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Franciacorta knuckles down for early harvest as yields threaten to fall 30%

Published:  09 August, 2017

Drought, frost and hailstorms have been the bane of northern Italian vineyards so far in 2017, leading to an early harvest which is expected to significantly reduce yields.

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Italian trends

Published:  01 August, 2017

Italian exhibition company Bellavita undertook some extensive research into Italian wine in the UK market to coincide with its recent London Expo. Here it shares those insights exclusively with Harpers

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Bibendum grows Italian premium portfolio with Apulian addition

Published:  25 July, 2017

Bibendum has added a selection of wines from artisan Italian producer, Masseria Li Veli, to its portfolio of premium wines.

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Friarwood adds new Italian producers

Published:  19 July, 2017


Fine wine merchant Friarwood is bolstering its portfolio of Italian wines with two new additions. 

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Cellar Trends continues Rosolio resurrection with new deal

Published:  12 July, 2017

Branded alcohol distributor, Cellar Trends, has taken on the distribution and marketing for Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto with the hopes of launching the Rosolio category into the UK.

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Tuaca to broaden appeal with heritage makeover

Published:  27 June, 2017

Hi-Spirits has unveiled a new heritage-inspired look for Tuaca Liquore Italiano, also designed to celebrate the spirit’s authentic credentials.

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Will the new regulations make Rioja more "market-driven"?

Published:  20 June, 2017

Two weeks ago, Rioja’s D.O.Ca. control board announced two major changes for Spain’s heartland wine region.

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David Gleave MW: 20 years of Liberty Wines

Published:  14 June, 2017

The year is 1997.

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Crown Cellars reveals new wine portfolio

Published:  02 June, 2017

Crown Cellars, the wine division of Carlsberg UK, has unveiled its 2017/18 wine portfolio, with a focus on Spain and Italy.

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Harpers to helm Bellavita retail debate

Published:  01 June, 2017

Harpers is heading to Bellavita this month, where we will be chairing a panel discussion on ways to penetrate the UK off-trade.

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DBG Italia goes independent from Berry Bros. & Rudd

Published:  17 March, 2017

Italian agency business DBG Italia has announced it will detach itself from Berry Bros. & Rudd by becoming an independently owned company.

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Berkmann ballot puts Portugal on top

Published:  10 March, 2017

Berkmann Wine Cellars took the opportunity to take the temperature of up and coming grapes, styles and regions likely to cause a stir in 2017.

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Decision not to unite Vinisud and Millésime Bio branded 'damaging'

Published:  09 March, 2017

Efforts to unite two international trade shows have been thwarted after there was a disagreement over whether they should both take place under one roof.

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The week that was: top news, Q&As and opinion on Harpers.co.uk

Published:  03 March, 2017

In case you missed some of the headlines this week on harpers.co.uk, we have put together a review of the top online news, Q&As, and opinion stories.

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Boost for Soave with new UK campaign

Published:  27 February, 2017

Soave, the dry white wine produced in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, is looking to boost its fortunes here in the UK this summer with the help of new trade and consumer campaign.

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Quality and value on the agenda as Vini d'Italia celebrates 30th anniversary in London

Published:  27 February, 2017

The annual guide which delves into the complex world of Italian wines is coming to London to celebrate its 30th birthday.

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The week that was: top news, Q&As and opinion on Harpers.co.uk

Published:  24 February, 2017

In case you missed some of the headlines this week on harpers.co.uk, we have put together a review of the top online news, Q&As, and opinion stories.

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'Progrigio' - the new budget Prosecco?

Published:  20 February, 2017

Prosecco has long been regarded the low-price equivalent of Champagne for those looking for bubbles on a budget.

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Own-brand Prosecco grows 79% year-on-year at Lidl

Published:  13 February, 2017

Sky-high sales of Prosecco helped Dry January to get off to a damp start in 2017. 

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Export of French Crémant to British shores increased 53% in volume and 61% by value in 2016

Published:  10 February, 2017

Prosecco's sparkling success finally appears to be opening doors for other fizz categories

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Part 2: 'Mediterranean wine' - A goldmine of untapped potential?

Published:  10 February, 2017

Yesterday, we began looking further into last week's Vinisud 2017, when the saleability of Mediterranean wines as a category was promoted to visitors.

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'Mediterranean wine' - A goldmine of untapped potential?

Published:  09 February, 2017

As Elizabeth Gabay MW noted elsewhere on Harpers.co.uk this week, wines from the Mediterranean showed enormous diversity at Vinisud 2017.

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Italian fizz continues to bubble at Buckingham Schenk

Published:  08 February, 2017

Wine importer Buckingham Schenk is celebrating a 19% increase in annual turnover thanks to the indomitable UK favourites of Argentinian Malbec and Italian sparkling.

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Borsa Vini Italiani returns to London in 2017

Published:  12 January, 2017

Owners and winemakers from 70 Italian wineries will descend on Italian tasting Borsa Vini Italiani when it returns to London next week.

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Champagne leaves Prosecco in the dust as the New Year wine of choice

Published:  05 January, 2017

The unfailing success of Prosecco encountered a roadblock on New Years Eve as UK consumers ditched Italian fizz in favour of Champagne.

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Prosecco bursts Champagne's bubble with faster sales growth across Europe

Published:  14 December, 2016

Sales of Prosecco in the UK continue to rise faster than Champagne despite the Champagne sector's attempts to compete by dropping prices.

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Wine trends: Predictions 2017

Published:  13 December, 2016

White from red regions, Loire and premium US whites are going to be 2017's big winners, according to Bibendum.

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Bancroft Wines grows Italian and Spanish range in the UK

Published:  08 December, 2016

Bancroft Wines has added two new producers to their portfolio, Cantina della Volta from Emilia Romagna and Es Fangar from Mallorca.

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New sparkling brand offering "Prosecco" in a can prepares to launch in the UK

Published:  02 December, 2016

A new lifestyle-led sparkling wine brand is aiming to match the prospects in the female drinkers/millennials market with the Italian wine and the RTD categories in the hopes of cracking the UK market.

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Vinisud goes annual

Published:  28 November, 2016

The trade tasting which puts wines of the Mediterranean in the spotlight has become annual fixture on the international's trade's calendar.

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Lambrusco tipped for revival in 2017

Published:  21 November, 2016

Italian sparkling wine Lambrusco looks set for a revival, according to reports in the national press.

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World wine production 2016 one of the poorest in 20 years

Published:  27 October, 2016

The amount of wine being produced worldwide has dropped to one of the lowest in 20 years according to the latest figures from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

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Leading Italian online wine retailer launches first international branch in the UK

Published:  06 October, 2016

A consumer website selling the "largest selection of Italian wines in Europe" has launched its first international base 50km north of London.

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Jascots focuses expansion on Italy and Spain ranges

Published:  22 September, 2016

Jascots Wine Merchants rolled out 47 news wines at its autumn trade held on Tuesday 20 September 2016, with a focused expansion on Italian and Spanish wines.

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Tuscany: 300 years on and it is still evolving

Published:  20 September, 2016

It has been 300 years since Cosimo III de' Medici first drew up his Bando delineating four wine producing areas in Tuscany and it was through this lens that Liberty Wines hosted the "Beyond the Bando" tasting yesterday in London.

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Analysis: Soave has evolved

Published:  16 September, 2016

If searching for lighter white wines that are easily accessible and affordable, possessing a rich history with a signature grape variety and complex soils with the capacity to age (if given a chance), a keen shop owner or sommelier would be advised to look into the 'New Soave'.

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Insights: Could Prosecco pricing be under pressure again this year?

Published:  12 September, 2016

Taking a look back at the Prosecco pricing bubble in 2015, ahead of this year's harvest, Harpers.co.uk investigates if it could happen again.

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Thirst for Prosecco and English fizz drives 80% rise in sales of sparkling

Published:  16 August, 2016

The amount of sparkling wine on sale in the UK has risen by 80% in the last five years from 17.6m gallons in 2011/12 to an estimated 31.6m gallons in 2015/16 according to HMRC.

