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Boizel votes on Lanson deal

Published:  23 July, 2008

Shareholders in Boizel Chanoine Champagne will vote on 30 January on whether the company should issue e22.7m (15.7m) of bonds as part of the financing package for the agreed purchase of troubled Lanson International for about e520m, including e400m of debt. They will do so against the increasingly hostile attitude of the CGT union, one of France's largest, which opposes the deal.

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The Interview: Daniele Drago, Sommelier, La Luna

Published:  23 July, 2008

Most of your wine knowledge is self-taught; has this been difficult?
Not really. I started learning about the different Italian labels and grape varieties when I was in Sicily. The turning point came when I moved over here and had a look at the brochure for Enotria Winecellars. There were so many wines, it was just incredible: 25 or 30 different kinds of Barolo. So I started reading books about the whole subject - not just the labels but about the people behind the wines, the regions, the different grapes and so on. Since opening the restaurant, I have also started to visit the vineyards. Although, unfortunately, I don't have much time to travel around Italy; otherwise I'd be over there a lot more. I'm very lucky because I have good wine friends and they bring their wines over to me.

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Enotria sold in 8.2-million deal

Published:  23 July, 2008

Italian specialist Enotria Winecellars has sold a majority stake of its business to private equity firm ISIS for 8.2 million.
Founded in 1972 by Remo Nardone, Enotria now has more than 1,200 wines in its portfolio, and it supplies restaurants such as Fifteen and Gordon Ramsay eateries. Nardone, 70, will stay on in a consultancy role but will take a step back from the day-to-day running of the firm.

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The Aus-thentic experience

Published:  23 July, 2008

Paul Henry, general manager of Wine Australia, introduces the 2006 Australia Day Tastings, Authentic Australia': It is every country's desire to populate the wine market with democratising brands, as well as compelling reasons to trial and trade up. The search for a profitable mix that uniquely balances accessibility with interest is a challenge, and one that Australia seeks to deliver above all other categories. It
can do so by representing itself as a broad and inclusive producer that seeks to champion quality and excitement, whatever the price point. That is what is meant by Authentic Australia.

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New Zealand Supplement 2006

Published:  23 July, 2008

New Zealand may still produce only 0.3% of the world's wine - a percentage that is unlikely to alter radically - but with
NZ$1.5 billion (584.7 million) sales forecast by 2010, growth looks set to characterise its future as well as its recent past.

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Screwcap initiative goes global

Published:  23 July, 2008

The New Zealand Screwcap Initiative has decided to encompass the world and form the International Screwcap Initiative (ISI).
Chablis producer Michel Laroche, who, controversially, bottled some of his grand cru wines under screwcap, has been enlisted as European representative of the ISI, while Lorraine Carrigan has been appointed ISI coordinator.

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Olives from Oddbins

Published:  23 July, 2008

Multiple specialist Oddbins is to sell olives throughout its UK stores. More than 3,000 jars - containing a mix of green and kalamata olives marinated in extra virgin olive oil with lemon, coriander, garlic and chilli - will be supplied by Olives Et Al.
Jars of The Oddbins Olive will retail for 3.75 each.

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BrandPhoenix on tour

Published:  23 July, 2008

BrandPhoenix is gearing up to embark on a nationwide tour of Thresher and Wine Rack stores.
The Drive Team Concept will see a team of sales executives touring the country, visiting stores. They will meet Thresher staff and advise on wine education, POS management, pricing and marketing. They will also run consumer wine tastings.
BrandPhoenix director Steve Barton said: We are very excited with the launch of this initiative. Thresher stores offer us a great opportunity to interact with the consumer, enabling them to taste wines from around the world in one place.'

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House of Townend centenary

Published:  23 July, 2008

Wine wholesaler House of Townend has celebrated its centenary with a special lunch. The company was established in 1906 by Jack Townend, who bought his first wine shop in Hull.
The lunch was held at the Willerby Manor hotel in Hull, and current chairman John Townend invited the heads of the 23 family firms in east Yorkshire that are more than 100 years old.

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IWC chairman quits

Published:  23 July, 2008

Robert Joseph has resigned as chairman of the International Wine Challenge (IWC), and former Harpers editor Tim Atkin MW and former Marks & Spencer buyer Sam Harrop MW are joining the Challenge.

