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THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers Issue 73, September 2018

Dog of the Month: Chester Chesters, Abergavenny

THIS MONTH 3 BACCHUS Younger wine drinkers are probably your best customers

4 comings & GOINGS

Yet more store openings in Chester and Bath

8 tried & TESTED

You can never have too much Cabernet Franc

18 bristol round table

David Gower did the honours for his former England teammate John Morris when the latter’s newly-extended wine shop in Derbyshire celebrated its opening night. Full story on page 13.

Ruthless Corks Out plans to open more branches Corks Out will continue on the expansion trail despite the surprise departure of founder Ruth Yates. Operations director Richard Wood, whose

father Ian has held a majority stake in the

business since 2013, says the company has not set itself a specific target for new sites to add to the five it already operates in north west England.

“Ideally we would like to open a store every

12 months if possible, but we’re not going

to risk going with somewhere that’s not an acceptable location,” he says.

“We’ve got a number of different sites in

mind. They’re obviously in the north west and

we’re not looking to branch out into city centres – Manchester, Liverpool, those kinds of areas.

It will be very much the suburbs of Manchester and places similar to those we already have.”

Wood says that the recent range review was

“really paying dividends” as customers explore new wines from Austria and Eastern Europe. “We’ve actually seen a bounce in our retail

sales, which is great, but our focus is also on

the bar side of things, and the corporate and the wholesale side which we’re very much committed to as well,” he says.

The website, which contributes in the region Continues page 2

So you’ve won an award. Did it bring you extra sales?

26 urchin wines

Margate’s biggest attraction since Benbom Brothers

32 david williams

What happens when a winemaker goes sleazy?

34 cobblers to corkage The perils of explaining why it costs more to drink a wine on the premises

38 make a date

The tasting season continues for another month

43 supplier Bulletin

Essential updates from agents and suppliers


BACCHUS

Don’t discount the threat from Aldi Encouraging news emerges from Wine Intelligence’s latest breakdown of consumer habits in the UK market – though the research also underlines the threat being posed by Aldi and Lidl. Wine Intelligence divides the wine-

buying public into six segments. The most lucrative of these – and the most relevant to indies – are labelled Adventurous Explorers and Generation Treaters.

Adventurous Explorers are typically

high-spending middle-aged consumers, with the highest level of wine expertise

of any of the groups. Generation Treaters, typically young urbanites whose

likely to buy from specialist shops than is the case with average consumers, with a

third of them reporting sourcing wine from this channel over the previous month.

The best news for independents comes

Corks Out stays on expansion trail From page 1

from the Generation Treaters, who are

of £700,000 towards Corks Out turnover, is

– indeed 45% are regular customers in

competition and low margins in the online

almost twice as likely as the average wine

drinker to buy wine from a specialist shop such stores.

But the fact remains that their retail

channel of choice is the supermarkets –

and they are almost as likely to buy wine from a discounter, supermarket website or convenience store as they are from a specialist.

The explosion in new stores for Aldi

and Lidl has been a thorn in the side of

UK supermarkets for several years, but

the chains’ high-profile wine deals have also become an irritant for specialist merchants.

Aldi, which now has almost 800 UK

stores, recently launched an orange

natural wine for £5.99. Lidl, which employs Richard Bampfield MW as a consultant,

has just over 700 branches and invested in a cinematic TV ad for its St-Emilion Grand Cru to emphasise its vinous credentials.

likely to get more investment within 18 to 24 months but Wood acknowledges fierce wine market, a situation he predicts will soon be exacerbated by Amazon.

The company is generating enough cash

to fund its expansion organically, Wood says, but he does not rule out seeking

extra investment if the right opportunities become available.

Ruth Yates has retained her minority

stake in the business but is no longer a

Corks Out employee, stepping down as chief executive at the same time as her

husband Richard and daughter Hayley also left their roles.

Yates intends to focus on consultancy

and charity work and says she has no plans to return to retail.

Wood says: “It’s a big change for the

company but also an exciting one. For the moment it’s business as usual, especially with the shadow of Christmas looming.”

enthusiasm for wine is not always matched by their knowledge, are the most valuable segment of all, and the most frequent imbibers.

According to Wine Intelligence, just

23% of wine drinkers make regular wine

purchases at a specialist shop – which for the purposes of the research includes the likes of Majestic and Oddbins as well as independents.

That compares to 85% who buy wine

regularly from supermarkets and 39% who make purchases at the discounters.

Adventurous Explorers buy from all

three of these channels more regularly than

Young, urban wine drinkers are the most loyal customers for specialist merchants

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 2

© Olly / stockadobe.com

b

the average. But they are markedly more


Flying Füchs

“Our Man with the Facts” Bottles of bespoke gin work out at less than £20 for merchants to buy

The gin distillery that comes to you A number of merchants now sell their own bespoke gin. A few have gone one step further and actually made the stuff outside their shop with the help of a mobile distillery. According to Cosmo Caddy of Devon

Distillery, the Still on the Move concept he developed last year has gone “bonkers”, thanks partly to wine trade clients

including Vineyards of Sherborne, Morrish & Banham in Dorchester, Totnes Wine

Company and Kingsbridge Wine Room booking his services.

The 100-litre still is fitted to a 1960s

VW minibus. “We roll up outside a shop or

restaurant and either they have nominated someone to work out their botanical blend or we guide them through it ourselves,” Caddy explains.

“Gin-making is relatively straightforward.

You start with a neutral alcohol, which we put into the base of the still at about 43%.

You heat it up and the alcohol vapour then passes through your botanicals and they

grab the flavour and infuse. You cool that

vapour back down and then that is your

gin, albeit at about 85% or 90% which you cut with water.

“Sometimes people bring their own

botanicals – it could be something that’s local to the area and as long as it’s legal

and not poisonous we can put it into the

gin. We’ve had chuckleberries – they’re like a pink gooseberry – and various different

seaweeds. Sea buckthorn has gone in and someone recently brought some banana skins along, which is fine if you like bananas.”

He adds: “The minimum that we do is 20

litres which is 27 bottles, but generally it’s 100 litres which is 140 bottles. That’s the

most efficient way of doing it. It works out that we charge £19.93 a bottle plus VAT

to come out to someone and make it and

sometimes there’s mileage on top of that.” The process takes up to six hours and

although Caddy is not claiming to be

putting on a show, he and his team are happy to chat to wine shop customers during less busy moments.

Merchants can either ask Caddy’s team

to supply labels or design their own. The standard back label takes care of all the legalities.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 3

• The number of trade marks issued

for spirits and liqueurs in the UK rose by 41% to 2,210 last year, according to legal firm RPC. Over the past five years the number of trade marks issued for spirits has increased by 84%, largely driven by the gin boom.

• The grape variety with the highest

number of clones is Pinot Noir, with some authorities suggesting there

may be as many as 1,000 variants. The variety is genetically unstable and is

capable of producing shoots with very different characteristics to others on the same vine.

• When pyhlloxera ravaged French

vineyards in the 1880s and 1890s, up to a sixth of the country’s wines were made by adding hot water and sugar to imported raisins, sometimes with added colouring.

• Vin de Tahiti in French Polynesia is thought to be the world’s most

remote winery, being 2,000 miles from New Zealand. The business produces

white and rosé wines from Muscat de Hambourg and Carignan.


Chester’s latest indie is a natural fit Mistral Wine Bar & Shop is opening in Chester’s historic Rows shopping district. Business partners Paul Caputo and Patrick Barker have refurbished a former hair salon to create a bar with seating for 35 people. “We’re going for a modern look: a marble

bar and table tops with whites and greys,” says Caputo. “We haven’t gone down the

old oak, rustic feel – there’s lots of copper and metal.”

The shop will list 250 wines, a handful

of which Caputo and Barker have imported themselves, but the majority will be from

Shelves at Wine Down effectively serve as the restaurant’s wine list

UK importers including Vine Trail, Lea &

always done business here are starting

but we’ll focus on low-intervention wines

trying to re-energise the city centre and

Sandeman, Flint and Bancroft.

Caputo says that the range is “a real mix,

– organic, biodynamic and some ultranatural wines”.

He adds: “A lot of those are French or

Italian – from what we’ve ordered so far there’s not a huge New World selection.

We’ll have a by-the-glass offering of around 10 to 12 wines and they’ll change as often as we can.”

Caputo is confident that the locals are

ready for the natural and biodynamic

wine revolution. “Chester is a university town and there’s a growing university

population and an increasing interest in

“I was with The Wine Cellar, here in

to retire and there’s a new generation of

Douglas, for 15 years and, prior to that, I

repurpose some of these big national

Pagendam Pratt before that,” she says.

independent business people who are brands that have essentially failed.

“As a shopping destination, it probably

lost a lot of business to the retail parks.

But the independent sector of cafés, coffee shops and bars is coming together to

create a go-to destination that certainly five years ago wasn’t here.”

Douglas wine shop joins with eaterie

was with Moreno Wines for six years and

had four years with [Yorkshire merchant] “My father started selling wine when I

was just five and, when I finished school, I

took a year out which I spent working with one of his suppliers in the Mosel Valley in Germany. That was 34 years ago – and I

still visit there every year to bring back my annual supply of Riesling.”

Farm shop invests in wine specialism

Anne Harrison has joined forces with

The award-winning farm shop at

chef Roy Macfarlane to open Wine Down

Lincoln’s Doddington Hall is currently

says.

at Macfarlane’s in Douglas on the Isle of

undergoing a huge expansion

Man.

programme to include a wine shop.

indies call it home, including Corks Out,

serve as the wine list: customers can select

seasonal food, including produce from the

selection of wine by the glass and Harrison

seems a natural progression.

ethical food and the slow food movement.

Hopefully our concept ties in with that,” he The city has proved to be increasingly

popular with the wine trade. A number of

Chester Beer & Wine, Tanners, Whitmore & White and Covino.

Caputo says his business hopes to “add

value” to the mix with its on-premise

offering. He adds: “Chester is changing.

The older generation of people who have

The shelves of wine on display effectively

any wine from the shelf to enjoy with

their meal or to take away. There is also a has sourced some smaller tasting glasses so diners can enjoy a different wine with each dish.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 4

With a reputation for providing quality

Hall’s kitchen garden and beef from the

estate-reared Lincolnshire Red Cattle, wine Sarah Hall, the farm shop manager,

says the retail space will be increased by

a third. “We’re extending our selection of


Adeline Mangevine Hasty despatches from the frontline of wine retailing as creating a wine shop with a dedicated tasting area,” she says.

Recruitment is under way for a “wine

ambassador” to advise customers and a

series of wine tasting events is also in the pipeline, along with the launch of a wine club within the next year.

Wines come mainly from Enotria&Coe.

Relocation allows Taylor to tinker

Taylors Fine Wine in Kingston upon Thames has relocated, giving owner Andrew Taylor the opportunity to indulge in a little “tinkering”. “I treated it like a re-brand in a way,” he

says. “I thought, OK, I’m moving to a better location – think about what’s worked well and what hasn’t worked so well and just kick things off again.

“There’s no real risk of my losing any

of my existing customers because I’m just 50 yards down the road. I’ve gone a little bigger on craft beers, but it’s a work in progress.”

For the second time in 12 years Taylor’s

lease was up for renewal, and he took the opportunity to take on a premises on a

more prominent part of the same street.

“The original shop served me well, but

it was in a slightly secondary position,” he says.

“I’m now on the main parade, by the

zebra crossing and in full view.”

H

ow many units do you drink

each week?” asks the doctor,

peering over her glasses in a

way that already looks disapproving.

Do I lie? She’ll double it anyway. She’ll

probably also double it if I tell the truth. Scary. So I opt for being just a little

economical with the truth. You see, I

have had a couple of weeks off the booze. A couple of very, very long weeks. So

technically, when I tell her that I stick to

government guidelines, I’m not telling an outright lie – if you average it out over the last month.

Avoiding wine when you are

surrounded by bottles of delicious

liquid is tough. So much variety, so many different grapes, countries, regions,

styles and tastes. People who drink wine just to get buzzed are missing out. Yet

getting buzzed is unavoidable if you love the stuff. Therefore, much as I hate all

those holier-than-thou organised months of abstinence – and the impact on my

bottom line – I concede that a bit of time off is essential.

My fortnight of abstinence is easy

at first. All those Seedlip and tonics, all

those fancy garnishes and chunks of ice,

clink clink clink. Except that I’m downing four or five a night. No wonder my

waistband soon starts to feel tight. I try

some zero-alcohol beer. Yeah, I won’t be doing that again in a hurry.

On day five, I decide that going to

the cinema after work would be a good distraction activity. Except that I am so distracted by the glow of everyone’s

phones during the screening, I barely

remember what we saw. I also won’t be doing that again in a hurry.

On day six, we have the prospect of

New shop is 50 yards from the previous site

dinner with friends in the trade. I call

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 5

them to break the news and to my shock – and delight – they decide on a dry

dinner party in support. Mr Mangevine is not a happy bunny, though. They

normally serve some serious kit. Instead, we spend the night drinking palatable

faux gronis talking about the wines we could have drunk with tonight’s food.

On day seven, Mr M slopes off to the

pub. I mope, drink tea and plan which

tastings I won’t be going to in the coming week. On day eight, a Monday, I decide

A fortnight of abstinence could be just what the doctor ordered – but Mr M isn’t happy it’s time to be more positive. I call in a slew of samples of achingly-hip non-

alcoholic adult sodas. That’ll keep me

busy for the rest of the week. And it does: I weed out the sugary, the weird and

the feral and eventually come up with a handful that are reasonably tasty and I can promote come Stoptober.

Eventually, my two weeks is up and

I am proud of the fact that I REALLY

HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT DRINKING WINE AT ALL. I celebrate my amazing willpower drinking some spenny Burgundies. I feel so bad the next

morning, I

have to take a few more

days off just to recover.

