays off in downturn

Published:  01 June, 2009

On-trade operators who have held their wine prices or switched to cash margin have reported successful trading despite the recession.

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Philipponnat goes dry

Published:  01 June, 2009

Champagne Philipponnat is the latest fizz producer to go ultra-dry with the release of a non-dosage cuvée.

Read more...

Agony Aunt; How much fuss should I make of customers celebrating a special occasion?

Published:  01 June, 2009

'A young couple came into the restaurant the other night and told me they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. I felt that I should be doing something to make their evening that little bit more special, but I'm not quite sure what. Can you advise me on what I should do under such circumstances?'

Read more...

Natasha Hughes tastes the best of Prosecco and Pomerol

Published:  01 June, 2009

Château La Conseillante, Pomerol, tasting, London, 15 May 2009

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Thierry Tomasin describes the qualities of a great sommelier

Published:  01 June, 2009

What makes the difference between an average sommelier and a good one? Former sommelier turned restaurant owner Thierry Tomasin shares the fruit of his experience.

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Profile: Alvaro Marcos Garcia, of Theo Randall, on being asked for ice cubes in a Bordeaux cru class and Sauvignon Blanc with steak

Published:  01 June, 2009

Award-winning sommelier Alvaro Marcos Garcia thinks wine communicator Olly Smith is from another planet and thinks the customer is always right, even if they do want a Sauvignon Blanc with their steak.

Read more...

Eastern Europe tipped for success

Published:  01 June, 2009

Eastern Europe, Spain, Argentina and South Africa were the countries tipped for future wine success in the UK market by leading trade figures at the London International Wine Fair.
Speaking at the Harpers debate, Simon Baile, owner of Oddbins, Matthew Dickinson, commercial director of Thierry's and Neil Bruce, wine director at Waverly TBS, highlighted former Eastern Block countries in particular as offering good value.

Read more...

Wine countries tipped for success

Published:  19 May, 2009

Three of the trade's leading figures revealed which countries they were tipping for future success at last week's Harpers Wine & Spirit debate at the LIWF.

Read more...

Restaurants get creative as downturn rages on

Published:  19 May, 2009

Leading restaurateurs are launching a raft of new innovations, including starting off-sales and slashing prices of their top wines. It comes as a new survey shows the rate of insolvencies has shot up since 2008.

Read more...

On-trade distributors rated in survey

Published:  19 May, 2009

Hallgarten Druitt has been named the best on-trade wine distributor in the UK in a comprehensive survey of thousands of outlets across the country.

Read more...

Comments - Christine Parkinson from Hakkasan on why sommelier competitions are a good thing

Published:  19 May, 2009

Hakkasan's Christine Parkinson explains why sommelier competitions aren't just relevant to those who work in Michelin-starred restaurants

 

 

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Agony Aunt - Which countries offer the best value wines in the current climate?

Published:  19 May, 2009

In these tight times, I'm looking for some wines that will give my wine list that something extra - at a reasonable price. What do you suggest?

Read more...

Natasha Hughes on her favourite wines from the London International Wine Fair

Published:  19 May, 2009

Wines from the London International Wine Fair, 12-14 May 2009

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Profile - Sommelier of the Year Laura Rhys on what makes her tick

Published:  19 May, 2009

Laura Rhys, a sommelier at Gerard Basset's Hotel TerraVina, has just won the Sommelier of the Year competition. Here she tells us just what it takes to be the best.

 

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UK's top sommelier revealed

Published:  07 May, 2009

This year's UK Sommelier of the Year has been named as 27-year-old Laura Rhys from Gerard Basset's Hotel TerraVina in Southampton.

Read more...

LIWF - can you afford to miss it?

Published:  07 May, 2009

There are plenty of tailored events, tastings and seminars at the London International Wine Fair between May 12-14 to help you in your restaurant business.

Read more...

All water is not equal, says Noura's Nicolas Angelina

Published:  06 May, 2009

Noura's Nicolas Angelina discovers there's more to water than meets the eye

 

 

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Tom Aiken's sommelier Sebastien Morice on stepping into Gearoid's shoes

Published:  06 May, 2009

Tom Aikens' sommelier, Sebastien Morice, on how to step into big shoes without tripping up and finding the elixir of life

 

 

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Agony Aunt - Emily O'Hare

Published:  06 May, 2009

I was thinking of creating a whisky list to complement my wine list. How can I make the most of this new list? 

Read more...

