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Scotch Sherry winners

Published:  23 July, 2008

Chef-and-wine-waiter duo Craig Sandle and James O'Donnell, from the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, won the Copa Jerez on 20 February - the live cook-off and Sherry-pairing contest.
They will now go forward to the Sherry World Cup', or International Copa Jerez, to compete against teams from other key Sherry markets, including the US, Spain and Germany, and to be judged by Spain's top chef, Ferran Adria.
Second place went to James Lui and Debbie Thornton from the British Army Culinary Arts Team, Hampshire, followed in third by Matt Simon and Darren Stanford of Avenance, London's Deutschebank restaurant.

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Delegat's wins Oyster Bay battle

Published:  23 July, 2008

Delegat's has finally secured control of fellow New Zealand winery Oyster Bay Marlborough vineyards after a protracted takeover battle.
Delegat's had to almost double its original takeover offer of NZ$3.10 to NZ$6 a share, with the takeover taking around nine months from offer to completion. Delegat's owned 33% of Oyster Bay prior to its takeover offer and became embroiled in a bidding war with fellow shareholder Peter Yeatlands for control of the company.
Delegat's is New Zealand's third-largest producer and is fully owned by the Delegat family. The company is now expected to list on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, with an estimated value of around NZ$220m-375m.
The Delegat family is expected to sell down its holding to 65%.

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New distribution for Hayman

Published:  23 July, 2008

Hayman Distillers has outsourced the distribution of three of its brands - Hayman's 1820 Gin Liqueur, Kerenski Chocolate Vodka and La Chica Tequila - to Malcolm Cowen.
Hayman Distillers has also appointed Happening UK to carry out sampling activity of Hayman's 1820 in the on-trade across the UK.

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Halewood restructure

Published:  23 July, 2008

Halewood International, the independent drinks manufacturer and distributor, is planning an overhaul of its wine business, by relaunching and developing Chali Richards as its fine-wine division.
Bob Rishworth takes on the role of managing Chali Richards and is charged with strategically reviewing the business. The fundamentals are in place. Chali Richards will operate as a stand-alone business, with the logistical and brand-building strengths of Halewood International to call upon as we look to grow the business,' commented Rishworth.
According to a statement, the new strategy will be to maintain the historic reputation and authenticity of Chali Richards, subsequently adding value by implementing a brand-led philosophy, which is needed in the current market. Developing business with current partners will be a priority, followed by the recruitment of new agencies determined to do what is necessary to succeed in the UK.'

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HwCg gathers Neqtar

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new global drinks company headed up by the HwCg team was launched this week, aiming to supply and market fruit and vegetable juices as well as wine.
The company has been formed as a result of HwCg acquiring SDS, the Australian-based wine and juice producer, late last year.

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Obituaries: Colin Loxley

Published:  23 July, 2008

Colin Loxley passed away of lung cancer, aged 59, on 16 February in Guys Hospital. He was not widely known in the wine trade, but he was much respected for his professionalism and loyalty by those who knew him and worked with him.
My business partner for more than 30 years, Colin served as managing director of various firms, including Europa Foods and Bretzel Foods, trading as The Market and Le Provencal. The most high-profile company that he led was Winecellars, the pioneer Italian quality wine-importing firm that worked out of a warehouse in Wandsworth between 1986 and 1994, when the company was sold to Enotria (now Enotria Winecellars). At the time of his death, Colin was active as MD of Vinexus Ltd,
the Italian fine wine-brokerage firm in Islington.

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Obituaries: Philip Macgregor

Published:  23 July, 2008

Philip Macgregor died suddenly on 9 February from a ruptured aortic aneurysm following a collapse while tutoring a wine class two evenings earlier. He had recently recovered from successful cancer surgery. He was 64.
Philip worked all his life in the wine trade since spending an inspirational six months in Bordeaux when he was 18. He worked for various large trade companies, including the Bass group and Grants of St James's, where he was a training manager. In the 1980s and early '90s he worked in wine-bar management for Hollands and then Champers in London W1, as well as Berkmann's Le Nez Rouge wine club.
His love of communication made him a natural wine educator, and he was one of the earliest members of the Association of Wine Educators.
His funeral will be held in early March. Further details can be obtained from Sandy Leckie of the Wine Education Service on 020 8991 8213.

