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Freeze on VAT promises shadow minister

Published:  19 October, 2009

Tobias Ellwood MP, the shadow minister for Culture, Media and Sport, has promised a a six month freeze on VAT for struggling pubs and other small businesses if the Conservatives win the next election.

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Top 100 restaurants named

Published:  14 October, 2009

The UK's top 100 restaurants have been named as part of the National Restaurant Awards run by Harpers Wine & Spirit's sister title, Restaurant Magazine.

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Diageo sales slump by 6%

Published:  14 October, 2009

Diageo has given more bad news to its investors, revealing a 6% slump in underlying sales in the last quarter.

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Diageo sales slump by 6%

Published:  14 October, 2009

Diageo has given more bad news to its investors, revealing a 6% slump in underlying sales in the last quarter.

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Wines in the press, October 10-11, 2009

Published:  14 October, 2009

This week's round up of what the newspaper wine critics have had to say: 

 

The Guardian

Victoria Moore says customers in supermarkets say they buy wine there because specialist shops are too expensive and they feel out of their league. 

 

But, says Moore, she came across "such a good collection of lower-priced wines at a recent tasting thrown by the Bunch".

 

She adds: "Granted, independents can't compete on screechingly cheap £3 and £4 bottles, but the tasting showed there are great riches to be had if you're spending a couple of pounds more."
Her recommendations are Cruz de Piedra Garnacha 2007, Calatayud, Spain (£5.99, Adnams) and Rayun Carmenère 2008, Rapel Valley, Chile (£5.99, Tanners),

The Times

Jane MacQuitty says not so long ago that Greek wines "were just about downable on holiday, but back home, forget it".

 

She adds that a decade or so ago Oddbins and others promoted Greece as the next big thing, "but few swallowed the hot, quirky, aggressive flavours of the country's wines".
Since then, MacQuitty says its new generation of oenology-trained winemakers have moved mountains and standards have risen. She recommends Santorini White 2008 (£9.99, Waitrose).

The Financial Times

Last week Jancis Robinson MW found herself at a wine trade forum held in London to discuss the trend toward lower-alcohol wines.

 

She explains how US winemaker David Stevens, a partner at TFC Wines & Spirits, a company specialising in producing reduced-alcohol wines, took the audience through different technological ways in which the alcohol levels in wines can be lowered.

 

But, as Dan Jago, Tesco's wine supremo, pointed out, there is natural resistance among consumers to what are perceived as "Frankenstein wines" yielded by this sort of manipulation. Robinson says it seems as though 12%-12.5% is a magic threshold.

 

The Daily Telegraph

 

Jonathan Ray is asking if beer is the new wine? He says: "It's the weirdest thing. Pubs are shutting all over the place - yet sales of quality beers are on the up."

 

Ray says his "new favourite local brewer", Hepworth & Co in Horsham, is brewing around the clock in order to keep up with demand and adds, sales are soaring, up 18% on last year, according to the company's head brewer Andy Hepworth.

 

"We concentrate on making beer that a few people rave about, rather than beer that a lot of people don't object to," Hepworth says. "This seems to strike a chord with our customers, along with the fact that we source everything as locally as possible. Our barley and water are local and our hops come from Christopher Daws's farm at Bodiam in East Sussex. In the current climate, people like that."

 

The Observer

Tim Atkin MW is comparing Laithwaites to Dan Brown: "Loved by the general public, but dismissed as a bit of a joke by us critics." He adds in parallel that the bestselling author published his follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, while Laithwaites held its first press tasting for more than a decade.

 

"To be fair to Laithwaites, it has always sold some good wines, especially from France and Spain. The problem was the prices, which tended to be £1-£2 higher than everyone else's," he says.

 

He says he's tasted the new range twice this year and has "been impressed by what the team of buyers has sourced from around the world. Prices are cheaper and quality is generally good to very good".

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Court victory for former Christie's wine chief

Published:  13 October, 2009

The former head of Christie's wine department has won a libel action against the publishers of the controversial book The Billionaire's Vinegar.

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New fine wine warehouse opens

Published:  12 October, 2009

A new underground fine wine storage facility has opened near London on the site of a former wartime air raid shelter.

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Wines in the press -October 9-11

Published:  12 October, 2009

The Guardian

Victoria Moore says customers she has spoken to in supermarkets say they buy wine there because specialist shops are too expensive and they feel out of their league.

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Edrington Group launches Black Grouse in India

Published:  09 October, 2009

The Edrington Group has launched its premium brand Black Grouse into the growing Indian spirits market.

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Penderyn named one of the best whiskies in the world

Published:  09 October, 2009

Welsh single malt whisky Penderyn, has been named one of the best whiskies in the world.

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C&C profits drop but Magners turns corner

Published:  08 October, 2009

Magners owner C&C Group saw profits decline in the six months to Aug 31 in the face of an increasingly cluttered cider market and trade destocking in spirits.

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Tory government to introduce new taxes on alcohol

Published:  08 October, 2009

A Tory government will increase taxes on low price alcohol and crackdown on late-night licensing to stop teenagers getting drunk "quickly and cheaply".

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Edrington Group uses algae to cut CO2 emissions

Published:  07 October, 2009

The Edrington Group's Glenturret Distillery is the first distillery to trial an oil-producing algae to help cut carbon dioxide emissions.

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Threshers acting chief executive resigns

Published:  06 October, 2009

First Quench Retailing's acting chief executive and financial director Martin Healy has resigned.

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Wines in the press October 2-4

Published:  06 October, 2009

The Guardian

Victoria Moore took two bottles and used them as a starting point for dinner, marshalling the food round the wine.

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Speyside Whisky Festival brings £1million to area

Published:  05 October, 2009

A record number of international visitors attended the Speyside Whisky Festival, helping to raise almost £1million for the area's economy.

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Harpers Design Awards 2010

Published:  02 October, 2009

Design is a key element for brand development and awareness. If you have recently re-designed or launched your drinks brand, enter the Harpers Wine & Spirit Design Awards and gain the recognition you deserve.

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New World brands team up to push 50cl size

Published:  02 October, 2009

New World producers Australian Vintage and Concha y Toro have formed a strategic partnership to drive growth of the 50cl category.

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Wine Cellar is forced into administration

Published:  02 October, 2009

The family owned company, Wine Cellar has gone into administration with the loss of 320 jobs.

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Guinness trials mid-strength

Published:  30 September, 2009

Diageo is to trial Guinness Mid-Strength in Scotland as a show of support for Scottish responsible drinking campaigns.