The Wine Merchant issue 64

 

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The Wine Merchant issue 64

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THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers Issue 64, November 2017 A happy Christmas to readers at home and in the colonies THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS Taking a break in Sicily – but your customers come too 4 comings & GOINGS New indies in Cowbridge and Budleigh Salterton Is Christmas still the most important time of year for wine merchants? Six independents offer their perspective on the festive season on pages 28-31. © Auemar / stockadobe.com Retailers warned: beware the Christmas fraudsters 12 tried & TESTED Grapefruit skin, you say? Smells like cannabis to us … 18 twelve green bottles The challenges of selling wine in rural Shropshire 24 david williams Who really thinks they are “democratising wine”? Wine merchants are being urged to be vigilant about online card fraud as the Christmas season approaches. Total e-commerce fraud losses were up 18% to £308.8m last year, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Matt Thorpe, an expert in e-commerce who is known online as the Webshop Mechanic, says businesses should be wary as Black Friday approaches on November 27 as criminals often try their luck around that date, knowing retailers may be too busy to carry out normal checks. “At Christmas, everyone is under pressure and for wine merchants, it’s the busiest time of year,” he adds. “An expensive bottle of wine is an easy thing to shift on eBay – it’s a major outlet for these guys and they don’t do anything to stop it. Even if you spot your prized bottle of wine on there, it’s usually too late to do anything. “The risk of high-value fraud is also increased since people will be ordering in bulk and retailers would be more likely to accept the order because it wouldn’t stand out against the other orders coming in.” Fraudsters often place orders in the early hours of the morning and quote a shipping address that may be many miles from the address of the cardholder, typically a block of flats. Their emails seem to favour yahoo. com accounts and the address may bear little relationship to the name on the card. Fraudsters often provide false telephone numbers and Continues page 3 36 reader trip to bordeaux The (gradually) changing face of a classic region 40 reader trip to the loire A fresh look at Muscadet in the company of “the pleasure maker” himself 52 make a date Looking ahead to the January tasting calendar 54 supplier Bulletin Essential updates from agents and suppliers

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BACCHUS b Warning over festive fraudsters From page 1 request next-day delivery. Thorpe says: “Fraudsters will try small orders first before large ones, so keep an eye out for this. They will test the water first and then go for the more valuable products that they can sell on. “Fraudsters usually order more if they get away with it. These can be lots of small orders in a short space of time. They’ll always go for the low-hanging fruit so be aware.” Thorpe advises retailers who suspect fraud to call the number provided with the order rather than correspond by email. “Ask them to confirm the cardholder address,” he says. “If the number is dead or they sound flustered, then they have failed the security checks. Nine times out of 10, the number will be a dead line with a fraudster. “If you can’t get through to them or it goes to voicemail, send them an email and ask them to call you for complete security checks. Explain that you can’t dispatch the order until they do. Don’t tell them what information you want in the email as they will have time to find it. Catch them on the back foot.” He adds: “If the person in question has not replied for three days, cancel the order. If it was legit and the customer complains, simply apologise and explain that you have increased your fraud procedures for their own benefit. High security measures are for their protection as well. You can always recover the situation by offering them an incentive to re-purchase.” Call that a holiday? Don’t be Sicily … Most wine merchants would enjoy an eight-day break in Sicily, though not all of them would take their customers with them. But for Mo O’Toole and Claire Carruthers, of Carruthers & Kent in Newcastle, their recent Italian adventure promises to be the first in a series of wine trips for their clients. The trip included five winery visits, a cooking class and visits to enoteca, as well as visits to tourist sites on the island. The trip was organised in partnership with Gianluca D’Alia, whom O’Toole first met during her time as an MEP and now runs Paesaggio Sicilia Tours. “I think it was Gianluca who made it work because he approached us and he offered to do all of the organisational work within Sicily,” says O’Toole. “We collaborated on a programme. He relied on us to find customers that we thought would be really interested, make sure that the group chemistry was going to work, and channel our ideas about wines into his programme. I would recommend that sort of approach.” The fee covered all transport, hotels and meals and allowed the business to make a modest profit – though that was not the main priority. “I don’t think that either ourselves or the agents on the ground make a massive amount of money – that’s not what this is about,” says O’Toole. “It’s about getting a good customer experience so that we tie in more customers to our project, if you like, and get them more interested in our wines. “It was only when we got there that I realised potentially what could go wrong! Eight days is a long time and you’ve got a lot of responsibility. It definitely wasn’t a holiday. But we were lucky with the nine customers that we took along. There was quite good chemistry between the group. “As an experience – the places that we had access to and the people that we saw – that far outweighs any hard work.” The couple are now hoping to organise further trips with D’Alia to other regions of Italy. Mount Etna was mercifully docile for all eight days THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 2 © ollirg / stockadobe.com

