Spring Edition ÂŁ4.75
WineStraight Press from the grapevine Events
Ready for Wine Week? whatâ€™s on, when and where Money
Exclusive marketing techniques from Cambridge Wine Merchants
Award-winning Camel Valley Secrets to their success
PLUS: Exclusive interviews, burning issues and invaluable industry tips
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Welcome to the launch issue of The Wine Press. Our magazine is specifically for the English and Welsh vineyard owner and wine manufacturer. We are here to help you get the most out of your business and promote the industry we all work in. Join our “Keep Calm and Drink English” campaign and support our fantastic thriving industry. This issue we have an exclusive interview with Camel Valley, our little black book of distributors and the big issues facing wine making. So sit back, relax and enjoy as we bring you everything, straight from the grapevine. Sophie Baillie, Editor
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4 News and events
16 From vine to victory
7 The Burning Issues
18 Much more to inspire
9 It’s a label of love
20 Money does grow on vines
10 Getting noticed
22 Have you got it?
13 Little Black Book
24 The cultivation situation
14 Equip your future
30 Keep Calm and Drink English
16 Camel Valley Press Office
All the latest from the industry To spray or not to spray? Plus, the fruit wine debate
Displaying your wine to its full potential An interview with Croxsons and marketing tips Our elite compilation of distributors Great machines that will do the hard work and the new barrell bung that will change your life
Email us email@example.com All original editorial content of The Wine Press is protected by copyright. Many interviewees have only agreed to limited distribution for university coursework purposes. For permission to reproduce in part or whole, contact Cathy Darby, Course Leader for MA Magazine Journalism on CMDarby@uclan.ac.uk
Camel Valley talks to us about their success Ridgeview Vineyard and Terlingham talk triumph
Innovative ways to make more from your business The deadly disease your vines may already have Capturing the elusive terroir and summer advice
Our campaign for English Wine and a sneak peek at the next issue of The Wine Press
Editor Sophie Baillie Features Editor Jessica Mckay Website Editor Emily Bancroft Design Editor Charlotte Chapman Sub Editor Sophie Burluraux Writers Victoria Inniss-Palmer, Bianca Amponsah, Natalie Mortimer, Louise Moore and Kathryn Preston Spring edition ∙ 3
Cover Image Camel Valley Press Office
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Paper bottle launches
The Great Inventor: Martin Myerscough
This year sees the launch of a brand new innovation, the paper wine bottle. The bottle, created by a small British company, GreenBottle, is due to hit supermarket shelves in the UK during the second half of the year. There is already a lot of optimism surrounding the product, no doubt because the company behind it also made the world’s first paper milk bottle and has sold over 100,000 of them. Clare Hirst, Marketing Manager at GreenBottle, says: “The response from the wine industry and retailers has been extremely positive, with the majority embracing this new flexible packaging concept in a category that has been lacking any innovation for years.” Like the milk bottle, the aim behind the wine bottle is to help improve the environment. Unlike glass and plastic, the paper product can be recycled will decompose within a matter of weeks. Martin Myerscough, inventor of the bottle says: “All you would need to do is rip out the plastic lining and put the paper outer-casing in the bin or on the compost heap.” He went on to say: “It will mean an end to those morning-after trips to the bottle bank.”
A new restaurant which recently opened in London’s West End is helping to promote English Wines. 52° North Bar & Kitchen, which is owned by Alula Leisure, is offering customers a ‘quality-driven’ wine list as it has a collection of some of the best English still and sparkling wines on offer. Highlights of the drinks list include white, rosé and sparkling wines from the Kentish vineyards, Chapel Down and Biddenden. As well as serving wines produced from exceptional English grapes, the bar and restaurant is also selling British beers and spirits, including whiskey and rum. What’s more, 52° North Bar & Kitchen is serving food which has been made with ingredients sourced entirely in Britain. The directors of the venue, Tim Lalic and Vahram Papazyan, described it as being “a place where you want to have lunch with a client and also a drink with friends and colleagues in relaxed, ambient, creative and trendy surroundings.”
There is a higher demand from people in the UK for wine with a low alcohol percentage, research has revealed. According to Wine Intelligence UK, many drinks retailers are favoring wines where the alcohol by volume (ABV) is below 12 per cent. It has also been found that a large number of wine-drinkers now prefer lighter, fruit-driven red wines, rather than those with a high alcohol content. If this is true, then it could mean that the decade-long fashion for heavy reds might be coming to an end.
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English wine the focus in Wines with lower ABV new Soho bar make a splash
Growing sales in higher-priced wine market in UK UK consumers are spending more money on bottles of wine, a new survey has shown. The Independent Retailer Report, a debut study by Wine Intelligence UK, has highlighted that the sector is enjoying healthy sales despite the poor economy. Almost half the retailers who took the survey predicted that sales of wine priced between £8 and £15 would increase over the next 12 months. Amongst the top sellers are Prosecco and English Sparkling wine, which were especially popular over Christmas according to the figures. Several respondents weren’t as optimistic as others, saying that they expect to see a decline in sales at the specific price points. 4 ∙ the wine press
Some retailers have also suggested that there could be a decrease in trade, especially when it comes to wines priced over £20. This is due to the fact that previously high-spending customers are now looking for cheaper alternatives. The data has proved to be good news for UK wine manufacturers then. Richard Halstead, COO of Wine Intelligence, said: “The UK independent wine merchant scene has change substantially over the past few years.” He added: “We are seeing renewed consumer interest in this channel, particularly among highinvolved wine drinkers, which may also be part of a broader trend towards shopping locally and supporting independent wine retail.”
