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THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers

Issue 94, August 2020

Dog of the Month: Gary Batch Bottle Store, Altrincham

The Twisted Cork is the latest independent wine merchant to make its home inside a former shipping container. Read about Christine and Lee Longden’s new venture in Tiptree, Essex, on page six.

Indies can hang on to new trade Survey shows that most indies have recruited extra customers this year, and believe they can retain a third of them

O

ptimistic independents expect

to keep more than a third of the

new customers they’ve managed

to acquire since lockdown began in March, according to an exclusive survey carried

out by The Wine Merchant in association with Liberty Wines.

Two out of three respondents say

customer numbers have increased

during the lockdown period and into

the beginning of August. When asked to suggest how many of these new

customers would be retained once the

threat of Covid-19 has receded, the average prediction was 35.8%.

It could be argued that merchants are

now in a good position to gauge their long-term retention rate, with rivals

such as Majestic, The Wine Society and

supermarkets now trading more fluidly than they were in April and May.

Overall, the average sales growth

figure for the March to July period for all

respondents in the survey (including those who report a sales decrease) was 43.9%,

Continues page two


EDITORIAL

Inside this month 6 comings & Goings

Indies hopeful about new recruits with the biggest average growth coming in

Merchants proceed with expansion despite Covid-19

April at 65.6%.

Wine merchants are finding that new

customers are vocal about supporting local

10 tried & TESTED Fabulous Fino, brilliant Bacchus, sumptuous Syrah, gorgeous

businesses and appreciate the service they get from independent wine shops.

But keeping these consumers satisfied

and engaged often involves tweaking

Gamay, alluring Albariño

ranges to suit different pockets.

14 daniel grigg ‘Natural wine has its place. Just

Bruce Evans at Grape & Grain in Crediton

says: “The traditional customers are still

around. The new customers are after entry-

not on our shelves’

level wines, to support local business, and

28 david williams Growing tensions in Champagne between growers and houses

36 the twisted cellar The wine shop that loves not looking much like a wine shop

replace the reliance on supermarkets, with their long delivery times.”

James Brown of Wine Loft in Brixham

adds: “We are managing to hold on to our new lower-end customers with a

combination of in-store experience and delivery services.”

R Campbell & Sons in Leyburn is a

42 john gauntley An appreciation of a much-loved and iconoclastic wine merchant

Costcutter member because of a grocery element in its sales mix, but Richard

Walker of the business says he has been

exploring new avenues for wine supplies.

44 argentina Four reasons to love the wines from east of the Andes The Spirits World, page 53; Supplier Bulletin, page 54

“We have bought in more of a range of

sub £10-wines from independent agencies due to the lack of availability of the supermarket brands,” he says.

“This has benefited us through the

margins and hopefully will have turned a

few customers’ heads to what quality you

can get at around £10 a bottle.”

Local deliveries have been the big

success story of the past five months,

accounting for 43.3% of independents’

revenues, up from just 5.5% during the same period in 2019.

National deliveries and e-commerce have

increased their share of turnover from just 4.2% in 2019 to 11.5% currently.

Cat Brandwood at Toscanaccio in

Winchester says her wine range has been expanded in response to extra lockdown

demand – and many of the new lines she

now lists will be retained beyond the short term.

“It seems the website will continue to

benefit from increased sales – and not only locally – so keeping a broader range is sensible,” she says.

• Survey coverage continues on pages four

and five.

Average sales increases in the independent trade this year +37.7%

March

+65.6%

April

+41%

May June

+36.6%

July

+38.6% 0

10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%

Based on responses from 84 businesses

THE WINE MERCHANT MAGAZINE winemerchantmag.com 01323 871836 Twitter: @WineMerchantMag Editor and Publisher: Graham Holter graham@winemerchantmag.com Assistant Editor: Claire Harries claire@winemerchantmag.com Accounts: Naomi Young winemerchantinvoices@gmail.com The Wine Merchant is circulated to the owners of the UK’s 930 specialist independent wine shops. Printed in Sussex by East Print. © Graham Holter Ltd 2020 Registered in England: No 6441762 VAT 943 8771 82

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 2


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COVID READER SURVEY

Deliveries up as wholesale suffers

How the sales mix has changed for independent merchants 60% 58.1%

With the prolonged closure of the ontrade, it was little surprise that hybridstyle drink-in sales and wholesale took

2020

50%

2019 43.3%

40%

the biggest sales hits for merchants during lockdown. Drink-in sales fell from 8.2% of all

respondents’ sales in 2019 to 2.5%, while

wholesale fell from 19.5% in 2019 to 5.2% between March and July this year.

The survey suggests that the shifting mix

from wholesale and on-trade to retail and

home deliveries caused a big rethink of – or

30%

28.7%

28.7%

20%

19.5%

11.5%

10%

8.4% 5.5%

4.2%

Local delivery

8.2%

3.7%

National delivery/ internet

Customer collection

Normal retail trade

2.5%

Drink-in

1.1%

5.2%

Wholesale

0.3%

Other

stop on – sourcing for many shops.

Both charts based on responses from 84 businesses

our retail wine sales have flown.

How indies’ supplier numbers have changed since early March

Chris Hill, of Latitude Wine in Leeds,

says: “Our spirits sales have collapsed, but “We’ve taken the chance to clear some

space on the shelves and phase out a

couple of suppliers. A few of our wine

suppliers have seen a massive up-tick in

orders. I only started ordering spirits again

in July as our wholesale business picked up again.”

Duncan McLean of Kirkness & Gorie in

Kirkwall, Orkney, says he started the Covid period fully stocked with wines for the summer season that never was.

“2020” refers to the period from March to July inclusive

Increased significantly

1.2%

nowhere to sell them, so we transformed

our previously minuscule delivery business

33.3%

No change

35.7%

Decreased a little

10.7%

Decreased significantly

Other

“With all restaurants closing in late

March, we were left with vast stocks and

16.7%

Increased a little

2.4% 5%

10%

Rupert Pritchett at Taurus Wines near

into the main focus of our company,” he

Guildford says: “Although our percentage

us being able to sell most of our stock, pay

to be the tough month to beat as we had

says.

“This was hard work, but it resulted in

outstanding invoices, and be in a position

to restart more conventional retail in July, and trade sales in August.

“We found that home-delivery customers

were more willing to experiment and buy

all manner of strange wines if we described them nicely or included them in mixed cases.”

15%

growth in June was the smallest, being

peak wedding season it was always going a huge amount of wedding and party business to replace.

“We can service up to 20 events per

weekend in the summer.

20%

25%

30%

wedding business is great for volume, but miserable for average margin, as well as

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 4

40%

being very staff intensive.”

One store found an opportunity in the

on-trade’s woes. “By sourcing wines from

bankrupt hotels, restaurants and pubs our average bottle price has become £5.99

with a good margin,” says Matt Ellis of The Smiling Grape in St Neots.

“Average margin is hugely up and

overheads have dropped drastically as

35%

Survey partner


Indies adapt to changing demand Ranges and prices have been juggled by retailers to suit new market conditions, our survey shows. While one in four merchants say their

range hasn’t changed, 38.1% increased

the number of wines they sell and say they intend to keep things that way in future.

But there’s evidence that indies are being

more selective about their buying options, with 46.4% saying they have decreased

their supplier base in some way, either a little or significantly.

Four out of 10 respondents have been

selling more wines under £10, compared to just over a quarter doing brisker business between £10 and £15.

Several retailers note that case deals

have been playing an important part in

their product mix, often going hand in hand with an increased focus on deliveries and online.

Jane Taylor at Dronfield Wine World

says: “We found that in the early stages of

lockdown we were getting orders for large quantities of our cheaper wines. This is

now dropping off. We also put on special offers on mixed cases. Demand for these

continues to be strong.”

Dan Kirby at The Suffolk Cellar in Beccles

says: “Our retail range starts at £15, but

we’ve seen more people picking up case

deals to bring that price down to £12.50.

“We’ve increased the range of £15 wines,

from five to about 10 SKUs, but have also

seen better than average sales at all price points.”

Andy Smith, at Mill Hill Wines in north

are selling more wines at £10 and below

London, says: “Early on we sold much more sub-£10 wine but as the supermarkets

sorted their deliveries out things are going back to normal.”

David Dodd at Tivoli Wines in

Cheltenham says: “We’ve been selling more wines at all price points across our range, but our average bottle price has dropped from £16 to £12, though products per

Some stores also report an upturn in

sales of more expensive wines as shoppers look for treats.

are selling more wines at £10 to £15

Riaz Syed, at Stonewines in Whetstone,

says: “Since July, we have seen a slight

increase in higher value stock, such as

Champagne and white Burgundy, perhaps seasonal or reflecting increases in social interaction.

“I sense those still working have saved

money by staying in or not commuting.”

7.2% are selling more wines at £15 and above

6%

We've scaled down to a core range but it will increase in time

20.2%

15.7%

26.2%

No change The range has increased and it will stay that way

38.1%

The range has increased but we will reduce it over time

Other

26.5%

transaction have risen from 2.4 to 3.6.”

How indies’ wine ranges have evolved since early March We've scaled down to a core range and it will stay this way

40.1%

6% 3.6% 5%

10%

15%

20%

25%

30%

35%

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 5

40%

have seen little change in price points


Container is home for Essex indie New independent The Twisted Cork opened in Tiptree, Essex, last month. Christine Longden and her husband Lee

are the team behind the venture.

“We always thought this was something

we wanted to do,” says Christine, “and

when this unit became available I thought it would be really nice to have a boutique

wine shop as there’s nothing like it nearby.” The shop is one of eight converted

shipping containers in the village.

“People love coming round here because

it’s a nice little community on its own,”

The Wine Shed in Stydd Gardens was originally inhabited by Fullaloves

says Christine. “I’ve already got regular

customers and great feedback about the wine.”

Free local delivery is available and with

a background in logistics the couple have

taken nationwide deliveries in their stride, opting for accounts with APC and DPD. The business is focusing on organic

On a Facebook post Wheeldon said:

“There are complicated circumstances

which have led to me making this very difficult decision.

“I really want to take this opportunity

wines and is working directly with a

to thank every single customer who has

says Christine.

last three years. We have the most amazing

number of local vineyards and distillers.

Alliance has been “brilliant with advice”, “My husband and I are keen wine

bought a bottle of wine to take home, or joined us for drinks in the shed over the

drinkers but we have a lot to learn. We’ll

North London indie Linden Stores has closed following the decision of its owners to move back to Cheshire. Laura Christie and partner Chris

floor shop and basement restaurant where

Wine Shed moves to online model

all wines were available for a corkage fee. In a message on the website, Christie

said: “We have loved getting to know our

neighbourhood and neighbours in London

The Wine Shed, a bar and retail outlet in

over the years, and Islington holds a special

Stydd Gardens, Ribchester, Lancashire,

place in our hearts.

is closing at the end of August.

“But the time has come for the three of

Nuala Wheeldon has been running the

us (Chris, Laura + junior chef Ollie) to move

business since 2017 when she acquired

back up north. The future of Linden Stores

it from Fullaloves, the independent now wine seller.

Linden relocates to Cheshire

Highbury in 2017. It featured a ground-

line.”

The Wine Shed will continue as an online

friends and we will miss you dearly.”

Boustead established the business in

be taking WSET courses further down the

trading from a site in Longridge, Preston.

customers, many of whom we now class as

is bright, and we hope to be back serving Laurie Christie: time to leave Islington

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 6

you seasonal British plates by Chris +

gluggable wines by Laura in due time, near our new home.”


cap

Moreno Carbone (left) and Daniel Curro at The Archive

The sommelier will see you now The launch of a new boutique hotel, The Vices York, may be on hold thanks to Covid-19. But it hasn’t stopped The Vices Archive, the wine shop within the hotel, from trading. Sommelier Daniel Curro and business

of The Vices York. A chance to see the

collection of wines that we’ve curated, and to shop in a safe and fun way.”

Botfield bucks up Olney with store The Woburn Wine Cellar has opened its second branch, in Olney,

partner Moreno Carbone have confirmed

Buckinghamshire.

selection of Champagnes and directly-

market town” was inevitably delayed.

that the hotel will open at the end of

this year. But customers can explore the

imported Italian wines from next month.

Curro’s sommelier expertise can be put

to the test as shoppers are encouraged to book in for a complimentary wine consultation.

Curro says: “The Archive is an

opportunity to experience an early taste

Owner Stefan Botfield says that the

launch of the new shop in the “picturesque “We put it on ice for a couple of months,”

he says, “but once lockdown started to

ease off we were able to fit it out at the

beginning of June and we had it open for the start of July – it’s been successful.” In common with the original site in

Woburn, Olney is an affluent area with a

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 8

regular farmers’ market, which Botfield reports gives sales a boost.

“People who buy nice food at farmers

markets tend to like nice wine, so it goes

hand in hand,” he says. “We do see an uplift in sales when the market is on.”

Locals will also be pleased to see a

familiar face in the shop. Botfield says he is “very lucky” that Russell Heap, who used to run Bacchus in Olney before retiring a

few years ago, is now working part-time at what is now known as The Wine Cellar.

