Wine news July 2013

Portugal a Go-Go

logoLast year I was delighted to be appointed as an ‘ambassador’ for the wines of Portugal following my award of Portuguese Wine Journalist of the Year in 2010. I have been asked to take on the role again in 2013 and will be presenting a series of wine tastings and dinners in Scotland over the remainder of this year. My colleagues Charles Metcalfe and Simon Woods will carry out the same task in the south and north of England respectively. Each event will introduce consumers to a minimum of six Portuguese wines. Nuno Vale, marketing director for Wines of Portugal, said: “We are delighted to have secured the involvement of such a highly-respected group of individuals. Their expertise will be invaluable when it comes to spreading the word about Portuguese wines.” Please keep an eye open for events near you. So far confirmed in Scotland I will be presenting wines at:

20th July – Cork and Cask, Edinburgh
24th July – Appellation Wines, Edinburgh
30th September – Wine Dinner with WoodWinters Wines, Edinburgh
14th October – Ecco Vino, Edinburgh

Camilla Calls It

CamillaOver the past few years a debate over finding a new collective name with which to describe and market English sparkling wine has got several people hot under the collar. Some have favoured ‘Britagne’, a playful nod to both Britain and France’s most famous fizz, whilst others have shouted for ‘Merret’, named after an Englishman credited with being the first person to document the méthode champenoise. Now it seems Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, has reignited the debate on a visit to Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire (pictured in Hambledon, photo credit: Chris Ison/PA). Trade magazine The Wine Business quotes Camilla as saying: “I think people should put their heads together and think of a new name for English sparkling wine. It should have something with much more depth. I plan to find a new word for it.”

Winery Passport

passportThose intending to visit the wine country of California and other US states might be interested in a new and free iPhone app called ‘Winery Passport’. The app allows you to collect ‘stamps’ from each winery you visit. Described by its producers as “a mobile travel companion app for discovering local wineries, recording details of your visit and sharing it all with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter,” features include the ability to search for wineries near your location and store details of your visit including rating the winery, adding notes on wines and photos. The app may be download via iTunes and the company promises an Android version soon.

Peter Lehmann RIP

PeterOne of the real living legends of the Australian wine industry, Peter Lehmann has died at the age of 82. Peter worked for Yalumba and Saltram wineries as winemaker early in his career, and the ‘Baron of the Barossa,’ is cited by many as one of the saviours of the local wine industry the collapse of the bulk wine industry in the 80’s threatened the livelihood of so many of the region’s grape growers. By creating Peter Lehmann Wines he showed that they could switch to become premium wine bottlers, arguably creating the Barossa’s, and much of Australia’s, modern quality industry. CEO of Peter Lehmann Wines, Jeff Bond, says “Every generation creates a few special people who have the vision, creativity and courage to make a difference. PL was one.”

Italian Job

NibbioHow do you make a small fortune in the wine business? Start out with a large one! It’s an old joke, but those with deep pockets might think it worth the gamble to own a slice of Italian heaven. Irish-American businessman, Peter Mullin, has put Monte Nibbio Estates on the market, a portfolio of five properties in Umbria, Italy. The properties are available individually or as a lot and comprise:One completed property with its own vineyard (Villa San Benigno – €1,350,000), One property completed to builder’s finish (Monte Nibbio – €3,200,000), Three properties available for development (from €350,000) or for a mere €6,000,000 you can own all five properties. Said to be “surrounded by iconic Umbrian countryside and located close to the historic town of Todi,” the properties are approximately 30kms south of Perugia and mid-way between Florence and Rome. Further information at