Australian wineries in limbo as import ban looms

9th November, 2020

Uncertainty reigns in Australia as China is apparently moving to suspend imports of several Australian goods, including wine, but there has been no official sign-off from Beijing.

Seven Australian products wine, lobsters, sugar, copper ore and concentrate, barley, timber and coal with a combined value of AU$5-6 million seem to be under threat of being slapped with suspensions by Beijing.

Rumours began swirling last week that the seven products would be suspended from Friday (6 November). The situation is a little confused, however, as while the news was reported in the Communist Party tabloid The Global Times last week, the government itself has neither officially confirmed or denied the measures.

Some Australian producers were reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as suspending exports themselves towards the end of last week as rumours of an official suspension spread. In addition to no official word from the Chinese government, major ports in China told the broadcaster that they had heard nothing about blocking imports of Australian goods either.

Australia’s trade minister, Simon Birmingham, has criticised Beijing for its, “continued uncertain and inconsistent messages”, while Dr Jeffrey Wilson, a trade expert at the Perth USAsia Centre said this was “psychological war” not a trade war and all part of China’s “grey zone” diplomacy methods.

The relationship between the two countries has broken down very quickly over the past few years and really spiralled in 2020, especially after Australia’s government led calls for an investigation of China’s role in the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

China has hit back economically, placing many key Australian imports, including wine, under investigation for supposed “dumping” with the prospect of heavy tariffs being imposed as a result.

Many had expected the investigation, which began in August, to last at least into next year but events have escalated rapidly since then.

READ MORE: Australian wineries face ‘incredibly intrusive’ Chinese questioning

World Bulk Wine Exhibition’s digital marketplace goes live

9th November, 2020

WBWE Connect – the new digital marketplace platform that has been launched by the team behind the World Bulk Wine Exhibition – has opened for registration.

Running from 23 November until 4 December the platform has been set up to  enable producers to showcase their portfolios to a broad audience of international professionals despite the exhibition not going aghead this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. The organisers say this year will see one the largest portfolios of bulk wines, which buyers can browse using a personalised search system that will enable them to zone in on the right products for their portfolio and link with producers from across the world via the WBWE Connect digital meeting hub.

Wineries taking part can log their preferences to ensure they can find the best international buyers for their wines, accelerating the search processes for purchasing and sales, and the WBWE team is carrying out the field work with a ‘matching service’ that identifies and contacts the best buyers adapted to each kind of wine. It is guaranteeing at least three and five meetings with buyers, as well as promoting wineries to its database of buyers.

So far, wineries from Australia, Spain, Hungary, South Africa, Argentina, the United States, Japan Portugal and Uruguay have already signed up to the platform, with names such Qualia Wines, Austwine Exports and Kingston Estate Wines (Australia), Sanz Calvo and Bodegas Escudero (Spain), MTE International (France), UniWines Vineyard (South Africa), Fecovita coop. (Argentina),  Varga Zsolt (Hungary), Ste. Michelle Wine StateS (USA), Kanematsu (Japan), and Wenfor (Uruguay) already uploading their portfolio of wines and preferences.

The new platform, which is offering a hefty discount for recent exhibitors at the fair, demonstrates the ability of the sector to adapt to challenges, the organisers said, and is likely to prove more to be more than just a one-off in response to Covid-19, with the format “here to stay.”

Buyers pay a flat fee for unlimited access to the WBWE connect database, but early bird discounts are available.

Please see the November issue of The Drinks Business for the bulk wine feature. 

Court of Master Sommeliers chairman steps down

9th November, 2020

Devon Broglie, chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, has stepped down from his role following the sexual harassment scandal within the organisation exposed by The New York Times.

As reported by Wine Spectator, Broglie stepped down as chairman last Friday. The same day, The New York Times published a story in which a former student studying for the MS exam accused Broglie, global beverage buyer for Whole Foods Market, of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with her.

Last week the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas suspended seven male Master Sommeliers accused of sexually harassing 21 women undertaking the Master Sommelier Diploma from all CMS activities.

Devon Broglie has stepped down as chairman of the CMS-A

The sommeliers suspended: Greg Harrington, Eric Entrikin, Robert Bath, Matt Stamp, Matthew Citriglia, Drew Hendricks and Fred Dame, will be subject to an independent external investigation.