The expansion has brought about a name

change, as Botfield explains. “The idea of

pitching up just 20 minutes up the road in Olney and calling it Woburn Wine Cellar just didn’t feel right.

“Then you start looking at your website

and Facebook page and, rather than

running multiple ones, we decided to go

for a name change and that reflects where


we want the company to go. Not that I

branch. Coincidentally, the site in Matlock

place, would we look at another one? Yes,

the same bank.

have grand visions of having 50 stores,

but if the right thing came up in the right probably.

“You have to have systems that are

capable of doing multi-site and it’s all

about inventory control, basically. Once

you have that nailed then adding a third or fourth store doesn’t seem so difficult

anymore – it’s perhaps a dream, but we’re certainly not writing off that idea.”

Botfield’s energy and optimism is

perhaps the result of having successfully navigated the business through tricky times.

“About a week before the pubs closed

we got very, very quiet and two of us spent three days and nights uploading content onto the website and getting all our

product portfolio on there, because at that stage we just assumed that we’d be closed the same as the pubs,” he says.

“Thank god we did, as the deliveries over

the lockdown period were phenomenal. “There’s a figure knocking around

somewhere that is something like 80%

or 90% of all wine purchased in the UK is consumed in less than 30 minutes of purchase.

“Most people buy a bottle of wine

because they want to drink it that evening, and the way we approached deliveries

was that if you are in a 15-mile radius, you either get it the same day or next day.

“That, I think, is what attracted people.”

they have earmarked for their next project is also an old building once inhabited by

“This one is an older building,” explains

Tom, “certainly more grand and triple the

the same – still the same concept of a wine

John Greenwold was contacted by Sadler

than Duffield.

Bin93.uk in Ipswich was inspired by

“It will be different but fundamentally

Wine Boutique in Felixstowe, whose owner

the river. We just have to adapt to the size.”

“I asked if we could have a gentlemen’s

bar but there will be an outside terrace by

Bradmans will be a welcome addition to

the high street in Matlock, which is already home to several restaurants and a cocktail bar.

prior to the launch.

agreement. I buy my wine from him and

I have copied his model, but put my own spin on it,” explains Sadler.

“I remember when John started the

“We will probably do some really simple

drinking-in aspect, about five years ago,

“Matlock is really good for an afternoon

his main business being computerised tills

cheese and meats to go with the wine,” Tom adds.

or evening out; you can get the train from Duffield in 15 minutes. You could do a

Bradmans afternoon in Matlock and come

and it went mad for him.”

Sadler’s background is hospitality with

for the trade. Fifteen years ago he set up his computer repair shop.

He admits he’s not a wine expert.

back to Duffield for a night-time party!”

“I’m self-taught and I’m honest with the

things rolling” until they find a manager.

what other people have written about the

The father and son team expect to split

their time between the two sites, “to get They are still very much in the design

phase and Tom says: “We don’t want to

rush things, and at the moment we just

customer and happy to suggest they use

Vivino: it’s so easy to use and you can read wine and check what we’re charging,” he says.

“I’m learning every day. I’m working on

don’t know what’s around the corner. I’d

the basis that if the customer chooses a

great months for the wine trade so in an

the glass of the day.”

be amazed if we were open by Christmas.

We know that January and February aren’t ideal world, I’m thinking it will be March.”

wine and they really don’t like it, there’s no problem; it will just become an option for

Sadler has spent £40,000 renovating the

premises, and there is room to expand.

The generous space has made it easy for

him to operate under Covid-19 conditions. “We’re big on the social distancing and

we’ve had a very positive response,” he says.

“I’ve asked everyone to book with a

the premises for its second store, with

maximum of four to a table. The building

hopes for a spring launch next year.

Wine Cellar in Duffield in an old NatWest

specialising in computers to open his first wine shop.

Bradmans Wine Cellar has secured

Morris and his son, Tom, opened Bradmans

Richard Sadler has branched out from

size so it’s going to be on a bigger scale

Bradmans to open Matlock branch

It’s been just over two years since John

Ipswich indie is learning every day

is so big that we can manage it very Former England cricketer John Morris

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 9

well. We’ve got people coming in who

haven’t been out since March but they feel comfortable in our venue.”


THE WINE MERCHANT july 2020 10


this Morris Minor came up. It had been recently restored and was in beautiful condition. My graphic designer friend

created the files for the signwriter and it was ready within a week.

“Delivery is here to stay. People have got

used to it and they quite like sending a text or an email to order their wine.”

Smith is also aware of the obvious kerb

appeal of a vintage vehicle and the ensuing marketing benefits. “It’s already been a

good investment in terms of marketing as well as delivery,” he says.

“I’ve had customers email me just to tell

me they’ve seen me out and about in it. Looks smart, but needs a name

Horsham boss happy with Minor keys Luke Smith at The Horsham Cellar says that whenever he’d considered buying a delivery vehicle, a vintage van would be his first choice. Now that ambition has been realised

NOT YOU AGAIN!

with the purchase of a 1967 Morris Minor van.

“I’ve always loved classic cars anyway,”

he says, “and when I closed the shop during lockdown to concentrate on deliveries,

When people start coming back to town

again I’m going to get a temporary events

notice and use the van as a mobile bar, sell

wine by the glass and by the bottle. Perfect for a busy Saturday in the centre of town,

just a little way up the road from the shop.” Extra PR mileage has been generated by

a competition inviting customers to come

up with a name for the Morris Minor, with a case of wine up for grabs for the best suggestion.

customers we could do without

© Victor Koldunov / stockadobe.com

15. Tamara Frampton-Waldegrave ... Hi, hi, how are you today? Cool, that’s so good to hear! I imagine you’re mega busy … pretty non-stop, yeah? Cool! Cool … I was wondering … if you’d heard about the Black Beauty Foundation and the important work it does for vulnerable people in the equestrian industry locally as well as their families and loved ones? Such an important charity and we’d love you to come along to one of our socials one evening … would be OK to put a couple of our posters in your window? There’s the one promoting our auction, which is A5, and then we have our main one which is A3 that you can just leave there all year round … maybe they could go where you’ve currently got that pyramid thing of Champagne? And would it be too cheeky to ask for a couple of bottles to put in the auction? Maybe just a case of red, a case of white and then we were thinking some kind of mystery case of anything you had lying around and wanted to get rid of? We think we’ll have about 80 people on the night so maybe Prosecco on arrival for each guest and then a couple of bottles for each table? You’d get an acknowledgement in the programme. We’d also love you to become a Black Beauty Buddy with a monthly direct debit of just £50 or £75 … or more if you like ...

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ANAGRAM TIME Can you unscramble the names of the following branded wine equipment? If so, you win some wool.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 11

1. Finite Rewards 2. No Vicar 3. Urea Cove 4. Chew Liszt’s Toe 5. Oat Mince

Mark Matisovits


Rising Stars

A

Callum Edge

Taurus Wines, Surrey Hills

fter outlining the ups and downs of the wine industry to Callum Edge several years ago, Rupert Pritchett at Taurus Wines didn’t expect to see the teenager again. But his frankness obviously left a lasting impression. Rupert explains: “Callum first visited the store as a fresh-faced 18-year-old asking for careers advice. “He was interested in joining the wine trade so I explained the realities of the industry, ie that it’s enormous fun with great opportunities for travel once you hit a certain level, but that’s balanced out by long hours, low pay and probably a bad back and a slightly dickie liver by the end of it all. “Off he trotted, I presumed for a career in the City so he could actually afford to buy fine wine. But, lo and behold, who should return a full seven years later but still vaguely freshfaced Callum. Clearly my careers talk hadn’t dampened his enthusiasm.” At this point Callum’s CV included a degree in theology, a stint as a sommelier in one of Dubai’s top restaurants, editorial experience at John Brown Publishing and some WSET qualifications. “I had thought about being a lawyer,” Callum says, “and I was looking at conversion schemes with a glass of wine

in my hand and realised that I much preferred the wine to looking through the legal papers. “I remembered that Rupert had mentioned WSET, so a week after my finals I was doing the Level 1 to 3 intensive course. “I moved to Dubai for a year and the opportunity to try some amazing wine out there was unparalleled and I’ve never tasted wine quite like it since. People were drinking Petrus out of teacups because they couldn’t be seen to be drinking. That was a surreal experience.” Restaurants and food continued to be a major focus. On his return to London Callum worked in hospitality and restaurant PR before landing an editorial role on the Waitrose magazine. “The lure of wine always pulls you back,” he says, “and I was moving back to Surrey and I thought of Rupert and what a great company Taurus would be to work for.” Rupert says: “He joined the team three years ago and is now our marketing and events manager. In his time here he has seen the business move from a shed attached to an assortment of shipping containers to a state-ofthe-art store and has been studying for the WSET diploma. “He’s also reinvigorated our brand, started our monthly and one-day wine schools – which are a huge success – and, despite a penchant for orange and natural wines, has a fantastic palate and is a valuable member of our team. “It goes without saying that I’m grateful I didn’t put him off the wine trade too much.”

Callum wins a bottle of Pol Roger Brut 2012 If you’d like to nominate a Rising Star, email claire@winemerchantmag.com

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 12


TRIED & TESTED

Lustau Fino Single Cask February 2020 release

Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra No 3 White Port

Talk about understatement. The tasting note says “dry

In the 18th century, Douro vineyards were awarded

formidable peak. The flor had not been disturbed for a

things, and you can almost taste them in this delicious

and crispy”, which reduces this mini-masterpiece to

the status of a Pringle. Yet this is en rama Sherry at its decade when 120 bottles were produced: the wine is

pungent but elegant, with a bready, fruity, nutty richness. RRP: £74.50

ABV: 15%

Fields, Morris & Verdin (020 7819 0360)

stone markers called feitoria to denote the best sites. Quinta da Pedra Alta has no fewer than three of the

and decadent white port, with its lovely slatey edge, lemon mousse sweetness and warm nuttiness. RRP: £18 (50cl) ABV: 18%

Winetraders (01993 882440)

fmv.co.uk

winetraders.eu

Phebus Malbec Rosé 2019

Balfour Liberty’s Bacchus 2019

Maybe we’re all too cool to get excited by a rosé Malbec,

Maybe some English Bacchus from 2018 was a little

freezer and it emerged full of luscious Mendoza fruit

notes but mostly grassy, citrus elements and a lovely

but perhaps it’s also fair to say we tend to serve such wines too cool. This had a cursory 10 minutes in the without compromising any of its crisp mountain

freshness. In the capable hands of Hervé Joyaux Fabre, a simple wine has overdelivered on every level. RRP: £9.99

ABV: 12.5%

Buckingham Schenk (01753 219782)

too ripe, losing the zip that should be its hallmark.

Here the variety is on fine form, with some tropical crispness. In the right hands, Bacchus really can

be England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc, and the

challenge is to keep it as perky and moreish as this. RRP: £20

ABV: 11%

Liberty Wines (020-7720-5350)

buckingham-schenk.co.uk

libertywines.co.uk

Terra Noble CA2 Carmenere Costa 2017

Oldenburg Vineyards Syrah 2016

Terra Noble makes its CA1 Carmenere in the Andes,

The vineyards at Rondekop in the Stellenbosch are

latitudes. The Costa is the more elegant of the two,

with a certain crunch. You get a lot of Syrah for your

and CA2 nearer the Pacific coast, to highlight the differences between different terroirs at similar

but it’s still concentrated and juicy, with a smoky, bloody edge that will delight carnivores. RRP: £27.30

ABV: 14%

Pimlico Dozen (020 7834 3647)

410m above sea level, and the conditions seem to suit Syrah very well, leavening the juicy ripeness money here, with lovely vanilla notes and some Mediterranean herbs poking through too. RRP: £15.95

ABV: 14%

Jeroboams (0207 288 8888)

pimlicodozen.com

jeroboams.co.uk

Laurent Miquel Auzines Albariño 2018

Le Tracteur Vert 2018

Miquel is the first French winemaker to plant

in the Côtes d’Auvergne, this is a fruity and nicely

Albariño, and it certainly seems at home in his corner of Corbières, where it thrives in organic vineyards. Lees ageing lends a creamy depth to proceedings,

balancing out the more pithy, limey, elements and dovetailing with the ripe fruit characters. RRP: £11-£12

ABV: 13%

Jackson Nugent Vintners (020 8947 9722) jnv.co.uk

A 100% Gamay from grapes grown on volcanic soil

weighted summer red with the gentlest sting of tart

raspberries. A wine that would almost certainly pair

beautifully with some crackly Django Reinhardt music and the spicy smoke of some merguez sausages on an outdoor grill, near a pine forest. RRP: £13.50

ABV: 14%

Awin Barratt Siegel (01306 631155) abs.wine

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 13


INDEPENDENT VOICES: DANIEL GRIGG

Playing the natural lotter

For Daniel Grigg of Museum Wines in Dorset, natural wines have their place – just not a place on his customers finally get to open after its long journey through the supply chain may bear no relation to

T

he natural wine debate has been rumbling on for the last half

decade, often dismissed out of

hand as a fad by the traditionalists and purists.

Yet it refuses to go away and the wine

shops and bars which champion it and eschew traditionally-made wines are

popular not only in the capital but around

the country, with loyal punters looking for their next glass of something which looks, and often tastes, more like cider than it does wine.

