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Majestic results again

Published:  23 July, 2008

The picture emerging from Britain's high streets is of a mixed Christmas and New Year. While some companies are reporting better-than-expected like-for-like sales compared with 2004, others have issued profits warnings, and there are fears that business in the first few days of the New Year have been very slow. Majestic Wine, however, did better than most by increasing its like-for-like sales by 5.2% in the nine weeks from 1 November to 2 January.

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The Aus-thentic experience

Published:  23 July, 2008

Paul Henry, general manager of Wine Australia, introduces the 2006 Australia Day Tastings, Authentic Australia': It is every country's desire to populate the wine market with democratising brands, as well as compelling reasons to trial and trade up. The search for a profitable mix that uniquely balances accessibility with interest is a challenge, and one that Australia seeks to deliver above all other categories. It
can do so by representing itself as a broad and inclusive producer that seeks to champion quality and excitement, whatever the price point. That is what is meant by Authentic Australia.

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Screwcap initiative goes global

Published:  23 July, 2008

The New Zealand Screwcap Initiative has decided to encompass the world and form the International Screwcap Initiative (ISI).
Chablis producer Michel Laroche, who, controversially, bottled some of his grand cru wines under screwcap, has been enlisted as European representative of the ISI, while Lorraine Carrigan has been appointed ISI coordinator.

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Happy anniversary

Published:  23 July, 2008

Time and place
New Zealand Annual Trade Tasting 2006
Lord's Cricket Ground, London NW1
Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January
10am-5pm
Contact Alison Power at New Zealand Winegrowers
020 7973 8079

Event info
This year's tasting will feature a selection of gold medal-winning wines from the Air New Zealand Wine awards, while central varietal tables will focus on aromatics, red blends and Syrahs. On Tuesday 17 at 3.30pm, a seminar titled New Zealand Syrah - New World Fruit and Old World Structure', looking at viticultural and vinicultural influences and Hawkes Bay's dominance with Syrah, will be held in the Lord's Media Centre. Speakers include Steve Smith of Craggy Range, Kate Ormond of Te Mata, Anna-Barbara Helliwell of Unison, and Ronan Sayburn, executive head sommelier at Gordon Ramsay restaurants in London. Call Alison Power on the above number to reserve your seat.

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Oeneo goes supercritical

Published:  23 July, 2008

Oeneo - the French-owned closure company formerly known as Sabat - has opened a plant capable of mass-producing Diam, the world's only taint-free' cork-based closure.

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Hospital cases

Published:  23 July, 2008

The significance of the 145th Hospices de Beaune auction on Saturday and Sunday 19-20 November was wider than that of its historic role as a predictor of the price trend for the most recent vintage. As in Bordeaux, so in Burgundy, 2005 is being hailed as an exceptionally high-quality vintage, while this year the auction was being conducted by Christie's and opened to private buyers for the first time. The auction prices - which have been an accurate predictor of the general trend in 12 of the past 13 years - were therefore anticipated even more keenly than usual.

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Goliath in the Cellar

Published:  23 July, 2008

Constellation Europe's premium wine division, Cellar Door, has confirmed that it will add Rex Goliath, the California wine brand acquired last month by Constellation Brands, to its portfolio.

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Argentina must beware the Malbec pigeonhole

Published:  23 July, 2008

Paul Hobbs, the consultant winemaker best known for developing Argentinian Malbec for the likes of Nicolas Catena, has warned that Argentina is in danger of concentrating too much of its effort on the Malbec grape variety.

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Canadian club

Published:  23 July, 2008

Picture something quintessentially Canadian. For many people, that prompt either draws a complete blank or it connotes polar bears, the Inuit (formerly known as Eskimos) and perhaps ice hockey. But vineyards and barrel-lined cellars don't fit among those frosty symbols. Wine is not really a Canadian emblem. At least not in the public mind. Informed oenophiles and members of the drinks trade, however, recognise Canada as the world's largest source of, appropriately enough, Icewine.

