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California 'needs more mechanisation'

Published:  03 June, 2009

Researchers in California are urging vineyard owners to invest in mechanised pruning systems  to become more competitive, rather than rely on manual labour.

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Vitamin vodka maker on export trail

Published:  03 June, 2009

An American producer of vodkas containing extra vitamins and legal stimulants is planning an assault on export markets after securing investment from a New York private equity firm.

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Drinkaware to relaunch with new image

Published:  02 June, 2009

Independent UK alcohol charity The Drinkaware Trust is to relaunch with a new brand image in a bid to get its alcohol education message across to a wider section of the British drinking public.

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La Mancha offered export hopes

Published:  02 June, 2009

Exports of La Mancha wines have increased by 25% in the first quarter of 2009, offering hope to bodegas in the region who are struggling to grow sales in their domestic market.

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Adria pioneers beer in a wine bottle

Published:  02 June, 2009

Ferran Adrià, the controversial famous Spanish chef from El Bulli, has once again stirred interest by creating a new hybrid beer to drink with food and which is served in a wineglass.

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Beer in a wine bottle

Published:  02 June, 2009

Ferran Adrià, the controversial famous Spanish chef from El Bulli, has once again stirred interest by creating a new hybrid beer to drink with food and which is served in a wineglass.

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UK near top of Euro duty league

Published:  02 June, 2009

The UK and Ireland remain near the top of the European alcohol duty league, according to new figures.

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Irish alcohol sales slump

Published:  02 June, 2009

A surge in cross-border shopping and crippling recession has resulted in Irish alcohol sales suffering an unprecedented tumble of over 13% in the first quarter of 2009.

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Nurses canvassed on alcohol views

Published:  01 June, 2009

Nurses are being asked for their views on what should be included in a new government code of practice for the drinks industry.

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Critics May May 29-31

Published:  01 June, 2009

What our national wine critics had to say for the weekend of May 29-31

 

Guardian 

 

Victoria Moore asks if wine should have a drink-by date? 

 

Under EU law, wine is exempt from best-before dates and you can only imagine the chaos of furious politicking that would ensue if it were not, she explains.

 

Think of the rage of the producer told that his wine will peak in eight months, or the disappointment of the customer who buys a bottle and saves it, only to open it then to find the contents dusty and dull.

 

Your best protection is to be alert and suspicious, she says. For wines under £8 check as you buy that the vintage is fresh, especially for light crisp whites and light reds.

 

Here is one that is drinking well now and I wouldn't keep; Gran Lopez Garnacha/Tempranillo 2007 (£3.99, Waitrose).

 

Finally, if you suspect a wine of being decrepit, take it back.

 

Observer

 

"I'm finding rubber all over the place," said Tim Atkin at a South African wine tasting over a year ago.

 

He reported of the 70 Cape wines he'd tasted, roughly a third displayed the unwelcome - South African character, burnt rubber. Further the worst reds tasted over-ripe and under-ripe at the same time.

 

The offending wines, were then taken back to South Africa for analysis, explained Atkin.

 

Now, he says, "at last we have a progress report, or rather a lack-of-progress report". Researchers concluded that there was "no specific link" between burnt rubber and grape variety, vintage or region of origin and the offending smell might be hexane- or ether-related, or it might not.

 

The good thing about the research, which is ongoing, is that South Africa recognises it has a problem, at least in the UK, and is trying to get to the bottom of it and things are much better than they were five years ago.

 

Independent

 

Anthony Rose talks about the, "nanny state's killjoy cant about alcohol".

 

Drinking wine is bad, so the mantra goes, because it causes cirrhosis, it's anti-social and brings death and destruction on the roads, he says.

 

"Well, yes," Rose explains. "It's obvious to anyone with a quarter of a brain that excessive drinking, whether of wine, beer or spirits, is harmful. 

 

"But what about the message that as part of a balanced diet, wine enjoyed in moderation is one of life's greatest pleasures and most civilising influences?"

 

After numerous scientific studies Professor Roger Corder of Queen Mary's School of Medicine observed that the French have comparatively less heart disease than the rest of Europe, even though they regularly consume fatty food.

