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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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Wow Portugeezers

Published:  23 July, 2008

What? Annual Tasting of Portuguese Wines
Where? Vinopolis, London SE1 9BU
When? 10.30am to 5.30pm,
Tuesday 14 March
Contact: filipe.neves@icep.pt; tel: 020 7201 6666

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Castel attacks Thresher Group over Unwins shop purchase

Published:  23 July, 2008

Castel, the owner of off-licence chain Oddbins, is considering legal action in the wake of the collapse into administration
of Unwins in the week before Christmas.
The French company alleges that the rapid purchase of
200 Unwins outlets for 4.5m by Threshers was anti-competitive because the deal contained a provision that
the administrator, KPMG, would not sell any of the remaining Unwins outlets to a rival high-street chain, including Oddbins.
Jacques Duley, the managing director of Oddbins, has said that he had wanted to buy between 30 and 40 Unwins shops but had been told by KPMG that there was a specific clause in the Thresher sale agreement barring any such deal.

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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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