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Wine News

New Magnetic treatment developed to remove green flavours in wine

Green, under-ripe flavours such as green pepper in Cabernet Sauvignon can now be corrected.
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A new Magnetic treatment has been developed to remove green flavours in wine. If some grape varieties are picked early they can exhibit green flavours. Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, can have a green bell pepper character. A little of this can add complexity, but too much can dominate and be off putting.

A new process using magnetic polymers appears to strip the flavours from the wine, as reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The process is know to remove the chemical group Alkyl Methoxypyrazines, a class of chemical compounds that produce odours such as green pepper, fresh green flavours, asparagus and earthy notes in grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Franc as well as many of the popular green flavours in Sauvignon Blanc.

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Wetherspoons goes political by limiting choice to customers

Founder and Chairman Tim Martin, is dropping many European wines and beers at the company for UK and non EU wines and beers.
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Founder and Chairman Tim Martin made a big splash in the news this week for dropping many European wines and beers at the company, for UK and non-EU wines and beers. Tim claimed in the Drinks Business magazine this week, it makes sense to invest in UK drinks products now because of the EU’s “protectionist” tariff systems, which he claims are “widely misunderstood”.

However a closer looks shows how empty his statements are. For example Wetherspoons is to stop selling Champagne and replace it with an Australian sparkling wine that is cheaper. But given that the pub chain sells two million bottles of bubbly every year of which 90% is EU based Prosecco, which they are not dropping, it appears that Tim is more about grabbing headlines than making a stand.

The EU tariff on a typical bottle of wine is around 10p, almost nothing compared to the government's £2.16 duty, or the mark up Wetherspoons puts on the wine.

But according to Tim the EU,
“ .. imposes tariffs on the 93 per cent of the world that is not in the EU, keeping prices high for UK consumers.”

“Tariffs are imposed on wine from Australia, New Zealand and the US, and on more than 12,000 other products.

“The products we are now introducing are at lower prices than the EU products they are replacing.”

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Wine merchants are on the rise

Wine merchants are bucking the UK High Street closures with strong sales. Is the wine merchant back in favour?
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Ten years ago wine merchants were an endangered species, every week there were stories of more merchants going broke against the rising power of the supermarkets. But smaller merchants, and especially ones with multiple branches, are doing much better at the moment. The world economy may be buoyant, but the UK’s high street is awash with store closure whether it be restaurants or fashion chains, the economy in the UK is tough. But wine retailers appear to be holding up well.

Oddbins, the darling of the market 15 years ago before a series of disastrous buy outs and bankruptcy is fitter and leaner, its average price per bottle is a healthy £10/btl in its 48 stores with sales up 8%.

Majestic announced sales rise of 2.3% giving a pre tax profit £8.3m, up from a loss of £1.5million the previous year as it has finished absorbing Naked Wines.

At the budget end of the drinks business, Bargain Booze has restocked its shelves after the collapse of its parent Conviviality and subsequent sale to Bestway. A re-organisation of staff and integration into Bestway is expected once the Bargain Booze ship has righted itself completely.

Smaller wine merchants are popping up all over the place and the internet is awash with interesting online retailers.

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Amazon Prime commission new drinks show The Three Drinkers

Amazon Prime has commissioned a new drinks show called The Three Drinkers. Initially the group will look at spirits, but Colin Hampden-White claims they would love to do wine as well.
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Amazon Prime has commissioned a new drinks show called The Three Drinkers.

The new show will initially be a three-part series, called The Three Drinkers Do Scotch.

The three hosts are Colin Hampden-White, a whisky man and photographer; Helena Nicklin aka the Wine Bird and more wine than whisky; and Adrian Smith. wine and spirits columnist for the Independent and brand ambassador for Vivino the wine app.

Speaking with Colin this week, the plan is to do a follow up show looking at American bourbon and possibly gin, but after that, Colin and his team are keen to take a look at wine.

The first three-part series is to be filmed this summer with release in November 2018.

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Fine wine collector and con-artist Hardy Rodenstock dies

Fine wine collector and con-artist Hardy Rodenstock died this week. He became infamous for the sale of the fraudulent Thomas Jefferson bottles.
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German Hardy Rodenstock was a world-renowned collector and wine merchant for very old bottles of wine has died.

His fall from grace was one of the largest fine wine frauds of the century when he tried to pass off wine that was purported to be owned by US president Thomas Jefferson. The wine was fraudulent, and Hardy refused to go to America to attend the trial nor give any evidence as to where, who and how he came to own the wines. His career ended with the court case.

A book, The Billionaire's Vinegar, was written by Benjamin Wallace giving a fun and fact filled look at the sale. The book was banned in the UK after Michael Broadbent, the head of Christie’s wine department at the time of the sale of the wine, successfully sued. Broadbent, it was stated in the book, had behaved in an unprofessional manner in the way in which he had auctioned some of these bottles.

Will Smith bought the rights to the movie which is reported to be released in 2019 starring Matthew McConaughey.

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The UK’s love of sparkling wine has seen a boost for Crémant de Loire

The UK’s love of sparkling wine has seen a boost for Crémant de Loire. Sales were up by 34% in 2017.
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It seems every week we hear of stories about the move to Prosecco, but if you are on a budget and want a traditional method sparkling wine with its slightly savoury taste it seems British consumers are looking at Crémant de Loire. Their sales rose in the UK by 34% in 2017.

The Loire Valley is one of seven regions in France approved to produce Crémant - dry, sparkling wines made in the traditional method. While a variety of grapes can be used to make Crémant de Loire, Chenin Blanc is the most common component and the only other white grape is Chardonnay. Three reds are allowed including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d’Aunis.

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Also this month

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Wine is mainly sold in 750ml bottles but some producers are putting wine in 500ml bottles to share between two. Do you think smaller bottles are a good idea?