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Flying Füchs The bike frames are made from Glenmorangie whisky barrels Cask strength bike is a hit at Luvians The world’s first whisky cask bicycle has been created as part of a collaboration between Glenmorangie and bike maker Renovo. Customers at Luvians in St Andrews got the opportunity to take the bike, worth a cool £8,500, for a spin. Manager Archie McDiarmid says: “Around 50 people came down and attempted to cycle one mile within three minutes. We did a sort of cross promotion with the local bike shop and they let their customers know about it. “The winner was Joe Slater, a PhD student at the university – he’s a lovely guy and a regular customer. He was thoroughly delighted to win his bottle of Glenmorangie Signet.” Everyone else received a free whisky glass and a chance to try the core range from Glenmorangie. Luvians was initially approached to display the bike in the window and when McDiarmid mentioned it was a shame nobody could ride it, a second bike was brought down for an event which became the focal point of the entire month’s promotion. “We had two of the 17 bikes in existence in the shop. It’s the first bike ever made from whisky casks and I had never ridden an £8,500 bike before so that was childishly amusing,” says McDiarmid. The winner undergoing an emissions test Happy Christmas The Wine Merchant now takes its usual December break and will next publish on January 15. Thanks to all readers and advertisers for your support in 2017 – and good luck for the festive season. THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 3 “Our Man with the Facts” • UK consumption of Prosecco in 2016 stood at 112.7m bottles, representing 36% of total production. • In the UK off-trade, the most important exporting wine countries are Australia, Italy, the USA and France, in terms of sales value and volumes. All four saw a decline in the take-home market in the 12 months to June 17. • In the 17th century, Pinot Gris was considered the finest grape variety in the Champagne region. • There is some uncertainty about how Bordeaux mixture – a combination of copper sulphate and lime – was discovered. But it is known that in the 19th century vignerons sprayed vines with blue-staining copper sulphate to discourage thieves, and may have noticed it also controlled downy mildew. • New Zealand continues to command the highest average bottle price of any wine-exporting nation in the UK off-trade, at £7.16. France is in second place at £6.79, followed by Argentina at £5.94.

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Bringing the buzz back to Budleigh Budleigh Wines in Budleigh Salterton died a rather undignified death under its previous ownership. But the Devon shop is back in business after the landlords decided to reopen the premises themselves, under a new banner. The decision by Leticia Vaughan and her husband Michael to launch The Tipsy Merchant was taken partly to compensate for the rent they were no longer receiving, but also out of determination to keep their high street buzzing. Leticia says: “My husband is thirdgeneration Budleigh Salterton born and bred, and so we want the high street to improve and get better. We had lots of people saying to us that they missed the wine merchants, and we missed it ourselves.” The shop has been a wine retailer since the 1970s and was bought by the Vaughans in 2011, along with a number of holiday lets to the rear. Leticia’s brother-in-law Duncan Buckland will be managing the shop fulltime. Both she and Duncan have embarked on training courses and hope to complete their WSET Level 2 in the new year. “As much as we like wine, we’re viewing it from a business perspective,” says Leticia. “We’re wanting to learn and it’s got to function as a business, because otherwise it just lasts a year and then dies a death – it’s got to be here for the long term. “We’re trying to specialise in having lots of local things. I’ve just taken delivery of some beer from Crossed Anchors Brewery, a microbrewery in Exmouth. Our main supplier is South West Wine. They’ve been amazing and have held our hands through everything.” The premises has been home to wine merchants since the 1970s Gibson thinks big Parker closes at Stockbridge Hampton store Wine Utopia is closing its bijou shop in Stockbridge, Hampshire, and moving to new premises down the road, bigger and better than its previous “cupboardlike” store. Owner Rachel Gibson is delighted to be “moving somewhere that’s going to be three times the size, with a big tasting counter, a separate fine wine room, parking and up a busier end of the high street”. The company has taken on a new commercial director, Richard Milward, who had been head of regional sales at Majestic. Current Stockbridge manager Sarah Dawson is leaving to move to Hong Kong, so Gibson is recruiting someone to head up the Stockbridge store. Wine Utopia has a shop in the centre of Winchester and another warehousestyle branch in nearby Kings Worthy. The business was established in 2012 by Gibson, who also previously worked for Majestic. THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 4 Steve Parker’s Hampton Cheese & Wine Company is closing at the end of December after seven years of trading in west London. In a letter to customers, Parker says: “This decision to close is as a direct result of two significant events: the lease on the premises expires at the end of 2017 and I have recently suffered a heart attack.” Parker says he has been “overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of Hampton Village and its businesses, residents and visitors” since the doublefronted shop, which also sells wine for consumption on the premises, opened in December 2010. But Parker is not leaving the wine trade. Next year he is planning to maintain his programme of tutored tastings at local venues, and to run a wine club for private clients. He will also continue to run corporate tasting events and accept speaking engagements, and intends to pursue writing and publishing ventures.

