Yalumba is once again sponsoring the World of Music, Arts and Dance festival in Wiltshire this summer, offering festivalgoers a wide range of award-winning wines.

Retailers are invited to Wine Australia UK’s largest free-pour tasting of the year, which takes place at Australia House in London on June 28.

Tim Stanley-Clarke enjoying jolly japes with Allan Cheesman

Tributes are pouring in for pre-eminent port consultant Tim Stanley-Clarke after he sadly passed away.

Andrew Shaw and Philip Tuck MW will lead a peloton of riders for a charity cycle in memory of the late Treasury Wines Estates managing director Dan Townsend.

Brands need provenance to survive in the modern cider category: those that can demonstrate a strong back- story and sense of place are thriving and those that cannot are falling by the wayside. British consumers are becoming more discerning about the products they are purchasing and are looking for genuine imports and local, independent producers, and that is a strong factor in Kopparberg’s success. It might not be a brand many in the UK immediately associate with heritage and provenance, but it has a back- story to rival any drinks brand on the market.

Award-winning independent beer merchant Real Ale is opening a second shop in northwest London to build on the success of its flagship Twickenham store.

Sainsbury’s has seen gin sales grow 25% year-on-year and has bolstered its range with three new lines to capitalise on the trend.

Borough Wines and Beers opened its doors yesterday for the first time since London’s Borough Market was hit by an act of terrorism that appalled the country.

Majestic has reported 5.7% like-for-like sales growth in its retail outlets and chief executive Rowan Gormley declared the business is now “past the tipping point”.

Sainsbury’s has bolstered its craft beer and cider offering across its Northern Ireland estate by introducing 28 new lines from a range of small producers.

JF Hillebrand is bidding to expand its UK business by presenting itself as the ultimate logistics partner for retailers and suppliers, regardless of their size.

Whisky: Held in honour

08 June, 2017

Mark Angus, retail sales manager of whisky distributor Gordon & MacPhail’s shop in Elgin, has just been made a Keeper of the Quaich in honour of his special commitment to the Scotch whisky industry.

Innovation in wine

08 June, 2017

The London Wine Fair has shrunk somewhat in recent years – partly a reflection of consolidation in the market. Companies such as PLB and Bottle Green, which previously hawked their wares from some of the largest stands, are among the firms that have been swallowed up.

I Heart Feels the Love

08 June, 2017

Copestick Murray’s I Heart range has taken the market by storm since its launch in 2011 and annual retail sales have now broken through the £45 million barrier (Nielsen). It has surged into the UK’s top 20 wine brands and has the bestselling Prosecco and Pinot Grigio in impulse.

Italian Renaissance

08 June, 2017

Prosecco has enjoyed a remarkable rise towards ubiquity in recent times, thanks to its uncomplicated taste and its status as an affordable luxury. “I’ll be there in a Prosecco,” laugh Brits to one another. “My superpower is making Prosecco disappear. It’s a classy and elegant drink. Two pints of Prosecco, please.”

Yalumba has blended Coonawarra Cabernet with Barossa Shiraz to create a £225 “super claret” designed to honour its rich history and experimental nature.

DRN, Origin Wines and Electric Sky Wines took over One Belgravia in the capital for a glittering party after day two of the London Wine Fair. 

The wine trade can be the poster boy for international trade relations after Britain leaves the EU, according to the outgoing director of the London Wine Fair.

Asda has hit headlines of late for selling a huge amount of £10 Champagne, offering three slabs of lager for £20 and stocking six bottles of branded wine for £24. It has consistently offered the most competitive prices on spirits and recently raised eyebrows when it unveiled a £5 fizz called Progrigio.

Aldi has launched an in-store craft beer festival that has seen it bolster its range with 16 brews from across the UK.

Dom Pérignon has released its vintage 2009 cuvée and chef de cave Richard Geoffroy is raving about its quality.

Kopparberg has extended its fruit cider range with the launch of a Blueberry & Lime variant.

Blossom Hill has launched an on-pack promotion offering consumers the chance to win discounts on bestselling make-up brands like Rimmel and Clinique.