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Saturday June 2 to Sunday June 10, 2012 English Wine Week is all about sharing the success of some of the finest vineyards in England. This June producers from all over the country, will open the gates to their wineries and host a number of events for the public to enjoy. From winetasting to vineyard tours, food promotions to special local events, it’s a week of non-stop fun for people of all ages.
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To find out more about what’s happening and where, visit www. englishwineweek.co.uk/vineyards
Denbies’ offers masterclass in viticulture
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English Wine Week
Award winning: Independent wine merchant, Duncan Murray
Southbank Celebration Southbank Cheese and Wine Festival Centre Square, London April 27 to April 29, 2012 With tutored tastings, talks, demonstrations and more, the Cheese and Wine Festival London event is the perfect opportunity to learn more about cheese and wine matching, and how to include both into a variety of sweet and savoury food.
Thursday April 26, 2012, £89.50 per person
Glynde Food & English Wine Festival Glynde Place, Glynde, East Sussex Saturday July 14 to Sunday July 15, 2012 A weekend which celebrates some of the best food and English wine from across the country. One of this year’s guests includes Ewan Lacey, wine expert and regular presenter on Channel 4’s,The Cookery School To find out more and to read what Ewan has to say about the event, visit our site.
The International Wine Fair
ExCel London, London Royal Docks Tuesday May 22 to Thursday 24 May, 2012
The London International Wine Fair is three days of discovery. It’s a chance to meet new producers of wines and spirits, taste up and coming products, and take part in seminars, debates and masterclasses.
Professionals focus on fruit East Malling Research Centre, Kent Wednesday July 25, 2012 “Fruit Focus showcases all aspects of pre-harvest technology, agronomy, machinery and equipment, business information and post-harvest technology through to delivery to the retailer.” The premier event attracts over 1,100 growers and industry professionals along with 120 leading suppliers. It uniquely updates visitors on the latest technologies and industry developments, as well as allowing them to exchange views and network with fellow producers. The experience also features varieties of soft fruits, orchard fruits, and vines. No Copyright Clearance
Learn how to make cheese with a local cheese maker before finding out how to make wine with a Denbies’ wine specialist. Refreshments provided throughout the day.
To access more information on all the events, go to our website: www.ukjournalism.co.uk/magazines/ugb2b2 Spring edition ∙ 5
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The Burning Issue To spray or not to spray?
By Natalie Mortimer Trevor Dennis on Flickr
ith organic wine becoming more and more popular, should viticulturists consider replacing chemical sprays with natural alternatives? The consumption of organic and biodynamic wines, once considered a niche corner of the market, has seen a steady increase over the past few years. In 2010 UK sales of organic wine rose by 3.7 per cent compared to just 2 per cent for nonorganic wines and the number of organic vineyards worldwide has also increased. The rise in popularity of organic products in general has brought about industry arguments for and against using chemical pesticides and the vine growing business hasn’t escaped the same fate. In an interview with Decanter, wine expert Michael Chapoutier, called those who practice natural winemaking ‘out of touch hippies’, whereas last year Claus Bochi, owner of two Michelin-starred restaurant Hibiscus, devoted the majority of his wine list to natural, organic wines. Usually, the purpose of using natural alternatives is to protect vines from pests and diseases when grapes are being grown to produce natural and biodynamic wines, and is often used with the intention of creating a purer taste. Yet not all vineyards which Controversial : A farmer sprays chemicals to protect vines from pests grow grapes organically do so for the same reason environmental “Advantages are not having to buy expensive agrochemicals, issues are also at the forefront of many viticulturists’ minds. along with increased price per bottle as customers are keen to buy wines made from organically grown grapes.” The quality of grapes grown naturally has been called into question due to occurrences of disease, however Belinda points out that it is possible to grow a good quality grape without using chemicals, but preventative steps still need to be taken. “It depends year to year due to vintage variations and weather which is why even organic grape growers spray something, for example copper or sulphur dioxide mix or seaweed, but costs are still incurred to buy the equipment to spray,” she explained. Making the decision to grow organic vines or to spray chemicals So should chemicals be used on your vines? The answer really depends on your personal point of view when it comes to growing is an ongoing debate that has incensed growers and which organically. Belinda Kemp, wine lecturer at Plumpton College, industry experts will be discussing for some time. It’s not easy believes there are pros and cons to both methods: “Not spraying to say yes or no when considering spraying vines and you should could result in loss of crop and in extreme cases livelihood due take any measures of prevention you feel are necessary. Belinda says there isn’t one method preferable to the to disease. Poor quality fruit therefore equals poor quality wine.” She added: “Disadvantages are costs of the chemical sprays, other: “Almost all grape growers have IPM programmes and want to spray as little as possible to keep costs down equipment and labour.” When it comes to growing grapes organically, Belinda has heard and less impact on the vineyard environment but this is various theories. “It has been suggested by some vine-growers that not always possible due to weather conditions, disease and pests. organically grown vines are more resistant to disease, but I doubt As a grape-grower I would rather spray than lose my crop and income,” she finished, summing up the crux of the argument. that all cool climate grape-growers would agree with that!”
The organic grower: Avalon Vineyard Hugh Tripp has had a burning passion for organic produce since opening his vineyard in the 1980s. Avalon is the only vineyard in the country that doesnt spray any products at all on the vines. Instead, he grows the mildew resistant Seyval variety. Despite being met with controversy and having no experience
when he opened his vineyard, Hugh knew he wanted to be completely organic: “ I intended not to spray, most people considered it at that time really crazy but I just went ahead and got away with it. I was very lucky because I chose a particular variety of vines which is naturally resistant.”