Whilst most wine merchants accept now

that natural wine does have its place, I’m

not sure it has a place on our shelves. Wine is a business, after all, and my experience

with it is that it’s not good for our business. We’ve listed natural wines in the past,

lots of them actually, and despite not

necessarily having huge (any) demand

© Chris / stockadobe.com

enjoyable. Until they weren’t.

they’re losing money.

hundred bottles of wine which is

of any additional sulphur, fining, filtration,

Californian Albariño, a grape that can age

that goes by and every case that isn’t sold?

for them they sold well because they

were actually very good and thoroughly

This is where the problem with natural

wine arises. The scant disregard for the use barrel age or anything that might improve

the longevity of a wine will inevitably result in it ceasing to be enjoyable much sooner

than its peers which do incorporate these methods.

Then what does the merchant do? Dump

the stock down the sink? Give it away? Heavily discount and sell on a “sold as

seen” proviso? Whichever they choose,

In my own experience as a wine

merchant we lost a couple of cases of

well with no time in oak, which went from

A wine shipped from South Africa will take at least e

essentially a ticking time bomb threatening the liquidity of the business with every day

pounds due to this; no great disaster. But

G

consider introducing a natural wine to our

it’s very nice.

wonderful to woeful inside six months. We

had to write off stock worth a few hundred with my importer hat on, this experience would certainly give me pause were I to portfolio.

Do I really want to commit to several

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 14

iven that I’ve seen natural

wines change in character that drastically within six months,

let’s look at the timeline of importing a

wine. I’m in South Africa and taste a wine; Upon my return to the UK a week later I

place an order for 600 bottles. Two weeks


Malu Lambert joins Museum as social media chief

ry

South African journalist “will be our boots in the vineyard”, says boss

s list. That’s because, he argues, the wine that what he thought he was selling them

you may have 16 weeks before the product becomes unrecognisable from what you

tasted and renders itself unsaleable unless you want to bet your reputation that no one notices.

It’s akin to having the worst credit terms

in the world, paying for the stock and

having it repossessed regardless. With

entry-level Cabernet, Malbec, or even rosé for that matter, you’ve probably got two

years to sell it before having to consider

slashing prices. But £30-a-bottle Syrah that tastes like pineapples? Sell that as quick as

you can before it starts to taste like a puppy pooped in your plimsolls.

Furthermore, how does natural wine

cope with bottle shock (essentially jet lag for wine)? Traditionally made, (or should we say unnatural?) wines suffer from it,

eight weeks to arrive on the premises of the UK merchant

after that it is ready. A further week goes by and it is delivered to Cape Town port where it waits another week before being loaded onto a boat which departs the same day. Let’s assume it’s a very efficient boat

which doesn’t dilly-dally and arrives in the

UK two weeks later. The stock sails through customs and is delivered to our warehouse, booked in and made available to me within a week.

That’s an eight-week wait between

tasting and delivery which, I can tell you, is optimistic to say the least. So from arrival

but recover. Does natural wine have the

infrastructure to do the same or will it just expedite its timely demise?

Ultimately I can’t recommend a customer

buy a half case, let alone a full case, of natural wine when I’m hesitant to do

the same, which means producers who

specialise in wines such as these are off my radar.

There are plenty of other importers

who will take the chance. But if the wind changes and the consumer’s thirst for

natural wines wanes, how will the wine shops, bars and importers who supply

them fare if the hook they’ve hung their hat on changes as imperceptibly as the wine? Not well, I fear.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 15

Museum Wines has strengthened its position as a specialist in South African wine by appointing a wine writer, based in South Africa, as head of content for the company’s social media channels and articles. Journalist Malu Lambert “will be our boots in the vineyard and our advocate of all things South Africa,” says Daniel Grigg. Lambert was introduced to the wine world during her part-time waiting job which supported her journalism studies, and says that she “not only fell in love with wine itself, but also the story-telling aspect of it”. Now she will be spending time with the winemakers, “listening to their stories” and reporting back to Grigg, who by all accounts would prefer to be in South Africa himself. But at least now he (and his customers) can live vicariously through Lambert’s experiences. Grigg says: “Spending time with the people behind the wines and seeing their passion first-hand adds another dimension to my approach to selling them. “Whether that’s experiencing a Rob Armstrong G&T served in a pint glass, witnessing Alex Milner’s determination to braai amidst torrential rain or a quick visit to Holden Manz turning into a seven-hour lunch – it’s the people who make the place.”


ight ideas r b

14: Armchair travel video tutorials Jackie Sugden Grassington Wines, North Yorkshire

In a nutshell … Exploring the heavenly match of travel and wine through short wine tutorial films, based on travel books selected by the local bookshop.

Tell us more. “I was chatting with Linda from The Stripey Badger, who told me about her Armchair Travel Book Club. She selects a range of travel books to promote to customers and we thought it would be a good idea to drink your way round the world too. The first continent she chose was Africa, so I made a video presenting a range of wines from the Waterkloof Estate. To talk about a country’s climate and culture is a good way in to talk about their wines and how they are made.” Sounds ideal. We don’t fancy getting on a plane right now. “Exactly! It was an idea that came from our lovely local community being on lockdown and it’s nice to at least read about other countries, even if you can’t actually go there right now. “The local pub has also got involved and will be making different food to complement the selected books, and the local travel agent is also making short films about the countries and regions featured in the books.” You look quite comfortable in front of the camera. Was it hard to do? “Oh, I can talk about wine for ages. It only has to be between five and 10 minutes, so you just need to give

Jackie visiting Kavaklidere in Turkey in 2016

people a flavour. “Linda’s son James did the filming and it was his first time, so he had to learn about editing and all those things. There’s a slight hum in the background so I think next time I need to turn the fridges off!” Have you had to get stock in especially? “You could go crazy and really go for it, but I’m using what I have. The next continent we are covering is Asia and it’s not just about wine. I’m going to talk about beers from China, for example. I always have a sake in stock so I’ll include that. The wines

that I will show for Asia will be from Lebanon because I have them in stock and also Turkish wines. I went to Turkey with The Wine Merchant, so I’ll talk about how amazing that was.”

Has this got life after lockdown? “I know that Linda has half a dozen books that go with each different continent so we could go back and revisit. If it takes off I can see it being part of the Grassington Festival, which we hold every year in a marquee in the square. Once people can congregate again, I can see us talking about books and travel and food and wine, so it might play a part in that.”

Jackie wins a WBC gift box containing a some premium drinks and a box of chocolates. Tell us about a bright idea that’s worked for your business and you too could win a gift box. Email claire@winemerchantmag.com

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 16


DIGITAL MASTERCLASS

Win an £800 meal for your team with an Aster promotion

Le Dû’s Wines, New York City making people, not bottles, the stars of social media

There’s a theory in the digital marketing world that “people buy from people”. What that means is you’re more likely to convert social media views to sales if you show the smiling faces of customers, staff and VIPs rather a stream of close-ups of new products, however funky natural wines and craft beers might look these days. It’s this idea that underpins the social media strategy of Le Dû’s Wines, in Greenwich Village, where the Instagram stars are as likely to be the winemakers behind the wines, or the customers who drink them, as the bottles. The execution

Armit Wines is helping indies promote its famous Ribera del Duero wine Aster with digital activity. We’ll be offering ideas and suggestions over the coming months, and there’s an £800 prize for the most imaginative campaign, to be spent at a Spanish restaurant. To participate, simply plan any kind of digital campaign promoting Aster Crianza (and Finca el Otero if you like). Email Alex Hill at Armit Wines (ahill@armitwines.co.uk) or contact your Armit rep to receive the digital assets you need: logos, images and technical information.

Posts often tie into the shop’s own tastings and Bob Dylan puts in regular appearances. The shop’s late founder, Jean-Luc Le Dû, hung a large framed photo of the singer playfully downing wine straight from a bottle, and visiting winemakers are frequently coerced into adopting the pose in front of it for an Instagram shot with the hashtag #drinkingdylanstyle. “Bottle shots can be pretty, but at the end of the day a bottle is a bottle,” says Le Dû’s Timothy Dillon. “That human element is important so, outside of winemakers, we also try to feature customers and staff as much as possible interacting with the bottles, showing the emotion the wine evokes, which we think is much more relatable.” The impact The store monitors the reach and impressions of posts, and what works in adding sales of particular wines, but the effect can also be less tangible. “Sometimes we will do a post about a very expensive wine which will garner a lot of digital praise but yield lower sales,” says Dillon. “It’s not that they don’t actually want to buy that wine, it’s that not everyone can buy very expensive wine all the time. They can still appreciate that we are a place to get those kinds of wines though and that lets us know they are listening and interested.”

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 17

SP E C IA L OF F E R *FREE*

bottle with ever y 12-bottle case of Aster Crianza


Hungarian he

Our Zoom tasting with Best of Hungary gave diversity of a winemaking nation often toute

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 18


H

ungary may feel like a new frontier for many wine

merchants in the UK, but its

winemaking history dates back more than 1,000 years.

So why does it under-perform in the

independent trade? The answer is partly

political. Under communism, it’s fair to say

that Hungary’s wineries lacked investment, and churned out some mediocre table

regions growing around 140 different

grape varieties,” says Gyenes. “It allows winemakers to create wines that are in perfect harmony with their terroir by choosing the best-suited varieties.

“Hungarian wine is one of the best-kept

secrets of the Old World and has been heralded as the next big thing. With a

diversity of regions, grape varieties and

‘There is something to please almost everybody’ Carolyn Skeels

styles, there is so much to surprise yourself

Vintoto, Wakefield

The white wines

the nose like an Albariño and tasted akin

with.”

The dry whites for me provided a varied and

A new breed of winemakers has picked

Easy-drinking:

to a Viognier. The Ezerjo was massively

Frittmann Ezerjó 2017

fit its billing as an easy-drinking wine – the

Basin, with its temperate climate, gently

Frittmann Generosa 2018

Gál Tibor Egri Csillag 2019

winemaker even said that.

Furmints and Olaszrizling:

were the floral, aromatic, Muscat-esque Egri

Tokajicum Tokaji Furmint “Darázskö” 2018

Csillag and the richer, creamy Tokaji Furmint. For the reds, the ‘Titi’ Egri Bikavér Superior.

wines for the Soviet bloc.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989,

Hungary has been getting its mojo back.

up where their forefathers left off, taking

advantage of the terroir of the Carpathian rolling hills and variety of soil types.

It’s a landscape almost tailor-made for viticulture.

Best of Hungary is an import business

based in west Wales, set up in 2016 by

Monika Gyenes. The company works with 24 of Hungary’s best wineries, most of

eroics

e a flavour of the quality and ed as the next big thing

which are family-owned boutique cellars,

and its medal haul in this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards suggests it’s chosen its partners wisely.

“We aim to provide customers with

the full cross-section of Hungarian

winemaking, from easy-drinking crowd

Balassa Tokaji Furmint 2018

interesting mix – the Generosa presented on

complex with a depth that definitely did not

The two stand-out whites for me though

Figula Olaszrizling 2019

All of the sweet wines ticked the right boxes

Kadarka and Kékfrankos:

but it is something I will look at in the future.

Tóth Ferenc Egri Kadarka 2017

Tóth Ferenc Egri Kadarka Superior 2018

the Hungarian dry wines definitely warrant

The red wines

for me – what’s not to love? I don’t currently list any Hungarian wines, Based on this tasting experience, I do think

Bolyki Egri Kékfrankos 2016

the shelf space and are worth promoting.

Bikavér “Bulls’ Blood”:

distinguishing characteristics. For customers

Bolyki Egri Bikavér 2016

willing to try a native grape they may never

Gál Tibor “Titi” Egri Bikavér Superior 2017

have heard of, there are some gems and

St Andrea Egri Bikavér Grand Superior

such varying styles, and there is bound to be

“Hangács” 2017

something to please almost everybody.

The sweet wines

Sadie Wilkins

Balassa Tokaji Laate Harvest Cuvée 2017

Vineyards, Sherborne

Balassa Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2010

philosophy and pride surrounding Bikavér

Tokajicum Tokaji Szamorodni 2017

Tokajicum Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2014

They present as quality wines with their own

I feel like I definitely understand Hungarian wine more since the tasting, and the and its renewal. My absolute favourite was the Balassa Dry

favourites to once-in-a-generation

Furmint. Delicious from nose to finish: lovely

The Wine Merchant for an online tasting

Tibor Bikavér. A lovely mix of fruit, spice and

masterpieces,” says Gyenes.

mouthfeel, silky and well balanced. I also

of 16 of the company’s wines. One of the

herbs. The herbal notes on the Bikavér were

enjoyed the Kadarka Superior 2018 and Gál

Best of Hungary recently teamed up with

main attractions for the 40-plus indies in attendance was the focus on indigenous varieties.

“Hungary has 22 distinct wine

fantastic. I just wanted a cheese board!

For more information, visit www.bestofhungary.co.uk or telephone 0739 964 4153

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 19

I really do think that Hungary has a bright future in the independent trade.


