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Wine News

New WineGame App

A new blind tasting app for Google and Apple launched this week, known as the WineGame.
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A new wine app for Google and Apple has been launched this week. Its free and its called the WineGame. The app allows hosts to create blind tasting games which friends can then use on their own phones to answer questions about the wine they are all drinking.

After the user has set up the game, guests need to guess from a series of options the grape variety, country, region and vintage, and finally select the correct label for the wine.

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One glass to rule them all

Jancis Robinson MW, the UK’s top wine critic, has announced her new wine glass is all you need.
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Gone are the days of a white, red, fizz and fortified glass, let alone the plethora of glasses designed for a specific region or even producers. Jancis Robinson, the UK’s top wine critic, claims we only ever need 1 wine glass and this week unveiled the launch of her new wine glass and assorted decanters known as the '1 Collection'.

She says “I love white wine as much as red and have never understood why white wine glasses are routinely smaller than those designed for red wine.” The 1 Collection will be available exclusively at Harrods in the UK from 1 July and a set of 2 glasses will retail at £70.
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Wales gets ready for minimum unit pricing for alcohol in 2019

Wales' minimum pricing for alcohol legislation is now in its third reading in the Welsh parliament and is expected to become law in 2019.
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Wales' minimum alcohol unit pricing legislation is now in its third reading in the Welsh parliament and is expected to become law in 2019.

The move follows on from the Scottish Parliament whose minimum pricing was brought into law on 1st May 2018. Scotland’s pricing is based on a minimum unit price for alcohol of 50p, and it is thought that the Welsh minimum unit price would also be 50p, though no decision has been made.

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New Magnetic treatment developed to remove green flavours in wine

Green, under-ripe flavours such as green pepper in Cabernet Sauvignon can now be corrected.
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A new Magnetic treatment has been developed to remove green flavours in wine. If some grape varieties are picked early they can exhibit green flavours. Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, can have a green bell pepper character. A little of this can add complexity, but too much can dominate and be off putting.

A new process using magnetic polymers appears to strip the flavours from the wine, as reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The process is know to remove the chemical group Alkyl Methoxypyrazines, a class of chemical compounds that produce odours such as green pepper, fresh green flavours, asparagus and earthy notes in grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Franc as well as many of the popular green flavours in Sauvignon Blanc.

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Wetherspoons goes political by limiting choice to customers

Founder and Chairman Tim Martin, is dropping many European wines and beers at the company for UK and non EU wines and beers.
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Founder and Chairman Tim Martin made a big splash in the news this week for dropping many European wines and beers at the company, for UK and non-EU wines and beers. Tim claimed in the Drinks Business magazine this week, it makes sense to invest in UK drinks products now because of the EU’s “protectionist” tariff systems, which he claims are “widely misunderstood”.

However a closer looks shows how empty his statements are. For example Wetherspoons is to stop selling Champagne and replace it with an Australian sparkling wine that is cheaper. But given that the pub chain sells two million bottles of bubbly every year of which 90% is EU based Prosecco, which they are not dropping, it appears that Tim is more about grabbing headlines than making a stand.

The EU tariff on a typical bottle of wine is around 10p, almost nothing compared to the government's £2.16 duty, or the mark up Wetherspoons puts on the wine.

But according to Tim the EU,
“ .. imposes tariffs on the 93 per cent of the world that is not in the EU, keeping prices high for UK consumers.”

“Tariffs are imposed on wine from Australia, New Zealand and the US, and on more than 12,000 other products.

“The products we are now introducing are at lower prices than the EU products they are replacing.”

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Wine merchants are on the rise

Wine merchants are bucking the UK High Street closures with strong sales. Is the wine merchant back in favour?
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Ten years ago wine merchants were an endangered species, every week there were stories of more merchants going broke against the rising power of the supermarkets. But smaller merchants, and especially ones with multiple branches, are doing much better at the moment. The world economy may be buoyant, but the UK’s high street is awash with store closure whether it be restaurants or fashion chains, the economy in the UK is tough. But wine retailers appear to be holding up well.

Oddbins, the darling of the market 15 years ago before a series of disastrous buy outs and bankruptcy is fitter and leaner, its average price per bottle is a healthy £10/btl in its 48 stores with sales up 8%.

Majestic announced sales rise of 2.3% giving a pre tax profit £8.3m, up from a loss of £1.5million the previous year as it has finished absorbing Naked Wines.

At the budget end of the drinks business, Bargain Booze has restocked its shelves after the collapse of its parent Conviviality and subsequent sale to Bestway. A re-organisation of staff and integration into Bestway is expected once the Bargain Booze ship has righted itself completely.

Smaller wine merchants are popping up all over the place and the internet is awash with interesting online retailers.

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Also this month

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Wine is mainly sold in 750ml bottles but some producers are putting wine in 500ml bottles to share between two. Do you think smaller bottles are a good idea?