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As a grape-grower I would rather spray something than lose my crop and income
Mr Organic: Hugh Tripp Spring edition ∙ 7
The burning issue
Fruits for thought With over four hundred vineyards in the UK producing traditional grape wines, the introduction of alternative fruits could set you apart. By Louise Moore
8 ∙ THE WINE PRESS
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he grape may be the king of the fruits when it comes to wine, but even the humble roadside blackberry go transform into alcohol royality. Hedgerow, or Country wine as it is more commonly known, is often produced in places like the UK that have a cooler climate and is a good way to provide additional revenue, together with extending harvesting periods. There is considerable scope for Country wines as they can be produced from anything that can be fermented, including strawberries and tomatoes. If you are in favour of producing dry white wine from your vineyard then elderflower could be the perfect alternative. If you opt for sweeter dessert wines, you could try apricot or cherry. Fruits are often used within these wines however there are seven main categories linked to Country wines, these are: berry, stone, flower-based, vegetablebased, plant or tree-based, honey-based and blended wines. As you know, during the production of grape wine it is important to only select the highest quality of produce. This is particularly important with Country wine, where it is vital for the fruit to be fully ripe before harvesting. If you are creating a pear wine for instance and the fruit is not ripe enough, it can be in danger of tasting more like apple. The process of making Country wine differs slightly from the traditional methods as grapes are among the few foods which contain the correct balance of sugar, acid and tannin. This is necessary to activate the yeast and convert the sugar into alcohol.If you are producing Country wine therefore, you may need to add a small amount of sucrose, often in the form of honey, as well as a natural yeast additive to help promote and maintain fermentation. Ultimate Hedgerow: Alternative wines produced by Godshill Cider Company, read During manufacturing, the produce generally about the bottles above online. needs to be diluted with water as certain fruits such as gooseberries, create a wine which is too acidic for After all, a grape is a fruit too consumption.There is no need to invest in special machinery as the general production process is Hugh Tripp, owner of Pennard Winery says fruit wines are met with similar, however some useful additional equipment arrogance but are amongst his best sellers: include a re-useable nylon fermentation bag and an “A lot of the fruit wines we do are a lot sweeter than the classical grape acid tester. wines but I do dry fruit wines too- we have a whole range. I find there’s a Many Country wines are ready within a few lot of customers out there who are actually pretty interested in them, for months, but as with any wine, the older it is, the better one thing it’s something you simply can’t buy down at the supermarket. it becomes. It’s not as popular because of its image, sort of wine snobbery if you Banana wine is popular for bulk storage as it like. Traditionally wine drinkers have been perhaps more cultured. can be blended well to other fruits which give the Fruit wine is a different taste and they think proper wine is made from wine significant body without generating a strong grapes, which traditionally it has been, but there is actually a tradition contrasting flavour.Some of the most popular and that goes back a long way in this country and some of the other countries successful Country wines include: strawberry, on the continent too.” raspberry, peach, apple and pomegranate.
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Stand out: A unique wine label can set you apart from the rest
it’s a label of love Apart from giving your wine a personality and a professional look, a label also gives buyers an insight into what ingredients it contains and where it has been made. By Bianca Amponsah
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ine bottle labels are one of the key components What’s more, the grower must have been actively involved in when it comes to creating a successful product. the winemaking process throughout. The words ‘regional’ and An effective label must provide several pieces of ‘wine’ must appear together on the label, along with an approved information, which falls into three categories. geographic unit. The first is compulsory information which must be grouped The vine variety may be stated if authorised and mention of the together in the same field of vision, so that it can be seen without vintage year is only allowed if at least 85% of the wine originates having to turn the bottle. It should be written in a font which is from the year indicated. The expression ‘bottled by the producer’ easily readable, that shows up clearly against the background on may be used provided that the wine was bottled at a vineyard which it is printed, and should be distinguishable from all other where the grapes were harvested and vinified, by a group of writing and designs. vineyards or by a producer Furthermore, it should group. Awards granted be printed in English. by an official body or an Compulsory information officially recognised body is vital as it guarantees may be shown, providing that the product will that authenticity can be be identified within the demonstrated by way of busy market. documents. These should The other types of identify the geographical information are optional unit in which it originates (specified) and additional and the vintage. optional- both of which As well as making must appear on the front sure all the compulsory of the label and should information is included and provide supplementary visable, it is also important facts about the wine. to take the design of the This include what type of label into consideration. wine it is i.e. table wine, When crafting a label, Unique line up: Quirky labels can put you streets ahead quality sparkling wine, take into account the dry, medium, medium dry, sweet, etc.; the Country of Origin, colour of the wine bottle being used for example, as this will help so UK; bottler details (name, local administrative address, and you to avoid using a colour scheme which will clash. This is also member state of the responsible bottler); whether it is white, rosé notable if you are using a clear bottle, as it will allow you to or red; and the nominal volume and the actual alcoholic strength. choose shades which will compliment the wine inside. Information can also be displayed on the label which covers the Using a logo is another valid option when designing your wine back of the bottle, such as allergenic ingredients and lot number. bottle, as this will help people to identify your wine, especially Some winemakers may want to put the name of the vineyard if you do not have a brand name (this is optional). You should the wine was produced at on the label, however there are tailor the image and the font based on how you want your wine rules surrounding regarding this. The winery may only be to come across to consumers I.e. is it an elegant product which acknowledged if the product is regional and if the wine has is meant to be served at dinner parties, or is it intended for more been made exclusively from grapes harvested from vines there. casual purposes. SPRING EDITION ∙ 9
A Moment with Croxsons Tim Croxson, Chief Operating Officer at Croxsons and the fifth generation of the family to join the company, knows what makes effective packaging. He spoke to us about his dealings with the wine industry and what new innovations you could bring to your wine products. By Victoria Inniss-Palmer and Bianca Amponsah
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ne of the UK’s premier bottling companies, Croxsons deals with some of the biggest food and drink corporations in the industry, as well as a number of smaller vineyards and wine producers such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage. With an illustrious history that started almost 140 years ago, Croxsons packaging solutions supply pioneering products that could help your product to look more appealing on the supermarket shelves. As competition grows in the English and Welsh wine sector, the need for a different product also increases. Your wine could be superb but without the right packaging and labelling it will go unnoticed by the consumer. “It isn’t the easiest thing to achieve. The brand, the label and the bottle need to match up because if there is any mismatch it really stands out badly,” says Tim about weak design. “In terms of labels it has to be clear, it has to say what grape variety it is, it needs to pretty clear where it comes from, the label needs to match the culture of what the brand is trying to achieve. There is nothing worse than getting a really contemporary label on Tim Croxson: Chief a wine that is being targeted at a very, very mature audience- that doesn’t work, but then you don’t want a cheap label on a premium bottle- that simply doesn’t work.”