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Pricing pressure mounts as US expected to overtake the UK as leading importer of Prosecco

Published:  15 August, 2016

Prosecco pricing is under pressure as demand increases in the US and the 2016 harvest is delayed according to Global Market Update report release by global wine brokerage firm Ciatti.

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Eurowines expands New World portfolio

Published:  15 August, 2016

Eurowines and Chile's Viña Undurraga have teamed up for a new partnership in the UK.

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New wines added to "no jargon" Ehrmanns range

Published:  03 August, 2016

Ehrmanns is launching three new wines in its Made In range of wines for the off-trade.

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Record year for Italian wine expo Bellavita

Published:  22 July, 2016

Bellavita, now one of the leading UK-based events for Italian food and wine producers has reported a record year, with visitor numbers swelling by over 30% from last year to 8,100 visitors through the doors.

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Family Affair Part 1: Alessio and Francesca Planeta, Planeta, Sicily

Published:  21 July, 2016

Family-owned wineries still thrive in an increasingly consolidated world. Andrew Catchpole speaks with Alessio and Francesca Planeta, both of whom are family members of Planeta in Sicily, about the benefits of being independently run. This is the first article in a three part series.

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Veeno opens in Edinburgh as part of rapid expansion plan

Published:  18 July, 2016

The duo behind Italian wine cafe chain Veeno are planning to bring Italian Aperitivo to Edinburgh with their eighth new opening.

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Insights: Italy's Montalcino producers are adapting and looking to the future

Published:  13 July, 2016

As one of Italy's best known DOCGs Montalcino is slowly remodulating to changing consumer habits and patterns of demand. 

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Sicilian producer Planeta focuses on the entire customer experience as business expands

Published:  11 July, 2016

Sicilian and family-owned producer Planeta is expanding the business with investments focusing on enhancing the entire customer experience and diversifying the business as it expands across the island.

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The great Prosecco confusion

Published:  30 June, 2016

Somehow, Prosecco has managed to embed itself in the public imagination with an image as clear and as crisp as a summer's day.

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Analysis: Franciacorta looks to expand its exports

Published:  22 June, 2016

It is hard to think of an Italian wine region with a lower international profile than Franciacorta.

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Label launched for Londoners who "can't tell their chardonnay from their sangiovese"

Published:  16 June, 2016

A forward-thinking wine label has been launched to dispel the "myth" that those who don't know about wine can't have good taste.

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Tim Atkin MW: Where does Spain fit in the battle for wine supremacy?

Published:  03 June, 2016

Tim Atkin takes a look at Spanish terrior and where Spanish wines fit in the hieracrchy for supermacy as a top wine producing country.

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VIDEO: Weekend hailstorms ravage parts of France and Italy

Published:  01 June, 2016

Over the past few days severe weather has ravaged wine regions across France and Italy and it is expected to have devastating effects on the 2016 harvest.

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$100 million of counterfeit wine in circulation

Published:  25 May, 2016

The wine and drinks industry is under attack from fraudsters selling fake packaging and counterfeit alcohol - and thanks to new technology, the problem is only going to worsen.

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Alliance pushes the Prosecco ceiling with DOCG addition

Published:  19 May, 2016

Alliance Wine is expanding its Prosecco offering by adding Giavi Prosecco Superiore DOCG to its range.

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Britain overtaken in fine wine at auction by China and the US

Published:  18 May, 2016

Britain has been overtaken by China and the United States, as some of the top countries for buying and investing in fine wines at auction.

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Voters could follow wine-drinkers' lead in EU referendum, says Majestic

Published:  16 May, 2016

Britons' growing taste for New World wines over the Old could be the key to unlocking how consumers will vote in the EU referendum this summer.

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Analysis: New wine regions continue to emerge

Published:  12 May, 2016

New wine regions and areas with renewed vigour continue to emerge on to the world stage. Has there ever been a better time to drink wine?

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Masi launches "world's first" sparkling appassimento wine in to UK's booming sparkling category

Published:  06 May, 2016

Masi Agricola is looking to grab a slice of the pie in the UK's sparkling market - which is set to become the world's largest by 2020.

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No Shortage: Prosecco drinkers have nothing to fear

Published:  04 May, 2016

The president of the Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC, which is the leading body of producers in Prosecco wanted to reassure Prosecco drinkers that there will be enough Prosecco to meet demand this year, but prices for suppliers are rising.

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Revealed: The ten countries drinking two thirds of the world's wine

Published:  28 April, 2016

Italy, France and Spain continue to dominate in terms of production, but who is drinking the most wine?

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ICCWS 2016: What to expect from climate change

Published:  28 April, 2016

In recent weeks, much emphasis has been placed on the short-term benefits of global warming.

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Q&A: Stevie Kim, Vinitaly International's managing director

Published:  19 April, 2016

In case you didn't make it to Verona this year for Italy's biggest wine fair, we caught up with the Vinitaly International's managing director, Stevie Kim, to see how the show has changed as it celebrates its 50th year.

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Prosecco sales grow by a third, with retailer own labels taking biggest share

Published:  18 April, 2016

Sales of Prosecco continue to outpace those of Champagne, according to new figures from retail insight leader IRI. 

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Q&A: Vittorio Moretti, President of the Franciacorta Consortium

Published:  14 April, 2016

Owner of the Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi brands, Vittorio Moretti was elected president of the Franciacorta Consorzio in December 2015. He now faces an uphill struggle, in transforming Italy's premium traditional method fizz from a niche category into a household name.

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Vinitaly 2016: Vinitaly celebrates 50 years and change is in the air

Published:  13 April, 2016

While Vinitaly celebrates 50 years since its first fair was hosted in Verona, both exhibitors and organisers have focused on making changes in order to keep people returning year over year.

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Vinitaly 2016: Abruzzo region invests in global markets in order to expand

Published:  12 April, 2016

At Vinitaly 2016, being held from 10-13 April in Verona, the Abruzzo regional body announced that it will continue to invest in the UK despite it being an increasingly competitive one as well as other international markets.

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Vinitaly 2016: Lower ABV wine is a way to stand out for Italian producer La Contessa

Published:  12 April, 2016

Wine producer La Contessa is looking to stand out from other Italian producers by focusing on producing a high-quality, lower alcohol red wine and is looking to export to the UK market.

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Vinitaly 2016: Sicilian producers focus on UK as a main export market

Published:  11 April, 2016

Sicilian producers are looking to develop a stronger regional identity in the UK for wines and other agricultural products such as olive oil, in an effort to further drive growth.

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MMD adds Tommasi family Puglian estate to portfolio

Published:  18 March, 2016

Maisons Marques et Domaines has partnered with Italy's Masseria Surani Wines to become its sole importer and distributor in the UK.

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Sicily takes control of its destiny

Published:  10 March, 2016

"Historically, the UK took Sicilian wine from northern bottlers in huge quantities," says Nick Bielak, director of Vinexus, whose agencies include the big Marsala-based co-op, Cantina Europa

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How Italy's complexity can be its greatest draw

Published:  10 March, 2016

When it comes to supplying the off-trade with entry-level wines, Italy certainly punches above its weight

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Hallgarten marks International Women's Day with Women With Bottle promotion

Published:  07 March, 2016

Leading UK distributor Hallgarten Druitt & Novum has launched a three-month promotion celebrating women winemakers to coincide with International Women's Day on March 8.

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Flint Wines to showcase extensive new Italian portfolio at annual tasting

Published:  04 March, 2016
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Hallgarten invests in sales and brand management with four new hires

Published:  22 February, 2016

Leading UK distributor Hallgarten Druitt & Novum has strengthened its sales and marketing teams with four new appointments.

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UK launch for Canella Bellini aperitif at SITT

Published:  15 February, 2016

Prosecco winery Canella is to launch its bottled Bellini aperitif in the UK this month.

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Wineteca 2016 to partner with Gambero Rosso

Published:  15 February, 2016

The Italian Chamber of Commerce is to partner with leading Italian food-and-drink publisher Gambero Rosso for its 2016 Wineteca tasting.

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UK's sky high drinks tax helping Italy win fizz war

Published:  12 February, 2016

With England due to take on Italy in the Six Nations Rugby tournament on Sunday, the Wine & Spirits Trade Association is using the occasion to highlight the disparity in tax rates between the two nation's drinkers.

