Chengdu Wine Fairs – Edition 2019

17107271475_40955d531d_b‘Tang Jiu Hui’ or the Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair, the most important wine exhibition in China of the year, will start in 3 days. As usual, the entire Chinese wine trade will be gathering there during the “hotels period” at the mythic Kempinsky or at the rising Shangri La. I’m looking forward for new exciting discoveries.




Pernod Ricard is said to be considering selling its wine division, which includes its largest wine brands, Campo Viejo and Jacob’s Creek.

A report published in Bloomberg this morning claimed the company was in “early discussions” on a potential sale of the $500 million unit, quoting sources “familiar with the matter”, who wished to remain anonymous.

Pernod Ricard reportedly told Bloomberg in an email they did not comment on speculation, adding that “The group was under no external pressure and has already mentioned several times that it intends to continue the dynamic management of its portfolio.”

However, speaking to db at a press briefing last month, CEO and chairman Alexandre Ricard revealed that he would continue to “dispose” of brands that “no longer fit” within the drinks giant’s portfolio, following the sale in January of Argentine wine brand Graffigna to Chile’s VSPT.

At the time, Ricard said the company was “committed” to growing value sales over volume sales. “Our wine volume sales are down by 8% due to our value focused strategy, which we’re not afraid of pursuing,” he said.

The company’s wine brands include Australian giant Jacob’s Creek from Barossa Valley, which was today named as the third most powerful wine brand in the Global Wine Brand Power Index compiled by Wine Intelligence. Other brands in the stable include Rioja brand Campo Viejo, New Zealand’s Brancott Estate, Stoneleigh and Church Road, boutique brand Ysios, and California brand Kenwood in Sonoma, which it bought in 2014.

In January Pernod Ricard announced it was selling its Graffigna, Colón and Santa Silvia wine brands to Chilean wine giant VSPT for an undisclosed sum, as part of the ongoing plan to strip back volume driven listings that focus on discounting.

The company’s Graffigna winery and vineyards at Pocito and Cañada Honda in San Juan and La Consulta in the Uco Valley in Mendoza were also included in the deal.

It follows the announcement in December that US-based hedge fund Elliott Management had taken a stake in the French company, although it berated the company for its “disappointing” track record in merger and acquisitions and underperformance.

Pernod is not the only large company divesting its wine brands – rival Diageo sold its wine business in 2016 to Treasury Wine Estates for £361 million, while last month group Constellation confirmed rumours that surface in October that it was offloading around 40% of its wine brands to concentrate on its higher priced power brands.

An article from The Drinks Business by Arabella Mileham


Exports of New Zealand wine have achieved their 23rd consecutive year of growth by value and are now worth over NZ$1 billion.


As reported by trade body New Zealand Winegrowers in its 2018 Annual Report, the export value of New Zealand wine exports rose 2.5% in the year ending June 2018 to NZ$1.7bn, with the US accounting for NZ$500m worth.

This keeps the industry on track to hit its NZ$2bn target in 2020 the industry body went on to say.

The continued rise in value has been achieved at the same time as “muted” volume growth – in part due to smaller vintages – the report added.

John Clarke, chairman of NZ Winegrowers, said: “In the coming year we predict export growth will continue to be muted given that the 2018 vintage was smaller than we had hoped. The final outcome will also be affected heavily by the exchange rate, which is currently looking more favourable.”

Volume exports rose very slightly from 253m litres in 2017 to 255m litres.

The US is the biggest market for exports by value, the UK continues to be an important destination, the second export market in fact and one worth NZ$386m and while this is represents a slight decline versus the previous year whether this has anything to do with the impact of ‘Brexit’ is yet to be accurately determined.

Clarke continued: “The UK is the second biggest export market for New Zealand wine with $386 million in exports, and wineries will be watching closely over the next nine months to gauge the possible effects of ‘Brexit’ on international trade”.

The next biggest export markets by value are: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and China, with the latter three seeing growth by volume and value though Australia witnessed small declines in both areas.

An article from The Drinks Business by Rupert Millar

Congratulations to the Ten new Masters of Wine

04B58BFBE9BA66E6EC0FE5289189D3CDThe Institute of Masters of Wine has named ten new Masters of Wine including the first female winemaker of Greek descent and the first female winemaker based in Spain. 

