Wine news September 2008

Less really is more…

Many people deplore the poor selection of wines by the glass available in restaurants and bars, but often the high capital cost of preservation systems has been a barrier to a businesses opening a lot of different and more expensive bottles for by the glass sales. A recent independent trial of commercial systems has caused a stir by apparantly debunking the myth that you need the most expensive equipment to successfully preserve wine. The trial at Hakkasan, London saw a panel of independent experts periodically testing wines featured on a progressive by-the-glass list. The low-cost PresorVac™ system from Waiter’s Friend, at just £274, beat its nearest vacuum rival Verre de Vin, which retails for £2,056 to win the panel’s recommendation.According to Waiter’s Friend MD Paul Fenner, even against a £5,000 argon gas machine, the modestly priced PresorVac still led the field when the panel tested for fruit and flavour, aroma, texture, and intensity after seven days. Paul Fenner commented This independent trial only emphasises the message we’ve been getting from a growing band of enthusiastic On Trade PresorVac users. Even small operators can up the quality and range of wines they offer for modest outlay.” Given the cost of Sat Navs, i-Phones and other boys toys, we at wine-pages think this might even appeal to domestic wine enthusiasts. See Waiter’s Friend. x

Krug takes the Eurostar

x Krug and Searcy’s Grand Champagne Bar at St Pancras International are offering travellers a splendid Krug Champagne Breakfast. Travellers can relax and enjoy views of the terminal from each seat at the Champagne Bar while sipping Krug Grande Guvée and savouring scrambled eggs served with black truffle shavings on sourdough toast, accompanied by a glass of fresh juice and tea or coffee. A Krug Champagne Breakfast for two is £97.00 including a half-bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée. (available for one on request) The Champagne Bar is located at Platform level of the terminal adjacent to Eurostar Track 5. It is open daily from 8.00am to 11.00pm and the Krug Breakfast is served throughout the day. Three days after opening, the most expensive champagne on the list – a rare bottle of Krug 1949 – was sold for £2,700 to a businessman and his colleagues awaiting the Eurostar to Paris.

Niagara Wine Festival

The 57th Annual Niagara Wine Festival is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors from within Canada and overseas. The festival includes all kinds of events and exhibitions – ranging from tours and tastings to concerts, wine seminars and one of the largest street parades in Canada. The Niagara region has over 70 wineries in a region that benefits from a unique ‘lake effect’ as Lakes Ontario and Erie store heat during the summer months and release it in the winter. Most of the Niagara Wine Festival activities take place in Montebello Park in St. Catharines, only x

about an hour and a half’s drive away from Toronto International Airport. For more information on the festival visit A five night stay at the Old Stone Inn, Niagara Falls, including flights with Air Canada to Toronto International Airport including compact car hire with unlimited mileage and all taxes and surcharges can be booked with Frontier Travel for £811 per person (based on two sharing a twin). Book on

34th English Wine Festival

x On Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st September , 10.30am – 5.00pm the Glynde Food & Drink Festival, incorporating the 34th English Wine Festival will take place at Glynde Place, East Sussex. A wide range of food and drink from the South East will be available for tasting at this popular food and drink event, held in the magnificent grounds of Glynde Place in East Sussex. You will also have the opportunity to taste and buy some of the best wines that England offers, and meet the vineyard owners and winemakers. One estate on display is Bookers Vineyard, where Samantha Linter took charge of the winemaking in the early 1990’s, swapping shampoo bottles for wine bottles when she gave up a career in hairdressing. She is one of only a handful of female winemakers in the UK. Tickets cost £8 in advance, £10 on the day (concessions available). See

LEAF makes its marque

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has announced the launch of the world’s first wines to carry the LEAF Marque. That means they have been produced according to LEAF principles of of environmentally-responsible farming. The wines come from three family-run estates in Bordeaux: Château Haut-Grand-Champ, Château Chillac and Château Lavison. All of the wines are distibuted by négociant Yvon Mau. The LEAF Marque is widely seen on fresh fruit and vegetables in this country, proving producers have passed an independent assessment that they farm according to LEAF’s principles of combining the best of modern technology with natural processes applied to the whole farm and its environment, including minimal chemical usage, recycling, waste disposal, energy saving and biodiversity. x

Wine in Wetherspoon

x Wetherspoon pubs will be offering a selection of award-winning wines during a 19-day wine festival from Wednesday September 17 until Sunday October 5 inclusive. The wines have not previously been served in the pubs, and include wines that have won silver and gold medals at competitions like the Sommeliers awards and International Wine Challenge, including Fish Hoek’s Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Errazuriz Carmenere from Chile, Penascal Tempranillo-Shiraz from Spain, The Naked Grape Riesling from Germany and Skuttlebutt Sauvignon Semillon from Western Australia. Wetherspoon festival organiser Kay Lewis said: “We have sourced a selection of outstanding wines from across the world for customers at our pubs to enjoy.The wine festival will give people the opportunity to sample a range of award-winning wines at affordable prices.”