The latest innovations that you can apply to your wine, says Tim, are “light basing bottles” that maintain “the same style and same performance of the bottles” but are much lighter, saving money on shipment. Croxsons not only helps companies create desirable products, they are also integral to the growth of smaller businesses.“People who are obviously quite small that would do it [packaging]all by hand and they’re like I want to grow but I can’t do it because the machinery we’re being quoted is tens of thousands of pounds if not more.” Because of this, Croxons also supplies machinery and uses their contacts to get equipment that really works, as Tim explains: “We know caps very well and we just asked our caps advisor if you had to recommend a manufacturer who would you recommend so we started down that route and we literally just found a series of products that not only do they work, they are Operating Officer of Croxons incredibly reliable, they are very cost-effective for what they are and they stick to what they say, they are good to go and they save time.”
The hard sell With almost 400 vineyards in the UK, making your wine stand out is crucial. Although online sales are the bread and butter for many vineyards, selling to a distributor can dramatically raise your profile. We spoke to the Cambridge Wine Merchants Wine Committee, who shared some exclusive tips on marketing. By Natalie Mortimer
How many lines of English wine do you tend to stock? We stock 12 from six different producers, only one of which is still [not sparkling], from six different producers. What do you look for specifically in English wines? As with all wine producing regions we look for quality, style, typicity and value. Our committee believes that the best quality and most consistent wines are produced in and around Sussex, but all areas have potential. What do you think are the best types of English wine? Sparkling wines from the UK are fantastic, especially the likes of Camel Valley, Nyetimber and Ridgeview. Our ability to grow top quality Chardonnay & Pinot Noir should not be dismissed.
Hal Wilson: Managing Director, Cambridge Wine Merchants 10 ∙ The Wine Press
What are your marketing tips for English wine makers who want Cambridge Wine Merchants to stock their wine? Marketing and presentation is where a lot of English wines suffer. We have wonderful stories about local wine makers and small scale productions, but it’s the labels on the bottles that turn people off, not the wine itself. Investments should be made in all aspects of marketing, from the label design to quality of paper and ink used. All round improvements and a more professional finish would boost sales. Wines that have that ‘polish’ sell considerably faster than those with the home-made look.
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The eASIeST PLACe TO SeT UP A BUSINeSS IN eUROPe
Sir Richard Branson Founder, Virgin Group
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Litlle Black Book
the little black book
Photo Credits: theuptownlife, carlstr, baldheretic, Fred Dawson, RuffLife, markovski, bencarr, morberg, meg_wiliams, Roxelo Babenco, AaronPhelps, rogersmj on Flickr
h Ea t r o N
Lanchester Wine Cellars Ltd Greencroft Estate Tower Road Annfield Plain Stanley Durham DH9 7XP 01207 521234 firstname.lastname@example.org
a briStainton Wines
We’ve done the hard work for you and created our first exclusive Little Black Book. This month we are featuring distributors from every region who support English and Welsh wine and vineyards. Join our campaign to promote the best our country has to offer.