Thus far, the seven sommeliers in question have yet to be stripped of their MS title, as CMS-A bylaws require a 30-day waiting period before this can happen.

Following the scandal brought to light by The New York Times, the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas plans to overhaul the organisation.

“We agree that a reformed CMS-A is the only path forward to ensuring the organisation’s existence and integrity, and to better protect the people who look to be educated and earn the credentials for which we have all worked so hard,” board vice chair, Virginia Philip, said a letter sent to Master Sommeliers on Friday.

According to Wine Spectator, Philip will temporarily take over from Broglie following his resignation last week, before a new chair is elected.

The Court of Master Sommeliers Americas board will be re-evaluated following the scandal, and all members will be allowed to vote to replace the entire 15-member board, which is due to revise its bylaws and the ethics policy.

Many of the allegations of sexual harassment within the NYT article centred around Geoff Kruth, president of GuildSomm, who has since resigned from his position and forfeited his Master Sommelier title.

Pascaline Lepeltier has suspended her membership to the CMS-A

Following the scandal, three female Master Sommeliers – Alpana Singh of Terra & Vine in Illinois, Corkbuzz founder Laura Fiorvanti and Racines partner Pascaline Lepeltier – suspended their membership to the CMS-A in protest.

“There are those on the inside of the Court, genuine women and men who are working to transform from within, but for myself, I believe this is a time for stepping back, critical introspection, and a reevaluation of how I can be a positive force for good and encourage progress for my industry going forward.

“I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer align myself with an organisation which I feel doesn’t represent myself, both as an individual and as a participant within a larger group of professional peers and its members at large,” Pascaline Lepeltier said in a statement on Instagram.

“The systemic issues of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and elitism are embedded into the DNA of this organisation and nothing good can be rebuilt from its foundation. It must be dismantled and we must begin again,” Alpana Singh, the first woman of colour to become a MS in North America, wrote in a post on her website.

Over 1,100 sommeliers have signed a petition calling for a boycott of the Court’s courses and exams until the entire board has stepped down.

Top new products: November

9th November, 2020

MadFish Sauvignon Blanc

Australian wine brand MadFish has launched its Sauvignon Blanc in the UK. Sourced from grapes growing in Pemberton, Frankland River and Margaret River in southwest Western Australia, the wine is described as having aromas of “cut grass, green pea and jasmine, with flavours of quince, lime and passionfruit on the palate”. The Western Australia wine regions showcased here largely escaped fire damage, and early-ripening varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc were able to express good varietal purity. MadFish recommends serving the wine with calamari salad, feta on lavosh, or chicken roulade with prawn and dill stuffing.

RRP: £9.

Contact: Benchmark Drinks,

Hubble Bubble Pale Ale

Bristol’s Tapestry Brewery has released a pale ale called Hubble Bubble. According to the producer, the 4.1% ABV brew has flavours of “citrus, passion fruit and peach” coming from the Australian Galaxy hops. There is also some rye added into the malt bill, which gives the beer a “spicy background note”. Available in 440ml cans, the limited edition ale was released alongside the Paloma Chaser, a 4.5% ABV grapefruit and mint lager, with packaging designed by Gavin Andrews.

RRP: £18 for six cans.

Contact: Tapestry Brew,

La Dama Tequila

Billed as a leading producer of sustainable and Fair Trade Tequila, La Dama is a certified organic producer. Based in the Los Altos region, it uses blue agave that has been grown on single estate ranches, and which is a minimum of seven years old. La Dama, which is both an agave grower and Tequila distiller, also practices biodynamics on its estates, and uses waste plant fibres to make bottle labels and paper with the help of local craftsmen. Its silver Tequila is fermented using wild yeast, and is double distilled to give flavours of wild guava, herbs, and spice. The bottles are made from recycled, hand-blown glass.

RSP: £59.95.

Contact: Sea Spirits,

Bonterra Organic Cabernet

Leading American organic wine producer Bonterra has launched two wines in Tesco stores nationwide in the United Kingdom. The organic Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2018 vintage is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petite Sirah, 8% Merlot and 4% Syrah, and the grapes are sourced from a variety of vineyards throughout California, some with 50-year-old vines. The majority comes from Mendocino country, where Bonterra’s three organic estates are located, while a portion also hails from Paso Robles. This month also sees the launch of the Bonterra Estate Collection Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in Waitrose.

