Sad to give the news of the death of long standing friend, Mike Roberts MBE, founder of the English sparkling wine estate, Ridgeview in Sussex and chairman of English Wine Producers. He had been ill for some time but nobody expected his death. He died in early hours of Friday 14 Novemeber.

Amorin are stepping up their promotions for its Helix twist-open natural cork after reporting a positive early reaction to its innovation. The Portuguese-based cork producer unveiled the Helix at Vinexpo last year and has since been working in partnership with glass bottle manufacturer Owens-Illinois to encourage wine producers world-wide to adopt new closure. Amorin believe it will be “a game changer.” Commenting on the progress made so far Amorin’s marketing director, Carlos de Jesus, said “Consumer and professional reaction to the Helix has surpassed our initial expectations and represents a great basis to continue our work towards sustainable, premium image, wine packaging innovation.”

The TOP Trophy awards for the night went to Champagne P & C Heidsieck for Winemaker of the Year and Sazerac for Distiller of the Year. Surprizes of the night was the German See-Gin Bodensee winning the London Dry Gin Trophy while the Bourbon Cask aged Big Gin from the USA won the Contemporary Gin Trophy. A special one-off award was made to Dave Hughes (yes me !) in the form of “A Lifetime Achievement Award” for his long career across various corners of the drinks industry. Continue reading

The owners of the massive brand “Yellow Tail”, the Casella family have bought Peter Lehmann Wines in Barossa Valley. Casella acquired a controlling stake in Peter Lehamann from the Hess Group for US dollars 49.5 million, significantly less than the US 103 million Hess paid in 2003. Peter Lehmann’s widow, Margaret, said she was going to sell her 10.8 % share to Casella which would give it a 90 % controlling share. John Casella, MD of the company and his team are confident they will be fine custodians of the Peter Lehmann legacy. . They have a clearly defined strategy to extend their portfolio to highlight the the enormous diversity of Barossa wines and Lehmann wines will feature in the premium end. Continue reading

It has been confirmed that Accolade is in “exclusive discussions” to buy Grant Burge. Accolade already list Hardys and Banrock Station in their portfolio along with others. Grant Burge is a fifth generation family owned business producing a broad range of wines from across South Australia and have a great reputation for Barossa fortifieds. Accolade have also recently put significant investment into building the Hardy brand world wide and are to extend their UK bottling facility with an injection of £11 million.