Casa Valduga – visionary, structured, professional

Posted on November 30, 2012 by | No comments yet

The first thing that strikes you about this specialist sparkling wine producer is how this is still very much a family affair. Even Elisa Walker their export manager, who, incidentally, is not part of the family, feels a sense of ownership and claims she would never leave. Employment is high in this part of the country and so it’s hard for companies to incentivise good staff to stay and ever harder to recruit them.

This is a company that knows where it is going. The brands have a clear positioning structure; you can tell which are the less expensive brands and which are the prestige brands and how you get from one to the other. This may seem obvious, but, trust me, not that many producers understand their marketing as well as Casa Valduga. Have a look at the fabulous packaging.

Musical notes

All the sparklings we tasted were Methode Champenoise from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown in the Vale dos Vinhedos near Bento Goncalves. Maturation starts as 12 months for the Brut Arte, 25 months for the Rose Premium, 36 months for the Brut 130 and 60 months for the Gran Reserva Extra Brut.

Vineyards further south in Encruizilhada do Sol provide grapes for the Marselan red wine – a variety that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, whilst even further south in Campanha they have vineyards producing grapes for their stunning Cabernet Franc.

A stunning producer – definitely one to watch.

Pure inspiration from Lidio Carraro

Posted on November 28, 2012 by | No comments yet

Lidio Carraro really is an aspirational brand, with a purist approach to both the vineyard and the winemaking process, 18/20 points from and the Merlot being chosen as Snooth’s wine of the year this is a producer to watch.

They are unique in a number of ways; none more so than the fact that they do not use oak in any of their wines wanting the purity of the fruit and a natural balance in the wines to be of prime importance.

Their logo represents grapes, of course, but also the three elements Patricia and her family believe represent the word terroir – the land, the climate and the people they work with. They have carefully chosen the perfect terroir for their different wines venturing even further south to Serra do Sudeste for their still wine plantings.

We enjoyed the deep lemon mineral Da’Divas Chardonnay 2012; the structured sweet strawberry Elos Touriga Nacional and the deep dense Tannat from the same label.

They need a top notch agent/importer who will help them build their already iconic brand in the independent on and off trade sectors.

Salton: Hand-crafted wines of substance

Posted on November 28, 2012 by | No comments yet

Wow! Blown away with the investment going on in this company and the attention to detail they give to their wines. In addition to their own vineyards, they work with 400 families who provide 75% of the grapes; it’s a family run business that operates in some ways as a privately owned cooperative.

They are current building a new below ground sparkling wine cellar and investing heavily in state of the art equipment, but still the remuage is all done by hand; pretty incredible when you consider this is the largest producer of sparkling wine in Brazil.

The revamped packing on the Intenso range is brilliantly done – evoking Brazil in a subtle, sophisticated way. Loved the sparkling Moscato and the Tannat. Cabernet Franc seems to be producing some of my favourite wines in Brazil and the Salton Intenso was no exception. Merlot, Cabernet and Chardonnay in the ‘Classic’ range were all very good examples of their variety too.

Salton has bought 600 hectares of land on the Uruguay border in the Campanha region to grow the grapes for their still wines. More and more producers are initiating this strategy, keeping the plantings for Espumante in Serra da Gaucha and moving still wine varieties further South.

In conclusion a large quality producer who is looking to build a long term relationship with a UK/European importer.

From Red Wine to Black Swans: this year’s headline presentation at LIWF Conference

Posted on April 17, 2012 by | No comments yet

Key players to speak at LIWF conference on global future trends

London will play host to some of the world’s key influencers at the annual LIWF Conference on Monday, 21st May at ExCeL. With an over-arching theme of global future trends, the summit will focus on how today’s issues can impact wine businesses and influence future direction. Featuring an international panel of speakers drawn from wine and finance, the conference will tackle key issues facing the trade in today’s uncertain economic climate.