The new Masters of Wine are Almudena Alberca MW (Spain), Barbara Drew MW (UK), Olga Karapanou Crawford MW (USA), Regine Lee MW (UK), Elsa Macdonald MW (Canada), Thomas Parker MW (UK), Lindsay Pomeroy MW (USA), Nicolas Quillé MW (USA), Job de Swart MW (Netherlands) and Tim Triptree MW (UK).

There are now 380 Masters of wine, based in 30 countries.

The new Members of the IMW have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards.

The MW examination consists of three stages, including theory and practical exams, and culminates in the submission of a final research paper, an in-depth study on a wine-related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences.

In addition to passing the examination, all MWs are required to sign the MW code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity and to use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

An article from The Institute of Masters of Wine

The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction – a weekend not to be missed!


From 17-19 November, come join the party in Beaune for the 157th Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction. Although the actual sale is reserved for potential buyers, the general public can watch the proceedings in the street on a giant screen. And plenty of tastings are organized in the surrounding streets. Over the weekend, the city of Beaune is filled with shows and concerts. Local restaurants often offer special menus for the event, making for a truly magical occasion, and one definitely not to be missed!

From the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB),2536,10366.html?&args=Y29tcF9pZD0xODY3JmFjdGlvbj12aWV3RGV0YWlsJmlkPTE3MyZ8


Family Frey bought Château Corton-André (in French)


Caroline Frey, qui préside déjà à la destiné du Château La Lagune dans le bordelais et de la maison Paul Jaboulet Ainé dans la vallé du Rhône, va désormais diriger aussi une grande maison de Bourgogne, le mythique Château Corton-André que sa famille vient de racheter.
La présence de la famille Frey dans le domaine viticole remonte à ses origines champenoises. Elle détient un important vignoble dans les plus beaux crus de la Champagne ainsi qu’une participation au sein de la prestigieuse maison Billecart-Salmon. Deux autres joyaux complètent le patrimoine familial constitué au fil des années par Jean-Jacques Frey : à Bordeaux, le Château La Lagune, 3e grand cru classé 1855 et, dans la vallée du Rhône, les Domaines Paul Jaboulet Ainé, dont le fameux hermitage La Chapelle s’inscrit au panthéon des plus grands vins du monde.
Caroline, la fille ainée de Jean-Jacques Frey signe à Bordeaux comme dans la vallée du Rhône des vins de haut niveau, dans un souci permanent de qualité et de respect des terroirs.
En rachetant au groupe Béjot le Château de Corton-André (fraîchement acquis auprès du groupe Ballande et Meneret), la famille Frey arrive en Bourgogne en restant fidèle à ses valeurs d’excellence. Le Château de Corton André est emblèmatique du vignoble bourguignon. Son architecture et ses magnifiques tuiles vernissées surplombent les vignes d’Aloxe-Corton et il dispose d’un clos ainsi que d’un vignoble de sept hectares dans les prestigieuses appellations de Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Meursault, Volnay, Pommard…
Entre un château particulièrement représentatif et des terroirs d’exception, Caroline dispose d’un joli potentiel pour vinifier de grands vins.

An article from Le Dauphine

Pernod to invest in Chivas Regal to rebuild brand in China


Pernod Ricard plans to invest more money in Chivas Regal to rebuild the blended Scotch whisky brand in China after admitting the company “made mistakes”
Speaking at a roundtable meeting in London (5 September), Laurent Lacassagne, Chivas Brothers CEO, opened up about “mistakes” made by the French drinks group when it came to Scotch whisky in China – particularly with the Chivas Regal brand.
In its latest full-year results, Pernod announced a 3% organic sales decline for Chivas Regal globally, with volume sales down 2%.
“We made some mistakes. But the whisky market in China is starting to rebuild itself,” said Lacassagne. “We believe we have the foundations to bring back brand growth in the China market.
“We will focus on China with [Chivas Regal] Extra, which currently launched on 1 September in China. We have started to significantly invest in the brand from this year. We are working in the right way.
“We are adding a new platform with sport. We believe sport is relevant for our target audience. Our target sport in China is the NBA, which is starting this autumn.”

An article from The Spirits Business by Melita Kiely