The week in pictures
It’s been a tough week for the UK’s bar and restaurant sector.
On Monday (20 September), we learned that hospitality venues could be asked to close at 10pm as part of the government’s attempt to mitigate a second wave of coronavirus.
Then on Tuesday, this was confirmed by PM Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Patrons and staff must also wear face masks in venues unless they are seated at their table, table service will be mandatory, and venue owners could face heavy fines if they do not make sure customers are meeting in groups of no more than six and they are staying socially distant from other people.
When the rule came into effect on Thursday, Covid marshals were seen patrolling Soho after curfew to make sure there were no illegal speakeasies taking place.
And if that’s not all, students in Scotland have been told not to go into pubs in an effort to curb gatherings escalating.
Well, we suppose 2020 needed a third act…
Oh but that’s not all, obviously.
Hospitality venues in England are now required by law to display QR codes, which users of the NHS Covid-19 app can scan to check-in.
The app uses Bluetooth for contact tracing and issues alerts if a user has been in close proximity to someone with Covid-19.
People can also use the app to check in to venues on their smartphone by scanning QR-codes displayed at restaurants, pubs, bars and other businesses.
Hospitality outlets in England will face £1,000 fines if they do not display an official Track and Trace poster, featuring their assigned QR code.
Former cricket star Darren Gough has partnered with Henkell Freixenet to launch a range of seven wines with proceeds going to South African wildlife charity Care for Wild.
Commenting on the range’s release that was first tipped in April, Gough admitted that he’s an “enthusiastic amateur” when it comes to wine, but has worked with Robin Copestick, the managing director of Henkell’s UK business Freixenet Copestick, on the range to moderate the “quality of the wines as well as ensuring that they are competitively priced.
The Care For Wild wine collection is available from www.slurp.co.uk, after which a launch is planned with major UK grocery and On Trade chains.
As well as supporting the wildlife charity, it is hoped the range would also put some “much needed” life into the South African wine category, which has been steadily declining in the UK off-trade over the past year. In the year to 23 February, SA wine’s value sales fell 6.4% in UK retail, according to IRI data.
In harvest news, the English wine harvest has started earlier than ever for a fair few producers.
Cornwall’s Camel Valley is due to complete its earliest harvest on record, with all picking to be finished before the start of October.
Speaking to the drinks business, Camel Valley founder Bob Lindo said that this year’s harvest was the “earliest yet”.
“We used, back in 1989, to start around 5 October, and we have finished as late as the first week of November,” he said, adding that the November pick was a slight anomaly as some grapes were left on the vine for a filming date for Rick Stein’s Food Heroes, broadcast in 2004.
The winery, which has been in business for over 30 years, is due to complete picking this Sunday (27 September).
Other wineries and vineyards around the country are also reporting an earlier start to picking than usual. In its harvest blog, Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex said it was due to gather in 235 tonnes of grapes, equivalent to around 190,000 bottles, with harvest coming “earlier than ever before”.
In headlines that are funnier out of context, whiskey maker Jack Daniels took a dog toy to court this week.
Jack Daniel’s has logged an appeal with the US Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that a dog toy did not infringe on its trademarks.
The Brown-Forman brand was first taken to court by a company that makes Bad Spaniels Silly Squeakers dog toy in 2014 after the distiller sent cease and desist letters to the company.
The toy, which is made by VIP Products, is a rubber bottle designed to look similar to the classic Jack Daniel’s bottle, with black labels and white text.
They make plenty of other silly toys based on alcohol brands including Smella Arpaw (Stella Artois), Heinie Sniff’n (Heineken), Blameson Triple Steak (Jameson), Killer Bite (Miller Lite), Barkparty (Bacardi), Hairball (Aperol), Chewy Breederer (Louis Roederer) and Doggie Walker (Johnnie Walker).
Our favourite wine knock-off, or winner of the Best in Breed category, is Chewy Breederer (Louis Roederer).
In good reads, Texan wine expert Jessica Dupuy has launched a book charting the wines made in the arid plains of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, and Colorado’s mountains.
The Wines of Southwest USA, which came out on 24 September, is published by Infinite Ideas and aims to change perceptions and show that these states are producing wines that can stand up to those made by their friends on the west coast.
Dupuy said: “Taking on the project to share the story of wine in a quadrant of America that is most associated with cacti, cattle, and cowboys was a bit daunting.”
The chapters on each state’s producers cover around 10-15% of today’s industry in the area, and feature those who helped to form its wine industry or who are actively pushing it forward.
In oenotourism, Casa Martini distillery, which is located just outside of Turin, Italy, has officially reopened its doors to visitors.
The Aperitif maker has opened its doors once again with new features for visitors including access to the “stills area”, and new instillations such as the “Cabinet of Curiosities”.
Ireland’s Kinahan’s Whiskey has released a collectable art piece called “I’M OK”, which is made by Italian artist Marcantonio from Kasc Project Whisky bottles.
All funds raised from the artwork’s sales will be donated to the Massimo Bottura’s Food For Soul organisation.