I’m sure you will have seen Deliveroo’s mopeds ferrying fast food around your city streets. The company has just announced it will be partnering with Majestic Wines (initially only across London), BrewDog and independent wine merchants to provide a service that promises to deliver wines and other alcoholic drinks within around 20 minutes of placing your order. The service will work identically to Deliveroo’s food delivery; alcohol merchants will be provided with a tablet in which orders can be processed through the Deliveroo app. Nearby riders will collect the order from staff and deliver the order to customers, in an average of 20 minutes. Deliveroo began trialling standalone alcohol merchants on the platform in spring 2016 and say the noted “strong consumer demand.” Amongst the independent merchants on-board are The Sampler, Lea and Sandeman, Humble Grape and Vagabond Wines.
Wine Owners (wineowners.com) is an oline patform to manage your wine collection, integrated with a wine trading exchange to buy and sell wine with other collectors. Now, members can enjoy free acccess to Robert Parker reviews and content as part of their Wine Owners premium membership plans. Their fully inclusive 12 month subscription to eRobertParker.com gives access to over 300,000 wine tasting notes, the ‘Hedonist’s Gazette’, restaurant reviews and direct chat with Reviewers via the Bulletin Board. There’s also access to the RP Global Benefits Program and RobertParker mobile app. Wine Owners Founder, Nick Martin, says “we are delighted to have reached agreement with the Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate team to provide an annual subscription for our premium members. We are honoured to be partnering with them and including this must have content within our membership plans.” With Wine Owners premium plans starting at £90 per annum and the Parket subscription normally costing £75, it seems like a good deal.
The United States has edged out the UK as the biggest spending nation on Champagne, with sales worth €515 million in 2015, compared to the UK’s €512 million. However closer inspection shows that in terms of volumes sold, the UK is still miles ahead, selling 34.2 million bottles against the USA’s 20.5 million. The reason for the apparant discrepancy is the weakness of the Euro against a strong dollar, which is thought to be driving sales of premium bottles. Champagnes Veuve Clicquot and Moët et Chandon take 60% of market share between them, and other top sellers State-side are Perrier-Jouët, Nicolas Feuillatte and Dom Pérignon.
Wine-pages’ columnist Tom Stevenson has announced the results of his Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships, 2016. France gained the largest haul of Gold medals with 69, of which 67 were awarded to Champagnes and the others two from the Loire. They were also particularly impressed by the quality of the Italian, Spanish and the English entries, with 30, 11 and 16 Gold medals awarded to these countries respectively. The Italian Golds were dominated by wines from Franciacorta (14) and Trentodoc (11). Of the New World countries, Australia romped home with 9 Gold and 9 Silver medals, closely followed by New Zealand and Argentina. Full results at champagnesparklingwwc.co.uk/.
Vega Sicilia does London
Trade magazine Harpers reports that the the parent company of the revered Spanish wine estate, Vega Sicilia, is moving its headquarters to London. Bodegas Vega Sicilia has been placed under the ownership of Mezqual Limited, a London-based company founded by the winery’s managing director Pablo Alvarez. Mezqual Limited is run by Alvarez and four siblings, who collectively own a majority stake in Vega Sicilia. According to Harpers the move was prompted by Alvarez’ desire to expand into high-end food products in addition to increasing its global vineyard holdings (The Alvarez family owns Tokaj Oremus in Hungary and have a joint venture in Rioja, Bodegas Macán, with Benjamin de Rothschild). This announcement was made before the UK’s ‘Brexit’ decision.
The End of the Booze Cruise?
Who know whether the UK’s eventual Brexit deal will have an impact, but the heyday of the Booze Cruise – taking a day trip from Calais just to stock up on alcohol and cigarettes – seems to be well and truly over. A number of UK-based wine retailers have shut up their Channel ports outposts in the past decade or so, the most recent being The Wine Society who have announced that their warehouse in Montreuil near Calais will close at the end of the year, with half the number of members using it compared to when it opened in 2005 and rent and rates rising significantly. Majestic Wine continues to have a warehouse in Calais, but for how long?