The Wine Merchant issue 26

 

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The Wine Merchant issue 26

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THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers Issue 26, June 2014 The goat-to publication for specialist wine shops Spain leads the field in Wine Merchant Top 50 Spanish wines are the big winner in this year’s Wine Merchant Top 50. total of more than 350 entries and decided joined by co-chairmen Olly Smith and The Observer’s David Williams – included 11 to £35.99. The final list of 50 wines – drawn from a house of Charles Heidsieck, Austria’s Domaine Wachau and Trentino producer Cavit each contributed two wines apiece. on by a panel of 12 independent merchants Spanish wines, ranging in price from £7.50 (six), also feature strongly in a list featuring star performers from Bulgaria and Greece. Domaines Paul Mas also had reason to France, with eight wines, and Portugal were available to sample at a pop-up tasting on the second day of the London Wine Fair, “reflect the diversity, quality and – equally the independent trade,” said Williams. “We found so many deliciously worthy Together, the Top 50 winning wines, which THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS Amazon is talking to your suppliers. Should you care? 4 comings & GOINGS important – great value of wines available in wines this year, and the contrast with the than enjoyed – was really instructive.” New wine merchants that lure customers with meat and wood-burning stoves 6 tried & TESTED representatives from 13 countries, including celebrate, contributing a remarkable three latest range tastings in the supermarkets – which Olly and I have just endured rather Continues page 24 From Sussex to South Africa in pursuit of excellence 9 merchant profile wines to the final list, while the Champagne Harvey Leonard’s, the Glossop monger 14 david williams Jura is painfully trendy, but don’t let that put you off 30 gin genie tailormade for independents Artisanal spirits that are 38 BIG APPLE WINE What we can learn from wine shops in New York City 41 suppler bulletin Essential updates from leading agents and importers 50 debt dilemmas Ted Sandbach of The Oxford Wine Company and Philip Amps of Amps Fine Wines put a sparkling wine through its paces at the judging of The Wine Merchant Top 50 What to do when your customer refuses to pay

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BACCHUS “They would be selling at a loss at those Although he has reservations about prices if they were also paying duty,” he said. “At the moment it’s probably not bothering anybody too much but when to hit quite a lot of merchants.” they get quite high Amazon ratings and aspects of Amazon’s business model, he added: “For us the exposure it gives is the people save a shedload of money, it’s going HMRC SAID IT would “not comment on overriding advantage. Their search engine on top. optimisation is incredible – every time you search for a product they sell, it comes out “Obviously they take a cut that eats into individual customers’ tax affairs”. But a Amazon is talking to your suppliers Amazon has alarmed UK merchants by inviting European wine producers to sell direct to consumers in the UK. distance selling already occurs, suppliers are severely undercutting UK retailers – to prices. In an email to one producer, seen by There is concern that where such spokesman added: “HMRC is aware of the risks associated with internet sales and works closely with Border Force to target excise goods improperly sent to the UK. “If a business in another member state your margin, and it’s very difficult to make they play merchants against each other. longer the cheapest on this wine’ and not sell that product anymore. “You get an email saying ‘you’re no that back because they’re clever about how decides to completely ignore the rules, the relevant tax authority would be obliged to inform the member state of consumption. “HMRC works closely with other tax you’ve got to make the decision whether to eat into the margin even more or maybe competitive they will be and at the end of the consumer. “They have tried to bully us a little “The more merchants they get, the more authorities to ensure excise duties and VAT the day there’s only one winner and that’s bit. They do this thing called ‘fulfilled possibly because no duty has been applied The Wine Merchant, Amazon’s partner company ECRM said the retailer was wine, spirits and premium beer”. is collected and properly accounted for.” The law states that a wine seller in by Amazon’: you give them all the stock, pre-packaged. They then sit on that stock cheaper than we can. until they sell it. They will absorb most of “But for us to pick 40 products and box “looking to expand their assortments in a meeting in London on June 6, went on to quote Amazon’s global sales increase of 20% in the fourth quarter of its beer, wines and spirits”. The message, inviting the producer to another EU nation must appoint a UK tax before the wine is posted. They are also obliged to register for VAT. Although HMRC says that “where the the delivery costs because they can deliver up two dozen of each is a massive outlay representative to pay duty in this country and there’s no guarantee we’re going to sell anything. It would take one or two people rather keep doing it the way we’re doing it, fulfilling our own orders, and they threatened to stop trading with us.” The independent, who asked not to be a hell of a long time to do. We’ve said we’d financial year but added that “growth was significantly higher in UK grocery and UK also been courted recently by Amazon, merchants they supply. A number of UK-based suppliers have appropriate duty has not been paid, the how rigorously this is policed. Amazon itself offers no reassurance. goods may be seized” it is far from clear Its response to questions about the duty creating tensions with the independent issues associated with distance selling, and its recent approaches to wine producers, met with a curt reply. “Unfortunately this said. isn’t something we can help with, but thank you for getting in touch,” a spokeswoman Another independent who already sells named, said the prospect of producers duty was horrifying. shipping direct to the UK and bypassing “It would make our sales on Amazon Oakham, is worried that wine producers in mainland Europe may not be paying at £228 a case, plus £5.50 delivery, is available direct from the producer via UK duty. One Italian wine that he offers Ben Robson, owner of the Bat & Bottle in pretty pointless,” he said. “It could damage massive impact. “If I’m selling wine online and a wine retail online full stop – it could have a consumer can buy from the producer would anybody buy it from me?” Amazon for £163.08 plus £30.41 delivery. on Amazon said he was concerned that one of his UK suppliers had been approached by the site as a potential new partner. hassle-free for £2 a bottle cheaper, why THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 2