© Suteren Studio / stockadobe.com

locally-sourced beers and spirits as well


Whitmore & White in hunt for buyer After a fairly breathless expansion programme which has seen its estate swell to four branches, Whitmore & White is on the market for an asking price of just under £300,000. The business, established in 2014 by Joe

Whittick, operates hybrid shops/wine cafés in West Kirby and Frodsham, and stores in Heswall and Chester.

The company has 14 staff and a turnover

of £678,129, and Whittick believes a

new owner could help it realise its true potential.

If a buyer can be found, Whittick plans

to devote more time to his partner’s fastgrowing building firm.

“We basically just decided that if we

wanted to have any kind of life, one or

other of the businesses probably needs to be under somebody else’s management,”

he says. “We’ve just stretched ourselves a little bit too far.

“Whitmore & White has so much

potential and there are so many things we

The original Beckford store in Tisbury, Wiltshire

“I think it could do with a slightly bigger

management structure and somebody

who could give it more time and a bit more money and take it to the next level.”

Bath time for the Beckford boys Beckford Bottle Shop is about to open

the local council. “It’s a listed building in a World Heritage Site so there have been a

few hurdles,” says Gardner. “It’s taken a bit

longer than we thought, but it’s an exciting opportunity.”

Former Beckford shareholder Kent

Barker has sold his stake in the business to fellow directors after an amicable

departure and is now preparing a new wine retailing venture of his own.

haven’t exploited – things like wholesale

its second branch, and is the latest

more you could be doing if you just had

in mid October. “It’s essentially two sites,”

business, Australian Wines Online, is still

since we opened. The first one in Heswall

bistro – we’re still struggling with the

partnership with Pete Thompson, says:

second unit will essentially be a copy-and-

business. Eighteen months ago we put in a

“We’ve employed Liam Steevenson MW

“It’s very different because as a retail

and lots of other avenues. It becomes so

merchant to try its luck in Bath.

more time.

explains managing director Tim Gardner.

going strong.

wording – but essentially serving tasty

“Australian Wines Online has been going

paste of the original Tisbury [Wiltshire]

new website and I’ve been spending time

as our consultant. We’ve known him for

business you meet people and build up a

frustrating after a while – there’s so much “We’ve expanded the business every year

is quite established now, West Kirby is

just coming up to its second birthday and Chester’s only a few months old. There’s still some way to go in terms of where those stores need to get to.

“I think everyone’s admitting the same

thing right now – it’s not easy on the high

street and it’s a lot of work to make it work properly.

“We’re testing the water to see what

happens. If nothing comes of it, we’ll just continue as we are.

The Saville Row premises is due to open “The corner site will be a tapas bar/

• After 15 years of trading, Wine Buffs in Warrington has closed, but its online

Brian Marshall, who ran Wine Buffs in

British charcuterie and cheeses. The

for 15 years so it’s a well-established

shop.

optimising it, and we’ve shown growth.

ages, we take a lot of his wines and he’s

relationship. Online you really don’t build up

relationship.”

internet business is “more profitable and a

always been a good friend to the Bottle

Shop. It’s a natural development of that

The freehold of the Bath site is owned by

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 6

a relationship with anybody.” However, Marshall admits that the new lot less hassle.”


Taste this year's top 100 Rioja wines, selected by an expert panel chaired by Tim Atkin MW and Sarah Jane Evans MW

www.riojatasting.com

Italian Wine Extravaganza TUESDAY 23 OCTOBER 2018 - 11AM TO 4PM BOCCA DI LUPO 12 ARCHER STREET LONDON W1D 7BB Join us for an exclusive food and wine event at the prestigious Italian restaurant Bocca di Lupo in London. Hosted by the wine producers themselves, guests will be treated to a selection of ‘cicchetti’ to match some of our best Italian wines. Put the date in your diary now as space is very limited. Register your interest with emma@buckingham-schenk.co.uk

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 7

9th October 11am - 5pm Banking Hall 14 Cornhill London EC3V 3ND


tried & Tested Tenuta Perano Frescobaldi Chianti Classico Riserva 2015

Pietradolce Etna Rosato 2017

This was like one of those dogs that walks off when

northern slopes of Mount Etna at 700m above sea

The fruit here is all Nerello Mascalese, from the stony

you stroke it – aloof, indifferent, not ready to play. Next

day, it was still suspicious of our advances, but sweeter natured and less frigid. We’ve arranged to meet again

this time next year because we sense progress is being made, and that our efforts will be richly rewarded. RRP: £33.49

ABV: 14%

level. It’s one of the more characterful rosés that came our way this summer, with enjoyable layers of flavour that combined stuff like marzipan, orange peel, stone fruit and raspberries, along with a flinty mineral dimension, as befits its rocky origins. RRP: £16.50

ABV: 14%

Hallgarten (01582 722538)

Armit Wines (020 7908 0600)

hdnwines.co.uk

armitwines.co.uk

Aldwick Bacchus 2016

Benegas Cabernet Franc 2015

It’s all sold out now and admittedly it’s the wrong time

Cabernet Franc is gaining momentum in Mendoza,

Somerset producer. Steve Brooksbank’s creation is a

this one did split opinion hereabouts. But there’s also

of year for something so fresh and delicate, but it’s

worth keeping an eye out for newer vintages from this

lovely example of a variety that can be a genuine calling card for English wine: cool, understated and simple, with the fragrance of a spring meadow. RRP: £12.95

where it attains a juiciness rarely found in the Loire.

Not everyone wants that level of fruity sweetness, and a characteristic savoury bell pepper note, and a gentle leafy bitterness on the finish that rounds proceedings off nicely.

RRP: £19

ABV: 11%

ABV: 14%

Las Bodegas (01435 874772)

Aldwick Court Farm (01934 864404) aldwickcourtfarm.co.uk

lasbodegas.co.uk

Yalumba The Scribbler Cabernet/Shiraz 2014

Ponte del Diavolo Grave Del Friuli Pinot Grigio 2017

Conceived as an earlier-drinking version of The

Those of us who practice an almost religious avoidance

wouldn’t be too offended if you told them you simply

insipid. There’s a decent zip to this one, a warm waft

Signature, this is too good to be labelled as a mere

quaffer, but equally you get the impression its creators

thought it was “nice”. Apply the thumbscrews and we’d pick out friendly flavours of plum, leather and mint. RRP: £15.99

ABV: 13.5%

Fells (01442 870900)

of Pinot Grigio need to check in on progress every

now and then, and here’s an example that’s far from

of patisserie and a nutty depth, making it a perfectly serviceable party wine. RRP: £10.99

ABV: 12.5%

Liberty Wines (020 7720 5350)

fells.co.uk

libertywines.co.uk

Josten & Klein Heimat Riesling 2016

Château Coudray-Montpensier Chinon 2016

Josten and Klein got tired of selling their respective

Joan of Arc once stayed in this 14th-century castle,

of sweetness here could easily have signalled one of

price. There’s a firm acidity underpinning the cherry

families’ grapes to the local co-op in Ahr and so set about creating their own venture. The initial burst those one-glass-is-plenty Rieslings, but the fruit is marshalled admirably by a prickly, zesty acidity. RRP: £16

ABV: 11.5%

Raymond Reynolds (020 7720 5350) libertywines.co.uk

which is a fun fact that this bright and breezy Chinon

doesn’t really need as a selling point, especially at this and blackcurrant fruit, a whiff of antique wardrobes, and a finish suggesting spices and coffee. RRP: £13.99

ABV: 12.5%

Liberty Wines (020 7720 5350) libertywines.co.uk

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 8


bits & BOBs FAVOURITE

THINGS Camilla Wood

Somerset Wine Company Castle Cary Favourite wine on my list I’d have to stay loyal to my adopted Marche roots where I have a home and say Villa Angela Pecorino by Velenosi – a direct import of ours. This is a rounded, fuller bodied style of Pecorino with a gorgeous lemon balm and honeysuckle nose, stone fruits on palate, racy minerality and a classic bitter almond finish. It captures for me the exciting diversity of Italian whites. I’m a massive Verdicchio fan too – one of the few whites which has incredible ageability.

Winemakers in the drought-affected Hunter Valley are preparing to begin culling kangaroos. Kangaroos in the valley are running out

of food, and could soon become a threat to

Frankenstein grapes on the way French wine scientists have come up with four revolutionary supergrape

the region’s vineyards come bud burst in

varieties they say are impervious to rot

application to the State Government to hire

grown creations, which mix grape genes

his crop to kangaroos last year. “If there’s

wine for future generations.

September.

and thus require almost no pesticides.

registered shooters.

from around the world, could lead to

Growers in Pokolbin are considering an Bruce Tyrrell lost around 80 tonnes of

nothing else to eat they will find what they can and that’s likely to be vines,” he said. The Drinks Business, August 17

Favourite wine and food match

But purists have warned that the lab-

dumbed-down, low-grade “Frankenstein” Scientists at the National Institute of

Agronomical Research have permission to

grow four varieties of resistant grape called Araban, Floreal, Voltis and Vidoc which will lead to wine being bottled by 2020.

I recently had supper with cook/food writer

The Telegraph, August 4

and friend Lucas Hollweg who cooks incredible flavour-laden peasant food. We had a sublime

American wine growth is in the can

rich fish stew with fennel and orange, and a huge blob of aioli, which I paired with a barrelfermented Chinon Blanc, Silice by M Plouzeau – the elegance and complexity of this Chenin complemented beautifully the delicacy and

Canned wine is booming in the US, with

intensity of the flavours in the stew.

year-on-year sales currently up 43% as consumers become more open-minded

Favourite wine trip

to alternative packaging for wine.

It has to be a Wine Merchant magazine trip to Tejo in Portugal last summer with a cracking

Boxed wine is also enjoying its moment

load of merchants. The people, wines,

in the sun in the US, with sales up 7% on

enormous quantities of food and side-splitting

last year, while overall wine sales at retail

banter will live long in the memory. We bonded

in the US are flat at $3.3bn.

over a particular sparkling wine called Monge – come on, please, someone import it!

Favourite wine trade person

Magpie

Kangaroo cull to protect Hunter crop

The Drinks Business, August 15 Who, me?

The best thing about this trade is the

winemerchantmag.com

camaraderie and support. In no particular order,

01323 871836

Johnny Paterson from Bancroft, Ned from Alliance, Carl Rostrup of ABS, Duncan Pilbeam of Babylonstoren, Guy Smith of Smith & Evans …

Favourite wine shop Shaftesbury Wines, the tiny but veritable treasure trove of great wines and quirky finds owned by another wine trade classic good bloke, David Perry.

winemerchantteam@gmail.com

Twitter: @WineMerchantMag

The Wine Merchant is circulated to the owners of the UK’s 887 specialist independent wine shops. When we launched in 2012 there were 660 of them, but we don’t take credit for the boom. The magazine is edited by Graham Holter. Printed in Sussex by East Print. © Graham Holter Ltd 2018 Registered in England: No 6441762

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 10

VAT 943 8771 82


THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 11


THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 12


John Morris (top left) took on the former Derbyshire bank in the spring

Gower happy to see pal’s wine venture is flying England Test cricketer-turned-wine broker John Morris has opened a shop called Bradmans Wine Cellar in the Derbyshire village of Duffield. “I work for [fine wine investment firm] Vin-X and consequently I have access to all this

lovely stuff and I wanted an office to show

what we are doing,” he says. “The old bank in the village where I live became available and we took it on.”

Since opening in May, Morris

has been given the opportunity of

acquiring a further portion of the

building, which meant applying

for change of use from A1 to A4 – and while he was about it he applied for the licence to allow use of the garden too.

Permission was granted and Morris marked the occasion with

an official opening attended by his old cricketing pal David Gower. The pair were each fined £1,000 in 1991 for flying biplanes low over an England warm-up match in Queensland.

The shop, named after Australian cricket legend Don Bradman,

is set on a high street with several watering holes. “If you’re

coming to Duffield you can have a nice drink and a bite to eat, all

within 60 yards of each other,” says Morris, whose county career included spells at Derbyshire, Durham and Nottinghamshire.

The dedicated tasting room has already played host to Taittinger

and there are plans for an Italian night in October.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 13


12

things they don’t show you on winery visits

‘Don’t drink the dimethyl!’

Visiting most wineries, you get the impression that nothing disreputable ever happens in the winemaking process. But slip a truth drug into the host’s espresso and a different picture may emerge

THE STASH OF CITRIC ACID

THE MYSTERIOUS PALLETS WITH CHESHUNT ADDRESS LABELS ON THEM

THE VIALS OF OAK EXTRACT

“We try to pick grapes on time but it’s not easy and quite often they’re a bit cooked and flabby

“As a family company ourselves we absolutely

to hold you firmly by the arms first in case the

by the time we get them to the winery. Yes, we

only sell wines to small, like-minded, specialist

smell knocks you backwards into that stack of

know that tartaric acid is what we’re

merchants, and would only countenance a

ornamental barrels. We did

meant to be using, but have you seen

massive contract with Tesco that completely

use oak chips for a while,

the price of that stuff? Sure, citric

undermines those relationships

but these bad boys are so

acid may be against the rules, but at

if it helps us invest further

much easier to hide. We

least it doesn’t leave scary deposits

in reinforcing our artisanal

get the stuff from the home

credentials.”

brew shop in town.”

THE WHITEBOARD WITH THE SCRIBBLED HEADING ‘M.O.G. 2018’

THE BOTTLES OF DIMETHYL DICARBONATE

“Weather round these parts can be a little unpredictable at harvest time and if I’m honest

“It’s amazing what turns up on the sorting table

wine. Here, take a swig. Ha, I was only joking –

we have been known to get the crop in before

and this year the prize went to the lady who found

that stuff is poisonous! Well, for the first half-hour

it’s really ripe. Either that or we lose track of how

the thumb. But we also had some birds, a frog

it is, anyway, before it hydrolyses. Then it’s

much citric acid we’ve chucked into the tank.

and an iPhone, plus what looked like a note from

absolutely fine. Though I do sometimes wonder if

in the bottle.”

