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wine news, October 2012

Wine Gang Fairs: London, Edinburgh and Bath

wine gang The Wine Gang's 4th Christmas Fair in London (November 3rd, Vinopolis) is very close to a sell-out thanks to an extraordinary line-up of 600 wines available to taste, free wine walks with The Gang, competitions, discounts and more. We're also back in Edinburgh (10th November, The Assembly Rooms) for the second time and will be heading to Bath for our first Wine Fair in the city on November 24th (The Guildhall - a short stroll from the train station). Tickets for all three events from ticketSOUP.com. And remember, you can also add a ticket for one of our fabulous masterclasses - sit-down, tutored tastings of six to ten of the world's greatest wines in a private room at the Fair. Buy tickets for these from £15 each using the same link.

Berry's Bids

Their 'BBX' online fine wine broking service - where private individuals can buy and sell fine wines to each other - has proved massively popular, but now esteemed London and internet wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has joined in the online wine auction action too with the launch of 'BBX Bids'. Buyers now have the choice to buy BBX wines at the selling price or place offer bids, whilst Sellers can sell their wine at the price they set, or accept the highest bid. Bids are placed and accepted with a click of a button on  
Berry Bros web site and that's it - Berry's do everything else by communicating all bids to sellers, letting buyers know when their bid is accepted and completing the transaction by putting the wine into the buyer’s cellar and money into the seller’s bank account. See BBX BIDS.

Wine Gift Centre's recession glassware

decanter The proliferation of designer wine glasses and decanters has seen all sorts of companies jumping into the sector since Austria's Riedel set the boring world of wine glasses ablaze with its dedicated ranges matched to wine styles and grape varieties. Prices for most of these exquisite glasses are very high however, with some single glasses selling for upwards of £40 and decanters selling for hundreds of pounds. Now leading accessories company The Wine Gift Centre has introduced a new range of fine glassware that it says "you won't need a mortgage for." The range includes Whisky and Wine decanters and glasses starting at just £30 for six glasses or £30 for a decanter. Even more interesting, to introduce the new range they are offering free postage and packing on the entire range until 31st October 2012. See winegiftcentre.com.

Salt and Old Vines

The phenomenon of crowd-funded publishing is a fairly new one: an author pitches their ideas and sample chapters for a book, and individuals pledge to support it by simply pre-buying a copy. They also get their names listed on the book jacket as a funder of the project. Other patronage options are available involving larger contributions, which receive valuable 'insider' benefits from the publisher and author. Now, American born wine lover Richard Bray is looking for patrons to support his book  
that tells the story of wine based on his lifetime of working in the wine trade, and latterly, of working as assistant winemaker during the last four vintages in the Roussillon. Richard has been wine seller, sommelier, consultant and wine maker, but as a personal friend of mine for a decade, I know how passionatae he is about wine itself. You can watch the video pitch from Richard above, and the publisher's web site shows the list of options starting from £10 for those who wish to help fund this book. Unbound: Salt and Old Vines.

Call My Bluff

red cross image The Red Cross has organised a wine-tasting with a difference in the style of game show 'Call My Bluff'. This is an excellent opportunity to test your wine knowledge in a good-humoured atmosphere and have some fun whilst supporting the British Red Cross. The evening will begin with a drinks reception in the Glaziers' Hall River Room in London with magnificent views over the Thames. You will then move through to the Banqueting Hall where the wine tasting will commence. Three panellists will deliver a different description of each wine as it is being tasted. At the end of every round your table, working as a team, will have to vote for which of the panellists you think is describing the true identity of the wine. After challenging your palate to recognise seven different wines, accompanied by an abundance of British Cheeses and a delicious selection of breads and fruit, the winning table will be awarded a prize. Tickets are £45. Both individual and team bookings are welcomed. Visit www.redcross.org.uk/wine to book online.

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Dinner Jazz and Port

An innovative bit of marketing from Taylor's Port has seen them team up with radio station Jazz FMJ (DAB, Sky 0202, Freesat 729, or mobile app). Every Thursday evening for the next 26 weeks they'll sponsor the Dinner Jazz programme, hosted by Helen Mayhew, which runs from 7pm to 10pm. A different Port from Taylor's will be introduced on air by Adrian Bridge, Managing Director of Taylor's. It will be accompanied by light hearted, bespoke content which has been compiled in Portugal over the last couple of months and Mayhew will choose a special jazz piece to match the Port in question. The themes to be featured include how Port is made, interviews with key personalities at Taylor's Port and useful advice like choosing the right matching cheeses.