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Le Vignoble takes the plunge in Bath When Yannick Loué opened Plymouth’s Le Vignoble in 2012, it was always his intention to grow the brand and “little by little” to have five shops around the south west. After two years of searching for the right location, the lease is now signed on his second shop although it won’t open until March. “Originally I was supposed to be able to open last June, then it was July and it just kept getting delayed,” he says. “We could have gone for November but I didn’t want to open in the middle of the Christmas trade.” The new premises consists of two listed buildings in Milsom Place that Loué is knocking through to give him a total of 1,000 sq ft. Dealing with English Heritage can be slow and when you throw in a licence change from an A1 to an A4, it’s small wonder that things got held up. “What could have been something quite simple became more difficult once we started to look into it, but after 18 months of battling with different organisations we managed to do it,” Loué says. Although every Le Vignoble will carry the same branding, Loué doesn’t want the shops to look like they are part of a chain, so will continue to look for historical buildings with interesting stories behind them from which to take some inspiration. “For every location I am choosing buildings with some history. For example in Plymouth we are in a building where they used to manufacture the barrels for warships. “In Bath, when we traced it back, we discovered it had been an old sweet shop, and it has been a garage as well. Every building has got an interesting heritage and when we look at designing places we want to make sure we reflect the nature of the business. It’s very much old-meets-new.” The Bath branch will be focusing more on the on-trade or “lounge” side of the business. “We are a wine educator, a wine Loué hopes for five branches in the south west lounge and a wine retailer,” Loué says. “We are going to be complementing the wine businesses that are already in the area. I know how tough the market is and I don’t want to make enemies. Looking at Bath, there isn’t anything like Le Vignoble; we are going to be doing our platters of charcuterie and our platters of cheeses. We are focusing a bit more on the night-life than the retail side.” How the Bath branch will look (design by 20/20 Projects) THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 6