RRP: £12.

Contact: Tesco, 0800 917 7359

XOP Black Series Macallan 1993

Scotch whisky bottler, distiller and blender Douglas Laing & Co. has released the Macallan 1993 as part of its XOP The Black Series, spirits that are endorsed by distiller Jim McEwan. Only 244 bottles of the spirit have been released, and are packaged with an embossed metal label and glass stopper in a black moleskin display case. Each carrying a certificate of authenticity, the whisky was bottled at cask strength (56.4% ABV) after being distilled at the Macallan distillery in November 1993. According to the bottler, it has flavours of “dried fruit, chocolate and honey”.

RRP: £2,150.

Contact: Douglas Laing & Co.,

Agora Rosso Vermouth

Agora Vermouth has released its first expression, called The Explorer. Made in Suffolk from French Merlot and Cabernet grapes, it is flavoured with botanicals including wormwood, vanilla, lavender, star anise, black pepper, rose petals, morello cherries, mandarin and cassia bark. Each botanical is infused separately for two weeks, before the spirits are blended together in different quantities. This blend is then transferred to a stainless steel tank to rest for a week before the grape must is added to the tank, then rested for a further month. There is a final infusion with rose, cassia bark, star anise and lavender for a week to add extra intensity.

RRP: £22.

Contact: Agora Vermouth,

Rioja Vega Con Gracia

Rioja Vega has released a limited edition red wine made from 100% Graciano. More commonly used in blends, the variety has been showcased by itself, and delivers flavours of “black fruit and aniseed with ripe tannins”, according to the producer. The wine is aged in new barrels from seven cooperages, with up to nine types of origin and toasting level. Grapes are sourced from the producer’s El Pinche vineyard, planted at an altitude of 415 metres on south-west facing slopes.

RRP: €23.

Contact: Rioja Vega,

Founders Brewing Big Luscious

Michigan-based brewer Founders has relaunched its Big Luscious “dessert beer”. Brewed with raspberries and dark chocolate, the rich stout was first unveiled as part of a limited release in 2014. The 7.8% ABV brew will be available in four-packs of 12oz bottles, and on draught in the brewer’s 50-state distribution network. Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki said: “The chocolate is rich and sweet, the raspberries are tart and bright, while a blend of wheat malt, chocolate malt and roasted barley provide a perfect, velvety malt backbone.”

RRP: US$10 per four-pack.

Contact: Founders Brewing, 616.776.2182

Cotswolds Sherry Cask Whisky

The Cotswolds Distillery has launched a Sherry cask single malt whisky, which has been fully matured in American and Spanish oak barrels, seasoned with oloroso and Pedro Ximénez Sherries. It is made using locally grown barley that undergoes traditional floor malting before being mashed and fermented for over 90 hours. The liquid is distilled twice in copper pot stills. According to the distiller, the whisky has flavours of “dark stone fruit, roasted almonds and peppery oak spice”.

RRP: £64.95.

Contact: Cotswolds Distillery,

Trivento Golden Reserve 2018

Argentine wine brand Trivento has released the 2018 vintage of its Golden Reserve Malbec. The wine is a blend of parcels of Malbec from the sub-regions of Lújan de Cuyo: Perdriel, Vistalba, Agrelo and Las Compuertas. The grapes are destemmed and crushed on entering the winery, and are macerated before fermentation. Fermentation usually lasts for 20 days, and takes place in stainless steel tanks at 26°C with natural malolactic fermentation. Twenty per cent of the must is fermented in French oak for six months, while the remaining 80% is fermented in stainless steel tanks. According to the producer, the wine has flavours of “blackberries, cherries and flowers, with vanilla and coconut imparted from oak”. The aim is to create a true representation of Malbec from Lújan de Cuyo.

RRP: £16.