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Wine world prepares for Vinisud 2016

Published:  10 February, 2016

Over 1,700 exhibitors will converge on Montpellier next week for Vinisud, the biennial International Mediterranean Wines and Spirits Exhibition.

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Armit expands premium Italy list with Friuli partnership

Published:  08 February, 2016

Fine wine merchant Armit Wines has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Friuli winery Castello di Buttrio.

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Giant of Italian wine, Giacomo Tachis, dies at 82

Published:  08 February, 2016

Italian wine legend Giacomo Tachis has died at the age of 82. He had been ill for some time.

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Insights: How can Italy communicate its regional diversity to consumers?

Published:  26 January, 2016

After visiting last week's Borsa Vini Italiani tasting, Justin Keay asks how much the average wine enthusiast really knows about Italy?

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Borsa Vini Italiani to showcase Southern Italy

Published:  19 January, 2016

The Borsa Vini Italiani tasting, which takes place in Manchester and London this week, will offer visitors the opportunity to discover wines from a range of less well-known Southern Italian wine regions, including Campania, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily.

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New president for Franciacorta Consorzio

Published:  22 December, 2015

Franciacorta Consorzio, the governing body of the Franciacorta premium Italian sparkling wine region, has elected Vittorio Moretti, owner of Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi, as its president.

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Italy Supplement: Baffling but never boring

Published:  04 December, 2015

For those who really 'get Italy', like plenty in the trade, that riotous mix of individual producers, regional styles and native grapes is a big part of what makes Italian wine so special. Italophiles would have it no other way - this is a land to get lost in and never escape from. But in high-tax Britain on the High Street that complexity is a bit of an issue.

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Borsa Vini Italiani tastings revealed for London and Manchester 2016

Published:  02 December, 2015

The Italian Trade Commission has announced the dates of its trade-only Borsa Vini Italiani tastings in January 2016.

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Tim Atkin MW: Has Alberto Antonini opted to lead rather than follow the market?

Published:  30 October, 2015

Tim Atkin asks whether Alberto Antonini has decided to break away from more traditional styles of wine defined by the likes of Michel Rolland and to forge his own path.

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Armit launches #LoveLeVolte Week

Published:  23 October, 2015

Fine-wine merchant Armit Wines is launching its inaugural "Love Le Volte" promotion next week.

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Justin Keay: Could Puglia be the new Tuscany?

Published:  23 October, 2015

Justin Keay takes a deep look at the Puglia wine region and investigates whether it should be considered the 'new' Tuscany.

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Insights: Australian wines move away from French varietals

Published:  20 October, 2015

Australian winemakers have long been moving away from hefty, high alcohol wines towards less oaked, cooler climate wines, with the growth of Pinot Grigio from Mornington Peninsular a prime example. However, the trend to also move away from the once overwhelming focus on French varietals seems to be growing.

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James Lawrence: Does Chianti have an image problem in the premium wine category?

Published:  16 October, 2015

James Lawrence examines the background to Chianti's continuing struggle for recognition in the premium wine category.

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Italy overtakes France again as world's leading wine producer

Published:  12 October, 2015

Italy has regained its position as the world's largest wine producer this year, according to figures submitted to the European Union.

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Matthew Clark beefs up premium Italian and Spanish wine ranges as top-end sales surge

Published:  02 October, 2015

Matthew Clark has added 35 premium wines from Italy and Spain to its portfolio in response to a surge in demand from the top-end on-trade.

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Italian producer Piccini launches sparkling wine as a competitive alternative to Prosecco

Published:  16 September, 2015

Chianti producer Piccini has launched a sparkling wine made with grapes from Prosecco territory.

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Insights: Italian wines by the glass can shine in the on-trade

Published:  11 August, 2015

At this year's Bellavita Expo last month, Raul Diaz hosted a masterclass focusing on how the on-trade could make the most of Italian wines by the glass.

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Waitrose sees mini bottles of wine surge in sales to 82% ahead of a year ago

Published:  24 July, 2015

Waitrose says sales of mini bottles of wine have soared in recent weeks as the trend for single serve sizes accelerates.

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MMD adds to Italian range with Tuscans from Mazzei-owned estates

Published:  18 June, 2015

Importer Maisons Marques & Domaines has strengthened its links with Italy's Mazzei family by taking on two of its Tuscan estates.

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Italian producers sign up for UK distribution with Boutinot

Published:  17 June, 2015

Leading agency supplier Boutinot is beefing up its Italian wine portfolio with the addition of wineries from Sicily and Campania.

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Martini looks to its roots for premium vermouth launch

Published:  12 June, 2015

Martini is trying to take the famous vermouth upmarket with the launch of two products under the Riserva Speciale name.

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Campari disposes of Enrico Serafino Italian wine operation

Published:  11 June, 2015

Italian drinks giant Gruppo Campari has sold off its Piedmont-based Enrico Serafino wine operation.

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Insights: Independents Italian outlets are gaining traction through education and experimentation

Published:  09 June, 2015

Independent Italian outlets are upping the appeal of lesser-known, over-£10 wines by educating consumers and letting them experiment.

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Prosecco DOC Consortium says 'there will not be a shortage' of Prosecco this year

Published:  09 June, 2015

The Prosecco DOC Consortium has responded to recent reports of the potential shortage of Prosecco saying "that there will not be a shortage of Prosecco in the coming months."

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Analysis: Italian indigenous varietals set to boom

Published:  08 June, 2015

Italy has some of the largest choice of indigenous varietals that produce a dizzying range of wine styles and consumers are increasingly embracing them.

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Field Morris & Verdin launch new Italian fine wine division, headed by former Berry Bros buyer

Published:  05 June, 2015

Field Morris & Verdin, the agency and wholesale division of Berry Bros. & Rudd Ltd, is launching a new Italian fine wine division, DBGitalia. 

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Prosecco in danger of running out, industry warns

Published:  20 May, 2015

The boom in cut-price Prosecco in the supermarkets is leading supplier to fear the sparkling Italian drink may be in danger of "running out" in the UK.  

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Consumer perception of Prosecco is improving, according to new Wine Intelligence report

Published:  19 May, 2015

According to a new Wine Intelligence report released today, 95% of consumers that drink Prosecco see it as 'very good or good value for money.'

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Flint wines boost on-trade portfolio after partnering with Italian importer

Published:  06 May, 2015

n-trade wine importer Flint Wines is boosting its Italian wine range after adding Italian importer HS Fine Wines to its portfolio.

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Justin Keay looks at new vintages from Gaja Brunello

Published:  30 April, 2015

The release of a new vintage from the Gaja family can be pretty much guaranteed to cause a stir, given how highly regarded are their Nebbiolo and Sangioveses in the wine world. However the launch of the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino from Pieve Santa Restituta has generated particular excitement, as the general consensus is that the wines are outstanding.

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Italian restaurant Carluccio's launches online wine shop

Published:  29 April, 2015

Italian restaurant chain Carluccio has launched an online wine shop as part of a revamp of its website which goes live today.

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Sparkling wine-on-tap brand Frizzenti strengthens national team

Published:  28 April, 2015

Italian sparkling wine-on-tap brand Frizzenti is building a national sales team with the addition of two sales executives.

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Global wine supplies relatively 'balanced', but expect premium supplies to tighten, Rabobank says

Published:  15 April, 2015

Global wine inventories appear to be balanced, according to the latest wine report from Rabobank - but the report warns of variations in supply between the premium and generic ends. 

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Artisan wine fair RAW announces new Berlin venue, as international visitor numbers grow

Published:  14 April, 2015

The artisan wine fair, RAW is launching a new fair in Berlin later this year, to cater for an increasingly international clientele.

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Riecine: Bringing a touch of Englishness to the Tuscan hills

Published:  10 April, 2015

The English have long beaten a path to the rolling hills of Tuscany for their holidays. Twenty-four years ago winemaker Sean O'Callaghan did just that - but he never left and has been making wines at Riecine winery ever since

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Vinitaly 2015 sees increase in foreign buyers on back of government support

Published:  27 March, 2015

Vinitaly saw a 16% increase in foreign buyers, following support from government agencies keen to support the wider Italian economy.