BITS & BOBS

Magpie

Donate wine to aid Beirut blast victims The PR agency behind the campaign for Lebanese wine is launching a wine auction to raise money for victims of the explosion in Beirut, which killed more

The new trainers are named W3RD Wine

Pack and will retail for around €250. Decanter, July 27

than 200 people, injured more than 4,000, and obliterated the capital’s port. Madeleine Waters of specialist food and

Vikram Mertia the riding wine co london Favourite wine on my list Pantun Vino Rosso from Cantina Pantun in Puglia. It’s a 100% Primitivo, full of juicy fruit flavours and gentle hints of oak. The wine is beautifully structured, elegant and complex. At the same time, it’s gentle, simple and full of enthusiasm – just like Jutta and Mimmo, who make this wine. Favourite wine and food match Reitemp paired with spicy Indian chickpea curry. Reitemp is a Barbara del Monferrato Superiore DOCG, obtained from vineyards planted in 1955. The name means “the sound of bells announcing the arrival of a storm”. And that pairing is definitely a beautiful storm in the mouth! Favourite wine trip Two months on our motorbike, visiting winemakers in France, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. The food, the wines, the hospitality – everything was stunning. It was a huge learning experience for us. And it led to the opening of our first shop and bar. Favourite wine trade person Everyone we’ve worked with since we started in 2018 has been amazing. We are truly blown away by how supportive, helpful and kind everyone in the industry is. Favourite wine shop Vindinista, run by Paola and Mike. A tucked-away little gem, it was our first introduction to a wine bar/shop concept. And Paola and Mike are super-friendly and helpful.

drinks PR consultancy co.co PR founded and ran the campaigns for Lebanese

wine between 2010 and 2014. She is

now appealing to the wine trade to show

solidarity with Lebanon and donate wines, Zoom tastings, special dining experiences or other ideas to the auction, which will

take place over the bank holiday weekend, August 28-31.

Members of the wine trade who would

like to donate wines can email madeleine@ weareco.co.uk.

The Drinks Business, August 11

Who’s picking these this year?

Pickers in short supply in Tuscany Italy’s agricultural cooperative Fedagripesca has warned that Tuscany’s annual grape harvest is at risk as its seasonal workers come mainly from countries now included on Italy’s

A snip at €250

Covid-19 blacklist. Tuscany’s farmers are growing

Trainers made from wine waste

increasingly concerned that the autumn

A company in Amsterdam has

in Italy from foreign countries, most

announced its new vegan-friendly shoes made from “wine leather”, to be launched later this year. Mercer Amsterdam produced the

trainers in collaboration with Vegea, an

Italian company producing leather from

the leftover waste from wine production – in particular, grape seeds and fibres – which launched in Milan in 2017.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 20

vendemmia (grape harvest) will be

obstructed by a lack of seasonal workers. Each year, around 5,000 workers arrive commonly from Eastern Europe. In an aim to save the season,

Fedagripesca has appealed to the

government to simplify the process of

using “agricultural vouchers” as payment. The vouchers allow the vineyards to find short-term workers while helping boost the agricultural sector’s economy. Forbes, August 12


Station wine gives city a new platform

?

THE BURNING QUESTION

Is the proposal to include calories on wine labels a good idea?

In my opinion this would be another obstacle for the wine trade. I have been working in the trade for over 18 years and have never ever come across anyone who has shown any interest about the calories contained in a bottle of wine. Even if this would be mandatory, I do not think this would stop people from drinking their favourite wines. This might make sense for products containing a large amount of sugar, such as soda, but for wine it is pointless.

A train station in the Japanese city of Shiojiri is to release the first wine made from vines planted on its platforms in 1988. The station’s Merlot and Niagara vines,

trained on pergolas, are maintained by

staff and locals, who can volunteer to

help prune and harvest the grapes under guidance from experts.

Last year, for the first time, it was

decided that the grapes would be vinified to celebrate the 60th anniversary of

Shiojiri’s elevation to city status. The

resulting 100 bottles will be released this month.

The Drinks Business, August 5

Carlos Blanco Blanco & Gomez, London

In over 15 years in the trenches, I can honestly say that I have never been asked by anyone about the calorific content of any of our wines. Sulphites, alcohol levels, vegetarian, vegan, natural, organic, and more – all yes. Never calories. Our customers either don’t care or don’t want to know. By choosing to drink alcohol in the form of better wines, I honestly think people have already made their choice on the potential health impact, and don’t need nanny to tell them off.

Will Bentley Bentley’s Wines, Ludlow

I fall somewhere between ‘I don’t care’ and ‘it’s probably a good thing’. I think people underestimate how many calories are in a bottle of wine and for those looking to drink more sensibly, it will help. It might nudge people towards some drier styles. I think the more information we can give customers the better. I don’t think there will be a huge number of people who care, but for the people who do, it’s a good way to start a conversation and that is what the wine trade is all about.

Concept was five years in planning

Porto attraction has WOW factor

A large visitor attraction and cultural centre in Porto named World of Wine

Archie McDiarmid Luvians, St Andrews

has been preparing to open its doors this summer, after more than five years of planning. WOW will cover 55,000 square metres

of regenerated wine cellars. Visitors will find restaurants and wine bars at the

complex, which is built around refurbished wine warehouses and includes an open-air square with views over Porto.

The initial opening was scheduled for

July 31, although some attractions would

take slightly longer to complete, said CEO

Adrian Bridge, who is also CEO of Taylor’s Port owner The Fladgate Partnership.

More information and clarity is great when it helps the consumer make a decision. There may be more important things to look at – for example, putting grapes and blends on the label, and chemicals and additives used in the winemaking process. Many wines with appellation laws requiring a certain alcohol percentage, or sweetness level, become disadvantaged as they have no opportunity to be in the low-calorie market. So yes, the labelling would be a good optional idea, but it needs to come with context for the consumer as to what affects the wine, and what would make it low calorie. Jamie Smith, Tring Winery

Champagne Gosset The oldest wine house in Champagne: Äy 1584

Decanter, July 21

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 21


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INTERVIEW

. T H E D R AY M A N .

Big tax increase for smaller brewers

I

n this year of “flattening the curve” it was only apt that the government should finally get round to reforming small brewers duty relief. The scheme was introduced in

2002 to create a more level playing field between the biggest brewers and the smallest by offering beer duty relief of 50% to those producing less than 5,000 hl a year. Above that level, the relief started to taper. The scheme was criticised by medium and small-ish brewers because the steep slope above the taper discouraged those of a certain size from expanding because they would suddenly be hammered by a massive tax bill. In typical Johnson-government style the Treasury has announced that it’s going to soften the impact but will hold back on the fine print so it can triumphantly announce it all over again later in the year. What we do know is that the lower threshold will fall to 2,100 hl, creating a longer taper and a more steadily incremental tax impact on brewers in the middle ground. It’s a move that’s welcomed by brewers of the stature of Theakston, Hogs Back, Wimbledon and Timothy Taylor who have campaigned together under the banner of the Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition. For them, the barrier to growth has become more malleable and heralded as “welcome

Nugent sets the

news for all brewers”. Others, including the Society of Independent Brewers, are

Shrewsbury wine venue, an extension of the Iron & Rose re

less impressed because the change will mean that around 150 smaller breweries with production at between 2,100 and 5,000 hl will now lose their existing relief and pay more tax at a stroke. Smaller ones still and start-ups will simply have the disincentive to grow moved nearer to where they stand at the moment. Small brewers relief has been a double-edged sword since its inception, championed for creating the conditions for the very smallest brewers to thrive while increasing consumer choice, but simultaneously creating new uneven playing fields further down the brewing pyramid. It’s long been in need of reform but that should be to the benefit of as many in the industry as possible, not an established few. Unfortunately, the year of flattening the curve is also the year ofand no Abbi easy Moreno answers. Marcel

A

s the on-trade tentatively begins to reopen, Glouglou is ready to rock and roll after lockdown hibernation.

The wine bar, which originally opened in April last

year, is an offshoot of Iron & Rose, a wine merchant based in Shrewsbury’s Market Hall.

Owner Robin Nugent explains: “I’d always wanted to have

somewhere people could enjoy a great glass of wine either on its

own or with something to eat. A lot of what we do at Iron & Rose

is less familiar and the bar is a great way of introducing people to new wines without the risk of buying a whole bottle.”

Like many wine merchants, Iron & Rose has recently been

doing a roaring trade, despite the temporary loss of its wholesale revenue. But these clients are now gradually coming back, as are Glouglou’s own customers.

Over-crowding is prevented thanks to the services of a doorman,

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 24


‘We package up a full sharing board with a bottle of wine. We even include our own Spotify playlist’ “The salami is from a guy called Will about 10 miles up the road

and he uses only local pork and beef.

“Our bread is from a baker who uses flour from Pimhill, a

local farm that has been organic since 1949 – we also use their oatcakes.

“Our pork and fidget pies – a Shropshire thing – are from a baker

in nearby Ditton Priors and the kimchi, pickles and gravadlax are made for us by OsNosh.

“The guy who runs it is a very gifted chef and he runs a charity

providing meals for folk around Oswestry, mainly using excess

food. What he does for us helps support the charity and we have also run pop-up events with him.”

N

ugent’s wine background will sound familiar to many

other merchants. From being hands-on in vineyards and wineries via a stint at Alliance Wine along the way, he

has created both shop and bar to reflect this journey. The business

is, he says, “a bit of a synthesis of years travelling around the world

bar high

enjoying similar experiences”.

He still works with Alliance, along with a select few suppliers

whose portfolios focus on smaller producers with a healthy

etail business, has emerged from hibernation fighting fit

representation of organics and biodynamics.

and Nugent reports that people have been very “respectful” as the venue adapts to social distancing and other constraints imposed by the Covid pandemic.

For those wanting the full experience but who would rather

keep to themselves, takeaway is available and many customers picnic in the nearby castle grounds.

Nugent says: “The Chez Vous service has been really popular –

we package up a full sharing board along with a bottle of wine to take away. We even include our own Spotify playlist.”

As much care and attention goes into selecting the food at

Glouglou as the wine. It’s not just the quality, but the food miles that matter. “The majority of the food we sell comes from very close by,” says Nugent.

“The cheese is from Appleby’s and Moyden’s who use milk from

an organic dairy herd.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 25


win £200 worth of wine

Therm au Rouge

ZOS

Wake Up Wine decanter

Retailing for £9.99, Therm au Rouge

Described by CellarDine as a worldwide

This newly-launched device has been

gently takes a cold bottle of red wine

first in wine preservation, ZOS removes

developed in Sonoma to aerate and

to the correct serving temperature in

100% of the oxygen, so bottles can be

breathe red wine in minutes. Retailing

five minutes. It’s become one of the

opened and resealed with the contents

for £129.99, it’s already captured the

company’s best-selling lines, with over

staying fresh for two months. There’s no

imagination of leading sommeliers.

2.2 million sold in the UK. It is now

gas injection or pumping action: just

Simply pour the wine into the vessel, set

distributed in more than 20 countries: it

insert the cartridge into the wine stopper,

the decanting time and enjoy a glass of

is listed by retailers including Waitrose,

place into the bottle and leave upright

perfectly aerated wine.

Lakeland and Harrods.

until required. ZOS retails for £49.99.

CellarDine was set up by Peter Dunne, who had a long career in retail before joining a Dutch kitch

Spotting a gap in the market for a device that could gently warm red wines to drinking temperature, he investe money in designing and patenting the Therm au Rouge sleeve, bringing it to market in 1999.

It provided the springboard for a business that now encompasses a broad range of wine accessories, which h

press coverage. “Our business was set up to create genuine innovation and provide products that are original, fu affordable,” says Dunne.

“Our depth of range now covers what we call the ‘complete wine story’: opening, pouring, chilling, warming,

preservation. We are also on a mission to help the public understand more about the basics of wine. We teamed

Rowledge at Alchemy Wines, a great business to work with, and produced a free wine tips booklet that we give events. It’s also free to download on our website, www.cellardine.co.uk.” For further information please contact CellarDine on sales@cellardine.co.uk or telephone 01256 345560.


e innovations

CaddyO bottle chiller

ChillCore 3 in 1

CaddyO has been designed to chill

A revolutionary new product designed

Rouge O2 electronic wine breather

warm bottles in minutes, keeping them

to actively chill bottles in minutes,

The Rouge O2 wine breather is

cold for up to nine hours, with the

staying cold for up to two hours, it will

designed to speed up the normally

help of a unique cooling gel. Simply

also pour effortlessly and preserve

lengthy process of aerating and

store the cylinder in the freezer for a

unfinished wine bottles. Perfect for

breathing red wine. Its patented and

minimum of four hours and place the

indoor and outdoor entertaining, the

tested formula reduces breathing time

cylinder inside the neoprene cover.

device retails at £19.99.

from one hour to under a minute. It

Retailing at £29.99, it fits all 75cl and

retails at £19.99.

1-litre bottles.

henware supplier.

ed £50,000 of his own

have enjoyed wide

unctional and

, breathing and

d up with David

e away at our store

Here’s how to take part Win a Wake Up Wine decanter, a CaddyO bottle chiller, ChillCore 3 in 1 and a Rouge O2 wine breather worth just under £200 at retail prices. To enter the prize draw, simply answer the following question: In which American state was the Wake Up Wine decanter developed? Send your answer to claire@winemerchantmag.com. A correct entry will be drawn at random and the winner will be sent their prizes by CellarDine. The competition is only open to independent wine merchants in the UK. One entry per business. The winner will be notified by email and announced on social media.Please contact us for further T&Cs.


