08 January, 2010

The message from the demise of First Quench was that people are tired of branded wines, and we’ll be trying to learn from that, going even more for high service, local beers, wherever possible, and wines that have been made by people who live on the estate where they’re produced. Consumers are increasingly interested in real stuff made by real people.” Brett Turner?Cambridge Wine Merchants??“Not as much snow as we’ve got now. Apart from that, I hope we’ll see the end of the recession, though Christmas was good. We did a lot of big things with the shop last year, so this year is about keeping it simple, but I’d like to introduce a fine wine section. We sell a lot of individual wines that define us? but, having said that, it’s also important to have good quality at the lower end for people who don’t want to spend so much.” Rob Hoult?Hoults Wine Merchants?Huddersfield??“Just to hang in there and keep my fingers crossed. The World Cup will be good for extra sales and generally there seems to be a lot of interest in bottle-conditioned beers which is good for us. We’ve had some of the whisky cask-aged beers from Harviestoun and Fuller’s, which have done really well, so I’ll certainly be looking to expand our range over the course of the year.”?Gareth Jones?Beer Essentials?Horsham?West Sussex??“We’d definitely like to increase our range of classic French wines and also go down the natural, organic and biodynamic wine route. We’ve seen an awful lot of interest in that area. Apart from that, it’s about spreading the Smiling Grape word, which is about making wine accessible and fun. Certainly it would be good to see a decrease in duty. With VAT going up now and duty in March it’s going to have quite an effect on the industry.”?Matt Ellis?Smiling Grape?St Neots

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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