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No cases of 24-hour opening

Published:  23 July, 2008

Not a single UK pub is open for 24 hours, a year after new licensing laws came in, allowing longer opening, and predictions of increased town-centre violence fuelled by higher alcohol consumption have failed to materialise.

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Batali given two stars out of blue

Published:  23 July, 2008

Mario Batali's new Del Posto restaurant has come from nowhere to gain two-star status in the 2007 Michelin guide to New York.

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Cocktail culture

Published:  23 July, 2008

There's a lot more to cocktails than vodka, though you wouldn't know that from what most bars have been offering for the past five years. Robbie Bargh, who advises barmen on how to improve their drinks, via his company Gorgeous, speaks for quite a few in his belief that: There are so many terrible drinks out there that are overmixed beyond belief, some really awful concoctions. Instead of tricksy, clever things, it's so much better to keep things simple, like you can when making a plain, old classic'.

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Solid partnership

Published:  23 July, 2008

During the 1980s, Ian Botham (Beefy' to his friends) was probably the most high-profile sportsman in the country. He took 5 for 74 on his Test debut against Australia in 1977, and was at one time the leading wicket-taker in Test Match cricket. He began his career at Somerset, and also played for Worcestershire and Durham, before retiring in 1993. In Test Matches, he scored 5,200 runs and took 383 wickets.

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Points of difference

Published:  23 July, 2008

How many times, I wonder, have I heard the simple term Greek wine' used to describe a wine from Greece? I'm sure every reader has heard this term. It begs the question, what exactly is Greek wine'? But when I try to define what precisely those words mean, all I come up with is that a particular wine has been produced within the national borders of this most ancient of winemaking regions. But in reality, this tells me nothing about the individual wine.

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Massey joins Butcher & Grill

Published:  23 July, 2008

David Massey has become head chef at Butcher & Grill, the Battersea meat restaurant with shop attached, after his brief stint at Sonny's, in Barnes. Prior to Massey, the long-standing head chef was Helena Puolaka. She is now heading the kitchen at Harvey Nicols' Fifth Floor restaurant. Ed Wilson, 30, has taken over from Massey at Sonny's, having worked at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, The Wolseley and Orrery.

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NZ winery forced to change name

Published:  23 July, 2008

A US producer specialising in kosher wine has forced a boutique winery in Marlborough, New Zealand, to change its name.

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Riesling devotees form fellowship

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Stuart Peskett
Some of the greatest Riesling producers in the world gathered at The German Embassy in London to discuss the grape and how it is affected by its terroir.

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Baron de Ley moves to Bottle Green

Published:  23 July, 2008

Baron de Ley, one of Rioja's leading producers, is moving its UK off-trade representation from Stokes Fine Wines to Bottle Green.

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Sales of South African wine slump

Published:  23 July, 2008

South Africa is the fastest-declining country in the UK in terms of wine sales by value, according to latest statistics. The country's overall UK market share dropped from 9.7% in 2005 (AC Nielsen MAT to week ending 8 October) to 8.6% this year. The decline is due in part to its number-one brand, Kumala, seeing a 9% slump in the 12-month period.

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German producer loses controversial director

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Gary Werner
Christian von Guradze, director of Brklin Wolf estate in Germany, has suddenly left the business after 17 years of service.

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E&O's Will Ricker opening fifth site

Published:  23 July, 2008

Will Ricker is to open his fifth, restaurant, to be called XO, in Belsize Park in December. The Australian restaurateur has turned a pub in this part of north London into a modern Asian diner, seating 90.

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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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