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Zinfandel seminar at tasting

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Wine Institute of California is holding a seminar on Zinfandel, the grape variety the sunshine state hails as its own.
The seminar takes place at 9.30am on Thursday, 23 March at the conference centre in the Royal Horticultural Halls, Greycoat Street, London.
At the seminar six vineyard designate Zinfandels will be available to taste to highlight the affect of different terroirs. Camille Seghesio from Seghesio Family Vineyards and Donn Reisen of Ridge will talk through the variety's history and discuss its importance to California's wine industry.
Places are limited so if you wish to attend please email: info@calwine.co.uk.

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Falernia for GWW

Published:  23 July, 2008

Chile's Via Falernia has appointed Great Western Wine as its sole UK distributor.
Based in the Elqui Valley, Falernia proclaims itself Chile's northernmost wine estate'. It produces a range of wines covering all the normal varietal bases, with RSPs of between 4.95 and 9.95.
Falernia won the award for Best Value Wine in Show for its 2004 Carmenre/Syrah at the 2006 Wines of Chile Awards, as well as a gold medal for its 2004 Syrah.

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Glenfiddich promotes conversation

Published:  23 July, 2008

Glenfiddich single malt whisky, distributed in the UK by First Drinks Brands, is investing more than 500,000 in 'Glenfiddich National Conversation Week - a new initiative highlighting the sociable side of the brand'.
The Glenfiddich National Conversation Week, running from 3-9 April, will 'communicate the social attributes of enjoying Glenfiddich with friends' using 'a concentrated week of activity including national advertising, direct marketing and consumer PR'.
'The activities all support the advertising message of
"Inspiring Great Conversation since 1887", to boost sales and awareness of brand,' said Nick Williamson, Glenfiddich brand manager.
Glenfiddich Conversation Week also looks to 'deseasonalise' sales of whisky by ensuring the trade has a reason to support malt whisky outside of the Christmas period.

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Glenrothes malt moves to Maxxium

Published:  23 July, 2008

Cutty Sark International has announced that from 1 April it is switching distribution and marketing of its single malt whisky, The Glenrothes from Gordon & MacPhail to Maxxium in the UK.
Maxxium UK managing director Huw Pennell said: 'We see great potential for The Glenrothes, particularly in the on-trade and within specialist whisky retailers.'
Cutty Sark claims The Glenrothes is one of the fastest growing single malt whisky brands in UK. Following success in the USA and Spain, The Glenrothes Select Reserve launched in the UK in 2005. Maxxium UK will manage the full range of products including The Glenrothes Select Reserve and The Glenrothes Vintages.

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Bottle Green forms JV project with Saatchi

Published:  23 July, 2008

Leeds-based distributor and brand owner Bottle Green is going into a partnership with strategy and creative consultancy Industry @ Saatchi to develop a new wine brand that can create a strong consumer following without having to rely on price'.
The joint venture will probably produce its first product later this year' according to Bottle Green managing director, Jerry Lockspeiser. I heard Vicky Moffat, managing director of Industry @ Saatchi talking about the opportunity to create a really exciting wine brand so I picked up the phone and called her. This partnership is all about mixing our wine knowledge with their branding and creative skills. It's early days yet but I'm confident we can come up with a really exciting brand that can really relate to consumers and excite them. We've already done some interesting stuff with our brands such as PKNT, but there's so much more we could do with wine.'

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The Interview: Benot Allauzen, Head sommelier, The Greenhouse

Published:  23 July, 2008

A total of 2,400 bins is a huge number for any wine list. How do you get to grips with such a large selection?
Well, it takes about two years to become familiar with a collection this size. I was at Morton's previously, which helped me, because a few wines are the same for both lists. But the good thing about The Greenhouse is that it has wines from the New World. I had to move from Morton's to remind myself of the differences between Central Otago and Nelson.

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Club MW: pass or pass?

