In Brief

05 September, 2008

Re-corking for Penfolds

Penfolds is running a re-corking clinic at London's Somerset House on Oct 1 for anyone who owns bottles of its wines aged 15 and over. Chief winemaker Peter Gago will be available to determine the opportune drinking time and continued cellaring potential of each bottle. A small amount of wine is drawn and if it is deemed to be a good example of the style and vintage, it is topped up with the current vintage. Attendees must register at to be eligible.

Half-price deals at Somerfield

Somerfield has embarked on a week-long drinks sale which takes in own-label as well as branded products, some of which are reduced to half price. Deals include 1-litre bottles of Famous Grouse whisky for £9.99 instead of the usual £14.99, Wolf Blass Yellow Label down £3 to £5.99 and Lindemans Winemakers Release at £3.99, reduced from £7.99. The offers run until Sept 9.

Fire strikes at The Local

A Newbury branch of The Local has been partially destroyed by fire. The blaze broke out in the early hours of Aug 25 and is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault. Investigators are not treating the fire, which destroyed a large amount of stock, as suspicious.

Spirits education

The Worshipful Company of Distillers says it wants to match for spirits the level of educational work devoted to wine. Company court member David Grant said: "The days of lengthy inductions and people experiencing every element of the business are long gone. We need to find other ways of passing on our heritage and traditions to those who may be in the industry for a shorter time than was normal in the past."

Oxfordshire crackdown

Despite being warned of a crackdown on under-age sales, one in 10 off-licences in Oxfordshire was caught out in a two-week test purchase campaign. Oxfordshire Safer Communities Partnership visited 109 off-licences across the county and said 14 failed to ask for ID and sold alcohol to under-18s. Every off-licence

received information packs, including a DVD on avoiding under-age alcohol sales, refusal books, staff tests and training record sheets. Staff were given £80 fixed penalty notices, and some shops will face further investigations.

Scotch exports on the rise

Figures published by The Scotsman suggest Scotch whisky exports in the first half of 2008 have climbed 14% to

more than £1.3 billion. The unofficial data, yet to be confirmed by the Scotch Whisky Association, said volumes slipped by 3% but sales value was ahead of 2007's record performance.

Big cheeses celebrate

British Cheese Week takes place from Sept 27 to Oct 5. The promotion is

supported by retailers such as Jeroboams, Waitrose, Tesco and Somerfield.

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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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