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Thinking outside and inside boxes Some merchants dream about shipping wine by the container load. One independent in Kent is making plans to put its customers inside the container. Vintners, is embarking on an expansion programme that will see new stores in adaptation of the pop-up shop idea. London but is also working on a unique plans to buy a 40ft shipping container The Vinorium, the retail arm of Z&B same kind of thing. Obviously we have still look like a container but it will be nicely designed.” other restrictions to work around. It will The container has not been purchased Flying Füchs yet but Gardner says “we know where we can get one”. He adds: “The idea is container on top.” to be able to bolt onto that so we could Z&B was established by Stuart have another 40ft one and perhaps a 20ft McCloskey in 2005, with The Vinorium which will be fitted out as a wine lounge and taken to consumer events (possibly Show) and also the homes of private clients. including next year’s Southampton Boat The Ashford-based business is making opening in 2013. The Ashford site has been significantly expanded but the company is keen to establish a London presence. An of the capital, possibly next year. initial store is expected to open in the west “We’ll be looking at a central London “Our Man with the Facts” • Wine producers are increasingly diseases, described in some concerned about grapevine trunk of the city followed by a second in the heart location where we’ll reintroduce the food not the right location for that. But we’ll retain Ashford and we’ll still have our events.” quarters as “the new phylloxera”. The diseases, which are spread by fungi, fatal to vines. appear to be on the increase and are • Until the middle of the 20th “We can take it anywhere … it’s beyond the normal pop-up. couple of Enomatic machines. We’re still planning it at the moment. that we have … it’s industrial-luxurious. In the Vinorium itself we have solid oak “The container will have within it a Marketing manager Simon Gardner says: as well,” says Gardner. “In Ashford it’s just wine school there and quite a few evening own Bordeaux label, supplied by EntreGraham Clarke. The Vinorium has recently launched its century, Sancerre was best known made from the Chasselas table variety. “It’s kind of hard to pin down the style for red wines. Its white wines were shelving so the container would have the deux-Mers producer Tour de Sarrail. The artwork has been produced by Kent artist • When tasting wines, it’s been mouthfuls that are spat out. calculated that you consume the equivalent of a glass with every 30 • According to a 2013 Wine Intelligence study, only 85% of regular wine drinkers in the UK wine gives me pleasure”. agree with the statement “drinking • Germany has more vineyard land devoted to Riesling than the rest of the world put together, with just respectively. over 61% of the total. Australia and Another delivery of pop-up wine shops pulls into harbour France are a distant second and third THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 3