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MMD in Piedmont

Published:  23 July, 2008

MMD has taken on the UK agency for Pio Cesare, a family-run producer of Piedmont wines.
Pio Cesare is managed by fourth generation, Pio Boffa, who commented: With our 52 hectares of vineyards in Barolo and Barbaresco, we embrace both traditional and more modern winemaking and also produce a range of single-vineyard wines from Barolo and Barbaresco.' A full range of Pio Cesare wines is now available from MMD, including Gavi, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco.

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LFE moves into San Antonio

Published:  23 July, 2008

Chilean producer, Via Luis Felipe Edwards (LFE) has purchased 162 hectares of land in the Leyda Valley sub zone of the recently discovered San Antonio Valley.
Located 10 kilometres from the Pacific Coast, the new vineyards will be planted predominantly with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with smaller plots of Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Riesling. Planting of the first 60 hectares will commence in 2006, with the first harvest anticipated in 2009.

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Musgrave brings together Budgens and Londis

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Musgrave Group, Ireland's largest grocery distributor,
is close to completing the complete integration of the
beer, wines and spirits operations of its Budgens and Londis
retail outlets.

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Escarpment joins Seckford

Published:  23 July, 2008

Seckford Wine Agencies has added New Zealand's Escarpment range to its portfolio. Escarpment is made by Larry McKenna, former chief winemaker and general manager at Martinborough vineyard. The range consists of a Pinot Gris (RSP 8.99) and a Pinot Noir (RRP 14.99).

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Laroche and AXA buy L'Avenir

Published:  23 July, 2008

Michel Laroche, the Chablis-based producer with interests that span the globe, has bought high-profile South African estate L'Avenir.

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Going Deutsch

Published:  23 July, 2008

I think UK consumers are absolutely ready for German wines. In fact, they already prefer them - they just don't know it yet.' With these bold words, Nicky Forrest of Phipps PR puts the
case for a Teutonic revival. Phipps was appointed UK agent for the German Wine Institute in 1998, and Nicky has been directly involved ever since. Yet, given a history of year-on-year decline and margins cut to the bone, as well as the level of ingrained prejudice among consumers and the trade, she and her company face one hell of a challenge.

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The new dynamic duo

Published:  23 July, 2008

When Warren Adamson was starting as an apprentice in worsted spinning at Feltex Yarns in New Zealand, Fernando Ferr was graduating from the Universidad Catlica Argentina with a business administration degree.

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Western and DGB end distribution agreement

Published:  23 July, 2008

Western Wines will no longer handle the distribution of the Bellingham and Douglas Green South African brands, following DGB's decision to open a UK office to handle distribution and marketing for these brands.

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Tokara breaks out

Published:  23 July, 2008

The first vintages of Tokara wines - owned by South African merchant banker GT Ferreira - will be launched in the UK, with an on-trade focus, at Wines of South Africa's Mega Tasting on 11 & 12 October.

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South Africa goes Mega

Published:  23 July, 2008

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is holding its Mega Tasting, aimed at the pan-European market, on Tuesday 11 October and Wednesday 12 October at Old Billingsgate Market, which looks on to the River Thames. More than 200 producers will be taking part, representing boutique vintners, corporates, cooperatives, garagistes and ngociants. Focusing on the Cape's biodiversity and the effect this has on the country's wines, and including a range of themed tastings, this event is set to be one of the biggest generic national tastings ever presented by a wine-producing country. For more information, call Sophie Waggett on 020 8947 7171 or e-mail her at sophie@winesofsa.com

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South Africa has massive problem' with on-trade

Published:  23 July, 2008

For on-trade buyers, South Africa is only good for cheap entry-point wines, predominately Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, according to Andy Bayley and John Graves, sales and marketing director and national accounts director respectively for Atlantic Wine Agencies.

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