THE SACKS OF CHALK

Thank god for calcium carbonate! Not

the public health department.

sure why people get worked up by it

But that got shredded by the

– I’m always reading glowing reviews

mechanical picker, so we don’t

about chalky-tasting wines.”

know what it said.”

“Take a sniff of this but get two of your friends

“This is what we use to sterilise and stabilise the

that’s what gives people the headaches.”

THE QUEUE OF LORRIES WAITING TO UNLOAD

THE MEGA PURPLE REPOSITORY “You think our wines are naturally this colour? You

THOSE SPECIAL WINES FOR THE VERY SPECIAL GUEST

“One day we’ll get that regional grant to expand

think that we can guarantee that kind of flavour

“Please don’t open those bottles over there, with

our grape reception area but until that happens

consistency from vintage to vintage without a

the same labels as these ones we’re tasting over

it’s one in, one out – and you have to bear in mind

little help from a sugar-rich grape concentrate?

here. We’ve got a reviewer from a very important

that a siesta is all part of our culture here. So yes,

Next you’ll be telling me

magazine arriving tomorrow and those are his

it might take a few hours before we unload those

that wrestling isn’t fixed.

samples. Yes, of course it’s

grapes, but then spontaneous

What are they teaching

exactly the same wine, and

open-air fermentation is quite

you people on the Diploma

only a cynic would say we’ve

the thing these days.”

course these days?”

blended in a back vintage.”

THE SHANTY TOWN OF MIGRANT PICKERS

HUMAN SEDIMENT FROM THE LAGARE

“This is where our loyal workforce is based, just

“Foot-treading grapes is the only way to get

THE SLICED GREEN PEPPERS AND CANS OF PEACHES

behind the cesspit and where you can see those

that really authentic flavour in our wines and

bare wires on the pole next to the generator. We

yes, it may have something to do with the

think they’re pretty happy working 14-hour days, but to be honest not many of them speak the language

curly black hairs, toenails, Band-Aids and verucca pads that get mulched up with the grapes. Don’t knock it – that

so we can’t be sure. We

stuff seems to have made a huge

dock them a day’s pay if

difference to the grappa that we

they blunt the secateurs.”

make here, too.”

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 14

“We’re healthy eaters here and you certainly work up an appetite making Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Some of the guys eat on the hoof and yes, technically it’s possible that some of their lunch might obey the laws of gravity during batonnage. Hell, we’re not trying to fight against nature here.”


A lot to admire in Villa Maria Abe Salt, who has taken on the chief executive role at Villa Maria from Sir George Fistonich, argues there’s plenty for indies to get their teeth into in an award-winning range

A

be Salt, the newly-installed chief

communication of the stories and places

he spoke to The Wine Merchant, on

that’s being done by the Hawke’s Bay

behind the wines. He mentions the work

executive at Villa Maria was, when

Winegrowers Association in developing

a whirlwind tour of distributors in Europe

a unified message for the region and the

and beyond. He’d arrived in London by way

wines being made there, noting that it’s

of Moscow and Amsterdam and was hot-

helpful not just for Villa Maria but for

footing it to Ireland after saying hello to a

all producers. The hope is that a similar

few London independents.

strategy will be in place across every region.

Salt began his career in investment

banking before an opportunity at Treasury Wine Estates in 2012 drew him into the world of wine.

There he was global head of strategy, a

wide-reaching role that included placing brands on the shelves of Australia’s

Abe Salt: boutique wines suit indies

Salt goes on to talk about the importance

independents. “The strategy was the

of independents in encouraging customer

much a brand-by-brand, market-by-market

wines, from different varieties.

premiumisation of the brands … very approach,” he says.

“We saw that the independents

represented an opportunity to build our

brands, particularly with those that were smaller, more boutique.”

He acknowledges that the success

came down to being able to offer

exclusivity with the smaller brands, at the same time as securing spots

for the bigger names, like Penfolds,

experimentation with other, more premium He is keen to emphasise the breadth of

the Villa Maria range, citing the 28 different

Salt has taken over the reins of a business that has, for the fourth year running,

been named as the World’s Most Admired New Zealand Wine Brand by Drinks

International. It is an impressive innings

given that it judges not just on quality but

also on how successfully the wines meet the tastes of the target audience, as well as on the marketing and packaging.

Why does Salt think Villa Maria has such

varietals it includes and the range of prices, all

a strong track record? “I think it comes

wines. He identifies the Villa Maria Cellar

founder] who is so passionate. His hobby

the way to top-of-the-range, single-vineyard

Selection Grenache, Cellar Selection Albariño

and the Single Vineyard Southern Clays

Sauvignon Blanc as all being top choices for independents.

Salt describes the Esk Valley, Left

down to Sir George [Fistonich, Villa Maria’s and his work are wine and his passion has

rubbed off on the staff, many of whom have

worked at the company for a very long time and who are very loyal to him.”

Will Villa Maria win for a fifth time? You

because of their customer appeal.

Field and Vidal brands – all part of

wouldn’t bet against it. Sir George and Villa

when targeting the UK independents

“perfectly suited to the independents”.

new talent and encouraging the team to

Does he plan to use this model

now that he is at Villa Maria?

Salt points out that for distributor

Hatch Mansfield, Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc is the topselling line in the independent

sector, and argues there is clearly a

demand for the indies to meet. “It’s

the Villa Maria portfolio – as being He talks about these wines as

being a “small wine story within a

bigger company. They are boutique, handcrafted wines, with dedicated

winemakers.” He’s equally enthusiastic about the company’s range of

Chardonnay wines whose praises, he

Maria have a history of taking on exciting

experiment and to continue their training. The winemakers are given plenty of scope

to try new varieties and this is supported by Villa Maria’s own nursery. Everything about Villa Maria shouts quality, consistency and innovation. Salt has a gem to work with.

a quality wine that scores fantastically …

says, “aren’t being sung enough”.

Feature sponsored by Villa Maria Distributed in the UK by Hatch Mansfield

sophisticated consumer,” he says.

of the range will come down to effective

info@hatch.co.uk www.villamaria.co.nz

it’s not made for grocery, it’s made for the

Salt knows that the successful selling

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 15


wine merchant lunch

Devaux is in the detail for Parisot in his pursuit of the perfect Champagne

M

ichel Parisot compares his job

to that of a perfumier. His task is to blend together wines from 80

parcels from across Champagne in pursuit of the particular style he wants.

It sounds complicated, but in fact that’s

a simplification. Parisot, who became Chef de Cave in 1999, has a pioneering style,

involving myriad ageing techniques that

include solera systems and extended lees

management. He also has a fascination for

oak. The matrix of possibilities open to him is pretty much infinite. And yet Parisot’s nose, and palate, always lead him to the results he’s aiming for. No wonder that

Krug’s Eric Lebel has called Devaux “the

Devaux’s distinctive bottle shape makes it a stand-out wine on shelves

The growers are held to strict guidelines

Krug of the Côte des Bar”.

over and above the appellation rules to

generations of widows for more than a

based in the Côte des Bar, Champagne’s

Devaux itself has an unusual story.

Founded in 1846 and run by three

century, it is now controlled by a collective of growers who, by definition, have total control of their own vineyards.

focus on sustainability; some use organic and biodynamic principles The house is

Pinot Noir heartland, where the grapes are in huge demand among top producers.

Parisot recently led a London tasting for

independent merchants and sommeliers.

First up was Grande Réserve NV, which

showcases the house’s Pinot expertise.

The variety, making up 69% of the blend, contributes richness and a long finish,

but the Chardonnay element – with fruit

sourced from the Côte des Bar as well as

the fine chalky soils of the Côte des Blancs – injects liveliness and elegance. Like all

the wines in the Devaux range, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Reserve wines are an important part of

Michel Parisot: a pioneering style

Parisot’s thinking, in this case making up

20% of the blend. “The majority of this is aged in big barrels and is in fact blends

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 16

from the preceding year,” he says. “You have more complexity because the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir age together in the big barrels. It makes the wine longer on the

palate.” Lees ageing for 36 months adds to the wine’s rounded complexity.

Next came Cuvée D, a multi-vintage

Champagne, again a blend of Pinot Noir

and Chardonnay, aged for five years. This is the flagship wine of the Devaux range,

made with fruit sourced from sustainablyfarmed parcels.

Here, Parisot’s solera system is in full

effect. The blend comprises 40% reserve

wines (50% for the magnum), a quarter of

which are from two perpetual soleras. The remaining reserve wines are aged in oak. “It’s very interesting with the soleras,”

Parisot says. “You are topping up with new flavours, but you also have old flavours.”

All Collection D wines use only the first

quarter of the press to obtain the finest juice: the “coeur de cuvée”.


in association with Ultra D NV is the lowest dosage NV in

the Devaux range, with just 2g/l. Zero

?

THE BURNING QUESTION

Do you have a horror story about couriers? are basically indestructible but �weOuronceboxes had some returned with the contents

dosage is not a concept that Parisot finds

interesting. “For me, a quality Champagne

broken. My boss lost his temper a bit with the courier and to prove his point, filled another box with 12 bottles of wine and threw it down the stairs to demonstrate how impossible it would be to break the bottles. Jason here once sent a case of wine to his parents and although it was smashed in transit, the courier still delivered the broken glass and juice, in a big plastic bag.

has to stay on the palate for a long time,”

he says. “Even if your wine is very beautiful

it’s always shorter on the palate if you don’t have the sugars. So even if it’s a very small

amount of sugar, we always have dosage.”

D Millésimé 2008 is a 50-50 Pinot Noir/

Beata Ramsay Theatre of Wine, Greenwich

Chardonnay blend with a dosage of just 6g/l. Although it was one of the stars of

the tasting, it was almost never made at

all, thanks to a rainy growing season and

a worrying lack of fruit maturity. It looked like a non-vintage year.

“But two weeks before the harvest the

weather changed absolutely,” says Parisot.

“It is often like that in Champagne. We had

a lot of sun, and we achieved a good level of acidity with a beautiful maturity. The 2008 is one of the best vintages I know.”

behalf of one customer I sent the same �Oncase of top-class white Burgundy to five recipients. One case made it to its destination in Cornwall and the other four apparently all got broken in transit. I asked if I could have the tops back – that’s part of the deal so I can sort it out with insurers – and I never received anything. It’s happened on three other occasions, including with one very nice case of claret.

Hannah Wilkins Vineyards of Sherborne, Dorset

The Devaux Vintage 2005 is supplied in

magnum. “This is a curiosity for us because

off a case of wine at £35 a bottle and �theI sent courier got back to me to say that because

we’re in the Côte des Bar, where you have a large majority of Pinot Noir, and here is

one bottle broke, they had to destroy the whole package. The argument was that it was standard procedure. We use the bottle-shock packaging and we’ve tested it by chucking a bottle out of the top-floor flat of the building above us. That’s a 20ft drop and it survived, so it should withstand even the most clueless box-handler.

a bottle with a majority of Chardonnay,” says Parisot. “We don’t make this every year, only when the year is very good

for Chardonnay, and we only make it in

magnums, on lees for 10 years. It’s always

Peter Wood St Andrews Wine Company, Fife

very fresh, and very elegant.”

The tasting showcased Parisot’s body

of work, but he’s keen to give credit to

the growers, who can see the benefits of waiting for full maturity in their grapes. “We were one of the first companies

to work like that, and now more and

more companies talk about going to the

vineyards and tasting the grapes,” he says. “When you work like that, there are no

differences between winemakers and wine growers.”

• Devaux is imported by Liberty Wines. Call 020 7720 5350 for more information or visit

I have had numerous horror stories over the years of lost �packages – and when you try and claim for them, they suddenly turn up. I have friends with a wine shop in Cornwall and they won’t use the same courier as me because they get terrible service,§ so it’s obviously all about your regional depot and how that works, and there are certain areas of the country where parcels are likely to get broken. It really is variable.

Cat Brandwood Toscanaccio, Winchester

Champagne Gosset The oldest wine house in Champagne: Äy 1584

www.libertywines.co.uk.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 17


bristol round table

Awards bring few rewards Are retail awards worth entering and what are the benefits of winning? Coverage of our Bristol Round Table, arranged in partnership with Santa Rita Estates, continues on that very subject

T

here are so many retail awards these days that it seems that most wine merchants have won a gong of some description, either on a national or a local level.

Awards have become an important revenue stream for

publishers at a time when trade advertising is in decline. But do they have any benefits for the merchants who enter them?

Yannick Loué, whose Le Vignoble business in Plymouth launched

six years ago, was initially encouraged to enter as many awards as

he could. “And actually it was good – we won two or three,” he says. “I wondered what it was going to bring me. I thought it was

going to bring me a lot more sales. It did bring some exposure, but it was exposure within the trade, which in some ways is OK but it

isn’t OK the next day when you receive about 10 phone calls from people trying to sell you wine. I didn’t enter awards to receive that.”

Was there no local benefit at all? “We didn’t really see it – maybe

we’re in the wrong part of the country. I don’t know.”

But the dubious advantages of being a winner are not the only

reason that Loué has become disillusioned with awards. He also has doubts about the integrity of the judging process.

“What I’ve seen with awards is it’s more about who you know,”

he says.

“When you look through the list of winners, every year it’s

London … an hour from London … an hour and a half from London … two hours from London, they were lucky … an hour from London … London … London … London.”

Loué says he was only once visited face-to-face by an awards

judge. A judge from another competition visited anonymously and left a business card on a shelf. “I thought that was very bad,” he says.

Loué also believes that many of the winners earn their victories

on the back of exaggerated claims. “I’ve seen people who win:

most of the time their wine list is fake, their entry is fake, so do they really deserve it?

“You read that some people say they’ve got 1,000 wines, and

then you look at the size of their shop. How do they do it?”

Having entered all the awards open to him, in the second year of

opening Loué decided to stop, not least because of the energy that had to be diverted into the entry process.