Contact: Tesco, 0800 323 4040

Chicago Town pizza beer

Pizza producer Chicago Town has teamed up with Salford brewer Seven Bro7hers to make a beer that is specifically designed to pair with its new stuffed-crust takeaway Sweet Honey BBQ salami pizza. The Show Me the Honey ale replicates the sweet and savoury flavours found in the pizza. These include a tomato sauce-filled crust topped with sweet honey BBQ sauce, a blend of mozzarella and red cheddar, salami and red onions. Honeycomb malt syrup is added during the boil to make the sweet and tangy 4% ABV amber ale.

RRP: £3.50.

Contact: Seven Bro7hers, 0161 2282404

Charlie’s Chopper Spiced Rum

Jacobite Spirits has launched a limited-edition raspberry-spiced rum. Inspired by the flavours of the Scottish dessert cranachan, the spirit combines flavours of fresh raspberries, vanilla and toasted oats. Bottled at 40% ABV, the pink spirit works well when sipped neat or used with a mixer. The producer said that it offers something new to the seasoned spiced rum drinker, and provides a contrast to The 45 Scottish Spiced Rum, the first product in the range. Head distiller Tony Stapleton said of the release: “Craft spirits producers are very skilled and earnest, and we strive to reach that standard, but we didn’t want that to come at the expense of making a drink that is primarily about fun.”

RRP: £28.99.

Contact: Jacobite Spirits,

Lucky Barrel Wine Co. wines

The Lucky Barrel Co. has released what it claims are the first Bordeaux wines to have been aged in ex-whisky barrels. LBWC was established by four drinks-industry friends to create a wine for whisky drinkers. The three wines (a white, rosé and red) are made using biodynamically grown grapes sourced from small growers, while the barrels are sourced from Scotch whisky distilleries. The brand has a strong sustainable ethos, and uses recycled glass in its packaging.

RRP: £12.99.

Contact: Lucky Barrel Wine Co.,

135° East Gin

Marussia Beverages has added to its Japanese spirits portfolio with the launch of 135° East Gin. Made by the Kaikyo Distillery in Hyogo prefecture, the gin is flavoured with five Japanese botanicals including yuzu, sansho pepper, shiso leaf and chrysanthemum, as well as cedarwood, juniper, coriander seed and angelica. Junmai sake, made from Yamadanishki rice, is also added to the blend, which adds a “soft sweetness” to the gin, the producer says. Bottled at 42% ABV, Kaikyo researched 50 recipes before settling on the final one.

RRP: £35.

Contact: Marussia Beverages,

Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real

Bodegas Riojanas has released its new Monte Real Cuvée. A blend of Tempranillo and Graciano grapes are sourced from four of the 40 vineyards owned by the producer. Each vineyard is planted at around 450 metres above sea level, with vines aged for over 40 years. Yields are low, at 4,000kg per hectare. After being fermented in cone-shaped stainless steel tanks, the wine is macerated then aged in 60 new French and American oak barrels for 18 months. Bodegas Riojanas says the wine has flavours of “blackberries, blueberries, liquorice, and chocolate”.

RRP: £17.99.

Contact: Bodegas Riojanas,

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

6th November, 2020

In UK restaurant news this week: Data shows there have been 500,000 hospitality job losses since January, the first arrests are made in relation to Eat Out to Help Out fraud, and St. John restaurant banishes the lockdown blues with a pie delivery service.

Lockdown leads to £11.1bn drinks loss in on-trade: The recently published Fentimans Market Report, using data from CGA, has assessed the impact of the first lockdown on the UK on-trade. From 22 March to 8 August 2020, drinks sales in pubs, bars and restaurants fell by £11.1 billion, compared to the previous year.

500,000 job losses in hospitality since January: Data from Fourth has also demonstrated the effect Covid-19 has had on jobs. 500,000 hospitality job losses have been recorded since January, with over a fifth fewer roles held in the sector compared with October 2019.

First arrests made for EOTHO fraud: HMRC officers in London have arrested three men aged 43, 48 and 37 for fraud in connection to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Camino secures jobs in rescue deal: Spanish restaurant group Camino has secured 77 jobs, four restaurants and two bars after being bought out of administration. It has been bought by a newly-incorporated company owned by its founders Nigel Foster and Richard Bigg.