JUST WILLIAMS

Growing tensions in Champagne The Champenois are taking steps to avoid a price crash, with the region’s houses and the growers who supply them at loggerheads over the best way forward. We might not be seeing riots like those of 1911, but Covid has fractured a peace that has been beneficial for both sides

I

t’s sometimes said that a quick glance at a graph of Champagne sales will

tell you all you need to know about

the headline state of the global economy. In which case, if you’re of a nervous disposition, look away now.

Back in May, the Champagne trade was

digesting the latest terrifying monthly

figures. In total, shipments were down by 68% for the month of April. Faced

with a cash crisis, desperate producers had already begun dumping in French

supermarkets, with off-brand bottles sold for as little as €8.

In a hastily convened meeting in early

May, the industry’s Executive Bureau took

some radical decisions to try and prevent a total price crash: sales of vins sur-lattes (or

unfinished wines) were banned for a month (the ban was later extended for June), and

the last two quarterly payments to growers for the 2019 harvest were deferred.

With sales figures for a still-lockdowned

world in May showing little improvement on April’s performance, the Champenois

had begun to accept that, unless something

will inevitably be announced for this year’s

likely to be down by at least a third (or

of contention, since the current crisis

truly remarkable happened in the summer and autumn, sales for the full year were

100 million bottles) on 2019 – and that’s despite a strong start to the year.

Just as we’ve grown accustomed to

politicians from across the spectrum

committing to unprecedented levels of

state support, so the Champenois were

getting ever more radical. At the end of

May, the Executive Board met again, this

time announcing details of changes to the system of payment for the 2020 vintage, which will be divided into two, with the

second half deferred until the beginning of 2022.

The Board also said it was for the first

harvest.

Just how low remains a real point

has led to an escalation of tensions

between growers and houses. The Union des Maisons de Champagne producer

association wants the permitted yield to fall by a third, reflecting the Covid-hit in

sales. The Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne growers union, by

contrast, wants yields kept at last year’s

level, which was already much reduced on

previous years. As I write this, any decision has been deferred until August 18, when

the harvest could already be in full swing. Fear of division

time planning to extend the amount of

The spectre that haunts all outbreaks

own vineyards. Normally set at 5%, the

period immediately before World War

grapes that grower-producers (récoltantmanipulants) can buy from outside their

idea is that a large, one-off increase would

allow RM producers to compensate for the significant drop in permitted yield that

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 28

of disagreement between the two main

stakeholder groups in Champagne is the I, when the effects of phylloxera and an

Continues page 30


Š Luciano Mortula-LGM / stockadobe.com

The Champenois had begun to accept that, unless something truly remarkable happened in the summer and autumn, sales were likely to be down by at least a third THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 29


JUST WILLIAMS

From page 28

influx of cheap grapes from other parts of

France, borne on the newly expanded and

efficient railway network, had massively hit Champagne growers’ incomes.

This was a time of great friction between

the growers and the houses. According to one unnamed grower quoted in Don

Kladstrup’s fascinating history of the time

in the region, Champagne: How the World’s

Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times, “They [the merchants] live in châteaux; we live with holes in the roof.” The famous riots of 1911 were the

inchoate result, as resentment at those

merchants buying grapes from outside the

region boiled over, and 40,000 troops were sent from Paris to quell the rioters.

T

he development of co-

operatives and growers’ unions in the straitened economic

circumstances of the 1930s began to alter

the balance of power towards the growers, with the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne, formed under German

rule in 1941, doing a quite remarkable job of adjudicating the competing interests

of growers and houses in the region ever since.

Indeed, as Michael Edwards puts it in

his Finest Wines of Champagne, the CIVC

is “by far the most powerful and effective wine body in France”, with Champagne

becoming, in the years since its formation,

“probably the greatest agro-industry in the country”.

A large part of the explanation for the

CIVC’s and Champagne’s post-war success has of course been its jealously guarded association with glamour via snazzily

swish marketing and the maintenance of high retail prices. For a while back there, before the great global quality sparkling wine revolution of the past decade or so, it was the only sparkling wine for

celebration, the go-to wine for status symbolism.

In recent years, however, and largely

but not exclusively thanks to the best

grower-producers, Champagne had begun

to move away from the widespread feeling that it was the vinous wing of the couture

industry. Terroir, previously a word as dirty as the region’s actual, Parisian-littered vineyards used to be, came into wide

circulation as the vineyards themselves

cleaned up and got greener. The art of the

A large part of Champagne’s postwar success has been its jealouslyguarded association with glamour via swish marketing and high prices THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 30

blender was still all-important; the art of the satin-lined limited-edition gift pack slightly less so.

O

r so it looked to me at least. But I’m not at all sure I’m

representative, if my experiences

writing about the stuff are anything to go by.

Here’s a quite telling anecdote. In March,

before things had got really serious in the

UK at least, I filed a column on Champagne

to my editors at The Observer. Three weeks later, I got a slightly panicked email saying, or words to that effect, this is completely

unsuitable for the times, could you file us

about wines under a tenner to get through lockdown instead?

And therein lies the problem for a drink

of celebration at a time when nobody

wants to celebrate. Should a vaccine ever come into circulation, we are perhaps

looking at the biggest global party since the end of World War II. Until that time,

however, the Champenois are going to need all their fabled powers of compromise if

they’re to stick together and overcome the worst crisis since World War I.


At home with Albariño It's become one of the world's trendiest white varieties, but nowhere makes it quite like Rías Baixas. Even in this corner of Green Spain, winemakers are still discovering new aspects to Albariño's personality.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 32


A

lbariño is a grape that excites winemakers in many parts of the world these days. But the

benchmark is invariably Rías Baixas, where the variety has found its natural home.

Indeed Albariño is as synonymous with

this beautiful and windswept part of

what’s often called Green Spain, just north of the Minho river that creates a natural

border with Portugal, as Pinot Noir is with Burgundy or Riesling is with the Mosel. Talking of Riesling: “Pilgrims have

followed several caminos, or routes, to

of it sourced from spectacular Atlantic

seems to me there’s more of an accent on

Ulla in the north, just east of Padron (of

edge.”

estuaries.

There are five sub-regions: Ribeira do

pepper fame); the granitic heartland of

Val do Salnés, where 70% of the region’s patchwork of vineyards are located;

Soutomaior, the smallest of the five; the hot, dry and mountainous Condado do

Tea; and finally O Rosal, on the banks of

the Minho, where a seam of schist makes a guest appearance.

other things apart from their faith,” says

T

Baixas wines.

techniques in the vineyard and the winery

Santiago de Compostella from other parts

of Europe and some of them have brought wine writer Simon Woods, who hosted a

recent Wine Merchant online tasting of Rías

“A lot of these routes come from west and

central Europe and further north, straight

through these major wine regions. You get people who are starting out in Germany and around Burgundy.

“One theory I’ve heard for the name

of Albariño is ‘the white from the Rhine’

and I know sometimes Albariño can have Riesling-like connotations. But there’s

no DNA link – it’s just one of those nice stories.”

Albariño has made its mark in Rías

Baixas for a number of reasons. Its thick skin helps protect it from mildew in the

humid climate, though vignerons tend to

give it a helping hand by training it high on pergolas. The variety’s aromatic qualities,

and robust acidity, make it an ideal partner for the region’s world-class seafood, much

he Rías Baixas DO only came into effect in 1988, and there’s a real

sense that the region’s wines are

still evolving.

Producers are discovering new

that mean that any assumptions about

their wines, formed even as recently as five years ago, could easily be out of date.

Producers like Terras Gauda in the O

Rosal sub-region have even moved away from pergolas to more conventional

trellising. “I can say I get better ripening than with a pergola,” says winemaker Emilio Rodríguez Cannas. “With this

system we have to spray less than with a pergola system.” On the flip side, yields

with the trellising system are relatively low at 7,000kg per hectare. “Obviously it’s less productive,” he accepts.

On the winemaking front, Woods

believes that Rías Baixas has become rather more sophisticated.

“The first wines I remember were trying

to be a little bit too Viognier,” he recalls. “It

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 33

structure now, and finer fruit flavours, and not being afraid of that little bitter, pithy

Emilio Rodríguez Cannas does not think

there is one particular winemaking trend.

“It depends on the sub regions; it depends on the wineries; but there is not one

specific style at this moment,” he says. Cristina Mantilla, the oenologist at

Palacio de Fefiñanes in Salnés, says that a key decision for winemakers is whether or not to use malolactic fermentation to soften Albariño’s occasionally searing acidity.

“We began to work more with the lees,

and with oak and without oak,” she says. “Maybe 20 years ago French oak was

hiding the fruit and the flowers of the

white grapes. It was a mistake because

there were a lot of good wines that had a lot of wood and the variety disappeared.

“Wineries started to work with the lees

and it’s a very good way to promote ageing in the bottle as well as freshness.”

Emilio Rodríguez Cannas adds: “Many

people are stirring the wine with the lees now. It was something that was actually done many years ago.

“Most people are thinking about making

wines to age – and not necessarily due

to the contact with the oak. Without oak,

there are many people who wait two years

or three years after bottling and it’s a good way to improve the wines.

“It’s one style, though the main style is

for young wines – the wine of the year. But there are many different styles.”


WINE MERCHANT TASTING

Find out more For more information about the region, visit www.riasbaixaswines.com

The wines

Paco & Lola 2018 (Val do Salnés)

edge. It reminds me ever so slightly of

Extended time on lees adds a richness

unripe bananas and there’s that little bit of

to counter the fresh acidity of this wine,

furriness from tannin.”

available in the UK though Matthew Clark.

Hannah Wilkins of Vineyards, Sherborne,

The modern packaging and uncomplicated

describes the wine, shipped by Peter Watts

style would make it a natural alternative

Wines, as “absolutely delicious”. Sadie

choice for Sauvignon Blanc fans, suggests

Wilkins adds: “I like the minerality. You

Kelli Coxhead of The Wine Shop in

have subtle stone fruit and a touch of floral

Winscombe, Somerset.

and it’s really nice and clean.”

Linar de Vides 2018

Terras Gauda 2019 (O Rosal)

“For an Albariño with this level of ambition,

varieties, notably Caiño Blanco, which

its goal is to be fresh and juicy,” says Simon

makes up 22% of the blend.

(Condado de Tea)

Woods. “It has what I’d call a bitter, pithy

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 34

Here Albariño is joined by a mix of other

“It’s a grape that almost disappeared 35


Justin Knock MW

Emily Silva

Philglas & Swiggot, London

Oxford Wine Company

“The wines have an immediacy to them;

“I thought the texture was just so beautiful

they’re easy to recommend – people

in both Terras Gauda and Fefinanes, and

like them.

also the concentration of flavours. I thought

“A couple of the wines do have complexity,

they were stunners – gorgeous.

but I don’t think people are necessarily

“We had a different bottling from

buying these wines because they’re hugely

Fefinanes on our shelves for a long time and

complex. You can open them at a moment’s

it was a huge staff favourite. It’s an amazing

notice, and they are ready to go. They’re delicious. “You don’t have to worry about people

wine. “We list maybe six Albariños and Alvarinos and I think I’m going to be recommending

saying, ‘I don’t like high acidity in Riesling’

some more at the premium end. They’re

or ‘I don’t like the richness of Chardonnay’:

not things that people tend to pick up by

they’ve got a really wide appeal but at

themselves.”

a pretty good quality level and with a premium image. They’re super-easy wines to

Top right: Sadie and Hannah Wilkins Vineyards, Sherborne; Middle right: Charlotte Dean Wined Up Here, Norbiton; Bottom right: Kelli Coxhead The Wine Shop, Winscombe

sell in that sense. “There is a different range of styles here, and there is a lemon freshness to the younger wines in particular.”

years ago,” says Emilio Rodríguez Cannas.

by Les Caves de Pyrene, is among her

“We are replanting Caiño and in a short

best-sellers.

time we’ll have more than 22%. “We put our wine in contact with the lees

Fefinanes 111 2019 (Val do Salnés) The wine was allowed to age on its lees

“It’s something I recommend with

for extra structure – five to six months is

fish and people always come back for

normal, according to Cristina Mantilla.

for no more than two months, and Caiño

more, saying how amazing it is because

gives roundness, structure and body to the

it really shows that complexity and that

year until we bottle and then another six

wines. It’s the best variety to show the O

development in the mouth, which a lot of

months in bottle in the winery. It’s a young

Rosal terroir, better than Albariño.

wines under £20 just don’t do,” she says.

wine but with maturity, stone fruits on the

“This is a wine without sharp acidity and

“The floral character just makes you

that’s thanks to Caiño. The Caiño gives

want to drink it … it’s developed and

character to the wine; it’s less aromatic

developed since it’s been open. I think it’s

than Albariño, but it’s a variety with great

an amazing wine.

potential to age.” Charlotte Dean of Wined Up Here in south west London says this wine, supplied

“It’s very Chablis-eque as well. That

“Then it stays in tank for about one more

nose, more volume, high acidity … but soft, because of the ageing on the lees.” The wine, imported into the UK by Winetraders, has the best packaging of the four wines, according to Hannah Wilkins.

minerality is there; that salinity is there as

“I want to bathe in Terras Gauda while

well.”

drinking Fefinanes,” she says.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 35


Anthony Reynolds, July 2020

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 36


MERCHANT PROFILE: THE TWISTED CELLAR

We don’t scream ‘wine shop’ It’s two years since The Twisted Cellar opened in Bishops Stortford – a little slice of rural French chic in Hertfordshire. From the beginning, the business has tried to put its own slant on what wine retailing is about, as its director of hydration tells Graham Holter

T

he Twisted Cellar is a wine shop

that enjoys looking not very much like a wine shop.

