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Top wine journalists who influence which wines you buy

Jancis Robinson MW has been voted the most influential wine critic according to research by Drinks Retailing News.
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Top wine journalists that influence which wines you buy.
Jancis Robinson MW has been voted the most influential wine critic according to a report by the trade magazine Drinks Retailing News. Their wine poll asked 150 wine retailers across the UK for whose recommendations have the greatest effect in driving sales in their shops.

Jancis was a clear favourite in number 1 position with her FT column, website jancisrobinson.com and Purple Pages.
Matthew Jukes, who writes for the Daily Mail and publishes the Top 100 Australian wines came second and Joe Fattorini, star of the Wine Show TV series, was in third place.

Times Columnist Jane MacQuitty came 4th, Oz Clarke 5th, Tim Atkin MW was 6th, Jamie Goode of the Wine Anorak was 7th, Olly Smith 8th, Victoria Moore 9th and in 10th place was Stephen Spurrier.


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Climate change continues and the results are not great for top quality wines

Its not just getting warmer it is also getting more extreme, meaning total vintage losses may become more common.
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With climate change underway there are real concerns for the current wine regions. A warming is to be expected but it is the increase in extreme weather that caused so many problems last year for Europe. Climatologist Dr Greg jones said even though the climate was warming, it was becoming more variable, in other words, wider swings in cold extremes and heat extremes. This has been borne out over the years and I continue see it in other work I have done.

But even if the climate only continues to rise, many existing wines will lose all identity. Pascal Chatonnet, a winemaker, claims that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prediction of a 2-4˚C increase in temperature for Bordeaux could result in wines that taste very differently and don’t age as well.

Chatonnet modelled the Bordeaux of 2050 by cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes in warmer Southern climates (Languedoc-Roussillon and Tunisia).

On the palate, he found the 2050 wines “quite supple, but almost syrupy”, while the nose “was of very ripe fruit – almost jam-like”. Surprisingly alcohol content was likely to fall, as growers picked grapes earlier to avoid over ripe flavours.

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A poor vintage in the Northern Hemisphere is starting to influence the wines we drink

A recent survey by Accolade Wines suggests trends to Prosecco, Eastern European and New Zealand wines continue.
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Accolade Wines, the owners of Australian brands such as Hardy’s and Banrock Station, have released a report into the drinking habits of the UK. Overall it found that consumption of beers, wines and spirits had fallen by 2%.

The big winners were Prosecco, which helped sales of sparkling wines to rise by 23%, while Champagne has dropped by 18%.

New Zealand was the only country to see a rise in sales to bars and restaurants by 7%, and its sales of wines to the off trade rose by 11%.

Sales of Australian wines haven’t faired as well in the UK market but the poor 2017 Northern Hemisphere harvest has allowed Australia to export more wine overall and at higher prices throughout the world. Australian wine sales are up 16% by value, driven by a 10% increase in sales and a 5% increase in bulk wine prices.

Meanwhile, Waitrose claim the move to Eastern European wines is continuing, with the volume of its Blueprint Romanian Pinot Noir up by 60% compared to the previous year.


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2016 looks like a vintage year for Port producers

2016 has been declared a vintage year for many of the top Port producers and is widely thought to be a vintage that most, if not all, will declare.
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2016 has been declared a vintage year for many of the top port producers and is widely thought to be a vintage that most, if not all, will declare.

Around 3-4 times every decade, when the weather and conditions are optimum, Port houses declare a vintage year. In this year all the house's best vineyards and wines are used to make a Vintage Port. These long lived, concentrated wines have the ability to age amongst the longest of any wine made. In non-vintage years the top vineyards produce a range of other port styles.

Each port house makes their own determination if the year warrants a vintage port. Already for 2016 major houses such as Cockburns, Dow’s Grahams, Warres and Quinta do Noal have declared that 2016 will be a vintage year.

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An injectable bio chip has been created that can monitor alcohol levels in blood.

A new injectable bio chip has been created that can monitor blood alcohol levels in real time.
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A new injectable bio chip has been created that can monitor blood alcohol levels in real time. The tiny injectable sensor can be implanted just under the surface of the skin and will link with a smart watch. The aim is to help substance abuse patients during treatment and the chip has been developed by engineers at the San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

The chip reacts with alcohol releasing chemicals that can be measured by the chip. It will receive power from a smart watch and pass data to it.

A provisional patent on the technology has already been filed and testing has been done on pig skin, but trials with live animals are planned for the future.

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Wine Rack and Bargain Booze sold to Bestway after Conviviality collapse

The second major business owned by failed drinks company Conviviality has been sold to Bestway in a £7 million deal.
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The second major business owned by failed drinks company Conviviality has been sold to Bestway in a £7 million deal.

The deal sees Wine Rack, Bargain Booze, WS Retail and Select Convenience now being owned by Bestway. Bestway is a multinational conglomerate with businesses in the UK and Pakistan. In the UK, where it is based in London, it is the second largest Wholesaler serving 125,000 independent food & drink retailers and caterers as well and the UK’s third biggest pharmacy, Well Pharmacy.

Conviviality Retail was Conviviality’s second largest division with 800 stores and 350 franchises under the Bargain Booze, Select Convenience, Wine Rack and Central Convenience brands.

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