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The week in pictures

Salcombe Gin will be unveiling its seventh limited-edition release in its Voyager Series called ‘Daring’ next week. The gin was inspired by chef Paul Ainsworth’s dish A Tale of Porthilly, and is distilled with whey and botanicals foraged from the Cornish coast. Ainsworth’s dish celebrates the Cornish oyster, and the gin has been created to replicate the same umami and zinc-like properties of the shellfish. It also includes fennel, apple and lime in reference to the original dish.

Ainsworth said: “Creating ‘Daring’ with Salcombe Distilling Co., as part of the limited edition Voyager Series, has been a fascinating journey of discovery. Living here in Cornwall, we wanted to evoke a sense of being by the sea and include local flavours and botanicals that we enjoy in our restaurants. Our inspiration for the gin is an oyster dish called ‘A Tale of Porthilly’ that we
serve guests at Paul Ainsworth at No6. Within the ingredients of ‘Daring’ you can taste the saltiness of the sea depicted by oyster leaves, the freshness of green apples, the soft aniseed of fennel, along with blood orange and lime. At the heart of the distillation process is a daring ingredient, whey, a sustainable by-product from dairy farming which brings a buttery smoothness to the palate, perfectly complimenting the soft citrus and warming spices. The name ‘Daring’ also recalls a time when our quaint fishing village of Padstow was a thriving merchant port, whose ships transported spices all over the world. ‘Daring’ was one of the ships, built for owners in Padstow; it is also the perfect word to describe the driving force and ethos of The Ainsworth Collection.”

Northern Europe experienced freezing temperatures this week as vignerons across the land attempted to ward off the harmful effects of the frost. This image, from Domaine Belleville in Burgundy, shows numerous bougies being lit among the vines in an effort to raise temperatures. While beautiful, the candles also tell a different story. In France, vineyards the length and breadth of the country were affected. While the extent of the damage is yet to be properly assessed, Bordeaux-based industry body CIVB told France 24 the frost would “severely affect the harvesting volumes in 2021”. Other French wine regions, including Champagne, Chablis, the Loire, Rhône and Jura were hit, while reports are coming in from northern and central Italy, Austria and the UK.

Mexican beer brand Estrella Jalisco has introduced a new beer called Tropical Chamoy Michelada, a 3.5% ABV lager featuring a 3.5% ABV featuring a blend of clamato, chamoy and pineapple. The brewer is also campaigning for Merriam-Webster to add the term ‘chamoy’, a Mexican condiment, to the dictionary. It has enlisted the help of Mexican singer-songwriter Sofia Reyes to encourage fans to share their best definition of chamoy by 15 April for a chance to win a year’s supply of Tropical Chamoy Micheladas. The petition can be found here.

UK wine merchant Corney & Barrow has teamed up with the inimitable Oz Clarke to help raise funds for industry charity Hospitality Action. Together with C&B buyer Rebecca Palmer, Clarke will host an online tasting for a panel of celebrities on 13 May as part of its Wine In To Help Out initiative. Members of the public can reserve a place at the virtual event and buy a case of four wines due to feature during the evening. All profits will be donated to Hospitality Action.

More details can be found here.

Sauska, a family-run winery with vineyards in Tokaj and Villany, has won a competition that sought to find the best winery website in Hungary, organised by online publication and judged by db’s editor, Lucy Shaw and sommelier Andreas Larsson among others.

Sauska, which makes red, white, rosé, sparkling and sweet wines at its gravity fed winery, beat off competition from 51 other Hungarian estates to scoop the first prize. The websites were judged on their layout, user friendliness, English translation, photos, and SEO.

The Glen Grant’s master distiller, Dennis Malcolm, celebrated 60 years in the distilling industry last weekend. Born onsite at The Glen Grant distillery in Rothes in 1946, Malcolm has had a glittering career which saw him recognised for his service to the industry by Queen Elizabeth II in 2016 as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

To celebrate this milestone, The Glen Grant is releasing a 60-year-old LTO expression, the oldest of its kind in the brand’s 181-year history.

Campari UK’s marketing director Nick Williamson said: “Dennis is a credit to the Scotch whisky industry and an absolute master of his craft. His knowledge of distilling and his attention to quality and craftsmanship are unrivalled. He has created some of the greatest award-winning single malt Scotches and has demonstrated exceptional skill throughout his career. To this day, he remains committed to ensuring that every aspect of his work at The Glen Grant is of the highest standard. We would like to thank Dennis and toast his extraordinary work throughout the years.”

Family-owned Argentine winery Mendel Wines – a partnership between winemaker Roberto de la Mota and the Sielecki family – has announced a new partnership with UK fine wine importer Armit Wines. From this month, Armit will become Mendel’s exclusive distributor in the UK.

Brett Fleming, managing director for Armit Wines, said: “Mendel Wines has been awarded and recognized by the most prestigious International wine experts, journalists and magazines around the globe. As a premium producer expressing terroir driven wines that truly illustrate their own story, they are exactly the right fit for Armit’s longer term vision. We are thrilled to partner with Mendel Wines to grow their iconic wine portfolio in the United Kingdom.”

