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Top Merchants seminar, Birmingham, February 2010

Published:  16 May, 2010

The first Top Merchants event held in Birmingham in February revealed a real desire amongst leading indepedents to work closer together and find ways to stand up collectively for themselves, Richard Siddle and Tom Bruce Gardyne reports

 

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Top Merchants criteria and how to enter

Published:  03 May, 2010

Criteria to be a Top Merchant includes:

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Gruppo Italiano Vini: Top Merchants overall partner

Published:  03 May, 2010

Top Merchants key partner: Gruppo Italiano Vini

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Facebook tips for Top Merchants

Published:  03 May, 2010

Facebook tips for wine merchants

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WSTA advises consumers on how to avoid wine fraud

Published:  27 April, 2010

The WSTA has offered new advice to consumers investing in wine after fears that demand for the high quality Bordeaux vintage 2009, may lead to potential investors being targeted by fraudsters.

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Winning retailers lined up for first Top Merchants day

Published:  25 January, 2010

Corks Out, Arthur Rackham and Oxford Wine Company will be three of the keynote speakers at the first Top Merchants business day being held by Harpers Wine & Spirit and sponsors GIV at the Malmaison hotel in Birmingham on February 8.

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Wines in the Press November 28-29

Published:  01 December, 2009

The GuardianWhen, on a trip along the Loire, Victoria Moore wanted a wine to feel engaged by, something more than a "thoughtless brain-rinser", she felt herself steering towards Savennières.
"It's a small appellation on a curve of the northern bank of the Loire, south-west of Angers. It's less well known than Vouvray, another Chenin Blanc area to the east, but there is nothing second-rate about its wines," says Moore.
Savennières, she says, is "architectural" when compared to an entry-level Loire Chenin Blanc - a character endowed by the mineral-enhancing schist soil, explains a local winemaker.
She recommends La Jalousie 2007 (£13.99, Waitrose), with its "lovely, creamy-textured, lingering finish", and Closel Clos du Papillon 2004 (£19.95, James Nicholson), saying it "has reached a beautiful balance between maturity and vivacity".
The Sunday TimesThis week, down the allotment, Bob Tryer is suffering a serious bout of shed envy. But the kindly Mrs Tryer has offered to save his pride by buying him a timber-framed construction for Christmas.
"Less forbearing women," thinks Tryer, "might prefer to give presents that indulge cravings of their own ? such as Visciolata del Cardinale, a lush Italian dessert wine laced with sour cherry juice that gives it a tangy bite. Delicious poured over something chocolatey and eaten in secret (£16.50 for 50cl, millhillwines.com)."
While he thinks it might be a little self-indulgent of him to gift his almost teetotal wife six bottles of claret for Christmas, he thinks even she might appreciate the Larmandier-Bernier Vieille Vigne de Cramant Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru 2004 (£48.95-£55 from Lea & Sandeman and Berry Bros & Rudd). "A masterpiece," claims Tryer, "from one of Champagne's most accomplished small growers ? dry, elegant and floral, yet bursting with rich flavours."
The Times"Perfect parties," says Jane MacQuitty, "rely on one thing: the contents of your guests' glasses." So, her advice is not to ask friends to bring a bottle, which apparently "always ends in tears, hangovers and no one having a good time". Do the "grown-up thing" instead, and serve a decent party-wine duo and a couple of cocktails to boot, says the seasoned host.
Crucially, warns MacQuitty, don't confuse party guests with too much choice. Otherwise she forsees panic among over-obliging guests and a messy bid to taste the lot.
Her quick-fix cocktail recommendation is White Lady - a variation on the classic Sidecar that can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
For a single serving, shake two measures of gin with half a measure of Cointreau or any good triple sec, some lemon juice and a whipped egg white. Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled jug. Serve with a sliver of lemon peel curled over the edge. Easy.
The TelegraphImpressed by a section showcasing wines from independent merchants at the London Wine Show, Suzy Atkins is taking the opportunity to stray from her more usual, readily available supermarket recommendations.
Indies are generally more expensive, she concedes, but you're more likely to find something in a different league from the "piled-high big brands" and "cut-price own-labels", although she did find well-priced, premium Rhône and Bordeaux reds, and thought the lesser-known Champagnes offered good value too. Anyway, she implores, "it is the time of year to trade up a bit, surely?"
For fans of gutsy, peppery Rhône reds, she suggests trying Domaine La Bouissiere Gigondas 2006 (Lay & Wheeler, £13.50). "Although a spicy, satisfying wine, it has good balance, with a fresh blackberry note lifting the palate," she says.
The Financial TimesFrom an annual tasting rate of nearly 10,000 wines, Jancis Robinson MW has made the difficult selection of 75 white wine "good buys" for FT readers. Her choice concentrates on wines that are drinking well now.
Topping and tailing the list are Sainsbury's Vignerons de Buxy Bourgogne Blanc 2008 (£5.69), with a "nice top note of ripe apple juice and very juicy fruit on the palate", and Dom Bonneau de Martray Corton-Charlemagne 2003, "for those who like a Grand Cru white Burgundy with real oomph" - £85 at Jeroboams. Red wines, sparkling wine and Champagne, and strong and sweet wines will follow in the weeks running up to Christmas.