Natasha Hughes gets her lips round some fizz at the annual Champagne tasting

Published:  06 May, 2009

Annual Champagne Tasting and English Wine Producers Tasting 2009

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PR push for Prosecco

Published:  16 April, 2009

Increasingly popular Prosecco is to be boosted by its first ever UK public relations charm offensive as the sparkler continues to take the fizz out of Champagne sales.

Read more...

Industry braces itself for Budget

Published:  16 April, 2009

The drinks industry is stepping up its campaign to persuade the government to put a freeze on alcohol duty rises ahead of the Budget (April 22).

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The second part of Natasha Hughes' marathon tasting round Argentina

Published:  16 April, 2009

Argentina, 14-22 March 2009

I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a week in Argentina recently. The focus of the trip was on Rio Negro and Nequen in Patagonia and Argentina's heartland, Mendoza.

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Daniel Marzotto on how he ended up at Osteria dell'Angolo in Westminster

Published:  16 April, 2009

Daniel Marzotto, the assistant manager at Claudio Pulze's latest restaurant, Westminster's Osteria dell'Angolo, on the twin challenges of learning English and convincing customers that food and wine matching is still worthwhile in a recession.

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Agony Aunt - Jade Koch

Published:  16 April, 2009

Like many people working in the wine trade, I really like German Rieslings, but so far they haven't been terribly successful on our wine list. Can you make any suggestions about the best way to get people to order them?

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Comments - Duncan Watts

Published:  16 April, 2009

It's not enough just to list a good selection of wines in your restaurant, says Duncan Watts, owner and managing director of the Rocket group, you also have to find ways of making that list accessible to your customers

 

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Natahsa Hughes spends a week tasting her way round Argentina

Published:  06 April, 2009

Argentina, 14-22 March 2009

I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a week in Argentina recently. The focus of the trip was on Rio Negro and Nequen in Patagonia and Argentina's heartland, Mendoza.

Read more...

Trade's fightback reaches No 10

Published:  06 April, 2009

It was not just Barack Obama who caused a stir for security guards at Downing Street this week, but a trade delegation including a wolf glove puppet also descended on Number 10 on March 31.

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Business as usual for LIWF despite drop off

Published:  06 April, 2009

The organisers of next month's London International Wine Fair remain bullish despite an expected drop of up to 10% in exhibitors.

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Chapel Down hogs a food-matching first

Published:  06 April, 2009

In what is thought to be the first initiative of its kind, English Wines Group has taken the idea of matching wine with food to the extreme - by creating a wine specifically to accompany a best-selling dish at a London restaurant.

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Profile - Federico Graziani

Published:  06 April, 2009

Federico Graziani is in charge of the wine list at Milan's famous Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia. Already the author of two books, he's currently continuing his research into the world of wine by studying for his MW.

 

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Comments - Lucy Clements

Published:  06 April, 2009

Lucy Clements is not only the head winemaker at Chapel Down, she's also in charge of the wine list at the winery's restaurant, Richard Philips at Chapel Down. Here she explains why Bacchus can give your wine list a bit of a boost

 

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Agony Aunt - how to boost Champagne sales

Published:  06 April, 2009

We've been struggling with our (normally healthy) Champagne sales over the past few months. Can you suggest any ways I can boost the turnover on this part of our list?

Read more...

Profile - Franck Gerome

Published:  23 March, 2009

Franck Gerome is the head sommelier at the Sharrow Bay Hotel, and a semi-finalist in Heidsieck's Sommelier of the Year competition, having won the heats that took place in northwest England.

 

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David Gleave MW champions the screwcap

Published:  23 March, 2009

Liberty Wines' managing director, David Gleave MW, has long championed the use of screwcaps as a preferred method of bottle closure. Here he explains why.

Read more...

Bordeaux over a barrel

Published:  23 March, 2009

British importers are threatening to turn their backs on Bordeaux blue chip claret this year following the "biggest impasse on pricing" in living memory.

Read more...

First English whisky

Published:  23 March, 2009

England will have its first whisky release in December of this year, Harpers Wine and Spirit can reveal.

Read more...

Tastings - 24 March

Published:  23 March, 2009

Natasha Hughes selects her favourites from the SITT and Wines from Spain tastings.

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Agony Aunt - Matthieu Longuere

Published:  23 March, 2009

'I am the second in charge of the wine list at a well-established restaurant, but I want to move up the career ladder and eventually find a restaurant where I can be head sommelier. What kind of training should I be looking to get at this stage in order to help me progress in my career? If there is no formal training I can do, what other steps should I take?'

Read more...

Codorniu

Published:  13 March, 2009

Codorníu, producers of the UK's number one Spanish sparkling wine brand, is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the inaugural International Sparkling Wine Symposium.

Read more...