“The layout of the shop is meant to

mimic a French vineyard house,” explains Iain Allcott. He doesn’t own the business,

but effectively runs it in his role as director of hydration.

“So you’ve got the front garden, then you

come in through the living room and you

move through to the kitchen where all the wines are displayed on the walls.

“The designer, Jay Cole, is great – he can

turn any space in to a gorgeous events

spot. He gave so much character to the

shop. We don’t scream “wine shop” – you have to step in and then you realise it’s a wine shop. It’s like you are transported into a different world almost.

“It might perplex people at times

but once they know we are here, they

come back and they tell all their friends. Word of mouth really is the best form of marketing.”

The shop was established in Bishops

Stortford in the summer of 2018 by Joe and Sharon Grice. Allcott came on board last

year, following the departure of Jonathan Kleeman.

“I’d known Joe and Sharon for quite a

long time,” says Allcott.

“When they initially approached me I

was running a nice little gastropub with a fantastic wine list. I wanted to have a bit

of a break and go travelling and I went off around Europe for a few months.

“It started off more as a shop, but over

time it has evolved into mix of a bar space

and a retail space. We just saw the demand for people wanting a grown-up place to drink wine.

“It’s gone from strength to strength.

Christmas was absolutely stonking and

people,” he says. “We are situated on the

main high street surrounded by some good bars and restaurants as well as some more traditional high street shops.” Is the shop open now?

Yes, we’re now in the second week since

re-opening. It’s had to change a little bit.

Obviously we’ve had to reduce numbers. Our online orders had done superbly

well as people are stuck at home. It has

boosted our online business considerably. What was your policy early on in

then [coronavirus] blind-sided us a little

lockdown? Were you focusing on crowd-

“a traditional old market town” which is

A good mix, to be honest. Over the past

bit.”

pleasing wines around £10 or selling

populated by commuters thanks to its

couple of years we’ve built up a regular

Allcott describes Bishops Stortford as

direct train link to Liverpool Street.

“There’s a good mix of fairly affluent

more upmarket stuff?

Continues page 38

‘The designer is great. You have to step in and then you realise it’s a wine shop. It’s like you are transported into a different world almost’ THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 37


MERCHANT PROFILE

From page 37

‘I think trade tastings are really important and I’d love to get back into them. To mingle and liaise with other people and hear their opinions’

local clientele and a lot of them know what we do and what we try to achieve with our wine list.

We try to cover most of the bases from

£10 bottles to the esoteric quirkier ones.

We’ve been selling a great combination

of the more natural or biodynamic wines that tend to be more fashionable now as

trade, so he looks after the accounts. In

out of here so we’re moving that to the

the reasonably priced wines.

creative freedom to choose the wines. I’m

is going to be a huge focus on ordering

well as the reasonable everyday wines.

Orders of 18 to 24 bottles tend to consist of Your job is director of hydration – what does that involve? I’m the director of sales and buying. I

manage the staffing, the buying of the

wines, spirits, all the beers etc. I oversee

the functionality and the management of The Twisted Cellar. It’s a bit of an allencompassing title really.

How much are Joe and Sharon involved? They pretty much give me free rein, within reason. I’ve worked in hospitality for a

fairly long time. Joe is an accountant by

terms of visibility they are here every

day, but they are happy for me to have the

given quarterly budgets, that kind of thing. Because of Covid we are going through a

transitionary period. We were planning to

open a second store over in Epping in June.

warehouse now.

At least for the foreseeable future there

wine online as people still feel unsure about going out.

A lot of merchants have been forced to

We’d agreed on premises and met with a

upgrade their websites recently – did

to focus a bit more online. And we’ve got

We were already pushing the online

business.

massively throughout that period.

designer but we’ve had to put that on hold,

you have to do a bit of tinkering to cope

a young man called Hallam Tweddell who

side of things and we had that up and

probably until next year. So we’ve decided

with the new way of working?

runs the marketing and online side of the

running throughout Christmas and it grew

We’re moving a lot of the stock we had

on the premises to a new warehouse. We were running our wholesaling operation

We had the whole thing pretty much set

up. The only thing that’s changed on our

website is the stock range. We decided to

include more niche products. I’ve extended the biodynamic and natural wines and

they’ve been doing really well. I’d say the online range has almost doubled during

this period. With the warehouse opening I’m preparing to increase it even more.

Hopefully we can continue riding this wave. Have you been buying new stuff in?

Currently we’ve been using UK importers. We work with quite an array: Alliance, Flint, Les Caves de Pyrene, Bancroft,

WoodWinters, Carte Blanche Wines. I’m

always on the lookout for new suppliers with good wines that fit our ethos. Do you import anything direct?

There are plans to get me out a bit and get

Sharon and Joe Grice with Jonathan Kleeman (centre)

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 38

our importing licence. We’ve just not been


THE TWISTED CELLAR

Bishops Stortford is an old market town with a high-earning commuter demographic

in a position to do that recently but it’s

them, my own personal research, talking

into them. To mingle and liaise with other

and environmental impact that we have

face-to-face meetings with reps yet, but I

there’s a vaccine. We’ve got to do what we

definitely something we want to do.

We have to be conscious about the social

and that’s a key element of our business – to try and be as environmentally friendly as possible.

How have you managed to try new stuff and get hold of new things, with no trade tastings to go to? I’m a bit of a geek. I sit at home and my

partner Alice probably gets a bit fed up of all the wine portfolios lying around.

I’m a big foodie and restaurant person so

I often follow other sommeliers that work in top-end restaurants and see what they are talking about and recommending.

It’s a bit of everything really – staying in

contact with suppliers and getting to know

to my team to see what they want to get on the list, getting samples. I’ve not had any do have some set up.

Do you miss going to trade tastings to

people and hear other people’s opinions. I really can’t see them happening until can to keep everyone safe.

What about tastings that you organise

unearth new things?

for customers?

I can’t see them coming back in the

My colleague Lucy and I ran a few Zoom

events you have the opportunity to try a

and getting together with their mates on

foreseeable future I suppose. But they

are definitely key for all the staff. At these wide array of wines.

The last one we went to was the Alliance

tasting in early March. It was already

weirdly quiet at that time in London as

Covid was already on the horizon, but I

don’t think we appreciated how serious it was going to get. I think the tastings are

really important and I’d love to get back

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 39

events during lockdown and I think people

got into the habit of getting a bottle of wine Zoom.

It’s tricky – the way our store is laid out

we haven’t really got the space to do them and ensure social distancing. I’d love to

do them again but until the guidelines on social distancing change, we can’t.

Continues page 40


MERCHANT PROFILE

From page 39

Fortunately it’s not a huge part of the

business: what we’ve lost in the tastings

we’ve gained in other senses such as the online retail. I’m really keen to do them again though because it’s part of what I love to do.

One of the joys of tastings is to get people

to try something new and they talk to their friends about it. It’s exciting and fun.

What kind of marketing do you do? I’m a social media luddite. Hallam does a fantastic job and does all our social

media. He updates it regularly and he does plenty of online marketing. Lucy Wood,

who will be taking over the management

of The Twisted Cellar here, her brother is

The French connection: above, Henrietta the Citroen van; below, the farmhouse factor

a photographer and he’s been producing some videos for us.

What wines float your boat right now? I’m thoroughly enjoying natural wines at

the moment. They are interesting and bit different.

We’ve got some great wines from Partida

Creus, which are Spanish natural, funky wines. You can’t beat a good, classic red Burgundy.

It’s difficult, it’s like asking you to choose

your favourite child. I think it’s about

suiting the wine to the occasion, the food or the person. Each wine has its own

personality and it’s about matching the

wine with the person rather than trying to push my agenda.

There’s not a huge amount of

competition in this area for independent

wine shops. It’s Tesco and Waitrose and I

find their ranges sometimes quite limited and we offer a really wide selection. We

have something for every palate, and that’s key, because people are more savvy about wine and more aware of what the wine world can offer.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 40


THE TWISTED CELLAR

How are spirits performing? It seems

‘We’ve got a lovely mobile bar called Henrietta. It’s an old Citroen HY van which we’ve refurbed and it looks super cool’

that gin sales have finally stopped climbing for lots of merchants. I would agree that gin has probably

peaked. I still every now and again get a

new exciting product. There’s a relatively

new gin from a Cambridge distiller called

Linden Leaf and it’s one of the best gins I’ve ever tried. I’d not heard of it until the end

quality spirit. We did a couple of tequila

just sings. It’s wonderfully aromatic.

more people will start to explore it.

of last year and now it’s probably our bestselling gin. You can give it to anyone and it I would say spiced rum, or rum in

general, is seeing a big upturn because

tastings last year and they were really good

was craving a cold pint of beer as opposed

You’ve been doing a good trade off-site

allowed to re-open, it’s just not the same

but not as popular as gin tastings. Slowly

there’s a wide spectrum to appeal to

since lockdown started.

– I adore whisky. Tequila I think will

which we’ve refurbed and it looks super

different palates. Whisky is always on

We’ve got a lovely mobile bar called

do something as people are starting to

cool.

the radar, but that’s my personal thing

understand it a bit more as a serious, good

Everyone, including me, during lockdown

Henrietta. It’s an old 1970s Citroen HY van Recently we’ve been given permission

by the local council to set up in the park around the corner and in this beautiful

weather it’s been thriving. We’ve done it

for a few weeks now and it’s been a bit of a

to a bottle or a can. It’s been a lovely touch to have that. Even though pubs have been

atmosphere and being outside in the park gives it a mini festival feel.

We have another local business that

does barbecue, a South African braai-style smoked meat, and they’re next door, so it feels like an event, and with the weather

on side it’s been an awesome atmosphere down there.

Is this something you’ll repeat next year, even if things get back to normal?

lifesaver as people have been keen to go for

I think we will continue it. One

weddings, festivals and events and we had

the summer months when it’s been so hot,

a socially distanced drink.

Initially the plan for it was to do

a few bookings for over the summer, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to Covid.

What’s the licensing arrangement for the van? We have a temporary events notice. Hallam managed to get that to allow us to use it up

disadvantage of our current store is that we don’t have any outside space and in

people want to sit outside. The Twisted

Cellar is much more of an evening place, it’s cosy and intimate.

Unless we have events, such as weddings,

I’m pretty sure we’ll be in the park next year too.

What about longer-term plans for the

until early September.

business? Is it possible to think ahead at

people can come down and sign up to the

happen next year unless Covid continues.

We have social distancing markers and

this point?

we’ve got some waterproof beanbags so

We’d still like to push for our new shop to

then come and get a drink from us.

aware but we’ll separate them with a

track-and-trace programme on their phone, We have a limited selection of around

nine wines by the glass. It’s quite a small van, and we’ve got gin and tonic with a

choice of six or so gins and we’re working with a local brewery, serving beer on tap.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 41

It will keep the same name as far as I’m unique identity.

The plan for Epping was to have an

enchanted wood theme to relate to the

Epping Forest location, so we’ll definitely go for a unique design per store.


JOHN GAUNTLEY TRIBUTE

Renegade of the Rhône Gauntleys of Nottingham’s iconoclastic approach to its range, and its fervent devotion to its producers, reflects the personality of its former boss, who has died of cancer aged 56. But John Gauntley will be missed as much for his humour, encouragement and enthusiasm as he will for his style of buying

J

ohn Gauntley will be remembered

for transforming his family business into one of the UK’s leading Rhône

suppliers. But his original plan was to

become a pharmacist, despite a secret

yearning to be a professional musician. Enjoying a broad spectrum of styles,

from opera to prog rock, John played

the piano and guitar by ear, and at one

point even co-wrote a musical, which was performed in Windsor.

Another passion was cricket. A keen and

talented player, his passion for the game

was generally contagious. “But despite his best and countless endeavours, the eyes

of our French associates would glaze over

as he tried his utmost to explain the rules,” recalls Victoria Rogers, managing director of the Gauntleys business.

“John was someone who had incredible

drive, passion and enthusiasm for anything which interested him, with a fabulous sense of humour.

“He was not somebody for half measures

and if something sparked his interest, he

had to know as much about it as humanly possible, whether that be wine, opera, gardening, sport or history.

“Indeed, as we travelled from Calais

to Châteauneuf, John would delight in

describing how each historic battle of note was won or lost and had an incredible memory for figures, be it dates or fatalities.”

leading domaines and Gauntleys becoming

recognised as one of the country’s foremost Rhône specialists.

“Whether from the Rhône or beyond, he

only ever chose to work with wines that he truly believed in,” says Victoria Rogers.