shire k r o Flourish & Prosper N. Y
1 Station Yard Station Road Kendal LA9 6BT 01539 731886 email@example.com
64 Bridgegate, Howden, East Yorkshire, DN14 7JH 01430 430006 firstname.lastname@example.org
LWC Limited, 3 Stainburn Road, Openshaw, Manchester. M11 2DN 0845 345 1068 email@example.com
rksh o Y . S
Distinctive Drinks Hill Top House Sheffield S11 7PX 07801 597722 firstname.lastname@example.org
a N. W
Gwin Llŷn Wines Y Maes Pwllheli Gwynedd LL53 5HA 01758 701004 email@example.com
MidVinl Neuf Wine Merchants Union Street Stratford-upon-Avon Warwickshire CV37 6QT 01789 261747 firstname.lastname@example.org
ales S. W Mumbles Fine Wines 524 Mumbles Road Mumbles Swansea SA3 4DH 01792 367663
nglia A t s The Wine Centre Ea
Great Horkesley Colchester Essex CO6 4BH 01206 271236 email@example.com
shire d r o f Wines Ltd Hert Flagship 417 Hatfield Road
St. Albans Hertfordshire AL4 0XP 01727 865309 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Piper Wines Ltd 1 Silver Street Ottery St. Mary Devon EX11 1DB 01404 814139 email@example.com
The Wine Pantry – Tasting Room 1 Stoney Street Borough Market SE1 9AA 02074 071002 firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for barrel suppliers in the next issue SPRING EDITION ∙13
Mueller Fermentation and Storage Tanks Paul Mueller Company sell a number of standard containers but they also offer the option of custom design. The tanks and equipment can be manufactured to suit your exact requirements! www.muel.com Price on request
Puleo Pneumatic Presses A very clever closed tank wine press that is suitable for any type of fruit. The machine allows minimum oxidation to the wine through its gas coverage system. Sizes available range from 800 to 44,000 litres. www.wineequip.com.au Price on request
equip your future With a variety of machinery on the market that promises to enhance the quality of your produce and maximise your time, it is sometimes difficult to choose the best. From bottle fillers to leaf removers, here are some of the most cutting edge tools to help you get the best out of your vineyard. By Louise Moore
Juclas Crossflow Filter It’s automatic which is brilliant and doesn’t need your attention for more than one hour a day. The inbuilt computer controls the intervals between cleaning processes, so it always gets the best for each wine. www.wineequip.com.au Price on request
CIAO Monoblock Another automatic wonder! This bottling line fills and corks between 500 and 1500 bottles an hour! And you are able to add rising, labeling and screw cap components. Genius! www.bishopimports.com Price on request
14 ∙ The Wine Press
Titan Four Row Sprayers A sprayer that comes equipped with four V-shaped polyester covers, allowing you to spray four rows at once and a polyester tank that makes repairs a breeze and enhances durability. www.lakeviewvineyardequipment. com Price on request No Copyright Clearance
roll out the bung Australian researchers have developed a new barrel bung which could radicalise wine making. By Natalie Mortimer
PhD student: Shaghik Atakaramians with the new bung
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ermentation, maturation and storage. The three areas when monitoring levels of S02, alcohol and temperature are critical and can demand high costs as well as uncertainty. So how would you like to reduce the doubt and stress of monitoring your wine? Academics at the University of Adelaide have heard your call and recently created a smart bung which will allow real time monitoring of wine in a controlled way, meaning the bung will act as an indicator for potential spoilage and action can be taken before it is too late. The smart bung, which contains fibre optic sensors, can constantly measure levels of a wide range of chemicals present in wine as it matures. The risk of opening barrels and human interference is removed as wine makers will no longer have to handle samples themselves. Professor Tanya Monroe told Radio Australia that the fibres they have created are the first of their kind: “We’ve developed new kinds of optical fibres that have tiny little microscopic or even nano-scale air holes, and if you dip them into fluids the fluid sucks up into the fibre and you can interact light with that fluid to tell you something about it.” The most appealing factor then, perhaps, is that the smart bungs can be inserted into all barrels in the winery meaning that each individual barrel can be monitored rather than only testing a representative. Obviously the benefit is that all the wine being produced has a higher guarantee in terms of quality, which is extremely cost effective. Tanya hopes that the bung will ultimately be used across the larger industry: “The ultimate dream is to be able to automate big vineyards or wineries that have mass barrel storage and be able to tell remotely the quality of various barrels. You can then make intelligent choices about which ones you want to blend together, for example.”
From vine to victory Deep in the heart of Cornwall lies England’s most successful vineyard, but what’s the secret to their success? The Wine Press went to find out. By Jessica McKay
Marcus_jb1973 on Flickr
amel Valley is set upon picturesque hills which catch the sun just perfectly in order to grow some of the best English vines. This idyllic location in the heart of the Cornish countryside could be the explanation for the Lindo family’s ever expanding trophy cabinet. In 1989 Bob Lindo and his wife planted their first vines after seeing a gap in the market for English wines in between the popular Australian and French labels. Two decades later Camel Valley is now a thriving family business. Sam Lindo, Bob’s son, was just 13 years old when the business began and didn’t see winemaking in his future so headed to the city to study a mathematics degree. On his return from university the English wine industry was growing at a rapid rate and so Sam opted to help the business flourish and took over as Camel Valley’s winemaker. Since his take over the vineyard has won the Winemaker of the Year award
16 ∙ The Wine Press
three times in the last five years, and was runner up the in other two. Sam says this award is his proudest achievement as he had to battle it out with his peers and so gained a real sense of pride as the best of British. Camel Valley has also won international awards on Sam’s watch and Bob is very proud of his son and the vineyard’s success, telling fans:“When Sam came second in the World Sparkling Wine Championships to Bollinger in Italy in 2009, I really did take my hat off to him. However, when he won the trophy for Best International Traditional Method Sparkling Wine in 2010 in Verona, ahead of Bollinger and Roederer I nearly ate it.” So what is the reason for Camel Valley’s success? It could be experience or it’s near perfect setting but Sam puts it down to the size of the vineyard. With no plans to expand he feels it is the perfect size to produce a good quantity of fine wine but has enough room to experiment, which is the key. He says a process
Camel Valley Press Office
of trial and error is vital to find the perfect taste, mediocrity is not in a certain area of France. At British vineyards we can recreate good enough and so altering and repeating flavours the fizzy texture but add different grapes and and methods may be frustrating but is essential if flavours meaning the range of sparkling wines is you’re striving for perfection. becoming more varied.” Luckily the English vineyard scene is fairly small With plenty of experience between them in comparison to other better known wine making including two years work experience at a top New countries and so Sam says English winemakers Zealand vineyard, Sam and Bob have lots of advice share tips and feel part of a community rather than for aspiring winemakers who are hoping to make competitors as they pull together to establish England their mark on the English wine industry. on the wine tasters map. Sam’s advice is to experiment as much as Sam feels that English wine is becoming possible and know exactly why you are using your increasingly popular simply due to the fact that chosen ingredients and exactly why each part of people’s tastes are altering. He said: “Ten years ago the process matters. He knows better than anyone Californian chardonnay and other deep tastes were that this can be time consuming but says the sense the big thing but British fruit tends to be juicier and of achievement after tasting the bottle you’ve been less acidic, particularly if it is picked at the right time. working towards is second to none. People seem to be enjoying a fruitier and less acidic This how Camel Valley’s astounding awards taste and that is what our wine offers.” display has become something many will be He has also noticed an increase in sparkling wine Sam Lindo: Award winner coveting but with many more up and coming drinkers in the last decade, adding: “People are enjoying sparkling English vineyards around will they keep their winemaker of the wine more too as opposed to champagne which can only be made year crown for another year? Camel Valley is the one to watch.
