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Wine News

Italian government investigates inspectors who they claim are complicit in diluting top wines

The Italian government is targeting 50 organisations for diluting top wines from around Italy.
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The Italian government is targeting 50 organisations for diluting top wines from around Italy. The investigation into the dilution of the wines with cheaper wines will affect not only producers' vineyards and bottling companies but also the inspectors who are supposed to police this practice to ensure it does not happen.

The falsely labelled wines have been primarily for the export market and have come from regions such as Pordenone, Udine, Treviso, Venice, Padova, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Ravenna, Florence, Livorno, Naples and several cities in Puglia.
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The New Zealand second international Sauvignon Conference delivers mixed messages

Sauvignon Blanc leaders converged on New Zealand last week to discuss everything Sauvignon Blanc. With many speakers giving different visions of the future.
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Sauvignon Blanc leaders converged on New Zealand last week to discuss everything Sauv B. With many speakers giving different visions of the future for the mainstay of the New Zealand export markets.

Some speakers such as wine consultant Justin Howard-Sneyd MW advised to push upmarket and not allow New Zealand wines in bulk, such as supermarket's own label. Given Justin used to be the head wine buyer for Waitrose, his warning of stepping back from bulk sets a precedent. He claimed More New Zealand wine is being sold in bulk to the UK, which is worrying, as there are concerns over the quality of the wine being sold. Own-label supermarket brands are on the rise, which is leading to a loss of ownership and control for NZ wineries.

Kiwi winemaker and Loire expert, Sam Harrop compared Sauvignon Blanc to a cross-bred puppy – cute but lacking in class and complexity. He doesn't agree with this and says most people who think that are locked in a complex and dysfunctional relationship with Burgundy! He went on to discuss the importance of style versus site, where Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has an easily identifiable style but the lack of specific site variation means it can be almost impossible to identify different sub-regions and vineyards. We need to look to the Loire sub-regions of Sancerre, Touraine and Pouilly-Fumé for inspiration. The village model in Sancerre is the way to go and will add a halo effect to the commodity level that is so important for many growers. He added “More work is needed to further understand the sense of place of Marlborough’s different sub-regions, which will be an investment in the future of Sauvignon Blanc. We’re hot on sustainability and now need to invest in diversity.”

American wine critic Matt Kramer claimed there is no culture of Sauvignon Blanc anywhere in the world, this lack of culture means it is difficult to achieve premium prices. He countered the claims of Sancerre by pointing out there is no culture of Sauvignon in Sancerre, nor in Bordeaux or Friuli. They didn’t grow Sauvignon Blanc in Sancerre until after Phylloxera – before that it was Pinot Noir, Gamay and Chasselas in the ground. His claim that varieties such as Pinot Noir, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese have a historical culture that provides an opportunity to achieve a premium price.

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Oddbins slips back into administration claiming Brexit is the problem

The once darling of the wine industry Oddbins has been put into administration as new buyers are sought.
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The once darling of the wine industry Oddbins has been put into administration as new buyers are sought. The chain is owned by European Food Brokers which also own Oddies, Simply Drinks, Simply Food & Drinks, Shop2Go and Booze Buster plus 56 Wine Cellar Trading and Whittalls Wine Merchants stores. The administrators Duff & Phelps claim the business has suffered due to the declining power of consumer spending along with a deepening unease and uncertainty over Brexit.


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New Zealand’s Yealands Winery fined $400,000 NZD for adding sugar to wine

Yealands, the winery that was started by Peter Yealands, has admitted to adulterating wine by adding sugar to the completed wine before exporting.
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Yealands, the winery that was established by Peter Yealands, has admitted to adulterating wine by adding sugar to the completed wine before exporting.

Peter Yealands, the owner at the time, General Manager Jeff Fyfe and winemaker Tamra Kelly, all pleaded guilty to the offence and have been fined.

Since the illegal act was carried out, Yealands winery has been sold and all have left the company. Tamra is now head winemaker at leading New Zealand winery Seresin.

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Wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage to take to a Christmas party, but most re-gift it

59% of people said wine was their first choice to take to a Christmas party, yet 31% of people claim that they re-gift wine they receive.
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Wine is he most popular alcoholic beverage to take to a Christmas party, but most re-gift it.

59% of people said wine was their first choice to take to a Christmas party, yet 31% of people claim that they re-gift wine they receive. The average Briton receives four bottles of wine throughout the Christmas period and gives away three bottles.

It was also revealed by Bordeaux Wines who commissioned the research, that the average spend on wine in the Christmas period rose from £5-£6 a bottle to £8.67.

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Restaurants are closing at a rate of 2% annually

Big store closures of chains may be getting the media excited, but small family restaurants appear to be hardest hit in the latest rounds of closure.
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Big store closures of chains may be getting the media excited, but small family restaurants appear to be hardest hit in the latest rounds of closure. The bulk of recent closures are from independents according to the new edition of the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.

Family-owned Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants have taken the biggest hit, and while a number of large chains have had to re-trench, the bigger chains are actually doing much better. CGA vice president Peter Martin said “bulk of closures are from independents, while managed groups remain in growth and this trend is welcome news for some of them, since it eases over-capacity and frees up more property. But these figures are a reminder that all restaurant brands need a well defined and brilliantly executed offer if they are to succeed in a survival of the fittest in 2019”.

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