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comings & GOINGS Plenty for ’em in Blandford Forum New Dorset independent No 8 Wine Company has reported brisk business since opening in Blandford Forum earlier this year (The Wine Merchant, January). Boon, whose former Museum Wines online business is now incorporated into the new venture. our pub in Tollard Royal [Wiltshire],” says shop was getting too small. We always knew we were outgrowing it. “We had a wine shop at the King John, The store is owned by Alex and Gretchen No 8 Wine Co: where France meets South Africa Meat and greet A shop billed as “London’s first Argentine butcher and wine merchant” has opened in Connaught Village in the West End. Jacquet and partner Alberto Abbate. are imported from Argentina. The venture, Abasto, is the work of Diego Although specialising in meat, Abasto lovers. The range includes beers from selected breweries in Hackney. Meteor Beer in Hochfelden, France, and offers more than 150 wines, 90% of which • French wine specialist 259 Hackney Road has closed. The shop in Hoxton Tonello and Milena Bucholz. Gretchen. “It was doing extremely well and we have so much stock that the little wine glass and complemented by a small tasting at Borough Wines’ L’Entrepôt restaurant. It fits the Borough Wines model that we work on: an up and coming high street Director Corinna Pike says: “It was a site menu designed by Patrick Hanna, head chef that we’d been looking at for quite a while. with lots of small independents opening. “There’s a good butcher, a fishmonger, A limited range of wines is served by the was opened in 2012 by Parisians Florian • English wine specialist The Wine Pantry is relocating to larger premises in Stoney Street, Borough Market. farm this is. The new shop is in an old barn building that’s been purpose-rebuilt as a wine shop.” The premises includes a small seating “We were approached by the chap whose area centred around a wood-burning stove and is stocked with a broad selection of wines. wines that are imported direct from Africa. France is a specialism, including many independent coffee shops and a deli, and us which is really important for footfall driver. quite a lot of people looking to move into the area. There’s heavy residential around because we use the refill wines as the key producers, and there is also a sizeable selection from Gretchen’s native South on Friday evenings and also features an outdoor seating area, complete with Pol The premises functions as a wine bar year and missed a couple of opportunities. It’s a lovely shop which hasn’t really been modernised so we’ve been able to take it back to its original features.” its wholesaling activities. “Kensal Rise is hard to get people from west London to come to east London.” “We’ve been looking in the area for over a Adnams, Aldeburgh: “A natural fit” Boast of the coast Adnams has opened its 12th store. The Aldeburgh branch, just along the coast from the company’s Southwold base, offers a specialist wine selection as well as Adnams’ spirits and beers range. kitchenware. The shop also sells a range of Bigger Borough Borough Wines has opened its fifth, largest and most westerly branch in London. unit, includes space to accommodate up to 15 tasting menu covers. hallmark of wines from the barrel, but The shop features the Borough Wines The Kensal Rise store, in a Victorian shop Roger-branded parasols. somewhere we can invite all our wholesale clients to as well,” says Pike. “It’s still quite Borough Wines reports rapid growth in in on a sixth branch. “Then I think we’re going to take a breather,” she admits. She confirms that the company is closing also offers the same opportunity for beer has ceased trading. The business recently has now closed its Chorleywood branch. slimmed down from three stores to one but • Hertfordshire independent Grapeland is a town that we at Adnams love. It has a wonderful culture and a relaxed coastal character, along with a great selection of natural fit for our new store.” independent shopping outlets and amazing places to eat. For us, this location seemed a Adnams’ Liz Cobbold says: “Aldeburgh THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 4

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tried & Tested Glenelly Estate Lady May 2010 A Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon with a 10% component of Petit Verdot and unashamed ambitions Two years in new French oak and extended lees the finish. contact adds depth and complexity, while a herby, RRP: £28 ABV: 14.5% of being South Africa’s answer to a left-bank Bordeaux. sage-like note adds a fresh and faintly green edge to Seckford Agencies (01206 231188) seckfordwineagencies.co.uk Litmus Element 20 2012 Litmus wants to “up the ante” with English still wines. This was one of a handful of wines at the EWP tasting that showed the effort might be worthwhile, even in a difficult year like 2012. It has a pleasing, ChablisChardonnay, Bacchus and Pinot Gris. RRP: £20 ABV: 12% Litmus Wines (01306 879829) litmuswines.com esque mineral crackle and fresh lemony acidity to go with the careful oak. A serious and ageworthy blend of Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2012 While it may not be able to compete with the village wines of Burgundy in the same way that Gusbourne’s magnificent Kent sparklers do with Champagne, this is still a very attractive Pinot. Light and delicate, with feathery Pinot tannins, and succulent red berry fruit. It’s much more than a curiosity, if a touch pricey. RRP: £19.99 ABV: 12% Gusbourne Estate (01233 758666) gusbourne.com borderline-tart acidity and a touch of earthiness, it has The Drift Mary le Bow Farm Blend 2011 Winemaker Bruce Jack talks wistfully of planting “an improbable vineyard on a crazy, windswept mountainside because it felt necessary” and admits “the goal is unclear”. This is his (and our) reward: a RRP: £32.99 ABV: 14.5% spicy, exotic Cabernet/Shiraz/Petit Verdot blend with superb oak-fruit balance that makes the spine tingle. Alliance Wine (01505 506060) alliancewine.co.uk Journey’s End Cape Doctor Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 The fruit in this part of Stellenbosch benefits from cooling Atlantic breezes. It’s evident in this spicy, leathery Cabernet: the fruit is rich and bold, certainly, extracted tannins. RRP: £24.99 Wiston Blanc de Noirs NV Made in Sussex by former Nyetimber man Dermot Sugrue, this is a 60/40 Pinot Noir/Meunier blend (a little of which has spent time in oak) with an shimmering citrus, refined mousse and fine-line RRP: £24.95 ABV: 12% extra dimension of savoury richness to go with its and the savoury component is prominent, but the real ABV: 14.5% selling point is its freshness, cleanliness and delicately Bibendum (020 7722 5577) bibendum-wine.co.uk acidity. The range has won plaudits and this is our pick of the sparkling bunch. Long, pure and great value. Wiston Estate (0161 908 1300) wistonestate.co.uk San Valentino Bacaia Sangiovese Superiore 2012 The freshness of this juicy, almost squelchy wine is the first thing that strikes you and it’s also what lingers in your mind as the last drop is poured (or in our case, muscularity too. A wine that’s drinking very nicely. RRP: £12.99 ABV: 13.5% Winetraders (01993 882440) winetraders.eu spilled – hooray for Photoshop). There’s some gentle candied sweetness to help things along but a certain Marqués de Murrieta Dalmau Rioja 2009 Produced from grapes from an old vineyard with Cabernet and Graciano for good measure. Dark even longer than a Sky TV telesales person. RRP: £45 ABV: 14.5% mmdltd.co.uk an altitude of 465m, mostly Tempranillo but a little chocolate, coffee, plums and cherry flavours meld together in a wine that oozes luxury and persists for Maisons Marques et Domaines (020 8812 3380) THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 6