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) sounds like a scary place. The sort of place that might be surrounded by barbed wire and big, black gates; a darkened building that you can't set foot in without a password and a secret handshake. Not everyone is frightened, however, and plenty of people have tried to climb the walls - more than 2,000 since the first members were admitted in 1953. But there are currently only 250 worldwide who have successfully struggled through the marathon examination, including a four-part theory paper, three-part practical paper and final dissertation, to make it to the other side.

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Portman says, no Beastie

Published:  23 July, 2008

A vodka-based drink which features grinning cartoon spider characters on its packaging has breached the drinks industry Code of Practice, as drawn up the Portman Group.
The products Wee Beastie' and Big Beastie', produced by Inver House Distillers, fell foul of the the Independent Complaints Panel due to concerns that the grinning spider character, which featured prominently on both products and on the website, was both cartoon-like and childlike. It was also concerned that the warning Strictly for over 18s ADULTS ONLY' was likely to have a particular appeal to under 18s.

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Pen launches wine range

Published:  23 July, 2008

Spain's leading wine critic Jos Pen is launching a range of wines in the UK under the brand Pen Selection.
Imported through Surrey-based Latin Wines, the four-strong range consists of a Rueda blanco, a Crianza Rioja tinto, a Ribera del Duero tinto and a Toro tinto.
The wines, which come from bodegas selected by Pen for showing the best price-to-quality ratio', will be distributed worldwide except for in Spain itself. They are expected to retail at between 8 and 14.
Pen publishes the bestselling annual guide to Spanish wine.

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Lamberth and Perry launch new wine company

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new wine company, Crush Wines, headed up by two long-standing members of the wine trade, launched last week.
Crush Wines will specialise in facilitating ex-cellar sales with marketing and sales support.
Managing director Chris Ellis formerly held senior roles at Western Wines and Skalli, while Andrew Lamberth, sales and marketing director, previously held similar roles at Domaine Boyar and PLB.
Lamberth commented: Initial trade responses to our format and ideas have been tremendous. It has been really encouraging to see buyers take us on as suppliers so quickly.'
He added that the lean business structure' allows Crush to deliver real value'.
Full details are expected to follow shortly.

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Global oversupply bites deeper

Published:  23 July, 2008

The problem of global oversupply and the accompanying fierce price competition in key markets is having an ever-greater impact on profitability around the globe.
With Australia and parts of France already deep into a wine downturn, it increasingly appears that South Africa and Chilean producers are also suffering serious economic problems.
Just last week, the South African Wine & Brandy Company (SAWBC) met with a government agricultural committee to ask for increased support to regain a competitive advantage' and warned that it was becoming virtually impossible' for South Africa to compete profitably on price in its two key markets, Germany and the UK. As well as an oversupply of wine
driving a discount culture in supermarkets, the continued strength of the rand has meant margins were low.

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WSTA secures continued use of Customs code

Published:  23 July, 2008

Following six months of negotiations with the European Commission, the WSTA has secured the continued use of the existing 8 Digits Customs Subheadings. The Commission had considered abolishing these codes as part of its simplification of the European Combined Nomenclature.
These codes allow the trade to compare year-on-year production and sales using recognised industry product codes.
WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: This is a good outcome for the trade, which had argued strongly for these customs subheadings to be maintained. We are in favour of simplifying the nomenclature, but there is no point in losing something that is recognised and used by the trade to help monitor performance.'

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Delibo signs Situ

Published:  23 July, 2008

Delibo Fine Wines has signed an agreement with Vina San Esteban to distribute its In Situ range of Chilean wines in
the UK, a range developed specifically for this market.
The winery, located at the eastern edge of the Aconcagua Valley, in central Chile, produces a Reserva range (Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenre, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay) with RSPs of 5.99 and a Winemakers Selection range (Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenre, Syrah and Chardonnay) with RSPs of 7.99.