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James Lawrence: Falling in love with Franciacorta

Published:  11 March, 2015

James Lawrence tells a tale of how he fell in love with an Italian fizz called Franciacorta, involving disarmingly honest vineyard owners,  the 21st-century poster-child for the region and a single arrest of a Celtic fan.

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How Armit's Italian tasting turned Justin Keay in to a believer

Published:  10 March, 2015
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Jascots launches own Italian sparkling wine on draught called 'Vino Vispo' for the on-trade

Published:  05 March, 2015

Jascots Wine Merchants launched its own brand Italian sparkling wine on draught called 'Vino Vispo' targeting the on-trade casual dining sector.

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Armit Wines boosts Tuscan portfolio with Fattoria Le Pupille

Published:  13 February, 2015

Armit Wines, UK distributor for a host of Italy's icon wines, has added southern Tuscany's Fattoria Le Pupille to its portfolio.

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Justin Knock MW predicts trusted wine brands will make a comeback in 2015

Published:  23 January, 2015

Justin Knock MW, one of the partners behind the recent acquisition of wine merchant Philglas & Swiggot, and a consulting winemaker for Encirc Wines, sees wine brands making a comeback with consumers, Italy facing potential supply problems and questions whether New Zealand can keep its momentum going as hot topics to watch in 2015.

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Sparkling wine supplier Frizzenti hits back over Prosecco legal battle

Published:  12 January, 2015

Daniel Spinath, director of sparkling wine supplier Frizzenti, has hit back at claims that selling Prosecco on tap will be "illegal" if Italian producers of the wine win the legal right to fine bars and pubs that sell the drink by the keg instead of bottles.

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Liv-ex: Value of trades drops 19% in November 2014

Published:  10 December, 2014

According to the Liv-ex's most recent market report, "the value of trades in November was down 19% on this time last year" signalling the on-going challenge of Bordeaux's most iconic wines continually demanding the historical prices of just a few years ago.

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Italian wineries must take advantage of wine tourism, finds report

Published:  05 December, 2014

The small size of most Italian wineries means they are struggling to take advantage of wine tourism and professionalise - both of which are required in order to secure the industry's future, a new report says.

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Italy's Lugana wine producers fight plans for 'devastating' fast train

Published:  27 November, 2014

Wine producers in northern Italy's Lugana region are fighting plans for a high speed rail line which would wipe out one third of their vineyard area.

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Top wine brands choose Vente Privee as new route to market

Published:  13 November, 2014

Top name wine producers are using flash sales site Vente Privée to attract new consumers to their brands in the UK.

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Aperol celebrates success as sales rocket 800% at Waitrose

Published:  31 October, 2014

Italian aperitif brand Aperol is gaining a strong foothold in the UK market, as sales of the drink shot up 800% at Waitrose in the last year.

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Broadland Wineries imports first old world wine in bottle - Prosecco Filipetti

Published:  27 October, 2014

Broadland Wineries is bringing its first sparkling wine and first old world product to the UK in the form of Prosecco Filipetti.

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Bulk wine market sluggish as 2014 harvest ends, says Ciatti

Published:  14 October, 2014

As the 2014 harvest draws to a close, the bulk wine market remains sluggish, with plentiful stocks available in most markets, says the latest report from Ciatti. 

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Today's SITT London tasting offers masterclasses on Italy and the Rhône

Published:  24 September, 2014
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Wine importer Red Squirrel sees wholesale business grow fivefold in three months

Published:  24 September, 2014

Chiswick wine importer Red Squirrel Wine has seen its wholesale business take off after it beefed up its portfolio and revamped its logo and website.

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French bulk market 'tense' in face of Languedoc shortages

Published:  23 September, 2014

The French bulk wine market is starting to look "very tense", according to one top broker, following major shortages in the Languedoc region.

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New firm North South Wines ramps up activity

Published:  16 September, 2014

Newly-created North South Wines is planning to boost its team as it gets ready for a series of product launches in the coming months.

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Ferrari's Camilla Lunelli on finding a home for Trentodoc Italian sparkling wine in the UK

Published:  12 September, 2014

It was Giulio Ferrari in Trento, the Alpine north of Italy, who pioneered traditional method sparkling wines, or 'Metodo Classico', in Italy in 1902. With barely 900 hectares dedicated to sparkling wine production, mostly in mountainous vineyards, the wineries of Trentodoc, as the association is known, have carved out prime position at home.

Today, Cantine Ferrari is still the region's most prestigious producer with a cult-following across Italy for its Perlé brand and its top cuvées like Riserva Lunelli and Giulio Ferrari. While they have built an impressive reputation in both the US and Japan, they are treading very carefully in the UK. Camilla Lunelli, Ferrari's PR and communication director, speaks about the company's UK strategy to Anne Krebiehl MW.

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Ex-Ehrmanns directors form new wine distribution company

Published:  09 September, 2014

Three high profile UK wine professionals, including two former Ehrmanns directors, have launched their own distribution company in partnership with three wineries, including De Bortoli wines, which is closing its UK office as a result.

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George Workman of Frizzenti on the huge opportunties for wine on-tap

Published:  07 August, 2014

We talk to George Workman, managing director of Frizzenti, the company behind the on-tap serve for Italian sparkling wine about how he sees the Prosecco and sparkling wine market growing and developing in the future.

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Pinot Grigio shortage could see consumers opt for other white wines

Published:  07 August, 2014

Pinot Grigio is in short supply on the bulk market around the globe, which is starting to push up prices.

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Italy's Franciacorta wines double sales to UK

Published:  05 August, 2014

Sales of Italy's Franciacorta wines in the UK have doubled in the first six months of 2014 thanks to growing market awareness.

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Liberty Wines sees sales jump 14% for first half of 2014

Published:  31 July, 2014

Liberty Wines has seen its overall revenues grow 14% in the six months to the end of June 2014, with on-trade sales putting in a particularly strong performance up 18%.

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Prosecco producer Bisol reveals plans to launch new Venetian wine

Published:  24 July, 2014

Bisol, the leading Italian Prosecoo producer, is to release a Venissa red in 2014, accroding to Matteo Bisol, the director of the family's Venissa tourism project on the Venetian island of Mazzorbo.

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Frescobaldi family to open first UK restaurant

Published:  10 July, 2014

Acclaimed Italian wine family, the Frescobaldis, is to open its first standalone restaurant and wine bar in the UK.

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Just what is Boris Becker thinking? Send us your photo captions...

Published:  10 July, 2014

With another Wimbledon title to his name (admittedly in his role as a coach to Novak Djokovic) you would think Boris Becker would be nothing but smiles at the moment. The Claret Pimpernel, however, caught him in a more thoughtful mood at a recent Franciacorta special event at the Italian ambassador's residence in London.

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Are classic Italian wines making a comeback?

Published:  08 July, 2014

Many believe that classic Italian styles are poised for a major comeback, but could they be obscuring the depth and breadth of Italian wine?

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Bulk Pinot Grigio stocks tighten, says Murphy Wine Company

Published:  03 July, 2014
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Italian Franciacorta and Brunello producers link up for first UK specialist tastings

Published:  18 June, 2014

The UK wine trade will get the chance to discover some of the premium wines available from two key Italian wine styles  - Franciacorta and Brundello - at special  masterclass tastings taking place in July.

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Franciacorta producers look to include old Italian indigenous variety to production process

Published:  16 June, 2014

Producers of Franciacorta, the premium Italian sparkling wine, may soon have to make it with an old indigenous grape variety if changes to the production process are approved. 

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UK most difficult market for top end sparkling wine outside Champagne

Published:  10 June, 2014

The UK is the most difficult market for top end sparkling wine outside of Champagne, according to the head of Franciacorta's trade body in Italy.

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Sir Alex Ferguson has mixed success in Christie's fine wine auction

Published:  09 June, 2014

Sir Alex Ferguson bought well when he was at Manchester United and enjoyed some exceptional years in charge. But now after retiring from the club he is enjoying off-loading some of his myriad responsibilities.