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Adeline Mangevine Noble ambition for Ballantyne in Wales Richard Ballantyne opened The Noble Grape in his home town of Cowbridge in October. After a 20-year stint in the family business, Ballantynes in Cardiff, which closed in 2011, he hasn’t let the grass grow. He’s been busy with roles at Armit and Italian wine specialist Vinexus and has also found time to gain his MW. He describes the old market town, which is about 10 miles from Cardiff, as being “a great shopping destination”, with many independent shops pulling in visitors as well as serving the local community. There are also plenty of potential wholesale customers, which Ballantyne will focus on next year. “I got my AWRS last Friday. So very soon I’ll contact some of my old pals in the trade and start doing some business,” he says. “That’s what I’ve done for the last seven years since I’ve been out of retail – I’ve been supplying retailers and restaurants. “[At Ballantynes] we did a lot of importing from nearly every winemaking country. With this, I’m starting small and at first I’m working only with UK importers, and I’ll start building up again next year with direct imports.” Ballantyne currently has about 15 suppliers including Armit, Alliance, Hatch Mansfield, Condor and the Oxford Wine Company. “We had a great opening weekend,” he says. “Out of the 220 wines I list I’ve sold some of nearly all of them so far. I’m a resident here so the word has been going around the streets for a long time.” • Portland Wine Warehouse in Wigan has applied for permission to open a wine bar in the town, selling the same range of drinks currently available in the shop. Hasty despatches from the frontline of wine retailing Jaz, the hairdresser opposite, runs over to the shop in excitement, catching me off guard. “Have you We’ve included a fizz and a still English wine in every Christmas promotion for the past five years. We’ve had read that an English wine has been voted winemakers from Kent to Cornwall into best in the world?” the shop for tastings. Short of walking Er, no, I hadn’t. Not wanting to admit through the streets every day, ringing to overlooking this major story, I bluster a bell and and shouting “don’t listen an answer about there being loads of to Marco Pierre White, England makes awards ceremonies with trillions of good wine, even the deep discounters specific categories where you pay to play are behind it” I’m not sure what else I – while wondering if we actually stock can do to get people to understand that the winning wine (Jaz is a bit sketchy on the details). When he’s gone, I go online and lo, a tiny winery in the home counties that The bestest wine in the whole I’ve never heard of has indeed scooped a prize for best white blend under £15 from northern Europe. Fully briefed, I then spend the next few days explaining to customers that it wasn’t actually voted overall best wine ever, and also justifying wide world is English. So why don’t we stock it? why it isn’t among my current range. Part of me is annoyed at having to do our home-produced plonk is no longer a this on repeat. Good English wine has novelty. been around for a while. But another We get a few customers tutting at the part is quite jubilant that I get a few days prices of English wines. Then there are respite from the perennial question: “Is our Welsh customers who tut at the fact English wine any good?” Every time I get there is a Welsh producer included in our asked that, I put 10p in a jar. Think I’m English line-up (yeah, sorry about that). close to £100 now. But the most annoying are those who This lack of awareness has not been run their for want of trying on our part. Currently, fingers across we’ve got a range of eight sparkling the labels wines, five still whites, three rosés and chortling two reds. We flag-wave so vigorously “we’ll all during English Wine Week, we put white have to drink van man to shame. We‘ve run customer competitions much more of this British wine, when we finally to come up with a snappier name for take back control” – adding that it will English sparkling wine. Winners have become cheaper when this happens. included “Blighty Bubbles”, “English Well, they may have a point. English wine Pearls” and “Albion Froth”. Even the could soon appear much better value, winners still refer to the stuff as “English when that bottle of French table red the Champagne”. chortlers favour rockets from £7 to £20. THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 7

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Quirky wine list at old Victorian pub October saw the opening of The Racketeer in a former Victorian pub in Kings Cross. Everything is available to drink in or to buy at a reduced price and take away. One of the owners, Ty Vigrass, says: “We are hopefully developing our basement to be more of a tasting room and opening it up for producers to come and show people their wares. We’ll also develop the bottle shop side of things. “Primarily we are a classic cocktail bar, but we are in an old Victorian boozer so we have craft beers on tap and a pretty quirky wine list. “We’ve tried to develop a wine list that I would say is more European. There’s not too many New Worlds on there – there’s a rosé from South Africa and an American Pinot Noir, but aside from that we are looking at hard-to-find grapes like a Verdicchio from Italy. We also have a Verdejo from Spain. Our house-pour white wine is a Sicilian Catarratto, which I suppose you could say is a bit quirky.” Vigrass, along with his co-owners Marco Torre and Jack Foxcroft, enjoy the selling aspect of the business. “Our draught taps don’t have the badges on so people have to speak to the bar tenders,” he says. “Myself, Marco and Jack are all working the floor so we can talk people through the wine list.” This approach is no surprise considering their hospitality backgrounds: Torre at Hawksmoor and The Palomar, and Vigrass and Foxcroft both at Village Underground, where they started what would become a fruitful working relationship with Boutinot. The team has got this far without the help of the banks. “We’ve got some very generous friends and family who have invested in us,” says Vigrass. He is optimistic that any future plans, which may involve further sites, will see the banks being “a bit more attuned to wanting to lend to a business that’s been successful”. Wine bar’s a natural move for Fishel Bobby Fishel is about to open Bunch Wine Bar in Liverpool, with a retail element meaning all wines will be available to purchase and take away. All wines on The Racketeer’s list are also available to take away Louise Sheeran created the logo The venue is in Berry Street in the centre of the city. Fishel’s girlfriend, Lara Hendrickse, has given up her career as a barrister to join him in the venture. Fishel owns the wine import company Gudfish, and has recently been working at R&H Fine Wines in Liverpool. As with the wines Fishel imports via Gudfish, the emphasis will very much be on natural wines. “There’s a lot of it in London, there’s a bit of it in Leeds and Manchester but nothing really in Liverpool so we felt there was a space here for it as well,” Fishel says. “We’ll get wines from various different suppliers as well as Gudfish; Under the Bonnet Wines, Les Caves de Pyrene, Modal Wines, Roberson and maybe a bit of FMV.” Initially Fishel and Hendrickse will be open only in the evenings, without staff. “Most of the places we go to are very small, and have a very simple offering and just a couple of staff members, and that’s the sort of thing we love,” says Fishel. “We want people to come in for us and our knowledge, as much as for the wine.” The couple have worked with artist Louise Sheeran to create their distinctive logo. “We knew we wanted animals in the logo and we wanted it to be a bit of fun. Louise came up with the idea of the three bears and sketched it for us. We’ve got a few different bears on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – there’s a bear theme running through.” THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 8