Welsh restaurants reopen: Welsh hospitality outlets have been given permission to reopen this week after the country’s 16-day ‘firebreak’. Groups of four people from different households can now dine together indoors, while larger groups can also meet so long as they are from the same household.

Top Cuvée launches Take Cuvée: The team at Highbury’s Top Cuvée are using every pun in the book. Having previously launched Shop Cuvée, it has now unveiled a delivery service, which will soon be available across London.

St. John launches London pie service: Nose-to-tail specialist St John. is bringing is suet crusts to the masses with the unveiling of a pie delivery service across London. It will be offering different pies each week, with the inaugural pie being pheasant and trotter.

Diogenes The Dog launches new gift box and online shop: Elephant & Castle shop and wine bar Diogenes The Dog has launched a new gift box for the festive season as well as an online shop featuring wines for national delivery.

67 Pall Mall prepares a virtual Christmas masterclass series: London members’ club for wine lovers, 67 Pall Mall, is launching a Christmas masterclass series throughout December. Head chef Marcus Verberne and the club’s sommeliers will guide viewers through Christmas wine pairings and dishes.

Ampéli launches finish at home meal kits: London Eastern Med-inspired restaurant Ampéli has entered the meal kit market with a series of seasonal feast boxes feeding groups of up to four, accompanied by a selection of seasonal Greek wines from Ampéli’s latest list.


Meatliquor King’s Cross: Meatliquor announced on social media this week that it would not be reopening its King’s Cross site after the second English lockdown.

Whisky.Auction to sell Evgeny Lebedev wine collection

6th November, 2020

Online auctioneer Whisky.Auction is to host its first dedicated wine sale later this month, featuring the collection of newspaper magnate Evgeny Lebedev.

The sale will take place from 15-24 November and features a wide array of still fine wines, fortified wines and Champagne, including those consigned by other collectors.

The big draw, however, is the collection of Lord Lebedev (he was recently made a peer). The owner of the British newspapers Evening Standard and Independent, Lord Lebedev is well known for his playboy-ish love of fashion and parties. He is also something of a gastronome having previously run Sake No Hana in St James’s, which in turn has spurred on an interest in wine leading to a sizeable collection.

The bulk of his cellar is Bordeaux and the sale will feature bottles of Petrus from 1995-1999; 1982, 1986, 1989 and 1998 Château Margaux; 1990 Haut-Brion, 1986-2000 Ducru-Beaucaillou, 1989 Latour; 1995 Pichon Baron, 1996 Pichon Comtesse and many more.

There is also white Burgundy in the shape of Corton Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray and Patrick Javillier and Meursault from Comtes Lafon, as well as Italian wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco spanning the 1960s to 1990s from top domains, various vintages from ‘Super Tuscan’ estates, single bottles from Veneto legend Giuseppe Quintarelli and 1949 Primitivo from Antonio Ferrari and Napa wines from Ridge, Dominus and Opus One.

Isabel Graham-Yool, auction director at the site, said: “I’m delighted that Lord Lebedev has chosen to release some of his superb wine collection through Whisky.Auction. The auction reads like a who’s who of the greatest wine names ever, providing some mature wines for Christmas or the perfect basis for a collection.”

Wine consultant Douglas Blyde who advised Lebedev on much of his collection, added:  “The considerable, carefully stored collection of predominantly classical wines, including first growth Bordeaux and rare Italian bottlings, will offer huge pleasure to both wine connoisseurs seeking immediate gratification, as well as those looking, with confidence, to build a notable wine library.”

Villa Maria sells off vineyards to drive growth plans

6th November, 2020

New Zealand winery Villa Maria has said it is selling off 31 hectares of “surplus land” in order to raise funds to “accelerate its global growth ambitions”.

The vineyard land in Mangere around the estate’s Auckland headquarters is being sold off to raise capital that the company wants to reinvest in its wineries and sustainable and organic viticulture programmes, brands and marketing efforts as demand increases in key markets.

CEO Justin Liddell explained: “We’ve been making changes to our business consistent with our vision to be one of the world’s great wine companies.

“I’m really proud of the team who has achieved sound results despite the challenges of COVID. We’ve restructured and refreshed our business, optimised and refined our brand and marketing portfolios and redefined our hospitality offering to enhance our consumer experience. We have laid the foundations for our future success and this is the next phase in our growth strategy.”