“It takes a lot of time and puts pressure on the staff, and

pressure on keeping your website up to date,” he says. “It’s no joke, all the information that they need. Basically you feed them with stats and you do their work. They’re taking one of your staff to

feed them statistics, that’s purely what it’s about. And you have to pay, some of the time.”

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 18


in association with santa rita estates

Maybe small is beautiful, especially when there’s no entry fee Kelli Coxhead of The Wine Shop in Winscombe is another indie who has given up on awards. “I haven’t got time to enter and to be honest it really doesn’t matter because nobody really cares and actually you’re paying for [the organisers] to have a night out – it’s your entry fee that pays for the gala dinner,” she says. “We did one, the Off Licence News newcomer in the first year we opened, because we thought: well, what the hell – we’re new.” She ended up winning, but didn’t capitalise on the victory. “I didn’t put it in the local paper,”

Darren Willis

she admits. “I’m rubbish at self-publicity.” Darren Willis at Grape & Grind in Bristol admits he is equally reticent about looking for media exposure, though he has not yet found the time to enter awards. “I’ve been nudged by a few of my suppliers to do it and when the entry time has come I’ve always been away or busy,” he says. “My wife used to work in a company that put on awards and they were just a money-making exercise and a bit of a con.” Coxhead adds: “We had a local one that basically wanted your database. They email all your

Yannick Loué

customers to encourage them to vote. We were competing against other wine shops within our area. “We completely took our eye off the ball because we were so obsessed with Facebook, Twitter and emailing out and it was just like: why on earth were we doing that? It was just a waste of time. After that we decided that we’re never doing awards again because it’s not for me. They don’t give two hoots about my business.” Gemma Welden of The Jolly Vintner in Tiverton says that although the bigger industry awards

Kelli Coxhead

may be rather trade-facing, smaller local alternatives can have benefits. She explains: “I entered some awards by default this year – a Devon retail awards – because I was nominated for something and it cost me absolutely nothing. “It was all driven through social media. I basically shared a Facebook post and it went crazy. My customers loved it and were sharing it. I got engagement numbers up by hundreds and hundreds of people. “I didn’t win, sadly, but it didn’t cost me anything and people were coming into the shop mentioning it and asking about it. People were sharing online and saying they’d voted, so from an engagement perspective that © Brian Jackson / stockadobe.com

worked really well for me.”

• Round Table coverage continues overleaf

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 19


the wine merchant BRISTOL round table

Do wine journalists pay enough attention to independent wine merchants?

in association with santa rita estates Graham Holter, The Wine Merchant: Are people who shop at wine merchants reading newspaper recommendations? Darren Willis, Grape & Grind: If people read a regular

newspaper and they’re interested in food and drink then they will cast their eye over them. The journalist I speak to quite often, I do think she gets quite a lot of pressure to include more wines that are available in multiples – and I think that’s regrettable.

Fitz Spencer, The Honky Tonk Wine Library/Walker &

Gemma Welden, The Jolly Vintner: I remember Rick Stein did a programme when he talked about Marsala and the next day five

people came into the shop asking me for Marsala because they’d seen it on TV. So I definitely think there’s a power in terms of television programmes and reviews and that kind of thing.

And there’s no reason why the journalists shouldn’t be going to

tastings outside the supermarket tastings. I get customers who

Wodehouse: Whether it’s writing, or customer support or service – when it comes to the true south west, the only time they want to know down here is in the summer.

There’s not anyone shouting about the fantastic shops and the

produce that we do in the south west. When I pick up a magazine a good 70% of that is outside the south west, yet we’ve got some amazing off-licences in the region – I look after a few of them

– and they’re great at what they do. But they’re not getting the

free coverage they should get compared to their counterparts in London or even Manchester.

Gemma: I think the onus is on us to go out and get that coverage. Pay Exeter Living to do an article, because that’s how it works.

Fitz: It shouldn’t be like that because people are knocking on the

doors of places in Manchester to write something on them. So why isn’t it happening down here?

Kelli Coxhead, The Wine Shop, Winscombe: Because they want us to pay. We’re the same with the Mendip Times in our area; it’s Journalists hard at work, researching whether Plymouth actually exists

bring me in clippings of The Times and ask if I have so-and-so …

a glossy magazine. It’s £500 a month, just ridiculous amounts of

money, and for me that’s just not going to happen. I don’t get any return from that. It’s not worth it.

Darren: Those glossies – I’m not completely convinced by them.

and it’s so difficult. It’s great when customers say, ‘OK, you might

We do a bit with some of them but I’m never quite sure where I

“available in your local independent” in an article would be really

advertorial-led and the content just drops off a cliff.

not have this, but can you find me an alternative?’ So I think my customers do pay attention to these things. To be able to have helpful.

Manny Doidge, Santa Rita Estates: We get contacted by a lot

of journalists and quite often they only want to know about the

wines that are in the supermarkets. But we do try our best to filter in, on some of their websites and at consumer events, wines in independents.

am with them. They look very pretty. They start out with the best intentions and then as time goes on they become more and more One of the criticisms that was relayed to me by a journalist for

a broadsheet was that indies aren’t very good at contacting them.

We think they are a bit scary but actually they are open to hearing from us and if we’ve got some wines that we like and can talk

about and get them tasting, we should be actively contacting them. They’ve got the multiples onto them all the time and we, more often than not, never approach them.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 20


Özge Kaymaz, winemaker at Şarköy


Six independents took part in a #walkwithchapoutier promotion last month, with tastings devoted to Chapoutier wines. This is their verdict on how they performed …

Schieferkopf Saint Jacques Riesling 2013 Bernardvillé, Alsace RRP £21.50

Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem Rouge 2016, Roussillon RRP £18.60

“This is going down really well,” says Nat

“When people come in for Languedoc wines they

we’ve put on before have been about the zesty

front of them,” says Nat Carpentier of Dalling &

Carpentier of Dalling & Co in Kings Langley.

usually don’t spend more than £12 and it’s great

“It’s surprisingly intense. A lot of the Rieslings

lemon-and-lime thing; this is more tropical, with a bit of pineapple flavour, and it’s all malolactic

apparently. It’s got a surprisingly good body; it’s

very round. It’s been something to show off. The fruit on this one is something that’s caught out the regulars.”

M. Chapoutier St Peray Blanc Les Tanneurs 2016 (Marsanne) RRP £20

to be able to put something more premium in

Co. “Even though it’s big and 15% it’s surprisingly approachable and fresh; it’s not over-extracted or jammy. But it’s suitably complex and you feel like

you’re getting your money’s worth, which is why it works for us. When people try it, they understand the price point.”

Dos Lusiadas Pinteivera 2013, Douro Valley RRP £20

Mégane Petinay of Le Vignoble in Bath says

According to Tom Butler of Corks Out, this is a “very

don’t know the grape variety, but people loved this

says: “It is quite big and bold, but very fruity at the

the wine was a popular choice in the summer

sunshine. “People can be a bit scared when they

wine,” she says. “It’s fruity, but dry, and people took to it straight way. It’s got a nice roundness to it and it’s quite well balanced.” Tom Butler of the Corks

Out branch in Stockton Heath adds: “This is something a

little bit different and it’s challenged people. It’s very dry and it has a light nuttiness to it as well.”

good expression of the region – it’s quite a heavy red with black fruits”. Mégane Petinay of Le Vignoble

same time. Douro wine is usually full of spices and

jammy fruit. This one has freshness as well and isn’t that heavy, and it sold straight away. I had no idea

they had vineyards in Portugal. All the Chapoutier wines are

made in the same style and you feel they’re coming from the same philosophy, but they’ve all got their own identity.”

M. Chapoutier La Combe Pilate Viognier 2016, Rhône RRP £17

M. Chapoutier Saint Joseph Deschants Rouge 2015, Rhône RRP £23

“This wine is not necessarily everyone’s first

Peter Creek, director of Sheldon’s Wine Cellars in

Bennett, sales and marketing executive of Saxtys

sold it for years, we had a few newcomers to this

choice to try, but has definitely won people over and has come out on top overall,” says Lucy

Secret Bottle Shop in Hereford. “The soft apricot,

peach and honey flavours seem to be what makes

this a favourite and although the wine is complex,

it makes for very easy drinking. Definitely one we would

recommend to customers after some excellent reactions.”

Shipston on Stour in Warwickshire, says: “Although

this wine was already established with us, and we’d one. It’s more floral on the nose than the previous

vintage; it’s still a youngish wine so there’s a bit of

an attack there and good red fruit and just a hint of

spice coming through at the end of the palate. It’s gone down very well.”

Feature sponsored by Mentzendorff. For more information visit www.chapoutier.com or www.mentzendorff.co.uk Telephone 020 7840 3600

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 22


BOOK REVIEW

The Wines of New Zealand Rebecca Gibb MW The Infinite Ideas Classic Wine Library, £30

N

ew Zealand’s winemaking history has been a stop-start affair. As long ago as 1845 it was noted

that German settlers were achieving great

through the system … Sauvignon in

need to swing back a little. Whether casual

justifiably felt they had struck gold.

though their fickleness is already becoming

primary colours”. The world fell in love with it and New Zealand’s vignerons That Marlborough style, dialled

up to 11 and packed with flamboyant

Zealand. But with the novelty factor now

long worn off, and consumers seeking out

for New Zealand to go through the gears a little quicker – for example with less

intervention in the vineyards and more

bottle age on some of its whites as well as its reds.

were not allowed to open on Sundays until

You sense that she would like to fast-

as recently as 1989.

forward 30 years to see just how much

Yet by the 1960s and 1970s wine culture

progress will have been achieved and how

was beginning to get going in New Zealand,

much potential realised. Will New Zealand

with investors turning their attention away Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough. Producers

The author lived in New Zealand for six years

interested in still wines.

subtler, less brash qualities in their wines,

of fruit. Producers were paying too much

over-oaked, sunshine-in-a-glass Aussie

receivership and a government-sponsored vine-pull got underway, with hybrids such as Müller-Thurgau the principal losers. Then Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

entered the global stage, described by

Hugh Johnson as “a hundred-amp shock

Gibb’s enthusiastic and cheerfully

opinionated survey of New Zealand’s

Indeed she sometimes hints at impatience

alcohol after 8pm, even with meals. They

were two of the big names forced into

yeasts, barrel fermentation and lees ageing.

her Kiwi husband), but never nepotism.

6pm until 1967 and hotels could not serve

war was sparked. Villa Maria and Delegats

hand-picking, whole-bunch pressing, wild

(she spent six years living there with

industry. Drinking-up time in pubs stood at

rates were at a record high, and a price

“more refined, texturally interesting”

with many of its characters and innovators

hardly encouraged newcomers to the wine

for grapes that exceeded demand, interest

if we care to look for it, in the form of

regions suggests first-name chumminess

temperance-influenced legislation that

problem to worry about: an oversupply

As far as Sauvignon is concerned, Gibb

wines, owing their qualities variously to

reminiscent of Um Bongo) has proved to

But viticulture was slow to take hold,

By the mid-1980s there was a new

Pinot Grigio and Prosecco.

be the gift that keeps on giving for New

flavours (Gibb describes her first sip as

and the 20th century was blighted by

Sherry, Port and Madeira became more

apparent to those with money invested in

argues that the future has already arrived,

was predicted for wine exports.

that had obsessed over imitations of

way is another matter, at least for now,

gooseberry, passion fruit and asparagus

things with their vines, and a bright future

from Auckland and towards Gisborne,

supermarket shoppers feel quite the same

New Zealand needs to work hard to prove

it’s not just a one-trick pony. Parallels with Chardonnay are hard to ignore and there is a sense, at least in the specialist end of the UK market, that the pendulum may

at last hit its stride or will there be more

bumps in the road? Much will depend on

the decisions made by the people that Gibb describes so astutely – and there are big

questions to be asked about the succession planning of many of them. But nature has already provided the raw materials for

New Zealand to take its place among the world’s best.

Graham Holter

Gibb’s enthusiastic and cheerfully opinionated survey suggests first-name chumminess, but never nepotism THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 23


© goir / stockadobe.com

cheese retailing news

Take your pick from almost 800 varieties in the UK

Why more and more wine merchants are saying cheese

C

heese and wine is a combination that is proving lucrative

for an increasing number of independent merchants. Just as consumers are seeking out more sophisticated drinks,

there has also been a boom in artisanal food sales, which means the choice of British cheeses has probably never been wider.

It’s estimated that there are 787 varieties of cheese on sale in

the UK. The Specialist Cheesemakers Association reports that

there are 195 artisanal cheese producers, meaning that just about every retailer can tap into local specialities.

The UK cheese market as a whole is worth an estimated £5.5bn,

according to Statista, and has registered steady and consistent growth for more than a decade.

Tapping into this market can seem daunting but wine merchants

that have taken the plunge usually find that, following some

rudimentary education, cheese can be an almost instant earner.

Lizzy Parrott, from premium Australian wine supplier Fine Wine

Partners, is an Associate of the Academy of Cheese and has over 10 years’ experience working with and selling the product.

“When it comes to cheese and wine pairing it is always

encouraging to have some simple guidelines to follow,” she says.

“However, trying new things often yields some great new matches. Some of my recent favourite discoveries are a deliciously creamy goat curd with a vibrant, red-berried House of Arras sparkling

Rosé, and Brillat Savarin with either Croser Vintage or House of Arras Grand Vintage.

“A complex, fuller-bodied Riesling like St Hallett’s Barossa

Riesling really brings out the creamy butterscotch flavours of Montgomery Cheddar.”

Lizzy is touring the UK as part of a roadshow organised by Fine

Wine Partners and The Wine Merchant to share her expertise and tempt merchants to enter the cheese market.

“We all experience taste so differently and while Port and

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 24


in association with Stilton may remain a classic for some, I hope to spark a new appreciation of the many ways cheese and wine can work together,” she says.