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sponsored editorial Boost your Bordeaux sales – and receive up to £350 for your efforts B uilding on the success of both its off-trade tasting programme, A Taste for Bordeaux, and its Dine a comprehensive “Pop in for a Drop” theatre for the tasting. with Bordeaux campaign, the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) is gearing up to launch both activities again for 2014. merchandising pack, featuring information about Bordeaux wines, to help create real sampling over 400 different Bordeaux Wines to nearly 7,000 enthusiastic offering funding to support the first campaign. “This activity has proved to be Last year, 60 wine shops participated, customers. For 2014, the CIVB is again The promotion A Taste for Bordeaux 60 wine merchants to sign up for the encourages wine retailers to offer their four Bordeaux wines, over a three-day customers the chance to sample at least £150 contribution towards their event. period. In return, merchants will receive must include a minimum of four Bordeaux wines, one of which must be a dry white Bordeaux, and all wines should have a retail value of between £6 and £25. Participating retailers will receive To qualify for the £150 funding, stores immensely popular and we are delighted to be able to repeat the programme this country manager. year”, says Douglas Morton, the CIVB’s UK In-store tastings are an ideal opportunity to highlight the rich diversity of Bordeaux wines launched its fourth Dine with Bordeaux promotion, recognising the importance of and restaurants play in the promotion of Bordeaux wines. in the promotion with over 100 dinners say we were delighted at the response.” participating retailers reported a result of these dinners. In the 2013 campaign, 90% of “Nearly 140 establishments took part He continues: “Last year, the CIVB also How to host your Bordeaux tasting or dinner To sign up for either promotion and apply for all the material you need for an in-store tasting or Bordeaux dinner, the following email addresses: A Taste for Bordeaux: com/atasteforbordeaux Dine with Bordeaux: com/bdxdinners the role that independent wine merchants independents should visit the webpages below or contact the Bordeaux team at www.goodfoodwouldchoosebordeaux. atasteforbordeaux@summitsp.co.uk arranged across the country, so needless to subsequent increase in Bordeaux sales as a £250 for dinners attracting 35-60 guests and £350 for dinners attended by 60 or more. The CIVB will continue to contribute www.goodfoodwouldchoosebordeaux. dinewithbordeaux@summitsp.co.uk All participants will be required to or dinner upon completion. Over 5,000 diners participated in 2013 submit an evaluation of the tasting event THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 7