Codorniu

Published:  13 March, 2009

Codorníu, producers of the UK's number one Spanish sparkling wine brand, is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the inaugural International Sparkling Wine Symposium.

Read more...

Opinion: The Tate's Hamish Anderson on holding your ground in tough times

Published:  09 March, 2009

Hamish Anderson, head sommelier at the Tate, explains how to get your priorities right in challenging times.

Read more...

Tastings

Published:  09 March, 2009

Natasha Hughes picks out some favourites from recent tastings.

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Constellation launches loyalty scheme

Published:  09 March, 2009

Constellation Europe is launching a loyalty scheme for its on-trade exclusive wine brand Jack Rabbit.

Read more...

Credit insurance crisis

Published:  09 March, 2009

Credit insurers are becoming more reluctant to grant cover to suppliers and businesses as the recession deepens, putting the drinks industry further at risk in 2009.

Read more...

Crisis summit held for pubs

Published:  09 March, 2009

Some 2,000 British pubs have closed with the loss of 20,000 jobs in the past year, a crisis summit on the state of the industry has heard.

Read more...

Profile: Le Champignon Sauvage's Helen Everitt-Matthias

Published:  09 March, 2009

Le Champignon Sauvage's Helen Everitt-Matthias tells how marrying a chef made a front-of-house career all but inevitable.

 

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Agony Aunt: How to achieve the right tone when writing your wine list

Published:  09 March, 2009

We don't have a fully trained sommelier on site to explain wines to our diners. How can I make sure that our wine list is written in such a way that it encourages people who don't know much about wine to order with confidence without talking down to customers who do know a lot about wine?

Read more...

Raymond Blanc wins dessert wine trophy

Published:  20 February, 2009

Raymond Blanc's two Michelin-starred Manoir aux Quat' Saisons has won the European final of the Roussillon Dessert Trophy 2009.

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Profile - Dawn Davies

Published:  20 February, 2009

After stints at Zuma, Boxwood, The Square and the Ledbury, Dawn Davies has gone on to become head sommelier at Selfridges department store. She explains how working in retail has given her a whole new perspective on the world of wine.

Read more...

Agony Aunt: What should I do if a customer knocks over a bottle of wine and demands it is replaced?

Published:  20 February, 2009

A customer knocked over a half-full bottle of wine the other day, then insisted I replace it with a full bottle. How should I have dealt with the problem?'

 

Read more...

Tastings

Published:  20 February, 2009

Winetraders Portfolio Tasting, Hallgarten Druitt Annual Tasting, Maisons, Marques et Domaines Portfolio Tasting, Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting, Australia Day Tastings and Pol Roger Portfolio Tasting.

Read more...

Comments - L'Anima's Gal Zohar looks at Piedmont's culinary and winemaking synergies

Published:  20 February, 2009

L'Anima's Gal Zohar examines the reasons why Piedmont's culinary tradition and changes in winemaking techniques are inextricably interwoven.

 

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Anthony Worrall Thompson latest on-trade casualty

Published:  20 February, 2009

Wine merchants and producers are facing a year of spiralling bad debt as increasing numbers of restaurants go bust, leaving them with unpaid bills.

Read more...

Two becomes one for Harpers Wine & Spirit

Published:  20 February, 2009

The first issue of the newly merged Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review was revealed to the UK drinks industry this week following the acquisition of Harpers by William Reed Business Media in November last year.

Read more...

SITT 2009 - latest news

Published:  13 February, 2009

The SITT (Specialist Importers Trade Tasting) brochure is now available on-line.

If you want to do some homework before the tasting or find out more about who/which wines will be there. Please click here to take a look.

WINEMAKERS coming to SITT

There are more than 20 winemakers coming to support their specialist importers at SITT including:

  • Biodynamic producer and star of TV series Monty's wine: Monty Waldin (with Adnams)
  • John Buck from Te Mata (with Seckford Agencies)
  • Saladini Pilastri (with Winetraders)
  • Francois Gigandet from Madiran producer Domaine Brumont (with Thorman Hunt)
  • Producers from Damasceno, Quinta das Arcas and Quinta de Pacos with Miguel Leal - a new SITT exhibitor; Philippe and Nathalie Gard from Coume del Mas (with Clark Foyster)
  • Julia Gazaniol, export manager and daughter of Jean Gazaniol, owner and chief winemaker of Chateau de Parenchere, Bordeaux, with Peter Osborne Wines

Read more...

Comments - Doug Wregg

Published:  09 February, 2009

When compared to currencies like the euro and the dollar, the value of the pound has crashed over the past few months. Les Caves de Pyrene's Doug Wregg looks at the implications for your wine list.