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Alliance Wine opens London office to grow on-trade sales

Published:  09 June, 2014

Alliance Wine is opening an office in London to boost its sales into the capital's on-trade and south east market.

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Enter Story Headline

Published:  07 June, 2014
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France still best performing wine in on-trade

Published:  13 May, 2014

On-trade wine sales fell by 2% during 2013, and stayed flat in the first quarter, according to figures compiled by CGA for the WSTA market report. In the long-term, France still remains best-performing country for wine in the on-trade. It has grown 10% in the 12 months to January 25, 2014 and now holds a 27% share of total wine sales.

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France tops medal chart at the International Wine Challenge 2014

Published:  07 May, 2014

France has topped the medal chart at the International Wine Challenge for the 31st year running, taking 1987 medals, including 113 golds.

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Spring 2014: bulk wine prices

Published:  07 May, 2014
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Chile and South Africa wine exports surge

Published:  16 April, 2014

Chile and South Africa saw the volume of their wine exports surge ahead last year, while Australia and Argentina faced more challenges, according to Rabobank's latest report.  

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Champagne exports to UK plummet by 5.1%

Published:  14 April, 2014

The UK remains Champagne's biggest export market, despite imports falling to €447.2 million last year, a decline of 5.1% by volume and 3.8% by value.

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Education is critical for Italian wines to compete in Hong Kong

Published:  11 April, 2014

A panel of wine educators from Hong Kong have urged Italian producers to invest in education modules specific to Italy to boost the country's paltry share of the wine market.

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Stevens Garnier to add major brand every six months

Published:  03 April, 2014

Stevens Garnier is on the look-out for major old world brands, and plans to boost its portfolio by adding one every six months.

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New Generation Wines to distribute Guerrieri Rizzardi wines

Published:  02 April, 2014

New Generation Wines has signed a deal to become Italy's Guerrieri Rizzardi's exclusive importer and agent in the UK.

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Prosecco cocktails could be next big UK drinking trend, says Robin Copestick

Published:  25 March, 2014

Prosecco cocktails which have become popular across Italy and Germany could be the next big drinking trend in the UK, according to Robin Copestick of wine agency, Copestick Murray.

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Mark Fiddes sorts the Messis from the Rooneys in the Wine World Cup

Published:  17 March, 2014

Forget about Brazil 2014. The World Cup has already been decided.

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Liberty Wines prioritises customer education over London Wine Fair

Published:  27 February, 2014

Liberty Wines is prioritising its customer roadshows ahead of major trade exhibitions and won't be attending London Wine Fair this year. 

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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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Mike Paul on the lessons and warnings English sparkling wine can take from the success of Prosecco

Published:  29 January, 2014

At the recent International Sparkling Wine Symposium held at Denbies I was facilitating a session on the way forward for English fizz and made a throwaway comment that for all its success producers should be wary of seeing Prosecco as a role model. I noted that, while it has certainly captured the imagination of a large swathe of the wine market, I doubted that many consumers could name individual brands or are aware of the difference between DOC and DOCG Prosecco. This implies that they will tend to be drawn to the cheapest Prosecco that they find acceptable. It would be fair to say that my comment was not universally popular with  Prosecco producers in the room.

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French wines set for success with advent of sophisticated consumers

Published:  21 January, 2014
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Two Good, 2 Bad for 2013, 2 Hopes and Fears for 2014: David Gleave, Liberty Wines

Published:  01 January, 2014

As we welcome in the new year, David Gleave, managing director of Liberty Wines, looks back on his 2 Good, 2 Bad memories of 2013 and looks ahead at his hopes and fears for 2014. 

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Fine wine market declines for third year says Liv-ex

Published:  20 December, 2013

 

The fine wine market has declined for an unprecedented third year in a row, according to the 2013 fine wine report from Liv-ex, the global marketplace for fine wine.

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Published:  20 December, 2013
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Snow storms hit producers and vines in central Italy

Published:  29 November, 2013

Up to 60cm of snow, which fell on Monday and Tuesday this week, have caused extensive damage to the vineyards in Abruzzo, central Italy.

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London's only winery switches to Italy after turning down rotten French grapes

Published:  03 October, 2013

London Cru, the first central London winery, has had to turn away seven tonnes of grapes due to arrive from Bordeaux and the Loire Valley as the quality was not deemed to be up to scratch.

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Prosecco on tap a time saver and profits booster

Published:  19 September, 2013

Serving Prosecco on tap rather than by the bottle could help reduce serving time by up to 80% and enhance profits this Christmas, according to on-trade Prosecco supplier Frizzenti.

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New Prosecco brand launches in the UK by supporting London Fashion Week

Published:  11 September, 2013
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Italian producer Fulvio Luca Bressan in hot water over online racist storm

Published:  30 August, 2013

Italian wine producer Fulvio Luca Bressan of Bressan Mastri Vinai has found himself in very hot water after making what have been seen as racially offensive comments last Friday on his Facebook page regarding the Italian integration minister Cécile Kyenge ? Italy's first African-Italian minister and the recent implementation of new policies affecting undocumented immigrants in the country.

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Tesco exclusive for Jamie Oliver wine range

Published:  29 July, 2013

Tesco has teamed up with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to be the exclusive retailer for three wines from the Jamie's Italian restaurant group.

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Mark Fiddes: The Prosecco Ultimatum

Published:  25 July, 2013

"The name's Battistella...Andrea Battistella. Licensed to Chill. Special mission to track down fake Prosecco...

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Masi Agricola's rosé with a twist

Published:  19 July, 2013

Italy's Masi Agricola is releasing a rosé with a twist, to the UK market called Rosa dei Masi. The notes are classically rosé with fruity aromas of strawberries and wild cherries, and some nice acidity to balance the wine.

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Frizzenti taps into Prosecco popularity

Published:  10 July, 2013

Sparkling wine brand Frizzenti is capitalising on the growing popularity of Prosecco with its on-tap solution for the on-trade.

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Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux and VinItaly agree future trade dates

Published:  26 June, 2013

 
Unions des Grand Crus de Bordeaux and VinItaly have signed an agreement coordinating the calendars of their industry events for the next four years to avoid any trade clashes. Text

Unions des Grand Crus de Bordeaux and VinItaly have signed an agreement coordinating the calendars of their industry events for the next four years to avoid any trade clashes. 

 

Semaine des Primeurs in Bordeaux will be held between March 31 to April 5, 2014, March 30 to April 3 2015, April 4-8, 2016, and between April 3-7, 2017. 

 

VinItaly in Verona will be held April 6-9. 2014, March 22-25, 2015, April 10-13, 2016, and March 26-29, 2017.

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Italian producers look to international growth to escape domestic economy

Published:  10 April, 2013


Italian wine producers are increasingly looking to international markets to escape their own crippled domestic economy.

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Pre-orders for Naked Wines' ProWein discovery sold in 24 hours

Published:  09 April, 2013

Online wine retailer Naked Wines pre-sold over £37,000 worth of Italian wine in just 24 hours after its maker was discovered by its customer buying team at ProWein.

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Piccini introduces rosata to Memoro Vino d'Italia range

Published:  05 April, 2013

The family-owned Italian wine producer Piccini has introduced a third wine, a rosata, to its Memoro Vino d'Italia range.

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Italy breaks out from Pinot Grigio's shadow

Published:  15 March, 2013

As a challenging harvest across Italy 'rocks the Pinot Grigio boat', now is the time to look towards the myriad indigenous alternatives, says Anne Krebiehl

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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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Exclusive research: indies look to Old World for growth

Published:  15 February, 2013

European wines made from indigenous varieties are providing independent wine merchants with much more scope for growth compared with the New World's offering.

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Country reports: Italy

Published:  18 January, 2013

How many consumers have really embraced Italian diversity? And for those that haven't, is it because they find it too complex or....

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PLB launches second regional roadshow

Published:  18 January, 2013

PLB is to launch its second UK Regional Roadshow tour with its specialist portfolio and has further announced it will join forces with Hatch Mansfield for the Scottish leg of the tour.

