Recent news and some helpful links

Recent news and some helpful links

The Bollinger family, who own Champagne Bollinger and four other French estates, has recently announced it is acquiring Oregon’s Ponzi Vineyards. This acquisition marks Bollinger’s first winery in the US which includes the Ponzi winery and hospitality facilities 40 minutes from Portland, Oregon, in addition to 35 acres of vineyard land in the newly established Laurelwood District AVA which is nested within the boundaries of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. There are three newly established AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) within the Willamette Valley AVA. As well as the Laurelwood District (established 2020) mentioned in news of the Bollinger Ponzi acquisition the other two AVAs are the Tualatin Hills (established 2020) and the Van Duzer Corridor (established 2019). For a complete contemporary round up of the Willamette Valley AVA and all the sub region AVAs, check this link.


Armit Wines has signed a deal as the exclusive UK distributor for Argentina’s family-owned winery Mendel Wines. Situated at Drummond, Mendoza, Mendel Wines was built in 1928. It was bought by the Sielecki family in 2002, who employed Roberto de la Mota as winemaker of the estate.

Attention all Sommeliers and chefs!

Champagne Gosset Annual Matchmakers Competition 2021 is open for entries. The Gosset Matchmakers competition, in its sixth year, aims to recognise up-and-coming sommelier and chef partnerships by challenging them to co-create the perfect food and Champagne pairing. This year the bar is set high! The challenge is to create an innovative dish to match with one of Gosset’s core champagnes. Entrants can choose to focus on either Gosset Grande Reserve or Gosset Grand Blanc de Blancs. Gosset Matchmakers is organised by Louis Latour Agencies, Champagne Gosset’s UK agent. This year, it also has the backing of The Sommelier Collective and Le Cordon Bleu London.
Entries must be received by 31 May. You can find details here.


South Africa

David has followed the tough situation faced by wine producers in South Africa since the pandemic kicked off last March. We were therefore pleased to learn of the new partnership between Waitrose and South Africa’s Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines to launch its first co-ownership wine brand. The Great Heart Wine brand, developed by Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines and its employees, forms part of the producer’s new staff empowerment project, which is aimed at improving the livelihoods of those who work for the company and their families. Conceived during the first South African lockdown last year – when an export and domestic sales ban was put in place – the wine brand is collectively owned by the winery staff. Profits from all sales under the label will go directly to them, with staff set to receive their first dividends from Great Heart sales in May this year.


Profiles for all the above Producers can be found in our 12th edition.

Carinyena Blanca recognition
Last year the little planted Carinyena (or Cariñena) Blanca has been recognized as an authorised variety under the Empordà DO region regulations. The grape which is found in Catalunya (Cataluña) and the Languedoc & Roussillon area across the border in France remains rare but has real potential for high quality wines.

UPDATE on some Wine Trade events:

London Wine Fair, 17 – 19 May 2021 aims to be the most advanced virtual show of its kind, with an unrivalled, ground-breaking, digital offering featuring outstanding tastings, unmissable industry sessions, one-to-one meetings with winemakers and importers, networking opportunities and more.
If you are on their mailing list you will have received details. If not check here.

The Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris exhibition was hoped to be held in person in June this year. With some many uncertainties around COVID issues it is now moved to 14 to 16 February 2022. Details here.

Also originally planned for this May was the major Spanish trade fair Fenavin in Ciudad Real. This has now been moved forward to May 10 to 12 2022. Full details here.

Finally and not to be missed if you are in the wine trade is the Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône trade fair with a series of great regional tastings. These will be from 4 to 5 April in Avignon and then 6 April in Mauves and Tain l’Hermitage and concluding on 7 April at Ampuis. Full details here.

Steven Spurrier sadly passed away in early March this year. We have been proud to have his seal of approval on the front cover of Wine behind the label over many editions. In a moving piece on Steven’s life Jancis Robinson says, “For someone who achieved so much, he acted with such extreme modesty and politesse that there was always a danger of his not being accorded his due”. Should you wish to read this in full you will find it here.

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