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Bag big profits with great packaging! When it comes to gifting options for the busy festive season ahead, WBC has it all wrapped up for independent wine merchants … IN ASSOCIATION WITH Like it or loathe it, Christmas is the most important trading period of the year for most of us, and a successful Christmas can make the difference between an average or a good year. And with the festive mood lifting us all into high spirits, selling couldn’t be easier. A customer may only walk into your store for a bottle of wine, but there is no reason why they shouldn’t leave with it fully giftwrapped for their evening Christmas party. By gift-wrapping a number of your best sellers and even offering an in-store gift wrapping service, you can increase those crucial sales. We’ve worked closely with retail expert Eve Reid to put together five seasonal gift packaging collections to make sure your packaging always has a special point of difference. It’s easy to go crazy and buy everything in sight, but planning is key and starts now. Think about the time and resource you can give to gifting. How long will it take staff to make up a gift? Will you display ready-made hampers, or create a dedicated wrapping station and dress on the spot? Preparing now will keep you gifting the smart way. Within the five collections, you’ll find something to suit every style and every brand. Bag some profits with bottle bags as they’re a quick and easy way to turn those Christmas presents for parties and events into an extra special gift, or go all out and offer a variety of gifts at different price points to give your customers the choice they deserve. Alternatively, our branding service can help you get your name out there even further. With our service covering everything from cartons and jute bags to wooden wine boxes and corkscrews, you can promote your own business from the store to the high street! Christmas is coming, and we hope our collections inspire you to get wrapping! Shop our full collection of gift packaging essentials at wbc.co.uk. sales@wbc.co.uk 020 7737 4040 Super-fast next day delivery on UK mainland orders Standard minimum order £75 Ex VAT FREE DELIVERY on orders over £150 Ex VAT THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 10

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tried & Tested Don Cristobal Triana 2012 Malbec is a lot more versatile than its critics give it credit for, and mixing it with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon really takes it through the gears. Aged for 18 months in new French oak, this Mendoza blend is complex and powerful but beautifully balanced, with the 935m elevation of its vineyards no doubt contributing to its approachable freshness. RRP: £22 ABV: 14.5% Jackson Nugent Vintners (020 8947 9722) jnv.co.uk The Liberator Episode 15 Meet the Ecologist 2017 “Almost certainly the only organically certified Pinot Grigio to be found in the Cape, and a long way removed from those cheap, industrial examples found north east of the Apennines,” goes the blurb. There’s a decent grip and fresh, sour tang that corroborates the claims. RRP: £13 ABV: 12% Dreyfus Ashby (01636 858774) dreyfus-ashby.co.uk Château de Bel Bel en Blanc NV Oliver Cazenave bought a Bordeaux estate in 2003 and then learned how to make wine. This Muscadelle, labelled as Vin de France, is from vines that are now classified as biodynamic. It glides across the palate with flashes of honey and minerals and tastes “natural” in the most positive sense. RRP: £29 ABV: 13.5% Red Squirrel Wine (020 3490 1210) redsquirrelwine.agency Cossetti Barbera d’Asti La Vigna Vecchia 2014 Cossetti has been in Castelnuovo Belbo since 1891 and is now in its fourth generation. This is gorgeous stuff, with deep, dark currents of chocolate and medicine. Despite the unctuousness, it’s not heavy going, and certainly won’t spoil your appetite. RRP: £15.50 ABV: 13.5% The Knotted Vine (07710 598340) theknottedvine.com Richard Stávek Spigle-Bočky 2015 This Moravian field blend of Welschriesling, Grüner Veltliner, Rotter Veltliner, Neuburger, Riesling, Müller- Thurgau and Muscat Moravia is foot-trodden and whole-bunch fermented before ageing in small acacia barrels, and bottled without fining or filtration. The result is as odd as you’d expect, and twice as enjoyable. RRP: £25 ABV: 12.5% Basket Press Wines (07838 744738) basketpresswines.com JC Wickens Swerwer Chenin Blanc 2016 Jasper Wickens’ day job is winemaker at AA Badenhorst. His Swerwer project is also based in Swartland and has produced a hugely enjoyable Chenin with wafts of cannabis and grapefruit skin and a complex and slightly weird warm-climate flavour. It’s wines like this that justify the regional hype. RRP: £17 ABV: 13% Gudfish Wines (07966 400746) gudfish.co.uk Feuerheerd’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão are the building blocks here and they combine to create a ripe and gently spicy glassful that performs all kinds of acrobatics while you wait for the next sip. And there has to be a next sip: the sweetness is held in check by a moreish mineral streak right on the finish. RRP: £19.99 ABV: 20% Ehrmanns (020 3227 0700) ehrmanns.co.uk Joiseph BFF Blaufränkisch 2015 Twenty-three-year-old Luka Zeikman eschews computers and social media, preferring to immerse himself in the natural wonders of Burgenland. Working with a 1ha plot, he’s crafted a remarkable organic Blaufränkisch from a clone with thinner skins than you’d normally expect. It’s juicy, inky and spicy, with a lovely racy edge. A bright future awaits. RRP: £35 ABV: 13.5% Modal Wines (07776 322374) modalwines.com THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 12