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Avignonesi Winery acquires third vineyard in 18 months

Published:  19 December, 2012

The Italian-based biodynamic producer Avignonesi Winery has acquired its third vineyard in 18 months, making it one of the region's largest producers of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

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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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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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Sprizzato - a splash of Italian sunshine

Published:  21 November, 2012

In defiance of the winter weather the new light drink Sprizzatois aiming to bring some Italian sunshine to the UK market.

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Sustainable irrigation system aids TWP harvest

Published:  15 November, 2012

A sustainable irrigation system linked to a reservoir, has made a significant difference in this year's harvest, according to winemaker Stefano Girelli.

 

Girelli whose company The Wine People TWP, operates in several regions across Italy, says its Sicilian estate, Feudo di Santa Tresa in Vittoria, saw just a 5% drop in harvest, which he says given the current figures due to drought, he is "very happy".

 

 

"The vines suffered a little from the heat, but not too much and the quality of the grapes was very good. They had higher alcohol levels than usual, however this was well balanced by the acidity and ph - the quality of the white wines is outstanding and the reds are very good, particularly elegant. The conditions were perfect for organic viticulture (Santa Tresa has been certified organic since 2009), very little intervention of any kind needed."

 

 

He added its Miopasso Nero d'Avola which is made with a proportion of dried (Amarone-style) grapes and conditions for the appasimento were excellent - "we're looking forward to a really stunning vintage of this wine," he says.

 

 

For Sicily in general Girelli's main observation is the slightly higher alcohol levels. In the West - the Trapani area - he says the whites are "stunning - full bodied, with great balancing acidity and low ph - Grillo in particular is fantastic." For the reds, he says the eastern areas of the island look the best - Agrigento and Gela.

 

 

In Italy, he says the quality in Puglia, is "incredible". But he adds there are some issues with excessive alcohol, which they are bringing under control, due to vine dehydration.

 



From an economic perspective the short vintage in Tuscany, will put pressure on Chianti prices, he adds.

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Harvest news - sustainable irrigation system aids TWP vintage

Published:  15 November, 2012

A sustainable irrigation system linked to a reservoir made a significant difference to this year's harvest, according to winemaker Stefano Girelli.

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Italian screwcap decree is a 'crass compromise', says expert

Published:  30 October, 2012

The Italian Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to relax laws on wines allowed to be bottled under screwcap, but renowned expert David Gleave MW of Liberty says it hasn't gone far enough.

 

A new decree was drafted in August 2012, allowing all DOCG wines, apart from those with the name of a sub zone on the label, or the name of a vineyard, to use alternative closures such as screwcap or synthetic corks. However Gleave, the managing director of Liberty Wines, says it hasn't gone far enough and called it a "crass compromise".

 

The amendment came on the back of a letter originally sent in 2006 by Gleave, stating that producers should be allowed to decide which closure was best suited to their wines and their market. He made the point that the previous ministerial decree of July 1993, which banned the use of anything other than natural cork on DOCG wines, was outmoded.


He said: "As from early next year, we expect to start shipping a Soave Classico under screwcap. But here is the rub. We can ship both a Soave Classico and a Soave Superiore DOCG under screwcap, but not a Soave Classico Superiore DOCG. This latter wine needs to be sealed with cork.

 

"Such a crass compromise does little to promote the image of Italy as a quality-focussed and innovative wine producing country, especially when we currently import Chablis Grand Cru, Chablis Premier Cru, Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru and other such European wines sealed under screwcap."


 

Liberty has been in touch with its producers to see which will be moving to screwcap. Once a majority of members of any consorzio vote in favour of a change, the amended law for that zone must be sent to Rome for approval.

 

 

Gleave added: "The decree has removed the obstacle previously placed in the way of those producers who wanted to use screwcaps, but does underline the fact that local consorzi must instigate any change."

 

 

According to Gleave producers in Chianti, Gavi and Barolo & Barbaresco Chianti, Gavi, Barolo and Barbaresco have applied to their consorzios to implement the change.

 

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Douglas Blyde looks in to the wines of Joe Bastianich from Friuli

Published:  30 October, 2012


Rock and roll in appearance, and relaxed in manner, Wayne Young hosted a tasting of the wines of Joe Bastianich's Friuli vineyards this week in London with UK agent Bibendum.

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Douglas Blyde on discovering the world of Amarone through Sandro Boscaini and Masi Agricola

Published:  25 October, 2012

Bedecked in stripes, from suit to socks, Sandro Boscaini, president of Masi Agricola, was in town earlier this month to celebrate the launch of a hardback book about arguably the best-known wine from Valpolicella, from where he was born. 'Amarone - The Making of an Italian Wine Phenomenon' is written by British expat, Kate Singleton (who also collaborated on Wines of Sicily and The Golden Book of Chocolate). Six corks, one embossed, grace its cover.

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Geoffrey Dean on his discoveries in Piedmont

Published:  19 October, 2012

In contrast to the wettest British summer for a century, Piedmont enjoyed such a dry, sunny growing season that the harvest was completed much earlier than normal.

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Italy wins top spot in TripAdvisor Wine Destinations Awards

Published:  17 October, 2012

Online travel website TripAdvisor has announced the European winners of its 2012 Travellers' Choice Wine Destinations Awards.

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European Commission lends weight to minimum pricing opposition

Published:  02 October, 2012

The European Commission has added its weight to the list of countries that have objected to Scotland's plans for minimum unit pricing.

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European Commission lends weight to minimum pricing opposition

Published:  02 October, 2012

The European Commission has added its weight to the list of countries that have objected to Scotland's plans for minimum unit pricing.

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Government's zeal for minimum pricing means 'pause' in industry co-operation, warns WSTA

Published:  27 September, 2012

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale has warned that the government's U-turn on minimum pricing would lead to a "pause" in the industry's co-operation.

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Rolling update: Wineries make harvest predictions

Published:  29 August, 2012

As September looms, the wine industry in the northern hemisphere is keeping an anxious eye on its crops, with many having experienced unusual weather conditions earlier this year.

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Morrisons adds Caviro wines to range

Published:  28 June, 2012

Morrisons is to take on two new wines from the Italian wine co-operative Caviro - Pinot Grigio Blush delle Venezie IGT and Garganega Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT.

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Chianti classico board agrees on major revamp

Published:  11 June, 2012

Chianti Classico is set for a major overhaul which will see the creation of a new icon level of wine above Riserva.

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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 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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Michael Stoddart explores the 'economic deception' behind supermarket wines

Published:  21 May, 2012

Vino Ignobile?

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Chianti classico could have own 'icon' wine

Published:  18 May, 2012

Chianti classico's governing body is considering proposals to introduce an "icon" top-level wine above riserva.

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Leading Italian producer calls for greater professional standards

Published:  20 April, 2012

A leading Italian wine producer says there is too much confusion with labelling, and called for greater professional standards to be introduced, given the industry's rapid expansion.

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Argentina grows UK exports

Published:  10 February, 2012


The popularity of Argentinian wines continues to forge ahead, with UK exports for 2011 up 8.4% by value, according to the latest figures from Wines of Argentina.

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Torrontés trumps consumer's favourite white wines, says study

Published:  13 October, 2011

Torrontés, the white grape variety unique to Argentina, has trumped consumer's favourite white wines in a study by Wine Intelligence.

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Wines in the Press April 19-20

Published:  21 April, 2009

What our national wine critics had to say for the weekend of April 19-20

Guardian

Victoria Moore's friend thought she hated all Italian white wine, until she realized it's not all Pinot Grigio. Or Trebbiano added Moore, who says, "Trebbiano is even more innocuous than Pinot Grigio, and I don't mean that in a good way."


This realisation that Italy has other whites may not quite be up there with Archimedes' eureka moment, but it is a joyous one, says Moore, as she focuses on wines from the north west.


Piedmont is famous for its Barolo - tannic, acidic, austere, she explains. And red. But it also makes glorious whites from Arneis, Favorita and Cortese (which is responsible for Gavi), while, just to the south, Liguria, with its rocky shorelines and tiny beaches, specialises in Vermentino.