“As with everything John did, he made

no compromises and only ever purchased wines that truly excited him.”

At the time, most merchants’ lists were

J

remarkably similar, but John took a more

Encyclopaedia on his 21st birthday.

and always happy to offer help and

ohn decided to join the family business, which started in Nottingham in 1880, after

receiving a copy of Hugh Johnson’s Wine True to form, he swiftly set out on his

own personal voyage of discovery to

explore the vineyards of France and gain

first-hand knowledge and understanding. His visits to Jaboulet and Chave in

Hermitage ignited his lifelong passion for the wines of the Rhône Valley, resulting

in him representing many of the region’s

‘John was not somebody for halfmeasures. If something sparked his interest, he had to know as much about it as humanly possible’ THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 42

iconoclastic approach: for example, to this day the business chooses not to offer a range of claret.

“John was a true people person

encouragement,” says Victoria Rogers.

“Having the ability to spot the talent in up-

and-coming young growers, he was always happy to spend time with them and offer advice.

“I know many probably looked to John

for guidance and approval above leading authorities in their own appellation, and

all growers became far more than business partners but lifelong friends, as did our customers in the UK.

“He offered the same encouragement

to the Gauntley team, allowing everyone a free rein to get on with their own role. He was a great team leader, instilling confidence and exceptional loyalty.


“As well as his passion for wine and

head for business, he was of course always great company with a wonderful sense of humour.

“I am sure the growers not only

appreciated John’s knowledge and

enthusiasm for their wines and work, but

foundation in her memory], but he was

incredibly proud of his two sons, Samuel and Thomas.

“I had the immense pleasure, pride and

privilege to work with John for over 30

years and indeed, was a friend before this.

I feel as if I have lost the yin to my yang and will miss him dreadfully.”

Business friends remember wit, wisdom and energy

also genuinely enjoyed his company and

“I had much fun with John in the early 2000s as we charged around various estates in

amazing wine or discovering an up-and-

so uplifting and his energy drove us all over the vineyards of the southern Rhône, always

humorous banter. For me it was great to be

and around Châteauneuf.

coming, or hitherto unknown grower.

with the rudiments of a plan taking shape in his mind. We shall miss that passion.”

possible to ensure that he gave his

“I will miss John terribly. He was one of the first who truly understood my craziness and

loss of his daughter Jessica Hope, who

world is a lesser place without him.”

able to share the excitement of tasting an “John was a true friend and, above all,

a great family man who did everything

“His enthusiasm and just plain joy in the growers and wines that we came across was

Paul Shinnie, Alliance Wine

children every possible opportunity. He

made a hero’s effort to spread the word and bring people here to the domaine. I will also

died of a brain tumour at the age of 16 [he

Even Bakke, Clos des Trias

understandably never got over the tragic and his wife Karen set up a fundraising

miss his laughter, wit, and sharp critique of those things that needed a strong rebuke. The

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 43


ARGENTINIAN WINE

four reasons to love argentina Malbec has grown up and found new ways to express itself, but that’s just a small part of the increasingly diverse wine scene on the eastern side of the Andes, says David Williams, who picks out four key trends in Argentinian wine

1. Malbec diversity You can imagine it as an MW business of wine exam question: Is the dominance of Malbec in Argentinian wine exports

an advantage or a disadvantage for the country’s wine producers?

Most answers, having paid tribute to the

usual eye-catching statistic that Malbec accounts for around two-thirds of the

country’s wine exports, would surely focus on the significant and obvious pro: having a flagship grape variety has only helped

the country stake a claim on the UK wine market à la New Zealand and Sauvignon.

In the interests of balance, there would

also likely be much lip service paid to

the concept of over-reliance – cautionary tales of the rise and fall of big buttery

Chardonnay and the slow drift of Pinot

polish of Patagonia’s Bodega Noemia.

be more likely to invoke Burgundy: a

One of the most significant drivers in the

wine) and noted for its stylistic diversity.

understanding of the varied terroirs of

Grigio sales.

The smartest answers, however, would

region that has pulled off the trick of being simultaneously mono-varietal (in red

In other words: consumers are unlikely

to get bored of a wine category which

has diversified enormously in the past

five years. Argentinian Malbec has never had such a broad range of winemaking

styles and price points, from the almost

Syrah-like herb-etched fine wine wildness of PerSe to the consistent entry-level

excellence of Trapiche’s Melodias; and from the highland depth and power of Colomé up in Salta’s Calchaquí Valley, to the silky

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 44

2. Mendoza’s micro-terriors

developing sophistication of Argentinian

Malbec has been the massively improved

Argentina’s (and Malbec’s) most important growing region: Mendoza.

The differences between the region’s

various sub-regions is enormous: going

from the cool of Gualtallaray, the highest winemaking point in the Uco Valley

at 1,600m altitude, to the desert-dry,

warm traditional heartland of Mendoza Continues page 49


© teddyh / stockadobe.com

Vineyards in Mendoza with an Andes backdrop

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 46


> THE WINEMAKER FILES

Juan Pablo Murgia, Bodega Argento Juan Pablo joined the Avinea Group 15 years ago and has worked as a winemaker in California, Bordeaux, Uruguay and his native Argentina. He’s been chief winemaker since 2019, helping to steer the flagship Argento wine project from the beginning.

I was born into a wine family. My

grandfather used to run his own winery in Luján de Cuyo and my father is a

viticulturist who has his own Malbec

vineyard. Wine’s influence has always

vineyards. Organic certification followed

is also very important to explain the key

We studied our soils using electrical

climatic conditions are so different.

naturally as a result of our work, but it was not our prime objective.

differences between Malbecs made in, say, Mendoza and Patagonia, where soils and

been all around me.

conductivity techniques, and planted deep using rootstocks most suited to

Gualtallary and single-vineyard

In the UK, Bodega Argento is sold

each individual parcel to give the vines

Malbecs from Agrelo and Altamira.

exclusively in the on-trade and

a chance to really thrive. We studied

Comparing these 100% Malbecs shows

regulators and pollinator-friendly flower

express the terroirs it originates from.

independent sector. Our winemaking philosophy started to change in 2012 as we planted new vineyards and managed them organically from the very start. We went from owning 44 ha of organic-

certified vineyards in 2014 to 305 ha in

2019 – a figure which should rise to 435

plant species to surround our vineyards with the right trap plants, drought

species. Our aim was to prevent problems at every stage of the vine growth cycle,

It is such an exciting time to be

The challenge is communicating how

ever greater potential. Other varieties

diverse the Argentinian terroirs, and

Organic winemaking with less

should show the UK our sub-regions

the different regions that we have

intervention produces more vibrant

of Malbec vineyards and explain the

on getting the absolute best from our

be, and how it can go beyond typicity to

making wine in Argentina. Malbec is

terms of intervention.

the largest organic producer in Mendoza.

personality, and typicity. Our focus was

how versatile and exciting Malbec can

and have as little as possible to do in

ha by 2021. Bodega Argento is currently

wines with greater fruit expression,

We make a high-end Malbec from

developed in the last years, are. We

really coming into its own with highend and terroir-led Malbec showing

are also showing how they can shine in Argentina. Cabernet Franc has enjoyed

huge popularity in our domestic market

and is starting to make waves beyond our shores. Argentinian whites are also very

differences between Altamira, High Agrelo exciting, either as single varietals or as or Gualtallary, instead of only talking

about Argentinian Malbec generically. It

blends. There is so much we can achieve individually and together as an industry.

Argento Single Vineyard Altamira Organic Malbec 2018

Argento Single Vineyard Agrelo Organic Cabernet Franc 2018

Argento Reserva Organic and Fairtrade White Malbec 2020

RRP: £18.99

RRP: £18.99

RRP: £13.99

From the Finca Altamira vineyard, at almost 1,100m above sea level in the Uco Valley. The combination of a top-quality vineyard site with sustainable winemaking practices that respect the uniqueness of the terroir results in a beautiful Malbec of incredible fruit purity, intensity and freshness.

From our organic vineyard in Alto Agrelo, this wine is voluptuous and boasts a very aromatic palate with raspberries and herbs. It has powerful tannins, a good weight mid-palate, and a long and vibrant finish. Cab Franc has huge potential in Argentina. This is a beautiful, ripe, elegant wine with tonnes of character.

The grapes come from our own organic vineyards. Grapes are hand-picked and then pressed at very low pressure to avoid colour and separate the juice. The result is a delicious, juicy white Malbec with citrus flavours and green apple aromas. The palate is vibrant with balanced acidity and a mineral, refreshing finish.

Argento is imported into the UK by Bibendum | 0845 263 6924 | www.bibendum-wine.co.uk

THE WINE MERCHANT MERCHANT august may 2020 THE THE WINE WINE MERCHANT MERCHANT november september june august 2019 2018 2020 2019 THE THE WINE WINE MERCHANT MERCHANT 47 15 47


ARGENTINIAN WINE

From page 44

winemaking at around 800m altitude

represents a shift in climate and wine style as big as dropping down from the Alto Adige to Tuscany.

That range of climates (and soils)

has traditionally enabled Mendoza

winemakers, like their counterparts in Rioja, to blend, finding structure and

freshness in the various sub-regions of Tupungato, perhaps, and richness and ripeness of fruit in Luján de Cuyo.

Increasingly, however, producers are

looking to express sites in single-vineyard wines.

For now, the name of the producer – such

as Catena (pioneers as ever of Mendoza terroirism, in Malbec and Chardonnay), Argento (the latter having just released

the first of its Single Vineyards Projects, a

in attitude is Criolla Chica. Old vines of

verve, brightness and vivid purity, pitched

and Francisco Bugallo to make intriguing,

itself is not to be confused with Italian

this once-derided workhorse are being used by the likes of Sebastian Zuccardi vibrant, high-acid reds, a reputational

reversal that is similar (if still somewhat

behind in terms of numbers) to the work

carried out in Chile on País (as the variety is known on the other side of the Andes). Similarly, Bonarda, the second most-

planted red variety in Argentina, has

been transformed by the likes of Zuccardi

(again), Alejandro Sejanovich, the Michelini brothers, Leo Erazo and others, who are using it to make something that retains the drinkability of traditionally rustic Argentinian Bonarda but with extra

somewhere between Beaujolais and

Piedmont in style (although the variety Bonarda, its origins instead in Savoie).

Finally, there is Cabernet Franc, which

for many is the most exciting red variety in Argentina right now. It thrives in various high-altitude Argentinian vineyards in a

way that is stylistically closer to Bordeaux than Chinon or Bourgeuil, with a high-

definition clarity of red and black fruit in

wines by Atamisque, Aleanna, Karim Mussi, Bodega Teho and Pulenta among others. Continues page 50

Cabernet Franc is, for many, the most exciting red variety in Argentina right now

Malbec from Altamira) Paul Hobbs (Viña Cobos has five single-vineyard Malbecs),

Teho or Mendel may be more famous than

their designated vineyards. But the likes of Los Indios (Doña Paula), Finca Bella Vista

(Achaval Ferrer) and Nicasia (Catena) are fast developing cult status.

3. Rising red stars: new-wave Criolla, Bonarda and Cabernet Franc As important as it is to Argentina – with

22% of the total vineyard accounting for

38% of all red wine production – Malbec is by no means the only red game in town. Although the gap has closed between

the two countries in the past couple of

decades, Argentina’s winemakers have

always had a broader palette of varieties to

draw on than their neighbours in Chile. But it’s only recently that this richer heritage has been turned into exciting wines with any degree of consistency.

One unlikely beneficiary of a change

Sebastian Zuccardi: doing great things with Criolla Chica

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 49


ARGENTINIAN WINE

© Porcupen / stockadobe.com

From page 49

4. Surprisingly brilliant whites, from blends to Chardonnay With around 18% of production, white

varieties may never get the same share

of the limelight as reds in Argentina. But recent rises in quality have in their way

been just as impressive as the strides made in red winemaking.

The much-maligned Torrontés is

emblematic of the progress made. There’s still a lot of soapy pot pourri around; but

skilled, experienced winemakers such as Susana Balbo and Alejandro Sejanovich

(Manos Negras), among others, are getting closer to perfumed genius: the aromatics are tempered, the tendency to phenolic oiliness reined in, resulting in wines of

pleasantly floral aromatic crispness rather than overbearing flabbiness.

By far the widest planted white variety

in Argentina, Torrontés seems destined

to remain an acquired taste, however, no matter how sensitive the winemaking. The same is not true of the second

most popular Argentinian white variety, Chardonnay. Like Malbec, Chardonnay

has been a beneficiary of two significant

trends in Argentinian wine in the 2010s:

the exploration and greater understanding of terroir (cf single-vineyard wonders

from Catena and Cobos); and the more restrained and competent use of oak. Also making waves among critics,

albeit in significantly smaller quantities

(there are around 650ha in the country) is Semillon. The likes of Matias Riccitelli

and Noemia in Patagonia, and Mendel and Ricardo Santos in Mendoza, have all taken advantage of old-vine material to produce wines of scintillating energy and depth, while others (Susana Balbo Signature

White Blend; Karim Mussi Paradoux Blanc NV) have combined it with Sauvignon for a memorable Andean take on the classic

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 50

Bordeaux blend.


