Bibendum strengthens US portfolio

Bibendum PLB has added to its US portfolio with the inclusion of four new American wine agencies, which it says is in response to growing consumer interest.

002_Renwood Around the Vineyard Stock

Renwood Winery is situated in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County in northern California.

The new agencies include two Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialists, Walter Hansel in Russian River, whose wines are served on British Airways First Class, and La Follette, which is run by winemaker, former plant biologist and chemist and leading authority on Pinot Noir, Greg La Follette. Based in Sonoma and Mendocino, the winery blends grapes from across its regions to produce its Pinot Noirs.

The other agency includes Amador County-based Renwood, in the Sierra Foothills of northern California, whose winemaker Joe Shebl producers Zinfandel from old, dry-farmed vines, and Forge Cellars from Finger Lakes in New York state, which arose the partnership between Rhône winemaker Louis Barruol of Chateau Saint Cosme and American winemaker Rick Rainey and Justin Boyette. The shale hillsides around the distinctive lakes have a microclimate that produces fresh, mineral-driven Rieslings and Pinot Noirs.

The boutique wines will be available through Walker & Wodehouse, the Group’s arm dedicated to supplying the independent retail channel, as well as its national on-trade arm, Bibendum.

Bibendum PLB’s buying director Andrew Shaw said there had been a growth in the US artisan supply base producing wines that were “more aligned to the European palette” – and the boom of the American dining scene in the UK was prompting greater interest in US wines from the consumer.

“The demand for US wines has exploded in the UK on-trade and independent channels,” he said. “The American dining scene has been booming in the UK over the past couple of years and we are now seeing the resurgence in American wine to complement this trend.”

The new agencies offered great varietal breadth and quality, he added.

“They have much in common, with their contemporary styles and by-hand production methods, but all offer something unique in terms of regional diversity, winemaking techniques and winery traditions.”

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