spring edition ∙ 17
Small but perfectly formed Terlingham vineyard might be the smallest commerical vineyard in the country, but that hasn’t stopped it from winning some of the biggest awards. By Jessica McKay
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estled in gentle sloped hills and situated on the land Terlingham is arguably one of the best places to grow English at Terlingham Manor Farm in Kent, Terlingham vines due to its south facing slopes. Apart from being ideal for vineyard has its own onsite winery and shares drainage, the chalky soil makes vines stronger as they push the same chalky soils and gentle climate with the hard into the earth. The sun filled summer days in the Kentish Champagne region of France. countryside also mean an The red brick manor dates back accurate amount of sugar is to the 13th century and is English produced to help create award heritage listed. The house is set in winning wine. a picturesque location overlooking Despite the small size of the the Kentish coastline which offers vineyard, the last four years optimum temperatures and have seen hard work pay off sea breezes during the summer as the business has grown months; perfect for grape growing. and the couple have managed Penny and her husband, Steve, to produce some of the best planted their first vines in 2006 and bottles of English sparkling produced their first delicate still wine. The pair have also and sparkling wines two years later. expanded their business by Since then the vineyard has won hosting wine tasting events awards at the English and Welsh Penny Riley and her award winning wines and vineyard visits and are Wine Awards for several bottles, currently in the process of setting up an online store including ones for their 2007 and 2008 vintage sparkling wines. in order to create alternative revenue. The couple pride themselves on the unique taste of each Terlingham could well be the small package that good things individual bottle of vintage they produce, preferring to focus come in for the world of English winemaking, and there is on the quality of taste, which is created by using traditional certainly high hopes for the winery in 2012’s English and Welsh winemaking skills, rather than the quantity. Wine Awards.
Sensing the need for a truly independent wine tasting experience, Taste du Vin took the opportunity to bring a fun and no-nonsense approach to tastings in people’s home and places of work. From a small group of friends to a local accountancy firm of 45 people, our tastings have proved very popular, whether you know little or nothing about wine or maybe consider yourself a connoisseur. A tailor-made approach is oh so important, as people enjoy having a sense of control over what is, in effect, their evening. Our events are always pitched at a level that ensures everyone learns something new and has a great evening too. We are often called upon to put forth suggestions as to what to taste. When this happens, we suggest maybe grape varieties that have not been tried before or different regions of the World. Something we are doing increasingly at the moment is suggesting people taste English wines, especially the sparkling variety. We conducted a Champagne tasting and included a bottle of Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs, but tasted this blind and then asked our guests what they thought. When told they were not drinking Champagne, they were stunned, but pleasantly so. Because of this, most said they would give English wines a try in the future. Our customers are always happy to try anything that we propose for them. We always find that giving people an opportunity to taste a wine, sometimes blind, is key to introducing them to different styles and countries that they would have never gravitated towards. We rely heavily on word of mouth and repeat business, and this has always stood us in good stead. We are always asked where we have purchased our wine, and tend to alternate between the big suppliers and local independent merchants, depending on what sort of event we are planning. Though we never supply wine, we do find that after a tasting, 8 out of 10 customers go on to purchase the wines tasted on that evening from the original supplier. For more details or to ask us to promote your wine at a tasting, please contact email@example.com 18 ∙ The Wine Press
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Ripe for picking: Grapes in the Ridgeview vineyard
a sparkling success to Ridgeview’s eventual and continuous success is the quality of their wine. “I believe that wine begins in the vineyard and we are fastidious winemakers,” she says. The grapes are specifically chosen from traditional Champagne varieties and the South Downs’ cool climate is perfect for producing sparkling wine as it allows the grapes to retain their natural acidity. Mardi also acknowledges that their marketing strategy has helped them.
