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Paris tasting recreated

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Judgment of Paris - the 1976 wine tasting that shocked the wine world - is being recreated, 30 years on.
The original event, organised by writer Steven Spurrier, did wonders for the California wine industry when a panel of French wine experts held a blind tasting and declared that the wines from the other side of the Atlantic were as good as, if not better than, the wines from their homeland.
This year's event will take place in two venues: Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, the home of the Rothschild family; and Copia, the Napa Valley-based centre for food, wine
and the arts.
The same wines tasted in 1976 will be tasted again, including the winning 1973 Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and 1970 Chteau Haut-Brion.

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HOT: Wahhab plans steak and Bollywood mix

Published:  23 July, 2008
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Project Cabernet Franc

Published:  23 July, 2008

Interloire, the marketing board for Loire Valley wines from Anjou-Saumur and Touraine, has announced the latest in
a package of measures aimed at raising the profile of Cabernet Franc. Speaking at the 20th Salon des Vins de Loire last week, Suzanne Roussy of Interloire said that, for the first time, Les Rendez-Vous de Fontevraud 2006 will broaden its scope to encompass a sensorial evaluation of Cabernet Franc in addition to Chenin Blanc.

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Hervet leaves Bouchard

Published:  23 July, 2008

Bernard Hervet, the long-standing managing director of top Burgundy producer Bouchard Pre & Fils and William Fvre, is leaving the company with immediate effect.
No reason has been given for his departure after 18 years with the company. Hervet has been replaced by Stphane Follin-Arbelet.
In a statement, the company said: A Burgundian by birth, Stphane Follin-Arbelet joined Bouchard Pre & Fils in 1995, after pursuing scientific and business studies. He knows the great wines of the region very well and has played an important part in the renaissance of Bouchard Pre & Fils and William Fvre over the past 11 years.'
Hervet was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

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Test-purchasing failure rate down at Christmas

Published:  23 July, 2008

The results for the Home Office's Christmas Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign (AMEC) showed a marked improvement regarding sales to underage drinkers. Around
29% of on-licences and 19% of off-licences were found to be selling alcohol to minors. The failure for supermarkets fell the furthest, from 50% in last summer's campaign to 17%.
WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles welcomed the result. We recognise that there is still a long way to go before we achieve our aim of seeking to eliminate underage sales by the end of 2006,' he said, but this is good start.'

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Keo moves to Ehrmanns

Published:  23 July, 2008

Ehrmanns is pleased to announce a new distribution agreement with Keo for its range of Cypriot wines in the United Kingdom and Ireland, effective from 6 March.
The new distribution arrangement ends Keo's long association with Constellation Europe and, prior to that, Grants of St James's Wines.
Ehrmanns' commercial director Nick Day commented: After working with the brand for many years at Grants of St James's Wines, I'm well acquainted with the range and customer base. We will be concentrating our efforts on sales and marketing for a range that includes Othello, Aphrodite, Thisbe, St Panteleimon and Commandaria St John.'

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Cellaret buys Wine Portfolio

Published:  23 July, 2008

Fine-wine merchant The Cellaret has bought the importing and wholesale company Wine Portfolio.
The Cellaret's business is based on some agencies and selling fine wine to private clients, whereas Wine Portfolio concentrates on the on-trade. Ray Dutton, managing director of the combined company, said the two companies are a perfect match, with virtually no overlap at all'.
Jeremy Randall, formerly managing director of Wine Portfolio, will join the board of the combined company. All other staff have been retained. The Cellaret has also moved its London base to the Wine Portfolio offices in Farringdon.

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Austria attacks mid-market

Published:  23 July, 2008

Having successfully targeted the high-end on-trade, Austrian producers and their UK agents are increasingly looking to sell greater volumes of wine at mid-market price levels.
Wines designed to be sold at between 5.99 and 9.99 were in abundance at last week's generic Austrian tasting, with the launch of a number of new brands created with the UK consumer in mind.

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Sutcliffe: fake wine a cloud of shame'

Published:  23 July, 2008

Serena Sutcliffe MW, head of Sotheby's international wine department, has warned that the number of investment-
grade wines being faked is ready to explode'.
In her speech Wines at Auction: Comparing the US and UK Markets', given at the Wine Invest 2006 conference held in London last week, she outlined how the sheer density of wealth' in New York, which she called the hub' of the international fine-wine market, has led to huge prices being fetched by the most prestigious wines, which in turn has created a rash of counterfeit bottles that she described as the cloud of shame' hanging over the wine trade.

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Wine Cellar after Threshers?

Published:  23 July, 2008

Thresher Group has allegedly rebuffed a takeover offer from its smaller rival, Wine Cellar.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Wine Cellar's owner, Maryland Securities, approached Terra Firma Capital, owners of the Thresher Group, with an offer in the region of 150 to 200 million', significantly lower than the 245 million Terra Firma paid for Thresher Group in 2000. The Daily Telegraph story reports that Terra Firma rejected the offer believing it significantly undervalues the company'.
Wine Cellar has just 100 shops, compared to Thresher Group's 2,000 plus.
Thresher Group has been busy restructuring its business under Terra Firma's control, and it now trades under three brands: Threshers, The Local and Wine Rack. It also recently snapped up 200 shops from the defunct Unwins chain.
Thresher Group declined to comment on the story.