For a good example of the latter, try Laura Aschero Vermentino 2007, Riviera Ligure di Ponente (£18, swig.co.uk)


Financial Times

Bordeaux's powerful consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt genuinely thought he wouldn't be making any wine in 2008 reports Jancis Robinson. "He was far from the only one to suspect that grapes so swollen by summer rains, ravaged by mildew and threatened by rot were unlikely to survive in any flavourful form long enough to be picked and fermented into wine," she says.


As harvest approached, the malic acid in the grapes was so high that they tasted more like cooking apples, explains Robinson.


Robinson also claims the wine commentators and wine merchants who descended on Bordeaux to taste the 2008 vintage did not expect to find such attractive wines, but, she explains, most of the reds are now tasting very well with succulent St Emilions and Pomerol on "better form than ever."


Although the performances of different châteaux vary considerably in 2008 she says, particularly among top wines, there seemed to be no geographical weak spot.


Times

Jane McQuitty also talks about Bordeaux 2008 vintage as being the," the no-go area that economic pessimists feared."


She was likewise surprised at, "just how good some of the wines are."


The finest 2008 clarets are attractive deeply coloured wines with surprisingly sweet, floral and vibrant fresh red fruit ripe flavours, she says. But adds, "there were plenty of disappointments too."


She also explains that "how fine the slow-growing Bordeaux 2008 wines are," is causing heated debate and quotes Robert Parker, as letting it slip that apparently 2008 is better than the excellent 2006 and 2004 claret vintages and nudging the great 2005.


"Absurd," she exclaims. "Last year's is a miraculous, weather-defying vintage of just above average quality, made and saved by a small crop, late-season sun and a fruit-concentrating northeasterly wind."


This is not to devalue the best wines of 2008, she says. "I tasted some gorgeous clarets that were very good indeed, but, overall, while the vintage is much better than the lacklustre 2007, it is somewhere between 2001 and 2006 in quality."


"The big question now," asks MacQuitty, "is how the blinkered Bordelais will pitch their 2008 campaign prices."

Observer


If anybody knows a member of the Comité Régional d'Action Viticole, could you ask him to get in touch? Asks Tim Atkin,


When I say in touch, I'd rather the person in question picked up the phone or sent me an email, rather than use the calling card his organisation usually favours - small explosions and walls daubed with paint.


CRAV is an illegal organisation that targets anyone in the south of France who sells or imports foreign wine, as well as French wineries that are owned by overseas companies.


"It's hard to see what CRAV is trying to achieve," says Atkin. "And its call for more subsidies to prop up a series of under-achieving domaines and co-operatives is crazy."


On the face of it, these are depressing times for the Gallic wine industry, he reports. Recent figures confirm that France is still leaking market share like a splintered barrel and the situation is getting worse.


The irony of this is that France is making better wines today than at any point in its history especially between £4.99 and £7.99.


Try the sun-kissed, plummy, herby 2007 La Différence Carignan, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (£4.99, 13.5%, Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, Co-op).


Independent


The last time I saw Alvaro Espinoza, Chile's leading organic winemaker, it landed me in a mountain of steaming dung after his four-wheel drive got stuck and so we had to be pulled out by a tractor, recalls Anthony Rose.


He wondered if Charles and Camilla would suffer a similar fate when they visited him at Viñedos Emiliana Organicos in Casablanca recently. "No such luck," he says.


Espinoza has been one of the leading proponents of sustainable vineyard methods in Chile, Rose explains. Having latterly applied his skills to the production of a powerfully rich and spicy Syrah. "

And Syrah," he says, "is Chile's latest big thing."


My current preference is for the more elegant northern Rhône styles emerging, of which the pepper-infused, aromatic 2006 Matetic Syrah, San Antonio Valley, around £18, (Genesis Wines - 020-7963 9062),.

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Wines in the Press, March 7-9

Published:  10 March, 2009

What the national wine critics had to say this weekend, March 7-8

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Wines in the Press, February 28-29

Published:  03 March, 2009

This week's reviews of the national wine writers

 

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Wines in the Press, February 28-29

Published:  03 March, 2009

This week's reviews of the national wine writers

 

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Wines in the Press: Cocktail shaking and blog making

Published:  26 August, 2008

Jane MacQuitty has been getting busy with her cocktail shaker, Victoria Moore has been indulging in a spot of wine blogging, and Jonathan Ray has been on a trip to one of Chile's most exciting prospects, the Limarí region. Meanwhile, for those of us still holding out for some late summer sun, Joanna Simon has dug out some perfect picnic picks, whilst Tim Atkin raves about Riesling.

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Which wines pair well with Italian pasta dishes, asks Susy Atkins this week. Valpolicella, Dolcetto and Barbera are all a "clever choice" for the classic combination of tomato sauce and chorizo, she feels. A chilled Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanco goes well with creamy fettucine, Atkins adds, but it needn't be expensive, as "no one spends a fortune on a wine to go with an easy pasta supper". Among her wines of the week is the 2007 Gavi, Italy (6.99, Sainsbury's), which is "excellent" with a rich tomato sauce.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Your choice of glassware can enhance your wine selection immeasurably, Victoria Moore explains. And while being pernickety on this point will often mean you attract odd looks it is an important distinction to make, she continues. "Wine tastes better out of glasses that taper slightly at the rim" as "the tapering traps more of the aromas," Moore explains. And what has she being cracking open from the cellar this week? The 2005 Domaine du Colombier Chinon (Sainsbury's, 5.49) is commendable for its "gentle fragrance of red berries" while the 2006 Gavi Cristina Ascheri (Sainsbury's, 9.99) needs "a half-decent glass to reap the full benefit of this streamlined lemon- and grapefruit pith-scented Piedmont white".

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Like his contemporary at The Observer, Anthony Rose has also picked up on Anpaa's recent legal case - describing France's alcohol policy as a result of the draconian 1991 Evin Law. He continues: "It does seem odd that myopia and sanctimony should coexist in a nation synonymous with the production and consumption of many of the great wines of the world." Not to be discouraged though he selects the 2006 Porta Chardonnay (5.99, Threshers), the 2006 Gavi Cristina Ascheri (9.99, Sainsbury's) and the 2004 Domaine des Bosquets, Gigondas (14.95, Jeroboams).

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

Another with a nose for Wine Relief is MATTHEW JUKES. He is sufficiently committed to the event to be devoting two weeks to recommendations from the Wine Relief List. In theory, you can enjoy great wine, have a laugh on Red Nose Day and also do your bit for charity with ease if you follow these wines.'
This week his eight recommendations - all white - include: 2006 Stormhoek Sauvignon Blanc (4.49; Sainsbury's); 2006 Pirque Estate Sauvignon Blanc (6.99; Marks & Spencer); 2005 Brown Brothers Dry Muscat (5.29; Somerfield); and 2005 Tesco Gavi (5.99).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Glassware is the topic up for discussion by ANTHONY ROSE this week, because some of the ghastly vessels that pass as wine glasses often fail to do justice to the liquid in the bottle'. For something better than everyday drinking, Rose points readers towards the usual suspects: Schott-Ziesel and Riedel. He also comes up with a couple of alternatives, including Mikasa's Open Up glass (from 20 for four glasses; mikasa-uk.com), made from a new material called Kwarx manufactured by Arc International, which is so durable that he manages to break it only by hurling it at the floor from a great height'. His wine suggestion for under a fiver is 2005 Tesco Finest Gavi (4.49 until 10 October).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

For those with time-consuming commitments such as children, there is often little option except to buy almost everything from supermarkets, and VICTORIA MOORE discovers that Tesco's current wine sale is the perfect place to head for. Bargains include the cool and bracing' 2005 Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling (5.99 from 7.99) and 2005 Tesco Finest Gavi (4.49 from 5.99), which Moore describes as one of the best-value and most versatile wines that Tesco sells'.