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Madeira auction success

Published:  23 July, 2008

One of the largest Madeira auctions in the UK for many years was 100% sold at Christie's South Kensington on Monday 20 February. The consignment of 176 lots was from an avid private collector who had amassed them over many years, and it included the full range of styles and vintages, as well as some exceptionally rare single bottles.
In addition to wines from the four noble' varieties, there were Bastardo, Terrantez and Tinta Negra Mole; and in addition to Vintage wines were increasingly scarce Soleras, described by Michael Broadbent MW at the pre-sale masterclass tasting
on 25 January as grossly undervalued: Vintage is generally more expensive than Solera, and presumed to be superior. In my experience, it's precisely the opposite.'

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Adamas seeks partners

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new Burgundy brand, Adamas (Greek for diamond'), has been launched in the UK by recently established Beaune-based ngociant La Nouvelle Alliance (LNA).
Speaking to Harpers at the launch in London on 23 February, LNA's Franco-Scottish co-founders Manol Bouchet and Dan Connolly said that they had already secured several distribution agreements around the world and were looking for regional wholesalers with whom to work on an exclusive basis in the UK.
They have linked up with Wine Services to cover the London market and Inverarity Vaults for Fife in Scotland. Abroad, they have gained listings with Discovery Wines in Bermuda, Duty Free in Singapore and, most recently, the Swedish state monopoly.

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Letters: A question of taste

Published:  23 July, 2008

I don't know whether to laugh or cry over the news that Nicolas prints Parker points on shelf barkers in its French outlets (Harpers, Grand Jury Europen', 20 January and 3 February). No one can deny that Parker has a palate, and it ain't European, let alone French, so it is difficult to see the value added by this gesture for French consumers.

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Carmel joins Vini Italia

Published:  23 July, 2008

Carmel Winery, Israel's largest, has appointed Vini Italia as
its importer and distributor in the UK.
The two companies are setting up Carmel Winery UK, a subsidiary of Vini Italia, to distribute Carmel wines and Handcrafted Wines of Israel, a collection of Israel's boutique wineries.
Carmel is the first non-Italian member of the Vini Italia portfolio.

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Taste of Tunisia

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new company importing Tunisian wine has been set up in Manchester.
The Tunisian Wine Company will import wines from Les Vignerons de Carthage, which is based in the Mornag appellation and produces around 25,000 bottles a year.
Commercial export manager Becem Ben Cheikh told Harpers that the company was bracing itself for 2008, when the blanket ban on wine imports will be lifted in Tunisia.

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McIntosh goes to BDV

Published:  23 July, 2008

Bodegas Dinasta Vivanco in Briones, La Rioja - the project launched by the Vivanco family that encompasses two wineries, the Museum of the Culture of Wine and an international Foundation - has appointed Robert McIntosh as its representative in the UK and Ireland.
McIntosh had previously worked with Dinasta Vivanco's UK importers Bibendum Wine Ltd for three years as a trade marketer.
Dinasta Vivanco will be on Bibendum's stand at the Wines from Spain event and will be showing the 2002 Dinasta Vivanco Crianza, as well as the Reserva 1998.

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Thierry's comes out fighting

Published:  23 July, 2008

Thierry's, the single biggest UK importer of French wine, has three new brands to fight the challenge of the New World.
Peter Darbyshire, MD of Thierry's, said that the company was planning a pincer movement' against the New World, and that French wine needed to reinvent itself by using the best components of the New World to compete.
The first brand, Terra Vecchia (RRP 4.49), includes Chardonnay/Vermentino and Merlot/Nielluccio blends, both from Corsica.

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HOT: So say the critics...

