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Video: John Torode and Neil McGuigan on their food and wine matching double act

Published:  31 January, 2013

Why have celebrity chef and co-host of BBC's MasterChef, John Torode, and Australian Vintage winemaker, Neil McGuigan become a food and wine matching double act?

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Jenny Mackenzie on the Neil McGuigan and John Torode food and wine matching link-up

Published:  31 January, 2013

The Neil McGuigan and John Torode Recipe Collection, which was launched earlier this week in London, promises to be an "innovative, interactive" wine and food matching concept with the aim of "approachability, affordability and accessibility".

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MPs oppose minimum pricing plans

Published:  31 January, 2013

Conservative MPs have blasted minimum alcohol pricing proposals in the same week the WSTA launched a campaign to stymie the government's plans.

 

David Cameron has championed plans for minimum pricing at 45p per unit and a ban on multibuy deals in a bid to tackle binge drinking. The proposals form part of the Alcohol Strategy consultation, which closes next week.

 

The WSTA's Why Should Responsible Drinkers Pay More campaign, backed by major retailers and drinks suppliers, is an attempt to raise consumer awareness about the subject and encourage them to ask their MPs to vote against the proposals.

 

A number of Tory MPs told Harpers they are already opposed to the plans. "The teenagers who drink grossly to excess on a Friday or Saturday night would still do so - they would 'preload' and carry on regardless or, worse still, turn to illegal drugs which are often cheaper already," said Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West.

 

Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, said he was "opposed to government pricefi xing in principle". "I also do not like the idea that we are trying to clamp down on poorer people drinking excessively, but are happy to allow richer people - who already pay more for their alcohol than the proposed minimum price - to carry on as before," he said.

 

Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda also backed the WSTA's campaign. "We take our position as a responsible retailer seriously but believe the government's plans on minimum unit pricing will punish those customers who consume alcohol responsibly," said Morrisons head of corporate aff airs Guy Mason. "The evidence suggests that the issue of alcohol abuse will not be eff ectively tackled with this measure and the social aspects at the root of the problem should be addressed."

 

However, leading independent wine merchants have backed the plans. The Oxford Wine Company managing director Ted Sandbach said minimum pricing would give his company a better chance to compete with the supermarket as they would "no longer be able to promote at silly prices."

 

Chris Piper, chairman of Christopher Piper Wines in Devon, said minimum pricing "discourages the high street suppliers from selling off cheap alcoholic drinks at prices that are subsidised by suppliers and are not sustainable in the long term."

 

Under 45p minimum unit pricing, a bottle of wine at 13% abv would cost at least £4.39, and £4.88 if the minimum unit price was 50p. A bottle of 70cl vodka at 37.5% abv would cost at least £11.81 under 45p and £13.13 under 50p minimum unit pricing.

 

Three quarters of the consumers surveyed on the WSTA's site so far believed minimum pricing to be unfair.

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PLB strengthens on trade and independent division

Published:  31 January, 2013

PLB has made five appointments to its specialist division focused on the UK on-trade and independent sectors.

TextPLB has made five appointments to its specialist division focused on the UK on-trade and independent sectors.

 

Nico Kowalski has been appointed London sales manager and will be responsible for PLB's portfolio for restaurants and independent merchants in the region. Kowalski previously worked for Chilean producer Viña Ventisquero for four years as brand ambassador and spent eight years with Vinopols.


PLB's new wholesale manager Jim Gill has joined from Waverley TBS where he spent the last three years managing sales of the company's wine and beer brands to major UK buying groups. Before Waverley he spent two years as a national account manager for the Gaymer Cider Company and held a variety of sales roles at Coors. At PLB Gill will be responsible for wine delivered to the multiple on-trade, regional and national brewers and wholesale sectors.



As northern area manager, Loren Hardwick will promote PLB's specialist portfolio to the on-trade and independent merchants in the north of England. He joined PLB from Gaucho Restaurant in Leeds where he was a Sommelier and ran a number of consumer-facing activities at the restaurant.



Paul Roberts has joined as independent specialist manager in the south east and will be responsible for existing and new customers. He previously worked as business development manager for on-trade outlets at Waverley and was a senior store manager for Majestic Wine.

 

PLB's third recruit from Waverley is Jason Burton, who has joined as national account manager and will be responsible for the company's multiple national accounts. Before Waverley Burton held account manager roles at Matthew Clark and Heineken.

 

PLB's specialist division has a portfolio of 350 wines, the majority of which are exclusive to the on-trade and independent merchants.



The PLB Specialist Division is dedicated to sourcing and supplying the perfect offering - from entry-level price fighters to premium wines both classic and niche - to the UK On-Trade and Independent Merchants. The recently revised portfolio comprises around 350 wines from PLB's global network of suppliers, the majority of which are exclusive to these sectors.

 

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Michael Symington: a tribute

Published:  31 January, 2013

Michael Symington, the senior member of the Symington Port family died earlier this week. Here his son Paul, chairman of Symington Family Estates, gives his personal tribute.

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Calling independents: take part in our survey

Published:  30 January, 2013

Take part in Harpers' Indies Uncovered survey and you could be in with a chance of winning a magnum of Lanson Black Label.