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bits & BOBs FAVOURITE THINGS Julie Mills Vinomondo Conwy Favourite wine on my list Casa de Mouraz, Elfa, Dao, Portugal. One of the best wines I’ve tried in Amateur hour at Oddbins stores Oddbins is searching for the UK’s best amateur wine taster with a competition involving its 35 branches and various wine and food fairs. and simple questions about each wine. Joe Wadsack. The panel of judges includes Peter The competition features blind tastings Magpie Grand Cru Class A chateaux of Pavie, Cheval Blanc and Angelus. Decanter.com, May 9 Don’t breathe in Experts have warned that a new trend of inhaling heated alcohol could be “very dangerous”. “revolutionary way of consuming alcohol” with “almost no carbs, no impurities immediately felt”. and the effects of consuming alcohol are But Drinkaware’s Professor Chris Day One brand, the Vaportini, promises a us there 30 grape varieties in it! It shows all the complexity of a top Burgundy at a fantastic price. months. As big fans of Portuguese wines we were a bit suspicious when they told Richards, Susie Barrie, Sarah Ahmed and 16 semi-finalists before selecting four to go forward to the final in September where a winner will receive a trip to Australia. Decanter.com, May 27 Each will host their own boot camp for Favourite food and wine match is famous for its beautiful world heritage waterfront and town. It also sports three cracking fish and chip shops so this combo is beautifully fulfilled. Champagne with fish and chips. Conwy said: “The fact that it bypasses your body’s defence mechanisms against consuming too much alcohol means it is unsafe.” The Drinks Business, May 28 Ageing naturally Wines without sulphites can age for up Haut-Brion: 15% off at Tesco Favourite wine trip country. Right up by the Atacama desert, it boasts the finest night sky in the world. A place for all the lovers. Chile. It has to be the incredible Limari Valley in the north of this beautiful to 50 years, according to natural wine pioneer Isabelle Legeron. they’re more about killing off microbes. she said. “Sulphites are not about preservation, Low-price Lafite Tesco has discounted hundreds of fine wines, including cases of Bordeaux first growths from the 2009 vintage, as part of a “spring clean”. website, have been discounted by 15% in a promotion lasting until May 20. Rothschild, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild Wines discounted include LafiteThe wines, listed on the By the Case What they do do is freeze a wine in time,” have to make sure your wine comes from to be drawn between natural wines and orange wines, which are “not the same thing”. The Drinks Business, May 15 “If you’re not using sulphites then you Favourite wine trade person Rarely have I met someone with such a huge passion for their work. He is a mention. Thanks Danny. Danny Cameron, Raymond Reynolds. an impeccable site and is farmed correctly.” Legeron also believes a distinction needs inspirational in many ways and deserves Favourite wine shop I can’t recall its name but it was in the Old Town in Barcelona. It just looked we found a wall sporting over 400 wines, all Spanish. What a shop. and Haut-Brion as well as the Saint-Emilion like a grocer’s but inside was incredible. Alongside the crisps and chewing gum The Wine Merchant is mailed freely to the owners of the UK’s 726 independent wine by Graham Holter. Printed by East Print. © Graham Holter Ltd 2014 England: No 6441762 shops. Except one, and that’s deliberate. Edited Registered in VAT 943 8771 82 www.winemerchantmag.com 01323 370451 Twitter: @WineMerchantMag winemerchantmag@gmail.com THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 8

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merchant profile: harvey leonard’s H arvey Leonard’s is a fusion of the drinking passions of former charity worker Suzanne Harvey and IT man Steven Leonard. It’s one part craft beer (Steven) to one part good wine (Suzanne) and opened in the couple’s home town of Glossop – nestled between the suburbs of south Manchester and the hills of the Peak District – late last year. main – or should that be only? – road out of Glossop towards the metropolis, a few doors from The Globe, an acclaimed folk music venue and vegan pub. Harvey and Leonard ripped out the The shop is in a terraced row on the innards of an old insurance broker’s office with their bare hands and transformed it of bar from a pub, a clock from Next and chippy. The store is a tight space with a low bespoke shelves rustled up by a friendly Bench: reclaimed from a pub. Shelves: friendly chippy. Bottle lights: made by Harvey and Leonard with the help of a decommissioned section ceiling, but the couple still found room for a By The Glass machine which has meant cold food from the beginning. It’s been Leonard’s Wine & Ale Tasters. they’re doing an on-premise service with door at what is officially billed as Harvey Wine lovers warm to the Glossop mongers Harvey Leonard’s combines wine and beer, and on and off-sales, in relaxed surroundings that reflect the personalities of its creators How did you get started? Steven: We’re originally from Glossop, where there had never been a specialist and domestic abuse, and social issues, lot of other industries and I was made redundant. We thought we’d create something that we’d like. for charities. That sector was hit like a instrumental in getting people through the beer and wine shop. I’ve always been into The Bottle Stop in Bramhall. my beers, my Belgian beers, which were a little bit hard to find. I always had to go to We had the idea for a specialist beer Steven: It’s the same with the beer side of we’ve looked at it and said, how would we want it to work? We’ve just created So what did you set out to create? shop. We were toying with the idea a little of wine in here, so we installed the wine really. The original idea of a beer shop gradually evolved into what it is now. things. I thought, what would I like to have in Glossop? Everything we’ve done in here bit and then Suzanne said we could do a bit machine and it’s just progressed from there something that we’d want to use ourselves. Steven: Originally it was mostly going to be a shop, which we thought would close at half-nine like an off-licence. But right now it’s used more as a bar, I think. At nights it Continues page 10 What were you doing before this place? Steven: I was working in IT. Beer took over Tasting notes deliberately obscure some labels in the end. I wanted to get away from it. I wanted to work with Suzanne. Suzanne: I’ve worked in homelessness, THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 9

