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Robert Parker retires from The Wine Advocate

Robert Parker retires from The Wine Advocate he founded in 1978.
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Robert Parker is retiring from The Wine Advocate he founded in 1978.
Parker is one of a few people who can claim to have changed the styles of wine produced around the world as producers made wines that were designed to win Parker points. His retirement from The Wine Advocate is a big loss to the company, but the team he has put in place should mean The Wine Advocate will remain a leading authority in the world of wine.

In December 2012, Parker sold his controlling stake in The Wine Advocate to Asian investors and French tyre manufacturer and restaurant guide publisher, Michelin acquired a 40% stake in the business in 2017.

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Chateau Palmer leads price rises in Bordeaux 2018 En Primeur campaign

Chateau Palmer has put the price of its 2018 vintage release price at €240 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, 25% higher than the 2017 vintage.
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Chateau Palmer has put the price of its 2018 vintage release price at €240 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, 25% higher than the 2017 vintage. According to reviews Palmer was one of the top wines of the vintage, with a smaller supply and no production of its second wine, Alter Ego, in 2018.

In the UK, Farr Vintners had a case of 12 Palmer 2018 listed at £2,890 in bond, with the 2016 vintage at £2,750.

Other wines appear to be more expensive in 2018 with La Croix de Beaucaillou, at €33.60 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up by 12%. Lafon-Rochet and Gloria 2018 were also released, at €31.20 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up by 12% on 2017. Château Pape Clément 2018 has been released at €66 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up by nearly 8% on its equivalent 2017, and Château d’Armailhac 2018 is priced at €34.80 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up by 11.5% on 2017 and slightly ahead of the 2016 release price.
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English Wine Week 25th May - 2nd June

Just in time for English Wine Week, Furleigh Estate and Chapel Down release new wines.
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Just in time for English Wine Week, Furleigh Estate and Chapel Down release new wines.

English Wine Week runs from this Saturday 25th May to 2nd June and according to Wine GB, the UK’s wine marketing body, it is also the start of the tourist season. During the week, there will be plenty of tours and events at vineyards throughout the country.

To coincide with English Wine Week, Furleigh Estate in Dorset will release a new range of super-premium sparkling wines. The first release will be the sparkling wine ‘From the Oenothèque 2010’ with an RRP of £49.50. Made with 60% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier it has spent 70 months on its lees and a further 24 months under cork.

Chapel Down launches its first sparkling Bacchus. Head winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire said that deciding to carbonate the wine and not to put it through traditional method was a considered choice as he wanted to retain the youthful, aromatic components which Bacchus showcases so well. He said 'It’s not a wine to discuss and debate for hours or a wine to cellar for years to come, it’s an uncomplicated and very refreshing wine to open and enjoy this summer'.

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Frenchman spent 127 days adrift crossing the Atlantic in a wine barrel

Frenchman Jean-Jacques Savin spent 127 days drifting across the Atlantic in an unpowered wine barrel.
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Frenchman Jean-Jacques Savin spent 127 days adrift crossing the Atlantic in a wine barrel.

The un-powered barrel-shaped capsule, crossed the 2930 mile voyage last month. The 72 year-old former paratrooper turned adventurer and endurance athlete, set off from the Canary Islands on 26 December 2018. The barrel was artificial but didn’t stop the Frenchman having the odd drop of wine along the way.

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Claims to ditch Organics to improve the environment

Claims that the higher carbon footprint associated with organics and the environmental damage from over-relying on one spray means organics should be dropped to save the environment.
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Claims that the higher carbon footprint associated with organics, and the environmental damage from over-relying on one spray, mean organics should be dropped to save the environment.

Climate change activist and leading Port producer, Adrian Bridge, made it clear that he wouldn’t be embracing organic approaches to vineyard management in a bid to make his business more environmentally-friendly.

Bridge gave an example of Taylors LBV Port: “Currently, our carbon footprint for Taylors LBV is 2.8 kilos of carbon per litre, which is down 7% over the past two years, but, if I compare that figure to 2014, when it was 2.4 kilos, then you would think that we have got worse – we are producing more carbon dioxide.” He explained the difference was associated with lower yields, not a change in CO2 consumed. With organics producing 25% less grapes, it means 25% more carbon per bottle vs non-organics.

Miguel Torres, during a discussion with Drinks Business in 2017, said that he wouldn’t be converting all his estate to organics because of the increased amount of energy required to manage vines in this manner, as well as the extensive use of copper.

The restriction in sprays to manage mildew mean organic producers used more of the copper sulphate than other growers which build up in the soil.

Miguel also said that because copper is less effective than synthetic chemicals against fungal diseases such as mildew, it needs to be applied more often, which in turn produces more carbon emissions from the greater number of miles travelled by the vehicles spraying the heavy metal.

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Bottle Deposit Scheme for glass resisted by WSTA

The UK government is exploring a proposed Deposit Return Scheme aimed at reducing plastic packaging.
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The UK government is exploring a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) aimed at reducing plastic packaging.

UK consumers go through an estimated 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than three billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute our streets, countryside and marine environment.

To tackle this blight, the government has confirmed it will introduce a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers. It is still considering whether glass bottles should be included in the scheme.
The Wine And Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) is against the inclusion of glass bottles in the scheme. Chief executive Miles Beale said “The WSTA has long argued that there is no evidence to support the inclusion of glass in the deposit return scheme. What is clear is that including glass drastically increases costs, which ultimately will end up being paid for by the consumer.

The DRS will introduce a 3.3p surcharge per bottle, which, when added to the 20p refundable deposit per bottle, if added to glass wine bottles, would push the average bottle of wine up from £5.84 to £6.08, a rise of some 4%.

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