The vineyards being sold off were originally acquired back in 2000 but Liddell went on that the value of the land since then had risen to the point, “where it’s not possible to generate a reasonable return on these vineyards. We’re exploring selling 31 hectares of vineyard and bare land surrounding our headquarters at Mangere. We will continue to operate our Auckland winery, bottling, warehousing, head office and hospitality functions on the remaining 10ha”.

He added that the company was also exploring other avenues in order to raise capital, including from “interested parties” although he said it was too early to, “speculate on who a new investor might be or the nature or extent of the investment”.

Villa Maria is a leading brand in the UK but has also set its sights on “untapped potential” in North America and Asia.

“We’re really focused on continuing to share the best of New Zealand wine with the world and building genuine relationships while also using data and insights to deliver on consumer and market trends. Enhancing our sustainability credentials and organic product portfolio amongst other initiatives, will help us tap into growing global demand,” said Liddell.

TWE opens ‘The Wine Collection’ to trade buyers

6th November, 2020

Treasury Wine Estates has launched a new trade portal for its luxury e-commerce platform ‘The Winery Collection, giving merchants and independents access to the group’s fine wine portfolio.

Launched back in August for the general public, The Winery Collection opens up access to the Australian wine group’s luxury and fine wine portfolio across its Penfolds, Wynns, Beringer, Maison de Grand Esprit and Cavaliere D’Oro estates – including many wines not normally available in the UK.

Among the fine wine labels the trade will now be able to source, with no minimum order required, are Wynns ‘John Riddoch’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Penfolds ‘Yattarna’ Chardonnay and Beaulieu Vineyard Georges De Latour Cabernet Sauvignon.

Those who register for a (free) business account will also be updated on, among other things, new releases and have access to digital support materials.

Ben Blake, head of marketing at TWE, said: “Now more than ever we want to support our customers and give them access to some of the world’s greatest wine brands. So, we are delighted to be able to offer our outstanding collection of luxury wines to all merchants and independent wine retailers through The Winery Collection.

“As well as being able to support smaller merchants that TWE hasn’t been able to reach previously, the site also provides merchants the ease and convenience of ordering online. There is no minimum order quantity and so if a retailer would simply like to order single bottle to trial one of our exceptional wines, it’s a service we are happy to provide.”

The week in pictures

6th November, 2020

The long-awaited results of The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs young sommelier and young chef competitions were announced this week. Picking up the prize this year was Paul Robineau, 27, who is head sommelier at London’s 110 de Taillevent. From a winemaking family in the Loire, Robineau has chalked up stints at The Fat Duck, Moor Hall and the Dorchester before being appointed to his current role a month ago.

He said: “I am so happy to hear the news at last. I was third in the competition last year, so feel very honoured to come top this time. It’s been quite a journey. Three years ago I knew nothing about restaurants and how to carry a tray properly – and now I am sitting the Master Sommelier exams, with one part already passed!”

Melania Battison of Medlar in Chelsea was also presented with the Gerard Basset Trophy for the best taster. Battison came second to Robineau in the overall competition.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Ellie Shaw, sous chef trainer at The Clink Restaurant in HMP Brixton, a charitable initiative that teaches prisoners new skills in an effort to reduce reoffending rates, triumphed in the young chef competition

She said: “This is my first competition. I was happy just to be selected for the final – and was definitely not expecting to win the actual title. It is so worthwhile, and I would like to thank my whole team who have been right behind me from the start of this competition.” Originally from Stoke on Trent, Shaw moved to London and gained a first-class degree in culinary arts at the University of West London.

Wines of Germany announced the winners of its £65,000 Retailer Partnership Fund this week. After reviewing almost 50 applications from across the UK, the team whittled it down to just 14, who will now receive funds to support the promotion of German wines.

The winners are: adVINture Wines (H2Vin ltd), Duncan Murray Wines, Handford Wines, Highbury Vintners, Howard Ripley Wines, Loki Wines Ltd, Mumbles Fine Wine, The Oxford Wine Company, Philglas & Swiggot, Tanners Wines, The Good Wine Shop, The Winery, Woodwinters and Yapp Brothers

Nicky Forrest, director of Wines of Germany UK said: “We were so impressed with the originality and ingenuity in all the applications we received. It was a difficult task to whittle it down to the final winners, but we felt the chosen fourteen will really be able to bring the campaign to life all across the UK.”