The roadshow will visit London, Winchester, Manchester,

Edinburgh, Cambridge and Gillingham in Dorset.

Lizzy recommends working with producers that are based

as locally as possible. “They are so much more engaged with

BR I N GI N G YOU T HE WOR LD ’S MO ST ICO N I C W I NE S

working with wine retailers and can offer samples and training sessions – there is a real plethora of opportunities there,” she

says. “It’s not a case of saying, ‘here’s the cheese, now bye-bye –

you’re on your own’. There are some fantastic companies looking to work closely with customers.”

The Cheese Academy recently introduced cheese qualifications, not dissimilar to those offered by the WSET, starting at Level 1

and proceeding to Level 4 – at which point successful students become Masters of Cheese.

Cheese Academy director Tracey Colley says: “We love the

science and the romance of cheese and we try to bring the

two together on the courses so you get an introduction to it

all, very much like you do with wine. You get the history, the

cheesemaking science and the facts behind milk production.

“We are all working in the industry together and already we

are seeing the benefits of wine collaborating with cheese. The

people who are really into the wine love

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bringing the cheese element in as well.”

Topics included in the roadshows will

be covered in a series of articles in The

Wine Merchant over the coming months. The Christmas opportunity will be a

major theme: Lizzy will have plenty of tips and information about putting together

festive cheese boards, and the opportunity for selling drunken cheeses, which have been washed in wines and spirits.

“Cheese is a crafted product that is

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every bit as complex and rooted in history as wine,” she says.

“By taking merchants through the fundamental principles of

cheesemaking and cheese tasting, and matching some delicious examples with wines from producers such as Petaluma, St

Hallett, Stonier, Grant Burge and House of Arras, we hope to

give retailers the confidence to really capitalise on the cheese opportunity.”

• For more information about the premium Australian wines in the Fine Wine Partners range email info@finewinepartners.co.uk or

buy or sell your wines at

www.wineauctioneer.com

visit www.finewinepartners.co.uk.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 25

Tel : (+44) 1738 245 576


merchant profile: urchin wines

Minnie-Mae Stott and Orson Warr, July 2018

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 26


Artistic licence “Hybrid” doesn’t do justice to Urchin Wines. Part wine shop, part deli, part wine bar, part gallery, part live music venue … and now it’s planning to serve food too. Is there nothing that Orson Warr and Minnie-Mae Stott can’t bolt on to their young Margate business?

W

hen the media waxes lyrical about Margate it’s not

necessarily the Cliftonville bit that is being referred

to. This is the part of town where people actually live,

not the bit that attracts journalists and film crews in pursuit of Tracy Emin.

Orson Warr and Minnie-Mae Stott set up shop here in March

2017, as London exiles who had previously run a pop-up wine

merchant’s at Resort Studios in the town. “We quickly discovered that everyone was gagging for somewhere here in Cliftonville,” says Minnie-Mae, “and because we had the licence to do so we

What was your first impression of Margate? Minnie-Mae: It was really exciting when we first came here. For

me it really reminded me of Hackney about 20 years ago, which is where I was brought up. It felt a bit like home: raw and exciting,

and there was lots of art stuff going on. It had a really great vibe.

Orson: There’s always lots going on and it felt very new and fresh and something we wanted to be a part of.

There’s huge development going on. The Old Town has been

long established whereas Cliftonville had been left behind – I

thought we’d do wine by the glass too and it just picked up.

“I worked as a textile designer and did the PR for the company

too so when we set up the pop-up, that was what I was bringing to the table.”

As for Orson: “I worked in fashion retail but had a really big

passion for wine. I got more and more interested in how wine is

made and how it gets to the table, so I looked up WSET and got up to Level 3.

“I was basically the only person on the course not in the trade.

It was great and I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It gave me

the licence to marry the one thing I really knew about, which was retail, and my big passion, which was wine.

“We kept on visiting friends in Margate and I realised you

couldn’t get a decent bottle of wine here at all. So we thought we’d

mean a year ago you could not buy a coffee on this street, and now

exists on the fringes of any largeish town, with a shopfront that,

and gentrification – it’s got to keep its soul. I think for us it was

start a business.”

The shop sits on the kind of busy but decidedly un-arty road that

from a distance, hints only vaguely at the treasures within. Some

of these are wine. There’s also a wall devoted to paintings by local artists; chairs and sofas to relax in; deli items to salivate to. You can literally go to Urchin and get the T-shirt. There’s a lot going

on, but still enough space for musicians to choose their preferred corner for a Sunday night gig.

there’s four coffee shops.

Minnie-Mae: It’s about finding that balance between regeneration really important to have exhibitions of local artists, Margate born and bred, who haven’t had a chance to put on an exhibition. They are people we have got to know through living here.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 27

Continues page 28


merchant profile: urchin wines

The shop is in a residential area, not the touristy Old Town

A hamper created for new parents, based on bitter experience

ours so it’s really interesting how the two things work. And it

From page 27

Was the gallery always part of the business plan or did that evolve because the shop lent itself to it? Orson: When we were in Resort Studios the space above us was an artists’ studio, and we were in a space almost as big as this.

One day we went up to them and said, “would you guys be up for putting some of your art on the walls? You can sell it.”

So people did put their art on the walls and it really worked.

really makes sense – you’re in here having a glass of wine and of course you want to look at something.

Orson: What we’ve quickly learnt as we are finding our feet is that the business is different elements coming together to call itself Urchin Wines.

If it were just a wine shop, it wouldn’t survive. If it were just a

bar, it wouldn’t survive, and if it were just an exhibition space, it wouldn’t survive.

All those different elements contribute. If we dedicated the

‘If it were just a wine shop, or just an exhibition space, it wouldn’t survive’ What we noticed most was it gave a platform to artists who were

whole of that wall [currently devoted to art] to gin and beer it

space.

Minnie-Mae: We’re in the process of installing a little kitchen.

nervous about putting on a solo exhibition. We took that idea and

grew it organically and turned our shop into a monthly exhibition Minnie-Mae: We take a 25% commission and a piece of art from

each artist. Often artists prefer to give a piece of art than a bigger percentage of commission. It works really well, and it’s got a

whole new crowd in here who have become good customers of

would be a waste of space – it really would be. But we want to start bringing in food.

We’re kicking off with a pop-up lasagne to go hand in hand with Margate Pride in August – it’s called Between the Sheets. We’ll

have a different chef or pop-up food company coming in every month.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 28


Minnie-Mae has a background in textile design – Orson worked in fashion retail

Is there a particular reason for the name? Minnie-Mae: We agonised for ages over what to call it, and we

wrote down a million names. Because we were by the sea we were thinking of things in the sea then bizarrely, after we’d settled on

£45, but in a restaurant that would be £80 or £100, so it’s making things like that affordable. It works.

Tell me a bit about the wine range.

the name, we found out my grandma used to have a clothing shop

Orson: There are a few that have been with us and stuck around.

Had you seen anywhere like this before?

25% of the order has to be new stock.

called Urchin. So it was a nice coincidence.

Orson: We’d seen elements of it. I remember going to a wine shop in Paris – it was a bit like this but there was less wine to buy off the shelf. It was more drinking in.

If you’ve got a wine that you really love and believe in but it’s

We work with small-batch producers and we only buy six or 12

bottles – or less. So it does turn over. When we buy wine at least

Minnie-Mae: We have to have tried absolutely everything and liked it and think it’s worthy of the price point to sell it.

How many wines do you have on the shelf at any one time?

not selling off the shelf, if you do it by the glass so people can try

Orson: I would guess around 60. I try to keep it compact because

Is everything available by the glass here?

to have an in-depth knowledge of each bottle.

it, I bet you a million pounds it sells out by the end of the week.

Orson: No. Usually once it runs out I’ll grab another bottle and put it on by the glass or we have a theme for a week or a month.

Sometimes it will be a house wine and sometimes it will be

something that’s not really affordable to have on by the glass, but

we put it on because we want to promote it. We never go above £5 for a glass.

Minnie-Mae: We do £5 corkage on a bottle. I remember someone

coming in and we had Nyetimber at £40 so you can drink that in at

it’s me on the shop floor and I want to know that I know all the

wines. I’m still relatively new in the business so I want to be able Does your taste dictate the range of wines you have? Minnie-Mae: You think, “OK, I’m not a fan of that but I know a number of customers who will be”.

Orson: You might taste something that’s not your palate but then you think of five or six clients who’d be into it.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 29

Continues page 30


merchant profile: urchin wines

From page 29

wine, it’s definitely going to have different flavours in it.

We work with people who practice organically, and sustainably.

Minnie-Mae: I think there is so much emphasis on vegan and

foodie culture – caring about what you eat. But people will then go out at the weekend and drink shit with all the chemicals in,

and you think: actually, you care about what you’re eating but not about what you’re drinking.

Where do you stand on natural wines? Is it a phrase you use? Orson: We have some natural wines and we do have requests for it. Minnie-Mae: I think it’s a phrase you can’t not use because among the broader public it’s the chosen phrase of how to describe a certain wine.

Orson: It’s about educating the customer to know what to expect

when they open that bottle. It’s not going to be traditional-tasting

Minnie-Mae: And that was one of the reasons for us doing by-theglass in the first place. It was to get people into those unusual wines.

Orson: If you’re selling something for £30 and it’s going to taste

completely different to how you expect, it would get your back up. But if you can taste it for a fiver …

Minnie-Mae: We are very careful to describe what to expect when they buy something like that. When I first tried unfiltered wine, I was like: what the hell!

Orson: We’re still in the situation where every single bottle of wine we sell, we’re selling the story behind it, and particularly so with natural wine.

If someone came in and wanted a bottle of Argentinian Malbec, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a bottle of Prosecco, have you got that kind of stuff? Orson: I haven’t got a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc but I have a Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc. For people who have only shopped in Tesco or Sainsbury’s, if I start talking about Sancerre, they get more and more interested and I bet you they come in for another bottle.

A lot of people come in and it’s about having an option they may

not have realised. I know from my parents, they buy the same wine all the time, and we want to educate people’s palates.

What would be in the range if you were being self-indulgent? Orson: Burgundy Pinot Noir, but I can’t afford it.

Do you manage to get to London tastings or do suppliers come to you? How do you find out about new wines? Orson: Unfortunately we are having to go to London to tastings

‘The whole idea of Urchin is that we want people to feel like they’re coming into our home, lounging around the table’

although some people do come and see us. It’s just about keeping our eyes out and seeing what’s on the menu at restaurants.

Instagram is a great one because you get the sommeliers posting images of wine that you may not have tried.

How big a deal is social media for you here? Orson: Massive. We wouldn’t survive without it. Mainly Instagram

and Twitter – the wine industry is huge on Twitter. Minnie-Mae is a social media expert and she can post a picture of the wine and we’ll usually go through it quite quickly if she’s done that. How big a contribution does online make?

Orson: We’d definitely like to have a bit more from it. We have

a huge problem with couriers, which I think everyone has. We

deliver locally for free and we’ve just launched a beach delivery so

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 30


The team recently recruited a new member

we can get a hamper to you on the beach.

and to have a deli counter – it’s the next natural progression.

brilliant for the beach – you can stick it in a carrier bag of ice.

Looking back over your first year and a bit, is there anything

Minnie-Mae: With crisps, bits and bobs, wine, beer and optional chips from our local chippie. The bag wine is popular and it’s

We would like to be able to import direct and have our house

red, white and rosé with our branding on.

How often do you put on the musical events?

about your working and trading here that differs from your

Minnie-Mae: We’ve got Adamski playing next week. It’s kind of

original plan?

beautiful and other local bands coming in to try out stuff before

exhibitions have also been a real bonus – it’s a key part of our

random – we try to at least twice a month have a live gig on a

Orson: A big positive was, because we have the space, we can do

they go on tour. It’s all really informal – they might just be standing

business.

Sunday. We’ve had a West African musician play who is absolutely up there with their guitar. It’s a free gig so people can just come

along and enjoy the music with their kids. We’ve got poetry on at the end of the month.

The whole idea of Urchin is that we want people to feel a bit like

they’re coming into our home and lounging around the kitchen table. We want it to feel homely. What are you planning next?

Minnie-Mae: Phase two was always to bring in the food element

local deli products and that’s been a huge boost. More events and On the negative side: price sensitivity. Unfortunately we

can’t afford to get in the wines that I’ve always aspired to sell.

Everything needs a real push by myself or Minnie to get it through the till.

The sweet spot is about £15. If you stick the word “Bordeaux”

on it people are more likely to spend £20 or £25, so it’s about

educating the customers, putting interesting things on by the glass. The next stage is to keep customers in for longer by doing food.

It’s going to be a big part of the future of Urchin.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 31


just williams

Can you taste immorality? When a winemaker is linked to the harrassment of their staff, it’s impossible to view their wines in quite the same way again. And maybe we should be ready for more revelations that could change our views about wines we previously admired

I

t’s happened to us all at some point this me-too year: the

much easier said than done. Once we’ve got the sleazy details

The process tends to follow a pattern, with which, as a long-

Or to use a concrete example: once you’ve learned about John

dispiriting sensation of losing faith in a favourite artist, and the moral contortions that follow.

term lover of the films of Woody Allen (the early, funny ones at any rate), I was already all too familiar. First, denial: there’s no way

they did that. Then, downgrading: was what they did really all that bad? And finally, acceptance and the weasally attempt to escape

the consequences thereof: OK, so they’re not the person I thought they were, but can I still carry on watching/reading/listening to their work?

It’s the third part of this process that is perhaps the most

interesting. It’s the greyest, most debatable area, based as it is on

an argument that has raged for as long as art has been made – and about which I still feel deeply conflicted.

It would be nice, or at least make our lives easier, if we had the

moral certainty of Oscar Wilde, whose advice would surely have

been to put the sleazy

behaviour of the stars of House of Cards,

Transparent, or Annie Hall to one side and focus on what’s on

screen. Wilde was a

committed aesthete

and libertarian, firm

in his conviction that, “There is no such

thing as an immoral

book. Books are well written or badly

written. That is it!” In reality, that’s

of the artist’s wrongdoing in our heads, it’s very hard to stop

looking for signs of their mouldy morality in everything they do.