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merchant profile: harvey leonard’s From page 9 gets very busy. I think the retail side of it is growing quickly. drinking in. is always going to take a little bit of time to push on, to get the customer base – which Suzanne: I’d say it’s 60-40 towards people What was the attraction of this location? It’s not quite town centre … Steven: It’s just off. It’s a five-minute walk. I think being out of the centre – because there’s so many pubs up in the centre of genuinely interested in their beers and their wines. Suzanne: It’s more a destination as parking. Glossop anyway – you get people who are ‘Our idea of the shop has changed because people want to use it in different ways’ well in Glossop because there had never been anything before. Do you offer free samples? Steven: No, it’s paid for. You get one of the top-up cards from us, load on some money, or £7 up to £60. It means people can come having to commit to a big price. Suzanne: We do do samples though. It’s a not the quantity. Steven: It does have a novelty value as well, which is lovely. People get quite excited about the machine. And I like it when or with a partner and then they’ll come you’re supposed to use it. barriers with wine. someone will have been in on their own and away you go. We’re always rotating the in and have little bits of something without good sales tool for retail. It helps people try different grapes or stray away from some excitement. wines that are in there. They range from £6 back with friends, and explain exactly how Suzanne: It’s really good for breaking down How do you decide what goes in? Suzanne: We try and put in some wines that are £9 and less. There are always opposed to “let’s just walk in here, over the road from somewhere else”. And we’ve got Had you seen the wine machine in another shop somewhere? Steven: Some friends once saw one in Spain and then we looked into it a little bit closer and we got in contact with one of the grapes they’ve had for years. We can say, try this one, try that one, and build up Steven: We get so many people that come in and say, I always drink the same thing, risk wasting any money. wines there that you’ll drink that evening. £65 bottles of wine. It’s nice to compare – sometimes we’ll do four Pinot Noirs that range from £6.50 a bottle to £60 and it’s nice to see the differences. Some interesting wines; some older wines; we’ve had a really good vintage white port; the companies, By The Glass, and they said They’ve got a 16-bottle one. So we went and had a play around with it. We knew they had one in Manchester, at The Bakerie. something like this would possibly work mainly I think because they don’t want to Suzanne: Wine is a minefield. You just take something for convenience as opposed to down and thinking about the quality and thinking about it and slowing the process You sell samples for consumption on the premises. Do you sell bottles too? Steven: Yes, for a £3 corkage fee. Any of the beers or wines are available to drink in Suzanne: Our idea of the shop has here, and we do food like cheeseboards. snowballed, and we’ve had to change and adapt because our customers wanted to use it in different ways. So we’ve flowed with it. Do people buy wine for taking home at the same time as customers are drinking in? Suzanne: We thought that if people are drinking, having some cheese and Leonard and Harvey based the store concept on their own consumer needs socialising, other people wouldn’t use Continues page 12 THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 10

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Mangrove ad Mangrove is an independent agency nurturing a portfolio of specialist spirits & liqueurs. For more information please email info@mangroveuk.com or visit www.mangroveuk.com Mangrove Global Limited Registration England 8674207 VAT Registration no. 172 8866 65

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merchant profile: harvey leonard’s social and not pretentious. Have they generated sales? Suzanne: It’s a good way for people to be introduced to the shop. People say, I’ll bring my two friends – they’ll enjoy this. evenings are very different to the beer They’ve been really good for that. The wine evenings: the beer it’s predominantly men, talking about yeast and hops or what men talk about. So it’s a different atmosphere. They’re both really good nights. Is it more female on the wine nights? Suzanne: No, it’s 50-50, I’d say. Couples, The shop front was painted by Steven and Suzanne … and deemed more successful than the floor From page 10 groups of people, groups of men. It’s a How often do you do them? it as a shop. There may be a feeling that and browse. But it’s surprising and it’s maybe nine o’clock and there’ll be 10, businesses. That was important for us. They’re the top three. really nice night actually. I would come. Suzanne: Every month. We alternate you wouldn’t want to go into that space Obviously Boutinot are really good, so we take some wines from them. And Liberty. Do you have areas of specialism? Steven: We’re changing that along the way. but Glossop seems to like the Spanish and Italian wines a lot more, so we’re growing that range at the moment. Initially we did have a lot of French stuff in between wine and beer. Last month we to Marie Curie. We had a speaker come representing a vineyard. We also try to really nice to see that people come in at them and feel completely comfortable. did a charity night and the proceeds went down for that – we didn’t have anybody and sell vouchers for other shops. We’ll why the high street is as strong as it is. steaks you’d get some money off some wine from us. maybe 15 people. They will shop around We were nervous that we would let the retail customers down and it wouldn’t be you’re comfortable, relaxed and familiar. round to suit what people seem to want from us. Tell us a bit about your wine range. Suzanne: We have a couple of main suppliers that we use. The idea was to more high-end boutique ones. Steven: We’re constantly changing things work with the high street as best we can comfortable. But once you’ve come in once, incorporate other shops’ goods inside gift packs. Other shops do that as well. That’s We’ll run offers with the local butcher’s. Steven: At Valentine’s if you bought some Suzanne: We take bread from the bakery and fruit from the greengrocer’s. This is the attitude of the high street. This idea anywhere else. It felt right to do it here. How else have you marketed the business? Suzanne: Facebook, the website, Twitter. Steven: That’s it. It’s worked really well. advertising budget. Customers come in that we had, I don’t think we’d have done it Does Glossop treasure its independents? Steven: There is this huge thing in Glossop about shopping independently and locally on the high street and I think because we don’t have a town centre supermarket – end and Co-op the other end – you’ve got the supermarkets. Glossop’s definitely a thriving little town at the moment. How do your wine events work? Tesco is down at one end, M&S at the other a huge row of shops which are cut off from make wine accessible so you’d have your good £6 or £7, and then you’d have your So we take a lot of wines from a company in Timperley, and they only work with to work with another independent family-owned boutique-style wineries. called C&O, a family-owned company based Because we’re independent we wanted family business that works with family Suzanne: It’s ticket-only, and in here. The capacity is quite small, so maybe 25-26. the winery, the history, the wine itself. We taste maybe six wines, they’ll discuss We’ll take food from a local restaurant. We always sell out – they’re really good, really Being a new business we didn’t have a big fairly quick, so we add them to a mailing and ask about events, because they sell out THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 12