As England enters its second national lockdown, The Three Drinkers have returned with series two of the podcast called Bring a Bottle. Available on Spotfiy. Available across key podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple, iTunes and Acast, the series sees Helena, Aidy and Colin explore famous cocktails, discover new products, take about the latest big industry investments and answer your drinks questions.

Meanwhile, in America, as the votes continue to be counted in the 2020 US election, Google Trends reported searches for ‘liquor store near me’ were at an all-time high.

Scotch distiller and bottler Gordon & MacPhail unveiled plans for its new distillery in the Cairngorms National Park this week. Called The Cairn, planning permission was granted last year with work beginning in July 2020. Scheduled to open in spring 2022, the distillery will include a visitor experience, tasting rooms, retail space and a coffee shop.

Ian Chapman, brands director, said: “We have put the consumer right at the heart of the process of creating the brand, as we have with the design of the distillery itself. We wanted to make sure it was clearly Scottish, but easy for consumers to pronounce and to spell. This will be particularly important for our international markets when English is not the first language.

“We also had to be mindful of Benromach, our other distillery. We wanted the new brand to complement, not compete.”

Camden Town Brewery announced the return of its ‘fresh prints’ promotion this week. The brewer has teamed up with 12 artists to create a series of limited-edition prints, which will be available with ‘fresh print’ packs of Camden Hells lager in nationwide retailers.

The promotion is available across Hells four-, 10- and 12-packs of 330ml bottles, as well as the new addition of four-packs of Hells cans, in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Ocado and Asda nationwide.

Andre Amaral, marketing director at Camden Town Brewery said: “Great design has always played a big part of what we do at Camden, from the creation of our products to working with a seasonal illustrator each year. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented illustrators and designers over the years, and ‘fresh prints’ is the perfect platform to give people great art in their homes.”

Restaurants across England posted pictures of their final service before lockdown this week. Here’s the team at Mere in Fitzrovia finishing on a high.


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New tasting room coming along nicely. #davidlinevineyardmanager #greyfriarsvineyard #greyfriarsvineyardtastingroom

A post shared by greyfriarsvineyard (@greyfriarsvineyard) on

We may be in lockdown, but Greyfriars Vineyard in Surrey is still hard at work. Having finished its harvest, it’s now working on a new tasting room for when it can welcome guests again.

Extension of furlough until March ‘big boost’ for hospitality industry

6th November, 2020

UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has extended the furlough scheme until the end of March 2021 , which will provide a “big boost” for the on-trade, according to UK Hospitality.

UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has extended the furlough scheme until the end of March 2021

As part of the extended scheme, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to £2,500 to see businesses through the second wave of the pandemic. Firms taking advantage of the scheme will only have to pay the cost of employer national insurance and pension contributions.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, believes that more need to be done in order to protect the on-trade during the second wave of the pandemic

“I’ve always said I would do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK, and that has meant adapting our support as the path of the virus has changed. Businesses need certainty and support in the face of a worsening economic backdrop,” Sunak said.

“As we saw from the first lockdown, the economic effects are much longer-lasting for businesses and areas than the duration of any restrictions. To give businesses security through the winter, I believe it is right to go further,” he added.

While UK Hospitality’s chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said the furlough extension will provide a “big boost” to the on-trade, she believes more needs to be done to protect the hospitality industry and ensure its survival after the pandemic.

“Hospitality is facing a tough winter ahead and businesses will need additional support if they are to survive.

“We will need enhanced grant support to keep venues alive and a solution to the ongoing rent debt problem that continues to linger over the sector,” Nicholls said.

“These must come alongside a clear roadmap for a return to business. Without these, the extended furlough scheme alone is not enough to keep hospitality alive and will have been a wasted investment of public funds,” she added.

As reported by Eater London, UK Hospitality wrote to Sunak on Tuesday this week requesting that the furlough scheme be extended to the end of April next year in order to help the struggling hospitality sector through the pandemic, which may have helped to spur on his u-turn decision.