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ounded in 1994 by Mike and Chris Roberts, Ridgeview is a family-run company in the South Downs of Sussex (just 88 miles north of Champagne), using traditional Champagne grape varieties and traditional methods. Ridgeview have been selling their products for 11 years and in that time have won over 140 medal awards and 20 trophies in national and international competitions. The accolade they are most proud of out of them all though, is the 2010 trophy for Best Sparkling Wine in the world, which they received at the Decanter World Wine Awards. What made this so special was that it was the first time the trophy had been awarded to a vineyard outside Champagne. Mardi Roberts made it very clear though that there is no competition between Ridgeview and the prestigious region: “We’re never going to shake their market position which is absolutely fine… they’ve got a very strong brand.” “We see ourselves as equal quality but from a different region,” she added. It wasn’t easy for Ridgeview to get noticed in the sparkling wine world in the beginning. “When we first started producing, English wine didn’t have a very good reputation,” Mardi explained. “In our first lot of marketing, the focus on the English was very small to get the right people to taste it first before making a judgement. Now times have changed and we can celebrate the Englishness and highlight it as our unique selling position.” One of the many things Mardi credits
Mardi Roberts: At work This involved pitching their products to the right journalists and having the right people support their efforts. What’s more, labelling has also been key, especially for new wines she says: “You can have good quality wine but if the label and the whole marketing doesn’t look the part that can really denigrate the product.” Ridgeview wine labels proudly display the name ‘Merret’ on all of their bottles in honour of Christopher Merret who, in 1662, presented a paper to the Royal Society of London which documented the process of making traditional sparkling wine 30 years before it was documented in Champagne. All of the wine names are also London themed to celebrate Christopher’s achievements. The final and most important secret to
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The award winning sparkling wine producer Ridgeview Estates has surpassed Champagne in competitions and its product has been served to President Obama. Ridgeview’s marketing and sales manager Mardi Roberts spoke to us about their accomplishments. By Kathryn Preston
Mike Roberts: Founder and director their success is the passion the team has for the vineyard: “We are a family company and we’re all really enjoying our position.” “It’s a fun industry to be in but it does require a lot of dedication and passion.” In spite of all of Ridgeview’s success, there are still certain challenges they must face. Even though they are increasing production, Ridgeview wines are now so popular that demand is outstripping supply. “We are exporting about 20 per cent of our production so our wine is now being distributed around the world,” says Mardi. “It is becoming such a problem that they are now having to allocate where their wine goes.” Ridgeview is a prime example of an accomplished vineyard and things can only better for them in the next few years. Thanks to the good weather at the end of last summer, the 2011 vintage is set to be of an extremely high quality and will likely once again bring the lucrative wine awards home. Spring edition ∙ 19
money does grow on vines
Vineyard tours One of the cheapest ways to earn money is by running guided tours. Charge customers an entrance fee and simply guide them around your vineyard, explaining different growing processes as you go. Prices vary but most vineyards charge from around £8-£50 depending on what is included. If you have a small team of staff, consider only running tours on certain days of the week.
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As any vineyard owner will know, the income from grape growing can be both unsteady and unpredictable. From the costs of raising successful vines to the ever changing English weather, creating a viable vineyard which pays you a reasonable wage is not an easy task. There is however another simple way to create a steady flow of profit, running paid for activities at your vineyard. Although some viticulturists are reluctant to introduce alternative streams of revenue to benefit their vineyards, they can help to boost annual income as well as increasing awareness of your business. By Natalie Mortimer
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Wine tastings The English population are some of the top wine consumers in the world and wine tastings in this country are big business. Showcasing wines which have been produced from the vines in front of customers is an excellent selling technique, and with prices usually from £20 upwards for around four glasses, it’s an easy way to introduce extra income.
20 · The Wine Press
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Adopt or rent a vine The cost of purchasing and maintaining vines can be costly, but the money can be earned back by providing an ‘adopt a vine’ service for vineyard enthusiasts. Consider offering a fixed yearly price and include free vineyard tours, occasional tastings and discounts on wine. Some vineyards charge as much as £195 per year to adopt a vine dependant on the bonuses that come with it.
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If you have any unused buildings on your land it can be a profitable idea to convert them into an onsite café. If the idea of cooking seems daunting or if employing extra staff is too expensive, think about having simple tapas style foods to complement wine, such as sharing plates of bread, cheese and meats.
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If staff costs and workforce numbers are an issue on your vineyard when it comes to harvesting, volunteer grape harvesters are an excellent and free way to keep them down to a minimum. If you’re happy to have novices helping you out in exchange for a free glass wine, you can save time and money very easily.
The demand for unusual wedding locations is ever booming and if you have the space and suitable buildings, they can be extremely lucrative. Whether you choose to host civil ceremonies or just wedding receptions, the amount of money you choose to charge is really up to you. It should be noted though that if you do decide to allow civil ceremonies on your vineyard, a license from the council is compulsory. Spring Edition · 21
The symptoms for the disease are variable though they often include wood and leaf necrosis, poor growth and in more dramatic cases, vine death. It’s very difficult to detect in the early stages and even once it has been noted, the plant is usually already very sick. Trunk disease is on the rise globally and unfortunately there is no cure for it. There are however a number of ways to control and minimise the spread to other vines. In his Grapevine Trunk Disease review, Jim Newsome notes that it is important to have proper Inside the vine: The effects of Botryosphaeria vineyard hygiene which can be simply achieved by removing and burning all cuttings. Pruning can also reduce infection as it limits growth, however this must be done as late into the season as possible and in fair weather. Fungi love humid conditions so where possible, drainage must be maximised to prevent environmental stress to the vines. It is not known just how badly these new trunk diseases will affect UK vineyards, however it is common sense to be vigilant and to get on top of any suspect vines as soon as you see any signs.
Infected: A vine trunk displaying signs of disease 22 · The Wine Press
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ike all plants, wine grapes are susceptible to a wide variety of diseases. Mildews are a real hazard in grape growing as the British climate is often damp, but a lesser known disease is destroying vines up and down the country. Trunk diseases are becoming more serious than wine makers previously thought, especially in English vines. They are caused by fungi which damage the vine and eventually kill it. It often occurs in young, recently planted vines but it can appear in established vines through pruning wounds. You may have already heard about Esca (‘black measles’), a type of trunk disease which has been in the UK for some time, but there are other bigger threats: Botryosphaeria (sometimes known as ‘bot canker’) and Cylindrocarpon (‘black foot disease’). In a recent interview with Decanter magazine, Dr Richard Smart said: “I would guess that 90 per cent of English vineyards are affected by trunk diseases, especially Botryosphaeria. I’ve visited over 35 UK vineyards and I’ve seen the disease in all but one”.
