News in brief

Devon merchant Christopher Piper Wines has warned customers that prices will rise significantly this year regardless of what happens in the Budget. "For the first time in nearly 12 years

the UK wine trade and its customers are about to experience severe wine price inflation," its website says. The company blames short harvests around the world

and rising glass, cork and screwcap production costs. "Add to this the downstream effect of today's oil price," the website adds. "Shipping, freight and warehousing costs have all increased in proportion to the rising cost of oil and, of course, our own distribution costs have also increased.

Roberson is running two high-profile tastings at its Kensington High Street cellars in March and April.

On March 6 the merchant will be showcasing wines from Hermitage La Chapelle Paul Jaboulet Ainé, with tickets priced at £85. On April 3 there will be a tasting of Domaine Joseph Roy of Gevrey-Chambertin, at £60 a ticket. Both events run from 7pm to 9pm.

Berry Bros & Rudd has experienced its "busiest day for more than a decade", following an announcement that Hong Kong's wine tax has been abolished. Berry's said its customers were buying up wines because they expected demand in Hong Kong to increase following the announcement, which would push up fine wine prices globally. During his 2008/2009 budget address, Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang scrapped all the duty on wine and beer. He hopes the move will establish Hong Kong as a major player in global fine wine trading.

London's Philglass & Swiggot has been named one of the capital's Top 100 "hottest shops" by listings magazine Time Out for the quality and diversity of its range.