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Richard Siddle: why UK wine companies need to look to export markets for growth

Published:  11 December, 2012

If there was a documentary covering the main events in the UK wine trade in the last 12 months it might not be as fun to watch as the highlights of London 12 but it would be just as eventful.

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Jenny Mackenzie talks to Andrew Baker, Virgin Wines buyer, at its winter tasting

Published:  21 November, 2012

Despite its youthful image, Virgin Wines is owned by wine retail longtimers, Tony and Barbara Laithwaite, as a subsidiary of Direct Wines. Andrew Baker is the head wine buyer. He said that when he started out, he was an "egotistical" buyer, seeking trade approval. Twelve years on, he now focuses on delivering a "spread of styles" striking a balance between safe, customer-friendly lines and more innovative offerings. As a trained winemaker, Baker is always keen to "push new styles, without shocking people".

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Jenny Mackenzie blogs from Jascots' Private Client Tasting

Published:  08 November, 2012

When a company is old enough to have seen one recession already, it should know how to weather a second. Jascots geared up for the expected rise in business during the 2012 Olympics by offering 24/7 London delivery as just one example of proactive customer service. The predicted tourist boom during the summer may not have happened for everyone, but Jascots still delivers six days a week, using its own vans, offering the flexibility many small, on-trade customers need.

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Richard Siddle: retailers and suppliers must find fairer and more profitable ways of working together

Published:  02 November, 2012


Last month Tesco's chief executive, Philip Clarke, declared to the IGD's main convention of the year that it was vital the grocery industry "create a new spirit of partnership ... going much deeper and becoming much stronger than anything that has existed before". The reason? Well the pace of change is now so fast that retailers and suppliers have to be virtually sleeping with each other to make sure they get the best out of each other.

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Douglas Blyde on discovering the world of Amarone through Sandro Boscaini and Masi Agricola

Published:  25 October, 2012

Bedecked in stripes, from suit to socks, Sandro Boscaini, president of Masi Agricola, was in town earlier this month to celebrate the launch of a hardback book about arguably the best-known wine from Valpolicella, from where he was born. 'Amarone - The Making of an Italian Wine Phenomenon' is written by British expat, Kate Singleton (who also collaborated on Wines of Sicily and The Golden Book of Chocolate). Six corks, one embossed, grace its cover.

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Christina Pickard looks at the latest winemaking trends in Rioja

Published:  24 October, 2012

"My favourite wine is Rioja". It's a line I hear a lot. Despite the UK's frequent absence on Rioja's top five list of most important export markets, the British have had a long standing love affair with wines from this notoriously wealthy Spanish region.

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Richard Siddle: how the digital revolution has transformed retailing

Published:  19 October, 2012

We've been told often enough over the years that we're nothing but a nation of shopkeepers. Well that adage needs updating to a nation of shoppers. When it comes to pushing the weekly trolley around the supermarket of going online, the Brits truly rule the waves.

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Richard Siddle: learning lessons from WaverleyTBS collapse

Published:  19 October, 2012

The speed in the collapse of WaverleyTBS should rightly send shockwaves around the industry. It is worrying enough that one of our biggest on-trade suppliers has gone bust, that no-one in the trade saw it coming until hours before it happened only goes to demonstrate the dangerous financial times we all live in.

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Geoffrey Dean on his discoveries in Piedmont

Published:  19 October, 2012

In contrast to the wettest British summer for a century, Piedmont enjoyed such a dry, sunny growing season that the harvest was completed much earlier than normal.

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Boosting wine tourism: Geoffrey Dean blogs from Cape Town

Published:  09 October, 2012

While the biennial Cape Wine trade fair in South Africa last month was another big success, a new exhibition that ran alongside it in the Cape Town Convention Centre enjoyed a sparkling debut. Vindaba, part of a long-term strategy to boost wine tourism, derives from the South African government's aim to gain promotion by 2020 to the travellers' Premier League - the top 20 global destinations.

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Anne Krebiehl blogs on the latest Booths Tasting

Published:  24 September, 2012

It's not often that regional merchants come to London to show their wares, but a rather popular north-western player, Booths, showcased 100 wines from its wine range at the Saatchi Gallery's Mess Room on Friday afternoon.

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Jenny Mackenzie: putting Aldi's BWS range to the test

Published:  17 September, 2012



If you thought Aldi's wines were all cheap and cheerful, you might be surprised to find grand cru Champagne, a grand cru classé Margaux, 30 year old Tawny Port and a multi, medal-winning Tokaji in its Christmas Special range.

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Anne Krebiehl dishes the dirt from the Dirty Dozen tasting

Published:  14 September, 2012

So why exactly is the Dirty Dozen Tasting the most exciting, least predictable and most hotly anticipated event within the crazy wine circus that London is in September?

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Richard Siddle: why Accolade and Treasury Wine Estates partnership should be applauded

Published:  27 July, 2012

The beginning of August is supposed to herald the start of what our newspaper colleagues would call the Silly Season. A time when there is very little hard news around and our daily news feed is full of stories of escaped pigs, or retired policemen travelling around the country in a bath of baked beans. But the world of wine and spirits does not look ready for a summer holiday just yet.

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Richard Siddle: how wine merchants can benefit by working together

Published:  16 July, 2012

Being an independent retailer can, by definition, be a lonely place to be. Whilst being 100% responsible for your own business can bring great advantages it can also leave you exposed to making executive decisions you might not always be qualified or experienced enough to make.

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Richard Siddle: why wine prices are sometimes too good to be true

Published:  01 July, 2012


It may have been some time since the UK wine trade was dominated by the clipped tones of our cover star in this week's Harpers Wine & Spirit, the one and only Terry Thomas, but the level of trust and reassurance that comes with a certain accent and upbringing is still an important, unquantifiable, part of the sector.

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Richard Siddle: Why we should all get behind LIWF

Published:  30 May, 2012


So another London International Wine Fair has been and gone and as ever there are many in the trade who have been keen to perform their own post mortem on the show. Well here's mine.

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Day 1 LIWF: live blog

Published:  22 May, 2012

Don't forget to check our live blog for rolling updates of what's been going on each day at LIWF. You can also follow us on Twitter @harperswine #LIWF.

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Michael Stoddart explores the 'economic deception' behind supermarket wines

Published:  21 May, 2012

Vino Ignobile?

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Richard Siddle: comment, May 18, why LIWF is still our showcase to the world

Published:  18 May, 2012


There has been a lot of nostalgia in recent weeks as the nation's media prepares us all for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It is as if a look back to the 1970s, the three-day weeks, power cuts and Carry On films, will make us feel a whole lot better about life in Britain in 2012.

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