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Going Forth

Published:  23 July, 2008

Forth Wines has been appointed as sole distributors for Chteau Routas, named as one of Robert Parker's favourite wine producers in Provence.
The full range of Routas wines will be launched in the UK market in March; in the meantime, the 2002 Wild Boar Red (90% Cabernet Sauvignon/10% Carignan), 2004 Coquelicot (85% Viognier/15% Chardonnay) and 2001 Cyrano (100% Syrah) are available now.
The full range of Routas wines is available from the Circus Caf Wine Shop in Edinburgh or online at www.circuscafedirect.co.uk

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David Waddington, Manager, Bistrotheque

Published:  23 July, 2008

What was it like growing up on a small farm in Yorkshire?
I was around livestock all the time, putting straw in their beds, but I was never cut out to be a farmer. The brutality is difficult to understand when you're a child, and farming is a tricky business now. A lot of estates have yet to recover after foot and mouth, and it really decimated the area round my folks. The landscape went from being filled with cattle, to fields containing long grass and not much else. It lingers longer in smaller communities because things tend to move more slowly.

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On-trade summit launched

Published:  23 July, 2008

Centaur Conferences International has put together
a two-day On-trade Summit for 28 February and 1 March next year. The summit, which is designed to help attendees enhance and develop their knowledge of driving on-trade footfall', will feature a session on technological innovation alongside retailer and supplier discussion panels, featuring speakers from Spirit Group, Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns. For more details, log on to www.ontradesummit.com

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Thresher seeks ale fame

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Thresher Group is backing British beer with its latest Famous for Ales campaign. From 6 December, more than 800 of the group's stores will feature local ales, with 56 different ales sourced to cover the campaign. Each of the stores involved will stock four of the ales produced within its region, with the ales sold on a permanent four-for-6.49 mix-and-match offer.

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Campari splashes out

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Campari Group has bought 100% of the Teruzzi & Puthod winery of San Gimignano for e12 million. Teruzzi & Puthod, formerly the property of Enrico Teruzzi and Carmen Puthod,
is the largest in the San Gimignano area with 194 hectares, 90 of which are planted to vines. Their principal wines are Terri di Tufi and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Turnover last financial year was over e4 million, 80% of which came from exports. The Campari portfolio already includes Sella & Mosca of Sardinia and Enrico Serafini of Piedmont.

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Wines of Argentina confirms UK office opening

Published:  23 July, 2008

As reported in Harpers in September, Wines of Argentina has confirmed that it will open its first-ever UK generic office
in London in the second half of next year.
MD Fernando Farr said: The generic office will bring us closer to our key export market, where we also hope to maximise our potential by implementing a strategic, targeted, consumer-driven campaign.'

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Wither Hills moves to Bibendum

Published:  23 July, 2008

Leading Marlborough estate Wither Hills is moving distribution to Bibendum, joining the rest of the wines of its owner Lion Nathan.
Previously distributed by Charles Hawkins & Partners, the winery produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc under the stewardship of Brent Marris.
Bibendum managing director Dan Jago said: We are obviously delighted to now have Wither Hills in the Bibendum fold. Brent Marris has already established a significant platform of sales in the UK, primarily in premium specialists and independents, and we plan to rapidly extend this awareness into the on-trade.'
Marris commented: An excellent foundation has been laid over the past five years by Charles Hawkins & Partners. Wither Hills' further growth can now be facilitated by Bibendum's management and sales team, who have huge strength in the UK trade.'

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Corks blamed for early Burgundy oxidation

Published:  23 July, 2008

Two years ago, rumours began to circulate that many of the top 1996 white Burgundies seemed to have suddenly oxidised. A couple of friends asked me if I had encountered any bad bottles. I hadn't, but I opened a few from my cellar: no problems. I was lucky. At first, it seemed to be only the 1996s causing concern, but as time went on, it became obvious that there was a problem, and it was widespread.

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Tanners snaps up Platt

Published:  23 July, 2008

Shrewsbury-based independent wine merchant Tanners Wines has stepped across the border into Wales for its latest acquisition: Terry Platt Wine Merchants.
Tanners has bought the entire share capital of Llandudno-based Terry Platt, which has been supplying hotels and restaurants since 1962 and is currently the IWC Welsh Wine Merchant of the Year. The day-to-day running of Terry Platt will not be changed, however, with MD Jeremy Platt continuing to head up the company, and the entire Platt staff will continue in the company's Llandudno headquarters.