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PLB unveils new Sicilian brand

Published:  23 July, 2008

PLB has launched a new brand from Sicily. Named Sicilano, it aims to capitalise on positive consumer perception of the Italian island'.
Sealed with a screwcap closure, the four wines will be available at two price points. Nero d'Avola/Shiraz and Chardonnay/Cataratto blends will sit at 3.99, with Nero d'Avola and Grillo varietals priced at 4.99.
Brand manager Paul Shelton commented: Research conducted
by Wine Intelligence identified two important consumers of Italian wines: "Frascati Girl", who knows she likes Italian wines at a certain price points; and "Chianti Connoisseur", who will be attracted by the indigenous varieties. Sicilano will appeal to both.'
The wine is produced by the Firriato winery in Sicily and the labels were designed by the London-based Barlow Doherty design agency.

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Caribbean generic

Published:  23 July, 2008

A group of Caribbean rum producers is launching a generic marketing body.
The West Indian Rum Producers Association (WIRPA) includes the produce of most Caribbean rum producers (with the exception of those in Cuba, Bermuda, Venezuela and the French-speaking islands) and has been funded by the EU as
a result of the phasing out of preferential trading agreements with the region.
The UK arm (it will also operate in selected markets worldwide) will be run by James Stocker. As well as an educational campaign run by the WIRPA itself, companies can apply to the body for funding for their own marketing campaigns.
I want the various island-specific West Indian rums to
be thought of the same way as Scotch malts,' said Stocker.

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Duty stamps launched

Published:  23 July, 2008

After several years of wrangling, arguments and counter-arguments, the Government finally unveiled its anti-fraud weapon, the Duty Stamp, this week.
The duty stamps (pictured) will be required to appear on all bottles of 35cl or above containing spirits of 30% abv or more from 1 October. The Government is asking for all producers, stores or suppliers of spirits to be fully prepared' for the 1 October deadline and to apply to the UK Duty Stamps Scheme immediately in order to give themselves a chance of being ready on time'.

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Champagne pavilion at LIWSF

Published:  23 July, 2008

Six Champagne producers have joined together to create Champagne's first regional generic pavilion at the London International Wine and Spirits Fair (LIWSF).
Exhibiting under the collective banner of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de l'Aisne and l'Agence d'Exportation de Picardie, the six producers are Champagne Dehu, Champagne Baron Albert, Champagne Fleury et Fils, Champagne Serveaux et Fils, Champagne Leclerc-Mondet and Champagne Olivier Pre et Fils. All are located in the Valle de la Marne.
James Murray, LIWSF exhibition director, said he was thrilled on two counts - firstly that the LIWSF is considered by these Champagne producers as the gateway to Europe, and secondly, because this is the first time Champagne producers have taken a generic pavilion at the Fair'.
The 2006 LIWSF will take place at ExCeL, in London's Docklands, from 16 to 18 May.

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Family fortunes

Published:  23 July, 2008

Gallo. Torres. Symington. Rothschild. It's no secret that the wine world is dominated by family businesses. With family ownership comes the advantage of the long-term view: you are looking after your brand for your children and grandchildren, so - in theory at least - you are less likely to throw away brand equity in pursuit of short-run gain. But it can also bring disadvantages, most notably intra-family disagreements and rivalries, in some cases lasting generations (and getting worse as the family tree spreads wider).

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As good as it gets

Published:  23 July, 2008

The California wine grape harvest for 2005 was mind boggling. A record 3.8 million tonnes of wine grapes were crushed, up almost a million tonnes from the 2.81 million tonne crush of 2004. There were rumblings of a large crop as the harvest extended into mid-November, but the final numbers were completely unexpected. It's as if enough grapes had been added to the state's production to create a winery the size of E&J Gallo. Every grape-growing region reported higher tonnage, from premium North Coast vineyards to the Central Valley.

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All that glisters

Published:  23 July, 2008

Once again, the California annual tasting will take place at the Royal Horticultural Halls (London SW1), although for 2006 it has moved to the slightly smaller Lindley Hall. Doors are open from 10.30am to 5.30pm on Thursday 23 March.

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