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The week in pictures

(Photo: Julia Claxton)

In Royal Visits, English fizz maker Ridgeview welcomed the Duchess of Cornwall for a tour of the East Sussex-based estate on Thursday while on an official pilgrimage to the county.

The Duchess said: “Can I say what a huge pleasure it is to be here today. Not just that it has brought me back to Sussex, brought me back to Ditchling, where I used to be at school … but one of my hugest pleasures is being President of Wines of GB.”

She was shown the progress at Ridgeview’s new £1.8m winery along with representatives from Trinder architects, Axio Builders and Clydesdale Bank who are involved in the project, alongside joint funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

In sports tie-ins, a crack team of wine experts swapped their flutes for football boots last Friday and schlepped to north London to play in Santa Rita’s trade annual footie tournament at Arsenal’s grounds.

The Press team at Santa Rita’s annual footie tournament. (Photo: Santa Rita)

The ‘Santa Rita 120 Arsenal Experience’ took place in the hallowed ground of the Emirates Stadium, just one of the perks that the Chilean estate enjoys as part of its wine partnership with the club.

db had a team of its own at the tournament last year, but sadly between press trips, Vinexpo Bordeaux preparations and putting our third issue of Wine List Confidential to bed, we had to give it a miss this time. Guests from the UK, Irish, Dutch and Chilean on-trade, off-trade and press got a tour of the grounds before the match.

Our spies at the stadium spied The Buyer‘s Richard Siddle and Chris Wilson forming part of the media team, along with Decanter’s Alex Layton, who ended up winning goalie of the match (with hindsight, we probably would’ve let the side down….).

This year, Bibendum came out on top after a hard-fought final against Matthew Clark.

Passes, goals scored and saved, near misses, blind refs and next year’s formations were discussed over dinner in the Diamond Club, accompanied by Santa Rita 120, Medalla Real and Floresta wines.

On Sunday, Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards kicked off, and of course Taittinger was on-hand to keep the party going, as the Academy’s official Champagne sponsor.

Fiona Shaw signs Taittinger’s very, very, very big bottle. (Photo: Taittinger)

Celebrities signed a Methuselah of Brut Réserve NV from official BAFTA partner, Champagne Taittinger, which will be auctioned at a fundraising event later this year.

Amongst the slebs who signed the Methuselah were Benedict Cumberbatch (who won the Leading Actor award – the first BAFTA of his career), Jodie Comer (who scooped Leading Actress for her role in Killing Eve), and Jessica Hynes (winner of Female Performance in a Comedy Programme for BBC Four’s There She Goes).

Vinexpo Bordeaux kicked on on 13 May, with 1,600 companies from 29 countries coming out to the annual trade show to swap ideas and sell.

db managed to get an interview with Vinexpo’s new CEO Rodolphe Lamayese, who admitted the show is past its glory days.

“People have to realise that the old days are over and that there is competition from trade shows all over the world, not just Germany,” he said.

“The model has changed now and Vinexpo needs to be bringing its exhibitions to its visitors. We need to adapt to the times.

The show wrapped up on Thursday with the 60th annual Fete de la Fleur, which db was lucky enough to attend along with a staggering 1,650 guests.

This year also marked the 400th anniversary of Château Lynch Moussas, where the dinner was held.

Meanwhile in Blighty, London Wine Week kicked off on Monday, and db made sure to check out the hub at Flat Iron Square on Thursday, which was, of course, heaving.

We managed to catch the team at Most Wanted basking in the last of the sunlight, as well as their own success at the event.

We may have also stayed for a wine flight at Berry Bros & Rudd’s pop-up….

It’s been a busy week here on db’s events calendar, so on Tuesday we were relieved to spend the evening enjoying a relaxing three course meal paired with booze-free cocktails at the leisure of one of the hottest names in drinks startup investment, Distill Ventures.

The investor, best-known for its work with non-alcoholic spirit brand Seedlip, hosted a dinner to mark the launch of its latest white paper, which gives an overview of the latest developments in the low and no alcohol sector.

DV teamed up with Rich Woods of east London cocktail bar Scout on the drinks menu, which featured a sustainable sparkling aperitif made with banana peel and cacao husks, and a negroni so good we had to order two.

We’ll be publishing a story about the report in more depth next week, so keep your eyes peeled.

On Wednesday Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, CEO of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, launched the 2019 edition of the Mouton Cadet Wine Bar at the Cannes Film Festival. Guests from both film and music attended and caught an exclusive performance by French singer HollySiz.

On Monday, bartenders and baristas came together at the official UK launch of Licor 43 Baristo at London’s Big Lebowski-inspired bowling alley MEATLiquor Lanes.

UK importer Cellar Trends invited trade guests to sample the signature drinks of the night, the Licor 43 Carajillo (Licor 43 Original and espresso over ice) and a series of cocktails created in honour of the occasion, which can’t have helped with the bowling.

Herefordshire-based Chase Distillery has launched its first advertising campaign, called ‘All in the Chase’ which will run in Curzon and Everyman cinemas, in print media and on billboards.

The campaign will consist of a 70-second video championing the distiller’s field-to-bottle approach.

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