Lennon’s abusive treatment of first wife Cynthia Lennon, it’s hard

(impossible) to listen to The Beatles’ jaunty Run for Your Life (“You better run for your life if you can, little girl/ Hide your head in the sand, little girl / Catch you with another man / That’s the end’a little girl”) in quite the same way again.

Wine hasn’t presented us with too many me-too moments so

far, although that’s in no way a reason for complacency. That very few scandals have emerged in the wine business is more likely

explained by the fact that wine people have nothing like the same public profile as musicians, actors and film stars – and therefore

offer less of an incentive for the press to dig into their lives – than it does with their exceptional moral rectitude. It’s also, sadly, the

case that the wine trade (and wine press) have a tendency towards discretion to the point of incuriosity (and, therefore, complicity) when it comes to the issues brought so vividly to our attention post-Weinstein.

Either way, it took until June this year for a shocking wine-

industry story to emerge with the potential to create a Kevin

Spacey-like moral quandary for wine lovers. It concerned one of Canada’s best winemakers, Norman Hardie, who was accused of a history of sexual harassment of employees at his British

Columbia winery dating back several years and including dozens of examples. More importantly, Hardie accepted the truth of one of the allegations (forcing an employee to kiss him on their first day of work) and apologised, in a letter to The Globe & Mail, the Canadian newspaper which had published the allegations, for

running a workplace that “was as not as professional as it should

have been, and I realize that it made some people uncomfortable.”

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 32


David Williams is wine critic for The Observer

I have no doubt that the Hardie allegations are the tip of the iceberg in what can be a profoundly sexist industry Oscar Wilde may well have concluded that wines are either well made or badly made, with no moral dimension

It should go without saying that the most important

Of course, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, it’s absurd to

consequence of this story is the effect on the people involved. But,

suggest that we can taste the bad morals of a winemaker in their

few years now, the quality of his Pinots and Chardonnays opening

of morality; but that’s a whole other story). It’s much easier to

looking at it entirely selfishly, it was a hugely dispiriting piece of news. I have been following the progress of Hardie’s wines for a

my eyes to the potential in a country that I’d previously not really

considered as a serious wine producer. And the inevitable question followed: could I ever drink his wines again?

My answer, incidentally, was no. But I have no doubt that the

Hardie allegations are the tip of the iceberg in what is still – let’s face it – a profoundly sexist industry in many parts of the world.

The wine trade as a whole could do a lot more to make it easier for

winery employees to call out instances of harassment and abuse of power wherever and whenever they emerge. But the issue of how far matters of morality should intrude on our drinking applies beyond cases of sexual harassment.

wine (unless we consider various matters of vinous subterfuge,

from the use of Mega Purple to chemical pesticides, to be matters separate a wine from its maker than a book from its author, or a

song from its composer or performer. Tasted blind, there’s nothing “in” the wine to remind us of any defects in their character.

Ultimately, however, it seems to me such considerations are

irrelevant. When we do discover some unpleasant facts about a

wine producer we love, whether that’s bullying, fraud, racism, the serial maltreatment of farm labourers, or, yes, sexual harassment,

shouldn’t we put our own selfish interests aside and boycott their

output? In principle, yes, I think we should. But, if I’m honest, that won’t make life any easier the next time I’m forced to put those convictions to the test.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 33


on-premise sales

Uncork the opportunity

In the second part of our series in partnership with Enomatic UK, exploring the practicalities, challenges and benefits of going the hybrid route, we look at the thorny issue of the pricing differential between wines to drink in, and wines to take home

corkage causes concern Most wine merchants offering onpremise sales have corkage anecdotes. Even when the charge is as low as £5, there are inevitably customers who question why they are paying extra to consume a wine at a table. At this point it’s customary to explain

the economics of staffing, heating, lighting, water, rent, rates and so on. These are the

brutal business realities of running a wine bar, and spelling these out to customers has the potential to spoil the mood.

But the fact remains that corkage usually

half the price it is in the restaurant.

Take a bottle of wine with a trade price of

confusion and resentment, and instead flag

represents the best drinking-in value that consumers are likely to find.

£25. According to sources contacted by The Wine Merchant, upscale restaurants would typically look to price that wine at around £83 – add VAT and that brings the price paid by the punter to around £100.

An independent wine shop working on

margins of around 35% would be listing

the same wine for around £46. Even a £10 corkage charge would mean the wine was

being served on the premises for less than

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 34

Some merchants avoid the term

“corkage” as it has the potential to cause up a “drink-in price” alongside the retail price.

Jake Crimmin at Barrique Wines in

Lytham is one of many merchants who

creates a separate list of wines that are

only available to drink in-store, to bypass the need to explain higher prices. The wines are listed on a blackboard and

actually yield higher margins than his wines sold with corkage applied.


case study: Tivoli Wines, Cheltenham

customers when actually you’re giving

customers better-quality wine at a cheaper

David Dodd has four Enomatic machines at his Tivoli Wines business in Cheltenham, dispensing 32 wines upstairs in his Wine Library area.

price, so I’m all for the machines.”

There’s another benefit: customers who

like what they taste in the Enomatic may well buy a bottle to take home.

“I would argue that something

like 7% to 10% of customers

Customers can buy a 25ml

who try wines upstairs will

sample, a 75ml sample or a

buy the bottle downstairs,”

125ml glass. The general

Dodd says. “Plus we’re

idea is to achieve a 40%

more confident about

to 70% gross profit on

buying super-premium

all those wines. Some are

samples from suppliers; others are wines that have divided opinion among the team

David Dodd, Tivoli Wines

and are being put to the

consumer test. A handful might be wines

from the retail range that are in need of a little sales boost.

wines because we know that if they don’t sell in three to

six months we can put them in the machines and they’ll

move that way.”

“In terms of the profitability of it I could

case study: oak n4, lonDon

“We break even on 20 customer

display a drink-in and a drink-out

pretty much pay off one machine every 15 to 18 months,” says Dodd.

All 180 wines in the Oak N4 range

we get 70 or 80 card sales per week I think

Owner Cameron McKeown says this has

transactions on the machine per week. If

price based on a flat £10 corkage.

£90k GP.”

customers.

we could generate something like £80k to

never created any problems with his

that means that he receives samples worth

is a bit annoying, because why would I

Dodd has struck a deal with suppliers

3% of his sales of their wines. With one company the deal is 6%, in return for 10% increased

“Some merchants do a percentage, which sit in and drink a wine if it’s going to

cost me £30 more than taking it away?” he says.

“Also, if we’ve got some

spend with the business

bin-ends or wines that we

over the coming year.

are going to no longer stock,

Dodd is aware of criticism

we put a little red sticker on

of dispense machines but

insists they are working well

for Tivoli, and for his customers. “With our pricing you can

get a glass of Greywacke

Cameron McKeown Oak N4

Sauvignon Blanc for around £6,” he says.

“If you go to the boozer two doors down

I think their entry-level Sauvignon Blanc, which we could probably buy for a fiver, is £7.80. So you can’t say it’s ripping off

the tag and we don’t charge

corkage for them. It’s a little

special offer to incentivise

people to drink a bottle on the premises.”

By-the-glass sales offer the best margins

and account for about 60% of turnover, with the remaining sales split equally between bottles sold to drink in and bottles sold to take away.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 35

Put quality wines on dispense – and help educate your customers “Corkage” is increasingly becoming a dirty word and the merchants see the push-back from customers. Some of the issue can be avoided when you have better quality wines on dispense: customers try different things, and the business sees the profits and waste elimination – afforded by the ability to preserve for up to 21 days and dispense by the sample or glass, also adding the USP and a bit of a unique experience for the customers. David Dodd at Tivoli is making the machines pay for themselves with his particular business model. It’s a win for him, but also for his customers – a higher-quality wine available by the glass, translating for him into bottle sales. With this comes an element of wine education: customers trying things with a sample that they may not usually consider, leading to broader knowledge and perpetuation of the wine culture. Every business is different, but we recommend keeping the offerings interesting, listening to customers’ preferences (monitor best sellers), and determine the sweet spot in pricing of the measures. Social media is huge as we all know – keep it interesting, tell customers what’s on offer, Tweet about special events, offerings or happy hour opportunities, and it all translates into a fluid and dynamic business model. As Cameron says, wines sold by the glass for him account for about 60% of turnover, so best to store and serve them properly, eliminate wastage and take advantage of the preservation factor with the Enomatic virtual bartender. Sally McGill Commercial director, Enomatic UK


Philip Poulter and David Tilyard are busy selling to independent merchants and wholesaler contacts. They have picked a selection of highlights from the Seckford Agencies New World range, including some new Chilean and Argentinian producers. Seckford are thrilled to have been awarded IWC Small Agent of the Year 2018 and also IWC South African Specialist Merchant 2018.

Bird in Hand Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Adelaide Hills, Australia RRP £13.95 - £14.95 A great 2018 Sauvignon Blanc showing minerality and restraint from a cool-climate Adelaide Hills site. This release follows the success of the 2017 vintage in Winestate magazine’s Wine of the Year Awards, when it was named as best Sauvignon Blanc. It was the first time that an Australian Sauvignon Blanc had beaten its counterparts from New Zealand.

Bremerton Tamblyn 2015 Langhorne Creek, Australia RRP £13.50 -£14.50 Such a stylish wine … and great value too. It’s a wonderful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec and Merlot which has lift, bright fruit and delicious freshness. Made by sisters Becs and Lucy in Langhorne Creek, and named for their Cornish ancestors.

Pikes Traditionale Riesling 2016 Clare Valley, Australia RRP £17.75 - £18.75 The top-selling premium Riesling in Australia, this is a stunning wine. It was the 2017 winner of IWC Gold and Trophies for Best Australian Riesling and also Best Clare Valley Riesling. With its classic lime notes and slate-like minerality, it’s great with all seafood and white meats … and the winery assures us it’s fantastic with Gruyère cheese too.

Milton Park Chardonnay 2017 South Eastern Australia RRP £9.25 - £9.95

Glenelly Estate Reserve 2012 Stellenbosch, South Africa RRP £16.75 - £17.75

Kaapzicht Skuinsberg Cinsault 2017 Stellenbosch, South Africa RRP £16.95 - £17.75

A perfect example of “user-friendly” Australian Chardonnay. Made by sixthgeneration winemakers with fruit sourced from their own – and selected – south east Australian vineyards, this Chardonnay has a consistent unoaked style with a soft creamy palate – and is just 12.5% alcohol. A winner in the 2018 Wine Merchant Top 100.

Glenelly Estate is the brainchild of May de Lencquesaing, International Wine Challenge Personality of the Year 2017. Wildfermented with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot and Merlot, this is the signature wine of the estate, showing rich spicy plum and blackberry flavours with quality oak integration. Tim Atkin 94 pts.

Skuinsberg Cinsault was planted in 1991 on the steepest slope on Kaapzicht: hence the name Skuinsberg, meaning steep hill. (These hills have claimed quite a few tractors over the past 40 years!) Just pure old bush-vine Cinsault with character, and made with lots of love. The inaugural vintage, 2015, won Platter 5*. This is a wine to watch and covet.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 36


Get in touch with Seckford Agencies philip@seckfordagencies.co.uk 07766 491412 david@seckfordagencies.co.uk 07799 661859 Office number 01206 231188 julie@seckfordagencies.co.uk www.seckfordagencies.co.uk Stellenbosch Reserve Ou Hoofgebou Cabernet 2015 Stellenbosch, South Africa RRP £18.15 - £19.25 The name Ou Hoofgebou honours Stellenbosch University, which was built in the bicentenary celebration year of Stellenbosch in 1879. Showing dark ripe fruit and savoury notes, the wine’s subtle aniseed undertone creates an intriguing finish. A classic Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, made by the winemaking team at Rust en Vrede to Jean Engelbrecht’s exacting standards. 5* Platter.

Escarpment Pinot Noir 2015 Martinborough, New Zealand RRP £22.35 - £23.95 Perfume, elegant savoury black fruit flavours and balancing tannins are all hallmarks of this exceptional Pinot Noir, which comes from an ideal vintage. Larry McKenna, the owner and winemaker, is known as one of the Martinborough masterminds who first saw the potential for Pinot Noir in this region way back in the 1980s. Wine Spectator 93 pts.

Wooing Tree Pinot Noir ‘Blondie’ 2018 Central Otago, New Zealand RRP £24.25 - £26.25 Blondie - a blanc de noir from Pinot Noir - is becoming a cult wine in New Zealand with the winery selling out on release every year. The 2018 vintage arrives in UK at the end of September, and is available to taste at the New Zealand New Release Tasting on October 30. Stunningly pale in colour, with a delicious texture, it’s Reese Witherspoon’s favourite New Zealand wine.

Kalfu Kuda Pinot Noir 2017 Leyda, Chile RRP £12.95 - £13.95

Estampa, Reserva Malbec/Syrah 2017 Colchagua, Chile RRP £10.95 - £11.95

Belhara, Amayan Malbec 2017 Mendoza, Uco Valley, Argentina RRP £9.95 - £10.95

Kalfu is a capsule range of cool-climate wines produced by Vina Ventisquero. They come from its Terrazas vineyard in Leyda, just 7km from the Pacific Ocean (from the vineyard, you can actually see the ships arriving at San Antonio port). Elegant, with black cherry and savoury notes. Taste more at SITT on September 24 and 26.

We have searched hard to find a good partner in Chile and we love these Estampa wines. This Malbec/Syrah blend hits the spot with aromas of black fruits such as plums and blackberries, and a refreshing palate offering ripe tannins with structure and balance. Estampa Estate is renowned for its innovation and experimental approach to winemaking, and has gained a loyal following for its skilfully-produced blends. The wines are on taste at the Wines of Chile event on September 25.