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Profile - Ronan Sayburn

Published:  09 February, 2009

Ronan Sayburn quit his job as Gordon Ramsay's head sommelier to go and travel the world. Now he's back in London, heading up the wine team at The Greenhouse. He tells us how his twin inspirations are Hugh Johnson and Gérard Basset, and why a wine-mad restaurateur makes a great boss for any passionate sommelier

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Agony Aunt - Katie Exton

Published:  09 February, 2009

A customer recently asked me whether we would allow them to bring in a bottle of their own wine - and that's when I realised that we don't have any kind of corkage policy at my restaurant. What are the pros and cons of allowing people to bring their own bottles, and how should I go about working out an appropriate corkage charge?

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News - New Chilean region

Published:  09 February, 2009

Viña Errazuriz has launched its first wine from Chile's new Aconcagua Costa region.

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News - Heatwave hits Australia hard

Published:  09 February, 2009

Australia's ongoing grape glut will see wine producers and growers go out of business despite the reduction of this year's crop by the record heatwave, according to John Angove.

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Tastings - Liberty, Bibendum and Washington/Oregon

Published:  09 February, 2009

Liberty Wines Annual Portfolio Tasting, London, 20 January 2009

My main focus at this tasting was on Liberty's diverse range of Italian wines. I thought Donnafugata's wines showed well, particularly the Sherazade 2007 (£7.07 ex VAT), a 50/50 blend of Nero d'Avola and Shiraz. There were hints of tarriness on nose, but the palate was all bright sour cherry and violet fruit, with fresh acidity and mineral notes. Given its light body and juicy acidity, this would make a great match for fresh spring flavours, such as new-season lamb.

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News - Surviving the recession

Published:  06 February, 2009

Profits, margins and customer service were the clarion call for the on-trade at this week's Wine + show held at London's Olympia.

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News - Tough sell for 2007s

Published:  19 January, 2009

Merchants are likely to struggle with their 2007 Burgundy en primeur offers as the strong euro and lower yields force up prices. Prices for the vintage, which has had a mixed response from commentators and buyers, are up by as much as 20% on 2006, leading some merchants to delay their offers until later in the year.

 

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News - Rosé to drive wine

Published:  19 January, 2009

Rosé sales will be the powerhouse in the UK wine market over the next five years, according to research commissioned by Vinexpo.

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Tastings - IWC Library Collection results announced

Published:  19 January, 2009

The IWC Library Collection is a newly developed competition that focuses on 5 and 10 year old wines. This category is integral in the development of greater wine awareness and will help expose wines that benefit and reward consumers with patience. The results represent a wide variety of wines from around the world expressing true ageability. The Library Collection is unique as it demonstrates the merits of premium aged wine and encourages the consumer to invest in wines with cellaring potential.

To view the wines that achieved 85 out of 100 or higher visit: http://www.internationalwinechallenge.com/competitionpage1.aspx

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Comments - Christine Parkinson on the Credit Crunch

Published:  13 January, 2009

Times may be tough, but the only way you'll get through 2009 in one piece is by being straight with your supplier, however bad the news, argues Hakkasan's Christine Parkinson.

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Profile - Miguel Torres

Published:  13 January, 2009

Winemaker Miguel Torres is not only one of Spain's most respected winemakers, he's also one of its most innovative. Widely credited with being a modernising force, bringing the use of stainless steel, vine trellising systems and international grape varieties to his home country, he's also been keen to explore further afield and has invested in vineyards in Chile and California. He tells us why, these days, his focus is on climate change, the deregulation of winemaking and the importance of shooting your own dinner.

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Christine Parkinson credit crunch

Published:  13 January, 2009

Times may be tough, but the only way you'll get through 2009 in one piece is by being straight with your supplier, however bad the news, argues Hakkasan's Christine Parkinson


You're a restaurateur. You sell wine. If your wine supplier cuts off your supply you'll be running a BYO. That's the dilemma facing cash-stricken restaurants up and down the country in 2009 as the credit crunch takes hold. The painful irony is that both restaurant and supplier are more likely to go under if they stop doing business with each other. Unfortunately, covers will drop at many bars and restaurants, leading to payment difficulties. The words 'your account is on stop' will be repeated so often that a parrot could man the phone lines. You can hardly blame suppliers for being jittery: it's bad enough not getting paid when a customer becomes bankrupt, but it's so much worse if they owe an extra three months' money.

