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Tom Cannavan's wine-pages.com   

September 2007


Up, up and Wineaway


   Several years ago wine-pages tested and was very impressed by a seeming 'miracle product', the Wineaway red wine stain remover. You can read Tom Cannavan's 2002 report here. Unfortunately this clever American stuff - organic, environmentally friendly and effective - had very limited distribution in the UK. Now, European distributor Phillips Provan International has taken the product on, and although they are looking for new high street listings, they have already got the product into more places than ever before, with both Lakeland and Robert Dyas stores now stocking it. Shown are the 360ml plastic and more elegant 240ml bottles, but our favourite probably remains the pocket-sized 60ml bottle, that's an ideal travel size. For more information there's also a new Wineaway UK web site at www.wineawaydirect.co.uk. and potential stockists of the product can contact Phillips Provan International on 020 7078 7221.

Scotland gets tough

The days of cut price and extra free alcohol deals in the corner shop, convenience store or supermarket are coming to an end, as part of tough new measures to tackle Scotland's 'destructive drinking culture' announced by Justice Secretary of the Scottish Parliament, Kenny MacAskill on September 5th 2007. Mr MacAskill outlined plans to extend the new Licensing Act to crackdown on "irresponsible promotions and pricing" in off-sales. These measures will outlaw promotions that provide alcohol for free or at a reduced price on the purchase of one or more of the product or another product. Mr MacAskill said: "This is immediate action to kick start a long term drive to change Scotland's culture - to help make sure drinking to get drunk is   
simply no longer seen as acceptable." In response, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association together with the Scottish Retail Consortium issued a statement: "[we] are deeply concerned that the proposals announced today are not evidence-based. For example Northern Ireland has already introduced restrictions on the areas in which retailers can display alcohol in stores and there is no evidence to suggest it has led to a reduction in alcohol consumption. Nor is there strong evidence to suggest that action to increase the price of alcohol will successfully combat alcohol misuse or address the behaviour of the minority of people who cause problems. Furthermore price promotions have long been a perfectly legal way, enshrined in competition law, for retailers to promote products to adult consumers. The SRC and WSTA believe that any attempts to restrict these legal business practices will result in major distortions to the UK market."

Berry's Video Podcasts


   Berry Bros & Rudd, arguably the world's most innovative wine retailer, has just added a whole wine course to its multi-award-winning website, as a series of video Podcasts. The Podcasts are of very high quality, with Head of Berry's Wine School, Rebecca Lamont, introducing the basics of tasting in episode one, before leading tastings of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in episode two. She is an excellent presenter and the information is clear and helpful. The downloads are free and can be viewed on PC, Mac or downloaded for multimedia MP3 players and iPods, with a new episode available every fortnight from Berry's web site. Please see Virtual Wine School to view or download the Podcasts.

A row of vines - is it better than money in the bank?

That's the title of the forthcoming Vintners' Company and WSET Annual Lecture to be given by Christian Seely, Managing Director of AXA Millésimes. Seely will take to the lectern to discuss his views on whether vineyards are a good investment. The AXA Millésimes group of properties includes the prestigious Bordeaux Châteaux Pichon-Longueville Baron, Petit-Village and Suduiraut, Domaine de l'Arlot in Nuits-St-Georges, Disznóko" in Hungary and Portugal's fabled Quinta do Noval. The lecture is held at the Vintners' Hall, Upper Thames Street, London EC4V 3BGnd will begin at 6.30pm on 15 October, followed by questions from the floor and supper. For further details contact events@wset.co.uk
 

Wine into Whisky


   Glenguin winery in Australia is owned by Robin Tedder MW, whose Scottish heritage includes his title of Baron of Glenguin, originally bestowed on his family by King George VI. Robin was in Scotland at the start of September to visit the Glengoyne distillery near Glasgow. Glengoyne's original name (until 1908) was in fact Glenguin too, and the winery and distillery's names come for shared roots. The two are coming together as Glengoyne is about to blend and bottle a Shiraz-finished malt whisky, and the casks have come directly from Glenguin where they held Robin Tedder's Hunter Valley Shiraz. Robin helped Distillery Manager, Robbie Hughes, to select the best casks of Shiraz-finish and begin making the blend for bottling and release sometime in the New Year. Whilst other wine cask-finished whiskies exist, the fact that the winemaker has been so closely involved and supportive throughout this collaboration is unique.

Festival Fever

The count-down to Christmas has started (for some) with a whole host of fairs and festivals about to hit out towns and cities. The Wine Show returns to London at the Islington Business Design Centre, 25-28 October. Visitors can sample a choice of thousands of wines by the glass, and quiz guest experts including sommelier Matt Skinner. The Tasting Theatre will be running regular tutored sessions, and there's a '10 minute tasting school' sponsored by Thresher's. Tickets cost £10-£16 from www.wineshow.co.uk, but there are early booker offers. The Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair is at the same London venue 14-18 November, with advance tickets costing £11.00. There are several food and wine exhibitors, including Brown Brothers, The Real Wine Company, The Tasting Room, Dutchy Originals, Kinvara Smoked Salmon and Sloe Motion Gins (see www.countrylivingfair.com). Meanwhile, Scotland is not left out with the Food, Glorious Food annual Highland Feast being held at venues throughout the Highlands of Scotland from 28 September to 14 October (visit www.highlandfeast.co.uk for tickets and details).