 

After significant research Dr Corder tells us in The Wine Diet (Sphere, £9.99), how red wine, and especially red wines from south-west France - with their higher procyanadin content (the most active ingredient in red wine that keeps the blood vessels clear and prevents heart disease) can have significant benefits for a healthy heart and long-term wellbeing when consumed as a natural part of a healthy and balanced diet.

 

Times

 

"Poor old vintage port producers are over here en masse to launch their latest vintage, the elegant, vibrant and precociously attractive 2007s, to, alas, an ever-underwhelmed British public," says Jane MacQuitty.

 

Port remains one of the most unfashionable fortified wines, and MacQuitty reports, "In these straitened times, as one leading port shipper privately confessed: 'You'd be mad to declare the '07s a vintage year and mad not to declare it'".

 

And yet there is something so darned charming, racy, delicate and surprisingly polished about the 2007s that if I were a port shipper I'd want to declare it, too, she says.

 

MacQuitty recommends Dow's, "delicious, dry, polished," '07 and Graham's, "silky, rose-scented '07, that are worth buying now to put away for a decade, perhaps two, before they are ready to drink."

 

Financial Times

 

Jancis Robinson is also talking about Port and says, less than 10 years ago the Duoro Valley was the most backward of the world's classic wine regions, with grapes still trodden by the feet of locals.

 

Yet his century has seen a transformation, says Robinson. The five big port groups, including the Symington family (who produce Dow's, Graham's, Warre's) and the Taylor Fladgate Partnership (Croft, Fonesca, Taylor's etc) control about 80 per cent of the port and she explains that life is becoming tougher and tougher for the legion of smallholders in the Douro.

 

Also table wines labelled Douro have become a fully established, and highly profitable with established producers able to sell their top table wines at the same price as their vintage ports, she says.

 

It seems most unfair that vintage port does not perform better in the saleroom, for the quality is better than it has ever been, sympathises Robinson. But the bottom end of the port market the shippers have brought much of this on themselves by engaging in a price war via the large retailers, she adds.

 

They like to point to increased volumes sold in the UK as a sign of buoyancy, but this has to be countered by observations such as the one made by a member of the wine committee at the nearby Oxford & Cambridge Club, that the club's current holdings of vintage port will last the members 40 years at their current rate of consumption. 

 

Robinson says, we all should be pulling some corks, "certainly on the basis of the quality and sheer sophistication of the best 2007s shown last week".

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Pub group's estate value nosedives

Published:  01 June, 2009

Pub group Young & Co has taken an £11 million hit to its finances after it decreased the value of some of its 219 pubs due to plummeting property prices.

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Disaronno plans summer sales boost

Published:  01 June, 2009

Disaronno is promising a heavyweight on-trade marketing campaign this summer as part of a £5m spend on the liqueur brand throughout 2009.

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Stock Spirits in central European expansion

Published:  01 June, 2009

Stock Spirits Group (SSG) has announced that it is expanding its central European operations with the opening of two new offices in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Cobra deal costs creditors £75m

Published:  31 May, 2009

Molson Coors UK has taken a 50.1% stake in Cobra Beer after the business went into administration last week.

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Argentina wine exports back in growth

Published:  29 May, 2009

Argentine wine exports are back on track following a shaky start to the year, according to new figures.

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Irish sales down as drinkers head north

Published:  28 May, 2009

Drinks sales in Ireland have taken a big hit as consumers head north to take advantage of cheaper prices in Ulster.

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French wine drinking in decline

Published:  28 May, 2009

French households have cut back on their wine expenditure, according to newly-released government figures.

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New venture for celebrity chef

Published:  27 May, 2009

Celebrity chef John Burton-Race has been appointed as group development chef, on a £500,000 project that will also see the creation of 50 new jobs.

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Berry Bros in biodynamic wine crusade

Published:  27 May, 2009

Berry Bros & Rudd is launching an online drive to raise awareness of biodynamic wine after research showed interest in - but confusion about - the concept among consumers.

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Absolut sheds label for launch

Published:  26 May, 2009

An Absolut bottle with no label and no logo is to be released into international markets by Pernod Ricard.

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