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

ANTHONY ROSE takes on two of the wine world's heavyweights this week, saying: 'Hugh Johnson and Robert Parker may be the twin colossi of wine writing, but as a weighty biography of one [The Emperor of Wine, by Elin McCoy] and the other's characteristically fine new book [Wine: A Life Uncorked, by Hugh Johnson] make clear, they're poles apart.' Rose is a fan of Johnson's prose, which he describes as 'a window on mouthwatering feasts and intriguing personalities'. Parker is more about numbers, however, and Rose suggests, 'Could it be that the 100-point system for rating wines was in fact Parker's way of compensating for his own lack of vocabulary in the face of Johnsonian eloquence?' For good wine under a tenner, Rose suggests 2004 La Toledana Gavi, Villa Lanata (7.99; Majestic).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Easy-drinking whites are the order of the day, says GILES KIME. He opts for 2004 Sainsbury's Classic Selection Muscadet (4.99): 'Even those with a deep-seated prejudice against Muscadet would find it hard to deny the lightly honeyed charms of this thirst-quenching white.' Next up is 2004 Lizards of Oz Reserve Viognier (5.97; Asda), 'a crisp white from the Clare Valley with an apricot-like freshness'. Finally, he picks 2003 Gavi Madonnina Araldica (6.99; Waitrose), a 'delightful wine that is vibrant and citrussy without being overpowering'.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Being a 'thoroughly nasty piece of work at heart', VICTORIA MOORE is cynical about branded supermarket wines. However, she is a big fan of 2004 Tesco Finest Gavi (5.99), 'a delightful wine' that 'feels like a river pebble that has been smoothed and rounded by the flow of water'. Another supermarket number that comes up trumps is 2003 Sainsbury's Classic Selection Alsace Gewurztraminer Cave de Turckheim (6.99), which displays lychees 'so clearly you can almost feel your tongue slipping over their eyeball-like white flesh'.

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A flavour of the nation

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Italian Trade Commission (ICE) will hold a UK trade tasting for the first time in eight years on Wednesday. With no generic body, Italian tastings in the UK have focused on single Italian regions that wanted to promote their wines, but now ICE has united more than 60 producers from the north, south and islands. Every producer will send a representative, and there will be a tasting in Dublin two days before the London event.

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The Interview: Richard Walton-Allen, Head Chef, Harvey Nichols, Leeds

Published:  23 July, 2008

Harvey Nichols' first store outside London was opened in the historic Victoria Quarter of Leeds in 1996. The store has five floors with a stylish 85-cover caf and bar on the fourth floor. Three days a week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it is open for dinner until 10pm. Close to the dining area is the wine shop run by Michael Dilworth. He and head chef Richard Walton-Allen work closely together on the restaurant's wine list, which is taken from the group's master list and compiled by Harvey Nick's overall head wine buyer, Rob Graves. Richard, a 36-year-old Yorkshireman, was part of the opening brigade at Sir Terence Conran's huge 300-cover Quaglino's restaurant in London's St James's. He also worked at the esoteric Swedish restaurant Anna's Place in north London and in Melbourne, Australia. He has been head chef at Harvey Nichols in Leeds for eight years.
Major drinks suppliers: Playford Ros, Bibendum, Percy Fox, Enotria, Cellar Trends, Coe Vintners

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The Interview: Gianpiero Colucci, Manager, Spaghetti House, Marble Arch branch

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Marble Arch branch is the most recent Spaghetti House restaurant to open (in mid-2005) and the first trialling a more modern look. Spaghetti House has nine venues in London, the first of which opened in 1955.
A native of Bari in Puglia, Gianpiero Colucci worked at Pescatori in London and at the Cranbourn Street branch of Spaghetti House before becoming one of the chain's youngest restaurant managers. This branch was a finalist in the Best Italian Restaurant category of The Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Industry Awards 2006 (www.papa.org.uk).
Suppliers include Berkmann, Vinum
and Alivini.

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The Interview - Angela Hayward and Paul Raymonde, directors, AP Vino

Published:  23 July, 2008

Angela Hayward and Paul Raymonde met in 2002, and discovered that they shared a passion for Italian wines. The couple launched AP Vino in 2004 with input from Angela's stepfather, Fausto Pesci, who worked for many years as a restaurateur, Italian wine consultant, and major importer of Italian wine into Spain and Germany. Last month, AP Vino launched a consumer website, D'Vino, which is also home to The Wine Club of Italy, a scheme that offers mixed cases of wines complete with full tasting notes. AP Vino's portfolio lists 58 wines from 12 producers. Exclusive agencies include La Scolca in Gavi (selected wines), Il Carpino in Friuli, Tenuta di Riseccoli in Greve, and Pinino in Montalcino. A former property developer in Italy, Raymonde is also a well-known cartoonist, whose works have appeared in Punch and Private Eye, among other publications.

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MMD in Piedmont

Published:  23 July, 2008

MMD has taken on the UK agency for Pio Cesare, a family-run producer of Piedmont wines.
Pio Cesare is managed by fourth generation, Pio Boffa, who commented: With our 52 hectares of vineyards in Barolo and Barbaresco, we embrace both traditional and more modern winemaking and also produce a range of single-vineyard wines from Barolo and Barbaresco.' A full range of Pio Cesare wines is now available from MMD, including Gavi, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco.

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Booting up

Published:  23 July, 2008

Italy was the only European country that enjoyed an increase in sales of wine to the UK in 2004 (AC Nielsen), so the mood should be upbeat as 44 leading Italian importers gather at Lord's Cricket Ground for the seventh Definitive Italian Tasting, instigated by the Italian Wines Committee of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and organised by Hunt & Coady.

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THE INTERVIEW - MICHELE ZORZI

Published:  23 July, 2008

Michele Zorzi, Matre D', Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Interview: Josie Butchart

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THE ITALIAN FORUM

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Definitive Italian Wine Tasting has provided a long-overdue platform for commercially available, mid-priced Italian wines in the UK. Harpers casts an eye over the producers and wines helping to make this year's event the biggest and brightest yet

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UPPING THE CHIANTI

Published:  23 July, 2008

In January and February, a series of seminars and tastings was held to promote Italian wines. Neil Beckett reports from Tuscany on the new-found power of the region's big three consorzi.

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LIBERTY BECOMES SOLE AGENT FOR AVIGNONESI

Published:  23 July, 2008
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CONSORZIO URGES PRICE CUT FOR 1998 BRUNELLOS

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Neil Beckett

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SUPPORT FOR TOSCANA DOC WAVERS

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jo Burzynska

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Italy says no to GMO

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jo Burzynska

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Fling or real thing?

Published:  18 January, 2007

As one year slides not particularly memorably into another, Italians are looking back on an age, now clearly on the wane, when the so-called vitigni migliorativi' (improving vine varieties) were something no self-respecting wine could be seen without in polite society.

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Liberty demands change over screwcap attitudes

Published:  18 January, 2007

Dear Minister,
I am writing to you regarding an issue that is having an adverse effect on the sales and positive image of Italian wine.

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The Analyst

Published:  18 January, 2007

It can't be easy living up to the Chef of the [20th] Century' accolade applied to Jol Robuchon by Gault Millau.

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The Analyst - by Neil Beckett

Published:  18 January, 2007

The Bell at Skenfrith (www.thebellatskenfrith.co.uk) has long been known to aficionados, but has only recently started to win the wider recognition it richly deserves, earlier this month beating one of London's best hotel restaurants to win the 2006 Gosset Award for the best Champagne list in the UK.

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Wines in the Weekly Press

Published:  18 January, 2007

Moore extols the virtues of English wines; Rose recommends Roussillon; and Atkin, the wine trade's poet laureate, waxes lyrical on Elizabeth Bennett Browning. Meanwhile MacQuitty says Old and New World wines are just different'.
Christian Davis reviews the reviews

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Remember Super-Tuscans?

Published:  18 January, 2007

It was only yesterday, it seems, that Super-Tuscans were flying high, write Nicolas Belfrage MW and Franco Ziliani. They were the rebel wines, the ones that broke the rules and whirled Tuscany into the vinous stratosphere of the planet, notching up pundit points higher than all but the best Burgundies and commanding prices that would not have made a second-growth claret producer blush. They were the breath of fresh air in the musty dankness of Tuscan tradition.

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Crisis control

Published:  18 January, 2007

As the crisis' in Italian wine sales deepens, the number of ideas about what should be done continues to grow.

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