At the recent London Wine Fair, in the Innovations Zone, I met the team from Winebuyers.com, a new online wine club that claims to be trying to drag the wine world kicking and screaming into the 21stcentury. Definitely not a bad thing I think we can all agree. So what are they planning and how does it all work?
Berry Brothers and Rudd are the oldest wine merchant in the UK. Based out of St James’s in London’s trendy Mayfair area, this is where they’ve been operating in one guise or another since 1698. When I was coming through in the banking world all those years ago, all the senior lads and lasses had Berry Brothers accounts. It’s almost a right of passage for fine wine buyers in London and the wider UK. Last week I made my first purchase from there, and it was pretty bloody impressive.
This post is a quick one for the picture geeks out there. I use my camera phone to take all my pictures, which I know is not the biggest shock to those of you who have seen some of my more piss poor efforts. I’m constantly on the look out for new apps that can sort out my complete lack of talent and turn the shots into something half decent.
Wine making is full of old school traditions. Some are now on their way out as practicality, time, and – let’s be fair – hygiene have all had their say. But one tradition that remains in the production of some Port wines is grape treading. I’ve always wanted to have a go, and a couple of weeks back up at Quinta Do Noval I got the chance. It was fantastic.
This week I headed down to Thames for a wine dinner that UK wine agents, Hatch Mansfield, were putting on. Gordon Russell was over from the Esk Valley vineyards in Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. I don’t get lucky enough to drink much wine from there that often, so it was a real treat for me to head down and have go at what they’re up to.
A mate of mine, who lives out in Germany, got in touch the other week to ask if I’d have a look at a new product his company are involved with. It’s a thing called a Wine OLED and it’s for checking the colour and see-through-ness of a glass of wine. I’ll be honest, my initial reaction was a bit on the skeptical side, but surely people wouldn’t have spent time and energy on this thing if it didn’t do a job, right?
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed a lot more headlines in the wine presses about these companies (in the US mostly) that are trying to throw a bit of smart technology at the wine industry. First you get the press releases bullishly bigging up these creations as the next best thing since sliced bread, followed a few days later by the (rather cynical) wine press asking what the point of it all is. Who’s got it right?