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North Europeans push for tighter definition of vodka

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis
The battle lines are being drawn across Europe over the definition of vodka. The north Europeans want the ingredients of vodka to be restricted ideally to just grain and potatoes, possibly sugar beet molasses. The wrangling and final decision has serious implications for volume producers and for marketers of new products who like vodka' because of its reassurance to consumers.

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The Interview: Will Smith, Co-owner, Arbutus, London

Published:  23 July, 2008

Will was born in Birmingham and studied geography at Kingston University, in London. After working at a hotel to earn money prior to university, he took a diploma in hotel management at Manchester Polytechnic, sponsored by the hotel company Swallow Group. He began his career with Swallow in 1991, before moving to Cameron House in Scotland in 1994, and the following year to the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. In 1998, he decided on a change of direction, switching to restaurants, and moving to London. He began work at L'Odeon, the Regent Street restaurant under chef Bruno Loubet, where he met current partner Anthony Demetre. They left together for Putney Bridge in 1999, a purpose-built restaurant in southwest London. Demetre earned a star there, keeping it until the restaurant shut in 2005. Arbutus opened in May this year.

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Training and retaining staff

Published:  23 July, 2008

Traditionally the on-trade has suffered a reputation for high staff turnover. As such, some companies, in particular establishments with smaller budgets, have been reluctant to invest in staff, a worrying trend, not to mention extremely short-sighted. Quality training for a team is one of the most important investments that a hotel, bar or restaurant can make, and with the right focus, can reap instant rewards in increased profits.

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Jacob's Creek extends Reserve range

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jacob's Creek is launching a new Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve ros in the UK, following the continuing popularity of both this grape and this style of wine in one of its key markets.

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New chief executive at Enotria

Published:  23 July, 2008

Enotria Winecellars has appointed Alison Levett as chief executive. She takes over from Clive Beharrell, who will now become executive chairman.

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Italy: Ethica trading

Published:  23 July, 2008

Ever been frustrated with Italy and Italian wines? You know they are good and people who have invested the time to learn about them will tell you they are world class (Harpers had three such - Neil Beckett, Josie Butchart and Anastasia Edwards. They could bore for Italy on how great their wines are - sorry guys!), but unless you take time out to read Nick Belfrage's books and comb specialist wine shops, you are encumbered with images and tastes of poor Pinot Grigios and Lambruscos at the cheap end and inferior, pale examples of Chiantis and Barolos higher up.

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The interview: Christopher Lockett, Director, Lockett Bros, North Berwick

Published:  23 July, 2008

Christopher Lockett developed his passion for wine during a year in New Zealand working as a grape picker. On his return to the UK he worked for Oddbins and the Bottle Stop in Edinburgh before opening his own independent wine merchant, Lockett Bros, in September 2004.

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Trinchero announces expansion plans

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Dawn Cran
The Trinchero family, owners of Californian wine brand Sutter Home and famed for creating white Zinfandel, have announced plans for a new winery, hospitality centre and tasting room.

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Australia hit by drought

Published:  23 July, 2008

Allocations of water to Australian wineries are down to as little as 8% following the country's worst drought since the 1880s, when records began. August saw the lowest recorded levels of rainfall for the country in one month, the latest in a pattern of reduced rainfall and high temperatures since 1997.

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News special: 'Tis the season to be silly

Published:  23 July, 2008

We are just about to enter the last six weeks of trading before the New Year celebrations, the time when consumers' spend on booze, particularly categories like Champagne and sparkling wine, goes up dramatically. And what do the major retailers do at this time when demand for fizz is at its strongest? They make their biggest, most dramatic cuts in price, of course. It's the start of the silly season in wine retailing.

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Duty-free in UK?

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis
Producers and importers may be able to sell their goods to UK consumers ex-cellar door after a landmark decision by the European Court of Justice.

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India to face WTO over discriminatory tax on imported whisky

Published:  23 July, 2008

Scotch Whisky distillers have welcomed the EU's decision to request World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks on India's failure to reform its discriminatory tax treatment of imported spirits and wines.

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VinExpo 2007 almost booked up

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis
Vinexpo 2007 is nearly full, according to its chief executive Robert Beynat, who was in London last week.

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IMW announces scholarship winner

Published:  23 July, 2008

Anzill Adams has been awarded the Institute of Masters of Wine Chairman's Scholarship for 2006.

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Vineyard workers killed in South African train tragedy

Published:  23 July, 2008

At least 19 South African vineyard labourers were killed and 12 injured when a truck taking them to work was hit by a train.

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KWV appoints new CEO

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Chairman and board of KWV Limited has announced that Matthys (Thys) Loubser has been appointed CEO.

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Majestic pre-tax profits rise

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Ron Emler
Majestic Wine continued its pattern of unbroken growth in the six months to the end of September. Compared with the same period last year, profits before tax increased by 17% to 6.5 million

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Hospices auction raises 5.05 million

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Rebecca Gibb
The 146th Hospices de Beaune auction raised 5.05 million (3.5 million) - almost identical to last year's sales figures, yet the 2006 vintage is not regarded as highly as that of 2005.

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STOP PRESS - Philip Bowman, former Allied Domecq chief, joins Berrys

Published:  23 July, 2008

Berry Bros. & Rudd has announced the appointment of Philip Bowman - the former head of Allied-Domecq - to its main board as a new non-executive director.

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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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