Belhara Estate vineyards are located in the high altitude of Mendoza’s prestigious Uco Valley. Winemaker and owner Stephen Paul Huse trained at the University of Bordeaux, gaining experience at Châteaux Margaux and MoutonRothschild, as well as in the Napa Valley. His wines are fabulously expressive and wonderful value. More on taste at SITT London/Leeds.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 37


make a date

Thorman Hunt Autumn Tasting Thorman Hunt will be showcasing a seasonal selection of its favourite wines, including new agencies. To RSVP, email Vanessa@thormanhunt.

co.uk.

Wednesday, September 19

Cras and Domaine Saint Cyr.

“blindingly delicious, textural whites”.

new arrivals from Restless River and Adi

expression, and As Sortes, which offers a

step-up in quality. FMV describes them as

Other Spanish agencies include Raventós

I Blanc of Penedes, Domaines Lupier of

Navarra and Grand Recosind in Costa Brava. RSVP to Sophie McLean: email sophie.

mclean@fmv.co.uk.

Tuesday, October 2

67 Pall Mall

Glaziers Hall

London SW1Y 5ES

London SE1 9DD

Swig will be launching the new vintages

and wines from Duncan Savage, two

Badenhorst’s single-vineyard wines.

The company will also be introducing

the wines of Peter Vinding Diers of

Montecarrubo, biodynamic Champagne producer Brocard Pierre, Nuno Aguiar

de Morais Vaz’s Portugal Boutique Wine

Company and Little Beauty, a new project

from the neighbours of Dog Point – owned by Fleur McCree and made by former

Cloudy Bay winemaker Eveline Fraser.

Contact Imogen.taylor@Westburycom.

Spain: Tradition with a twist

Swig meets Uncharted Wines

FMV will be showcasing its Spanish

For the first time in London, Swig and

32a Gerrard Street

portfolio and highlighting some of the

Uncharted Wines are joining forces to

London W1D 6JA

pioneering winemaking taking place in

present their 2018 portfolio tastings.

the country. A recent addition is Rafael Palacios from

northern Spain, who works with over 20

tiny parcels scattered around the region,

with vines ranging up to almost 100 years © poliki / stockadobe.com

Louro do Bolo, his lighter, entry-level

in age. He currently makes two wines:

Uncharted will be showing more than 40

wines on keg from the producers including Le Grappin, the BLANKbottle Winery and Cosimo Maria Masini. In bottle, there will

be new imports from the single-site wines of Jean-Baptiste Souillard, Domaine de la

co.uk.

Tuesday, October 2 China Exchange

Vignerons de Nature A tasting of organic and biodynamic wines presented by Dudley Craig Wines. On show will be wines from Champagne

Vincent Couche, Domaine Louis Chenu,

Domaine Duseigneur, Château les Croisille, Domaine Charly Thévenet, Domaine

Jean-Paul Thévenet, Domaine Eric Thill,

Domaine des Ronces, Domaine du Cellier des Cray, Domaine Les 4 Vents, Château

de la Selve, Domaine Turenne, Domaine Nicolas Mariotti, Mas des Caprices, Le

Ballon, Domaine M&S Bouchet, Domaine Bonnet Huteau, Domaine de L’R and Domaine François Le Saint.

For more information contact Richard

Dudley Craig: email rdc@dcwines.co.uk. Tuesday, October 2

Downstairs at Noizé 39 Whitfield Street Vineyards in Getaria, Gipuzkoa, in Spain’s Basque country

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 38

London W1T 2SF


make a date

Vindependents Portfolio Tasting The merchant-owned collective will present a range of around 300 wines at this year’s flagship tasting. These will represent a huge range of

countries and regions including Argentina, Austria, Australia, Alsace, Beaujolais,

Bordeaux, Burgundy, Jura, Jurancon, Loire, Rhône, Provence, Pfalz, Rheinhessen,

Veneto, Piedmont, Tuscany, Sicily, Alto

Adige, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, California and Oregon.

Some names to look out for include

Sottano from Mendoza, Ecker-Eckhof from Wagram, Holden Manz from Franschhoek and Marco Abella from Priorat.

For more information about the

annual tasting or Vindependents

membership, contact Tim Carlisle at tim@ vindependents.co.uk. Tuesday, October 2 Cecil Sharp House 2 Regent’s Park Road Camden Town London NW1 7AY

There’s more to Western Australia than just Margaret River

Western Australia Rioja 10x10 Tasting Tasting

Moldovan Wine Tasting

The event features a selection of

Masters of Wine Tim Atkin and Sarah

A walk-around tasting of Moldovan

Western Australian wineries and their

Jane Evans have curated a selection

wines imported to the UK by Novus BH

winemakers, representing regions such

of 100 Rioja wines, divided into 10

Magister.

as Pemberton, Perth Hills, Manjimup

categories, based on a blind-tasting

and Great Southern as well as the

selection which they co-chaired.

famous Margaret River. Registration is essential. Contact Sally

Janssen at Sally@wago.co.uk.

RSVP to Lowri Robjohn: lowri.robjohn@

thisisphipps.com.

Tuesday, October 9

Thursday, October 4

Banking Hall

The Australian High Commission

14 Cornhill

London WC2B 4LG

London EC3V 3ND

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 39

Wineries include Chateau Vartely,

Cricova, Fautor, Poiana, Salcuta and Timbrus. The tasting will include a

masterclass led by Caroline Gilby MW.

For more information contact Alison

Mann: alison@ew-pr.co.uk. Wednesday, October 10

Central London Location


make a date © sofacreations / stockadobe.com

Château de Beaucastel & Famille Perrin En Primeur 2017 A vintage 2017 en primeur tasting encompassing the various terroirs of the southern Rhône from Cairanne to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. RSVP to Andrew Bayley: abayley@

familleperrin.com.

Thursday, October 11 The Pickering Cellar Berry Bros & Rudd 3 St James’s Street London SW1A 1EG

Bodegas Riojanas Tasting This will be the first independent wine tasting in London for Bodegas Riojanas and all the wines in its portfolio will be on show. RSVP to Dave Roles: email daveroles@

bodegasriojanas.com. Monday, October 15

Westminster Kingsway College Victoria Centre 76 Vincent Square London SW1P 2PD

Get on your bike to the Get it On tasting on October 25

Established in 1973, the Union des

Grands Crus de Bordeaux is a collective

representation in the UK market. Contact Caroline Tanner: email caroline.

of 133 top châteaux from the most

tanner@thisisphipps.com.

Sauternes and Barsac, Saint Emilion and

Moonchu Hall

prestigious appellations in the Gironde: the Médoc, Graves and Pessac-Léognan,

Thursday, October 25

Pomerol.

32a Gerrard Street

contact Sue Glasgow: email sue@ spearcommunications.co.uk.

Lebanese Wine Tasting

RHS Lindley Hall

Explore Lebanon’s huge diversity of

Elverton Street

styles and grapes, discover the latest

London SW1P 2PB

blends and varietals and meet the

For more information about this

year’s event or to register to attend,

Tuesday, October 16

Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux Wines of Germany ‘Get it On’ Tasting

Around 114 members of the Union

des Grands Crus de Bordeaux will be

This annual event is an opportunity

showing the 2016 vintage at the group’s

for buyers to taste a selection of

annual London tasting.

German wines that currently have no

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 40

London W1D 6JA

producers from regions such as the Bekaa Valley, the northern district of Batroun and Mount Lebanon. Contact Madeleine Waters: email

madeleine@wewareco.co.uk. Thursday, October 25

London venue to be confirmed


WINE MERCHANT small ads New Zealand New Release Tasting

To advertise your product or service call 01323 871836 or email georgina@winemerchantmag.com

A self-pour tasting of recently-released 2018 vintage wines as well as newly-released wines from previous vintages. RSVP to Sarah Shepherd: email sarahs@nzwine.com.

Tuesday, October 30 The Penthouse New Zealand House 80 Haymarket

© Alena Yakusheva / stockadobe.com

London SW1Y 4TE

The UK’s most advanced and reliable wine dispense system • 30 day preservation technology • Card & cloud app-based payments • Increase your sales and margins by offering “Try before You Buy” For further information, please contact: WineEmotion UK Tel: 01635 282230 Email: info@wineemotionuk.com www.wineemotionuk.com

There’ll be wines from Wellington to boot

Clark Foyster Wines Oxford Tasting Wines from an eclectic portfolio, including many from Austria, France, Portugal, Greece and Australia, will be on show. For more information contact Benedicte Lacour: email

benedicte@cfwines.co.uk. Tuesday, October 30

Trinity College Oxford Broad Street Oxford OX1 3BH

Supplier of wine boxes and literature • 12 Bottle mailing boxes with dividers from £1.69p each • 6 Bottle mailing boxes with dividers from £0.98p each • 12 Bottle carrier boxes with dividers from £0.99p each Prices are subject to VAT • Delivery not included

01323 728338 • sales@eastprint.co.uk • www.eastprint.co.uk

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 41


supplier bulletin

LOUIS LATOUR AGENCIES

Wakefield Wines and Matthew Jukes’ Best 100 Family-owned and operated wine producer Wakefield makes multi-layered wines to suit a variety of tastes and pockets whilst never compromising on quality.

Once again noted Australian wine expert Matthew Jukes has included wines from

12-14 Denman Street London W1D 7HJ

Wakefield in his 2018-19 Best 100 Australian Wines Classification.

0207 409 7276

2017 Estate Riesling, Clare Valley

enquiries@louislatour.co.uk www.louislatour.co.uk

and it shows that this vintage was a winner in Clare too. Absurdly affordable and

“This nervy estate-level wine is Clare’s reposte to Eden Valley’s terrific 2017s incredibly exciting on the palate.”

2015 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley/Coonawarra

“The Jaraman label strikes again … this is a wickedly enticing wine with hedgerow fruit and a sheen which one only usually finds on icon cuvées.” 2015 St Andrews Shiraz, Clare Valley

“Incredibly indulgent and with a sumptuous texture and decadent finish, there is

something going on at Wakefield which makes these wines seriously attractive and I have to say that it is probably Adam [Eggins, chief winemaker]!” For more information please call 020 7409 7276 or email

enquiries@louislatour.co.uk www.louislatour.co.uk www.wakefieldwines.com

2016: A Vintage Year for Port

liberty wines 020 7720 5350

Luís Sottomayor, the head winemaker of the Sandeman and

order@libertywines.co.uk www.libertywines.co.uk

is easy to see why the top critics are agreeing with him.

were some of the best Ports he’s ever made. When tasting them, it At Sandeman, the wines made today are good enough to be

every bit as famous as the image of the Don, surely one of the

most iconic images in the wine world. Sourced from the Quinta do

@liberty_wines

Seixo, the “superb” 2016 Vintage Port underlines this, achieving

the top score of 18.5 points from Richard Hemming MW on jancisrobinson.com.

Under Sogrape’s ownership, Offley has also thrived. Quality,

derived from the fact that their fruit now comes from the high-

altitude Quinta do Sairrão, has once again moved it up the ranks of Port producers. As a result, Portuguese expert Sarah Ahmed has

18

CH

AL

AL

RNATION TE

IN

Offley Port houses, recently said of the 2016 vintage that they

LEN G E 2

MERCHANT OF THE YEAR

0

declared their 2016 Vintage Port “exceptional”.

At both these houses, the Vintage Ports sit alongside a range of

aged Tawnies that are renowned for their balance, complexity and

freshness. As we look towards the festive season, they are well worthy of your consideration.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 43

David Gleave MW


supplier bulletin

ehrmanns

Santa Carolina at Love Wine, Love Chile – 25th September Ehrmanns will be showcasing independent-exclusive wines from Santa Carolina,

Unit 23, The Ivories 6-18 Northampton Street London N1 2HY 0203 227 0700 www.ehrmannswines.co.uk info@ehrmannswines.co.uk @ehrmannswines

one of Chile’s oldest wineries, at the Wines of Chile annual tasting this autumn. This includes Santa Carolina’s iconic Reserva range which has been given a lively new

look, to commemorate founder Luis Pereyra’s wife and legendary hostess Carolina.

The Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon was the first Chilean wine to gain

international recognition, winning gold in Paris in 1889. Today, the range offers excellent value wines which are concentrated and complex, with classic varietal definition. We will also be showing Herencia 2011, an icon of premium Chilean

winemaking and winner of the IWSC Carmenère trophy.

The Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is the perfect winter sticky, with

aromas of honeysuckle, white blossom and apricot and refreshing acidity.

• Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot,

ehrmannswines

Carmenère, Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon – £11.99

• Reserva de Familia Chardonnay (Limarí), Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo) & Carmenere (Rapel) – RRP £16.99 • Herencia Carmenère (Peumo) – RRP £75 • Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc – RRP £16.99 For further information, please contact Susannah.Taylor@ehrmanns.co.uk.

fine wine partners

Fine Wine Partners wins Importer of the Year at the 2018 Mamba Riedel Decanter Awards

Thomas Hardy House 2 Heath Road Weybridge KT13 8TB

Australia’s cool-climate elegant and utterly delicious sparkling wines have been making

07552 291045

three places and our portfolio accounting for half the top 10!

info@finewinepartners.co.uk www.finewinepartners.co.uk

waves and turning heads. Tasmania’s House of Arras and Adelaide Hills’ Croser wines cleaned up at this year’s Mamba Riedel Decanter Awards, with Arras taking the top

Accolades for cool-climate wines aren’t limited to sparkling, with Stonier Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula receiving high praise in the press.

Please contact us if you would like to discover more

about Stonier, Arras or anything in our portfolio.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 44


supplier bulletin

hatch mansfield

OUR GUILTY PLEASURES ...