 

The point here is that the whole supplier/customer relationship is rooted in trust. When a truck pulls up outside with your 20 cases of wine on board, it's only there because J Bloggs Wine Merchant trusts you to pay at the end of the month. Whether you are a sommelier, manager or proprietor, one of your priorities this year is going to be maintaining that trust. The old line 'the cheque is in the post' is just won't do: trust starts with honesty.

 

It's a very human response to pretend everything is fine and to conceal any problems. If you do that with your suppliers, unfortunately, they will certainly stop trusting you. Scary as it sounds, picking up the phone and admitting you can't pay right now is absolutely the best thing to do. Say truthfully when, and how much, you can pay. Agree to speak regularly and keep them informed. Above all, be honest. The strong likelihood is that your suppliers will keep delivering your wine - as long as you keep them informed.

 

In the same spirit of truthfulness, it's also time to be straight regarding how much, if any, business you will be doing with your suppliers this year. If you are selling less wine, you probably need fewer suppliers. When you've decided which merchants to drop, get on the phone and tell them. Just as with love affairs, breaking up is never easy, but you'll get a miserable reputation if you let sales reps chase after you when they could be busy selling to someone who actually wants to buy.

 

Likewise if you plan to delist certain wines, send that email and let your sales rep know. It's your list, and if a particular wine isn't working any more then it's got to go. But at least your supplier can get on with the business of selling it to someone else. Equally, if you're planning to list some new wines, be clear about what samples you want to taste. With times this hard why should you expect 20 sample bottles when you're only going to list one? Play fair and your suppliers will be much more inclined to help in what is going to be a damned difficult year.

 

There are no fairy godmothers, and your problems won't go away, but a dose of up-front integrity will get you a far more positive response than you might have expected. Most importantly, your wine list won't turn into a pumpkin by next weekend.

Read more...

Christine Parkinson credit crunch

Published:  13 January, 2009

Times may be tough, but the only way you'll get through 2009 in one piece is by being straight with your supplier, however bad the news, argues Hakkasan's Christine Parkinson


You're a restaurateur. You sell wine. If your wine supplier cuts off your supply you'll be running a BYO. That's the dilemma facing cash-stricken restaurants up and down the country in 2009 as the credit crunch takes hold. The painful irony is that both restaurant and supplier are more likely to go under if they stop doing business with each other. Unfortunately, covers will drop at many bars and restaurants, leading to payment difficulties. The words 'your account is on stop' will be repeated so often that a parrot could man the phone lines. You can hardly blame suppliers for being jittery: it's bad enough not getting paid when a customer becomes bankrupt, but it's so much worse if they owe an extra three months' money.

 

The point here is that the whole supplier/customer relationship is rooted in trust. When a truck pulls up outside with your 20 cases of wine on board, it's only there because J Bloggs Wine Merchant trusts you to pay at the end of the month. Whether you are a sommelier, manager or proprietor, one of your priorities this year is going to be maintaining that trust. The old line 'the cheque is in the post' is just won't do: trust starts with honesty.

 

It's a very human response to pretend everything is fine and to conceal any problems. If you do that with your suppliers, unfortunately, they will certainly stop trusting you. Scary as it sounds, picking up the phone and admitting you can't pay right now is absolutely the best thing to do. Say truthfully when, and how much, you can pay. Agree to speak regularly and keep them informed. Above all, be honest. The strong likelihood is that your suppliers will keep delivering your wine - as long as you keep them informed.

 

In the same spirit of truthfulness, it's also time to be straight regarding how much, if any, business you will be doing with your suppliers this year. If you are selling less wine, you probably need fewer suppliers. When you've decided which merchants to drop, get on the phone and tell them. Just as with love affairs, breaking up is never easy, but you'll get a miserable reputation if you let sales reps chase after you when they could be busy selling to someone who actually wants to buy.

 

Likewise if you plan to delist certain wines, send that email and let your sales rep know. It's your list, and if a particular wine isn't working any more then it's got to go. But at least your supplier can get on with the business of selling it to someone else. Equally, if you're planning to list some new wines, be clear about what samples you want to taste. With times this hard why should you expect 20 sample bottles when you're only going to list one? Play fair and your suppliers will be much more inclined to help in what is going to be a damned difficult year.

 

There are no fairy godmothers, and your problems won't go away, but a dose of up-front integrity will get you a far more positive response than you might have expected. Most importantly, your wine list won't turn into a pumpkin by next weekend.

 

Read more...

Agony Aunt - Roger Jones

Published:  13 January, 2009

Even without taking the recession into account, things tend to be slow at this time of year. Can I use promotions to increase turnover (and profit) in my restaurant? If so, how should I go about it and what are the key pitfalls I should be aware of?

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