Wine news October 2010

Giant slaying in London

logoThe results have been announced in the first Louis Roederer/Imbibe Magazine Wine List of the Year awards. A ‘rigorous judging process’ saw top sommeliers trawling through over 100 wine lists submitted from all over the UK to create a Shortlist of 26 potential winning entries. A second team of judges whittled these down to the “best of the best,” awarding marks for various criteria including drinkability, accuracy, fit, mark-ups, innovation and personality. The top prize, Wine List of the Year, went not to a Michelin-starred eatery but to HK House, a small Asian restaurant in Stroud, Gloucestershire. The judges were “hugely impressed with its condensed, compact list of 40 wines, all brilliantly chosen to match the foods and supported with quirky, helpful and entertaining descriptions by owner Chee Keong Hui.” Other winners included ‘Fine Wine List of the Year’ – The Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford and ‘Pub List of the Year’ – The One Bull, Bury St Edmunds

Jilly puts a cork in it

jillyNow there’s something you don’t see every day. Well know TV wine pundit Jilly Goolden unveiled “the world’s largest natural cork sculpture,” last month as part of the ‘I Love Natural Cork’ campaign, of which Ms Goolden is clearly a supporter. According to a press release “Jilly is urging the 28.5 million of us who enjoy a glass to get out our cork-screws and do one small and effective thing to build a more sustainable future.” Jilly hosted a tasting session where she educated consumers about “the benefits of natural cork compared with alternative closures,” and, again according to the release, told them how “natural cork stoppers let wine breathe and mature naturally.” Ms Goolden is quoted as saying “For me there isn’t a completely satisfactory alternative to real cork as a wine bottle closure. Cork is entirely natural and environmentally sound, to say nothing of the romance, history and theatre of the cork.”

Château La Lagoon

harvest“With this harvest Venice, and with it the entire Veneto region, rediscover its ancient viticulture roots.” So said Luca Zaia, president of Veneto region in Italy, on the occasion of the first harvest from an estate on the lagoon island of Mazzorbo. For the first in centuries Uva d’Oro white grapes, once thought to have disappeared, were harvested a consortium that includes leading Prosecco producer Bisol. The vineyard is part of a wider project to recover and develop an old estate known as ‘Parco Agricolo Ambientale di Venissa’ (‘Agricultural and Environmental Reserve of Venissa’). Vegetable gardens have also been created, run and farmed by retired people of Mazzorbo and Burano islands as well as a ‘zero-kilometer’ restaurant.

Not just for Christmas?

bottlesWe are talking PETs here, but not the furry and loveable kine, this is Polyethylene terephthalate or P.E.T for short. Wines packaged in 75cl PET bottles are likely to be accepted by UK consumers as an alternative to glass, according to research published by Wine Intelligence. Evidence from theire UK Packaging report published recently shows that the lightweight PET bottle has edged in front of the Bag-in-Box package in terms of ‘likelihood to buy’ among the UK’s regular wine drinkers, and is significantly more popular than Tetrapak, pouch, and can formats. In a consumer survey of UK monthly wine drinkers, conducted in June 2010 using Wine Intelligence’s Vinitrac® platform, 40% of respondents said they would be likely to buy wine in a PET bottle in the future, compared with 37% for Bag-in-Box and 21% for a pouch. The report confirms that consumers still overwhelmingly back the 75cl glass bottle for almost all wine drinking occasions, particularly in social settings. Alternative packaging has more relevance in outdoor settings, or when carrying heavier glass bottles are inconvenient. Richard Halstead, COO of Wine Intelligence, said: “Consumers remain wedded to the glass bottle because it fulfils all their emotional notions of what wine represents, which easily overcome any functional disadvantages such as weight or breakability.”

Celebrities in the Bluff

emma thompsonLondon’s Lincoln’s Inn will host “an exclusive evening of wonderful wine, fabulous food and top-class celebrity entertainment,” on Thursday 18 November in support of international development charity, ActionAid. A ‘Call my Wine Bluff’ game will be hosted by Michael Buerk with celebrity panellists including Emma Thompson and Nigel Havers. Exclusive prizes are to be auctioned and you can expect to bid for luxury holidays and once in lifetime experiences. The panellists will aim to try and dupe guests and each other into believing a fictional story behind the wine being tasted, and the audience will have the chance to taste eight wines donated by as well as enjoying a three course meal. £295 per guest, or £2500 for a table of ten. Call 0203 122 0554.