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U-turn on pension investments

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK wine merchants were dealt a nasty surprise this week when Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that fine wine investments would not be subject to tax relief when included in Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).

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SA winery owner killed

Published:  23 July, 2008

The owner of South African winery Veenwouden was shot dead last week in what appears to have been a family dispute.
Deon van der Walt, 47, who was based in Switzerland, and a highly successful opera singer, was found with a gunshot wound to the chest at the estate, which is outside Paarl. The body of his father, Charles, was found nearby, with a gunshot wound to the temple.

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Drink the best from the writers' cellars

Published:  23 July, 2008

Harpers has teamed up with wine trade charity The Wine and Spirit Trades' Benevolent Society to offer readers the exclusive chance to bid for a case of fine wines selected by
a panel of leading journalists from their very own cellars.

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Shaw's eponymous range

Published:  23 July, 2008

Former Rosemount winemaker Philip Shaw is to launch an eponymous range of wines at next year's Australia Day Tastings.

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2005 and all that

Published:  23 July, 2008

2005 will probably be best remembered for the arrival of 24-hour drinking in the UK. But along with the consolidation express continuing to whistle through the trade, wine terrorists making their presence felt in France and the rise and fall of SIPPs, there's been plenty of other headlines.
David Williams reviews the year as it appeared in Harpers
Licensing
As well as being historic, the decision to introduce 24-hour drinking was also, depending on who you spoke to, the beginning of the end of civilisation, the dawn of a continental-style drinking culture or an unnecessarily complicated botch job. Time will tell which of the first two analyses is more correct, although Harpers inclines to the view that the smaller the window of drinking opportunity, the bigger the binge - and, as far as we're aware, all hell did not break loose on 24 November when the act came into force.

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Treasure the island

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tragedy may be too strong a word, but it is certainly a sad irony, a missed opportunity, a shame: even restaurants that proudly splash the sauce madre over the pigeon and the sauce Prigueux over the quail, even restaurants that have AA and Michelin stars and have won awards for the best wine list
in the UK often don't have even a bottle of 5-, 10- or 15-year-old Bual or Malmsey on that list, let alone one of the exciting new Colheitas or thrilling venerable Soleras or Vintages. A great range of wines, of astonishing complexity, intensity, longevity and personality, is relegated to a sweetener for demi-glace.

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Rum producer backs Flintoff testimonial

Published:  23 July, 2008

He is the hot favourite for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, and Andrew Freddie' Flintoff got his hands on another trophy - The Cockspur Cup - when the rum producer signed up as a partner for the all-rounder's testimonial year in 2006. The cup goes to the winner of the English Cricket Board's national knockout competition, and Cockspur is on course for a 500,000 investment in the English game. The brand is represented in the UK by Halewood International.

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Butler tipped to purchase Lanson

Published:  23 July, 2008

Butler Capital Partners is believed to be on the verge of buying Champagne house Lanson International. A report in French newspaper Les Echos claimed that private-equity firm Butler will pay e520 million for the company, which would cover Lanson's e400-million debt. Lanson is owned by the Mora family (56% share) and savings bank Caisses d'Espargne (44%).
If Butler is unsuccessful, then French entrepreneur Jean-Claude Darmon looks the likely winner, after the third bidder - Champagne group Boizel Chanoine Champagne - was eliminated. Its bid was some 25% lower than the other two. Some 15 companies were originally in the running to buy Lanson, including Champagne company Group Thinot.
Lanson was unavailable for comment this week.

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Lord's tops Harpers tasting test averages

Published:  23 July, 2008

Lord's Cricket Ground is the best venue in the UK for tastings, and the annual generic shindigs of Wines of Chile and Wines of South Africa are the best single events, according to a poll of tastings organisers and attendees conducted by Harpers.

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Bordeaux squares up

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Bordeaux seminar held as part of the Renaissance of the French Vineyard event - the two-day festival of food and wine at Raymond Blanc's Manoir aux Quat' Saisons on 21-22 November - addressed some of the most urgent questions relating to the world's largest fine-wine region.

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Questions remain over SIPPs reform

Published:  23 July, 2008

HM Revenue & Customs has still not released full details of the proposed changes to self-invested pension portfolios (SIPPs) - which will allow fine wine to be included in a portfolio (and be eligible for tax relief) - despite the new laws expected to come into force by April.

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Quintassential for the future

Published:  23 July, 2008

A grandfather's rusty old megaphone stuffed unceremoniously into the hedge of a quinta that had to be sold in the battle for survival - a poignant reminder of the bleak postwar years when the Port trade itself almost went under. But when the Symingtons recovered the megaphone in 1998, Dow's bicentennial year, they had bought back the estate, Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira, that Dow's had been forced to sell in 1954. They had already purchased (in 1989) and renovated the huge historic estate on the opposite south bank of the Douro Superior - Quinta do Vesuvio - and in 1999, three of the younger Symington partners took on the neighbouring Quinta do Vale de Malhadas. In the five years since then (2000-04), Symington Family Estates has invested a further e36 million in major capital projects.

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Cava for Cavendish

Published:  23 July, 2008

Edward Cavendish & Sons is making its first move into Spanish wine with the addition of the premium Cavas from the house of Nadal to its portfolio.
Sourced from the Cava heartlands of Penedes, the three-strong range - Nadal Brut, Nadal Rosado Brut and 2000 Nadal Brut Especial Gran Reserva - range in price from 8.99 to 9.99.

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Hallgarten extends in Oz

Published:  23 July, 2008

Following Hallgarten's decision to end its distribution of the wine from Beelgara and invest in fellow Australian company Berton Vineyards, the distributor has announced that it is restructuring its Australian range.

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Don't shave me', say ad chiefs

Published:  23 July, 2008

Blavod Extreme Spirits, which produces a black vodka, has been forced to amend its first-ever national TV advertising campaign, after an industry watchdog objected to the words shave me'.

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Champagne grower plants vineyard in Hants

Published:  23 July, 2008

After years of speculation and rumour, a Champagne producer has finally taken the plunge and planted a vineyard in southern England. But it's a small grower from Avize and not a well-known house that has made the first move, planting 3 hectares (ha) of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir near Hambledon in Hampshire.

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Montana to join Orlando stable

Published:  23 July, 2008

Montana - New Zealand's bestselling wine brand, accounting for more than 50% of the country's production - will be taken under the control of Australia's Orlando Wyndham group following Diageo's decision not to exercise its option to buy the company.

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Armit leaves The Bunch hanging

Published:  23 July, 2008

Armit, formerly known as John Armit Wines, has decided to withdraw from The Bunch, the trade group of independent merchants, and it will not be taking part in the forthcoming press tasting in January.

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Global warming and wine

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Wine Academy of Spain is organising the first world conference on Global Warming and Wine'. The two-day conference, held 24-25 May 2006 in Barcelona, will feature professors and winemakers from around the globe' to explain what climate change and global warming are and analyse the most immediate and future repercussions'.
Speakers include viticulturalist Dr Richard Smart, Professor Bernard Seguin of the INRA in France and Dr David Smart of UC Davis, California.

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Peter McCombie MW, Consultant, Roast

Published:  23 July, 2008

How did you start devising restaurant wine lists?
Well, I was a bum for a long time and then decided I wanted to work as a buyer. When I figured out there weren't many buying jobs, I went into sales. I originally worked for David Gleave at Wine Cellars, which was then bought by Enotria. That was a great two years. I really like Remo Nardone; he's got a great business.
Other people in the trade are really sniffy about Enotria, but it has loyal staff and customers. Then I went to Bibendum, and then I started this.

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