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Trade must engage on responsible drinking

Published:  25 November, 2009

The drinks trade must carry on engaging with responsible drinking issues despite the recession or face the threat of more costly and ineffective legislation, a major conference of industry leaders heard this week.

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Social networking: get with the programme

Published:  12 November, 2009

A business that is not engaged in social networking online with its customers is grossly negligent and should be embarrassed, according to Gary Vaynerchuk of winelibrary.com.

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Top Merchants 2011

Published:  10 November, 2009

To help bring independent merchants together and offer them the advice and support they need to move their businesses forward in these challenging times Harpers Wine & Spirit, is introducing the Top Merchants initiative. Here's how you could get involved.

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Don't miss - Whisky Tutorial & Sommeliers for Spain Tasting

Published:  04 November, 2009

The Academy of Food & Wine is holding its first ever whisky tutorial at the Renaissance Chancery Court, London, November 23, it is also holding a 'Sommeliers for Spain' tasting on November 21.

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President of Irish Guild of Sommeliers disputes news article

Published:  03 November, 2009

The president of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers disputes a recent article that implied French and international sommeliers attracted to the country during the boom were leaving Ireland.

The president of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers disputes a recent article that implied French and international sommeliers attracted to the country during the boom were leaving Ireland.

The article printed in the Independent on October 18, said: "sommeliers are also no longer arriving in Ireland as job opportunities have almost totally dried up." It further named a number of sommeliers that had left Ireland to go elsewhere.

President, Simon Keegan said: "It was a silly article written by a doom and gloom journalist.

"Yes, the Irish economy is under some strain and yes, drinking habits have changed, just as we see in reports from the UK.

Keegan says, tradition sees many young French Sommeliers come over to Ireland to work, practice their English, wine skills and either go back to France, or carry on with their wine travels to different countries around the world.

"Young people are much more transient today. My Hungarian assistant took up an opportunity to gain further experience by going to work in Dubai."

"Competing in our Best Sommelier of Ireland Competition 2009 on November 2, we have two Polish sommeliers, two French, and a German contender alongside our Irish entrants. This is this diverse nature of the hospitality trade that we deal with now," says Keegan.

"We do have an overall problem in that the wine and restaurant trade here is still lagging behind in understanding the concept of a sommelier, and it's difficult to break the perception that a sommelier is a revenue centre and not a cost one."


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Sake qualification for sommeliers

Published:  11 August, 2009

British sommeliers are to have the chance to gain a professional qualification in Japanese sake for the first time.

 

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anne Krebiehl: Ninth blog from New Zealand harvest

Published:  21 May, 2009

As the days and weeks in Central pass, late summer turns into autumn. The poplars have turned into glowing colours; their heart-shaped leaves are flying in the gusts of wind, covering the road in a carpet of bright yellow.

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New business venture for top sommeliers

Published:  07 May, 2009

Three of the world's sommeliers have been appointed to join Winelife with co-founder and sommelier Philippe Messy in order to embark on a new business venture.

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Hayward in surprise BBPA departure

Published:  10 March, 2009

Rob Hayward has made a surprise departure from his position as chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association.

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Hayward in surprise BBPA departure

Published:  10 March, 2009

Rob Hayward has made a surprise departure from his position as chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association.

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Alcohol in the workplace policy launched in Scotland

Published:  08 October, 2008

A new initiative to help employers across Scotland develop responsible workplace alcohol policies has been unveiled.

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Constellation launches national ad campaign for Nobilo

Published:  30 September, 2008

Constellation Europe is positioning its New Zealand-based Nobilo wine brand as "the idea wine to drink with seafood" with the launch of a national ad campaign.

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Constellation pushes Nottage Hill with TV ad campaign

Published:  02 September, 2008

Constellation Europe is launching a fresh burst of TV activity for its Hardys wine range.

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