New Bank House 1 Brockenhurst Road Ascot Berkshire SL5 9DL 01344 871800 info@hatch.co.uk www.hatchmansfield.com @hatchmansfield

Colombo & Fille Côtes du Rhône Blanc

Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Forots

A lively blend of Clairette, Roussanne and Bourboulenc with floral aromas and fresh citrus notes make this a popular, easy-drinking wine.

Sourced primarily from Jean-Luc’s vineyards in and around Cornas, with vines up to 60 years old, making this a significant cut above a generic Côtes du Rhône.

This October, Côtes du Rhône will run

If you would like to take part and benefit

social media, press and radio, reaching

contact Gersende Pommery at Sopexa

a promotional campaign that will be

from a tailored support or POS materials

over 5 million consumers and wine

Email gersende.pommery@sopexa.com

promoted via a dedicated website,

to implement your own promotion, please

professionals.

AWIN BARRATT SIEGEL WINE AGENCIES 28 Recreation Ground Road Stamford Lincolnshire PE9 1EW 01780 755810 orders@abswineagencies.co.uk www.abswineagencies.co.uk

@ABSWines

Come and say hello this autumn The autumn tasting season is upon us – do come along and meet the ABS team and some of our growers at the following events: 20th September: Wine Australia, Off the Vine Tasting, The Steel Yard, London Meet Troy Jones and Behn Payten, the team behind the award winning Payten & Jones wines.

24th & 26th September: SITT Autumn, London & Leeds With a focus on wines from Chile, Australia and Germany alongside some thoughts for Christmas.

25th September: Love Wine Love Chile Tasting, Oxo Tower, London Meet Meinhard Bloem, award-winning chief winemaker at Casas del Bosque.

For further information on any of the above events, please contact Lesley Gray: lg@abswineagencies.co.uk

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 45


supplier bulletin

hallgarten Dallow Road Luton LU1 1UR 01582 722 538

Hallgarten has added two wines to its portfolio from

sales@hnwines.co.uk www.hnwines.co.uk

Chianti Classico region, at over 500 metres above sea level.

Frescobaldi’s first foray into the Chianti Classico region – Tenuta Perano. Situated in Gaiole, in the heart of the The vineyard is planted on a natural amphitheatre

profile, capturing the sunlight and amplifying it onto the vines, to produce characterful and complex wines with

@hnwines

intensely fruit-driven aromas and a great tannic structure. Tenuta Perano, Frescobaldi, Chianti Classico 2015

Tenuta Perano, Frescobaldi, Chianti Classico Riserva 2015

An intense and elegant Chianti Classico with floral aromas enhancing fruity notes of wild blackberry, raspberry and cherry. Complex, with a pleasant walnut note on the finish.

A superb expression of Chianti, this is complex and rich with hints of fine tobacco, through to a long and harmonious finish.

Famille Helfrich Wines

Famille Helfrich is the independent specialist arm of Les Grands Chais de

1, rue Division Leclerc, 67290 Petersbach, France

the leading producer and exporter of French wines and spirits.

cdavies@lgcf.fr 07789 008540

the best terroir France has to

@FamilleHelfrich @family_helfrich_gcf_wines

France ... yes, still a family – with real people! Joseph founded the company in 1979 with 5,000 fr and we have grown to become Don't let the size put you off, it has helped us create an independent portfolio of

over 400 wines and we now own over 45 domaines and châteaux across some of offer.

Having the infrastructure

allows us to consolidate all of our wines at one central

location in Alsace, where you

can either come and collect or we can deliver a single mixed pallet to you.

REMEMBER, we are a

producer, a family producer, not an agency as some people think.

Working with Famille Helfrich Wines gives you the ability as an independent to buy

direct from a producer from appellations all over France, with one delivery.

A perfect solution to help you grow and experiment with France and all it has to

offer ...

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 46


supplier bulletin FMV Autumn Events

FMV 24-34 Ingate Place Battersea London SW8 3NS 020 7819 0360 @fieldsmorrisverdin @fmvwines

Come and taste our wine and spirits ranges at tastings in Manchester and Bristol.

In October join us at two unmissable events in conjunction with our broad range of

Spanish and South African producers – from the traditional to the more progressive. Manchester: Tuesday 25th September, 10am-4pm

The Refuge by Volta (The Principal Hotel), Oxford Street, Manchester M60 7HA Bristol: Tuesday 2nd October 10am-4pm Paintworks, Bath Road, Bristol BS4 3EH Spain: Tradition with a Twist

Tuesday 2nd October, 10.30am-4.30pm Glaziers Hall, London SE1 9DD

South Africa: Back to the Future Watch this space for details! To register your interest, email fmvmarketing@fmv.co.uk or Sophie.McLean@fmv.co.uk.

buckingham schenk 68 Alpha Street South Slough SL1 1QX 01753 521336 sales@buckingham-schenk.co.uk www.buckingham-schenk.co.uk

@BuckSchenk

Love Wine, Love Chile! OXO 2, London, 25 September We’re delighted to be joining the ‘Love Wine, Love Chile’ tasting in London on 25 September with our friends from Garcés Silva.

Garcés Silva is a family-run winery based

in the Leyda Valley. The winery was one of

the early pioneers of the Leyda, having been instrumental in setting up irrigation in the area in the 1990s. Since then, it has been a flag bearer for this outstanding region,

producing internationally acclaimed wines and rapidly building a reputation for quality and authenticity around the world.

The lovely Anthony and Paulina from Garcés Silva will be over from Chile to present their

award-winning wines from the Amayna and Boya Ranges.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 47


supplier bulletin

marussia beverages 0207 724 5009 www.marussiabeverages.co.uk info@marussiabeverages.com MarussiaBeveragesUK

Marussia Beverages UK are importers and distributors of the finest spirits from around the world. Since 1984 we have been sourcing rare and wonderful premium spirits to share with you and your customers. Sample Bourbon, Scotch, Irish and world whiskies, unique

American and London dry gin, superb French and Italian liqueurs, premium rum from Barbados and the highest quality traditional brandy from Cognac and Armagnac. These are just a taste of the range of spirits we supply.

@marussiabeveragesuk @MarussiaUK

walker & Wodehouse 109a Regents Park Road London NW1 8UR 0207 449 1665 orders@walkerwodehousewines.com www.walkerwodehousewines.com

W&W Christmas Promotions – Starting October

W&W’s Christmas promotions exclusively for independent merchants will kick off in October. Look out for great deals on Champagne Palmer, Spier, Carmen, Catena, Bisol

and more plus brilliant prices on all the seasonal classics: Bordeaux, Chablis, Sancerre, Rioja and Port. Ask your Account Manager for more details.

New: Castello di Ama Chianti Classico A recent addition to the W&W portfolio, Tuscan’s Castello di Ama. The 2014 San Lorenzo bottling, part of the newly created Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, is our pick

for autumn. Balanced, elegant and powerful, it is a superb

partner as we head into the game season. Ask your Account Manager for more details.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 48


supplier bulletin

enotria & COE 23 Cumberland Avenue London NW10 7RX www.enotriacoe.com

and wide. We’re excited to share with you the fruits of their endeavours, with a quartet of beguiling new estates from Australia, Italy, Greece and Chile.

Chaffey Bros, Australia: This is the exciting new face of winemaking in Australia.

Championing Riesling, Shiraz and Grenache from Eden and Barossa Valleys, Chaffey Bros work in the realm of minimal intervention, artisan, small-batch wines, and prioritise experimentation and quality.

Viña Mar, Chile: Head to the heart of the cool-climate Casablanca Valley

020 8961 5161

Our buyers travel the world to find the best and brightest from vinous communities far

and you’ll find the boutique Chilean winery, Viña Mar. Taking their name

@EnotriaCoe

from their biggest virtue, the sea, Viñamar blends modern and traditional

oenology practices to craft a collection of wines that are delicate and elegant, and whipped into line by an attractive complexity.

Kir-Yianni, Greece: One of the leading wine estates in Greece, innovation and quality hold fast as the twin pillars of Kir-Yianni’s philosophy. With

this new range we’re championing Greece’s indigenous grape varieties:

Xinomavro delivers structured, complex red wines, while their Assyrtiko whites are exceptionally fresh and mineral.

Brancaia, Italy: Brancaia is like a prodigal son to us (or us to them)! Many

years ago, we were the proud agents for this top Chianti Classico, before our

paths went in different ways. Over the years we’ve always harboured a soft spot for Brancaia, who today remain one of the top producers in their region.

mentzendorff The Woolyard 52 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3UD 020 7840 3600 info@mentzendorff.co.uk www.mentzendorff.co.uk

Walk with Chapoutier Chapoutier produces the most diverse and complex

wines found in the northern Rhône. But did you know the Chapoutier range stretches far beyond the Rhône with wines from Alsace to northern Portugal?

Michel Chapoutier’s winemaking genius across

Alsace, Rhone, Ardeche and the Douro Valley follows the ancient pilgrims’ trail, “El Camino de Santiago”.

The M. Chapoutier wines illustrate a wide range of

style and varieties, from steely Schieferkopf Alsace

Riesling to full-bodied Bila Haut Côtes-du-Roussillon Rouge to plummy Dos Lusíadas Touriga Nacional. Take a walk with Chapoutier and traverse the

quality terroir and explore the diversity of this famous producer.

For details and pricing please contact your account manager.

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 49


supplier bulletin

new generation

New wines from a new Argentinean appellation

14 Kennington Road London SE1 7BL

New Generation are delighted that Pyros wines will be available in the UK from

T: 020 7928 7300

appellation in Argentina, in the foothills of the Andes, 1,400 metres above sea level.

london@newgenwines.com www.newgenwines.com @newgenwines

September. The Pyros range is produced in the Pedernal Valley of San Juan Province; a new

The rugged, rock-bound and wild terrain offers a unique terroir for grape-growing

and is one of the few places in the world where flint and limestone occur naturally, a feature which imparts a

special texture to the tannins of the wine.

The range consists of four

wines: the Pyros Barrel

Selected Syrah, the Barrel

Selected Malbec, the Pyros

Single Vineyard Malbec and the Pyros Special Blend. The RRPs for these

consistently high-scoring

wines range from £19.25 to £32.75.

berkmann wine cellarS 10-12 Brewery Road London N7 9NH info@berkmann.co.uk www.berkmann.co.uk London, South, Midlands, South West 020 7670 0972 North & Scotland 01423 357567

Katnook Odyssey 20th vintage release Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon is one of 53 wines listed in the ‘Outstanding’ category of the Langton’s VI Classification of

Australian Wine, the pre-eminent list of fine wine in Australia. This November sees the release of the 20th vintage release of Odyssey and showcases the essence of Coonawarra. Odyssey is created

from small parcels of premium Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sourced from Katnook’s oldest terra rossa vineyards and selected for their richness and intense flavours. The 2013 vintage displays intense

regional and varietal fruit characters seamlessly combined with an array of oak maturation characters.

“Machine-harvested, crushed and destemmed, fermented in a mix

of open and closed fermenters, 5-10 days on skins, matured for 36 months in French (56% new) and used American oak. Obviously, oak leaves a footprint on the wine, but there is a wealth of blackcurrant/ cassis, bay leaf and spice to provide balance to a warm hearted, generous wine that can be enjoyed now or in 20+ years. An enduring part of the Coonawarra landscape since its first vintage in ‘91. Drink by 2037. 96 points.” James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2018, August 2017

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 50


supplier bulletin

seckford agencies

Introducing Estampa and Kalfu from Chile and Belhara from Argentina at SITT London and Leeds

Old Barn Farm Harts Lane, Ardleigh Colchester CO7 7QQ

Estampa – founded in 2001 and focused on innovation and modern techniques,

01206 231686

cool-climate Colchagua sites – it’s taken us many years of sampling to find this

julie@seckfordagencies.co.uk @seckfordagency Seckford Agencies Ltd

creating premium blends from their own coastal cool-climate vineyards in Paradones and Marchigüe. Our team is really excited with this range from

price and quality combination, which are stylistically more Bordeaux than New World. Wines range in price on shelf from £9.95 to £56.

Kalfu – Meaning ‘Blue’ from the influence of the Pacific Ocean, produced by Vina Ventisquero: a range of six premium wines showing complexity from

longer, slower ripening as benefits their cooler coastal locations in Atacama Leyda and Casablanca. Tim Atkin regards Sumpai Syrah 2016 as one of his Chilean wines of the year, gaining 95pts. Ranging from £10.75 to £18.50. Belhara – Such an exciting find from premium vineyards in Altamira,

Gualtallary and Tupungato within the Uco Valley. These wines, produced by experienced European winemaker/owner Stephen Huse, from his own vineyards, have hugely

impressed all that have sampled them. Two levels of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon at £10.95 and £14.95; their premium Bordeaux blend ‘Gran Corte’ retails at £18.95.

richmond wine agencies The Links, Popham Close Hanworth Middlesex TW13 6JE 020 8744 5550 info@richmondwineagencies.com

@richmondwineag1

Biodynamic Rhône new arrivals New wines to the RWA portfolio this summer include a

biodynamic range from Domaine des Carabiniers in the Rhône Valley.

In the 14th century, the papal community lived in

Avignon (Palais des Papes) and the region was guarded by Italian mounted guards – the Carabinieri. Since

that time, the area has been known as Carabiniers.

Domaine des Carabiniers has been family-run for

four generations. The vineyard was developed at the

beginning of the 20th century by the Leperchois family.

Christian Leperchois built the current winery in the 60s. Now, Magali

and Fabien run the domaine, which converted to organic viticulture in 1997 and then to biodynamic in 2009. They vinify with natural yeasts, without the use of chemical products and with very low or zero-sulphur additions.

Tavel Rose ‘Lunar Apogé’ Domaine des Carabiniers 2017 Lirac ‘Lunar Apogé’ Domaine des Carabiniers 2017 Côtes Du Rhône ‘Sans Sulfite’ Domaine des Carabiniers 2017

THE WINE MERCHANT september 2018 51


Profile for The Wine Merchant magazine

The Wine Merchant issue 73  

The Wine Merchant issue 73  

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