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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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China to be number one market for WSET students in 2013

Published:  28 January, 2013

China will overtake the UK in 2013 as the number one market for students taking a Wine & Spirit Education Trust course.

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The Guardian's coverage has potential for "unimaginable damage", warns WOSA

Published:  28 January, 2013

Wines of South Africa has accused The Guardian of potentially causing "unimaginable damage" to the industry.

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Wines of South Africa has accused The Guardian of potentially causing "unimaginable damage" to the industry.

 

The newspaper ran an article on Thursday under the headline: Don't buy South African wines: striking workers' plea to foreign consumers.

 

The article repeated a call by Nosey Pieterse, secretary general of the black agricultural sector union, Bawusa for foreign buyers to pledge not to import South African products unless their call for a pay rise to 150 rand a day (£10.65) were met.

 

It also ran a poll in its Comment is Free section asking "Will you boycott South African wine?" in which 59% of people said they would.

 

WOSA chief executive Su Birch said the coverage unfairly targets the wine industry and "has the potential to do unimaginable damage to an industry that is working hard, through its support of the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Association (WIETA), and also Fairtrade, to ensure the ethical treatment of workers.

 

Birch said the strike action and protests the Western Cape has been carried out by workers on fruit farms - not wine farms. She also pointed out that ruling party ANC and Cosato, South Africa's largest trade union, have called for an end to the strikes.

 

"We feel the call to boycott South African wines is inappropriate and saddening. The wine industry contributes an estimated R27 billion to the South African economy and some 275,000 people are directly employed by the industry. These people will be negatively affected if sales fall - a very likely outcome when wine farms are already battling against tough market conditions and if consumers boycott our wines.

 

"We ask that consumers support the industry and farm workers by buying our wines, ensuring the efforts by WIETA, Fairtrade, Fair for Life and all our producers can continue."

 

"Whilst we acknowledge that work is still to be done, South Africa is the largest producer of Fair Trade wines in the world and the initiatives by WIETA are making real, tangible progress that puts South Africa at the forefront of ethical, social sustainability," Birch wrote in a letter to The Guardian.

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Be part of the largest survey of the indie sector to date

Published:  25 January, 2013

Suppliers going bust, reduced consumer spending and competition from online are among some of the biggest challenges facing the independent sector in 2013, according to merchants taking part in Harpers' Indies Uncovered research project.

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Drinks industry launches public campaign against minimum pricing

Published:  25 January, 2013

 

The drinks industry is to launch the first consumer-facing campaign to mobilise mass opposition to the government's minimum unit pricing plans.

 

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has galvanised the support of major supermarkets and drinks brands to launch a consumer campaign under the "Why Should Responsible Drinkers Pay More" banner. A dedicated website is due to go live next Tuesday. Retail backers include Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons with drinks suppliers on board including SAB Miller and Diageo.

 

The site will include information about how minimum unit pricing will affect beer wines and spirits products and tell consumers how to send a letter calling for their MP's support on the issue. It will be backed by a radio and PR campaign.

 

"A 45p minimum unit pricing will increase the price of regular shopping basket items like beers wine and spirits and not just target binge drinkers," said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

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, while a 70cl bottle of whisky at 40% abv would rise to £12.60 or £14.

 

"We've done a decent job so far on talking to the political classes about this, but we need ordinary people to understand what the government is proposing and for their voices to be heard.

 

"Consumers are voters too, and our research shows the more people find out about minimum  pricing, the less they like it. Minimum pricing is unfair, probably illegal, and won't tackle the problem of binge drinking. " said Beale.

 

The Home Office's Alcohol Strategy consultation closes on February 6 with potential legislation expected to be revealed in the Queen's Speech in May.

 

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Kleine Zalze hires new winemaker

Published:  25 January, 2013

South African wine estate Kleine Zalze has appointed RJ Botha as winemaker.

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South African wine estate Kleine Zalze has appointed RJ Botha as winemaker.

 

Botha will assist cellarmaster Johan Joubert to develop new premium white and red blends which will be launched in South Africa this year.

 

He previously worked as winemaker at Nitida in Durbanville for five years and was named Diners Club Young Winemarker of the Year in 2010.

 

"We are delighted to have made this appointment. RJ's passion, and his belief in getting quality wines in the bottle matches ours," said Joubert.

 

Kleine Zalze moved its whole portfolio in the UK to Hatch Mansfield last year.

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