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2014 Review and Hopes and Fears for 2015: Joe Wadsack

Published:  25 December, 2014

The new wine 'face' of BBC's Food & Drink programme Joe Wadsack fills us in on Balkan wines, presenting on the Beeb and why London's on-trade margins are 'taking the mick'.

Joe WadsackJoe WadsackJoe Wadsack

The new wine 'face' of BBC's Food & Drink programme Joe Wadsack fills us in on Balkan wines, presenting on the Beeb and why London's on-trade margins are 'taking the mick'.

What do you think were the most significant things that happened/ issues/trends that occurred in 2014?

Balkan wines finally had their say, I reckon. M&S consolidated their Eastern European range with some lovely wines. I tried an amber wine from their range last night that was fantastic. It's no secret that I have been involved with an exciting wine project in Slovenia with Tesco, and even the Wine Society showed a couple of stunning examples at their press tasting earlier in the year.  

What opportunities are you most looking forward to working on in 2015?

Well, I don't know where the TV show is going to take me this year. From my experience, you never do, but I do enjoy giving talks, and I have stepped away from that a little over the past two years. I also love my blending projects, something that I have backed up with a surprising degree of success. I wonder what country I will end up in next. I would also quite like to make a beer.

What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2015?

I really think that London on-trade margins are taking the Mick. As we struggle back onto our financial feet, it seems that new openings are already maximising margins on their wine offer. I'm not sure if people are prepared to take that on the chin so readily. Places that offer value, like 10 Greek Street, 10 Cases, and so on, will ultimately be making much more margin on their lists. You just end up buying one better than house, and where's the fun, and profit, in that?

Who are the people/companies/retailers to watch in 2015?

I sadly missed the first tasting of the brilliant Flint Wines' new customer retail venture last week due to an injury. It's  called the Stannary Street Wine Company, after Flint Wines' centre of operations, no doubt. I asked for them to send me four bottles to try that were representative and exciting. I tried them last night. Were they good? No. They were AMAZING. If you want fine burgundy and great Californian wines for less than £30, look them up. It's nice to see John Baum of the Winemakers Club with his first retail space, in the old Oddbins Farringdon Street Fine Wine Shop, under the arches. On a larger scale, the Bibendum/PLB merger is obviously a huge deal, and will be a force to be reckoned with, I'm sure. But can anyone tell me why Hallgarten isn't automatically mentioned alongside the Libertys and Enotrias of this world? I don't get it. They have a genius, funky list from Steve Daniels, alongside one of the best value classic wine offers in the country. Go on! Have a look. Hallgarten Druitt Novum? Maybe all you have to do is change your name.     

What are you doing for Christmas and New Year?

First I will be spending some quality time with my children in Lincolnshire, before sashaying from one wonderful country boozer to another and drinking lovely wine with my girlfriend Emma and her parents in the gorgeous city of Cambridge. Back to London for a wacky arty loft party in Shoreditch with Emma's best friends.

What will be your favourite tipple over Christmas and New Year?

Whatever Noel Young has on offer. Looking forward to a chilled glass of his wild raspberry liqueur from G. Miclo in front of the Kings College Carol Service. Yes, really.

Favourite Christmas film?

Bad Santa and It's a Wonderful Life. They are not really the same.

Ideal day out over Christmas period?

Never done it but the PDC darts at Alexandra Palace. Obviously.

What do you want most from Father Christmas?

A drum kit. 

New Year's resolution?

To work harder.