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‘All our marketing has been on Facebook and Twitter’ list and that’s growing. We have little offers on Facebook and Twitter too that go down quite well. What would you like to do here next? Steven: Just push the shop side of things, and selling online would definitely be a good way to go. Suzanne: A lot of people want to shop takeaway. I think that’s manageable. I’m intrigued by the counter. Suzanne: It’s reclaimed. We had that something a bit scuffed, a bit relaxed. It was in a pub. in and built the seating, which kind of blends into it. Steven: My friend’s a good joiner – he came together quite well. better floor. Suzanne: There are things that we would have done differently. We would have got a Steven: We had to put this down ourselves. Suzanne: It was the worst day of our lives. money we’ll do a new floor. I don’t know what year that will be. we had no options so when we have some It was horrendous. It’s not the greatest but The clock looks like it’s 150 years old and come off the town hall. Suzanne: Do you want the truth? It was in the Next sale for £45. It was £90. Steven: We’ve had a lot of help from friends. As I said, my friend’s a joiner and he built us all our shelving. Although it was very hard getting the place done, that was the online but it would just be a local service, delivering within a five-mile radius, like a Everything we did was on a budget. The sign outside we painted ourselves. It’s not perfect but you have to do what you can. Steven: The pew we’re sitting on is from a cathedral. An organist’s chair. We’ve picked nice part of it. We have little stories about we hadn’t done it ourselves, I don’t know of it. There’s so much of us in it. every part of it because we did it ourselves. It took about five weeks to turn it round. If if it would have had the same feel and we would have the same personal ownership before we found the premises. We wanted things up from here and there but it’s fitted why not recommend something a little less ordinary? YOUR CUSTOMERS NEED WINE STORAGE; • The right conditions • Space to store large amounts of wine • A commission scheme to thank you for introducing us to the client • An opportunity to help your customers keep their cellars stocked up Wine cellars less ordinary TEL: 020 7101 7928 . MARKETING@SPIRALCELLARS.COM THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 13

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just williams I hear that you and your friends in California are grubbing up Cabernet and planting Trousseau Losing my edge, but not my taste Jura wines are beloved by hipsters because they’re defiantly different. But their idiosyncratic appeal goes beyond mere fashion. David Williams was there when Jura became achingly trendy J ames Murphy is the hipster’s hipster. Formerly the frontman and majordomo of both a relatively too-cool-for-school, Losing My Edge obscure but influential Brooklyn record label, DFA Records, and a relatively obscure but influential band, LCD Soundsystem, he is saved from being insufferably cooler-than-thou by having a keen sense of the ridiculousness of the very pursuit of cool, a pursuit that he satirised to hilarious effect in his 2002 track, Losing My Edge. matter-of-fact tone that apes the studiedly laidback conversation of the terminally Delivered over a sparse beat in a flat, depicts an ageing hipster’s worries that he’s no longer where it’s at. As the song progresses, an exaggerated version of Murphy intersperses his increasingly absurd, bragging reminiscences about tastings in London over the past couple of years, when I’ve felt something very close to Murphy’s fear of being eclipsed by “better-looking people with better ideas was enough to be dressed in something red variety) or a suit to be considered and more talent”. It never used to happen: when I first started writing about wine it his presence at seminal moments in the the first time Can played in Cologne”; “I development of pop culture, (“I was there was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids” at CBGBs) with his existential in Berlin and Tokyo” “coming up from behind”. other than chinos (particularly the dreaded youthful and edgy. Increasingly, however, I’m finding myself sharing the spittoon with a new breed of short-and-narrowtrousered, sockless sommeliers straight out of Shoreditch, their extravagant but fears about “losing my edge to all the kids There have been times, going to wine THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 14 impeccably groomed facial hear projecting