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Loire producers move to screwcap

Published:  23 July, 2008

Screwcapped wines were strongly in evidence at this year's Salon de Vins de Loire. Hitherto, screwcaps have made little impression in the Loire, being used only by the large companies at the cheaper end of their ranges.

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Quality Drink Awards 2006 Nominations Brochure

Published:  23 July, 2008

Quality Drink Awards 2006 Nominations Brochure

To enter the Quality Drink Awards 2006, download the Nominations Brochure here, complete and return to awards co-ordinator Nancy Mok by 31 March 2006.

Email: nancy.mok@nexusmedia.com

Fax: 01322 616 375

Post: Nancy Mok, Quality Drink Awards, Nexus Media Communications, Media House, Azalea Drive, Swanley, Kent BR8 8HU

This item is downloadable as a PDF document both on this page and on the homepage www.harperswinespirit.com. Click on the banner on the left hand side under the navigation menu

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Mid-strength Guinness to launch in Ireland

Published:  23 July, 2008

Diageo will unveil a mid-strength' version of Guinness stout later this year.
The new brew, which is 2.8% proof, as opposed to the regular 4.2%, will go on sale across Ireland, but there are no plans as yet to launch in the UK.
Diageo Ireland's marketing manager Paul Norris said: Guinness Mid-Strength now offers drinkers the opportunity to reduce their intake of alcohol while still enjoying the great taste of Guinness. In our consumer research, response to the product was extremely positive, with most people unable to distinguish between Guinness Draught and Guinness Mid-Strength.'
A private tasting was held at Diageo's St James's Gate HQ, where staff at The Irish Times noted that the new product was slightly thinner than the old one, but it didn't like to swear'. The newspaper also noted that a lighter version of Guinness was launched in the late 1970s: Guinness Light. The product was not a success and was dubbed the HMS Titanic of stout' by the publication.

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Allied makes an impact on Pernod results

Published:  23 July, 2008

In the half-year to the end of December, Pernod Ricard's
sales totalled e3.26bn (about 2.25bn) - an increase of 66.7%, due, in the main, to last year's merger with Allied Domecq. Organic growth of 4.5% was better than expected, and this figure was as high as 13.2% in Asian markets, where the French group had traditionally been weak prior to the takeover of Seagram four years ago.

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Winecorp teams up with Cape Coastal Vintners

Published:  23 July, 2008

Winecorp, the South African producer behind the Spier, Longridge and Dumisani brands, has entered into an agreement with Cape Coastal Vintners, a consortium of South African wine producers and investors, to form a new consolidated' company.

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Extra special

Published:  23 July, 2008

Arthur Rackham Emporia (table 40)
Arthur Rackham Emporia is a second-generation wine merchant based in Guildford, with a wine-and-spirit-agency business complementing the traditional wine merchant. Over the past 10 years, it has been awarded The International Wine & Spirit Competition Trophy twice: first for the outstanding quality' of its wine and spirit list, the only time this trophy has been awarded, and in 2004 as European Spirit Buyer of the Year.

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Stich leaves Kendermann

Published:  23 July, 2008

Liz Stich, export director, Europe and overseas, at Germany's Reh Kendermann, is leaving the company after nine years. Stich will take up a new position as MD Europe, Middle East and Africa for Australian winery Cumulus Wines from 1 April.
Liz Stich said: I have spent a fantastic period with Reh Kendermann, seeing the company grow from strength to strength, and I have had the privilege of travelling to well over 30 of the 52 markets we deal with. I have also had the privilege of building up a unique team of colleagues dealing with all aspects of sales and marketing in the company.
A new appointment to the position of export director will be announced shortly.

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Champagne walk

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Vintners' Company is organising a charity walk in Champagne over the weekend of 2-4 June.
The walk will raise money for two alcohol-abuse hostels in London. A minimum of 500 sponsorship per walker buys you supper with Krug and Taittinger, breakfast with Veuve Clicquot and pit stops with Pol Roger and Louis Roederer. For more details, contact Kate Marshall on 020 7236 1863 or catherine@vintnershall.co.uk

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Obituaries: Branimir Vitkovitch dies at 84

Published:  23 July, 2008

Branimir Vitkovitch, head of Vitkovitch Brothers - the specialist importer of wines, spirits and liqueurs from the countries of former Yugoslavia - died, aged 84, on 22 January after a brief illness.
Vitkovitch, an officer in the 33rd British Field Artillery Division during World War II, took over the family business from his father in 1956. In 1970, Vitkovitch Brothers became a major supplier of own-label wines and, in particular, Laski Rizling.
In the 1980s, Vitkovitch directed his attentions towards sourcing good-quality red varietals from the areas of Yugoslavia that have since become known as Serbia and Montenegro.
Chairman of the Yugoslav Importers Committee during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Vitkovitch was a significant force behind increased quality and consistency in Yugoslav wines.
Angela Vitkovitch has inherited her father's business and will run the company.

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New corked-wine cure'

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new compny called Platinum Wine claims to have designed
a Platinum Cartridge' that removes TCA from corked wines by bonding the TCA molecules on to a silica matrix'.
The matrix sits inside a disposable cartridge, which is designed to fit inside a special hand-blown decanter'. Price details are unavailable at present. Visit www.pt-wine.co.uk for more information.

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