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There are many perils that face the intrepid vineyard owner. None more so than the constant threat of disease. Now it seems there is one more ailment to look out for, and worst of all your vines may already have it. By Kathryn Preston
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The silent killer in your vineyard
Top: Outer bunch rot
Bottom: Mildew disease
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Terroir is the magic word In France the concept of terroir has led to swathes of the country being designated to the cultivation of grapevines. Could this mystical idea help the English and Welsh wine industry? By Victoria Inniss-Palmer
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he importance of the soil quality when growing grapes for wine has been widely documented as a key factor in successful vineyards. The concept of terroir is not new to viticulturists. The idea that the type of soil in which a grape is planted and the localised climate directly influences the taste of the wine, leading the French in particular to dedicate vast areas to the art of vine growing. In England and Wales, where the climate is even more changeable, aspects such as disease and poor sugar development are known to be greatly improved by soil preparation and site selection. However, can these practices actually change the taste of the final product? Environmental factors can certainly affect the way a grape ripens and ultimately determine how the end product turns out. Lighter soils such as chalk cause UV light to reflect onto vines, speeding up the developments of flavours in the grapes as well as yielding thicker skins and a deeper pigmentation. With regards to climate, areas that often record high temperatures produce wines with lower acidity levels and higher alcohol contents. Wines from cooler climes are the opposite and have high acidity, meaning the regularly exhibit fresh, clean and distinct aromas. Vineyards in this country need to keep in mind a number of factors that can contribute to the suitability or unsuitability of the soil when planting their next award-wining vintage therefore. These are things Hills are ideal for vineyards such as controlling the amount of sunlight that the vines are exposed to, and changing the pH of the soil. Good drainage is vital to healthy vines as sodden soil can lack oxygen, restrict roots and even kill the plant prematurely. Hillsides are preferred because of the improvement to drainage and greater access to light. In Southern England for example, a south-facing slope will receive up to 30 per cent more sun exposure than a flat area in the late autumn. More sunlight results in lower acidity, unlike when vines are grown in an area with a cooler climate. The ideal pH levels for vines are between 6.0 and 6.5. Limestone can be used to lower acidity, whilst Gypsum reduces alkali readings. Acidity levels of soil should be closely monitored as it can affect a plantâ€™s nutrient uptake. Furthermore, it acid can also affect the vines reaction to certain chemicals known as polyphenols, which are key for controlling colour, tannins and most importantly, flavour. Terroir has been somewhat disregarded by many wine making countries, however in French viticulture, it is still a deciding influence. In English and Welsh vineyards, this could come in to play more strongly as the industry expands, especially because the cool climate in the UK is perfectly suited to growing sharp wines. Whatâ€™s more, by utilising the lay of the land at a vineyard and gently manipulating the nature of the soil, a clever wine producer could create a highly unique vintage that captures the moment. It is said after all that wine is an expression of a time and a place.
Here’s hoping for a hot summer While everyone else is enjoying a holiday, vineyard owners are entering one of the most crucial times in the life their vines. As this summer approaches, we go over the basics. By Victoria Inniss-Palmer
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he phases of the English vineyard consist of spring (April to May), which is when the buds burst and important roles include fertilisation and spraying in early summer (May to the beginning of July) and high summer - the period when the grapes and vines are growing and this is the best time for vineyard management. June is a particularly key month as it is when most grapevine varieties flower and the fruit sets. As the season approaches it is imperative to Green: Summer vines keep a keen eye on the weather because bad conditions such as excessive rain (which is more than likely in England), can lead to problems with pollination which causes uneven fruits and damage the year’s harvest. The height of summer is a significant time in the life cycle of successful grapes vines and ultimately decides the nature of the year’s vintage. The vegetative growing cycle of the shoots and leaves slows, the sugar level in the berries increases and the process of veráison then begins. One the grapes start to colour, the vines should be kept as healthy as possible, as diseases can affect clusters. Poor pollination can also produce shot berries Cut: The pruning season is almost here which fall off vines and mean it is impossible to harvest a full crop. Pruning is a vital technique which should be used as summer begins. All unnecessary green shoots must be removed whilst the plant is still in the active growing season, as this improves airflow and sunlight penetration. Furthermore, it contributes to the colour of the grapes and helps to control diseases. The basic way to go about cropping is to select the strongest shoot from the composite bud at the top of a main stem and then remove all the others at the top. It is advised that these secondary and tertiary buds are pruned, as this stops them taking up essential water and nutrients. After dealing with the bud, select three tendrils on either side of the stem, train them along the trellises, and then clip away any others. Take off the laterals and vertical sprout when they reach 12 inches. Buds situated between the leave stalk and the shoot itself should be removed along with water shoots in order to prevent the vines from becoming too compact. Closer to the end of the season, open the canopy to allow the grapes icreased levels of sunlight and improve colouration as the grapes come up to harvest. The effectiveness of the vine management during the warmer months will be put to the test once the summer has come to an end as by this point, the grapes are harvested and the wine making process is already well underway.
Subscribe to The Wine Press Subscribe to The Wine Press today and receive our magazine in the post each quarter. Never be without your intrinsic guide to the English and Welsh wine industry. The Wine Press is the only business magazine specifically aimed at the vineyard estates and wine producers of the UK. Each season is packed with must read interviews, leading wineries, insights into brand promotion and cutting edge cultivation features. Save on the cover price and subscribe for £25 a year including postage. The Wine Press is the trade must have! Visit our website for more details.
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Why should wine packaging be bland, beige or boring? The largest range of glass bottles, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Hock, Champagne and more. Probably the largest range of wine closures including every grade and type of cork, as well as plain and enhanced screwcaps and digitally printed shrink capsules. From the independent packaging supplier. 140 years young.
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