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Wine News

London Wine Fair 17-19 May Online

The 2021 London Wine Fair begins on Monday for 3 days, as a virtual event.
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The 2021 London Wine Fair begins on Monday for 3 days, as a virtual event.

The wine fair has over 30 session for members of the drink trade to attend virtually. Last years entry fee of £25 per person has been kept, with samples for some of the sessions being sent direct to participants to taste at home.

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UK lockdown restrictions are easing on the 17th May

The UK, Scotland and Welsh governments all confirmed that restrictions on Hospitality were to ease on Monday the 17th May as planned.
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The UK, Scotland and Welsh governments all confirmed that restrictions will ease on Monday 17th May as planned. Each region has come up with their own version of very similar restrictions, however the main points for socialising are:

• Hospitality (pubs & restaurants) can seat customers indoors - but diners and drinkers must remain seated and be served at the table

• People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors for England & Wales, but 8 for Scotland, from 8 households

• In England, indoor socialising, with either the Rule of 6 or people from 2 households will apply

The roadmap for England is expecting to see all restrictions being lifted on the 21st June 2021 subject to all conditions for the easing being met.

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Bordeaux En Primeur is underway with Cheval Blanc the first to release

The price for the 2020 Cheval Blanc is €380 / btl and is very close to the 2019 vintage of €370 /btl and the quality appears to be at least as good.
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The price for the 2020 Cheval Blanc is €380 / btl and is very close to the 2019 vintage of €370 /btl and the quality appears to be at least as good.

The weather in 2020 generally played well with rain falling at almost perfect times in the season. Some rain after bud break and before flowering, followed by a fairly dry flowering, another touch of rain at the end of May and June flowed by a long dry summer, with mild water and heat stress, limiting vegetative growth and vines focused on the grapes. At the beginning of August some welcome rain came before settling into another dry period during the key August month. The only downside was some rain towards the end of harvest in late September.

Early commentators’ ratings are problematic with most unable to go to the wineries to taste the wines due to Covid-19 restrictions and have had samples sent to them instead. Some writers are concerned that the samples may not taste as well as those when tasted at the Chateaux.

In summary, in 2020 the weather in general was very good and so the top producers should all be able to make great wines and the prices haven’t risen vs 2019. It may not be the best vintage, but it may be a good one to buy if you like to drink nice Bordeaux.

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Australian exports to China fall by AU$313m in four months

China’s import tariff on Australian wines has led to a collapse in sales from AU$325m to AU$12m in the four months of December 2020 to March 2021.
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China’s import tariff on Australian wines has led to a collapse in sales from AU$325m to AU$12m in the four months of December 2020 to March 2021.

The dramatic drop has been caused by China targeting Australia with punitive tariffs after the Australian government spoke out about human rights abuse by the Chinese government against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Australia has ramped up sales to other countries including a 23% increase in sales to Europe adding an additional AU$163m, AU$31m more to North America and AU$8m to Oceania. But this replaces only AU$202m over 12 months compared to the AU$313m lost in the four months from December to March.

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Out of this world Petrus to go on sale, with Christie’s predicting a sky high price of US $1 million

A bottle of Bordeaux Petrus 2000 is hoped to sell for $1 million US dollars at auction after spending a year in space.
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A single bottle of Bordeaux Petrus 2000 is hoped to sell for $1 million US dollars at auction after spending a year in space.

The 12 bottles of wine spent 440 days on the ISS (International Space Station) orbiting the earth. When one bottle was compared to wines stored here on earth, the wines were found to be generally the same but with some more floral notes and the development appeared to be accelerated.

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Airport-style duty free shops for Calais and Dunkirk ports

This week a new 1,000 square meter duty free shop was announced for Calais, while work on the Dunkirk shop is due to be completed ready for opening in July.
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This week a new 1,000 square metre duty free shop was announced for Calais, while work on a new store in Dunkirk is due to be completed ready for opening in July.

The Calais shop will sell beers, wines and spirits, along with cosmetics, electronics and other luxury good. The Calais store is owned by Nord Pas-de-Calais-Picardie Region and will be run by Danish ferry company DFDS.

The shops in Dunkirk and Calais are within the passenger terminal and can offer duty free shopping. This puts another nail in the coffin for wine warehouses in Calais.

The UK's current duty free personal allowance is three crates of beer, two cases of still wine and either one case of sparkling wine or four litres of sprits.

Duty free sales will still be available on ferries and the new DFDS ship the Cote d’Opale, will have a 1,100 square metre hall dedicated to duty free shopping on board.

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Also this month

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