Senior investment columnist at The Financial Times and editor of The Long View, John Authers, will open the conference with the intriguing headline ‘Red Wine to Black Swan’. This will be followed by Jancis Robinson OBE MW ( presenting global insights into future trends in wine, and Paul Mackenzie, CEO of The Source will expose consumer trends and buying habits. The late morning session will take innovation as its theme and include insight from Paul Schaafsma, General Manager UK & Europe of Australian Vintage Ltd. Schaafsma will illustrate how he manages the fastest growing wine brand in the UK, whilst increasing price by 9%. Independent retailing then comes under the spotlight, with a panel discussion focusing on trends in this tremendously vibrant sector.

The afternoon will feature a theme of emerging markets, and will open with an exploration of these markets and their potential by Spiros Malandrakis Alcoholic Drinks Research Analyst at Euromonitor International. Joshua Green, editor of US publication, Wine and Spirits, Frank Martell Director Fine and Rare Wines Heritage Auctions and Jennifer Brown of PCLB Luxury Brands will participate on a panel looking at key trends in the US market. The final discussion will be led by Marcelo Copello, publisher of BACO magazine and a leading authority on the Brazilian wine market, and will focus on Brazil, outlining why it has become such a dynamic emerging economy and what the potential opportunities are.

The Conference will take place at ExCeL (ExCeL London, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1XL) on Monday 21st May from 10am – 4.30pm.

Conference details
Delegate places are limited to 200 and are charged at the following rate:

Single Delegate: £245+VAT; Multiple Delegates (3 or more) £195+VAT per person

Please register via and go to the What’s On page or click through via

For further information please contact:
Judy Kendrick at [email protected] tel: 01829 720130
Hazel Murphy at [email protected] tel: 01260 227701

MADEIRA WINE WALKS at the LIWF with Trevor Elliott on the ViniPortugal stand (D10/E10) every day at 2pm

Posted on May 11, 2011 by | No comments yet

Join Trevor Elliott and find out more about the wonderful wines from Madeira on the ViniPortugal stand D10/E10, every day at 2pm. Author of the recently published “The Wines of Madeira”, Trevor Elliott has written an indispensable guide to the wines, grapes and producers. Enjoy a journey of discovery with one of the most enthusiastic and leading experts on Madeira.

Beware letters from Expo-Guide

Posted on May 4, 2011 by | No comments yet

Some years ago I was ‘duped’ by a company calling itself The European City Guide. There are now a spate of letters (I had 3 last week) from a company claiming to organise an Expo-Guide. It looks to me like a re-hash of the ECG albeit the invitation to be listed is slightly less deceptively written.

Whilst this guide might exist, you need to be aware that if you SIGN the attached form you are potentially committing yourself to thousands of euros of expenses over the next 3 years.

If you have signed the form and are now being asked for money you might like to look at the Stop European City Guide web site that was set up to help people in your situation.

…but just beware

Expo Guide Covering Letter

Sarah Ahmed’s 50 Great Portuguese Wines Tasting in Manchester and Edinburgh next week

Posted on June 7, 2010 by | No comments yet

Join us next Monday and Wednesday to taste Sarah Ahmed’s 50 Great Portuguese Wines selection. Sarah, ‘The Wine Detective’ and Portugal’s Journalist of the Year in 2009 has traveled and tasted her way through the length and breadth of Portugal to educate and surprise us with her personal selection.

It’s not just the wine press that loves Portugal. The trade is pretty keen too… Just look at the feedback from Sarah Ahmed’s recent unveiling of her 50 Great Portuguese Wines.

“Selections of this kind are usually an opportunity for sniping and facetious backbiting, particularly in the snarkier corners of the blogosphere. But try as I might, I couldn’t find anyone with a bad word to say about Ahmed’s list.”

The reviews from her peers were nothing short of raves.

“All in all an excellent tasting and a great job done by Sarah Ahmed” said Anthony Rose on his blog.

“Sarah’s selection was excellent” added Jamie Goode – Harpers Wine & Spirit April 9th 2010.

So come and find out what all the fuss is about in Manchester on Monday 14th June at The Lowry Hotel, and Edinburgh on Wednesday 16th June at The Balmoral Hotel (from 10.30am – 5pm).

Sarah will give a short presentation about her wine choice at 12noon and 2:30pm and a light lunch will be served at 1pm.

To register simply click here or call us on 01829 720130.

