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wine news, July 2011

Wine Gang Christmas Wine Fairs confirmed

wine gang The Gang (myself, Anthony Rose of The Independent, Joanna Simon of House & Garden, David Williams of The Observer and Jane Parkinson of janeparkinson.com) are thrilled to be back at Vinopolis in London with our incredible, all-day festival of wine. You can taste from over 600 wines priced 6 - 60+, take part in free 'wine walks' conducted by the Gang, and meet some famous winemakers who will present masterclasses including: Bollinger Champagne, Michael Chapoutier of the Rhone, Bodegas O Fournier from Argentina and Jane Ferrari on the icon wines of Yalumba. The event is on October 29th, from noon - 6:00pm giving you plenty of tasting time.

HOOTS MON! Stop the presses, because this year The Gang is also coming to Scotland! Edinburgh city centre will host the Scottish Fair on November 12th, with a similar line up of amazing wines to taste, wine walks and masterclasses, noon - 6:00pm.

This is Britain's best and most fun wine event and a fabulous chance to plan your Christmas drinking. Many of our exhibitors will be offering exclusive discounts on the day too! Tickets for the best - and best value - wine tasting event in Britain cost just £20, but right now there's an 'Earlybird' offer of tickets for just £15 each. To buy Earlybird tickets:

ticketSOUP.com (London)

ticketSOUP.com (Edinburgh)

Free 'Wine Trumps' playing cards

wine trumps And just one more quick plug for The Wine Gang: an annual membership to the Gang entitles you to 24 reports giving our no-hold-barred impressions on retailers in the UK and the wines they stock, featuring over 2,500 wines per year all added to our searchable online database. Other benfits include discounts on events (including our shows above) and special competitions and offers for members only. Annual membership costs just £19.99, and until July 31st we are giving away a pack of the fun Wine Trumps playing cards worth £9.29, absolutely free. The wine version of the popular Top Trumps game will be delivered to your door with our compliments, courtesy of the Wine Gift Centre. Click here to read more or sign-up.

More millionaire madness

romanee conti If you have spotted a case of 1988 Romanée-Conti in a cupboard under the sink at your granny's, then it might be time to start buttering up the old dear. A case of this wine has just sold at auction with Bonhams for a cool £74,750, and not to a wealthy Chinese wine lover, but a UK buyer. We guess the fees to the auction house added several more thousand to the final bill, but even without that, each standard pub glass of the stuff cost well over £1,000, so I hope there are plenty of pork scratchings to munch along with it. The buyer, however might just have more sense than money as Bonhams last sold a case of this wine in 2010 for a modest £42,550. There's investment gold in them there hills...

Wine buying choices

logo A new report from Wine Intelligence says UK wine consumers are just as interested in buying by grape variety as finding a bargain. Although the promotional offer remains the most important purchasing cue in the UK, with 69% of drinkers saying it is an important or very important factor in their decision process, the same proportion of drinkers also regard grape variety as important or very important. These two choice cues have vied for for the top position in the Wine Intelligence survey research over the past 3 years, with grape variety losing #1 position to promotional offer shortly after the global financial crisis. This is the first time in 3 years that grape variety has regained the #1 position, albeit in a tie for first place. Brands are also growing in importance as a choosing cue with the proportion of UK wine consumers who say brand is an important choice cue rising from 52% to 63%, overtaking country of origin in the process. The attractiveness of the label is also growing in importance, albeit from a low base: three years ago 19% of UK wine consumers said the label was an important choice cue; today that figure is 30%.

Flakey in Monaco

monaco Maybe not quite as tacky as the infamous photographs of multi-talented perfomer Anthea Turner's wedding day, where the happy couple munched on chocolate bars for sponsored photographs. But one can't help feeling slightly uncomfortable at the same pervasive sense of product placement in photographs released from Monaco showing the 'happy' royal couple of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock standing in front of a tub full of Perrier-Jouët. Problem is that if sposorship money did change hands, then the Champagne house might live to regret this attempt at famous association by flooding the occasion with Belle Epoque: the couple are rumoured to have spent their honeymoon night in separate hotels many miles apart after their tempetuous courtship was splashed across the headlines. Let's hope they had a glass or two of something nice from room service...

More product placement?

jacket Maybe not, but South Africa's Warwick Estate have not been slow to tell the world that one of their presige wines has a new claim to fame. James Bond, the man who likes his Martini's shaken not stirred and has a penchant for Dom Perignon and Bollinger, has a new tipple in his sites. The new Bond novel by author Jeffrey Deaver has just hit the shelves, entitled 'Carte Blanche'. Warwick tell us that the book contains the immportal lines: "...vintage Three Cape Ladies, a red blend from Muldersvlei in the Cape. Bond knew its reputation. He took out the cork and poured. They sat on the sofa and sipped. 'Wonderful,' he said." To be fair, Cape Town and the wine lands play an important part in the book apparently, so maybe the choice of wine was all down to Deaver himself.