Harvest time at Los Haroldos in the Uco Valley

The multi award-winning winery behind the Phebus wine range was founded in the early 1990’s by winemaker Hervé Joyaux Fabre who was one of the first foreigners to recognise the potential of Argentina. The wines of Phebus demonstrate real purity of fruit with complexity, freshness and elegance. This is all held together by Hervé’s unshakeable belief in the local terroirs, and his determination that all his wines should express these terroirs as elegantly as possible.

contact: sales@buckingham-schenk.co.uk

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 51


THE SPIRITS WORLD

Rum ‘in a category all of its own’ Foxhole Spirits, the West Sussex-based company behind Foxhole and HYKE gins, has launched its third product in the form of Mad City white rum. It’s based on four Fairtrade-certified

rums from Jamaica, Guyana, the Dominican Republic and Barbados, which have

been enhanced with the addition of 25 botanicals, including coffee, coconut, papaya and cherry.

James Oag-Cooper, who founded Foxhole

Spirits with Sam Linter in 2016, says: “Our

Botanicals sourced from nature reserve

A gin with a flavour of Kent The Maidstone Distillery is releasing its second gin, Ranscombe Wild Small

goal has always been to prove that using

Batch Gin, in partnership with wild

grown-for-single-purpose materials.

distilled with botanicals foraged from

sustainably sourced, surplus materials can create spirits better than those that use

“With Mad City we’ve been able to apply

our skill working with botanicals to rum. “We believe that the style of Mad City,

with no sugar added post distillation, puts it in a category all of its own.

“This isn’t a flavoured rum, or a spiced

rum. It’s Mad City”.

The label was designed by Bristol-based

urban artist, Sled-One.

plant charity Plantlife. This “contemporary, artisan gin” is

Plantlife’s flagship nature reserve in

Cuxton, Kent. Ranscombe Wild is distilled with foraged beech leaves, poppy seeds

and red clover, along with jasmine flower

and tangerine, to create a herbaceous and zesty gin.

Ranscombe Wild follows the release

The Porn Star Martini may statistically be the UK’s favourite cocktail but the Negroni is surely currently the coolest: The Fall to the P-star’s U2. The Negroni’s easy-to-make blend of gin, vermouth and Campari is part of its widespread appeal but after a while it becomes just a bit too easy, so replacing the gin with the rum can give it a bit of tropical zip, the sweetness of the rum balancing the bitter notes of the other ingredients. Just like The Fall, the best cocktails are capable of being always different, always the same.

of Maidstone’s flagship product, George Bishop London Dry Gin.

50ml golden rum 50ml Campari 50ml sweet red vermouth

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to dilute. Strain into a rocks glass over some fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

Based on Fairtrade rums from four countries

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 53


SUPPLIER BULLETIN

AWIN BARRATT SIEGEL WINE AGENCIES

VOLCANIC PROMOTION

28 Recreation Ground Road Stamford Lincolnshire PE9 1EW 01780 755810

LE TRACTEUR VERT The perfect light red for summer, this fresh 100% Gamay comes from the heart of the volcanic Côtes d’Auvergne. Fresh, with ripe red fruits on the nose, which follow through to a light and juicy palate. Delicious served as an aperitif accompanied by a charcuterie board, or with Spaghetti Bolognese, also terrific when partnered with grilled meats.

orders@abs.wine www.abs.wine

CALLING ON ALL INDEPENDENT RETAILERS Win a trip for 2 to the exciting volcanic Auvergne region of France, simply create the best in-store or window display using Le Tracteur Vert and post images online using #greentractor #volcanic @abswines @despratsaintverny @volcanic_wines_France

@ABSWines

Promo Dates: 1st September - 30th September Prizes offered: First Prize: Travel to Auvergne region for two people to join “La Sortie de la Legendaire” with a VIP visit to Desprat Saint Verny Plus Runners Up Prize x 2

For more information contact your Account Manager or email us at orders@abs.wine | E. and O.E

Famille Helfrich Wines 1, rue Division Leclerc, 67290 Petersbach, France cdavies@lgcf.fr 07789 008540 @FamilleHelfrich

Rosé • Wide variety to choose from

• All over France, from Anjou to Provence

• Hungarian, Spanish, new Zealand etc etc

• Still or sparkling

They’re all smiles to your face …

Why not order a mixed pallet to try a few styles?

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 54


LOUIS LATOUR AGENCIES 12-14 Denman Street London W1D 7HJ

0207 409 7276 enquiries@louislatour.co.uk www.louislatour.co.uk

Beautiful recipes for beautiful Viu Manent wines Viu Manent have published a collection of recipes with cook Josefina Turner called The

Art of Eating Well. It is a collection of tasty, healthy recipes to try with Viu Manent wines. We asked Josefina to highlight four of her favourite Viu Manent parings from the book

and she selected:

• Tarte Flambée with pears and onion and Viu

Manent Chardonnay Gran Reserva

• Roasted squash and mozzarella salad and Viu

Manent Secret Viognier Viognier

• Quinoa and blue cheese croquettes with ricotta

and smoked pancetta with Viu Manent San Carlos Single Vineyard Malbec

• Mini eggplant lasagnas with Viu Manent Vibo

Punta del Viento.

If you’d like to see the book please contact us at

enquiries@louislatour.co.uk and we’ll send you a link

to the e-book. It’s a beautifully illustrated book full of good food to cook at home. Keep in touch with us on Instagram:

@louislatouruk @viumanentwinery @josefinaturnerf

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

Don’t just take our word for it ... We are the UK specialists in premium wine made by independent, family owned wine producers. Hancock & Hancock Cabernet Sauvignon / Touriga Nacional “fabulous blend of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, malbec and touriga nacional (considered Portugal’s finest grape by many) from Australia’s McLaren Vale. Hancock & Hancock is a newish venture founded by late wine guru Oatley’s two sons. Lovely blackcurrant flavours with some floral notes.” Matt Nixson, Daily Express, April 2020

www.hatchmansfield.com @hatchmansfield

Esk Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2019 “Esk Valley Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2019... is classic Marlborough – perfectly balanced between zippy, gooseberry, grassy acidity and bouncy tropical fruits.” Terry Kirby, The Independent, May 2020

Please contact Hatch Mansfield for further information

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 55


SUPPLIER BULLETIN

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

@richmondwineag1

fine wine partners Thomas Hardy House 2 Heath Road Weybridge KT13 8TB 07552 291045 info@finewinepartners.co.uk www.finewinepartners.co.uk

Established in 1836, Houghton is Australia's third oldest winery. It is also the most awarded winery in Western Australia. A fine wine of elegance, fruit flavour and power balanced by firm fine-grained tannins, Jack Mann is the finest Cabernet produced by Houghton. Accordingly, it is named after legendary Houghton winemaker Jack Mann, who presided over the winemaking for 51

consecutive vintages. Jack’s unrelenting search for flavour and character and his desire to make wine to exacting standards was legendary within the industry.

Jack Mann Cabernet evokes a sense and scent of

place, with crushed-blackcurrant and herb-garden aromas, beautiful concentration, and perfectlyripe tannins and tremendous drive. Jack Mann

Cabernet Sauvignon is a single-vineyard wine from the Justin Vineyard in the Frankland River region

of Western Australia. This region is characterised by cool winters, warm summer days and cool

summer nights. The Cabernet grapes for this wine were hand-picked from a small patch

of 45-year-old vines. The particular clone of Cabernet Sauvignon is an original Houghton clone selected by Jack Mann.

Please contact Fine Wine Partners for further details on all of the Houghton wines.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 56


liberty wines 020 7720 5350 order@libertywines.co.uk www.libertywines.co.uk

@liberty_wines

Supporting South Africa

by David Gleave MW

The South African government’s ongoing ban on the domestic sale of alcohol is having a huge impact on South African wineries. The best way to support them is to drink their wines and share their stories.

New to our portfolio, Thorne & Daughters is widely acknowledged to be one of the

forerunners of the ‘New Wave’ wine movement in South Africa. Since 2013, John and Tasha Thorne-Seccombe have been producing innovative wines, mainly white blends,

sourced from 15 selected growers across the Western Cape. Not wanting to be limited geographically, the net was cast wide and has been driven by “a happy synergy of people, place, soil and vines”. Each grower relationship is unique but, where possible, they apply the ‘lutte raisonnée’ approach to farming, working to help eradicate the use of chemical herbicides and fungicides, and to build “thriving” soil health. Thorne & Daughters’ wines reveal a stylish, effortless character that typifies the dynamic winemaking scene in the Cape today.

Their wines, and those of Crystallum, are made in rented cellar space at Bot

River-based Gabriëlskloof, where Peter-Allan Finlayson’s talent continues to

shine and his wines from both estates continue to excite – the newly-released single-vineyard Crystallum wines illustrate why. Charles Back of Fairview (Paarl) and Spice Route (Swartland) remains ever innovative. As Tim Atkin wrote, “without [Charles]… the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater”. His determination to support his 300+ workers through the crisis is well worth raising a glass in solidarity.

C&C wines 109 Blundell Street London N7 9BN 020 3261 0927 enquiries@carsonwines.com www.carsoncarnevalewines.com

@CarsonWines

We’ve handpicked a selection of bestsellers and seasonal wines and, with the support of our producer partners, can offer indies an interesting range of promotional wines from July until September, including wines from:

Australia: Hentley Farm – the only Barossa Valley producer to be awarded Australia’s

Winery of the Year by James Halliday. Punt Road – Located on one of the oldest estates in Coldstream, listed in Matthew Jukes’s Top 100 Australian wines.

Italy: Savian – A family-owned and operated certified organic producer based in

Veneto. La Lomellina – until recently La Lomellina sold all production to the region’s most acclaimed wineries; we’re delighted they decided to make their own wines. Tenuta Sant’Antonio – one of the most respected winemaking families in Veneto and Tre Bicchieri recipients for over 10 consecutive years.

Spain: Bodegas Sonsierra – Based in Rioja

Alta and named by Tim Atkin MW as the best cooperative his 2019 Rioja Report.

Vina Costeira – One of Galicia’s most forwardthinking producers.

Please contact C&C Wines for more information and pricing.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 57


SUPPLIER BULLETIN

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

@WalkerWodehouse

Introducing Naturalmente by Caruso & Minini We are so excited to welcome Sicilian producer Caruso & Minini’s Naturalmente range to the Walker & Wodehouse portfolio.

Their range is entirely organic, sourced from an isolated collection of certified vineyards in Trapani, Sicily. Crafted from indigenous

varieties, even the eye-catching Naturalmente labels are created from biodegradable

sugarcane paper, in true sustainable fashion.

The range includes two reds, their fruity and vibrant Nero D’Avola Sicilia DOC and a rich

Perricone Terre Siciliane IGP; and two whites,

the elegant and fresh Catarratto Sicilia DOC and their intense and vibrant Grillo Sicilia DOC. For more information please contact your Account Manager

buckingham schenk Unit 5, The E Centre Easthampstead Road Bracknell RG12 1NF

Rosé-er times ahead? As life is slowly heading back towards a ‘new normal’ with our amazing indies gradually reopening their doors, the warmer days are back giving us the perfect excuse to crack open the rosé! We’ve picked two little pink numbers from our wine list which we’ve sourced from either side of the planet.

01753 521336 info@buckingham-schenk.co.uk www.buckingham-schenk.co.uk

PHEBUS MALBEC ROSE, MENDOZA ARGENTINA

Produced by Hervé J.Fabre who knows a thing or two about producing award-winning malbecs, this is what he calls a ‘proper’ rose which is crisp, medium-bodied with vibrant and refreshing red-berried fruit flavours. Served ice cold, this is a delight with grilled chicken or halloumi for any Asado style BBQ.

@BuckSchenk @buckinghamschenk

PĀ ROAD ROSE, MARLBOROUGH, NEW ZEALAND

Produced by te Pā family vineyards who have a Maori heritage going back 800 years, this Pinot Noir rosé is a delight in simple sophistication. With bright primary fruit, refreshing acidity and medium body, this works a treat with a feta and tomato salad or a piece of salmon with spring vegetables.

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 58


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

enotria & COE 23 Cumberland Avenue London NW10 7RX www.enotriacoe.com 020 8961 5161

E&C is the UK’s leading drinks supplier, and we have delivery hubs around the country. We own and operate our own fully integrated, state-of-the-art supply chain and systems, enabling us to deliver on target and support your business. We recognise that during this tough time, there is a lot of pressure on your business. As people are limiting their travel, your community is increasingly turning to you as their local wine and spirits supplier. E&C is ready to supply you with an alternative range of wines, spirits, beers, ciders and softs to meet this new demand. Please call 020 8961 5161 for our latest indies offer. Or email customerservices@ enotriacoe.com.

@EnotriaCoe

THE WINE MERCHANT august 2020 59


Profile for The Wine Merchant magazine

The Wine Merchant issue 94 (August 2020)  

The August 2020 edition of The Wine Merchant, a trade magazine for specialist independent wine retailers in the UK

The Wine Merchant issue 94 (August 2020)  

The August 2020 edition of The Wine Merchant, a trade magazine for specialist independent wine retailers in the UK

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