Winning Wine Sales – Understanding the UK market and making the most of On-line Media at Monday’s LIWF Conference

Posted on May 13, 2010 by | No comments yet

Winning Wine Sales – Understanding the UK market and making the most of On-line Media
Venue: Platinum Suite, Excel. Monday 17th May

We are helping Brintex to organise Monday’s very exciting London Wine Fair Anniversary Conference. Don’t miss out and book your place now.

The confirmed line-up of speakers (you can read the biogs by clicking here):
Jancis Robinson, OBE MW,
David Cox, director Europe, New Zealand Winegrowers
Robert Joseph, international writer and communicator
Arend Heijbroek, global industry specialist, Rabobank
Vicki Arnold, general manager, Glaetzer Wines, Australia
Ryan Opaz, founder, Catavino Marketing,
Ande Gregson, founder, Media 140
Carlos Fonseca, Quinta das Cerejeiras

12.30 – 14.10 The Nuts and Bolts of the UK Market

14.30 – 16.30 Building your Business from the Comfort of your Office Chair

The conference will be a practical forum which will ensure delegates go away with usable advice and ideas that can be put into practice not only at the Fair but as you continue to build your business in the UK.

Whilst there are many conferences at other similar events, many of them focus on the big picture, future thinking and statistics. This conference is different because it will be a direct ‘HOW TO DO IT, NUTS AND BOLTS’ affair, ensuring you are fully prepared to tackle this dynamic yet challenging market. You will also gain an invaluable insight into the power of social media, an integral route to global wine sales.

12.30 – 14.10 The Nuts and Bolts of the UK Market:

The opening session starts with an overview of the state of the wine world and goes on to tackle general and specific issues relating to export and in particular the UK market, featuring:

The Global Overview Arend Heijbroek, Rabobank
A factual look at how the world of wine looks today and what are the challenges for the future: is there too much wine being produced for insufficient markets? Arend will provide a unique insight into the state of the global market and what to expect next.

The UK market, is it really that complicated? David Cox, Zealand Winegrowers
David will lend his wealth of experience to expand on the UK market supply chain, margins, wine styles and pricing in different sectors. He’ll cover the different routes to market – finding an agent / selling direct – and the rules of marketing; including positioning, presentation, PR and media.

It’s not as easy as you might think! Vicki Arnold, Glaetzer Wines
Exporting and what you need to know. Vicki with 30 years of experience in wine will talk first hand about the challenges of what lies behind getting wines into a country the other side of the world – the logistics and also the pitfalls.

Don’t forget the consumer Robert Joseph, writer and communicator
What are the drivers behind consumer wine buying decisions, how and when do they make them and what influences them? Robert was described by Decanter Magazine as one of the 50 people in the world who would be influencing wine drinking in the 21st century, so very well placed to comment on how to understand that all important link in the chain… the consumer.

14.10 – 14.30 Tea and Coffee

14.30 – 16.30 Building your Business from the Comfort of your Office Chair

During the second session, you could not have a better line-up! Leading industry figures will help you to transform your communication, using social media & social networking to enhance your offering and awareness.

Managing the transition from printed media to on-line journalism – Jancis Robinson MW

What this means to Jancis and for the press in general and how her audiences have changed.

The future of communication through Social Media – Ryan Opaz, Catavino Marketing

Following his recent appearance at Wine Future (amongst many), Ryan is guaranteed to give a thoughtful and enjoyable insight into how to use the internet to promote your brands.

Social Media in Action Carlos Fonseca

We will present you with a real life success story – visit the producer, taste his wine, interact over the internet and find out how he achieved success.

Harness the Power of Social Media – Ande Gregson, Media 140

Ande will illustrate how social media can transform a good business in to a hugely successful enterprise. Media140 is an independent global movement creating unique multimedia conferences and events to explore the future of the real-time web. We do not just focus on Twitter but look at all the real-time platforms that are now beginning to affect business and consumers: to foster discourse, collaboration and innovation within journalism, media, advertising, entertainment, marketing, PR, gaming and technology industries.

Delegate places are limited and are charged at the following rate:

Single Delegates @ £195 + VAT
Multiple Delegates (5 or more) @ £175 +VAT per person.

We hope you’ll join us.

Best wishes