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U-turn on pension investments

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK wine merchants were dealt a nasty surprise this week when Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that fine wine investments would not be subject to tax relief when included in Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).

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SA winery owner killed

Published:  23 July, 2008

The owner of South African winery Veenwouden was shot dead last week in what appears to have been a family dispute.
Deon van der Walt, 47, who was based in Switzerland, and a highly successful opera singer, was found with a gunshot wound to the chest at the estate, which is outside Paarl. The body of his father, Charles, was found nearby, with a gunshot wound to the temple.

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Drink the best from the writers' cellars

Published:  23 July, 2008

Harpers has teamed up with wine trade charity The Wine and Spirit Trades' Benevolent Society to offer readers the exclusive chance to bid for a case of fine wines selected by
a panel of leading journalists from their very own cellars.

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Shaw's eponymous range

Published:  23 July, 2008

Former Rosemount winemaker Philip Shaw is to launch an eponymous range of wines at next year's Australia Day Tastings.

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2005 and all that

Published:  23 July, 2008

2005 will probably be best remembered for the arrival of 24-hour drinking in the UK. But along with the consolidation express continuing to whistle through the trade, wine terrorists making their presence felt in France and the rise and fall of SIPPs, there's been plenty of other headlines.
David Williams reviews the year as it appeared in Harpers
Licensing
As well as being historic, the decision to introduce 24-hour drinking was also, depending on who you spoke to, the beginning of the end of civilisation, the dawn of a continental-style drinking culture or an unnecessarily complicated botch job. Time will tell which of the first two analyses is more correct, although Harpers inclines to the view that the smaller the window of drinking opportunity, the bigger the binge - and, as far as we're aware, all hell did not break loose on 24 November when the act came into force.

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Treasure the island

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tragedy may be too strong a word, but it is certainly a sad irony, a missed opportunity, a shame: even restaurants that proudly splash the sauce madre over the pigeon and the sauce Prigueux over the quail, even restaurants that have AA and Michelin stars and have won awards for the best wine list
in the UK often don't have even a bottle of 5-, 10- or 15-year-old Bual or Malmsey on that list, let alone one of the exciting new Colheitas or thrilling venerable Soleras or Vintages. A great range of wines, of astonishing complexity, intensity, longevity and personality, is relegated to a sweetener for demi-glace.

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Rum producer backs Flintoff testimonial

Published:  23 July, 2008

He is the hot favourite for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, and Andrew Freddie' Flintoff got his hands on another trophy - The Cockspur Cup - when the rum producer signed up as a partner for the all-rounder's testimonial year in 2006. The cup goes to the winner of the English Cricket Board's national knockout competition, and Cockspur is on course for a 500,000 investment in the English game. The brand is represented in the UK by Halewood International.

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Butler tipped to purchase Lanson

Published:  23 July, 2008

Butler Capital Partners is believed to be on the verge of buying Champagne house Lanson International. A report in French newspaper Les Echos claimed that private-equity firm Butler will pay e520 million for the company, which would cover Lanson's e400-million debt. Lanson is owned by the Mora family (56% share) and savings bank Caisses d'Espargne (44%).
If Butler is unsuccessful, then French entrepreneur Jean-Claude Darmon looks the likely winner, after the third bidder - Champagne group Boizel Chanoine Champagne - was eliminated. Its bid was some 25% lower than the other two. Some 15 companies were originally in the running to buy Lanson, including Champagne company Group Thinot.
Lanson was unavailable for comment this week.

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Lord's tops Harpers tasting test averages

Published:  23 July, 2008

Lord's Cricket Ground is the best venue in the UK for tastings, and the annual generic shindigs of Wines of Chile and Wines of South Africa are the best single events, according to a poll of tastings organisers and attendees conducted by Harpers.

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Bordeaux squares up

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Bordeaux seminar held as part of the Renaissance of the French Vineyard event - the two-day festival of food and wine at Raymond Blanc's Manoir aux Quat' Saisons on 21-22 November - addressed some of the most urgent questions relating to the world's largest fine-wine region.

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Questions remain over SIPPs reform

Published:  23 July, 2008

HM Revenue & Customs has still not released full details of the proposed changes to self-invested pension portfolios (SIPPs) - which will allow fine wine to be included in a portfolio (and be eligible for tax relief) - despite the new laws expected to come into force by April.

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