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The week that was

Published:  20 July, 2018

In case you missed some of the headlines this week on, here’s a review of the top online news, analysis, opinions and features.

Top stories: A reminder of the pressures facing the high street came this week via Argentinan wine and steak restaurant Gaucho, which is now struggling to survive following the closure of its sister chain, Cau.

And this pressure wasn’t exclusive to Gaucho. Restaurants across the board in the UK felt the heat from the surprise weather and World Cup fever, which meant shoppers spent time in the sun and not in stores.

“This must serve as a call to action for brands,” Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Salmon said today. “Unexpected shopping lulls are a challenge, but can be avoided if retailers invest in robust online and digital platforms. In fact, our research found that 72% of consumers are more likely to shop with a retailer that is digitally innovative.”

Expect more from Harpers in the next issue of the magazine on this subject, looking at how retailers and restaurants can bring the ease and convenience of online shopping to the high street.

Elsewhere, we reported on the rise of the “Active-ist consumer” as outlined in William Grant & Sons annual report.

And we introduced the new face of trade at Roberson Wines.

Up close and personal:
The drinks trade is a personable and person-orientated industry. It’s unsurprising therefore that many of our top stories are about people, and those – for better or worse, although usually for the better – who have an impact on the dynamic world of wines and spirits.

Our Hot 50 list tries to reflect just that – highlighting those who we believe have gone above and beyond to lift the industry at a time of unique pressures, when Brexit, rising rents and a surprise heatwave has led consumers to stay at home or head to the beach.

It’s also why we’ll be bringing you a new web series throughout the rest of July and into August with some of the leading figures across the on and off-trades.

Starting with David Gleave and Ryan Chetiyawardana, the two industry stalwarts look back on the first half of 2018, while also looking ahead to the challenges, trends and opportunities leading up to Christmas and beyond. 

And last but not least, the legacy of Robert Parker continues to form debate via Tim Atkin MW's most recent column. 

Analysis and Insights: This week saw the released of our independent survey, looking at the hero wines drawing customers back for more.

The listing we have collated doesn’t necessarily reflect merchants’ best-selling wines, but gave merchants a chance to give shout outs to those labels and estates which really drive engagement with their core consumers.

Elsewhere, we look at the rise and rise of own-label, which is adding the lion’s share of value growth to the wine category in the UK.

And we asked if wine is the next culinary frontier to undergo a squeaky green, clean, organic and biodynamic makeover.

People and Opinion: Don’t miss our interview with Laure Patry, one of the top ten rankers in Harpers’ recently released annual Hot 50 list.

We caught up with the super somm about London, Brexit and why the capital is still one of in the world to be a sommelier.

And we continued our hybrid-focused meet the buyer series with Matthew Harris, head honcho at Planet of the Grapes which has slowly morphed more and more into a wine bar since openings in the early 2000s.