Published:  23 July, 2008

+ Canteen
All the good things about the food of England's past and none of the bad. They sell Horlicks, for crying out loud' - Giles Coren, The Times
The stuff at Canteen is as true a plate of bright grub as you'll find' - AA Gill, The Sunday Times
If this is a trend - eating casual but classy British food when you feel like it - I'm all for it' -
Terry Durack, The Independent on Sunday

- ANNEX 3
Duck Confit had been cooked so long that most of the meat seemed to have given up and gone home' - Fay Maschler, The Evening Standard
You want to know about the food? Really? Baby, food is the last thing I would come here for' - Marina O'Loughlin, Metro
A white-knuckle ride through a junk shop of exuberant bad taste' - Tracey MacLeod, The Independent

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The Interview: Benjamin Furst, Co-owner, The Sussex Wine Company, Eastbourne

Published:  23 July, 2008

Where did your interest in wine come from? Does it run in the family?
Wine was present at many of our meals when we were growing up - Chteau Musar was one I remember. Mostly, though, I think my passion for wine has come through my love of food and from a friend of my father's who is wine nuts, too.

You're a Scotsman. How did you find yourself in Eastbourne?
It was a natural progression - from Oddbins in Glasgow through to specialist merchants in London, then completing my WSET Diploma. After 15 years of selling wines for other merchants, my wife Georgie and I wanted to make the jump for ourselves.
So we started looking for somewhere with potential, a growing marketplace not saturated with high-street wine names.

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Mason flavour

Published:  23 July, 2008

Chris Mason has been a man of the drinks world for more than 30 years. When he eventually decides to quit the booze-selling game, he will be drawing pensions from Pernod Ricard, Allied Domecq and Bacardi. Had it been the type of company that thought about pensions', he could have added Seagram to the list. As he says, It's only Diageo that's missing for a full set.'
As so often in the drinks trade, it very nearly didn't work out that way. Had it not been for the antisocial hours, Mason could well be appearing in the pages of Property Week or The Builder, rather than Harpers. It was rugby that saved him from the social-pariah status of his first proper job as an estate agent. I played a lot in those days,' Mason says, and, though I wasn't afraid of working long hours, I didn't want to work on Saturday afternoons. But you can't be an estate agent without working on Saturday afternoons.'

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Small regions, big story

Published:  23 July, 2008

For a wine produced by a co-op in a region little known in the UK outside of the trade and wine enthusiasts, it is quite a result: Via Bajoz's Cao brand, from the DO of Toro in Castilla y Len, sold 13,000 six-bottle cases in Tesco during a single week last month.
The main reason for this sales spike was, as always, a hard-and-fast discount that saw the retail price fall from 4.49 to 2.99 for the blend of Garnacha and Tinta de Toro (the local version of Tempranillo). A general Tesco promotion that gave a further 20% discount on any six-bottle cases coincided with the Cao promotion, meaning bulk buyers could have a bottle for as little as 2.38.
Price, however, doesn't tell the whole story. Cao's success is also about PR. As Ben Smith, who runs Bibendum's PR department, explains: I sent out a couple of bottles to
the major newspaper journalists, and the response was fantastic.

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No Spain, no gain

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Spanish tasting is once again setting up residence at London's Old Billingsgate (EC3), although there will be a new format for 2006, with both the Importers Fair and Exporters Fair taking place under the same roof. Held on 8 March and running from 9.30am to 6pm, the fair will feature the wines from 50 importers and 30 bodegas seeking representation, as well as a themed tasting area - New Wave Spanish Wines: Top 106 - and a tutored tasting led by Jancis Robinson MW entitled Cutting Edge Wines from Spain.
Members of the trade or press interested in attending should call 020 7409 0494 or e-mail celine@spearcommunications.co.uk

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In like gin

Published:  23 July, 2008

When it comes to making cocktails, vodka is a damp squib. Gin is much cooler,' insists Jamie Walker, global ambassador for Bombay Sapphire. Vodka is like alcoholic tofu,' he continues. It doesn't have any character of its own - it just takes on the flavour of the mixers.' Walker, of course, has a vested interest in slamming the UK's biggest-selling spirit, but before he teamed up with Bombay Sapphire, he consulted
on the cocktail lists for some of London's leading bars, and his frank boredom with vodka and enthusiasm for gin is a feeling that is creeping up on bartenders across the capital.

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