UK agents that shun the London Wine Fair deserve to be questioned by the brands they represent about a missed opportunity, according to Patrick McGrath MW.

Berry Bros & Rudd is opening a new retail store opposite St James’s Palace as it aims to position itself as “a one-of-a-kind destination for wine and spirits in the heart of London”.

Soaring sales of lager, ale, gin and sparkling wine have helped the off-trade BWS market grow by 2.3% to £16.1 billion in the past year (Nielsen, year to April 22, 2017).

Conviviality has quadrupled its turnoverin four years after buying Matthew Clark, Bibendum PLB and Wine Rack, but chief executive Diana Hunter insists it is not “deal hungry”.

Welcome to our annual list of the 100 most influential people in the UK wine industry, covering retailers, suppliers, wholesalers, writers, TV stars and lobbyists.

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln was in the White House abolishing slavery, Queen Victoria was at the height of her power and William Ewart Gladstone was chancellor of the exchequer. The Football Association had just been founded, the very first London Underground tube was embarking upon its maiden voyage and Archduke Franz Ferdinand was born.

Off Licence News has been rebranded to better reflect its position in the market and will now be called Drinks Retailing News as it champions the off-trade in 2017 and beyond.

Marks & Spencer has started selling 32 wines bought en primeur from the 2014 Bordeaux vintage as it aims to set itself apart from rival multiples. 

Sparkling Pinot Grigio in 20cl cans is the latest innovation from Off-Piste Wines in its bid to modernise the UK wine category.

Drinks trade charity The Benevolent will auction a 13-strong collection of vintage Champagnes from Taittinger at the 2017 International Wine Challenge awards dinner.

Marston’s has consolidated its position as Britain’s leading ale producer by purchasing the Charles Wells brewery and brands for £55 million.

Marks & Spencer was the most awarded retailer at the 2017 International Wine Challenge as it scooped 146 medals, including 12 golds.

SITT founder Judy Kendrick has re-joined the fold and will serve as brand ambassador for the tasting after it was purchased by OLN owner Agile Media.

Bertrand Steip is taking over as managing director of Moët Hennessy UK to replace the outgoing Jo Thornton.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte has appointed Christophe Juarez as managing director, replacing the outgoing Julie Campos.

Asda has revealed ambitious plans to become the UK’s leading craft beer retailer after bolstering its range with more than 100 brews from across the world.

Hannah Tovey is taking over as event director at the London Wine Fair after Ross Carter announced he was leaving the post to join Fresh Montgomery.

Copestick Murray is expanding its I Heart range with a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a Mendoza Malbec and a Rioja.

Brooklyn Brewery’s has chosen the UK as the international market to debut its Scorcher IPA, a 4.5% abv brew made with Amarillo, Simcoe, Cascade and Bravo hops.

Heather Graham and Guy Ritchie have launched a coconut-flavoured rum, but these are drinks industry stars rather than Hollywood icons.

Brockmans gin saw UK sales grow 245% in 2016 after it gained listings with Marks & Spencer and Harvey Nicholls, among others.

The team that rejuvenated Kestrel lager and Diamond cider is now targeting UK retailers with a Finnish cider called Fizz.

Leading online craft beer retailer Beer Hawk has appointed Russell Clarke to head up efforts to boost sales to the trade.

John Timothy has taken over as chief executive at the Portman Group after a decade in senior public affairs roles at Tesco.

Suffolk producer Aspall has launched canned cider to satisfy growing demand for consumers for “mid-strength cider that doesn’t compromise on quality or taste”.

Australia has long been head and shoulders above the other wine producing countries in UK volume and value sales, but sales have finally started to dip slightly. The only top 10 countries of origin in growth – New Zealand, Argentina and Chile – all have a higher average bottle price than Australia, so it is arguably time for the industry to come together to drive value into the Australia category to preserve its long-term health.

More than 250 wines will be poured at the Wines of Germany trade tasting at the Hospital Club in London on May 9.

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COMMENT

Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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