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Promoting Pinot

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's like a word-association game: we link certain wine regions with particular grape varieties. For example, Sancerre suggests Sauvignon Blanc; Rioja implies Tempranillo; the Barossa Valley connotes Shiraz; Oregon means Pinot Noir.
Actually, that last pair might provoke an academic response. Many people in the trade have little or no experience of Oregon wine beyond a quick tasting during their WSET qualifications. If pressed to define this US wine region further, vague references to boutique producers', expensive' and inconsistent' may be all that come to mind.

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Footsteps grows

Published:  23 July, 2008

Footsteps, the around the world' wine range from on-trade giant Matthew Clark, has sold more than 25,000 9-litre cases in its first nine months.
Graham Donald, marketing director at Matthew Clark, said: While advertising has played its role, the growth of this wine has largely been on its own merit. With sales growing by
up to 50% a month, the figures speak for themselves.'
The range features distinctive stepped labels with large type. Future plans for the range include the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon in a 175ml format early next year.

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Wyndham launches sparkling Chardonnay

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Pernod Ricard-owned Wyndham Estate is launching
a new Bin 222 Sparkling Chardonnay in the UK, following the success of the Bin 555 Sparkling Shiraz. The new sparkling wine has been launched to meet a growing demand from consumers for premium sparkling wines', a sector currently growing at
8.5% a year.

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Penfolds Bin 60A record

Published:  23 July, 2008

Penfolds has claimed a new Australian record for the
price of a new-release wine.
A six-pack of 2004 Penfolds Bin 60A Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon Kalimna Shiraz set the record when it was sold
for US$4,935 at the recent Christie's Fine and Rare Wines auction in New York.
According to Stewart Langton, managing director of Langton's Fine Wine Auctions, the price of US$822 (A$1,084) per bottle (including buyer's premium of 17.5%) is an Australian record for a new-release wine. He says that up until that point no new-release wine had achieved more than A$1,000 for a 75cl bottle.

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Cellar 21 aims to be eBay' of wine

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new online auction site that aims to sell wine along the lines of eBay hit the Net last month.
Twickenham-based Cellar 21 aims to match up consumer buyers with mostly trade sellers (who must comply with the new Licensing Act).
Cellar 21's Michael Phelps commented: For a small fee, you can list any item for other auction users to bid on. You may want to dispose of bin ends or stock that you are finding hard to sell through your usual channels, or you may want to create a new, inexpensive sales channel for all of your products.'
Visit www.cellar21.com for more details.

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Phillips: Oz won't stop at 30%

Published:  23 July, 2008

Despite the margin and oversupply pressures gripping the industry, Australia will bounce back and reach a 30% share of the UK wine market by value in five years and then keep going and going', according to John Phillips, UK managing director of Australia's largest wine company, FGL Wine Estates.
I'm a Californian, but I think that Australia will reach 30% of the UK market five years from now. It's already on around 24% by value, and I can see it getting more than 1% growth year on year,' said Phillips.

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Abramovich shows interest in three Montalcino estates

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Russian tsar of petrol is set to spend a fortune buying his way into the world of Brunello. Having been turned down by Castello Banfi, he has entered into negotiations with Argiano, Col d'Orcia and Il Poggione.

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Carson and Beadles ready to take the helm at WSTA

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) will complete its rebirth' early this year, with Christopher Carson - non-executive chairman and former CEO of Constellation Europe - expected to take the position of chairman, alongside the Association's recently appointed chief executive
Jeremy Beadles.

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Washington adds wine district

Published:  23 July, 2008

Washington State gains its eighth official wine district following the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau's designation of the Wahluke Slope as an American Viticultural Area (AVA).
The new area will be the fifth subregion of the well-recognised Columbia Valley appellation and, with more than 5,000 acres under vine, will represent close to a fifth of the state's overall production, supporting the nation's second-largest wine region.
Warmer temperatures and earlier ripening are among the reasons for this development, and the Columbia River to the west and south and wildlife refuges on the east and north provide natural definitions to the appellation.
Wahluke Slope is one of the state's premier wine-growing regions, and government approval will allow the industry to differentiate itself,' says Robin Pollard of the Washington Wine Commission.

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Product news

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sweeter way to pop
Champagne Pommery Elixir NV is the latest addition to the UK from the second-largest Champagne house. It's a sweeter style (Sec) than the Brut Royal NV and is primarily on-trade focused. Sara Hicks of Vranken Pommery Monopole comments: By introducing the Elixir Sec to the UK market, we feel we can truly say that Pommery has the right Champagne for every occasion.' Percy Fox and Justerini & Brooks represent Pommery in the UK.

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