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the idea, to paraphrase Murphy, that “everybody that they know is more relevant than everybody that I know”. magazine at the end of last year, that we it has. at The World of Fine Wine, Francis Percival, says are “something like a tribe; a hipster tribe” and what Victoria Moore, in an amusing recent blog post, called “New These are the people that my colleague get a sense of why the Jura has seized the “Tasting Overnoy Ploussard was like fashion-conscious imagination in the way experiencing the band Can for the first David Williams is wine critic for The Observer Wine Dudes”. Contrasting them with what she terms “Old Wine Bores”, those floridand Champagne, Moore suggests New with their serious cellars of old Bordeaux Seager & Wilde In Hackney and buy their & Rudd. time,” Murphy tells Noble Rot co-editor Dan Keeling. “Undeniably elegant, super delicious, crazy and unlike anything I’d of-face old buffers from the Home Counties Wine Dudes are more likely to hang-out in wine at the Wine Car Boot than follow the Old Wine Bores to Boodle’s and Berry Bros JUST AS IMPORTANT is what the hipster tribe buys. Moore picks out, accurately, Etna, Swartland, orange wine, Burgundy, cru Beaujolais and top-end Muscadet as the defining choices. For my money, however, to vinous hipsterdom, a region that was latest issue of the magazine that Moore singled out for extended treatment in the identifies as the New Wine Dudes’ house co-editor and publisher (and, in his day this region has gone from being absent of the selection that proves whether a finger on the pulse.” she’s missed the sine qua non of admission ever expected wine to be.” In other words, Murphy and others are coming at wine in the same way they approach music and other forms of culture: they’re looking for the new, for the styles that break with the them up the path of seeking out novelty for novelty’s sake, forever looking over mentality and its stock of indigenous varieties. DOES THE REGION deserve its moment in the spotlight? Like any region, not everything produced in the Jura is great. Indeed, at the recent, rammed second accepted norms. It’s a search that may lead their shoulder and fearing they’re “losing their edge”. But it’s also a way of driving that ensures culture of all forms moves forward. Of course, as Andrew points out, the creativity in producers, a stand (or what Martin Amis called “a war”) against cliché annual Wines of Jura tasting in London, I variability in both stylistic approach and quality than I’d expected. Houillon-Overnoy, Philippe Bornard, But at its best – from names such as found myself agreeing with Vine Trail head honcho Nick Brooks that there was greater irony in this is that the Jura has arrived at its position on the stylistic bleeding edge Berthet-Bondet, Domaine Grand, Stéphane Tissot, Macle, Puffenay and Pignier among the great wines of the world, both reflect their origins and, in terms of quality, transcend their boundaries. white wines and crémants, from The more conventional, unoxiditative others – the Jura offers bottles that, like all by standing still. In its isolated position on a limb in eastern France, it never followed the fashions for bigness and international varieties, or attracted the homogenizing, other parts of the wine world. And by back to its lighter styles, its natural sticking to its guns the pendulum swung journal, Noble Rot – the Jura. As Noble Rot the issue: “Within the space of five years, on almost all wine lists, to being the part job, Roberson buyer) Mark Andrew says in large-scale commercial forces that shaped Chardonnay and Savagnin, give top Burgundy and Champagne a run for their money in the minerally elegance stakes; Pinot Noir, have an ethereal quality and their reds, from Poulsard, Trousseau and earthiness that can’t be found anywhere and complex in a genre that is a knight’s move from top sherry. about whatever new and funky region Drinking them, I couldn’t care less sommelier or wine merchant has got their special edition (issue 4) also includes what might be the most hipsterish wine article I’ve ever read: a tasting of top Jura wines with none other than James Murphy and husband) James Righton. And it’s in As if to prove the point, the Noble Rot winemaking methods, its small-producer else; and the uncompromising vins jaunes can be awe-inspiringly intense, long-lived British indie/new rave band The Klaxons’ Murphy’s asides, both in this feature and in an earlier interview with Food & Wine keyboardist-singer (and Keira Knightley’s James Murphy: a big fan of Can wine that sommelier “coming up from behind” next. The wines are delicious, and in the that really counts. dressed in what looks like a denim dressing gown (complete with sash) will be touting end, even for the obsessively hip, that’s all THE WINE MERCHANT june 2014 15

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