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bits & BOBs FAVOURITE THINGS Jonathan Rogers Vin Wine Merchants, Emsworth Favourite wine on my list Since I have only been trading for 16 months I have tried loads of great stuff, but I am really enjoying a Viognier from Establecimientos Juanico in Uruguay. It’s got an amazing golden colour with loads of peach and pineapple. It’s just great! Favourite wine and food match A full English with a Provence rosé! Is that a bit weird? Favourite wine trip In 1994 I worked at Tahbilk in Victoria and while I was there I went to loads of brilliant small producers around Nagambie Lakes and the Mornington Peninsular. Ordinary people making stunning wines because they want to. Favourite wine trade person All the suppliers I am using have been really supportive, which I am really grateful for. The all-time general great person I have worked with is Joe Wadsack. From our boozy Oddbins staff tastings back in the 90s to now, he always has something to say which is worth listening to and taking notice of. His energy and style is what the trade needs and what customers want. Favourite wine shop I went into Vinotopia in Tetbury recently and they were great. A superb selection, great staff and the shop had a good feel to it. Wine production hits 1950s low Magpie World wine production has sunk to historic lows due to severe frosts and heatwaves in France, Spain and Italy. Small harvests in Europe’s main producing countries mean that world wine production has sunk back to levels barely seen since the 1950s and early 1960s, the International Organisation of Vine & Wine said. It estimated that global production would hit 246.7m hectolitres in 2017, equivalent to 24.67bn litres, down by 8% versus 2016. Decanter, October 24 wildfires that killed 42 people. Napa Valley Vintners has reported that out of 330 member wineries, 47 sustained direct damage from the fires, while it is thought that across the entire region, fewer than 10 wineries have been either heavily damaged or completely destroyed. Among the wineries known to have been most severely damaged are Signorello in Napa, Paradise Ridge in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Paras Vineyards in Mount Veeder, Napa. Twenty-one major wildfires forced 100,000 people to evacuate and destroyed an estimated 8,700 structures. The Drinks Business, October 27 Grange blend courts controversy 11,000 firefighters tackled the wildfires California gets back to normal Northern California wine producers say they are open for business following the Penfolds has unveiled a blend of Grange from 2008, 2012 and 2014, which is marketed under the name g3 and will retail for Aus$3,000 a bottle. Winemaker Peter Gago said: “We are very pleased with the end result. It’s not a one-off or a gimmick. This is real. There are going to be a lot of critics. It will still be controversial because Grange always has been. Grange is a blend, this is a blend of Granges, so [it’s] a blend of a blend.” The Drinks Business, October 19 winemerchantmag.com 01323 871836 winemerchantteam@gmail.com Twitter: @WineMerchantMag The Wine Merchant is mailed freely to the owners of the UK’s 837 specialist independent wine shops. Every one of them, as the previous sole exception to the rule has now closed down. The magazine is edited by Graham Holter. Printed in Sussex by East Print. © Graham Holter Ltd 2017 Registered in England: No 6441762 VAT 943 8771 82 THE WINE MERCHANT november 2017 14

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