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Real Wine Fair moves to March

Published:  30 January, 2013

The 2013 Real Wine Fair has moved to March to avoid another May clash with rival natural wine fair RAW. The two day event features 120 natural, organic and biodynamic growers and winemakers.

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Claude Bosi opens second London pub

Published:  30 January, 2013

French chef Claude Bosi and brother Cedric have brought forward the launch date of their second pub in south west London, the Malt House in Fulham, which is now open after a major refurbishment.

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Neil McGuigan and John Torode launch wine and food-matching service

Published:  30 January, 2013

McGuigan Wines winemaker Neil McGuigan has launched a wine and food-matching service with celebrity chef John Torode, called "The Neil McGuigan and John Torode Recipe Collection".

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Nomacorc celebrates 100 millionth Select Series sale

Published:  30 January, 2013

Synthetic wine closure producer Nomacorc has announced the production and shipment of its 100 millionth Select Series closure after introducing it to the market in 2011.

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Les Vignobles Foncalieu enjoys Le Versant sales boost

Published:  29 January, 2013

French co-operative Les Vignobles Foncalieu is to make it's flagship brand Le Versant its main focus after it increased sales by 58% last year.

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ExCellar enters administration

Published:  29 January, 2013

ExCellar, the independent wine merchant owned by Simon Baile, the former managing director of Oddbins, has been placed into administration.

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Oakham Ales acquires Bellwether Wines

Published:  29 January, 2013

Peterborough-based Oakham Ales has acquired nearby Bellwether Wines, which supplies to the licensed on-trade within a 35-mile radius of the region.

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Christina Pickard starts her new blog on Harpers following her life Down Under

Published:  29 January, 2013


There's a dinosaur in my garden. Really there is. It's the size of a well-fed ferret only far less furry. Its tail is stumpy like a London pigeon's stub foot after it's been chewed off. It has scales, and its head looks like a squashed peach. When I approach it it regards me lazily through its beady eyes on the side of its peachy head. When I move closer, a slimy blue tongue explodes out of the centre of the peach. And then the little dinosaur waddles away.

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Maxxium boosts on-trade training team

Published:  29 January, 2013

Maxxium UK has appointed two trainers to its spirits and cocktails training scheme - Mixxit.

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Connoisseur Estates hires premium wine sales managers

Published:  29 January, 2013

Berkshire-based wine agency Connoisseur Estates has appointed two regional managers to handle sales of its premium wines.

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Berkshire-based wine agency Connoisseur Estates has appointed two regional managers to handle sales of its premium wines.

 

Alison Gregson is to be regional manager north. Her previous roles include wine development manager at Classic Drinks. Gregson will be based in Preston and she will also cover Scotland.

 

Gregson's appointment follows that of Jeanette Smith, who is regional manager south. Smith's experience includes four years managing the Roux brothers' London restaurants. Smith is based at the company's head office in Binfield near Wokingham.

 

The pair are to concentrate on the company's premium wines, including Château d'Anglès from La Clape and Oldenburg Vineyards from Banghoek Valley South Africa.

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Douglas Blyde enjoys the full on Russian experience of vodka cocktails and wines at Mari Vanna

Published:  28 January, 2013

"We'd like to be as much of a cultural destination as a culinary destination," says Anton Efimov, restaurant manager of Mari Vanna's Knightsbridge outpost.

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Charles Metcalfe creates recipes for Portuguese wine

Published:  28 January, 2013

TV wine and food critic Charles Metcalfe has created six recipes to be paired with Tagus Creek wines from Portuguese producer Falua.

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TV wine and food critic Charles Metcalfe has created six recipes to be paired with Tagus Creek wines from Portuguese producer Falua.

 

Metcalfe, co-author of the Wine & Food Lover's Guide to Portugal, has created the recipes to specifically match three of the wines in the Tagus Creek range. The recipes can be accessed on a smart phone by scanning the QR codes on the bottle labels.

 

Each bottle carries a promotional neck label with a list of ingredients and a picture of Metcalfe, who has presented food and wine items on This Morning and Richard & Judy.

 

The recipes include salmon with lemon mayonnaise, to be eaten with Tagus Creek Chardonnay & Fernão Pires and herb crusted venison to be paired with its Shiraz & Trincadeira blend.

 

"The concept of matching food to wine, rather than wine to food, really appealed to me. I started off by analysing the taste profile of the Tagus Creek range in depth before testing different flavours alongside each wine with a group of consumers to get a balanced view," said Metcalfe.

 

Luis de Castro, Board Director at Falua, said: "What better way for us to bring the wines to life than to create something that invites our consumers to interact with the wine, and which they can access instantly when they pick up the wines in store.

 

"We were delighted to work with Charles, who has such a huge knowledge not just of Portuguese wines, but also of our entire gastronomic culture. We hope this will generate even more excitement about the Portuguese category moving forwards."

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Dos and dont's of protecting your brand in China

Published:  28 January, 2013

Any business with international aspirations will have China in its sights. Consumption of imported wines and spirits is increasing rapidly, particularly in relation to high end products, which are seen as reflecting power and sophistication upon their consumers, or those giving such items as present. The current opportunities for Western brands seem limitless.

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Cockburn's back at number one in the UK

Published:  28 January, 2013

Cockburn's has regained its number one status as the UK's biggest Port brand according to the latest Nielsen statistics released by brand owner Symingtons.

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