Diego Surazsky, CEO of Mendel Wines, added: “In our search for a regional partner, we quickly came across Armit Wines as a leading player in the UK’s fine wine business. Our two companies share the same values with regards to premium brand building and are committed to long term, sustainable, growth. We are excited to partner and look forward to unleashing the full potential of our wines in the UK market.”


In other supplier news, Andrew Will winery in Washington State has joined the Bancroft Wines portfolio. Producing some 4,500 cases of wine annually, wines are now made by second generation winemaker Will Camarda.

Lenka Sedlackova MW, senior brand manager of Bancroft Wines, said: “We are excited to be expanding our US portfolio and working with our first Washington State winery. Andrew Will has a long history in the UK market, having been first brought in by Jasper Morris MW. We look to build on this history and introduce these excellent, world-class wines to a wider UK audience. Chris Camarda has been instrumental in bringing attention and prestige to Washington State and his uncompromising vision for high quality and authenticity speaks clearly through the wines.

Winemaker Will Camarda of Andrew Will added: “The past year has been an eye-opening experience in navigating the world of wines sales. As a small producer, the importance of having strong relationships with our distributors is vital to ensure that our brand continues to stay relevant in a market, especially in these challenging times. The confidence that we have in Bancroft will allow us to continue to focus our energy on producing high quality wines with a focus on minimal intervention and a distinct style representative of Washington State. We cannot wait for the day that we hop aboard a plane across the Atlantic to open a bottle of Andrew Will with the entire Bancroft team.”

Scottish brewery Innis & Gunn has made a number of new hires to boost its in-house marketing team. These include Fiona Kennie (pictured) who will take on the role of director of marketing, and brings 20 years of experience to the role.

Kennie will lead a team of nine, with four new appointments and two further roles due to be added. Other appointments include Steph Forsyth, PR and internal communications manager, Lauren Baillie, social media editor, and e-commerce executive Natalie Brennan.

UK pub operator Young’s is marking the reopening of 144 of its pubs for outdoor dining next week with a short film, directed by Emmy Award-winning Peter Hamblin.

Called A House is Not a Home, the film conveys the sentiment that pubs are an integral part of British culture and is filmed through the eyes of a pub landlady, played by actress Katie Clarkson-Hill.

Patrick Dardis, CEO, Young’s commented: “The reopening of pubs across the country, and hospitality in general, is a massive moment after what’s been an incredibly tough year for all of us. We hope this film captures the great British public’s love for the pub and the place that pubs have always held at the very heart of their communities as we look forward to a summer of togetherness.”

“Pubs are much more than just bricks and mortar and we can’t wait to reopen the Young’s doors and for our customers to create new memories with us, their friends, families and colleagues.”

Hampshire winery Black Chalk has teamed up with Wild Escapes to offer four luxury treehouses adjacent to its Hide Vineyard on The Fullerton Estate. Built by craftsman Will Hardy, Black Chalk said the treehouses are the first to be constructed at a UK vineyard. Having briefly opened for bookings back in December, bookings will recommence on 12 April. Constructed six metres above ground level, guests staying in the treehouses can also book tours and tastings at the winery.

The producer of Tarquin’s Gin and Twin Fin Rum, Southwestern Distillery in Cornwall, has signed a new distribution deal with Molson Coors to expand the brands’ presence in the UK and western Europe.

Molson Coors will work to expand listings in grocery and on-trade channels, while the distiller will continue to supply independent and online retailers.

Founder and master distiller, Tarquin Leadbetter, said: “I’ve spent almost a decade building Tarquin’s Gin, from distilling on my cooker at home in 2012, to selling the first batch out of the boot of my car in 2013, we’ve grown to a team of 50 staff to become one of the largest independent family distilleries in the UK in 2021. This new distribution will enable us to roll-out further into UK retail and expand export beyond our existing 25 international markets.”

South African winery Journey’s End has released an update following its 2021 harvest.  The producer said it had gone “very well” with rainfall still well above average over the last five years, despite lower levels than 2019-2020. Due to cooler conditions and wind during bud break, volumes of Chardonnay and Sauvignon were “lower than expected, but very good quality”, while the earlier-picked red grapes are displaying “real promise”.

“Overall, we are delighted with the quality of the harvest this year, and we are really excited to see how this year’s vintage is received,” the winery said.

Image: Maison Ferrand

West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) is installing a million-dollar solar energy plant at its St. Michael home. The distiller said it is hoped the plant will help it on the road to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The plant is expected to generate over 400KW and produce 747,000 KWH in the first year of operation, powering at least 20% of the electrical consumption of the distillery.

Andrew Hassell, managing director of WIRD, said: “We are constantly researching innovative opportunities to further improve sustainable and socially responsible business practices. We also have new and ambitious environmental goals and we are looking at innovative systems in order to stop the use of fossil fuels altogether and to reduce our total energy usage.”

Image: Miles Willis

Wines of Georgia has announced an expanded UK campaign for this year. This includes two new initiatives: the Indie Alliance Fund, which will give small- and medium-sized retailers grants of up to £4,000 to increase their Georgian wine listings, and Georgian Wine Connect, an online hub going live later this month, which will connect trade buyers to export-ready wineries.

The group is also planning a trade tasting on 22 June, featuring over 100 Georgian wines to be held at Trivet restaurant near London Bridge. Six virtual tastings are also being planned throughout the year, which are open to the trade and press.

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