Finishing off this week’s round up of 2017 with April’s trip out to Bordeaux for the annual En Primeur tasting. Basically you all drive around different Chateau drinking young and unfinished wine and make up a load of guff about how amazing it’ll be in a few years. Honest to god, that’s roughly it. I don’t get it as a system, but hey ho. It’s still a great week to meet up with people and see what’s what in magical Bordeaux!
APRIL: Primeurs samples in Bordeaux
“I work for a Bordeaux specialist wine company, so April is always about Primeurs to one extent or another. I’m still not sure I agree with the idea of it, but everyone else does it, so sod it, let’s try make the best of it, they do serve some stunners at the lunches.
The 2016 vintage we were trying was another top vintage for Bordeaux (good job given the volume problem for 2017), but one of the better experiences was Millesima’s Primeur Panorama event, retasting the 2015 a year after barreling.
Much closer to the final product than the press-focused barrel samples straight after harvest, could this be a way forward for Bordeaux?”
I was recently in Bordeaux for a press trip courtesy of the Bordeaux Wines council. A great trip focusing on the great things that are happening in Bordeaux away from the Grand Cru Classés that everyone thinks is all Bordeaux is about. On that trip we headed up to Canon Fronsac, on Bordeaux’s right bank, to see Chloe and Axel, a girlfriend and boyfriend team rejuvenating Château Mazeris-Bellevue. How did they get this switched on at this age? I’ve no idea! Wonderful pair, super talented, and neither too bad on the eye either 😉
When I left uni over ten years ago there didn’t feel much of a choice. You were pre-programmed to go for a graduate job and go work for a big company somewhere. You were going to work your arse off but they were going to pay you pretty well. The risk/reward for going out on your own in any kind of industry didn’t seem to be right. Well a world financial crisis later and all of a sudden life’s a bit too short isn’t it? Thousands of entrepreneurs are shunning the oppressiveness of corporate life to start up their dreams, and food and booze seems a popular destination.
Over the weekend this lady came up to me at my stall and started telling me that a bottle of wine she’d bought from me was off when she opened it. I genuinely didn’t know how to react. She’d bought it three weeks previously, opened it, tried it, thought it was corked, and then poured it down the sink. She bought me the empty bottle back and after a bit of to’ing and fro’ing I got the general gist that she wanted it replaced. How should I have reacted here?
One of the best ways to get my wines from 20h33 across to people is to get them in a room, crack open a few bottles, and throw some food them. The wine dinners have been really successful, and a great laugh, pretty much from the first one. So I decided it’d be a good idea to find new restaurants around London to do them at. That, ladies and gentlemen, has been a lot of hassle for not much reward!
There’s been a few bits and pieces in the UK press recently about parents allowing their kids to drink alcohol with them at an earlier age than 18. It’s obviously sparked a huge of a reaction from bodies like the Good Parenting Guides all the way to Alcohol Concern. But is the backlash all a bit over the top?
As I don’t have any bricks and mortar yet with 20h33, I’m doing farmers markets and drinks markets at the weekend to supplement the wine dinners I do at different restaurants round London during the weeks. Friday nights I’m down in Covent Garden with a handful of other start up drinks companies. It’s great for someone who likes to try different drinks as we have all kinds of stuff there, from Cambridgeshire grape vodka to UK distilled rum. But usually over half the stalls are focused on beer.
I was banging on yesterday about the issue with free delivery and how in the wine world of bugger all margins to begin with, it’s probably not sustainable. So what do you have to do to combat that? You’ve got to offer a service which is so good and convenient that people are happy to pay up for it. I’ve been trying to find the ones for me and I’ve found a couple of great examples. The first one is a great solution for start up businesses!